A Travellerspoint blog

..................A FINAL THOUGHT. :)

A friend said to me recently let your heart be the pilot and your head the passenger. Not easy to do in our very busy lives where our brain is working constantly, where our work is ever demanding and time to do anything, especially for ourselves is so short. I ask you now though; if you don’t make time for YOU then what is it all for?? It doesn’t all have to be about work, money or adventures. It could just be about some real quality time with:
you and your friends
you and your kids (or your friends’ kids)
you and your husband or partner
you and some of your family
......or just you!!!

How great does it feel to be with someone who really understands you (warts n all), who makes you feel good about yourself, who makes you laugh, or where you can lose yourself forgetting all the other hundred and one things you know you should be doing...but this just feels too good to let go just yet. :)

YOU ARE WORTH IT!!

By looking after and cherishing yourself you are then able to give so much more to all the others in your life. 

JUST SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT. :)

Lots of love to you all. :)

Posted by Heather Buc 13:30 Comments (0)

MY FINAL DAYS IN PERU

SUMMER 2012

Sorry for the delay in my last blog but as you can imagine when I arrived home I have been catching up and am also full of the cold!! I didn’t escape it after all...most people I met in Peru had it, blaming the season change..for them summer into autumn.

Well the time has passed so quickly and my final week equally so. I did manage to claim one day back when, rather than spending 2 and a half hours in taxis and transfers for a meeting that would be 20 minutes at the most (it was actually 10 minutes), I felt my time would be better utilised completing some of my “to do” list. It felt good to score off some of my list and do things that I knew needed done soon, like our gift aid form to conform to the new HRMC regulations. Anyway with a few items off my list I was ready for our children’s home meeting on Wednesday which had a different feel to it than the previous meeting. Some new people had joined us and it changed the dynamics of the meeting. With the feedback from the last meeting I suggested a few things and put together some fairly standard practices and paperwork we would normally use in a meeting at home. This gave this week’s meeting more structure without stifling ideas and it seemed to work well thankfully. The meetings are going well with lots of enthusiasm and actions resulting from the discussions. By the next meeting, which I will not be there for, they should have enough information to really put some detail behind what we want our children’s home to look like and hopefully be a little closer to deciding on a plot of land too. We were excited to hear there is a meeting of all the children’s homes next week and half the team will attend followed by a private meeting with a home some had seen the week before and thought to be of a very high standard. All in all it really feels like it is coming together. Later that day we were invited to Sonia’s to discuss progress with Living Heart and a new member to the team. I, of course knew Kim and after the initial meeting her, I had said I thought she would work well with us so it was great to see the others agreed. She certainly gelled well with us at the children’s home meetings so now she may be coming on board with the rest of the Living Heart projects. We think she will fit well into the team allowing Sonia to really step back. Fani and Kim can work out who will do what. I’ll let them sort that out and see what other support they need when I am back home. First I need to sort out the UK financial stuff.
On Thursday we were all going to see the greenhouse in our remote community and our new maestro, Jose would hold a workshop on making their own organic compost. A nice early start to the morning – leaving at 6am! As it turned out Fani slept in so didn’t make it. She has to leave Cusco at 4.45am so no surprise when she phoned Martin. Kim joined us and we spoke at length on the long journey about her thoughts and how they could fit with LH. I did update her on a number of things including our philosophy giving her food for thought....all to be discussed further with Fani. There was a small dusting of snow on the ground as we drove up into the mountains but I didn’t find it too cold. I did have a few layers on though. It turns out the municipalidad are repairing the whole stretch of road up to another of our communities. The difference in the road was amazing so I take back my earlier comments. They have not completed it yet with about 10-15 sections with 2 sets of 4 logs of wood strapped together to allow the cars/lorries to line up their tyres and cross. Meanwhile beneath this they are building up layers of concrete and soil. Most were fine as the strapping is still holding, in others it was beginning to come apart, which is fine where the level of the road is not too far beneath but there were a couple of hairy moments where the drop was quite considerable (well in my eyes anyway!). I didn’t look on these bits!
Surprise, surprise when we got to the school we found the school director and senior teacher were at a meeting in Urubamba so there was only grade 3 and 4 in school with their teacher. Rita and Jose (the maestro) decided to conduct the workshop with this group and the mothers that were there. Due to the construction of the greenhouse building the insulation has been too good and we need to put in windows to help regulate the temperature which will happen in the next two- three weeks, I am told. In the meantime the community have been instructed to open the door for 5 hours a day and water 3 times per week. This obviously hasn’t been happening as the temperature was 31C when we arrived and all the beds very, very dry!! After 2 hours with the door open, the temperature had dropped to 21C. Some of the vegetables were affected but most fortunately were OK. I have to say the first sight of all these vegetables in such a harsh and remote community was an absolute delight.  When speaking to the new teacher she had felt the same when she arrived. With the door open all went to work watering the beds for the next half hour. This was when more women, who should have been watering the beds, turned up. As is the norm here their babies are strapped to their back in a shawl specially tied to keep them in place, watching mum at work. 

We are still finding the community are not harvesting the vegetables unless we are there. There are instructions on the poles inside the greenhouse explaining the daily, weekly tasks in quechua and it has been stressed on every visit the jobs to be done, including when to harvest but still it is not happening! Fani is getting quite exasperated with them when there is no-one there for the workshops and they are not completing the simple tasks. The plan is to visit the next assemblea (village meeting) in 2 days time with Ian from Alma to discuss this together as a team because at the moment the community are being devious and playing one off against the other, telling Ian one thing and Fani another. It will be interesting to see how we can move this situation on. Will it just need more time and hand holding or will we need to take a different tack? We shall see.
The workshop with the younger ones seemed to go well with the teacher helping and she will supervise the children and the harvesting of the vegetables for the school. On our next visit with the maestro he will show them how to prepare the beds for seeds again so we have vegetables at various stages ensuring a constant supply. (The initial seeds were sown in of the older greenhouses so they could start growing, and then transplanted into the community greenhouse once it was ready.)

