Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the wonderful mothers in my life! This includes much more than a narrow ‘traditional’ definition of ‘mother’ but also, all you nurturers, selfless givers, care takers, ‘fur baby mamas’ 🙂, and those tasked with taking care of the other big kid in the house (ahem, I am looking at you guys). You are so appreciated.


And of course to my wonderful wife, Joline, who is again on a journey that will reinforce to her the power of that role and responsibility, Miles and I are in awe of you and can’t wait to watch you guide a little girl and show her that being a beautiful and kind spirit is the greatest gift she can give to the world around her.

Sea Shells by the Sea Shore

Thursday (10/22) started out like many other mornings this week during our amazing vacation South of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – Hungover and smiling. There was again an energy and anticipation for adventure in the air as my man Joe, (and local Tony) put together another impromptu excursion for a little group of us to see more of the Pacific Coast south of Banderas Bay.
We hopped in two skiffs from our beach in Mismaloya and headed South along the coast. I recall comments on how the swells looked a little high as we checked out the fancy jungle hideouts along Costa Sur. The luxury villas eventually transitioned to little villages accessible only by boat. At one of these called Quimixto, we disembarked and enjoyed a brutal barefoot humid hike through the jungle to check out the beautiful refreshing waterfalls at the end.

Headed back from Quimixto after photos/refreshments and as we got back to the village, we took in the sights, sounds and smells of life in this tiny hamlet that reminded me of another time in my life. Kids playing HAPPILY, helping unload supplies from boats, taking care of what ‘little’ (I could write another essay about this) they had by making sure their homes were swept clean and perhaps more jarringly, the sounds of two little girls sweetly singing to us to buy their ‘sea shells from the ocean’. After a stop in Las Animas for lunch on the beach, one of the best meals I have ever had because of the company, food and surroundings, we headed back to Mismaloya for the evening’s festivities.

That jingle stayed with me the rest of the boat ride back making me smile but then quickly turned haunting when we got back to Mismaloya and heard of the impending ‘mother of all storms’ that developed in a span of hours and was bearing down on the coast in our proximity.

After the initial disbelief and putting together a plan and contingencies for what we should do to ensure our safety, my mind drifted and focused back to the little girl from the village (pictured). Did she know what was coming her way? How would this impending catastrophe change her life and her innocence? Living directly on the coast (2 – 5 meters above sea level) with 12 meter surges expected, did they have a plan? Accessible only by boat, what were her options to protect her precious little life?

Perspective is everything and I am thankful for another reminder of what is really important and how ungrateful we sound when we complain about the most mundane things in life. This experience culminated in what has been a very self-reflective 10 days in my life…and somehow, I can’t help but think that I should just have bought one of her beautifully imperfect shells.

A South American Escape Part 9 – Lima Redux…and home.

This past Spring, Joline and I embarked on what we considered a trip of a lifetime. Our jaunt took us from the Beaches of Rio, through the Jungles of Iguassu Falls, to the “Paris of South America (Buenos Aires), all the way over to Peru and the Land of the Incas. Below are some of the highlights in photos. Enjoy!

Missed a previous post?

A South American Escape Part 1 – Miami
A South American Escape Part 2 – Rio de Janeiro
A South American Escape Part 3 – Iguassu Falls/Foz Do Iguacu
A South American Escape Part 4 – Buenos Aires
A South American Escape Part 5 – Lima
A South American Escape Part 6 – Sacred Valley of the Incas
A South American Escape Part 7 – Machu Picchu
A South American Escape Part 8 – Cusco
A South American Escape Part 9 – Lima Redux…and home.

———————————————————————————————–

“The More I See, The Less I know…” – Franti.

We flew back to Lima to spend our last 12 hours (for now) on this amazing continent completely giddy in awe of this magical place.  Peru was supposed to be a pass-through, we thought.  It turned out to be the highlight of our journey.

 

Ceviche was a specialty here. Chifa (Chinese Peruvian) was a distant second.

 

 

Looking West. Goodbye.

 

 

Joline enjoying our last sunset here.

 

 

Newer Shopping Complex.

 

 

Newer Shopping Complex.

 

 

Surprisingly a lot of Casinos in Lima.

 

Goodnight, Goodbye.  Now for the long redeye back to Miami…loaded with a lifetime of memories.

The only issue now is we want to see MORE!

Thank you for the education but:

“The More I See, The Less I know…” – Franti.

 

Amazing Place.

 


A South American Escape Part 8 – Cusco

This past Spring, Joline and I embarked on what we considered a trip of a lifetime. Our jaunt took us from the Beaches of Rio, through the Jungles of Iguassu Falls, to the “Paris of South America (Buenos Aires), all the way over to Peru and the Land of the Incas. Below are some of the highlights in photos. Enjoy!

Missed a previous post?

