Day 2- Homeless man attempts to make me his wife
I woke up feeling old. I say this because I have traveled to 16 (now 17) countries and I’ve never ever noticed the time difference. Even when I went to Australia which is 12 hours ahead of us- I adjusted in about a day. But maybe it’s because I have more of a routine these days that the time change really affected me. I got up at 6:30 which is 8:30 in the states. I decided to go with it and start my day.
So as I said in my prior post I am doing a few things to live outside my comfort zone on this trip. I began one of them the first morning I woke up. I decided to order items off the menu and not ask to change anything. Now anyone who knows me, knows I order something and then somehow ask for everything to be taken off of it till I’m down some sort of carb and cheese. I am the pickiest eater you will ever meet. I would compare my taste buds to those of a 7 year old but then I would be lying since my 7 year old niece eats more types of food than I do.
So I decided to order a “tico breakfast,” from the hotel menu. This included Sausage, eggs, rice and beans. So you think- that’s not so bad. You aren’t me. I just started eating sausage this year, I’ve had eggs maybe once before in my life and have convinced myself I hate them, rice is ok (although I prefer plain white) and beans- never had them, ever. This is the craziest part. I loved it. I’m looking forward to maybe, possibly eating eggs when I get home. Maybe.
From the hotel I took a bus downtown to San Jose. So let me put it this way, unless you are a photographer and you like taking photos of strangers in a big dirty city (like me) than San Jose won’t have much to offer you. But for me, I was in heaven. I roamed the strange streets where people yell, cars beep, homeless people sing and scream and where I stood out like the whitest white girl in the world. I dipped into Central Mercado. Here is how it is described in my tour book “Assuming you’ve dressed down and stuck a wad of cash in your sock, the gritty Mercado Central is the best place for hammocks and tees.” Here is my description, “If you are willing to risk your life, be surrounded by fish and cow caracas and you thrive when surrounded by the aroma of human pee, this is the place for you.” That being said I got some of the best photos of the day in this place. It’s like a human maze of shops, kitchens and workers. I went in and out of it 3 different times during the day because I was so mesmerized.
As I continued my journey around the city I noticed that I wasn’t as comfortable taking photos of strangers and I usually am. I think it was the language barrier that got me. Usually if I am in a big city I offer a few coins to a homeless person if they let me make their situation my art or if it’s someone who has a cool look I simply ask. But fear got the best of me. So what I did instead was pretty creative if you ask me. Well either creative or creepy, your call. I strapped my camera across my chest, made sure my settings were right and started snapping the shutter as I was walking. What I got was a ton of crooked photos of people with amazing facial expressions- truly being natural. Here are some of my favorite examples:
There is a park in the middle of the city which reminds me of florence- covered in pigeons. I stayed there for a half hour watching people feed them and this kid literally picked up a handful of them and allowed me to take his photo. I was stunned, he was happy and the birds look scared shitless.
In the afternoon I tracked down a police officer and asked him where I could buy a cerveza (a beer) and he pointed to a super cool place 2 stories above a main street. I went up there and was able to sit by an open window, have a beer and take photos of the people below me, more creeping. 3 beers worth of time I watched this homeless man strum his yukililie and move from one side of the street to the next. I thought about conquering my fear and offering him money for a photograph . Then I decided not to. Then I said fuck that and I paid for my beers, went down the stairs and walked right up to him. I showed him my coins and pointed to my camera and he smiled. I took a few photos of him and then figured I would show him. I showed him, and he looked at me like I had just given him a million dollars.
Then he hugged me and didn’t let go. And for a few moments I hugged the shit out of him back. Its like we both needed it. Bu then he grabbed my hand and started walking down the street with me. And the high of the hug started to turn into the what the hell is going on feeling you get when a homeless man starts walking down the street with you hand in hand. I pulled away, smiled and pointed to the other direction to show him I had to go. So he hugged me again, but then he licked my face. If its possible to make out with someones cheek, well thats what it turned into. I pulled back said my goodbyes and walked away. Ok lets be real, I walked fast enough to be jogging into the closest fast food place, asked for the bathroom and washed my cheek for 15 minutes. OCD in full blown effect. I for sure that I contracted the HIV. (#notEVENpossibleIknow)
All in all it was a fantastic day. One of those days that you feel alive. And slightly raped.