Cierra tus ojos.
Recall the mellifluous chatter in the language of great poets. Go back to the nights where you escaped to the edges of the bar, just to catch your breath between songs while salsa rhythms carried on. If you close your eyes, you’ll still remember hot nights hunched over tired tables with peeling edges and the at least 13 empty bottles of Aguila cluttering the surface. You’ll remember laughing hysterically over games of Tejo, a dangerous game involving heavy objects, gunpowder, and beer. You’ll remember the echo in the fútbol stadium when the national team won and grown men clamoring for ice cream cones on their commute home. You’ll experience the sensation again, of your ankles rolling side to side as you clicked down cobblestone streets and the way you tried to make sense of how grand even local government offices could be. And while the ancient ruins may have become commonplace with time, you’ll never forget the first time you saw them and the way you felt overcome as your feet sunk into 600 years of history.
You’ll still be able to smell the market; the stench of overripe fruit, freshly butchered meat with the hide still intact, and stew boiling away in burned pots will never escape you. Breathe deeper still and you’ll remember the fresh air from atop a mountain, a volcano even, that looked out across a city set deep in a valley. You’ll remember the feeling you got when you were lost the wilderness, and somehow, the noise that had followed you your whole life suddenly went quiet, and how all that mattered was staying hydrated, staying warm, and moving forward. You’ll even remember the mosquito bites on your toes and the palms of your hands with unexpected fondness.
Close your eyes, and you’ll remember the sensations of South America forever. But you have to experience South America first.
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