On our return journey to Urubamba we had two little incidents. The first incident was a traffic jam on this narrow road as a recovery vehicle (well a lorry with a telescopic arm) tried to retrieve a vehicle that had gone off the road. What I discovered later was it had been a collectivo and it had landed in the river much further down, killing 2 people – an adult and child!! Tragic really!! Once we eventually got passed this we came upon a jeep, full of police, some in uniform and some in plain-clothes, menacing looking men actually, who blocked our descent then searched the jeep looking for cocaine. It was fine obviously but a little unnerving when we first came across them. This is one of a few common routes (small back roads) to bring drugs into the country from the jungle. We reached Urubamba about 5pm. I had thought I might make Salsa that night but not a chance. I am very conscious of a limited number of days so I had to sort out the photos from the day to put on the LH computer the next day, prepare my tea and do a little washing. After all this the second Salsa class was well under way and I was really rather tired....bed seemed way to inviting.  With the LH meeting on Friday and working in the cafe on Saturday I felt this was the best option. Friday’s meeting mainly consisted of preparing the posters with photos already printed out. These are for the cafe and as various meetings took place Mary and I made a start to the photos. I was conscious we wouldn’t get more than one or two done so asked Mary, who had sorted them into themes 2 days before, which were the most impactful. The greenhouse came up trumps and there were enough photos for 2 posters. Once a design had been agreed (i.e. with more or less photos on each poster) we went to work with Rita and I taking one poster with the construction and planting of the seeds, while Fani and Mary took the other which included the caring of the plants and harvesting. We agreed Mary’s idea looked best with less photos and more space. They did look super and quite impactful once we had finished. We managed to persuade Fani that writing and words were not required other than the title “The Greenhouse Project”; letting the photos tell the story. Some of these photos were mine and some from other volunteers as the project had progressed, all in all they looked great when set out. 
In the afternoon Sonia and Fani had been invited to Mary’s landlady’s house for lunch. I decided I would like to revisit Pisac so Ineke and I decided to go for lunch and a wander. It was a lovely afternoon if a little windy when we arrived. Ineke and I hadn’t spent much time together on my current visit to Peru so it was nice to be able to do this together. As the bus takes a minimum of an hour we only had about 2 and a half hours there, just long enough to buy a little more.  On the way home the bus was absolutely packed for the complete journey. A lady told me it was because there were no taxis at that time so we just seemed to keep picking up more people. As 2-3 left another 8-10 tried to squeeze in!! “Sardines in a tin” is definitely the vision you should have in your head just now! I was lucky enough to get a seat at the front which had very generous leg room. We allowed some of the children to stand in front of us to relieve the congestion. It can’t be pleasant being pressed against these taller adults in a hot and stuffy bus!! An older gentleman, who I think was probably a little drunk and with very few teeth, decided to strike up a conversation with me. I hadn’t even seen him further in front and didn’t realise he was talking to me initially! His questions caused quite a bit of amusement to those around us. I humoured him as he seemed harmless enough. I didn’t understand everything which I blame on my Spanish and his slurring but he shook my hand as he left the bus, so no harm done. 
On our return at about 7pm I collected 2 photos I had put in to develop. One from the Monday visit (a picture of the mother whose weavings we were going to sell in the cafe) and the other was a lovely picture of the children cheering after they had harvested the radishes and swedes. I shall explain a little more about the lady from Monday. On our visit to the community on Monday one of the women had brought some of her weavings for us to see. Fani had mentioned 3 women had visited the office to ask if we could sell their weavings in the cafe and they had no other way to sell them. This was one of these ladies. She was a young woman and she helped the cook in the kitchen. She had 6 children!! Her weavings were lovely and Rita had suggested we could talk to Fani about taking them to the cafe. As I was working there on Saturday I felt there was no time like the present so we selected about 25 items to take and the prices for each. I photographed her so we could display it next to her work. I was unsure of one of the items so asked about it. It turned out to be a belt and they duly showed me how it was worn. I decided to buy one to wear on Saturday to show the tourists. This proved a very good idea (more below). The other (of the children) was to finish off one of the posters and again it looked great when in place.
When I finally got home and with time passing so quickly I felt I had to start packing.
On Saturday I dropped off some of my bigger items I wanted washed to the laundry and was hoping to get all of them back on Sunday. When I arrived at the cafe I was pleased to see there was now a suitable number of staff and, as it turned out, we weren’t not too busy. You just never know! Mary came and we discussed where to put the posters. We also sold quite a number of weavings that day including the belts and bracelets from people seeing me wearing them. I think we should encourage other volunteers to do the same. Mary and I couldn’t stay late due to transport and I had to do more packing but they had a party of 34 coming in. Fortunately the kitchen knew what they wanted to eat so could begin preparations. They also had enough people on so I didn’t feel too bad. Needless to say they were closing the restaurant to ensure they could give them the best service possible. To date I haven’t heard how it went. This was a new tourist agency for us so I thought I would make contact in case they wanted more information. Mary and I had had lots of discussions with the customers about the NGO that day so it is worthwhile for volunteers to work there as the cafe team don’t have time or the knowledge.
On Sunday, a beautiful day, I got ready for the eco-ferria. Fani wasn’t able to join us and Sonia was exhausted so I asked if she wanted me to come up later to let me know. Rita, Mary and Ineke came, which was lovely, with Catherine joining us for lunch. Kim, who had developed quite a bad throat infection after our visit to the community, came in briefly. It was a lovely relaxed afternoon with a tasty lunch of lamb soup for me (pumpkin for the others) with homemade bread and cheese.
I was just about to phone Sonia when she rang me...freaky.  She was feeling better and so I headed up to her house. Needless to say the motos weren’t interested in taking me with the festival still going on! A procession had marched around the square earlier. I recognised the drums..I had heard it early that morning!! While at Sonia’s she received a call from Catherine who was going to conduct a fire ceremony for the full moon. I was lucky enough to be invited along. Seeing Catherine in this setting was quite enlightening. She was completely at ease and glowed, in fact shone! In our children’s home meetings she seems so much more uncomfortable but here in her own setting she was absolutely at home. It was a lovely ceremony and different to others I had been part of. This one was based on North American Indian tradition with drums and other instruments while we sang and danced around the fire as the moon arose...lovely and very peaceful... a nice way to finish my trip. 

