The maori mexican flying kiwi unda down unda.

My most sincere apologies amiguitas y amiguitos, as I have not written in these pages for a long time. Do you know that feeling when simply you think you have so much to do/think/procrastinate and leave that simple task you wanted to do and realized that you thought of something in 2007 and it is already 2017? Well, you might call it lack of inspiration, motivation, time, even excuses or that actually your mind has gone somewhere else. Well in my case? I just couldn’t find or better say didn’t feel the proper time to actually sit my ass down and write. But oh how unfortunate you are now, as this feeling has arrived and my now again cute ass is ready to be seated again.

The land down unda’ a land down unda’. A place where it is possible to breathe the freshest and cleanest air of the planet and even buy it on the duty free zone at the airport to give as Xmas present. The magical land of the ultimate adventures, badass war tattoos and war cries, a hilarious English accent, rugby on every corner and #gandalf.

Yes. New Zealand. ***makes Haka noises***

-The bloody hell were you doing there mate?- you might ask. Trust me when I say I was as surprised as you when I discovered that 0.4% of my genes are originally from Oceania which of course includes NZ***finishes the Haka***. To be sincere, I have always been curious about this faaar far away part of the world; as mentioned above, it just sounded like a too good to be true place. I recall a TV commercial in the 90’s where a lad was being dropped down from a chopper into a mountain, started skiing, passed cool caves, finished on what seemed to be a jungle, changed his outfit to a swimming suit, and then caught up with a lady in bikini, grabbed a board and started surfing. I mean how fucking cool does that sounds? And of course, #gandalf. So I was more than ready to snowboard and surf and potentially meet my NZ lover as I would yell to demons “YOU SHALL NOT PAAAASS!”. All in one day.  Hell yeah.

As this didn’t sound incredible enough, life gave me a marvelous and hilarious kiwi friend, someone I could basically say is like the sister I always wanted and never had, including the part where we can both deal with complex unsteady aerodynamics problems, fail miserably, still make the engine work properly, drink Gin like actual beasts and dream everyday to explore and conquer the world. Universally known as “Jenbla”, I had the great honor of being hosted by herself and her family where for about two weeks, we did a brilliant road trip all across from Christchurch down to Wanaka, Queenstown, to the west coast and the back to CH. You want a real advice for your next trip? Hang out with the locals, there is truly no way to know the culture of a place than with them. It is not only because they live there, it is also because when there’s a foreigner on the game, locals also discover their country. It is an actual win/win scenario.

NZ didn’t disappoint me as there is a huge Gimli stone statue right on the airport of Auckland. What a way to start I must say. So yeah, after spending a fantastic weekend in Buenos Aires, Argentina with another of my dearest lads (gracias #che! volveré hermano!), after 18 hrs, there was I, landing in Christchurch, ready to see kiwis, penguins, climb, hike, snowboard, surf and dance the Haka as soon as Jenbla came to scene. Literally, after 25 minutes of landing we were already hiking the closest hill haha. Had then a cultural day as I wanted to know a bit more of the culture of the country so we visited the natural history museum, got staggered by the maori culture and heritage, the importance to the people about it and well, I just love museums.

I must say that NZ is sooo fucking expensive haha. Beers, clothes, fun activities, gasoline, transport, food. Everything is expensive but absolutely fucking worth it. The best way to travel around the islands is to rent your own car or camper van and then up to the road as it goes. Asking for rides on the roadway might also work, just consider you could freeze to death after 8 PM during winter. Great extreme sport though. Despite making sure you have enough money, people’s mega friendly, chilled, relax. Have you seen Thor 3? The bloke made out of blue rocks? There you go, that’s a true NZ spirit right there. So what you waitin’ broh? Wanna come?

So off we were from CH to Wanaka! a small gathering point village where it is possible to do kayak, snow sports, helicopter/plane rides, hiking/trekking/climbing on hills, mountains and glaciers, Mt. Iron, Roy’s peak and Rob Roy’s glacier are just some examples of those; you want mighty thunder thighs? You want to climb, not feel your legs because of pain, sweat at minus degrees and still look at a beautiful scenery? This is the place to go. And of course a zillion amount of lakes and sheep. Sheep every-fucking-where. Not to mention that when I got the wheels, as you drive on the right side of the vehicle, I almost got ourselves killed but nothing to worry about, besides Jenbla’s panic attack, my extreme crazy cat reflexes saved us and got us on time for dinner. Simply brilliant, I really loved it.

