I have been a Happy-Camper Expat in Montevideo, Uruguay, since November, 2013, and I still have a month left on my six-month visa. But, the weather’s getting chilly now and I’m ready to head for the Equator. Winters here are windy and about like South Carolina’s, but that’s too cold for me. I’m heading up to Peru on May 1st, to spend a week in a Lima hostel; then bus to Cuzco for another hostel week, before landing in Paz y Luz (Peace & Light) Yoga and Healing Retreat in Pisac, Peru, only 50 minutes by taxi from Cuzco. All three spots are familiar to me from a previous visit.
I have made so many good friends among the locals and my fellow expats, that I look forward to a great reunion in November. Many of us are Snowbirds and head back to our U.S. or Canadian homes. When I lived in Florida, I watched everyone else doing that. Now, it’s my turn! I will go to the States to visit my family, but their summer is full of travel and foreign visitors, so I’ll catch them after school starts. This gives me the leisure to wander overland through the Andes and Central America, perhaps Mexico and Texas, all the way to Colorado. I plan to explore the West, which I often fly over.
Being an Expat is great! As I explained earlier, “ex-patriot” isn’t as EX as it sounds. This is a nickname for people who live overseas from their native home, often in retirement, seeking affordable living in safe countries with high standards of living and healthcare. Uruguay is among the more expensive, as many costs are the same as at home; but it’s wonderfully cosmopolitan and very clean and beautiful. I’ll be keen to compare the expat life of Ecuador, which is probably at the top of International Living’s recommended list for extremely economical living. Then, there’s Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua to check out, as well.
When I was there, in 2004, I wasn’t thinking about offshore retirement and the expat concept, perhaps, hadn’t become so mainstream as it has now. As our economy gets tighter and healthcare gets more expensive, many Seniors are now seeking ways to live their dream in peaceful countries, which truly lay out the welcome mat for us. Uruguay is a small country, with a population of a little over three million people; half of whom live in Montevideo. They are glad to have us settle here and will make the paperwork very reasonably easy. However, folks like me can have our time here with no paperwork, if we don’t need to extend our visa; though we miss out on local’s discounts for healthcare and transportation.
Perhaps, the most telling proof that this country works for me, is that I haven’t become eager to move on; as I do in many of the countries that I visit. A week or two, and that’s enough! Not so, here! I’ll miss this place, for sure! But mostly, I’ll miss all my new friends.
Woops! I’d better get ready for my final Sunday Luncheon meeting at the Club Banco Republica. It’s a half-hour bus ride between Ciudad Vieja and the fancy subdivision of Pocitos, right on the beach, where we always have a meet-up. You never know who will show up! How many of us do this in our stateside hometowns? None, that I know of….and yet, it’s such a simple thing.
Some say that there’s been a shift with the coming of the New Millennium and that the Andes has become the Spiritual Epicenter of the planet. Peru is certainly more accessible than the far-away Himalayas and a lot less freezing. I was in the Incan Region exactly five years ago, and without even planning this coincidental timing, here I go again!
My blissful five months in Uruguay are coming to an end and I’m now working hard to book my air tickets to Cusco, Peru, where I’ll stay a week or two, exploring the history of the Incan Empire, before taxiing for an hour to Pisac, Peru. I’m already booked for a month’s stay (May 14 to June 14) at the beautiful Paz y Luz (Peace & Light) Bed and Breakfast Healing Center.
Take a look at www.pazyluzperu.com, to see this lovely, spiritual meditation training center where I will stay in a private room for under $700 per month, basking in the mountain beauty and taking part in yoga and many other forms of spiritual training and exploration. I look forward to participating in an Ayahuasca Ceremony, as I did five years ago, when I spent a week at this same center in March, 2009.
Two blogs back, I introduced you to my friend, George Burdeau, whom I met here in Montevideo, Uruguay. As a movie and television producer, he suggested that my life would make an interesting Reality TV show and, before he flew home, we filmed a Sizzle Reel audition tape to present to network officials in June, when new show ideas are presented. If the plan is accepted, my “reality” could change considerably…though it would also stay the same, as I would simply be filmed traveling the world, solo, living in hostels and finding adventure along the way.
So, the word, “REALITY” is meaning much more to me than it used to….as you might well imagine.
Voila! Here it is, shown to me in my Ayahuasca Vision, THE SECRET OF REALITY, five years ago, at the very spot where I am heading next! How cool is that? Spooky Cool, in my book!