Monday turned out to be quite mixed up day as I wasn’t sure if I was going to a meeting or not. The changes had been happening for 5-6 days which meant it was difficult to plan anything. The Claro stick I had been using for the internet had stopped working on Sunday so I couldn’t access e mails etc. It wasn’t just the time of the meeting that was changing but the location too! It went from 8.30am in Urubamba to 7.30am in Cusco and various options in between. Finally it transpired the meeting was cancelled which turned out to be lucky for me; I could then finish packing calmly. I also had a lovely lunch with Yeina before heading for Cusco with Martin. My final hours in Cusco were also very pleasant with Carol and I spending the late afternoon and evening together. She had come second in the ladies section of the downhill cycle race at the weekend so she was still on a high. Paul on the other hand, although well placed, was beaten by his rival so was still licking his wounds and decided to build Lego with the kids, which I am sure they loved.  Carol and I went for a pedicure which was a little embarrassing when I saw the colour of the skin buffed from my feet...what can I say other than Urubamba is very dusty with lots of roads just dirt tracks. I defy anyone to keep their feet, socks and shoes clean. After a lovely pedicure and sporting lovely purple toenails, Carol had green nails with flowers  , we headed for a new pizza restaurant in town. For a Monday it was very busy so word had spread about how good it was which we agreed with. When we arrived back home I headed for bed while Carol sat up with Paul for a little longer. In the morning I decided against going into town and just finished washing and putting the items I was leaving away. Carol began to get me quite uptight telling me about 2 couples from Britain who had arrived at the LAN flight desk to be told their flights didn’t exist! Also you shouldn’t book on the last LAN flight out of Cusco as often they cancel it. She suggested I head in earlier and see if I can get on an earlier flight to be sure. I decided to do this. It also gave me more time in Lima as LAN never book your luggage straight through from or to Cusco regardless of what any airline might say. You always have to collect it at Lima. I was lucky and got on an earlier flight and everything ran pretty much like clockwork with only a little delay in Madrid but not enough to affect my flights. So for the first time I made it home on time via Madrid – yey!! 

So my friends this is the end of this little adventure............until the next time...... Adios mis amigos and remember to trust and follow your heart...it often knows best. 

Posted by Heather Buc 13:50 Comments (0)

WOW...ISN'T TIME FLYING!!!!

14th to 28th May

I can hardly believe I only have one week left!! It has just flown in and I haven’t nearly completed my “to do” list for Living Heart which I have built up since I first arrived. Oh well, most of it I can do in the UK when I return. I must admit I have been quite focussed on making sure the majority of the things I needed to do while I have been here have been completed as far as possible. Sonia has also been keen to sort out a lot especially the finance stuff. Ineke as always has been a star and makes sure all the figures are accurate especially correcting Fani and I when we had not read a spreadsheet properly, which was a relief as the figures nearly gave us a heart attack!
Living Heart runs a lot more smoothly since Ineke took over the office management and books, I can tell you.

Anyway, things are beginning to pick up pace between meetings and visits. You could hardly believe it but trying to see my little god daughter Lonita has proved to be very challenging between meetings always landing on the days that Rita would visit little Jose Antonio (her brother) that we finally went today after dropping off the food delivery to a neighbouring community. As I had visited this community 2 weeks ago I didn’t really feel the need to go back but as it turned out it was worthwhile. I haven’t visited all the communities this time as I felt other things were more important from an administrative point of view and helping with the all the other stuff that keeps Living Heart going. My visits to this particular school and community proved worthwhile because this school is the one we wish to focus on next for a greenhouse and the toothbrush campaign (and soap). I decided I wanted to speak to Dionissio, the school director, about these projects but to make sure he understood we still had to find the money for these projects. This school is by far our largest with about 130 children including the pronoei (kindergarten). Regarding the toothbrush campaign we have just introduced them into the smaller of the two schools in this area. The reason we chose that school was because we had seen the posters on the walls last year and knew the teacher here knew how to ensure the children would use them properly. We thought it important to learn from him and support the other school with the information if necessary. Following a visit by a dentist recently who had done an initial assessment of their teeth it had been decided not to give them toothpaste as the salt in Peru mostly contains fluoride and the salt we provide them with, absolutely does...too much fluoride is not good! It had been decided that the children could use a little salt if anything. We do stress the importance of the teachers taking ownership of the toothbrush campaign to ensure the children are brushing their teeth regularly. We shall see how it goes. After my little soap incident last year I was also very keen to give soap to the teachers so when the children asked permission to go to the toilet they could borrow one of the bars of soap and return it when finished. One of the teachers today came up with a better suggestion. They would prefer liquid soap so they are controlling how much the children use. This is particularly important for the little ones who would struggle with a bar of soap. I think we should look for large dispensers to refill smaller containers of soap in each classroom. That way we can reduce the plastic waste here.
It was break time when we arrived with the food delivery (the vegetables only on this occasion) and was introduced to 2 new teachers this year. I must tell you about the food delivery. The children are usually waiting on us arriving and are very enthusiastic about helping take it to the storeroom, right down to the littlest tot. It is so lovely. I have, hopefully, some lovely pictures of this. Watching them try to lift a huge bag of potatoes and laughing all the time – you just can’t help smiling.  Anyway back to the teachers, most only have a contract for a year so come and go being sent to closer schools (in the valley) in between times. Others stay in the same school for long periods of time travelling long distances each day or staying in situ during the week...humbling really! Anyway there seems to be a promotion on just now where grade 6 can go on a trip for 3 days with some supervisory adults. This obviously comes at a cost and which we couldn’t support from our current funds. I will need to speak to the others to see if we should do a particular campaign as the visit isn’t until November. With our children’s home focus (more on this further down) this will be a big decision. If we give to this school should we be offering it to the other school across the mountain or the one in the valley mostly made up of mountain children??? A problem really!!
Regarding our most remote community we have had no access for a number of weeks now. They have been repairing the road..not a long stretch, just a few hundred metres but I think they are doing it with kitchen utensils (only joking) but it is taking forever! Anyway we are hopeful we will get up there this week (Thursday) to see the progress if any with the greenhouse and harvesting of the vegetables. I can update you about that this visit in the next blog.
So my other focus has been the children’s home. There is a lovely and very passionate team of people who have come together to support this project all with different backgrounds and skills. This has led to some great ideas which the team are currently exploring. We feel time is of the essence and are hoping to find the right plot of land ASAP. We have now had 2 meetings and are now actively looking for the right site for our children’s home with a focus on the land and also the community as it is important that we integrate and have strong relations with them. Ensuring the children are still part of a community and maintaining their culture is very important. We are meeting weekly to bring all our findings to the table so I have one more meeting before I head home... which is creeping up fast...next Tuesday I start my flights, hopefully arriving on Wednesday, which will be a first with this particular flight plan! It is important we learn from other children’s homes too, to learn of any great ideas and also be aware of any pitfalls so I am looking forward to hearing the update on Wednesday from a couple of visits that have been done. Another feature we are absolutely passionate about is Halfway Houses, for those older children who wish to stay to continue further with their education or learn a trade, so they can feel part of an extended family and not feel abandoned for a second time. 
......so lots going on with Living Heart.

