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“Long to Turn”

Song #6 “Long to Turn”

lake-flamingoes

Sounds of: The salt flats of Tupiza, Bolivia and Uyuni, Bolivia

May 22nd, 2013  God vs. Atheism

While at the border town of Villazon crossing over to Bolivia we got into a village-ladypickle. The reciprocity fee (the fee we are charged as Americans to get into Bolivia, because we charge Bolivians this amount to travel to the US) is $160 each. So I figured that they would take visa at the border since that is a lot of cash to carry for the two of us. Not to mention we can’t get US Dollars in Argentina. They took cash only, US$ only. “Walk across the border and go to the ATM up the hill that dispenses dollars, then return!” they say to us. Dan hurries across to get the money but it turns out my ATM withdraw limit is  $300. The border guard tells me that is our problem and to come back tomorrow. I tell him (under my breath) that it is his stupid  problem that they don’t take cards at the border.

A French guy we had been chatting with in line offers to spot us cash until tomorrow since we are all going to Tupiza! He gives us US$20 to cover the rest of the fee and then more for the rest of the day amd night until we can pay him back the next morning. SOOO generous and trusting! And thank goodness for his loan, otherwise we would have spent another night wasting money in the sketchy border town!     full-group

We end up joining a tour group with the French guy, now known as Cedric, and a British guy, Liam, to tour the salt flats together with a guide, a Bolivian cook, and a landcruiser. Cedric, was on a trip sort of around the world, after leaving a job in the tech business back in Paris. He was trying to see the world before settling down and having a family. Liam was on his 15th month traveling from Asia, India, Mexico, Central America, and through South America before he came to us in Bolivia. He was a chemical  engineer in the South of England, and was on (from what I could tell from his vivid stories) on an incredible wanderlust.

Dan and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people and it made for some amazing culinary, political, religious, and other just plain random conversations. I learned more from Cedric and Liam about our world than I thought was ever possible for one week’s worth of listening. We spoke of our bills back at home, compared health insurance and car payments, drooled over our favorite traditional dishes from our own countries. I thought about asking them “How do you know all this?!” “What paper do you read every morning?!” but I didn’t. I just asked as many questions as I could think of and almost always one of them had a highly informative answer.

The last day I got into a heated argument: God vs. Atheism, with mainly Liam but a bit of Cedric as well.

red-desert

I believe in prayer, in God, in the Universe, in Love, in the power of intentions and transfer of energies. I believe in syncronicity, the vastness of infinity, the ability to say that “faith” is indeed accepting that we do not have the capabilities now to know “all” to “prove” all that “is” in our universe. I believe that we do not have the words or a language to describe or communicate an understanding of  such an immense idea as “God”. I believe that since matter is neither created nor destroyed, there is no end in sight for “life” or “consciousness” and that “rebirth” shall prevail after death.

He believes in coincidence. Particles, atoms, science, proven theories, the end of his consciousness that comes with his death. That all life as we know it will end at some point or another. That sending love to plants will not make them grow more beautiful. (NOTE: I can in no way explain what he truly believes because his descriptions FAR outweigh my pitiful re-telling of what he described to me.) However, after spending a week with him I do know that he is one of th most intelligent people I have ever met and his arguments actually made me second-guess myself for a bit that morning. The conversation ended with a bathroom trip, and a new one was started for the sake of the car, probably for the sake of Dan and Cedric who could feel the tension rising. I stared out the car window, half frumpled that I could not explain myself better, and the other half trying to view the world as a work of facts and figures, as if there would be nothing more to my existence after my 100 years, as if everything was coincidence. Is my time now more valuable or purposeless? I thought as I looked out the window.      rock-tree

I thought of all the things I could have said in the moment. Like, “God is love, you can’t prove that you love your sister, but you believe it don’t you? Or, God is magic, you could list all the things you love about a person but it doesn’t prove why you are in love with them, there will always be that extra something that you feel but can’t explain!” But the moment had passed.

Dan and I talked a long while about this topic after the tour. It made us both think of a song we had started two years ago, during the first month or so when we met. I had written a poem called “Our Planets Long to Turn” before we met. We first tried to put it to a beautiful chord progression that Dan had written also before there was us. Unfortunately, that song never really flourished. The idea was there but something wasn’t quite right with it, it was unfinished and growing dusty on the shelf.

sunrise-2

This conversation brought it back to life and we caught ourselves humming the old tune during the long busride to La Paz. We then decided to rewrite the song, add lyrics, use completely different chord progressions, and inject it with some new found inspiration from our shared belief of the life that the Universe holds.     

“Long to Turn” was born and I do not second guess my faith today. Maybe tomorrow. But not today.

Lyrics:

Wishing you’d done different?       

Haunted by your dreams?

twister

Swear unto the darkness.     

Run into the heat.

Rocks would fly away without the burdons of our past,

so live without regret and love the shadows that the mountains cast.


The ocean shall refuse to roar lest from our anger we depart.
Weeping willows cannot grow without the tears from broken hearts.

Heavy with your sorrows?ice

Bursting at the seems?

Bleed unto the roses.

Run into the sea.

The wind would never howl without your shrieks of pain,

don’t hold it all inside my love, our release shall bring the rain. 

Weeping willows cannot grow without the tears from broken hearts.

The ocean shall refuse to roar lest from our anger we depart.

Let your guilt fly to the sun, for what else would fuel the burn?

Give confusion to the sky, our planets long to turn.

Lastly leave your judgements for the stars and moon.

They sing in perfect harmony, never weighing the other’s tune.

Original poem, 2010

“Our Planets Long to Turn”
Weeping willows cannot grow
Without the tears from broken hearts
The ocean will refuse to roar
Lest from our anger we depart
 
All the rocks would fly away
without the burdens of our past
so live without regret
and love the shadows that the mountains cast
 
Let your guilt fly to the sun
For what else would fuel the burn?
Give confusion to the sky
Our planets long to turn
 
The wind would never howl
Without your shrieks of pain
Don’t hold it all inside my love
Our release shall bring the rain
 
Let your guilt fly to the sun
For what else would fuel the burn?
Give confusion to the sky
Our planets long to turn
 
And lastly leave your judgement
For the stars and moon
They sing in perfect harmony
Never weighing the others tune

Background:

Mix a ton of hostel blanket-coathanger-tent recording with some help from a music store in downtown La Paz and you get this recording. Since we could no longer trade one of our martin backpacker guitars for a Bolivian instrument, the chorango, we decided to use some of the precious little Bolivianos we had, to buy one from a trustworthy music store in the city (read trek post to see why we only have one guitar now!)

The manwho sold it to us ripped the chorango (more info on the chorango later) and so we hung out in the shop called “Accha”, named after a legendary man who handmakes all of the chorangos and guitars for the shop. We played the worker a few songs, and he worked us out a deal so that we could bring one of the store’s classical guitars back to our hostel room to lay down some tracks for “Long to Turn.” Saweet!” We gave them $700 Bolivianos as a deposit, hurried off with the guitar, rushed to record in the two hours before the shop closed, and returned the guitar at 7:30 pm. We got $650 Bolivianos back. Pretty sweet deal and so worth it! Now we have a classical nylon-stringed guitar cascading throughout  “Long to Turn! Enjoy!

More photos of Bolivian street-life and the Salt Flats Tour Here!