“The women had abandoned their traditional costumes for ordinary clothes so you cannot admire their jugs”
This disappointed confession was how a skinny white kid summed up his meeting with a tribe of Indians in Peru. He was travelling through S. America in 1952 after bunking college for a whole year.
Medicine didn’t interest this high born Argentine at the moment so he and his buddy just decided to chuck it all and go on a hitch-hiking trip through their entire continent. Happily they set off on an old dilapidated motor bike…Which was fucked pretty soon thanks to their drunken driving. So it was by thumbing a lift or riding the back of the truck , freeloading whenever possible. And of course the alcohol was a constant companion. They pretended to be expert leprologists on a research journey and fooled most doctors across Chile(A practically leprosy free country) into giving them boarding and lodging. In some Mining Towns they played football pretending to be famous club players from Buenos Aires. But in Peru they used a different technique.
“The Anniversary Routine
- Say something loudly, immediately identifiable as Argentine with bits of slang and drawl. The candidate takes the bait and immediately asks us where we are from. Strike up a conversation.
- Begin to speak of the hardships of your travel but don’t make too much of them all the while staring into the distance.
- I intervene and ask for the date; someone provides it and Alberto sighs, saying :” Imagine the coincidence, it was a year ago today.” The candidate asks it was a year ago since what; we respond it was a year since we started our journey.
- Alberto, much bolder than I am lets out a gigantic sigh, saying, “such a pity we’re in these dire circumstances we aren’t able to celebrate”(he says this quietly as if confiding in me). The candidate immediately offers to pat; we pretend to refuse for a while, admitting it would be impossible for us to ever to pay him back, etc., and then we finally accept his offer.
- After the first drink, i steadfastly refuse to accept another and Alberto makes a face at me. Our host becomes a little angry and insists, but I refuse, without giving reasons. The man asks and asks until i confess, full of embarrassment that in Argentina it is our custom to eat when we drink. Just how much we eat depends on the face of our candidate . All in all it is a very refined technique.”
The white kid after finishing their Hakunamata trip returned to his well-to-do family in Argentina and continued to study and became a doctor. This trip might have been the adventure of a lifetime had his life become a greater adventure.
You might have already guessed who I am talking about. Those of you who guessed Maradona please stick your head in the nearest lavatory. His name was Ernesto Guevera de la Serna, the “Che” bit was a later nickname given to him by Castro when he left his wife and comfortable life to fight in the Cuban revolution. Having been deeply been troubled by the poverty he had seen during the journey, he was willing to risk it all for something he wouldn’t even benefit from just cause it was the right thing to do.
After a successful revolution in Cuba he followed up with literacy and agrarian plans vastly improving the life of poor Cubans. Not satisfied he visited other S. American and African countries to bring the same social change he brought about in Cuba. Sadly he was executed by the Americans(for all intents and purposes) who myopically saw only his communist leanings. True to form he was in another country , in another revolution. In Bolivia this time.
The young asthmatic, alcoholic hobo became a martyr and an icon of the 20th century, his Guerilla Heroico photo is the most reproduced of all time. (Sadly I saw one dumbass with a Che tee without knowing who he was- the fool thought he was a ‘rockstar or something’ )
No more hiding behind the excuse “He was a great man that’s why he was able to do that. I can’t.”
I mean if we can copy the admiring jugs part what’s to stop us from doing the rest?