Curiosity finally drove me to find out just how high in the world I am here in the Andes, which I did by looking at other places in the world to compare this to. Back home we make a big deal of Denver, the Mile High City. Today I snort. Tourists sometimes mention the thin air and chill of Mexico City, higher still. And we all know of the high Himalayas, home of Mount Everest, highest mountain in the world, dwarfing Denver and Mexico City without question. South America, land of the steaming Amazon jungle, the gentle breezes of the Argentine pampas, the swamp lands of the Guianas and the rolling rivers of Venezuela bring to mind ever-warm landscapes of easy summer living and laid back, life-loving people, coups and revolutions aside. I for one had never till yesterday had any thought of comparing South America, e.g. La Paz, to the elevations of Lhasa, Tibet. Today, depending on the source, I know that they beat each other by a hundred feet, each over 13,000 feet. Bolivia, the Himalayas of South America.
When I was years ago bumming around the Dead Sea, lowest point on earth, so far as I know, I read about two deserters from the Roman army who were spotted running away and were chased to a cliff over the sea. Facing death, they jumped, followed by soldiers hurling spears and shooting arrows at them as they swam away. The Roman commander tired of that and decided to let the deserters drown. Of course, the deserters did not drown, and the commander, seeing them live, decided to let them go, anyone being that lucky deserving to live and go free.
I've hiked f along the bottom of the Grand Canyon climbed Mount Olympus and Mount Zion, and I've dined atop the World Trade Centre tower in Manhattan. I've been in pain so terrible I can't recall days at a time, and I've had sex that dissolved me into the oceanic. Highs and lows of many kinds, today being in the Andean highlands, drifting ghost-like toward el Chaco and some further differences I cannot foretell the outcome of visiting. Maybe good, maybe bad, high or low. I leap and hope. I'm just curious.