Monday, September 4, 2017

Meeting Tobi, the Bavarian, in Chachapoyas

Solan, Dimitri, Tobi, and me (From left to right).
After waking up from a delicious sleep, the kind that makes you feel like you're a whole new person, I take a shower, and after my shower, I meet the tall blonde guy who woke me up two days earlier.

When I met him, it looked like he just finished his shower too. It felt like he wanted to meet me, but only if he knew I was a bit grumpy at him waking me up earlier. (But maybe I wanted to meet him too.) (You can read that story here: Seeing the falls with the French

Let it be, I thought. Upon meeting him, I realize how much taller he is than me.

"Hi, my name is Paul." I reach out my hand waiting for him to take and shake it.

He does and says, "It's Tobi."

"I have a friend named Tobi. He's Bavarian. Where you from?"

"I'm Bavarian too. I'm from Munich. Do you know of it?"

"Of course. I've been there 7 times. You've heard the saying that all roads lead to Rome?"


"Well, for me, I always end up going back to Munich. So, I guess for me - all roads lead to Munich.

"Anyways, I thought you were German. The French thought you could have been from Scandinavia."

"Where are you from?"

"Los Angeles. Anyways, I promised to make coffee for everyone. Do you like coffee?"


"Come down then later. I'll make you a cup."

I brew the coffee in the kitchen. The French come. I tell them Tobi's from Germany - like I thought. The Italian joins us. Eventually, Tobi joins us.

I introduce him to Dimtri and say, "This is Tobi. He's German. And he's the guy that woke us up."

Dimitri says, "Oh, you're the guy that woke them up?"

He laughs a little and says, "Ja, that's me."

They get to talking, but after awhile, the Italian girl, Eliza leaves and says, "Ok, goodbye. I'm going to Kuelap now."

(Kuelap are the ruins that are nearby. Ruins are ancients villages or cities that are abandoned and then re-discovered.)

Dimitri then says, "Solan and I are leaving today. This place [Chachpoyas Backpackers] isn't that cheap. The water is too hot. And the people. There's something wrong with them! They tell us to shut up, and it's not even that late."

I add, "And the owner's a control freak. Well, anyways, what do you want to do next?"

"We're going to find another hostel. Also, we need to find a tour for Kuelap."

"Ok, let's keep in touch." We exchange numbers.

I ask Tobi if he wants to go to the local cafe called Cafe Fusion for breakfast. I told him they have good coffee and food. He says he'll go with me.

When we exit the hostel, I can hear Dimitri arguing with the control freak owner about how he stated one price and change it on them. That wasn't good.

* * *

At the cafe, we both order what's called a Sinchee breakfast, which includes an omelette filled with cheese, juice, bread, and coffee.

We talk. I told him, for some reason, about how I have a younger brother and how I like to send him pictures of my travel to show off.

I tell Tobi, "I tell my brother often that I was born with better genetics. It's true, you know? The older sibling gets the best of it. Smarter. And better looking."

Tobi, who I didn't know was a younger brother, said, "And you have proof of it?"

"I do. It's in a book. I can get it for you if you want. It's called Deep Nutrition."

"I think you're just making all this up."

We talk more and ask if he wants to go to Kuelap. I tell him let's stay one more night at our backpackers, because it's already close to noon and too much of a hassle to find another place and move our stuff.

He asks me what I do for work. I tell him I won't tell him until we drink.

He tells me he can speak German, English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

He then tells me stories of how he was a bad boy and all his bad boy stories. I listen and laugh. He's young. He's only 20. He was in Canada in his teenage years and experienced life early.

He wants me to experience life early too.

I'm interested in his stories, but I don't think I'm in the mood to find God, religion, and faith the way that Jack Kerouac did in On The Road.

I tell him, "I already have a German devil. He's name is Volker. But I think you even outmatch him."

"Oh, I can tell you're the nerdy type - who reads a lot and writes and keeps in touch with his professor."

"There's another nerdy type in our room. There's a Swiss girl. Have you met her? I think you two would be a good match."

(Not to be mean about this Swiss girl, but the night before we were all laughing in our room, and she was a killjoy. She looked like an old maid librarian, even though she was in her early 20's. She then said, "Ok, that's enough," and turned off the lights for all of us; so we would stop talking. We still talked some, in the dark.)