Down to Queenstown, where is like everything I just mentioned, times 462. The world’s adventures capital some might even say, and trust me they might not be that far away from the truth. The town is beautiful, quite fancy, still expensive, but Jenbla and I were there to become legends,  to transcend in time and space on stories yet to be written and spoken among our family members and the people of this planet. To become one with the motion of particles and scream so loud we could open interdimensional portals. We became bungy jumpers. 134 meters of insane fun, 8.6 seconds of free falling and free red crying eyes after the jump. We went to risk our lives, jump into the void, feel free, get very close to what is a heart attack, and paid a lot of money for it. Absolutely brilliant. Of course, on a Skype session my mom wanted to kill me as soon as she saw the jump video LOL. #mexicanmomlove

To Punakaki in the west coast we went! And shit I was just amazed how the weather and the vegetation could change sooo much from side to side of the island. We drove a significant amount of hours that day, but it never got tired you know? The great music, the mountains and trees and the very cute Kias. (2nd official bird of NZ). We wanted to be on time to see the clashing of the sea waves to what are called the Pancake rocks. It was unfortunately too dark already and it was quite rainy (apparently always rains on the west coast) but life was benevolent and we had a nice and sunny morning the next day, so after exploring caves and almost dying either by falling off the rocks or getting swallowed by the crazy sea, we saw an amazing show performed by nature and enjoyed our ride back to the east coast.

 

On the way back, we went to a place called “Castle Rock”. Recall the scene on the 1st lord of the rings movie when the hobbitsesss hide with Legolas, Gimli and Aragorn under some crazy stones because a shitload amount of crazy crows from Saruman and a Nazgul are flying to hunt down Frodo and make him fall like a bitch? Well that place exactly is where I found myself screaming “MR. FRODOOO!” on the top of one of the rocks as an asian family would stare at me like “UGH these fucking tourists”. At the same time, Jenbla was running all around, hiding in holes like a rabbit and climbing the other rocks. Truly like brother and sister.

Naturally a trip in NZ is not complete until you’ve done a mountain bike ride after fucking climbing zillion mountains and being crazy sour or until you’ve swum on a basically frozen lake, surrounded by only snow, just because it is not fun until you’ve done it and didn’t die. #crazykiwis

I never had so many nature adventures and even better, never shared it with someone who is crazier than me and I feel blessed with life for this. I got thunder thighs and was able the completely cleanse my “smoking years” lungs breathing such clean air at the top of the mountains. Even when I didn’t see any penguins, nor kiwis, didn’t snowboard, nor surfed, nor met my ultimate NZ lover in bikini, I was able to live a true kiwi life experience as I had the chance of doing and living fucking cool adventures across mountains, lakes and sea. Lived as another member of an awesome kiwi family, felt welcomed by all the great people I met there and felt ridiculously happy with life, as I get to be the friend of someone like Jenbla. And I got to yell “YOUUU SHALL NOT PAAAASS!”

You feeling adventurous and with a pinch of adrenaline running through your veins? You feel you cannot breather under this EWWW disgusting quality of air of the town you’re living in? You tired of the routine and feel like a crazy adventure should make you feel alive again? You feeling like being totally away from everyone you know and surrounded by only chilled and cooled people that will say “Don’t you worry my dear!” every single time? You also feel like you have a shitload of money to spend only to get to this island? Well I feel all that, but only feel it, because my account balance is basically on negative numbers, but the feeling is so strong that not only I recommend all of you to fly right now to NZ, I definitely will be back.

You want me to describe New Zealand in one sentence? Well I think there is one:

“Yeah, nah, it’s epic bro!”

Tēnā koe, a hupane!

 

Advertisements

The classic and hellenistic turbomachine greek souvlaki

Well well well. First of all I want to express my gratitude to life and to the wise and vast universe for giving me the head, the will and the correct people around me to finally obtain a master degree in engineering and get one step closer of being an adult. #IhavenoideawhatImdoing. Secondly, how the fuck are you suppose to wrap up a 10 month adventure in one of the most exotic countries of the globe? May the turbomachinery and science help me then.

Between all this excitement you gotta ask yourself one question…-am I looking for a place to go and have crazy outdoors adventures? Amazing and magnificent archeological sites? Best food ever after the mexican? The beautiful agean blue sea color? Great spots for outdoors sex? Crazy people dancing and shouting opa? Do I feel lucky? Do you? Pppunk!?-. Greece ladies and gentlemen, is the answer to your problems.