A South American Escape Part 1 – Miami
A South American Escape Part 2 – Rio de Janeiro
A South American Escape Part 3 – Iguassu Falls/Foz Do Iguacu
A South American Escape Part 4 – Buenos Aires
A South American Escape Part 5 – Lima
A South American Escape Part 6 – Sacred Valley of the Incas
A South American Escape Part 7 – Machu Picchu
A South American Escape Part 8 – Cusco
A South American Escape Part 9 – Lima Redux…and home.

———————————————————————————————–

Cusco (or Cuzco) is the historic capital of the Inca Empire and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983 by UNESCO.  With its network of roads (hand-built by stone), food deposits and weapons caches in the surrounding Andes, it is easy to understand why this city was protected and served as the Inca stronghold.

 

La Compania de Jesus Church

 

 

Cusco Hillside.

 

In 1650 and again in 1950, the city was leveled by massive earthquakes that destroyed all the colonial (Spanish) structures but left the Inca builds in tact.

 

Spinning Alpaca Wool

 

 

Playing the 'Quena'.

We toured the Temple of the Sun and the Korinkancha (Santo Domingo Monastery).

 

 

San Blas area which was a Bohemian haven.

 

Today, Cusco is a cosmopolitan metropolis which also serves as the ‘holding pen’ for Machu Picchu.  However, this city has enough history to refuse to be just a pass-through.

 

Narrow streets towards San Blas from the Main Square.

 

 

Hatun Rumiyoc. Slippery stones!

 

 

Joline in front of the Cathedral

 

 

Hanging out in front of the Cathedral.

 

 

La Compania de Jesus as a Backdrop.

 

 

Nighttime at the Cathedral.

 

 

Drill Team Practice.

 

 

Main Square Fountain.

 

 

R & R at Norton's English Pub. Cusco also had the party/frontier town vibe.

 

 

Folk Performance and Goodbye.

 

 

Yes, I had to try the Delicacy of the Region.

 

 

Peru, and her people, have left and incredible impact on me.

 

Next, on the way home and back to Lima:

(A South American Escape Part 9 – Lima Redux…and home.)

A South American Escape Part 7 – Machu Picchu

This past Spring, Joline and I embarked on what we considered a trip of a lifetime. Our jaunt took us from the Beaches of Rio, through the Jungles of Iguassu Falls, to the “Paris of South America (Buenos Aires), all the way over to Peru and the Land of the Incas. Below are some of the highlights in photos. Enjoy!

Missed a previous post?

A South American Escape Part 1 – Miami
A South American Escape Part 2 – Rio de Janeiro
A South American Escape Part 3 – Iguassu Falls/Foz Do Iguacu
A South American Escape Part 4 – Buenos Aires
A South American Escape Part 5 – Lima
A South American Escape Part 6 – Sacred Valley of the Incas
A South American Escape Part 7 – Machu Picchu
A South American Escape Part 8 – Cusco
A South American Escape Part 9 – Lima Redux…and home.

———————————————————————————————–

On a bright crisp morning, it was time for the coup de gras…Machu Picchu.

 

There she is.

 

Because of the flooding in the area, we could not take the train the entire way to Agua Calientes, the Machu Picchu base camp.

We took individual buses from the Ollantaytambo Station to Piscacuchi where we boarded the train.

A trip to Machu Picchu, the stone-stacked “Lost City of the Incas” that towers 8,000 feet above sea level in Peru, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience within itself.

Aguas Calientes is the colloquial name for Machupicchu Pueblo, a town in Peru on the Urumbamba. It is best known as the closest access point to Machu Picchu.

 

Agua Caliente

 

The trains were actually surprisingly luxurious.

 

Our ride.

 

 

Raging Water with Incan bridge crossing.

 

These floods in January 2010 cut access to Machu Picchu thus strangling the area’s economy.  The route took months to restore and we were among the first groups there.

 

Flood Damages Tracks.

 

 

Floods!

 

Puppy taking nap at the train station.  It was so busy around it and it did not seem to mind. 🙂

 

Nap.

 

After the switchback ascent, we caught our first glimpse.  Wow.  But the fog. @!#$!@$

 

Shroud.

 

A passerby told us, “…if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes…”.  She was right.

 

Majesty

 

 

Tight Corners.

 

 

Bedroom.

 

 

Ruins.

 

 

Fog.

 

There were hikers all over…weary and exhausted.

 

Rest.

 

 

See how the Incas carved the rock to look like the adjoining mountains?

 

 

Grazing.

 

Alpaca were all over.

 

Resident.

 

 

Doorway.

 

 

Vintage.

 

 

Another view.

 

 

There she is.

 

 

Another hiker.

 

 

Summit.

 

 

 

Headed back down...watch out for the uneven steps...Machu Picchu

 

Agua Caliente turned into a party town with hikers/tourists/guides from all over the world discussing their exploits, and their view of this wonder of the world.  Over several beers of course.

 

Agua Calientes - This place turned into a 'frontier town' at night. Fun!

 

Next, Cusco on a Machu Picchu high…sigh…and time for home.

(A South American Escape Part 8 – Cusco)