The Peruvian Nights

Holding My Breath

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I’ve been back in London for 13 days and I’ve spent most of my conscious time figuring out ways to move back home (New York City). It is tiring, but I have a life goal at last. I spent 30 years not knowing what I wanted to do and where, and then pfiout in 5 New York weeks all became clear.

As a visualisation exercise, I designed my ideal business card. It states all my professional ambitions (“Writer/Performer/5 Rhythms Teacher/LGBT Rights activist”) and has my US number on it. My 5 Rhythms teacher name will be ‘Mother Chaos’. I burned a candle to my Virgin Mary statue telling her that I will hand out this business card within 4 years (even before).

I’ll be holding my breath till then.

I don’t know at all why I live in London, which is problematic. If I was packing all my shit and leaving tonight, it wouldn’t make a difference to anyone’s life. I wonder how long it would take for my body to be discovered if I died in the house (this is not a suicidal alert). I don’t really care anyway about making people love me here. I just want to leave.

I live mostly alone in a 6 bedroom house with garden, which I was calling the “Ghost House” when I initially moved in. I chose this house because of the apple tree in the back yard. I actually share the place with N², a phlegmatic Scottish guy who makes me laugh to peeing. He works night shifts with very unusual people (conspiracy theory or refusal to wear a bra type), so I occasionally see him in the kitchen, but it can be days without our worlds to collide. He is in Sri Lanka right now, where his wife lives. So I am absolutely alone. 

In 13 days, I reunited with a few people, they asked me what the highlight of my New York stay was, and I could reply nothing but “NYC itself”. When I try to get into detail, I see that I am losing most of them .

I went to a new club in Piccadilly with α5, my very intense squatter friend. Some of her underground housemates are regularly performing extravaganza numbers there. There was also a not very good female wizard. On the street, we met a drunk stripping Superman. α5 helped him dress back up. She’s currently in love with a slam singer woman married to another woman. She’s trying to figure out where she fits in the triangle – classic α5 story. I gently made fun of her, singing in a loop Triangles are my favourite shape“. 

I also caught up with my old dance and digital artist friend µ, that I have known and worked with for 9 years. In my absence, she got herself a part-time 22 year old  Erasmus student female lover. They met at a “Growing Bacteria” workshop. I called her “Cougar” for the rest of the night. My friends are fabulous worldwide and more often than not, are my reason to live. 

Yesterday, I went to my first Krav Maga (קרב מגע) class, the self-defence technique used in the Israeli Defence Forces. It was developed in the 30s by Imrich Lichtenfeld in Bratislava to protect the Jewish area from anti-Semitic attacks, so it is close to real situation street fight. There were about 10 guys and another girl in the class. We did multiple attackers exercises, like surrounded by enemies and you have to escape from the circle or in the centre of a circle and attackers sweep down on you one after the other but you never know where the attack will come from. I got really beaten up but I loved it. I don’t really know where my taste for fight comes from. Violence just really excites me sometimes. Boys usually don’t expect that a 5ft girl will beat them up with all her heart. OK, they are stronger. But I am faster and angrier. They were like: “Are you OK? Are you OK?” and after the class they asked me where I learned to spin like that. I told them: “Years of ballet, Gentlemen.”

The class was taking place in a primary school and I had a look at the kids’ names under each hanger. Oh My God! There are really parents out there who named their kid “Cougar”? I dare to hope for the kid that she’s not a girl at least.

Now, I am in the middle of the 3 day week end. I avoided 2 lesbian parties, because I don’t want to pretend and have meaningless sex for the moment. I am entering a “not pretending” detox phase. I am not yet ready for love, but I am ready for some emotion at least. Instead of drinking mojitos with the dykes, I went to see “Tracks“, the true story of a young girl who crossed the Australian desert with 3 camels and a dog in the 70s. I needed some woman explorer inspiration. It made me want to dive back into the biography of Alexandra David-NĂ©el.

I want to go on a life-changing adventure too.

Who are the female adventurers of our times? Do I qualify to be one?

The Female Explorers Game

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After a couple of days along Route 66, somewhere between New Mexico and Texas, I asked H if her Jeep had a name. (It is a family thing to name the cars and I naturally expect everyone to do so). The answer was no and I thought the Jeep deserved a brave groundbreaking female name. As we had already played the States capital game across the whole of Arizona, I threw a new proposal in the air: the Female Explorers game. Which female explorer was cool enough to deserve a Jeep being named after her?

We both realised that we didn’t know any female explorers, apart from Alexandra David-NĂ©el on my side. But Alexandra is my sister-in-law so we had to find something else.

Thank God for Wikipedia: they really think of everything. They have a list of female explorers and travellers. I read the whole list out loud while H was driving.

Occasionally, those hot chicks are designated as the “first person” to have ever broken a record. But in most cases they are only the “first woman” or even the “first black woman” to have done something.

Some records were also kinda stupid, like the woman who survived being thrown down the Niagara Falls in a barrel to make fast cash and avoid going to a home. Some stories were thrilling at first and then disappointing in the sense that the women did amazing things all their life but ended up dying falling off their bike or bitten by a dog.

After a couple of hours, we narrowed down our choice to 5 names, based on the name itself, the relevance of the record and the extraordinariness of the life history:

  • Jean as Jean Batten: New Zealand aviator. First PERSON to fly between England and New Zealand solo, sleeping with rich men to get airplanes. Died alone bitten by a dog in Majorca.
  • Sophia as Sophia Danenberg: American mountain climber. First black woman to reach summit of Mount Everest.
  • Lady Hay as Lady Hay Drummond-Hay: British journalist. First woman to travel around in a Zeppelin. She wasn’t an aviator, she was just hanging out with aviators and writing about it.
  • Mae as Mae Jemison: American astronaut. First black woman in space.
  • Annemarie as Annemarie Schwarzenbach: Swiss writer, photographer and journalist. Beautiful and boyish, she was a womanizer and even screwed the daughter of the Turkish Ambassador in Teheran. After many travels and burning adventures, she prematurely died falling off her bike. (Bummer).

Annemarie’s story was by far the most epic and inspiring despite the unexpected ending, but the name Annemarie is too connoted. It was the imaginary friend of H’s mum as well as my aunt.

So we went for Lady Hay because it’s cool to say and has this Queen of Rap twist to it.

After that exercise, we got uplifted and were looking for records to break.

What exploration niche can we find?

 

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First picture above by HB : My ass on a Cadillac in Tucumcari, New Mexico – A series of our Route 66 adventures is available on her official website

Second picture above: Annemarie Schwarzenbach and ? – Picture by Marianne Breslauer (?)