When I Went Fishing and Caught a Whale

The seas were rough and I signed up for a fishing trip that day. I was on a ship and something caught in my hook. I yanked and reeled. It was cold and my limbs were becoming numb fast. A lot of effort and what seemed like forever later, my catch became apparent.

I caught a whale.

When I yanked a final time, it flopped right out of the waves and onto half my body.

I staggered.

The lights came on and slowly the scene of the sea faded out and was replaced with the interior of a bus. It was a night bus from Uyuni to La Paz in Bolivia and it was a very realistic dream.

Buses in Bolivia are a mixed bag — some companies offer glorious spacious seats and actual working toilets while others have leaking roofs and no toilet breaks in an 8-hour journey although of course everyone claims to offer the same luxuries. On this particular ride, it was closer to the latter and my seat-mate happens to be this plus-sized woman.

This is going to sound really offensive but I’m paranoid about sitting beside fat people. Most people are decent and self-aware about how much space they take up and that’s fine but there’s always this small group of fuckers who would assume it’s ok to overflow into your private space because you happen to look small. I’m not small-sized. I am 5’8″ with a full-seat-occupying-ass who happen to look skinny and that’s where the problem is.

This particular woman doesn’t give a shit that she’s in my space. In fact, she removed the arm rest between us just so she can have better access into my space. As I jolted from my dream and maybe screamed a little, her elbow was over half my body, blocking an artery — or several — in my arm and poking my rib. My left arm and a lung were numb and I must have shoved her hard enough because for the rest of the trip, she did make an effort to keep her arm closer to herself so I wouldn’t scream in terror.

You’ll always remember your very first lap dance. It could well be that sexy first time you promised your boyfriend that little something extra or that time you had to pay off your college debt or a drunken bet.

Or it could be the time you accidentally offended that fat lady sitting beside you on the bus so she wouldn’t budge when the bus stops for a toilet break and because the person in front of her has his seat inclined fully, it’s the only way out of your seat.

The Virtue of Being Grace

I met an Argentinian lady at a hostel. Grace. She likes practising her English because she used to teach it and had an American boyfriend but hasn’t the opportunity to use it regularly. She was also going to Bolivia at 930 on the morning I was going. I booked the 830 bus because I figured the immigration queue will be terrible.

On the morning, I saw my bus leave at 800. I couldn’t run fast with the shit I was carrying. The ticket lady smiled apologetically and said something about the bus boy wanting to leave early. She returned me my money and told me to get the 930 bus. Fun.

Ok now a bit of context. I’m on day 55 of a solo trip around South America and day 30 or so of having to speak some Spanish regularly. I’m also suffering some altitude-related nasal problem where I’m bleeding from my nose and perpetually tearing.

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