Hi Mum,

still life pastel drawing

I get it now. I totally understand. Why you would let your paint and brushes allure you into a different world. One that didn’t require politics, bills, stoplights, talking or even listening for that matter. Nope. Instead, a peaceful world governed by decisions such as choosing this colour or that one, this size canvas or smaller, light from the left or the right?

As a result, I have been drawing everyday for the past week and I have some new drawings.

still life pastel jug and apples

 

still life pastel drawing

As for the other world, the real one with negotiations with children, to-do lists and almost being run over on the pedestrian crossing every day. Well we continue our wait for the sun to make an entrance for longer than 1 hour in a day. The boys love their new school. I am too because I can read and understand their homework and school newsletters. I have found the best French delicatessen so I am making my way through their cheeses and tarts. Simon is getting a suit made for a charity ball later this month. Me? No I don’t have anything to wear but unfortunately my indecisiveness has made one decision and that is to torture me, no doubt until the very last moment. I need you here to make me a skirt like you did for my year 10 formal.

This next one I don’t like very much AT ALL hence why it is more unfinished than the others…. but Simon insists.

still life pastel drawing jug and bowls

Chile

 

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After a mighty long absence my blog decided to sing to me ….’Say something I’m giving up on you’.

So here goes… Hi Mum, I know you are not able to open your emails and you don’t use Facebook so I will continue to update this blog with photos from South America and some of my artwork. Or I might put my artwork on a different one. I’m not sure.

As you may have heard, we went to Chile for a week where the boys skied for two days in the emptiest ski resort on the planet. It was great, virtually no-one around. Only problem was I did some of my best skiing there with no-one to wonder in awe at my skills. Skill at not falling over that is, much anyway. Loxley even had his first ski lessons with his ‘private instructor’. This child needs to run bare foot in an Aussie backyard, eat a dinner of baked beans on toast and scrape his toes on the bitumen while scootering down the street to set him straight. He’s turning into a little spoilt so and so here. When in Rome I suppose.

I have been doing some drawing which I will include in a separate post.

 

Lunahuana, where I expected to meet Zorro

Lunahuana Peru

 

Luscious clumps of grapes dripping from vines with leaves twice the size of my outstretched hand. Rocky roads, dirt roads and pot-holes too numerous to ignore. The distinctive sound of a full and fast river, the feel of fresh air in our lungs and the sight of mountains layered with glorious shades of blues and greys.

Seventy cents for six mangoes, the smell of charcoaling chicken and colourful soda’s displayed at every turn and other nook and cranny. Jewellery stalls, restaurants galore and rows of rafting boats, quad bikes, life jackets, oars and helmets.

A mixture of ancient and current with the occasional sprinkle of the new.

At the centre of town, an elevated crucifix dwarfed by the surrounding monstrosities called montanas.

Such montanas are softened from the plush clouds in the evening, and in the morning so noticeable is the top layer cracked from intense heat, however from a far enough distance appears to be covered with a blanket of soft fur.

This is Lunahuana.

Located approximately 140km south of Lima, yet takes 3 hours to travel from Peru’s capital.

Our destination, La Confianza, was well worth the extra-unexpected bumpy travel time. I managed to take advantage of the pinky dusk light highlighting the softness of this quiet and remote location.

Seriously though, I honestly thought at any possible moment I was going to personally meet Antonia Banderas as ‘Zorro’.

Alas, we met Pedro and his dog Pisco who both became our hero’s. Pedro opened up his home and made it ours, fed us with many dishes of scrumptious Peruvian food, organised our every need from taxi to rafting and at the end of our 3 night stay, waved us off like much loved friends. And Pisco? Well he entertained our boys, escorted us on our walks and greeted us in the mornings with the exaggerated wag of a tail only a Labrador can master.

Finding my right arm

I have found my right arm and now that we are re-united I feel complete.

After tasting sugar laden breads or crouton textured toast in this country I began a search high and low for something referred to as bread with only say, 4 ingredients. When I found, time and again, the same unrecognisable ingredients (and not just because they were in spanish) on each and every bread packet, I simply went into a state of disbelief, lost my right arm and viewed a future of absolute disrepair. Who can sustain themselves on fairy bread?

Well I have done it! I have found the best bread shop. It is rustic, it is earthy, it is authentic and it is only two blocks from where I live. Could it get any better? Yes it does, they also have the best coffee I have tasted here in Lima (note I said Lima, not the world). If I had to turn myself into an object it would be either a bread pan or a coffee cup so needless to say, this place is my home away from home.

Pan de la Chola is the name and one bite of their bread convinces you that this simple fair is made from ingredients of substance. Freshly ground flour from their own stone mill, water and salt are the only ingredients except for perhaps the occasional olive, nuts and seeds and of course their very own traditional sourdough starter.

While savouring the tostados con matequilla y mermelada along with my hot americano, I admire the bread-maker skilfully folding each dough before placing them back into their containers to rise further waiting for that magical moment they will be ready for baking. It is a labour of love and I have had to remind myself that I am a married woman.

Not a bread fan? Well I don’t believe you exist but if you do exist then you can choose from other organic options but truthfully, lets not digress ….

If only you knew, could grasp, comprehend or appreciate the absolute magnitude that this place, and its proximity to my home, tickles my fancy, brightens my day and of course returns to me, my right arm.