March 7, 2009
“Right now, I need to catch up on journaling my Vision Quest experience of the Ayahuasca Ceremony, as well as to capture the wonderful meeting of the minds which Gray, Dana, and I had last night when I described my Spinal Column Analogy to them. Boy, was I zinging all last night with the spiritual energy that our brainstorming produced! Couldn`t fall asleep for hours. Being in this pregnant place is bringing so many new understandings to light and sleep was elusive because my Upper Ones were so excited about the positive input and reaction of these two beautiful and spiritual souls. I have had so few opportunities to share this material with anyone at all and here, in Paz y Luz, there is promise that I might find many such chances.
THE SECRET OF REALITY- Part I
My vision began to flow in a familiar way with morphing faces. The eyes of the face were locked upon mine but the visage containing them changed fluidly. Different expressions and face shapes, even eye sizes, merged with each other while the mouths uttered silent words. This ever-changing series of beings was announcing, or explaining, something to me and it was not the least bit disturbing to me that I couldn`t hear a sound. Their eyelids fluttered with expression as the head moved in the natural delivery of this preface to my experience-to-come. I always think of this almost-theatrical delivery as a Greek Chorus in its intention and my curiosity is riveted upon the interesting features of each changing face. I could witness this for hours, if only it would last that long. But, fifteen or twenty faces seems to exhaust the rank and then things fade to blank. My night experiences, or dreams, often begin this way and I have no reason to believe that the faces are the same ones each time.
Next, during this Ayahuasca Ceremony, I found myself viewing a melding series of strange, shoebox-shaped, living spaces. At first, I concentrated on their exterior decoration. I saw emeralds stuck into a wall like rocks in a decorative pattern, a mosaic of pebbles, which just happened to be jewels. Then, the wall became more colorful with many brightly-colored jewels and precious stones of a wide variety of colors.
By this time, I was moving along, sliding by, the walls, just as I have recently been doing in my actual travels through the narrow streets of many South American cities. I often study the walls, windows, doors, signs, textures and they all have distinct personalities that add up to my impression of a place. After the jeweled enclosures, I came to one of the rectangular block facades which had colorful plastic alphabet letters glued on in crazy, meaningless patterns; and then one that was so gaudy with riotous glittery color that I thought of a rinky-tink carnaval.
Oddly though, this set of living spaces, which I somehow knew were dimensions of a wide variety of created life, of living beings, was not pleasing and beautiful, in spite of its obvious potential to be just that. It appeared lifeless and dull, as if the atmosphere was overcast. It all seemed sad and very quiet.
Next, I found myself floating towards a much more attractive structure and I was so involved in studying the artistry of its construction that I didn`t take note of the fact that my soaring towards it felt as if I was again dangling from the paraglider which I had ridden just last week in Miraflores, Lima. This wall was like the cliffside of a very high ceramic artpiece of a building glazed in lovely pastel. Little barnacle-shaped balconies erupted all along the sides of this structure, like those cups on the side of pottery strawberry planter urns, which each hold one small plant. The ceramic cups were baby blue, and from each one, waved a polyp-like resident whose streamer “hands” floated above what must have been its head. If I were a scuba diver exploring a reef, these would be the sea urchins or the inhabitants of shell creatures spending their time floating their little fans in the great ocean current. I knew that these little beings were rooted firmly in their bowls.
The thought occurred to me (mistakenly, as it turned out) that these creatures were reaching out to find God and were surely supplicating to a Greater Being. I also compared them to people who might stick their bodies out of a train window and wave vigorously in the air, but who were firmly planted inside of the moving train with no intention or practical reason to follow their hands in a complete departure from the train. Because I’m no stranger to significant visions, I have trained myself to participate by keeping a running, memorized journal entry going on inside of my head. Not only to discover a bit of logic or a message or purpose, but to keep up with the sequence for later recording.
I knew that these were dimensions of living. Was I now being shown the human level in these hopeful little waving polyps? That was thrown into doubt when I entered a scene populated only by animals – large jungle cats, wild cats – which I first thought were lions or tigers because they were orange or tawny golden. They sat looking me directly in the eye, full-face, as if their message was very significant. The leader almost seemed to look oddly like Garfield with black stripes on orange and slightly bugged eyes, and I dismissed this comparison as silly and not worthy of the serious demeanor of this battery of staring cats.
(Imagine my surprise, when I saw that very cat`s face (sort of Garfield, sort of Thai Temple) mounted on the side of the Pisac Government building on the square the next day??? I had not seen it before this ceremony.)
