Saturday, December 20, 2014

Is a heart attack an obstacle or part of life's pilgrimage?

In March I want to visit the Spanish-colonial-period-inspired vineyards of Bolivia. 

After I got excited, arranged my flights, a friend, who had lived in the landlocked South American country, mentioned a US State Department warning of high altitude dangers to unsuspecting heart attack victims. 

And Bolivia has oxygen-denying altitudes. Teetering on the Andes Mountain slopes, it houses our planet's highest cities and nose-bleed elevation vineyards.

But. Having already ventured on the myocardial infarction of the left anterior descending artery (translates to "widow maker"-sized heart attack) route, I took the warning to heart. 

I agonized for two or three weeks. Yes. No. Yes. Maybe. My adventurous spirit wrestled against my more practical part that wanted to stay alive.

During this time of indecision, I happened to be scanning film-day images captured in the remotest parts of Africa. They inspired me. They tipped my decision.

In remote tourist-free Okohimu village, Namibia, a Himba tribe woman paints my face with the same ochre mixture she uses to cover her own smooth body. I just wasn't sure if she was telling me that my wrinkled face looked old (the ochre paint somehow keeps the Himba women's skin youthfully wrinkle free in the harsh African sun) or that my tan wasn't up to par. Regardless, after the facial, I couldn't hold my camera to my painted face for two days.
Stay tuned to hear what happens in Bolivia.

What obstacles have you faced in your pilgrimage through life?

All images copyright ©Janis Miglavs 2014

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