Returning home

By far, the hardest part of our little get away was the return home. My things were in this house that we now live, in a country I have yet to successfully converse with, yet to feel embraced by familiarity or calmed by memories of contentmet, and yet my things were here, in this house that we returned to.

After we did return, I sort of stumbled around in a mild daze with aimless motivation. I did a little washing, sorting through the new Christmas toys, finding places for new things and of course, the good old clean out the fridge routine. Thoughts of the new year rapidly approaching niggled like an optimistic friend trying to cheer you up when only sinking into a pot of chocolate would do. Yep, hubby was going on his next rotation soon, something none of us have become accustomed to, if one ever does.

It didn’t help that the bike I had held at a local home/store was sold from under my feet. It was a gorgeous vintage bike with a really big brown leather seat and matching timber handles. I turned up to collect my bike after the required repairs were to be completed only to have a different one shown to me.  This time I surprised myself as my spanish was very clear, I was handed my money and I left. I’m sure they learnt a new english word in the process – ‘unbelievable’. Yeah, I was really disappointed, ‘unbelievably disappointed’

Punta SalWell …. not to worry (insert saying of doors closing and opening etc). We bought a new one and it’s a boy … he has a few Moustaches on the thing that guards the chain so naturally his name will be Mr.

It’s nice to have my own set of wheels again, some independence without explaining to anyone what I want to do or where I want to go, in a language I don’t speak. So real or not, I have a new set of wheels. Welcome to the family Mr. Mr.

A little get away Part 2

Now onto Punta Sal…

Punta Sal Resort, North Peru

Punta Sal Resort, North Peru

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming from Australia, there is no doubt that we are spoilt with the beaches with white sand, clear waters and friendly hospitality. In Northern Peru, I found the sand not so white, the water not quite as clear but the hospitality …. every bit as friendly.

The feelings of isolation were ever present with views of the untouched surrounding us from all directions. If you want to get away just enough to subtly be reminded that you haven’t fallen off the face of the earth then this is your destination. Our three bedroom bungalow provided the necessary modern comforts whilst the layout insisted that relaxation is best experienced outdoors. Perhaps if my boys were a little older I would have absorbed the outdoor lounge and dining room for the relaxation it virtually shouts but instead there was no escaping the water squirting from their newly acquired toys … nice move Santa.

Watching the sunset off the deck and seeing the meagre scattering of lights along the waters edge breaking through the dusk is enough to convince you that relaxation is an achievable physical state, not just something to dream about. Even the dancing crabs along the shore and the cool sea breeze soothing our sunburt skin were very persuasive. Then I realise this new found sensation called silence was due to iPads.

Back to Punta Sal … the menu is heavily seafood based with ample cocktails to choose from. There is a swimming pool, fuseball, table tennis and pool, water sports and fishing … just seems like an all round place for everyone. Me? What did I enjoy? Wi-fi on the beach, sounds of children laughing and the familiar sun, the one and very same, from home.

Just Pondering

Being my first time in another country I realize how little I have pondered all the things worth pondering and if you know me at all, you know I love to ponder.

My husband visited a steel fabrication yard, massive in size yet disorganised in some form of calm chaos. The welding exceptional, faultless even and all from men living in shantytowns with homes constructed from tarps, broken pieces of timber and scraps of bricks. Despite which end of the economic spectrum one may sit and regardless how far the two extremes may lie, we all do the same thing in the end and that is make the best of any situation.  Some just try harder than others, learn more in the process and accept the things they cannot change. I wasn’t one of those people so as I drove past homes transformed into places of business along a dirt road in a dessert, surrounded by nothing but mountains of more dirt (like the dust weren’t reminder enough), I found myself a little jealous but grateful. Jealous that I didn’t make the most of the opportunities I had with the same amount of dedication and determination as what we have witnessed here but grateful I don’t have the time over to try again because what I saw looked like hard work.

So the first thing worth pondering is opportunities, something I have clearly thrown a blind eye towards.

There are opportunities and then there are the opportunistic. It’s true; crime and corruption exist here but we see crime in all shapes, sizes, forms and economic circles all over the world. There are many many more honest ones; the eager one and then you hurt his feelings. Well maybe not you, but me.

We went shopping for furniture at what would be best described as the markets. Hundreds of small stalls of furniture well under what you would pay in the shopping malls. Simon and I were advised that bargaining was the norm so when we attempted to bargain I was surprised to get the reaction I did. The look on this young mans face, patient young man with the language barrier taking up a great deal of his time, was a look I misinterpreted at first. I assumed he was annoyed and a little surprised perhaps. We agreed to go half way but I couldn’t let go of that look he gave me.

After weeks of this look haunting my memory, I finally settled on the fact that I offended him. It was not a look of eagerness to make a sale but one of eagerness to provide a quality piece of furniture at a great price, by far the best deal in the entire premises. Perhaps a family member, his father, uncle or grandfather made the furniture. I have seen many furniture making shops/homes on the side of road in many districts and there would be many more I would never see in this vast city with millions of people. Is it possible that when we bargained, we belittled?

If I could take that moment back, I would. Of all the people and organizations and shops we have dealt with to find our home and furnish it, this young man, the one with a beat up station wagon and torn sneakers, provided the best and most professional experience we have had to date. Thank you young man.

What would one feel when you are proud of what you have, what you can make with what you’ve got and the length you can go when you don’t look too far ahead?

Freedom.

I need a tan. My arms are blinding me while typing on the computer.