Saturday, September 22, 2012

The flying high above and yet so near was beautiful and then we came to the landing part - which is definitely not my favorite - and we flew in and instead of closing my eyes, I kept the eye to the camera and took photos - Cuzco from high above -

 Cuzco getting closer and my grip getting tighter

Then we touched down and raced along the landing strip,

Along with booking a room at the Marani comes a pickup at the airport and was I ever pleased with that, we even got a porter to grab our bags and roll it out to the waiting vehicle - and then a most interesting drive began. It was up the hill all the way and some of these streets are the old inca cobble stone streets. More about these streets later.
Having just arrived our suitcases were brought in, and we were served a coca tea - coca tea being a staple drink here, you can get as much as you want here in the cafetin - providing energy to oxygen starved travellers.

Here I am, with my first cup (I have stopped counting now) Sitting there enjoying the amazing fact that not only am I in Peru - I am now in Cuzco at 3400 meters (or something like that) - I notice that I have to breathe a bit harder and not move too fast, am pleased that we had help with the suitcases up to the room - and as of right now, I get this ginormous headache on and off - really a small part of it since it could be much worse and ..... I have never had it as a goal to be the swiftest marathon runner so I move with grace, huffing and puffing on the steep hills and stop for a moment here or there to make sure that I am still in control of my heart.

 My bed, covered in a wonderful down duvet, thank goodness for the evenings here are not exactly warm - I thank Elly for the beautiful cardigan she knitted and finished for me in record time, it was too hot in Lima, but it sure is the right piece of clothing to wear here in Cuzco.

And the view out my window. I have the most magnificent cactus in the yard, just there, large green, with interesting shapes and folds - and the calendula plants that look like they could be perennial here.

Flying high over the Andes Mountains

The first photo is sort of a self portrait, I am behind the window in the reflection on the engine =-)
The photos have a slight haze all of them since I forgot my window cleaner and they wouldn't let me open any windows =-) to get a clearer view.

 I will not use a lot of words in this post - I don't have the appropriate vocabulary to describe what I saw so I will leave it up to every one to interpret their thoughts when looking through the photos.

Getting closer

velvety dryness

Small community somewhere in the middle!

peaks and valleys

=-0    =-)

To have had the great fortune of flying in on such a beautiful day!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Lima - Museum a manos

After the busses, the nuns and the walking we moved at an incredible speed to make it to our appointment at this museum. We had not all the directions, but some .... and so we did get slightly lost but a policeman walking in the street called his office, someone looked up the whereabouts of the place we wanted to go and then off we trotted again. We were able to join the group just as they were finishing up in the pottery department and going into the textiles. None of these were big rooms so walking space was scarce but people still managed.

The tour was given in Spanish and so my ears were glowing red after just a few moments. There were lots of ancient pieces of weaving in here, pre-columbian weaving, Inca weaving, weaving from marvellous other old cultures and drawers and drawers full of the tiniest little spindles - the whorls were less than a quarter in diameter. I asked if I could take photos and was given a yes......and so I took these two of spindles - the next drawer was....
The most beautiful lacework and .... this is the only photo I have of any of the textiles for.....the flash went off again, I was so excited I hadn't the presence of mind to turn it off, there were a few angry faces turned my way, telling me off since these textiles are old and are impacted by people's thoughtless use of flashes nearby them. So I did put the camera away and just enjoyed the rest of the many pieces in the collection. This lace was finer than sewing thread and I imagine the yarn was spun on spindles like the ones above, patience and determination rules!

Lima - finding a special place to eat

And when you walk a lot you work up an appetite, eventually your body reminds you it is time for lunch, now, not in three hours. Then our legs took us up and down some back streets in search of a nunnery. The nuns run a restaurant in a big old house - it is a french church order and I think they live upstairs - the restaurant took up the whole downstairs - we got there just as they opened and then ..... as we sat and enjoyed our meal people kept trickling in - most seemed to be regulars that were greeted by name and question of 'how are you' etc. The ceilings were wonderfully high, showing the intricately carved pieces of old lumber. Whilst chewing there was ample opportunity to feast the eye on all sorts of interesting points.

