Friday, March 01, 2024

Old West Dead Heads & The Eagles at 10,000 Feet

 March 1, 2024

   Sometimes you find yourself flying halfway around the world to answer the burning questions members of a remote tribe might have about one of our own remote tribes.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Outs:

"Old West Dead Heads"

The Eagles at 10,000 Feet

   In late 2008, after my heart attack while playing 'Wipeout' at a band reunion, my cardiologist cleared me to go visit my son in Peru. At the time Tommy was in the Peace Corp and stationed in a high Andes village called Yanque. After a preliminary trek and stress test to the Snow Bowl north of Flagstaff (the highest point of the ski lift is near 10,000 feet), my heart doctor cleared me (he did prescribe for me to wear a heart monitor). From Phoenix, Kathy and I flew to Lima, then took another flight to Arequipa, where we then took a bus over several mountain ranges to get to the remote village where Tommy had spent almost a year among a tribe of farmers, learning to speak Spanish and Quechua. 

Tommy, upper left, and his host family

   Yanque is in a valley at 10,000 feet in the Andes. The peaks surrounding the village top out at over 12,000 feet above sea level. The air is very thin and I quickly realized why my cardiologist had reservations about me going.

Drinking Chicha with a new friend
 at a wedding in Yanque, Peru
   After attending a wedding where we drank regurgitated moonshine (chicha), Tommy took us to the home of two married teachers in the village.

My Kind of Guys In Yanque
(from my tribe)

   They told my son they had a burning question for me after Tommy mentioned to them I was an "expert" on American rock 'n' roll. We went into a small room where they had a VCR on a high shelf and they put in a DVD of an Eagles concert and fast forwarded to a song that featured a singer I knew quite well. "Who is he?" they wanted to know, "And why is he so weird?" came the translation.

   I smiled. It was this guy.

   And, at the Eagles' concert, he was singing, "Life's Been Good to Me, So Far" which has to be one of the zaniest parodies of the rock star life that has ever been done. No wonder the Peruvians were puzzled!

"It's a lot more fun being 20 in the 70s than 70 in the 20s."

—Joe Walsh

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