I now asked myself if perhaps I had been in the lower levels previously and the polyp people might represent bacteria or some other minute inhabitants of creation. Was I now entering the animal kingdom and would I be shown the human level next? These golden cats proved to be pumas, an animal sacred here in Peru, and surely sacred to our shaman. Were they telling me something with their many faces sending penetrating stares directly to my eyes? Was this another Greek Chorus prefacing my next vision? My mind also wondered about the many rectangular, over-decorated, individualistic houses. They reminded me of the mud brick block towns in Peru which I have passed so often on the bus. No matter how gaudy or how plain, there was an atmosphere of sadness about them, just as those actual mud towns on the garbage dumps had seemed to feel.
My mind began to repeat: “I no longer wish to be here!” as I floated beside them; as it has often done in many anonymous towns and countries I have passed through on my many journeys. At some point, I will inevitably form my intention to move on; and that becomes the energy which pushes me away and forward to the next experience of life, or in this case, to a look at another dimension. One wall was covered with shiny black bugle beads and one wiggly red strip, as if it was the entrance to a sad nightclub. You know how lonely those look in the bright light of day.
Now, I heard the Voice, or really a turquoise voice stream, which entered my consciousness below my left ear at shoulder level. This was new to me! Never have my Voices approached from that point, but always higher within my head. Plus, the sound quality was different. Though clear and easy to understand, it was more “pressurized” than the natural, relaxed sound of my usual Companions. As if it were issuing like steam…not a hissing sound, but a powerful, energy-packed sound. It said:
“You are being shown the Conditions of Reality. All beings within Reality are trapped there. They cannot leave existence, and they cannot find Happiness within Reality.”
Then, as I overflew these dimensions of living, I began to repeat not only “I no longer wish to be here!” but an added, heartfelt statement: “I no longer wish to be within Reality.” Don´t worry . That was definitely not a suicidal thought, but I really did sincerely mean it, at the same time. Still do and always will. Think about the context. The underlying truth of all existence is that Happiness is not to be found within Reality. I already knew this and have always looked forward to the day when I am invited to wing my way out of the Physical Realm and attain the Plane where True Happiness does exist. In the meantime, I am perfectly content to continue my examination of this fascinating world which surrounds me at this present moment.
THE SECRET OF REALITY – Part II
The Voice told me;
“You are being shown the Conditions of Reality.” All beings within Reality are trapped there. They cannot leave existence and they cannot find Happiness within Reality.”
Then, though it wasn´t spoken, I suddenly realized that the denizens of those States of Being, with their constantly seeking, swaying, supplicating arms, were begging for Happiness. This was their form of prayer, but rather than calling upon the Presence of God and desiring to draw close to their Creator, they were asking for things for themselves; for objects, for love, for success, health, a change of condition…for an ever-changing, or growing, list of THINGS, which they, at that moment, believed would supply them with happiness.
The atmosphere was dark, overcast, and sad because there was no Source of Happiness within their Realm of Reality, which is occupied by all created beings, and no amount of decoration or of constant wanting and wishing for more gifts and trinkets could fill that void. I realized that this was the human level, and not the microbial, though the same drama may also be playing out there, as well.
Again, I said “I do not wish to be here. I wish to leave the State of Reality.” Though temporarily content and resigned to my place in the universe, I again longed for the time when I will exit this trapped and rooted barnacle-bucket and float Upward to my Loving Voice, Who waits for me. Then, in think-talk, I spoke for the first time in this vision: “Where is the Happiness which I know to be possible within Reality?”
The scene was neutral for a moment, as the dimensions faded away. Then, as if through a tunnel of shade which was the inside of a small private aircraft, looking towards the rear, I saw the head and shoulders of two men in animated conversation. One was somewhat facing me, though turned three-quarters towards the airplane window. I could only see the back of the man who was listening. I would again recognize the face of the speaker who was looking upwards out of the window, because his face was bathed in the pearlescent glow of light streaming upon him. He was middle-aged, red-headed, with large eyes and was very happy in this moment of joyful, funny , inspired conversation which, obviously, took into account the beauty of Something beyond himself. As if to underline the point, the setting was an airplane, high above the earth; a clear clue to the meaning of my answer.
Then, the scene shifted and I was watching a line of five male singers, thirtyish and attractive, with long hair which was waving in sea -current pomadors above their heads as they sang from a stage. The blond one in the center held a black cordless microphone to his mouth and they were all moving in rythmn to the music which I could not hear. Pouring down upon them was the same peach-toned, pearlescent light that had shone into the airplane. They seemed to be completely aware of it, and were actually singing to it, or with it, as if it were an offstage Being of the Kleig Lights. These happy men were spreading a vigorous state of laughter and movement to their audience.