I had roasted chicken and a special little yellow potato which is called llochu (I am not sure of the spelling) it was grated very coarsely and steamed - it is one of my goals to try as many different potatoes now that I am in a true potato country. Anna enjoyed a wonderfully tasty piece of fish with a little vegetables and rice. For drinks we had lemonade, which was wonderfully unsweet and not sour at all if that makes sense. Perhaps there was not only lemon but also lime in there, and it was delicious.
For dessert there was a coconut cake and to finish it all up a wonderful espresso!
Fuel to make it back to the busstop.

On the way out the big high and wide hallway I admired the floor once again, big shiny pieces of shiny black rock of some sort and then 'panels/patterns' with pepplelike stones of the same kind. I wonder if they have waxed it all to make it so shiny and this is what we can see on top of the little pepples, the worn off wax or if it is the outer layer of the pepples that is wearing off by all the hungry and then very full feet which pass over them  coming and going every day.

Across the road a beautiful house was being restored as was the street in front of it so we couldn't get close. This door-hammer was hanging way up high, on a most incredibly large door - too high for a 'normal' person to reach - so we decided that possibly this door-hammer was meant for conquistadores high on their horses coming to visit the lovely ladies in the family.

And here is the family shield of the family, have no idea who they were but .... it was fun to exercise the imagination!

Lima, the beginning of a traveling fibre adventure.

I am in South America, in Peru - at the present in Cusco but a few days ago I was wondering around in the capital Lima with my friend Anna, who is part of the very beginning and the very end of this magnificent 10 week adventure. It is thanks to Anna and her husband who grew up in Peru and their encouragement to go and visit the highlands and experience the highland culture that I am here - a culture which includes ....of course weaving, lots of fibre, lots of hardship, lots of beauty, lots of colours, music, lots of ancient culture which is the foundation for what is lived and seen today.
Police on horseback by the presidential palace in Lima
Lima is a big city - 10 million people live there and they seem to be on the move at all hours of the day at night - lots of cars, busses and minivans and drivers of mentioned vehicles mysteriously communicating with their horns both loudly and often - I did step out in front of a car shocking Anna quite severely and later in a conversation with her brother in law I was reminded that the drivers have no concern for anyone but themselves, and so my job is to look after myself as well as they look after their own interests. Theirs being getting from A to B as fast as possible and mine being getting from one side of the street to the other in one piece and still breathing. I am more patient at street corners these days!

interesting cupola on a building near the river down town

We caught the bus on Wednesday morning to go see what was up in downtown Lima. It was the new busline running along the highway all the way to downtown, one bus there, one bus back. On the way there we were pressed like canned sardines, well, almost, and people kept getting on and off, we hung in our straps and at times tried to also catch a pole to hold on to. It was a grand balance and core workout! On the way home by luck we caught the bus one stop before everyone else wanted to get on and that meant that we had seats all the way home - and for me I  could focus on the view along the road, the place where Scotian Bank had a flower arrangement which spelled out their name and other interesting commercial points.

Balconies falling apart, hoping to get restored before it is too late.
We walked about, ended up on a plaza where the beginnings of a teachers' protest march was lining up - along the buildings were already lots of riot police in heavy gear, needless to say we didn't linger for too long but kept walking in the opposite direction, watching houses and people and unfolding.
Building a tunnel under the river which runs to the right of the photo.

from the bridge over the river, the balconies from afar

Military truck with hidden gun, there seemed to be some official opening of part of the tunnel going on.

And last in this strip of photos we stopped again back at the presidential palace and watched the changing of the guards. It was not a long drawn out affair, and we watched it from afar. There is a great fence around the courtyard where the spectacle took place. The tourists were also kept at a distance from the fence by a row of soldiers. The nice part of that experience was that a young soldier down our way was not exactly going by the book. He was smiling and laughing with a little boy and as they were all about to go a few tourists rushed in and had photos taken with him smiling. In the end he waved his hand and said no more.