20170624_191506

I spent the last 10 months in a country under “crisis”, studying under one of the highest levels of engineering of the world, eating delicious grilled octopus, souvlaki, pilafi, mussels and fried squids among others, drinking refreshing refreshments like ouzo, raki, tsipourou, rakomelo and mastixa, listening to emotional bouzouki, wandering around with the most beautiful women I’ve seen so far (cheers on Greece and your genes H!), travelling around places of the planet I never thought I would go to (cheers on #momondo), discovering ancient mythical greek temples, trying to pet every single street cat and dog I saw as I would scream “oh gatito!”, establishing friendships and bonds that I truly hope last long enough for me to have white hair and learning that life indeed is a journey where happiness and freedom exists. Oh yeah, a hell of a crisis as you can read.

What a ride. What a fucking awesome ride I must say, including the fact that today I know my DNA carries Greece too. #greekmexican #Manolios

Greece is world widely known because of the food like Tzatziki, the music with the Bouzouki, greeks shouting “Opa!” all the time, broken plates on the weddings, magical places/beaches/parties in Santorini or Mykonos and also for anal sex (#culturalknowledge). The truth is that Greece is absolutely way more than that so let me tell you my experience of this awesome country.

As I was on my way back to Azteca lands, Mexico, I was struggling quite a bit cuz I could not find a way to actually summarize an entire year of knowledge, adventures and emotions as the one just passed. But well, putting aside that time is a bitch and went by as fast as possible, I first want to explain something about the greeks; they are indeed probably the most similar culture to the latinoamericans, at least to mexicans as they love living life, eating well, easy money and power. Equally, very strong familiar/religious values, strong pride for their country and an amazing skill of finishing a freddo espresso in 5 hours as they complain about the new traffic lights, taxes and the government. Plus, they do walk veeery slow and are quite informal/relaxed with everything. Oh, and they don’t give an absolute fuck about parking. As said, very similar to mexicans.

 

It is true that greeks have a bit of a temper (it was funny because I didn’t understand shit and I would just smile whenever a greek was pissed at me, which made them more pissed) but to be fair, I have never been in a country with such high hospitality no matter if you were a foreigner, stranger or a drug lord faced mexican like me; they will offer you something to eat and a glass of Raki or Ouzo and ask you about your life and be genuinely interested in it. They will make you feel as if you were home and no less than that. Everything started with my former landlords, who kindly picked me up at the airport, invited me for dinner and would meet on a monthly basis just to chat up a bit and have some drinks, they are absolutely amazing people.

The magic in Greece is that no matter how hot or cold or difficult a situation is, you would listen to “halará” which means something like “chill out bro” and you would enjoy whatever you’re doing/eating/drinking. I must say I was fairly surprised by the scenery of the country as I thought it would be only cool because of the beaches and the unbelievable attractive women, but they have mountains and snow too, very convenient for snow sports and for long cool hikes. The other magic in Greece is that every 5.4 seconds you hear “pu ise re malaka!?” which means “where are you moda fucka?” and “PAME GAMOTO PAMEEEE” which means “let’s go for fuck’s sake, let’s go”. As said, magical.

Thessaloniki is located at the northern part of Greece and is the host of one of the best universities of the country which means a city full of students, so the average age of the city should go around 27-30 years old, so a lot of activities and epic parties to do in the northern greek lands. Feeling too adventurous and fit? How about a hike to the top of Mount Olympus and greet Zeus? (highest peak in Greece) Feeling like a monk and searching peace? what about a visit to the mythical mountains of Meteora? feeling romantic? how about a taverna night with amazing food and wine at the beach somewhere Chalkidiki or Kavala? Feeling eager to learn history? Visit the museums on Thessaloniki or go around to Pella where Alexander the Great was supposed to be born. Feeling like the last man of the universe? A night out with the Erasmus exchange youngsters or to meet greeks on the Ladadika area will never disappoint.

At the same time, the peloponese area (This is Sparta) as well as the obvious places like Athens, Mykonos, Santorini (one of the most beautiful sunsets you’ll ever see in your life) and the other 3000 and something islands, offer a fantastic collection of relaxing/adventurous activities to do. That’s the beauty of the country, you have the possibility of doing a zillion things despite how high or low your budget is, and fun is absolutely guaranteed.

Then Crete ladies and gentlemen it’s another bloody galaxy. I had the amazing luck of spending days there during Easter celebrations with a very close cretan friend. Cheers on that Mflow & Co. The tradition as in most of catholic countries is to not eat meat for some weeks until Yisus ascends to the skies and then it is celebrated by eating a complete and delicious roasted goat. All of it. Literally. Plus the incredible beach sceneries, undisputed hospitality of the Cretans the absolutely gorgeous cretan females and the alcoholic spirit called Raki or Rakomelo (+honey +cinnammon +hot +love).