Other than work what else have I been up to?
I seem to have been really tired actually. I have helped in the cafe a couple of weeks now so took a break last weekend and visited Carol and Paul in Cusco. Friday night is darts night after all.  This was a nice rest and change of scenery. I had hoped to go dancing on the Saturday night with Esmaran but that didn’t happen. I still had a nice night though with Esmaran and a few friends, just chatting over dinner. As it had been 1.30am the night before this quieter night wasn’t an issue for me.  Esmaran stays in a very nice apartment near Sachsaywaman, the beautiful ruins above Cusco.
On the Sunday I went to Pisac and was going to meet Mary and Ineke for a nice lunch, then potter around the extensive Sunday market, doing a little shopping. What I had forgotten was it is Fiesta time is in Urubamba. I had got it into my head this was a little later. Anyway you can hear the loud music all over Urubamba until late into the night; fireworks exploding everywhere. It lasts at least a week, although the fireworks seem to go on a lot longer. Each community looks forward to their festival each year saving up for the whole year, so we really shouldn’t moan. Poor Ineke couldn’t get out of Urubamba at all. She tried for 2 hours but all roads were blocked!! I was glad I was in Cusco and had no problems. Mary stays in Calca, further out towards Pisac so also had no problems. Have I told you about Mary?? Mary is another volunteer here at the moment. She is from Chicago and was volunteering with another NGO a couple of years ago when she came across Hearts cafe and our work. She decided she wanted to help and came back for 4 months to help with our fundraising campaign and helping in the cafe one afternoon a week, amongst other things. That is the one thing about a small NGO like ours, you never know what you will be involved in next.  After our lovely lunch and shopping Mary asked me if I would come back to her house as her landlady wanted to meet me. We duly did this. What a lovely house and garden! Her landlady was just lovely and both her and her husband have built it up from nothing. They are originally from Arequipa and her kitchen is like one from home..I was well impressed. Mary pays a lot more rent than I do but gets 2 meals a day – breakfast and lunch. The problem with that, for me, is often we will be away so would miss lunch. Calca isn’t that easy to get to either from my perspective so I don’t think I will be using this accomodation..but it was absolutely lovely.

The week before (20th) we had all been invited to Sonia’s for a lunch. As I had been so tired after working all week and then in the cafe on the Saturday; after lunch I chilled out while the rest chatted. You know that way when you are really tired and the noise just gets too much. Well that was me that day...relaxing was just lovely actually. Sonia has a lovely space - a group of trees just down from the main area. In it she had laid out blankets and pillows. I “bagsied” one of the blankets and a pillow and just lay there in the shade of the trees..How nice was that!  As people drifted away, most of the ones I didn’t really know, the ones who were left got together in my spot amongst the trees. This was a special day as it was the special solar eclipse. We had a lovely little ceremony amongst the trees...with just a few of us with some Andean songs and music from Nino playing his instruments, before we all drifted off home.
Interestingly enough later that night just as the eclipse was finished (Lima time) we had an earth tremor. I had been watching the second series of my Downtown Abbey obsession and about 9.20pm I felt the whole room shake. I wondered what the heck it was. It was the next day I heard. It was reported in Cusco and was fairly powerful I understand.
You did read correctly... Sonia had lent me Downtown Abbey and I didn’t get around to watching it until a week or so after she had lent it to me...but when I started I couldn’t stop!! I watched both series over a matter of 4 evenings!! I did enjoy them though. 
So that is my news to date. Until my last instalment for this trip...Adios amigos...cuidate (take care) 

Posted by Heather Buc 20:16 Comments (0)

....MEANWHILE IN URUBAMBA

2nd- 13th May

Well as you can imagine I was a little tired after I returned to Urubamba. I felt I had been away for a long, long time.
I arrived back in Urubamba about 11am after a long journey on the collectivo. Before the driver even got out of Cusco he had been stopped, spot checked and fined for one of his tyres!! As has become the norm, he also filled up with petrol just outside Cusco so he could complete his journey. I find it amusing that the buses also do this with the bus absolutely full of people, including no standing room! Once I arrived home to Patawasi, I seized the moment before it left me and tidied all my clothes washing the smaller things and preparing a large bag for the laundry, detailing every item. I did wonder if I was being paranoid but as it turned out it was the right move! I was fairly tired but decided I had missed enough Salsa I would go. It is now in a different location, in an adjoining area to the gym in Urubamba. It is surrounded by mirrors...not really what I like but hey, I didn’t need to look! As usual I arrived about 8 after dropping off my laundry. There were only a couple of beginners and they were at the basic stage. IT has been so long since I had been it would be good practice for me..and it was. Later the intermediates arrived..all different people bar one which I found surprising. The pace picked up quickly starting from half way through the beginners section actually as more arrived. Once shown a couple of times I did remember some of the more complicated moves which was a relief and to be honest if the guy knows what he is doing they set you up the right way. By 10pm I was really struggling. Trying to remember and learn quickly again was taking its toll. It is very energetic too. I decided to leave them to it for the last 15-20 minutes and get a moto home.
For the next few days the tiredness stayed with me. I did a little charity work and met a friend Annabelle for dinner and a catch up. We had both decided we weren’t going to Salsa. It was lovely to see her. I walked home ready for bed only to be faced with a real problem in the kitchen. There were a huge number of ants crawling up the wall behind the sink. I went to my room and noticed a line of ants in my bin. As I studied the room further I discovered they were everywhere...around the walls, floor...even heading into my wardrobe and drawers. I tried washing them down with a cloth I had but I was not making a dent in them!! I couldn’t sleep with so many in the room!! I text Wimmie, who I knew was at Salsa. I explained the problem. She said they would be home in 30 minutes. This was about 10pm now. They didn’t arrive until midnight!!!!! They had mops and brushes and a solution to help. This worked that night but I awoke to just about as many!! I discussed with them and they said they would get a different solution that day. I left at lunchtime and they weren’t back then but as it turned out they must have a key as when I came back later my room was clean of ants with some incense burning...yey!! The kitchen wall was clear but I noticed they were in the cupboard and often I would find the sink full of them. I thought I could live with them there...what I hadn’t realised until a week later was they had got inside a new packet of my cereal that had a hole in the foil inside the box. I poured out my cereal and wondered why an ant was crawling out of my plate!!!! Aaaarrrgghhh!!
I took a deep breath and emptied the cereal out. The inside of the cardboard box was crawling so it got a good bashing to clear the box out. I then checked the cereal....hundreds of the wee buggers!! I can only get this cereal in Cusco so there was noooo chance of me flinging it out..and it was expensive!! War was declared!! Ants you are heading for the fridge..this had worked before for my granola. I emptied the cereal into the plastic containers I had, sealed them and put them in the fridge. What I discovered after they had been in the fridge for 3 days is it doesn’t seem to kill them all; some seem just to be dopey. I did have to fling out some of the cereal after I carefully picked off the top layer emptied it out and sifted for any of the blighters and even then a few crawled out!! Mary, the other volunteer here just now, told me the lady she stays with had made a cake with eggs and they had got into that. She thought they would die in the oven...seeemingly not, as she presented the ant-infested cake to her friends!!

