Thursday, November 22, 2012

Machu Pichu

Early morning light in Ollantaytambo - and I mean early. I stayed overnight at a hotel to catch my 6.40am train. There was a short walk down to the station - but the sun was coming up and the brightness of the day was already everywhere. Had thought I would catch a tuk-tuk, a little motorbike taxi but.... there were none at the pick up place and so.. I put one foot in front of the other and enjoyed....the view below, a woman with a few sheep across the river - a morning greeting from a woman gathering up dried corn stalks to feed her cows. I called 'munaicha' - beautiful - across the street and swung my arm towards the view - and she agreed and smiled - ' Ari - yes' and a beautiful day it was.
Down by the train station there was a 6.15 train getting ready to take off and then.... 'my' train, Inca Rail rolled in. I don't think there are trains for anywhere than to Machu Pichu on this line anymore. They all go to Aquascalientes, the little town at the bottom of the mountain, on the top of which someone was able to build the magnificence of Machu Pichu.
The train was full, the station looks empty, but... really, in short order after the train rolled in people streamed in, showed pasports - yes, we had to show the original documents - and every seat and space was filled up. The drive is 1 1/2 hrs through beautiful landscapes, mountains looming, with and without white mountaintops and along the rails run the river, or I suppose that the rails run along the river, for I do not think there is any doubt as to which came first in this case, the river or the rail =-)
In Aquascalientes one jumps on a bus and then... it goes up and up in hairpin twists and turns on a gravel road, and there are buses coming down the same narrow road already with people who have seen the sun rise at the top. Then, one exits the bus and starts walking upwards until.... one reaches the first 'plateau' and one has a good view of most of the buildings spread out over a large area. It is beautiful and ... very full of people.
And here is Machu Pichu the small green mountain on the left - also known as old mountain and the large one on the right is ....the young mountain - its Peruvian name is something with.a W escapes my brain at the moment. The young one was crawling with people.
Usually we think of sundials as metal smaller sculptures in our gardens. Here in MP it was a large rock carved out with super precision, not only with the 'arm' pointing up but also with several other layers and corners which will illuminate and cast shadows in a particular manner at spcific times of the year. The Incas knew how to keep track of time!
A beautiful rock in one of the learning houses, probably this rock is carved out so its surface resembles the landscape behind it. I do not know for sure since I snug into this part of the house, across a barrier and my guide was busy keeping guard and looking innocent outside.
The temple of the Condor - a magnificent sight, and a beautiful building - the man made structure built around the shapes which mother nature has provided and then ..... with the head and the upper back of a condor carved out in the rock below the temple on the ground a person is all set to ... give thanks and offerings to the condors, the guardians and children of the Apus - the highest and most beautiful mountains around.

And here I am, I really was there although it is hard to believe - this is not a photo shopped photo =-) and I feel very fortunate!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Creatures of Peru #3

A beautiful green eyed little bee that found this particular rock in the door yard especially worthwhile licking/spitting on.

Yellow in yellow, I believe this is some sort of poppy - it is so very orange and yellow and this little bee was having a grand old time filling up.

One of those very black bumble bees, very hard at work in the holly hocks.

And another spider which I forget where I found looks like the creature has only one eye :-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Creatures of Peru #2

A newly arrived lady bug on a red leaf.

And it's former place of growing and resting.

Bees at the hummingbird feeder. I cleaned and fixed the two feeders up and all that I ever saw at the feeders when they were still full was ...honey bees, and very frantic ones at that.

So I let them finish up the two feeders and the hummingbirds are still around, they just prefer to dine on all the beautiful flowers blooming on the shrubs and trees that are to be found in the garden where I stay whilst here in Calca.

Through my window into the shrubbery - the game is ...find the hummingbird :-)

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Creatures of Peru #1

With flash on the kitchen wall one late evening, about 5-6cm in diameter

On the bench outside my window, less than a centimeter but fast and curious.

On the bedroom wall next to my reading lamp. About 1cm long, but really quite peaceful.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Field preparation #3

Meanwhile in the other field which is along the path which I walk every morning to get to Apulaya another field was growing fast and furiously, large and gigantic broccoli and cauliflower heads were developing (with the help of a lot of urea I have heard)

Everything is being harvested by hand, as it is in the fields around my house at home in Nova Scotia - however I have only every seen piles of carrots, large piles of carrots by the vegetable processing factory across the road, I have never seen heads of broccoli and cauliflower piled as artfully as here -

I am not sure if the truck comes up to this collection point of if each bundle is carried down to the bridge a few minutes away and then picked up from there.

Here is the field being harvested - the mountain in the back ground is Pitusiraya, an imposing and beautiful presence.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Field preparation #2

When the field has been ploughed it needs some irrigation - I have heard people talk about how this is a funny spring, a very dry spring - possibly El NiƱo effect - and irrigation here happens with lots of water coming down from the mountain streams and well kept and thorough irrigation channels which are everywhere -

This is one such water channel running right outside this neighbour's wall, in under it and this is how the water is distributed inside:

By man or as in this case woman power. All day this woman was walking up and down using her pick ax, that is, it is wide at one side of the blade and pointy to remove rocks etc at the other end.

Up and down the field she went, until the whole piece had been properly watered.

Here is the water rushing in from the channel outside and this is how it is done, right here. One minute little broccoli plants were planted and... The following week we closed the windows at the studio when a not so delicious smell told us that....there was someone spraying the little plants - with a hand held pump, walking up and down the rows.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Field preparation #1

Next to the studio at Apulaya on the other side of the garden wall there is a field which is in use all year round. By the time I arrived the farmer had just harvested one crop of broccoli - and so ... It was time to prepare the field anew for the next crop - and this is how it is done:

You bring in two oxen and then walk up and down the field in the sun for most of the day, swoosh you whip across the backs of the oxen and encourage them to keep moving.

And you just keep the oxen and yourself going and going, one great help just might be the little radio in your back pocket which loudly sends out music and messages from the local radio station, both in Quechua and in Spanish.

The field by the way is all fenced in and two big dogs live there - keeping an eye on things.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Pilipintu - butterfly night lodgings

On a warm evening a little before perfect sundown I was enjoying some peaceful moments on the bench outside in front of my big window. There are some apple trees in the yard right there and a pear tree and .....out of the corner of my left eye I saw a movement - a flutterby and then it was gone.

I looked into the direction up to the left where I had sensed the movement and saw a shadow through a leaf slightly above the height of my head.

Lifting my camera up as high as possible I managed to get this rather obscure 'find the butterfly' photo, it really is there, and you are looking for something in brownish hues, slightly triangular and not taking up a lot of room on the photo.

The next morning I went out to see if the night lodger was still there and ...he/she was - only much more visible than the night before, at this point venturing out to see when the sun would come out and warm the tired muscles a pilipintu must surely experience being battered around by wind and in all sorts of weather.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad