Friday, April 29, 2016

My mind holds this world in its hands (The Staple Singers)

Guest blogger Jade Purdy continues her trip through Peru:
We went to the Santa Catalina Monastery yesterday which was beautiful. It sits on approx 50 acres with 80 'cells' (units) where nuns used to and still do live. A lot of the information around was about a nun called Ana de los Angeles Monteagudo. According to the information there she performed many miracles, had many visions and even fought the devil who presented himself to her. 
We went into her 'cell' which had a lot of her belongings within it including a whip that had approximately 6 barbed plates and this weird barbed wire mat thing. William and I were speechless. We'd earlier read that she would "mortify her body" I hadn't really understood what that meant until seeing those objects. I really don't understand the chastising or mortifying ones body in the name of religion. I wouldn't be cut out for the 1600s sisterhood.
We then went and sat in the Plaza which again is stunning surrounded by cathedrals and cobbled roads. There were a lot of pigeons there which was a welcome treat. You can buy seed (tupence a bag) which a little kid had done. How kind you'd think. A boy of about 9 buying seed to feed the birds...bless. No. He was luring the pigeons in and then trying to stomp on them. He managed to lure one bird in who he pounced on and started pulling its wings. I couldn't help myself and I rushed over and told him off. The father said "he's just feeding" to which I angrily told him no he's hurting him. This luckily shocked the kid enough to stop stomping and pulling and the dad kept a closer eye. Stupid kid.
Love and peace - Jade's dad

Monday, April 25, 2016

If she winks an eye, the bread slice turn to toast (Little Richard)

Jade and William in Peru - latest adventures

Iros Island

We've just returned from our home stay on Amantani island on lake Titicaca. We arrived to Puno via a 6.5 hour bus drive. The whole journey was a complete eye opener at how fragile out little world is. We drove through cities with no paved roads, Shanti buildings and sectioned off areas of weeds painted as grass. Too often I think we travel and see only the beauty. Through ignorance or denial we ignore areas where mother earth is bleeding and humans are pushing their luck. 
Puno is settled at 3800m above sea level with a population of about 40,000 not including dogs. It was raining when we arrived. We were trying to hunt down a taxi when HUGE clap of thunder hit directly above us. We thought it was a bomb or some sort of explosion. Not exactly the welcome you want.
Puno is cold.

The first island we visited was Uros island. Google it. It's incredible what they can do with a basic reed.
We had an amazing time with our host family on Amantani island. However, our guide was a tad odd. He was very spiritual and instead of telling us the history of the island and the culture of the people he informed us of his near Buddha status, the female and male energies of the earth, his proof that aliens were the creators of underground buildings and his proof of the great flood... I could give a whole book of examples. Trust my luck he didn't take a shining to william oh no he spoke about it to me every little chance he got. It was exhausting.
Our host family took us to a Fiesta where we danced a lot. They dressed us in traditional clothes and we had a lot of fun. Many pictures and even a video or two to show. 
Our last island to visit was Taquile. Gorgeous! Places like that take all the rough edges of my soul and smooth them out beautifully. It was beautiful with a gentle lake breeze and a touch of sunshine. I burnt the shiz out of my face. It was honestly a touch of sunshine but gosh my poor nose!

Today we travel to Arequipa via bus again. Wish us luck!

Love and peace - Wozza 

We want things we cannot have (Patti Smith)

DMP 23 April 1930 - 4 November 1983

We want things we cannot have. We seek to reclaim a certain moment, sound, sensation. I want to hear my mother's voice. I want to see my children as children. Hands small, feet swift. Everything changes. Boy grown, father dead, daughter taller than me, weeping from a bad dream. Please stay forever, I say to the things I know. Don't go. Don't grow - Patti Smith (M Train, page 209).

Love - WNP

Thursday, April 21, 2016

I told you 'bout the swans, that they live in the park (Cream)

Black Swan Green is a terrific book by David Mitchell.