As if my night hadn’t been bad enough with the ants, I had gone to pick up my laundry and realised that I was missing something. It was my big red towel...not really something you could miss! While I waited, the young girl phoned where the laundry is taken to be washed..but only after I argued with her that there had been 11 items and not 10!! As I waited I scanned around looking at the other parcels. They are wrapped in white plastic bags but you can still see through them as they are not thick plastic. I said to her that one of the parcels had a towel that looked like mine and could that be mine? No, no I was told and I would have to come back tomorrow. I told her I wasn’t paying and would be back first thing. I came back shortly after 8am when they opened and sure enough there was my towel and there was the parcel I had seen now looking a little less...boy was I glad I hadn’t left my laundry for a few days!!! I also deducted the 2 soles for my motos to and from the laundry..she wasn’t very happy but I told her she could have given it to me the night before and saved this trouble!!

After my fun and games I had a lovely weekend at Sonia’s. On Friday it was her birthday and she had some lovely spiritual ladies there. It wasn’t weird just a nice mix of women chatting. We also started talking about the children’s home which we are now going to turn our focus on. There is a need here to support these children through to adulthood and to be contributing members of the community. There was experience in the room and some great ideas all to be captured at our meeting the following Friday. On Saturday there was a full moon and I took part in my first celebration of this. It was quite magical with a lovely fire, Yeina singing and Nino playing his traditional instruments. We joined in where we could. On Sunday Esmaran (who had been staying with Sonia) and I went to Pisac as poor Sonia had been very unwell and only getting worse. We wanted to leave her to sleep. She had started some antibiotics but they were not working very quickly. She felt too weak to visit the doctor in Cusco, the next week. By Monday she had no voice and was very weak. Rita, our nurse popped in briefly, to bring her some medicine to help her cough that seemed to do the trick. When I visited her on Wednesday afternoon, to bring her some food...chicken and chips from a nice little place in Urubamba she was feeling a little better but was quite breathless and couldn’t clear the cough. It was distressing to watch. I had an inhaler for myself that I gave her to try. I think it began to help. By the end of the week she was looking and sounding a lot better with the complete rest.
My biggest problem now in Patawasi is the loud music from the garage next door..the music also seems to set off the cockerels!! Some days seem worse than others but I had asked Rymi if he could speak to them if it gets worse again. I have been trying to do more meditation which I find quite therapeutic, especially here but this is really difficult when, even with earphones in, the boom of the radio still penetrates...It starts at 6- 6.30am and can go on until 9pm some nights!! The cockerels seem to be quite erratic and often make lots of noise too, probably agitated that the rest of the hens are out and about.

The rest of my week was made up of meetings; visiting and helping in Hearts Cafe. I had a great meeting with Kim who I had heard about and had actually briefly spoken to when last in Hearts Cafe about 2 weeks prior. Kim and I instantly connected and without a huge amount of discussion I knew that Kim would be part of our team looking at children’s homes. I invited her to our first meeting on Friday. That meeting went very well with a good mix of people and ideas. I felt very excited about it all. We first need to get the right piece of land and then I feel the rest will happen. With Fani very firmly in control of the communities I feel this is where I can possibly help. With the next steps agreed our next meeting will be in 2 weeks (22nd May)

My initial visit to the cafe was to support Sonia by offering to talk to the customers about the projects. I also discussed various other problems with Sabrina but quickly the place began to fill and she was short-staffed. They are currently recruiting but it is a slow process finding the right people. Anyway I offered to help and was kept very busy for the next 3 hours. The new location and bigger premises (now seating 70) means a lot more climbing of stairs so you do keep fit! I really enjoyed it, talking to the customers. Mary arrived at 12.30pm for her shift so I left shortly after this. I asked if more help was needed and Sabrina asked if I could return on Saturday. I agreed and said anyone wanting to hear about the projects could come back then. On Saturday after dropping off my laundry at a different place, close to my accommodation actually, I headed for the cafe. I arrived, as agreed, at 11am and the cafe was in full swing. People were waiting for me to tell them about the projects and many more to be served. Our new brochures were now there so it was easy to promote the charity. The day flew in and by 3pm I was desperate for food! We had to restrict customers to the outside tables to allow Sabrina and I to get something to eat as there were only the two of us! By 4pm one of the other girls started for the late shift. Sabrina took time off to go and shower and return for this shift. I had to be on the 7pm collectivo or I wouldn’t get home! On the Thursday I had met a lovely American crowd and they had asked if I would be there on the Saturday. They had their trip to Machu Picchu that day but some of them made it before I finished. The banter was great, with them and others that day so although very tiring it was fun.  Dependant on time will depend whether I can return.
The centre of Ollantaytambo had been busy with a festival that day and I had wondered why. It turned out it was the Mother’s day celebrations starting early and all mothers were receiving free food. Mother’s day is a big event here with shops participating too, giving out free nibbles or something. On Sunday I had been invited to Sonia's for a spot of lunch. As it turned out Yeina and Nino were cooking and brought us both a flower for Mother’s day which was so sweet.  It was also good to get away from the cockerels...I may strangle one!!!!!! The downside of that lovely day was I was bitten on the ankle in a couple of places and by the next day I had an ankle twice the size of the other!! This has taken 3 days to reduce with overdosing on antihistamines and using a strong cream...the itch is driving me crazy!!

Anyway on that note readers I shall adjourn.. with my itchy ankle... and get some shut-eye before my finance meeting tomorrow...until my next instalment...Chao mis amigos. 

