Today calls for an embrace… “Celebration of Fantasy”

Celebration of Fantasy at The Elk Hotel (pict by Tammy Dunaway)


Dear Caminoheads,

This blog, lately, has been a lot about “celebrations”… The book “The Book of Embraces” (El Libro de los Abrazos) by Eduardo Galeano -this Uruguayan writer I quoted before here- is one of my favorites, and Galeano writes on it many reasons for celebration… this below gives us a reason to celebrate “fantasy”…



It happened at the entrance to the town of Ollantaytambo, near Cuzco. I had detached myself from a group of tourists and was standing alone looking at the stone ruins in the distance when a small boy from the neighborhood, skinny and ragged, came over to ask if I would give him a pen. I couldn’t give him my pen because I was using it to write down all sorts of boring notes, but I offered to draw a little pig for him on his hand.


Suddenly the word got around. I was surrounded by a throng of little boys demanding at the top of their lungs that I draw animals on their little hands cracked by dirt and cold, their skin of burnt leather: one wanted a condor and one wanted a snake, others preferred little parrots or owls, and some asked for a ghost or a dragon.


Then, in the middle of this racket, a little waif who barely cleared a yard off the ground showed me a watch drawn in black ink on his wrist.


“An uncle of mine who lives in Lima sent it to me,” he said.

“And does it keep good time?” I asked him.

“It’s a bit slow,” he admitted.


Galeano, Eduardo. “Celebration of Fantasy.”  The Book of Embraces. Trans. Cedric Belfrage.  New York:  Norton, 1992.  41.


Celebration of Fantasy in The Elk Hotel Loves,