From walking around bizantine temples and otoman architecture buildings to going up to the Parthenon and feel like Saint Seiya speaking to Athena (#SaoriSaaan). I had the chance of visiting about 10 islands in total, about 4999 remaining or more and they all gave me something different, like the most delicious Pistaccio ice cream I’ve ever had in my life.

This year I also had the chance of settle what it appears to be a long and solid friendship with a New Zealander girl and an Indian lad. Don’t know when I’ll see the indian, but I will visit the magical lands of New Zealand for 11 days and I’m pretty sure it will be just amazing to run in the same lands as Gandalf. Anyway, I also made a bunch of greek friends which unfortunately differs with my year in Sweden. I thought I made a couple of swede friends, but it was just my imagination as friends I did that year were from everywhere but Sweden. Anyhow, Greece was not the case, as I met smart, crazy, cool and incredibly beautiful ladies. And nice greek lads too. Hehe. People that truly taught me something, that gave me their time, a piece of a heart and that made me taking the flight to Mexico entirely full. That is exactly the way one should leave a country after so long no?

The truth is that it is not possible to tie up all the emotions experienced, but they shall remain in my head and in my heart for many many many years to come I’m sure.

As if this was not enough, after many many many emotional bumps and upside downs, just when you feel like you can do/give/have no more? life said – ha! sucker! – and then love knocked on my door. Again. My best friend says that I fall in love every two seconds and he’s actually not so far away from the truth, the difference is that I do get authentically amazed every two seconds, but love? that shit is way up high on another level. Yet, it seems that I reached that level again after many many many obstacles on the way in the most unexpected and unwanted way possible. That was a good one life, cheers. (Smiling from side to side thinking about a german lady somewhere in the world called H.)

 

Anyways. Greece was a random and unsteady phenomena that stroke me on a daily basis from feet to head. It knocked me out, brought me back to life, knocked me out again and then thrusted me right off to the skies so I could just fly and rumble. From seeing cats resting inside a “closed” shoe store to jump from a 15 m cliff in Matala beach, Crete; from feeling like a total ignorant and stupid incompetent pseudo engineer, to have the best thesis supervisor ever and recover my engineering confidence, from having no clue of what to do with my life to achieve successfully my master in engineering. From thinking that I would never play music again, to buy an ukulele and also play drums and sing in a very talented international band in a bloody awesome gig. From arriving sane, to finish happily insane.

For me, Greece is more than taking a fancy boat in Santorini, more than partying like a maniac in Crete, more than dancing like a beast in Thessaloniki. It is even more than finding a bloody mantis dancing in your ukulele, more than the beautiful greek ladies walking around the streets, more than all the delicious food you can eat in a tavern and more than fantastic beaches, mountains and the color of the sea.

Greece is something outside of this world.

Greece is home malaka.

Yamas!

20170711_204935.jpg

The moroccan sub-saharan abduction

Morocco, north Africa. I cannot even describe all the emotions I went through as I was landing for the first time at the African continent. Excitement rushing through my veins without having the minimum idea of how it was gonna be. The first thought I had when I went out the menara airport in Marrakesh was: -where the fuck are the taxis and the buses?-. There was only people picking up other people, no taxi signs, no bus coming soon. Plenty of luck I had when I found two lads that were going to the same hostel I booked, so off we went to the old city center of Marrakesh or Medina. The hostal called “Kif Kif” is located right in the heart of the city. The hostal crew received me with a delicious chi red tea and some biscuits, the place has a lovely and cozy lounge full of cushions, shishas and colours. Just brilliant, I highly recommend it. It was already late in the evening but I took a walk to get familiar with the area; all the locals of the main market were closed, and to be honest at first sight the area looks quite creepy and spooky, with wild cats hunting, but despite the looks, it’s fairly safe to walk anytime and for some reason I thought -I think like this place-.

With Redoian at kif kif.