Posted by Heather Buc 20:16 Comments (0)

KAYAKING FROM THE SOURCE OF THE AMAZON – ON THE APURIMAC

DAYS 5-6 - with Amazonas Explorers - www.amazonas-explorer.com

This is a long one so make sure you have time - a glass of wine or a wee cup of tea before you settle down to the last instalment of my epic adventure. :)

DAY 5

Up at a civilised 6am to have a nice breakfast and on the water This not just any water..this is from the source of the Amazon!!
..but first.....it’s time to try out these hot springs. Carol had said they were great so too tempting to miss.
I pulled on my cossy and wrapped my towel around me, donned the flip flops and walked rather smartly to the springs, wishing all a ”Buenos Dias” as I went. It was a lovely day after all and we were all fit and healthy after such a big day, the day before!! It was also a little cold as we were still above 4000m, so no hanging around.  As discussed all wished me a happy birthday on my new designated birthday.  Rob and his team were packing up and taking the things we no longer needed. He had some important papers to sign so couldn’t wait. Paul would get the things back in Cusco. At the springs I found Paul and Francois already there, enjoying the heat. I could see why as the water was really warm, lovely and relaxing....a pleasant way to start the day.  Unlike the springs at Colca Lodge you tend to find the moss gathering at the edges of these, more remote hot springs, then breaking free and floating on the top. A quick swish up and toss over the edge sorts that. I took advantage of Francois’s shampoo and decided to wash my hair. I’m not sure how sulphur affects the colour of your hair.. but hey it could cope. Prompted that breakfast would be ready soon we got out and dressed. It was surprising how long the heat stayed with you. First I hugged (a wet hug ) Rob and the guys and said bye agreeing to visit Rob to pick his brains about applying for grants, being that he applied for multimillion ones on a regular basis! All hints and tips welcome.  I then dried and dressed relatively leisurely not feeling the cold. Paul had left 2 wet suits beside my tent. I opted for the bigger, not wanting to risk getting stuck inside the smaller one. The large one was a little loose but I thought at least I could breathe in it! I also had a couple of layers to put under it. Carol suggested I wear my light weight fleecy then their red fleecy on top followed by the wet suit (to keep out the cold as the water would be particularly cold as would the wind once the sun dipped in the canyons)...knickers would suffice for the bottom half. This was followed by boots which are very difficult to zip up properly but you pull the wet suit over them anyway. Next came the splash jacket, a lifejacket that you can barely breathe in, and a helmet. It keeps you safe though so I shouldn’t complain. The latter gear doesn’t need to go on until we are ready to set off. First was a lovely breakfast of pancakes and peaches...now that was lovely. Armed with snack packs (which were bulging with chocolate as we were down to 4 of us now), lunch (that lovely rice dish again- same as the first day), full gear on and camera securely in a waterproof box we got ready to leave. As Paul was setting up Francois in his kayak Carol quickly gave me some lessons in what to do. How to hold the paddles and how to row, covering hand and body position, ensuring I was using the bottom half of my body...there is no slouching in a kayak especially when there are two of you as you get in the way of the other person and the power comes from the legs and stomach. Paul would be steering and I would be the engine. All I needed to do was listen and respond..fine..I can do that.  Francois discovered the back of his kayak was a little flat..obviously a slow puncture somewhere. For those not in the know there are various points you need to blow up these inflatable kayaks. Ronaldo and Paul pumped it up again and we took the pump with us. We were set. We wouldn’t see Justo and Ronaldo until 4pm approximately depending on the water. If it was fast flowing we may get there earlier.
Off we went taking it easy to see how it felt..no problems. As we paddled along it was incredibly peaceful and beautiful. The surrounding mountains had beautiful rock formations which became a fun topic of what we could see in each. This continued on for the two days actually. We reckoned we saw Elvis as we left the 3 canyons the next morning...really!!!!
There was also a lot of time to chat and for Paul and I to get to know each other better. Obviously I was friendly with Carol so Paul and I hadn’t spent much time in each other’s company. As we paddled and drifted along there were also lots of ducks, Andean geese etc on the water in front of us. Some of these ducks were very small and rode the rapids too!! How do they manage that without getting water up their nose I would like to know??? Amazing little things. The Andean geese were funny too if a little stupid. One kept feigning it was hurt by dragging a wing to draw our attention away from its baby...aaawww; but then it would only fly a short distance in front of us and so it would go on for quite some time. If they had just headed for shore and let us past!!  We stopped on a sunny spot to have our snacks (about 2 hours later) which was great as I needed to stretch my legs. I didn’t tell you my position in the kayak. Basically in the front of the kayak you have pedals to rest your feet on but your legs are bent up and out to the side with your knees held under straps at the side of the kayak. You can get them in and out reasonably easily but you wanted them tight enough so they didn’t slip out when on the rapids and rough water. I had to keep slipping mine out and stretching my feet as my legs and feet were getting rather sore in this unnatural splayed position. (I only did this on the quiet stretches of water...so don’t panic!!) Paul reckoned the water level was just about perfect. It was high enough to give us some thrills and not too low that we got stuck a lot, which was very tiring to try and get off as we discovered on a couple of occasions. We did quickly discover that Carol and Francois obviously sat a little higher in the water than us so we had to find our own way through these stretches of water. On the first day we did get stuck on the stones a couple of times so had to wiggle around a bit to get off and back into deeper water. Usually if we paddled quite hard at these areas we managed to use our momentum to get across. It was 12 years since Paul had done this stretch of water so he wasn’t sure if there would be any surprises ahead so Carol and Paul were constantly scanning the water..both very experienced kayakers both here and all over the world.