I've just finished it. I had to stretch it out a bit - didn't want to say goodbye to Jace y'see.

Black Swan Green is the town Jason Taylor and family live in and the book's events are set out as a year in the life of Jason - crucially his 13th.

David Mitchell writes superbly but it's how much he gets that terrifying 13th year right that continually impressed me. Same as Nick Hornby gets Marcus in About A Boy.

I went to a boys' secondary school in NZ but the school life of Jason sounded a lot like mine, minus the girls.

The girl thing is a particular minefield that Mitchell nails: 
Melanie Pickett was half right. I don't know whether or not I know the facts of life. You can't ask adults 'cause you can't ask adults. You can't ask kids 'cause it'd be all round school before first break. So either everybody knows everything but nobody's saying anything, or else nobody knows anything and girlfriends just sort of...happen.
The casual violence/bullying is spot on too. 

Teachers could never be relied upon to spot undercurrents and the big guys in my classes always seemed to get away with their stand over tactics. Like Jason, I learned how to avoid trouble for the most part but it wasn't easy. 

Football was my savior at school - I'd been in Auckland rep teams all through the grades which meant a certain mana, and I knew some of the cooler guys at school through that. Not that they sought me out for friendship, but I was left alone for the most part in the third form. Handy!

Fourth form (and life in the notorious 4B) was a different story. Things would get worse before they got better.

On to a new book now: Jonathan Raban's Driving Home. More on that to come.

Love and peace - Wozza

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A fantabulist night to make romance (Van Morrison)

More from DLG in Peru:

We survived the trek. I'm continually amazed at how far the human body can be pushed. For example day 2 we scaled up to 4200m and day 3 we descended 1000m. It was the hardest I've ever pushed my body and the whole experience was amazing. 
14 hours sleep later and I feel like I'm starting to recover from the trek. It's not just the walking or the rain or the food, language and altitude. I think it's the constant amazement we are continually finding ourselves in. Climbing up to 4200m surrounded my mountains and clouds. The views were incredible. I'm sure we must have at least 300 photos of just views. To add to that you'd turn a corner and an Incan ruin would slam you in the face. 

William and I were 2 of 8. Our group again was a huge highlight. Made up of 2 Scottish, 2 American, 1 English and 1 German. Our guide Yenrri (Henry) was out of this world. His nickname (given to him when he was 14 in the jungle army) Rambo fitted him perfectly. Such a nice guy but I'm 99% sure he could kill me with his bare hands. On the first day he was playing with a rope making Knots. He asked the group if we could do a knot he'd just completed to which I responded you mean a noose. He then proceeded to teach the whole group how to make said noose. A lot of laughter the whole trip. 

Our group stuck together unlike other groups who broke off into pairs and we managed to arrive first at every camp and check point. 
Our last group dinner was out of tour time and we shared a guinea pig... which tastes like KFC chicken.... and many a Pisco sour. The whole trip was incredible. 
Our horse trek was beautiful too. The horses were very much loved. They were in excellent condition. My horse was head shy and obviously used to leading. Their bridles were halters with reins and saddles were some sort of western try hard. We, yes William too, galloped through the Peruvian country side and stopped at ruins along the way. William has bilateral bruises on the inside of his knees.... he tells me he had never concentrated so hard in his life but loved it all the same. 
I'm reading a book at the moment that stated only 7% of the world's communication is language the rest is non verbal. I could not agree more. I'm getting pretty good at miming.

 Love and peace - WNP

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

It's a marvelous night for a moondance (Van Morrison)

Welcome to Jade's travel diary via emails to her SWMBO and moi Part Two:

I was so naive about altitude sickness. Stupidly naive. Headache, nausea and fatigue coming at me from all directions. William seems to be having the occasional headache and fatigue but all and all fine....typical.

Coca tea (which everyone says doesn't work...hipsters most probably) seems to help, especially nausea. It tastes just like green tea.