The mission of day two was to go to the capital city Casablanca, go to the senegalese consulate and get a pre-visa to enter the country. Oh Internet what an epic fail you did this time. According to bloody Wikipedia and other websites, it was possible for Mexicans to process electronically a pre-form, arrive at the airport in Dakar and enter the country. This website was down for several weeks before and according to some Dakar airport information exchange, the instruction was to go to Casablanca to do such “fast and easy” process. Wrong. As I arrived to the consulate, a tall and fancy dressed senegalese guy in charge said to me that the only way to enter was by official confirmation directly from Senegal, and to do so, my passport and other stuff had to be sent to Senegal and I had to wait at least 3 months to maybe obtain an answer. -Do you have your yellow fever vaccine? Did you book your tickets already?- he asked. To what the answer was -yes, I’m flying in 3 days to Dakar-…-well I don’t think you are, I’m sorry, we cannot do anything-. I was a bit sad, yes, a bit pissed, yes, but I didn’t argue or anything, I’m a guy who likes to think that life always gives us signals, that sometimes it’s a “feck yeah go for it!” But sometimes it’s a “nope, sorry mate, knock on the next door!” And that’s exactly what I did. As I was telling my story with a totally rusty French to the taxi driver, he said in French-don’t worry Mexico! Morocco will make you smile- and he drove me around the main avenues of the city before going back to Marrakesh. Fairly cool city I must say. 

Casablanca, the Atlantic and the biggest mosque in Africa

With limited communication with the staff of momondo due to the Xmas break, I did have a tiny panic attack on the train back to Marrakesh, but my head cooled down and the worse that could happen was to book a flight to Spain (since it was cheap) and then find the way back home, but as said, life is wise and I found a 48 hrs flight to Tanzania with two 12 hrs lay overs (including Spain). The momondo team responded effectively to my Mexican S.O.S. call and my trip was on again, with some extra days to enjoy Morocco. Wise indeed. 

I spent the 3rd day wandering around the market, the main square Jemaa el-Fnaa, the mosques, parks and gardens of the city, like the famous Jardin Morelle, which by the way is infested of Mexican vegetation. And of course, discovering the local moroccan cuisine like the tagine, some brouchette and an orgasmical avocado + banana milkshake. I must add that there are zillions of tiny motorcycles used to move around the market and the center. I honestly felt the muppets so close that I thought once or twice my Sir William Wonka was gone for good. All good fortunately. 

Mosque

Snailsss
Jemaa el-Fnaa
Market
Jardin Morelle
Palace side

Tagine

I must add that as I was walking back to the hostel, I was on a big avenue, then thousands of police men blocked the street and were standing as if the president would cross by. Black BMWs and Mercedes-Benz and police cars driving on the street and people gathering on the sides. -what the hell is going on?- I thought. The king of Morocco, smiling and waving to the people as the people clap and smile. No pictures though cuz a police guy looked at me strangely when I wanted to take out my phone, better not to take the risk. 

At the hostal I met very cool people from all over the world that actually advised me a thing or two of how to spend my renaming days in Morocco. 

Romania, Germany, Italy and Australia

An excursion to the Sahara passing through the Atlas mountains and other spots of the desert was facilitated by the hostel and as an Australian lad showed me his photos of the stars while at the desert, I didn’t even hesitate. Three days of adventures through authentic Berber villages, Ait Ben Hadou, Ait Audinar, Tudra Gorges and Merzouga at the Sahara, including exotic mint tea, food, camels and a night at a beduine camp. And off I went, with a big smile and hoping I wouldn’t freeze my ass off at the desert. 

Imagine the Atlas mountains pass as all the curves your intestine has. Now picture a moroccan old guy with a kind of Gandalf the white cloth and a grumpy face driving a 16 people van with the same skills of bloody Fitipaldi. Fun indeed, provided you don’t get sick with such curvy adrenaline. Many houses of the villages in this area are built with a special clay mixture so they have the same colour of the desert, which is kind of red or terracotta. Even the ones made of concrete are painted with the same tone. Kasbahs and ancient villages, traditional turbans and people yelling “yala!” Which means “let’s go”. Even snow at the mountains and then red rocks that eventually turned into sand. Do you reckon desert movies and TV scenes of game of thrones, gladiator or Lawrence of Arabia? All in this area too. Plus, the good company of people in the van coming from Spain, Germany, la France, USA and the always present China. I will let the pictures do the job.

Atlas mountains

Berbere tea
Aladdin’s carpet
Tudra gorges

And then the magical Sahara. I honestly felt as if I just landed in bloody mars. Absolute magic. The colour of the sand, the dusk, the sunrise, the camels, the dunes, the wind, the silence, the fire, eight shooting stars. The bloody stars. Damn, it is the most beautiful sky I’ve ever seen in my entire life. All the constellations, the milky way and even other galaxies were possible to see. In such moment I was laying down at the top of a dune, totally thrilled by the effect of our amazing universe and a “special” beduine cigarette. Revelations and statements start running in my head. -I will bloody finish the aeromechanics master, I will live intensely every moment as if it was the last, I will smile and be kind everyday, I will learn, give and I will not let anyone stop me, woooh shooting star! oh shit that’s a big ass star- are just some of the thoughts wandering in my head and my heart. A moment that will remain forever. Thanks for that life. 

