UK or Bust: NYC: Bolivian Politics, American Imperialism, Transport Policy, and Huevos Rancheros

Day 5

New York City

Slept long and deep last night, and woke up to a beautiful, clear, sunny and warm New York City morning. Strolled down to Union Square, met my friend Dan for breakfast. Like me, Dan has traveled for the last year, and like me, he is headed to Grad school this fall– law school at NYU. He traveled to Argentina, Chile, and finally Bolivia, where he spent two and a half months living, and learning Spanish and Bolivian culture. Dan used to work for Rainforest Action Network and we discussed the political situation in Bolivia, where recently elected Evo Morales, the country’s first indigenous president whose work to legalize coca leaves and negotiate more equitable contracts with western energy firms has earned him the ire of the Bush administration. Dan stayed with his friend in Bolivia, who is in turn, a friend of Evo’s, so it was really interesting to hear about the story behind the headlines. You can read more about Dan’s fascinating travels here and see his photos here.

 

Wandering around trying to find wireless internet access last night, I realized that in many ways, San Francisco is a bubble. There was nowhere near Penn Station that had internet access- only a bunch of evil Starbucks where you have to pay $10 for one 24 hour pass. I didn’t want to, but finally caved, and sat there updating my blog and trading e-mails with friends from NYC and elsewhere. I felt kinda dirty afterwards though.

 

Dan and I spoke about the coming Collapse, and whether it will be possible to maintain sustainable communities after the fall, or even whether we can change so radically on our own so as to avoid the worst of the chaos and suffering. The twin, related crises of peak oil and climate change are every day creeping closer to a crisis point. We both agreed that living in the United Snakes of America in 2006 is a lot like living in Rome before the fall. People busy distracted with the modern day equivalents of shows at the coliseum and wine drenched orgies, ignoring the barbarians banging on the doors of empire.

 

It really hit me today that tomorrow, by taking the train to Canada, I am leaving the United States, at least for a year, and possibly for good. It feels like a good time to be leaving, though sad to leave a country that is such the epicentre of all that is wrong with the world politically, socially, and environmentally. Yet there is a vibrant undercurrent of resistance here. I guess those of you left in the US will have to fight from within while I carry on the fight as an expatriate in the UK.

 

Tomorrow I take the train to Montreal, where I will stay with my friend Rich for a few days until the MSC Malaga arrives in port- then it’s up the St. Lawrence, into the North Atlantic, and to Continental Europe. If you’ve made it this far, as it appears that you have, thanks for reading!!

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