After reporting in from my travels I had very little to say about myself once that storehouse of ‘adventures’ and pictures was exhausted. Once back in gray, wintery Lima I barricaded myself in and started writing loads of poetry. That was satisfying and kept me off the street , so to speak. Quite a few of them got published or have been accepted and hang about in the antechamber before the review/journal’s next publishing date. Then, suddenly, I was empty. Feels a bit like just being the skin with the sausage squeezed out, a balloon without much air, a limp, wet hand offered for a reluctant shake. It doesn’t feel good, that’s for sure. And every time it happens (it’s not the first time, of course) I think that this time perhaps I won’t snap out of it. Grrrr.
While I am all washed up in this way, I thought I have a look at the old chassis and see whether it’s holding up. I am actually having maintenance work done. My teeth are as old as I am, of course, and they suddenly decided they wanted attention. Went to my new Lima dentist: all the equipment state-of-the-art, the practice white and shiny, and he seems obsessed with punctuality (asks his patients to come for their appointment approximately 10 minutes before they’re due). And he’s not even German! Anyway, during the next few days I’ll have some digging work done and one molar removed, replaced immediately by one of those implant thingies. Thank God my teeth lasted long enough to experience such luxury. There was a time when I marched, all seven and/or eight years old, down that long village road to see the local dentist for fillings at a time when there wasn’t any anesthesia to be had. Looking back I still can’t believe I did that.
For some time now I found that everybody started to speak very quietly, whispering almost. I don’t know what has come over you all. I found that my father’s method helps: he pushed his ears forward and added his cupped hand to catch the sound. Because it seemed to work for him, I figured I would try it and lo and behold, it worked for me too. But then I realized I couldn’t eat while keeping my hands cupped behind my ears. No conversation then over lunch or dinner. I have given in and consider the possibility that you lot aren’t whispering but that I need some help. So tomorrow I’ll be in some posh American outfit having my ears tested. They offer tiny, invisible, digital devices for large, visible, real money.
My hip is in on the game as well as my right knee. Perhaps I am falling apart after all.
|Apart from the clapped out German you see the Lima coastal desert|
There’ll be another blog to follow soon, because finally I’ll be going off to see our finca bordering one of the most beautiful lakes in all Peru – or so I am constantly being told – the Blue Lake or the Sauce Lake: el Lago Azúl or el Lago Sauce. I think I mentioned before either that we were dreaming with buying there or that we had bought. Since we finally acquired about 100 hectares of rainforest, Lucho’s been going once about a month to start the process of reforestation, and cleaning the small coffee plantation that was already there. He bought 10 beehives (if I said another number before I lied) because we’ll be making honey (real honey from ‘La Soñada’ – that’s the name of the finca), he’s had a little pier built for one of those old river boats we want to buy, had the land fortified against the constant ‘onslaught’ of the lapping waves, planted 60 fruit trees (mango papaya, avocados and other exotic stuff like that which right now I can’t even imagine), seeded out an old Inca plant from which a special oil is made… oh, I don’t know. I asked him whether he’d seen the monkeys, the sloths, the parrots and he hasn’t. They were stomping about, making a lot of noise, what do you expect.
|That's where we are: just under the red start by 'Sauce'|
|That'll be the view from my office/studio window. Ha!|
|You thought spaghetti grew on trees :) this is cocoa|
|Coffee beans, of course|
|We already have the labels for 'our' honey!|
|Sacha Inchi - makes oil rich in Omega 3|
|The boss going back to the hotel|
|One can dream, no?|
I have every intention of taking loads of (brilliant!!!) photos and you’ll be the first to have to look at the best.
Oh, I nearly forgot one of the best news of all: through Barbara (she seems to continue to be my guardian angel) a gallery is interested in selling my photos. Just took the first steps, picking out some and having them enlarged to see how they work. Color and black/white. The few people who’ve seen them so far were very enthusiastic.
As I am going through my pix now trying to sort the chaff from the gold, I came across my Peru photos from my first visit in 2004, when I ‘did’ all the important destinations I had dreamed about since I was about 16 or 18 years old. Today I share some with you.
My kids and my granddaughters are well, my son and his partner have bought a house. That news made me remember 1969 when we bought our first one and a cat called ‘Poika’. The cat was Finnish and ‘Poika’ means boy. He was as mean as they came, an old street fighter, scratched especially little Effie – waiting for her on the stairs – in return for which she loved him to bits, of course. We all did.
Food? Let’s see…
How about a soup?
CAUCHE DE QUESO
1 kg soft cheese
(queso fresco, Burgos - in the UK it’s more like Fromage Frais but stiffer, harder. Perhaps it’s even more like ricotta, but drier)
3 medium sized tomatoes (peeled, take out seed, cube)
1 spoon full of parsley
1 spoon full of oregano
1 fresh aji (chilli), cleaned out, cubed)
½ cup of milk
1 spoon full of olive oil
- Cut the cheese into thick strips.
- Mix the onion (finely cut into rings), the cubed tomatoes, the parxley, oregano, the ají (or chilli) finely cubed, salt and pepper.
- Put the olive oil in a saucepan and add part of the onion mixture you just made. On top of that layer the cheese slices. Add again a layer of the onion mix and finish it off with cheese slices.
- Add the milk.
- With the lid on the saucepan, let it simmer for 30 minutes.
- Serve in soup places, add some boiled potatoes.
As far as bad jokes are concerned I have decided to add insult to injury and repeat a series of evil comments regarding age that came to me via the internet – of course. Someone should do something about this. It’s totally not p.c.
- Your kids are becoming you...and you don't like them....but your grandchildren are perfect!
- When people say you look 'great' they add 'for your age!'
- When you needed the discount, you paid full price. Now you get discounts on everything: movies, hotels, flights, etc. but you're too tired to use them.
- You forget names.... But it's ok because other people forgot they even knew you!!!
- The five pounds you wanted to lose are now 15 and you have a better chance of losing your keys than the 15 pounds.
- You realize you're never going to be really good at anything - especially golf.
- Your spouse sleeps better on a lounge chair with the TV blaring than he or she does in bed. It's called their 'pre-sleep'.
- Remember when your mother said, 'Wear clean underwear in case you GET in an accident'? Now you bring clean underwear in case you HAVE an accident!
- You miss the days when everything worked with just an 'ON' and 'OFF' switch…
- Everybody whispers.
- You have three sizes of clothes in your closet two of which you will never wear.
Bye for today until the next one which is kind of imminent and in which I'll tell all about ‘La Soñada’ and the birds and the bees and the mosquitos and...
Saludos desde Perú.
The following pix are from 'Aguas Calientes' = hot waters, hot springs. This place at the foot of Machu Picchu has grown/is growing without any planning and is actually Machu Picchu village. You can imagine how tourism has attracted make-shift housing, hotels, eateries, bars... In a couple of photos you see the hot springs of Aguas Calientes. And that dachshund? He followed us all the way up. I figured if he could, so could I. It's quite steep. But, whatever, it's all attractive to me. In the next blog I'll add some from Machu Picchu itself.