After exhausting 12 hrs way back to Marrakesh, I spent my last day walking around the city, drinking mint tea and enjoying the African sounds the main square offers. Exotic monkeys like Abu, dancing cobras, crazy dancers, spices for cooking, for health, for aphrodisiac purposes, and a trillion items to buy at the market. I must add that oh these bloody Moroccans know how to sell you things… and to bargain…and to take all your money…graciously. But even so, this city and the surroundings became an staggering and highly recommended experience. 

Despite my solitude moment at the desert I will finish this post saying yes, the colours, the sounds, the smells and the food granted an unforgettable amount of emotions. But it is the people of the city who made me actually embrace the identity of Morocco and understand a bit of what it means to be moroccan. I met incredible people in this trip, locals and internationals; and it is the people again the one responsible of me wanting to come back and of taking Morocco in my heart, and as I take off the Menara airport, I say to myself:-until the next time Morocco.

In the mean time…Tanzania, here I come.

Yala!

Traveling around and not knowing other people is not traveling; it’s just moving. 

 

The italo-messicano bergamasca bloodline

Do you remember what it felt like when being a kid and entered to your favorite toy store? or a candy/ice cream/video games store? or going to the concert of your favorite band? or entering a selected whisky or wine store as the alcoholic I am? Most of the times, it becomes an unexpected and amazing surprise in those cases, and such feeling is what I got as soon as I landed in Bergamo.

Bergamo is a medieval city located at the northern part of Italy, 52.2 km from Milan, right in the middle of the mountains, and distributed with an old town at the upper part of a mountain, and the downtown all around the mountain. As any medieval place, there are huge fortress walls that used to protect the city from thieves and war. Specifically, from the Venetian army and the Cyprus war. A lot of gardens, vineyards, and mountains surround the city. The chilly fall mornings and afternoons, plus the red leafs, the stone roads, the huge stone arcs and the red roofs, make my arrival to the city, a magical and astonishing one.

“Oh mio dio!” said the taxi driver as he found out why I came to Bergamo in the first place. A fat, big, with a lot a beard and a fantastic laugh italian sir, that immediately started to ask me what I knew and gave me advices of where can I search/ask/go. “Ciao italo-messicano, benvenuto a Bergamo!” he says as he lefts me in the door of the hostel.

The next day, a chilly and cloudy, yet fresh and nice morning wakes me up, and I found myself walking to the “Archivio di Stato di Bergamo” to ask the whereabouts of my bergamasca ancestors.

A lovely ma’m is at the reception lobby and welcomes me with a cute smile and blushed make-up cheeks. Her name is “Maria Gracia” and as I remembered all my italian, courtesy of “L” and of “Enzo Gorlomi” I explained my story and she becomes very curious and interested in what I’m looking for. I ask her: what is your favorite thing of Bergamo? and she responds: “Everything!” She tells that she travelled a lot when she was young and wild, that she was very curious about traveling around the world, about meeting new people, but specially to have memories to share some day. I do ask her: “do you think if we all were optimistic, the world could be a better place?” to what she responds: “are you a Jehova witness or something? you’re just too optimistic to be normal, and they asked me the same question you just did. You won’t convince me to join you!” while laughing, to what I laughed very loud too, I said that “holy water” makes my skin burn instantaneously, more laughs, and in the end, she just stated that traveling indeed makes people better human beings, and that going back home in peace is the most important thing in this life.

It surprises me very much, that one of the managers explains that someone, at some point in the past, went already there to search the origin of “Maqueo”. The research is however unsuccessful and they actually said that “Maccheo” does NOT exist. (Imagine a scene of me screaming in my knees NOOO! dramatically). They explain that they have records only after 1822 and that anything before that is extremely difficult to find, or at least I would require way more info than what I had, which was not much. They also confirm that surnames like “Maceo”, “Macchio” and “Machio” might exist but are definitely NOT from Bergamo; however “Macchi” and “Maccali” pop up and gave me some hope. They advise me to go to the cathedral and ask for the “Archivio Diocesano” and search for these names. If they were born and baptized in Bergamo, they would have it there, so off I went to the “Citta’ Alta” or upper town, right in the heart of Bergamo, as I ate an insanely orgasmic tasty ice cream of strawberry and figues and something else.

