Thursday, May 12, 2005

don't run away or let me down

Have I learned nothing? I should have known that the very moment I recorded my itinerary in some written space, it would finally be faulted and rearranged. When planning a trip with multiple people, it's important to keep in mind that somene's going to get the shaft. Lucky for me, that someone is not me. I'm not even going to bother chronicling the itinerary again, because I bet it will change at least once more. On the bright side, the current plan now includes less than 12 hours in Lima and more time for me in Arequipa. Abhi confirms in yesterday's comments what many other friends who have visited Peru have expressed: Lima is a cesspool and should be avoided if at all possible.

The REI in San Francisco doesn't have the best feng shui in the world. It feels like they didn't have enough space. As a result, I wound up walking around in circles in the store, and continually disappointed by the lack of selection. Of course, I did not leave empty-handed. I got a new backpack. My current backpack is a pretty measly Camelbak- it was from my mountainbiking days, and as such fits the hydration sleeve (or bladder, as I like to call it), a little pocket wrench, chapstick, and usually a PB&J. I have another backpack, but I've had that since high school, so that wasn't going to cut it either. Enter the Terrapak 40. I have to say that the biggest problem with buying this sort of stuff is that it makes me feel like an incredible poseur. But I figure it will last me a long while. I also bought some much needed hiking boots, that were not at all on sale, unfortunately. My Merrell hiking boots don't cover the ankle, and on the longer hikes I've braved recently, I've started to feel it. My friend W once gave me some precious advice: there are two things you should never skimp on in terms of price or quality- hiking boots and sleeping bags. Hiking boots, check. Sleeping bag, coming up next.

As I made my rounds around the store over and over, I found myself a little overwhelmed. There are a lot of things I need for my trip, but I just couldn't bring myself to start purchasing all of them in one bolus. Last time I went to an REI in Berkeley, I'd convinced myself I needed everything in the store, right down to a portable pancake griddle. But I was with a friend yesterday who has a more traditionally female approach to shopping- browsing, shopping around, collecting the necessary items bit by bit. So I was swayed from my usual one-stop, get the job done tendencies. In the long run, it's probably for the best.

For those of you who have managed to continue reading this post without drowsiness or the urge to click to a different website, I commend you. And now I ask you for some much-needed advice. I just got a ticket to a seminar on writers writing about music. My question is- should I really be going if I have no intention of ever making a career of writing about music? I'm intrigued by Greil Marcus and the like, I'm curious about their process and how music translates to words for them. McSweeney's series of essays on songs is brilliant and often moving. I'm always wishing I was better equipped to convey how a song seeps into me. But ultimately, I'm worried I'm going to get there and be interrogated on my purpose. And I'll mumble something like, "well, see, I'm a blogger, and I want to write about these writers who write about music." And isn't that just ridiculous? Not to mention, probably at the sound of the word "blogger", I'll probably be unceremoniously shown the door. Am I just being a candy-a**? Do I need to just suck it up and go with my gut? I am at your mercy, people.

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