Friday, August 30, 2013

Going Home Notes

Now that I have recovered my camera from the weaver (read the last blog), I have photos to share with those interested! It has not been possible for me to process photos as we were travelled. My intention is to process one set of the trip photos at a time and make them available over a period of Friday's as additional links to this blog.

Thursday: Here we are aboard a LAN aircraft headed north! Well over 40,000 ft. because the stratosphere is higher here than our latitude at home...Today Lima, tomorrow SFO! Sadly the sky is cloudy, so no good view of the Andes Mts...

I am drawn to this free life of a gypsy! When I was a young pup I first discovered this attraction while hitchhiking in Europe and the Middle East. I enjoy the challenges and satisfaction that comes from the daily encounters with uncertainty...reading maps, trying to communicate in foreign languages...making quick choices with limited information...adapting to local customs and foods. And the satisfaction that comes from dealing with these situations successfully....I enjoy the quick friendships that develop in hostels, the sharing of stories and information.. Still, once at home I am quite content to tend my garden and work with my student teachers. Like my mother used to say, "Its good to go away, but its good to come home."

Wednesday was our last day in Cusco ...As we walked up the hill by our hotel, we saw a sign on the door of a Carmelite convent, saying that the sisters there made and sold ice cream. We entered a large empty stone church hall, and in quite a dark corner we found a sign listing the foods that were available. It was not possible to see the person who was selling the food...but through a sort of revolving wooden round-e-round I spoke aloud into the void what it was that I wanted. A voice answered to me also from out of the void and the order was arranged... Money was paid and the ice cream delivered. It was almost a religious experience! The voice that I spoke with sounded like a cheerful young woman. The ice cream was delicious!

... So much yet to see and do... .there is only one solution...we must return to Peru! Judy had not yet visited the great "Mercado,de San Pedro" ..the grand Cusco community market. (It is a place that I keep returning to...). I love the little bit chaotic fluidity of the much activity many goods bought and sold... We went today, and Judy bought several nice pieces of weaving and clothing, and chocolate!.. I really like the warm wool poncho that I bought for our Northern California winters!

Judy has a friend in California who is interested in the uses of quinoa, a traditional grain food of the Inca people. It is served quite a lot here and is becoming quite well known in the US. It can be.added to a variety of dishes in creative ways. The grain is high in protein, lower in starch, and it has a pleasant flavor, the cooked grains are smaller than cooked rice. In the mercado we bought three varieties... Black, red, and white colored grains. I was also able to purchase samples of small globular gourds, and hopefully I can convince some of the seeds to grow in my garden.j

One of my greatest satisfactions of this trip has been my improved ability to converse in Spanish...I am far from a proficient speaker...and my ability to use correct grammar is enough to make a language teacher want to tear out his or her hair, but I have a fair working vocabulary and just by being here, it has been necessary for me to use my Spanish all the time, I have become more fluent. Here I "just talk" to people...and I don't worry if I make mistakes in grammar.

Conversation with a cab driver ... "The only real industry in Cusco is the tourist industry...there is only very limited manufacturing, the long dry season and lack of irrigation limit farming, but the tourists keep coming, perhaps it is the lure of the Inca history and the renown fame of Machu Picchu that bring the people!"

One final observation...the streets of Peruvian cities and towns are amazingly free of litter..! We often see home and shop owners sweeping a large clear area outside of their properties. There are an impressive number of paid street cleaners, but the pride that people take in maintaing clean streets is impressive... Peru can be called a developing nation...a second world country...but far above the economic and social disorder of third world countries.

Thursday...LAN aircraft flying north parallel to the S American coast...We expect to arrive home mid afternoon! This airline serves "real" food!

Later - we are home safe and sound... 6 weeks traveling and eating all kinds of things and neither of us was sick at all...