Sunday, 8 December 2019

DECEMBER SUN: BARCELONA

Watch the beach, the people, the sun, the palm trees and the sky as it blushes blue, magenta, red and yellow

From my hotel toward my towers


It is always good when the floods from November are still in the fields in December to look back on when one was last in the sunshine.

Life is simple in September. I fly out on Monday, work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, fly home that same evening.

My routine is simple, rise 6am, breakfast (in the over stocked buffet in the cavernous restaurant) at 7am. I walk through quiet streets to the office. 
Through the security gates and then I travel to the twenty-second floor of a tall glass block, it takes to my place of work.

A full on day with demanding and engaged people, each day my class and I become closer. 

Finish work at 6pm. And ten-minute walk, back to hotel, via a small super market, buy wine, chorizo, and chocolate for desert. This is supper.

In Barcelona I am just east of the city centre, close to the beach and in the midst of the Olympic centre built for the Olympic games in 1992, hey, sometime back.

Looking back now, stepping out of the office at 6pm and walking a little way, to lean on a low wall and watch the beach, the people, the sun, the palm trees and the sky as it blushes blue, magenta, red and yellow and then says

Good Night

Friday, 6 December 2019

EPILOGUE: PERU WE HAVE SEEN


     It is important to reflect on any journey. 
     What did we see and do across these two remarkable weeks in Peru?

We saw the pyramids of a civilisation that pre dates the Pharaohs and Inca temples and towns and their terraces lying in the sun.
 

Most days we were in sight of mountains crowned with clouds and snow. 

MOST DAYS, MOUNTAINS

We had the chance to explore cities and their gorgeous churches, each House of God dripping with gold and silver. 
DRIPPING WITH GOLD


And during these discoveries come to sense a people for whom Christianity and spirituality were very much part of their everyday.

We salivated over ancient textiles and pottery fashioned two thousand years ago

Recoiled from the tourist hoards including young girls perched atop of ruins, their arms spread wide and chests thrust forward for ‘the photo’. 

TOURIST HOARDS

We relished wonderful cuisine and stayed in some wonderful hotels

Travelled through jungles, plains and peaks and spied small villages by fast flowing rivers. 

PEOPLE WE WILL NEVER FORGET

Ridden on trains where smartly dressed attendants suddenly don colourful costumes and danced along our train’s carriage. Then they give a fashion show

And sailed across a lake and met people we will never forget.

      
     Each was an exquisite and unrepeatable experience.


Wednesday, 4 December 2019

PERU THE FINAL DAY AND HEADING HOME



We managed to wedge in one more site visit, driving twenty km out of Puno; up over the hillsides of the city and down onto broad plains. The region of Puno is an important for agriculture and livestock area, home to llamas and alpacas, which graze on its immense plateaus. We arrived at Sillustani

THE GREAT CEMETARY 


From 200 BC through 400 AD Sillustani was a necropolis, used by several tribes and peoples as a burial ground and stone circles indicate its significance as an astrological centre.  There were few people about this morning and soft breezes drifted up from the nearby lake.

Then it was down to the serious business of the run home.  From Sillustani it was forty-minute drive to the town of Julieta, and their ‘international’ airport. 

We caught a short flight back to Lima.  Immediately we were airborne my altitude sickness evaporated and spirits lifted. The latter were soon crushed given the five hours hanging around at Lima airport with its noise and crowds. 

AIR TRAVEL


The horrors of air travel, on this occasion, culminated in the flight being forty-five minutes late for take off. This was because the crew was late getting to the airport. Before we eventually took off we were given a simpering, almost apologetic excuse from the crew’s first officer about the heavy traffic. British Airways, typical.

Monday, 2 December 2019

PERU DAY 11 THURSDAY THE FLOATING ISLANDS


Lake Titicaca is laced by mountains and at the Puno end, vast reed beds. The reeds are home to ducks, grebes and egrets. This lake then broadens out and is mirror flat and deep blue and reflecting high cloud. Only the wake of our boat breaks the peace. In the far distance are small white outlines of other tour boats.  We have two island destinations today, our last full day.

UROS
The floating island reed beds are home to the Uros people. The Uros or Uru use bundles of dried totora reeds to make boats and to fashion the islands themselves. The larger of these island accommodate about ten families, while smaller ones, are only thirty meters wide, housing only two or three families. 
A WORLD CREATED OUT OF REEDS


COLOUR IS THE LEITMOTIF!
Tourism is the staple industry of the Uros. Dazzling colour is their leitmotif! The clothing made and worn by the women and girls were of the brightest hues, pinks, blues, reds and yellows, oranges and greens. 

I could not draw quickly enough and left the island that we were fortunate enough to visit with four drawings. This short outing was a high spot.

TAQUILE.
Taquile is a hilly island located 45 km (28 miles) east of Puno. It is narrow and long and was used as a prison during the Spanish colonisation and actually into the 20th century. We had an excellent lunch of trout fished out of the lake. Titicaca is famous for its fish especially trout. Taquile is home to a remarkable knitting industry. Taquile handicrafts are regarded as among the highest quality in the world. 
TAQUILE ISLAND TITICACA'S CRAFT CENTRE


Tour Guide Sindy explained some of the local customs. One convention is a curious try-before-you-buy aspect to getting married. 

A prospective couple have to live together for three years before they can get married, usually under the roof of the girl’s family. The engagement can be broken off before getting hitched of course. 

However divorce is prohibited. There was one case of divorce and the male of the party was banished from the island. There are now about 2,200 people on the island, all of whom are happily married. UNESCO honoured the island of Taquile and its Textile Art: They proclaimed the handicraft work on this island as ‘Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’. Men exclusively do the knitting, and start aged eight. The women do get a look in; making yarn and weaving. I bought a nice scarf.