The next shift of scene could have been to a spot in that same nightclub. Young men and women circled a table, also bathed in the beautiful Upper Light, and they were all laughing and talking easily, responding to each other as well as to the Light which was streaming down upon them. There was obviously a direct, conscious, and completely inclusive link with the Big Guy Above, Who was cracking as many jokes as they were. Obviously, this was their habitual practice and nothing unusual for any of them. I was witnessing a night together in the utmost sense of the term. They were not separated from that Source above them, but they were also clearly not thinking of Him as a supply house and a granter-of-wishes for stuff, comfort, and things. Instead, they were filled with happiness and satisfaction and were completely caught up in the sheer fun and laughter of togetherness.
Then, as a concluding statement to my vision, a Voice came through, low on my opposite ear, at shoulder level, with the same pressurized push, but reddish in color now. (The color was not important…I suppose…and I only realized later that it wasn`t aqua as the first one had been.) This Voice said:
“If the Source of Happiness did exist within Reality, then you (the creatures) would never agree to die and come with Me when first I ask you!”
That was the end of the vision. I will explain the meaning of the last statement because I know exactly what He meant, having received many previous explanations about death. Because we have been granted free will, God always comes to us just prior to our intended death with the clear and straightforward question: “Are you willing to die and come with Me and leave this earthly Plane of Existence?” Though the human may not be open to consciously registering That Voice, it will hear, Innerly, and will give one or the other answer immediately. Usually, the answer is “No!” The proper, and most beneficial answer is “Yes!” and death will then naturally follow, whether soon or late, but the bargain is sealed with that one loving question.
What the individual cannot know is that a Heavenly Body is prepared and waiting at the moment of the first asking and if the human agrees to go, they will quickly occupy their perfect form and life will continue for them in another place. However, a refusal may allow them to linger on in this lower plane, but the waiting body begins to lose its freshness, perhaps age somewhat, waiting for its intended occupant. Eventually, all lingerers will succumb to the inevitable and will, unavoidably, die; but they have both lost their choice and their fine body and will have to wear whatever is left of it in their next state of being. At last, they will become informed of what they had passed up by a stubborn clinging to that lower condition in spite of their state of suffering and their lack of true happiness in life which is our unavoidable Reality here.
Knowing that background, I could easily understand why this Earthly Plane is not made to be any more magnetically-binding than it already is.”
So now, in May, 2014, I return for a month to this wonderfully spiritual setting, not sure of what my future…. my new Reality…. will hold; but looking forward to all the promise that it potentially has. I can say, categorically, that I really do adore my life and where it has led me, so far. I can’t wait to see what “Reality” is waiting, right around the bend. If this is only a muted version of what is to come in the Next World, then I can only repeat……”Wow! How Cool is that?” Because, this life just keeps on getting better and better!
Dateline: April 1, 2014, Ciudad Vieja, Montevideo, Uruguay
Come on, Everybody, sing along!
B. I. N. G. O! B. I. N. G. O! B. I. N. G. O! BINGO WAS HIS NAME, OH!
Now, sing it this way:
T. O. B. E. Y! T. O. B. E. Y! T. O. B. E. Y! TOBEY WAS HIS NAME, OH! I got a dog, and a dog got me! I got a dog and a dog got me! I got a dog and a dog got me! Tobey is his name, oh!
For no foolish reason, I stayed inside the hostel on this glorious Indian Summer day, trying to dig myself out from under a lot of backed-up writing projects. At around sunset, I thought I’d better catch some air, so I headed up the pedestrian-only Sarandi Boulevard in Montevideo’s Old Town. Only a block along on my walk, I noticed an ancient, timeless drama being carried out, smack-dab in public.
SHE was resistant. HE was insistent. And the poor woman at the other end of the only leash was trying to get her hefty, reddish-blond Golden Retriever out of the intersection. Not ‘gonna happen, as long as that fresh, young, sailor-on-a-holiday, black and white Terrior was humping and bumping her back legs…..and I don’t mean in the Tango! That gal was not standing up for nobody, nowhere, nohow!
I sent a sympathetic glance to the woman to see how I could help. She explained in great detail in Spanish; but switched to English when I proved too dumb to register her story. Her sweet-faced dog was sick and they had walked (a considerable distance) to the vet to get two horribly swollen, heat-emitting ear infections treated. This dog had tagged along, romancing and dancing for about eight blocks. She was sure that the resulting ear odor that only dogs can smell, advertised that her girl was in heat. Though, she was not, and from the looks of her age, would never be again.
Romeo was not buying that excuse, for sure! I took to stamping my foot at him, commanding in all my English phrases for such a situation as this: “Shoo! Git! Go Home! No! Leave Her Alone!” He understood the gestures, if not the words, but simply didn’t care. He wanted what he wanted, when he wanted it; and no polka-dot-skirted woman was going to come along and tell him otherwise!