After walking for about 30 min, taking the “funiculare” and being totally speechless by how beautiful this place is, I arrived to the clerical archives and ask the lady in charge. They make the search and find that indeed, they were not registered there, they say that there are “Maccali” records in Milano, but “Macchi” might be in any neighbor villages of Bergamo. Basically, impossible to know, at least just in a couple of days. So I feel dissapointed but somewhat excited, and decide to make another research on my own in the internet and also to ask my family. I needed more.

IMG_2318.JPG
Il duomo di Bergamo

Then, I found a mexican book that clearly says that two brothers called Julián and Esteban Maqueo, originally Giuliani and Stefano, from Italy, arrived to Mexico in 1830 to Oaxaca, both from the Garibaldi army, still wearing the uniform and the belt with the golden spread wings eagle and stay there to work as merchants. It also says that Stefano was known as “the traveler”. It was still before 3:00 pm, which is when the state archive office closed and off I went there, to ask for any military records of that time. As I arrived, the reception lady and the managers smile and say “how did it go??”. I explain everything, and they sadly state that they only have military records after 1870. However, they tell that the “Museo Storico di Bergamo” has a lot of information regarding participants, people, places, maps, of the garibaldini army and movement, so they might be able to help. A tiny beam of light is in my head again, to what I decide I’ll give it a shot saturday morning.

I am starving and aim for a local cuisine place, to what I ate the famous “Polenta” which is a typical bread of this area and “Casoncelli” which are similar to the ravioli but these are filled with chopped bacon and have butter. A lot of butter. Plus wine of the house and another delicious gelato. I keep walking and falling in love with the city, until I find a local bar at the eastern part of the town, in which I decide to sit down, drink a beer, and start writing in my journal. After an hour, the place becomes packed and I start wondering what is this place. And then, surrounded entirely by italians, I find myself talking with the guys beside me, absolutely nice and cool, they get surprised that I only came to Bergamo to discover my roots, they get happy by the fact that I’m a Bergamasco, they say that I speak very good italian and invite me a beer. Two beers. Three beers. Wine. More wine. Pizza. A lot of pizza. I met A BUNCH of people. All of them welcoming me as if I was another italian of the group.

One of them, called Edoardo Bovati, the typical handsome italian guy you would see in a magazine, both by looks and by personality. An absolutely nice and funny mate that speaks spanish too and I decide to ask him about his life, his experiences, his dreams, his expectations. Born in Milan but grew up in Bergamo, he says that he started traveling when he was 3 years old to the caribbean islands and he remembers so vague details. His first plane he took alone was by the age of 10, to visit relatives in England, and he stated that when being an adult, he first traveled because he felt just bored. Today he assures that he travels because you can learn something new every single day. After wandering around Asia and South America and North America, he says that xmas means Paris, New York or Bergamo, but no favorite city arises. Making the world a better place, means to make environmental consciousness and educate the people better in that way.

As the wine and beer ran off and the weather went down, I walked back to the hostel and pray that the hang over at the next day would allow me to wake up early-ish and to have a bearable headache.

And of course, the prays were useless, and I was struggling my way up by one of the stone stairs at the eastern side of the city and went directly to the Museo Storico. Sad was my reaction to know that indeed the museum was open, but the offices were closed (that’s why they gave me an appointment for monday) but the guy in charge said the Dr. was aware of my case. Again with my best “Antonio Margareteee” version I explained my story and the guy got quite excited and curious about it. It was very interesting to know that there was a group of the Garibaldi army that was sent to Mexico back to 1829-1830, to deal with some loose issues of the mexican independence, the exact date my ancestors claimed to arrive to aztec lands. My eyes got wide open, the headache disappeared and my heart started beating faster. He says that the research needs indeed to be done, and gives me the e-mail address of the doctor in charge and the website. E-mail that I will send tonight. “In bocca al lupo!” he says. “Crepi il lupo!” I respond (thanks again “L”) and he assents and smiles back.

And I spent the rest of the day wandering around the walls, the streets, the secret passages, the gardens, the stone roads. To be quite sincere with you, I have always had a difficult time to define a place as “home”. For me, home is where my parents and my memories are, it is where I have my family, as I would assume most of us do. But it is also a place where I can be totally in peace, and that is the difficult part to achieve, at least in a constant way. These almost 3 days, I honestly experienced quite a lot of deep emotions in this place. Happiness, excitement, anxiousness, frustration, re-happiness, the fact of being totally stunned by the culture, the people, the lovely italian ragazzi, the strawberry and ricotta gelato, the music, the language, even an unusual yet awesome instant crush/love moment that I will write in another time. As “Maria Gracia” said: Everything!.

