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.

Advertisements

Living or observing

What is it about walking in the forest or hiking through the bush or climbing a mountain? If the trees meld into each other and the trail continues around each corner and the dirt looks the same on the ground as your forehead then what is it about these places that draw us to them?

Is it the quiet and tranquillity from the sounds of running water or dancing sunlight under the trees? You spot a bird or hear their songs; you smell the wet soil or kick up the dust, absorb the cool or sweat out the atmosphere.

Is it the uninterrupted sky or the wide view below, the isolation, desolation or danger waiting in the wind? Is it just different to what you see, touch and smell daily at home or do these places demand attention, a sort of acute observation birthing an intrinsic appreciation?

Does our location (home or away from home) determine whether we are a worker or a sightseer, whether we are a liver or an observer and if so, what happens when you suddenly live in a place that you would normally just observe?

I went to Barranco, the art centre of Lima with a reputation any Bohemian would be proud of. It has a fascinating history but you can read about that elsewhere I’m sure.

For me, the streets formed the never-ending trails and the lovely lace like patterned gates likened canvases hung in a gallery. The bright coloured buildings mimicked large randomly coloured wildflowers planted in a semi-uniformed pattern. Admiring the craftsmanship in age old carved doors, no different to inspecting the intricacies in nature. The traffic appeared to follow some form of deceptive order, similar to that found in an ant’s nest.

I came to the conclusion, in answer to my own question that living is observing and observing is living and anything other, either, or, is incomplete.

The streets and colours of Barranco …

Well I’m quite happy now. I have made a case for the benefits and importance of one of my favourite pass times – observing.

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.

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.

A little get away

I have returned from a few days in Northern Peru. For a change of scenery we decided to fly to Tumbes which is just south of the border with Ecuador. We then drove 1.5 hours to our Christmas destination – Punta Sal resort.

Before I show you the resort, let’s take a look around Tumbes.

I was intrigued to see their places of business…

their places of worship, play and education …

their streets …

and lastly, their forms of transport.

So saying lots of colour in a sea of dirt would be an understatement right?

I never got around to the resort …. oh next time. Right now my insightful, wordful (thoughtful words) and creative talent to state the obvious is required elsewhere in this world of great need…. and that is with my children. I think they need me to say …. wait for it …. ‘it is the other childs turn’.

The same and the different

IMG_1161

Unprovoked images of NSW countryside have been flooding my mind. I see the rolling hills in all shades of green and brown, large grey rocks scattered over hardy grass and sturdy tree trunks supporting the voluptuous sprays of eucalyptus leaves. The water in Lake Jindabyne, the location of our last stay in Australia before departing for Lima Peru, looked calm and inviting despite appearing like shattered glass jutting into the surrounding mounds.

In such visions I can almost smell the familiar sun-rays hitting the wet grass under my feet. I must be missing home? The warmth from the fire in winter, the comfort from the sunshine in summer, the sound of the cicadas on a summers evening, the songs from the birds at dusk, the ‘yes love’ and ‘no worries’? Yes, I think I am missing home.

IMG_1162

I realise how easy it is for everything to be either practiced with complacency or experienced from inexperience. Just a whole lot of living the old and the new, the same and the different really.

When the new and the different outweigh the old and the same, I search for a safe haven. I imagine sitting under a gum tree overlooking the wind in the wheat fields or walking through a sunlit forest after the rain, or watching the whitewash of the ocean against the steel blue stormy sky on a freezing cold day. Yep, I think I’m all newed up. Need a little of the old so I am munching on a milky way.

But!!!! The sun has finally made an appearance here in Lima. I have been relishing its magnificent saturation of warmth …. a welcomed familiar sensation and thankfully a global one.

Thought I would share some photos of the Malecon in Lima Peru. Still taken on my iPhone from inside the car I’m afraid. Call me the world’s laziest photographer if you will.

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.