I tested his spirituality by grabbing hold of his collar. If he was a bad dog, he would bite me. If a good dog, he would not. He didn’t! Now, we knew he meant well; but he also, meant that little thing. I did try to pick him up but the chunky, wriggling boy was only a few seconds in my arms before he was off to his sweetheart’s outstretched paws. Yeah, they were outstretched so she could flatten her unavailable body tight to the pavement! She had the DO NOT ENTER sign flashing for all to see. ‘Cept he wasn’t even noticing. Another woman stopped and got on her cell phone. I thought to call the gendarmes to help me take this doggie home, where he belonged. But, she said no. The cops didn’t get involved in canine love affairs and walked on by.
Sweetie’s whole demeanor shouted her wholehearted disgust of this last-straw situation! She was literally sick and tired of this whole affair and she knew she still had many a mile to hobble home and how can she do it with such a rude rapist on the loose?!
“Give me a break, everybody! I need my bed and I need it now! What gives YOU, Young Pup, the idea that I’m a streetwalker, anyway? I’ve outrun better lads than you, and I will again. Just now, I’m re-tired! Re-ally, re-ally tired! Scat!…before I call a cat!“
That last insult hit him where the sun don’t shine, and I was able to grab his collar and hold real tight, gesturing for the woman to get her darling up the street and home. I’d drag him the block down to the hostel and lock him in to give them time to escape. The ladies hied it up the hill and I started up the greatest back massage and deep shoulder-scratchings, which I knew would get his mind off the other business. I wonder why it didn’t work? Most dogs are suckers for it. However, Passionate here, gave one good twist and took his collars off, hieing it up that slight hill, as well; lost love, his only destination.
Well, Buddy! You’ve met your match! I don’t discourage easily, either! Up I went, waving the double, tagless collar in my hand. How could he have gotten out-of-sight so fast?
Sure enough! There’s the beleaguered duo and the pest…..with two of my hostel friends gathered ’round; now trying desperately to save our heroine’s virginity! We laughed and squealed in outright amazement that any three would-be rescuers would all be from the same hostel clan. Luciana from Brazil, and Adriana of Colombia, have been my friends for days. Okay, now, we put our heads together. “How about a taxi?” There was serious doubt that the furry one would be allowed inside. The belle-of-the-ball’s Mama was also worried for the sake of Fresh Boy there. He might get lost in their part of town and how would he find his way home? But, she knew the general neighborhood that claimed him and showed us how to get there.
The winning formula proved to be thus: Adriana removed her genuine leather belt and made a choke collar, cinched fairly tight. We all pulled and jollied him along. He pretended to cooperate; taking a genuine minute to greet me like an old backscratching friend, missing in action since he’d last pulled this stunt. Then, a honeying up to Leash-holder, Luciana, and swish/feint and he was free and up the hill again. Virginity-Defender plopped right down again; getting right sick and tired of all the action!
Now, he had three unbeatable oddballs after him and he could barely breathe by the time we got him under control again. He was a real good loser, after all. We dragged him into the hostel and showed him off, laughing with our triumph. Diego knew this dog and told us right where to take him. A store, sure enough, right beside the Vet’s.
Picture-taking time, during which I got my face licked really sweet and good. “I’m yours forever, baby! That’s all it takes!”
Then, off we went again. Who needs dog-tags in such a friendly nation? The old lady spotted him first. “Tobey! Where you been, this time?” I caught the gist through the Spanish. He had a cute little doghouse in there, right beside a huge picture of Jesus with a bleeding heart! Very homey, indeed!
I’m going to go see him every day! I’ve needed a dog to love for such a long time and it’s so much better, when it’s somebody else’s! It appears that me and Tobey look at life exactly the same way!
“If it’s any comfort to you, Honey! Just know I love you! Forget about her! Women, right? I give better back scratches, I’ll bet! Who was it that saved you from yourself…let alone the cops…and walked you home, and all? Hey! You forgot to say goodbye. Just crawled into your doghouse and went to sleep. I’m gonna get you a doggie bone, tomorrow, that’s what I’m gonna do!”
So, the rescuer’s a little round the bend these days? You don’t know how much you miss having a dog until you don’t have one…. and then, you get a little chance to Mama one again..and, you’re done! You’re right back where you started before you were a World Walker. Maybe, one day…. when I’m old….. in the meantime:
OH, I’VE GOT A DOG AND A DOG’S GOT ME….AND TOBEY IS HIS NAME! I’VE GOT A DOG AND A DOG’S GOT ME…..AND TOBEY IS HIS NAME! I’VE GOT A DOG AND A DOG’S GOT ME …. AND TOBEY IS HIS NAME-OH!