We then came to the canyon which Paul knew of. We pulled in and went to assess it. Carol wasn’t keen to come through this narrow section as it came round a sharp bend and under a bridge. With less time on the water while having the children and in the office, she was less confident of her skills for this type of run. Paul and Carol assessed it and Carol was the safety man with the rope ready should Paul get into any difficulty. After much deliberation Paul set off in Carol’s kayak first and executed it perfectly...yey  He then brought through François’, again with no hitches. OK it was time for the 2 man kayak. Paul asked me if I wanted to accompany him...I quickly declined and suggested Francois. He had kayaked on numerous occasions before but this was the first time he had kayaked on his own. He was keen to do this with Paul and I was keen to take photos.  Carol instructed me on what to do if they got into trouble as she would need an anchorman to help pull them both out..but I had to first make sure I was safe first. They sailed through with no problems but on a real adrenaline high. Paul was super hyper after 3 runs at the canyon, I can tell you.  We all climbed back in our kayaks and set off again coming safely out the other side of the canyon. We decided a lovely big rock would be nice and warm for lunch. In the sun it was lovely but in the shade you got a little cold especially if you were a little (or a lot) wet from the rapids. It was interesting being with Paul as often, once we were through the rapids but still in reasonably rough water, he would turn us around to ensure the others came through safely. He also had a mini video on his helmet so was videoing Carol and Francois as they came through....also videoing the beautiful scenery and canyons (especially on the second day). We found our lovely big rock with some fantastic images in the rocks above us. Some actually looked like the ones on Easter Island...incredible.  The biggest problem we had on day 1 was drinking water. Carol had been smart and brought her platypus but Paul and I only had 600ml each and these were soon finished. Carol’s water was also finished early on in the morning and she thought her platypus must be leaking. Paul and I decided to do without but Carol bravely filled her platypus from a small stream flowing into the river. It looked clear but the problem was you didn’t know what was happening further up the mountain..grazing animals and also using it as a toilet!! She didn’t seem to suffer any ill effects though.
On the second half of our trip – the afternoon stretch -was truly idyllic, but a big afternoon paddling as we still had a long way to go. We passed through long stretches of beautiful trees that Paul explained were extremely slow growing and very, very old. Some parts looked like a real dingly dell...it was like travelling through a really ancient civilisation. You expected to see fairies flying around. It was just lovely.  As we paddled past the local people here and there we would shout “Buenas Dias “and wave. They were out tending their animals or crops...most waved back and replied which was nice. The llamas were very curious as they watched us with the little ones running for mum...soooo cute .  We were now also on the lookout for Irasmo. This nice man had helped a young girl who had fallen in, on a previous trip some time ago and who was suffering from hypothermia. He took her and the guide into his house and helped heat her up..probably saved her life actually. As a sign of gratitude the guide on the trip had given Irasmo a paddle as he could see he had a tyre to cross the river and a piece of wood to paddle. Irasmo turned out to be quite a character, living on a house on top of a rock and as he explained they all lived off the land, only taking broken branches from the trees, not cutting them down...the way it should be actually... Contact had been maintained with Irasmo over the years. As we continued Paul would ask if they had seen Irasmo and how much further. All pointed further on. As we got closer a local man could tell us Irasmo was out so he wouldn’t be able to join us for tea. The last time Paul had seen him he had asked for a wet suit. Paul had agreed. It was still a good wetsuit but Paul, being the generous person he was, and still eternally grateful was going to give him one.
We made good time along the river and soon came to our exit point on the left of the river. It was now 5pm. Ronaldo was waiting for us. We all managed to negotiate our way out safely and quickly became cold as the sun was now setting. We were in the 3 canyons and very beautiful it was. We seemed to be near a road and above the camp were 2 lay-bys with a grazing cow and donkey....all very peaceful and picturesque.  We also had a lovely dog who stayed close to us all night. He sat quietly watching to see if he was going to be given any tit-bits. Justo is not a fan of dogs so often chased the poor soul. We gave him something when Justo wasn’t looking though.  We all changed into much warmer clothes and headed to the food tent for hot chocolate and crackers before tea. Carol and Paul went for a walk which later I was kicking myself for not going as I missed the lovely sunset over the mountains. I had been so cold at this point I just wanted to rest and heat up...oh well!! Francois and I had been chatting..a very interesting man. A very big businessman in Peru with his finger in a lot of pies but interestingly had from the raw materials to the final article all within his control, so no issue with supply etc....from beautiful alpaca and upmarket stores, to pharmacies to a large share in Amazonas Explorers (Carol and Paul’s company) to 75% share of Colca Lodge. Carol and Paul were invited to his daughter’s wedding in 2 weeks in Arequipa. A big affair I am sure.
Francois and I did join Carol and Paul for a short time at the top lay-by with a great view, but the sun had pretty much set by then..It was really beautiful though. In the morning I would wander off and take some photos. Paul said I would have time before we got on the water at 9am again.
At dinner we had a lovely soup (Justo’s speciality) and Lomo Saltado..one you could eat this time.  I was toasted with Inca Kola and they all sang happy birthday to me which was nice.  This felt like a better birthday. 
As usual we were all tucked up in bed pretty early – 7pm. We had not had as much sleep over the last few days between late camps and the cold. My muscles were also a bit sore so I did a bit of stretching before bed. We had been on the water for 8 hours with only about 1 hour to relax and eat.