I did my research on Diamox and realised the stupid travel lady steered me in the wrong direction. I'm now taking Medsafe's recommended dose and feeling better for it. I've also never consumed so much water in my life. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be acclimatized and can walk up the hill to Santa Teresa.

Our hotel is lovely and our bed complete with no less than 5 blankets. The staff know rehearsed English but anything more I get a blank look. I asked for milk and ended up mooing. On the plus side we found a supermarket which means MILO glorious milo! It's all I've wanted since I've been in Peru. They don't have English breakfast here and I was starting to miss my hot drinks.

We visited Qoriqancha today. It was the temple of the sun god in Inca times but most of it was demolished in the 1500's and Santo Domingo was built on top. They still have original Inca parts and the building is HUGE. A lot of the time I feel mad that once colonised the Incan temples and religions were demolished. Then again the Inca's did it to the Hauri and so on. Humans can be cruel.

We also walked around the square where I stupidly asked how much a scarf was. Rookie error.

Oh one more thing! Last night we found ourselves amongst a protest. Trumpets, drums, fire and a lot of yelling and singing. I'll attach a picture or two. I asked the receptionist what was going on and she replied "election". I wish I knew Spanish.

Jade and William are off exploring the route to Machu Picchu right now. More bulletins when I get em.

Love and peace - Abu Keegan

Thursday, April 7, 2016

To accomplish great things we must not only act but also dream; not only plan, but also believe (Anatole France)

The family is currently spread over the globe, in 4 different countries: Samantha is in the California Republic (SF to be precise);Adam and Ashleigh are in Melbourne; Keegan, SWMBO, and I remain in NZ; and Jade's in Peru! 

Very exciting news! We heard that Adam got a great job in Australia involved in music promotion. Great persistence, perseverance and courage!

Recently, in other exciting news, Samantha produced Creep, a film that won a short film award:

...And, in keeping with the very exciting vibe I've got going - Jade is currently touring Peru with William, on their way to walking the Inca Trail. 

Here's a couple of excerpts from her emails:

1 Went to the Plaza de Armas which was amazing! We arrived just in time for what looked like changing of the guards Peru style. A lot of horses and trumpets. Lots of photos for mum.

We had lunch at the oldest remaining restaurant from colonial times... I do not recommend. Coke was good. Luma cathedral was again amazing.
But the highlight of the day was the San Francisco monastery. The catacombs were airy and our tour guide was brilliant. I think he took a shining to us as we must have looked awestruck.

We also mastered the metro...who needs Spanish!  We were full but he kept making all the stops! I thought of dad a lot during the journey. 
We went to Museo Larco which was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.
and then we had dinner in the museum restaurant which was a much needed meal... we've been surviving on homemade sandwiches to keep costs low.

Today we have flown to Cusco nestled up at 3399m. Lima was a typical city and I was afraid the whole trip was going to be like it. Boy was I wrong, cusco is gorgeous! History and old buildings everywhere! Very excited to explore!

The flight was smooth and nil turbulence with incredible views of the Andes.  
William is very happy but got puffed walking up a flight of stairs... I was fine (fingers crossed that continues). I said - exciting! So glad all the preparation, saving, planning, waiting has paid off for the chuldrun.
To accomplish great things we must not only act but also dream; not only plan, but also believe (Anatole France).
Love and peace - Dad 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The taste was much sweeter than chlorine and wine (Baroness)

Easter has bin and went like all the Easters before it.

Easter always leaves me in a reflective melancholy mood but during it there were family occasions aplenty to keep me occupied.

Our visitors from the west coast, my outlaws, visited us on Rochdene for the first time and hi jinks ensued as the tour party swept through Havelock North and Napier!

Photographic proof:

After Gavin and Mabelle departed for the left hand coast again, SWMBO and I started attacking some of our fuddy duddy furniture, including the dining table and chairs.

We went for a shabby chic look:

With pretty stunning results, if I do say so myself.  Out went the mahogany and in came the French creams. VoilĂ !

Love and peace - Wozza