So right now, being at the “Piazza Vecchia” or old square, right in the heart of Bergamo, I listen to the bells ringing and also to classical music played with loud speakers all over the place. I do dream and think if both my great great great great grandfather walked and wandered around these walls and I just smile. Despite being by myself, I am embedded by a magical italian atmosphere. I do not feel like a stranger. After a long long long time, I feel peace inside me. I feel very happy.

I feel in home.

img_2252

The DNA Journey: Day Zero

So it happened. It bloody happened my dear lectores. The majority of people of this planet spend their entire lives either waiting or trying to achieve their biggest dream (or dreams), struggling and fighting through life until at some point, life itself somehow responds and allows us human beings to final say “I did it”. I certainly did not have any words to express all the mixed emotions that hit my head as soon as I knew that the biggest dream of my life came true, the manual does not says anything of how to react nor what to do, so I did what I thought was the smartest and wisest idea: dance around and shout “A HUEVOOO” (fuck yeah!).

There are of course not enough words nor ways to thank life for granting me this unique and incredible experience. But let’s start from the beginning. So my ex-significant other “J” (which today is one of my very best friends) happened to know about a contest sponsored by the travel website “Momondo” in which you had the chance of first knowing where does your DNA comes from with a history of 2000 years back, which to be honest I found bloody amazing. So you had to write in 200 characters what is traveling for you and how do you think it can connect people around the world through traveling; so I remember typing stuff like, for me traveling is like eating tacos (yummy), it is spicy, it is exotic, it is just perfect, but there is nothing compared to share it with someone else, then it’s magical.

instagram_23andme

Somehow, I managed to go through to the 2nd round with my taco analogy and win a DNA test to actually know where does my crazy mexican hot sangre comes from and this part of the contest consisted on making a video that included the reaction of the DNA results. To be fair, I honestly thought  that my 18 min. video was a normal and honest video, which was made by a no beard “baby face” mexican as a complete average video, but I thought I certainly had nothing to lose and I really had a good time while doing it, but anyway, these were my DNA results:

ancesters

I might have expressed this before but I am really a travel addict. I remember listening to my parents stories that when they were young they would just say something like: “Should we go? well fuck it, let’s just go!” at 11:30 pm and arrive like at 5:00 am just to go to the beach. I also remember being taken to exotic places all around the southern part of Mexico for family holidays, walk under waterfalls, in caves, rivers, exotic beaches, delicious seafood and fantastic landscapes. It just stayed coated all over my soul and for me, every single time I had to travel, it meant literally, adventure time.

So yes, I did my emotional and full of mexican love video, expressing some family background and the results of the test. I must confess that when I did this I was in the middle of fucking crazy studying for some annoying final exams and also dealing with non-sense results while doing some simulations in my summer internship, so having a previous beer and the excitement of knowing where the fuck do I came from, was actually the most exciting part of my summer. But anyway, I honestly did it for the sake of fun and of course because I have always been absolutely curious about my family origins. I swear I was authentically surprised by the amazing world soup that I am.

And thus, there was I in my room, with a totally numb face and fingers, dancing around and being recorded while the Momondo staff was telling me that my biggest dream just became real, that I was going to be able to literally travel around the world, to go to those far far faaar away and exotic places I never dreamed of going to, and not only to really find out and be able to check civil registers and search for old surnames, but also to discover how people live in those places today, to taste the food, to listen to the music there, to dance around the world.

But really, how the fuck do you actually react to that?

It did take more than a couple of days to process all the information in my head and realize that everything IS true.

So I shall immerse myself into this incredible endeavor of basically 21 new countries and cities around the globe. I actually thought I might would like to share this experience with someone else, but after some dramatically emotional declarations, life gave me a signal and I decided to follow it without hesitating, and to be fair, traveling by yourself means you really force yourself to go OUT and meet the world, the people of the world.

And to be honest with all of you, I am very VEEERY thrilled and excited to start and also to share this DNA global journey with you!!. My first destination is a northern italian town called “Bergamo”, supposedly to be the cradle (or at least the last known) of my father’s side surname. Let’s find out what the old “Maccheos” (or Macchio? or Macchia??!!) have to say about it.

Andiammo!!!

#LetsOpenOurWorld, #DNAJourney