DAY 6

Our last day....
Today was to be an easier day as we would finish by lunchtime and head home. Francois’ driver had been given instructions as to where to meet us.
Up at 6am as usual we had breakfast of eggs, sausage, beans and bacon, with a hot chocolate (that requires 2 sugars) ..lovely.  I then headed off for a few photos. I don’t think they were as nice as I would have got the night before but I was happy enough with them. As I left the camp to take my photos, up past the lay-bys and across the bridge, a man on a motor-bike passed me. I didn’t think anything of it. It turned out this was Irasmo coming to see his amigos.  He also got his wetsuit.  I was sad I had missed this colourful character.
Back at camp and we packed up and pulled on our wetsuits and clothes. With us arriving after the sun was well down there was little drying outside and we had hung the suits up in the food tent. The wet suits were unfortunately a little wet when we pulled them on...eeek!!
We were actually back on the water for 8.30am which was good. We learnt from the day before and had brought much more drinking water with us. Paul said there would be more water on the river today..more rapids and lots of canyons, black granite...should be interesting.  Off we set. The river felt much the same as the day before with rapids, choosing which side to go as there was often more than one path through them and meanwhile watching these little ducks ride the waves. Interestingly we were kayaking parallel with the road for a time and people slowed down to watch us, people came out of their houses to wave and shout hello..it was really nice. One motorcyclist with his wife and child kept slowing down and watched us going through the rapids. They followed us for quite a time.
Not far along it became apparent that Francois was having a bit of trouble. Seemingly his forearm had swollen up. They had all discussed it the night before unbeknown to me. He had taken an Ibuprofen (that I had supplied) from the first aid kit. Paul suggested Carol and him swap kayaks as Carol’s was lighter and possibly less strain on his arm. I also told him to make sure and take the Ibuprofen regularly to reduce the inflammation. It was quite swollen. This done off we set off again.
Shortly after this Paul and Carol suddenly shouted..the horizon, the horizon..head for the shore!! We did. We discovered the problem was there was a huge weir here now as they took water off to irrigate soil further on. Carol and Paul had noticed the horizon just disappeared so we didn’t know what we were going into!! Paul tried taking one of the boats through but it was quite difficult with the steepness and water level.. It was much easier just to walk the boats down it and then we could resume. The problem with this water was the swirl back and we could see coke bottles going nowhere just swirling in the water. Back in the kayaks off we went again.
After about a couple of hours we passed a lovely scene of llamas and alpacas on some lovely rocks near the water. Paul and I were busy looking at this when we realised a bit too late that we were taking the wrong line onto the rapids. We were too close to the large rocks on the right hand side. The kayak began to slide down the side of these rocks pulled into the water turbulence. We were at quite an angle and this is where I made my stupid mistake. I leant into the side away from the rocks to put my oar into the water..I was still paddling! The kayak turned and in I went. All I could think of was “shit!!” I came up under the kayak to begin with spluttering and then managed to get out and grab the side as it righted. Paul was in the kayak trying to get us ashore and telling me to hang on and kick. I did try but the current was quite strong. My kicks were pretty feeble. Paul managed to land the kayak. Both Carol and Francois were coming ashore and watching. Carol shouted to me to pull myself onto the rocks. I was trying but the rocks were quite big, smooth and steep so I was slipping back in with the current. I shouted “I’m slipping back in”..I was still choking at this point from swallowing quite a bit of water!! Paul then came and grabbed my life jacket and pulled me out......I lay there puffing and panting..and extremely shocked...a tad traumatised!! Carol suggested this was a good place to have our snacks. After a few minutes I took off my life jacket, splash jacket and tried to squeeze some of the water out of my wet suit and tops. Fortunately the sun was out so was quickly drying what it could. Paul asked if I was warm enough and actually I was. I sat quietly and ate a bit of my snack pack. Ronaldo and Justo had arrived in the jeep. We were actually going to be stopping here as there were some lovely ruins, just ahead, for us to see. Shortly afterwards they said we were heading up. I said I would wring out my tops first then head up. I felt the sun was strong enough to dry them. They wandered off leaving me to compose myself as waves of shock kept hitting me. This was best actually. Saved me turning into a blubbering wreck if someone had sympathised with me! As we reached the top of the slope to the ruins Ronaldo slowed and asked if I was OK. I said – a little shaky but fine..that was really sweet of him.  The ruins – Malka Yakta (ancient place) were unusual in that there were lots of circular ruins. This was seemingly a grain storage area for most of the surrounding area. The taller circular building had been a burial tower. It was pleasant wandering around. Soon we wandered back and got ready to set off again. Paul strongly suggested I change one of my fleecy tops as we were heading into more shade and I would be cold. He gave me a dry one- a kind of wetsuit type top to put on and gave me his waterproof trousers to put on top. It did make a difference..I thanked him as he must also be cold..He had been in the water too.
It would have been very easy not to get back in the kayak but that would have been silly so I pulled myself together and kept reminding myself that I had complete trust in Paul. He initially took me through the quieter parts of the river but then took me into some more exciting rapids to build my confidence. I was quiet during this last stretch I must admit..tired and a little nervous especially on the narrow stretches. I just kept concentrating on what I was doing and Paul was saying to me.. vigilant of any obstacles to make sure Paul didn’t miss them. A little later we did discuss what had happened and I knew I had tipped the wrong way. Paul also said I had given up too quickly on the ability of the inflatable kayak and Paul to keep it upright. We may still have gone in but not as quickly. Anyway I now knew what I needed to do if we listed. This actually did happen a couple of times later on that day and I reacted the correct way so lessons had been learnt. This stretch of water was truly magical but as Carol said..grade 1 water but grade 5 for nerves, as we passed through long and narrow granite canyons with rock formations that looked like Gaudi had been at work here. Absolutely stunning!!! The danger was if we tipped out here there was nowhere to go but hang on until you got out the other side!! There were a couple of tricky bits coming through some of the canyons as large rocks in our way meant narrow sections to kayak through but we managed them well. One section required time to decide how best to tackle one section to line up right for the rest of the rapids as the view was not clear from where we were coming into it. Carol tackled a tough bit of water to get a clearer view then shouted instructions to Paul so we could try it first. We got it right..yey!! As for the little ducks...yep they were still with us and looked like they enjoyed these lovely quiet canyons. A poor little pigeon had limped onto a rock with a broken wing so I’m not sure it would survive as the rock faces were sheer and very high...It would not be able to fly out...poor thing. 

I couldn’t believe how many canyons there were but there were a lot. Eventually we came out of one canyon to see a bridge in front of us and more rapids. This was where we came ashore..just before the bridge ( Macchu Puente)..miss this and we were not sure where we were going to be able to land! All was well... we came in one at a time with Ronaldo and a helper he had found, helping us ashore. We quickly pulled each kayak up to allow the next person to land. Once we had all landed we carried the kayaks up to where Justo was making lunch next to the jeep. It was 12.30pm and beautifully sunny. We all found somewhere quiet to dry ourselves and change into dry, land clothes. I was pleased to be ashore....It had been quite an adventure!!!
Paul actually admitted on the way home this was not a commercial trip. The river, even though at the right level, was too dangerous unless it was very proficient kayakers on the water. If you had one silly person that didn’t take instruction or panicked it could be very dangerous. Paul was very tired after running on adrenaline for so long. He obviously had been trying to keep me upbeat as well after the capsizing.
We had a lovely lunch of soup, trucha (trout) and pineapple for dessert and full fat coke.  We left Macchu Puente at 2pm. We seemed to make good time on the way home with the only minor hiccup of getting pulled in by police to check our paperwork. We had been quite lucky as 4 police cordons had let us through. This is a fairly common occurrence in Peru but more so today as this was the May holiday here. Coming through a village we caught up on a motorbike trying to take his very drunk friend home. Watching this person swaying about behind the driver I am surprised he didn’t fall off!! All the ooows and aahhs coming from our car were quite funny as we watched!! We followed them for some time.
We arrived back in Cusco at 6pm but not before stopping at other ruins called KanaMarka...again lovely and quite extensive..before finishing our trip.
Back in Cusco at Carol and Paul’s we offloaded all the things from the jeep, taking our rucksacks into the house. The rest would wait until the morning when Justo would tidy up and Ronaldo would clean the car. We said goodnight to them, Ronaldo heading home and Justo deciding he was going to a hostel for the night. Paul and Carol spent a bit of time with the kids, 2 of whom weren’t very well- Lara and Oliver, with earache. Paul then said we were going out. He had mentioned earlier he fancied a Baco’s steak. After the kids were in bed we headed to Baco’s at 8.30pm. It was lovely to have a hot shower and wash my hair beforehand, put on reasonably smart clothes and go out. We shared a bottle of red wine; I had a gin and tonic and then shared a starter of pork ribs. I had seafood tagliatelle which was really lovely and then we all tried Paul’s fig cake...very nice . Carol and Paul then announced this was my birthday treat so that was really nice....a lovely way to finish our expedition...It really felt like that I can tell you.... an expedition!!!!

Well my friends I have come to the end of the adventure..the rest of my blogs will be much calmer and about my day to day life in Peru. Hope that doesn’t disappoint. 

Until the next blog...adios mis amigos. 

Posted by Heather Buc 20:04 Comments (0)

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