Saturday, August 25, 2007

more busy

Apologies for lack of posts - I've been working on my thesis proposal, entertaining the builders again, and I'm just about to set off for Chile. So no posts for a week or so. bye for now.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

peruvian earthquake

The earthquake in Peru was brought into focus today when I saw this photo of a fire caused by the tremors in the barrio of Rimac. Rimac was my home when I lived in Lima and although Lima escaped the worst of the quake, Ica and Pisco suffering much more, the destruction still hit hard. My friends live in Rimac, another friend was due to fly to Lima yesterday. I'm emailing them and holding all those affected in my thoughts and prayers.

Limeños live with the threat of earthquakes; the shifting Nazca Plate is part of their daily reality. Early one morning while living in Rimac, I lay stiff with fear as my rooftop room swayed around me during a minor quake. Over breakfast the rest of the household dismissed the tremors. 'We get worse than that,' they told me. Much worse, as yesterday's pictures showed. I was encouraged to read that new houses in Lima are build to withstand most quakes, but worry that as usual it is the poor who will suffer most, their rudimentary dwellings offering little resistance to the earth's movement.

The Peru Support Group is likely to have updates over the next few days as well as ways you can support those affected.

Oxfam and Christian Aid are working with local partner organizations in the affected region. More information and ways to donate via the links above.

Friends from Lima emailed this morning:
In Lima, fortunately, things are ok...The real problems have been in the south. Ica is devastated, Pisco, Nazca and Paracas are 70% destroyed. The whole country is mobilized and helping in whatever ways are possible. The lack of water, electricity and food, plus the poverty of those affected is worsening the situation. It is a terrible situation but it has reminded us of the importance of prevention, and also demonstrated the solidarity and strength of our country and its friends. We have seen in the past how Peruvians can overcome our sorrows and reach out to those in need. This time, I'm sure, will be no exception.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

tales from Salta, and the road.

A joint post by Caz, Elaine and Rachel.

"Monica's" rapidly became shorthand for perfection following our stay at Capricho in Salta. Monica welcomed us with a pot of tea and selection of cookies. Our room spread over three levels, the middle being a comfy reading area. We feasted on the freshest salads and tangy lemonade. Or curled up in the corner of the courtyard, surrounded by flowering plants and twinkling lights as the night drew in. The website has contact details, for pictures and details see here. When we did leave the courtyard, we popped down the road to pink and yellow crazy Iglesia San Francisco, and up the cable car too.

We thought we'd beat the coach parties, but they too were staying at the hotel in the ruins too! So many people, and only one Pedro to check us in, give directions, mop the floor, run the bar... Climbing high above the ruins, from the lookout we could trace our journey in, the night before.

On the road, by San Rafael's chapel, high high above the clouds. El Golfo coped very well with the terrain, including the diversion along a dry river bed...

Another fabulous stay at Hotel El Cortijo in the well kept village of Cachi, high up in the mountains. After a long drive on the ripio unpaved road from Cafayate, we fell into the sofas, mugs of coffee and chocolate in hand. Caz and I had a quick game of Trivial Pursuits in español and sampled some coca leaves and organic wine!

Home of the seven coloured mountain, vast salt plains, and location for recent Argentine film, Una Estrella and Dos Cafes. This resulted in much excitement from Rachel as she snapped location spots and tried to identify actors in the film, even embarrassingly asking the boy minding the corner shop while having her photo taken by a poster of the film!

We made full use of the shopping opportunities at the craft market, and sat in the sun listening to a local choir sing outside the village church. And finally, a restaurant to recommend after several days of limited vegetarian options, the highlight being six carrot-and-lettuce-on-a-cocktail-stick that we were presented with in Cachi! We made up for it with the hot empanadas, pumpkin soup and quinoa risotto, followed by turron icecream, or rich rice pudding.
Los Morteros, Calle Salta, Purmamarca (0388) 490 8002

Bye from Claudio of the dazzling white teeth, busy Monica, and Pedro of the curly black hair.

Monday, August 06, 2007

colours of salta

on the dust-dry plain,
low lying plants
capture the light
in yellow-green baubles.

under the fierce sky
we stop at a chapel
for San Rafael:
"You who accompanied Tobias
on his journey,
keep us safe on ours."

at the edge
of a cloud-filled valley
we stand like angels
gaze in wonder, awe and peace.

in a haze of luminous green
a flock of parakeets
call out the day's end.

drinking frieda's tea
in a white and gold china cup,
a purple hummingbird
shares the courtyard sun.

three candles flicker low
green, red and gold;
one more welcomes us
at our door.

sky star-spangled
as far below
we fall
into layers of milky white.

two slate-blue ponies
watch us speed by
from under their green tree.