Tobi said, "No. I already met her back in Cajamarca. I don't think she's my type."

"Well, you can teach her language then."

"What language would that be?"

I grin and make sure he sees me grinning: "Why the language of love?"

"You can teach her that too, Paul."

* * *

Later we get some wine. We drink.

He wants to know what I do.

I tell Tobi that I was a lawyer in Los Angeles, but that I quit and am on a year break. I don't go that deep into it, (and if you're my regular reader you know how complex it all gets), but I just tell him I wasn't happy with the way my last cases went.

So, I ask him, "What should I know about you?"

He tells me: "I worked out a lot back in Germany and it kept me focused."

* * *

The French call us to a tour shop and say they found a good price for 80 soles ($25). I want it cheaper though. The tour operator won't budge on his price. So, I tell him, "I'm sure we could find it for a better price."

He says, "Go and look." (I think it was kind of mistake, looking back to do this, because it appears that all the tour operators have an agreement about what their bottom price is. And 80 soles appears to be it.)

But Tobi and I go to every shop and ask them to give us a discount. No one will.

We must have spent a good hour doing this. But finally, we find one tour shop that says they'll do it for 79 soles, 40 cents less. We're happy and excited.

We go back to the tour shop and tell the French couple we got it for 79 soles. They don't look happy and Dimitri tell us, "Look, we already spent hours talking to this shop guy. We won't want to go with someone else."

Why didn't he tell us before?

I told the manager, "Can I speak with the owner?"

After 15 minutes, the owner comes. I explain what happened. And the owner says, "That's fine. I'll give it to you all for 79 soles too." That made me feel better. Tobi says, "We did all this for 1 sol."

* * *

We all go to the bar and get a drink to eat and celebrate. It was the same restaurant I had the ant cocktail at.

I called the waitress. The three of them scolded me for calling her the way I did. They said in Europe it doesn't happen that way.

(I didn't explain myself. But as an American, I'm not used to waiting for service though. That's my culture, especially coming from Los Angeles - where time is tight, and time is money. But I didn't explain myself.)

The bartender recognizes me. He smiles and comes up to our table to ask how I've been doing.

He serves us some fruit pisco sours. We chat and talk, but they want to drink more; so, we follow Tobi to a bar he also went to.

The electricity went out, again. We order a liter of rum and coke. We drink in the dark. Tobi talks about all the things he wants to do to have fun. Then, a sketchy local, about 50 in age, comes and sits at our table without being invited.

Dimitri, Solan, and Tobi don't mind. But I do. I don't know why. If he was someone different, would I have minded? I don't know. But I know I don't like this sketchy guy. He has a dark spirit to him.

I pay some Soles on the table and say that I had to meet with someone else at the hostel. They say, "Ok."

* * *

Back at the hostel, I see Eliza sitting by herself at the dinner table. I go to her and talk. She tells me about how Kuelap was boring. She says she's a pharmacist. She offers me some tea. I said that would be nice. She pours me some. It's bitter, but I like it.

We talk for awhile. I tell her I'm a lawyer. She tells me she's doing an unpaid internship in Peru. I tell her not to let them take advantage of her. They look down on women in South America.

I ask her if she wants to come back with us to Kuelap. I even offer to pay for her fare. She says she can't and that she has to do this internship.

Around 10:30, we have to leave the kitchen as per the control freak's rules and go back to our rooms and sleep.

* * *

At around 1AM, Tobi comes back. He's in the bed next to me. He starts talking. He says, "Paulie, you have to talk to me!"

"I'm sleeping Tobi."

"No, Paul. Talk. I was out all night with the French. And they got into a big argument. It was really personal."

Oh, I don't want to be hearing about this.

He says, "And she was crying and everything. But I shouldn't tell you about everything. It got personal."

I think he's drunk. I say, "Tobi, it's late." I call to Eliza, "Eliza???"

Eliza doesn't answer.

"See, she's sleeping," he says.

I can't really remember everything he was saying; I was half asleep. He was speaking so fast. I do remember him saying that women always men to open up to them and get upset when they don't.

I tell him, "Tobi, go to sleep."

Tobi eventually falls asleep. But I don't. That's the second time he woke me up in three days. 

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