Tuesday, 28 August 2012


Oh my goodness, what a day! I'm feeling quite exhausted after setting up classrooms, moving furniture, redistributing resources and generally keeping a smiling face while doing the mostly impossible. We had ordered resources, they are delayed with tropical storm Isaac. We ordered furniture, the budget intervened. We designed outdoor areas, the budget again. Sigh, this project is a little tough!

Then there's the staffing. I can't believe that we have everyone in place for the year, well almost. There has been so begging going on and I think that when the kids start on Wednesday that all will be well. On the plus side, it's been fantastic being able to unpack the resources we do have and set up the classes, very exciting. I love working with teachers, they are so resourceful.

The other good news of today, Mayhem is almost ready to be back in the water with a nice red keel and lots of new shiny bits for us to play with. Jo and I have had with-drawls, not helped by my missing the Saturday evening outing on Blue Runner. This weekend we should be out on the water, I can't wait. Race season starts soon so we need some practice runs.

It seems so long since my small break. Here are two shots from Macchu Pichu.

Sunday, 26 August 2012


Well, it rocks really. Can you imagine if you were told in the 1970s or even the 1980s or 90s that we would be able to talk to someone on the other side of the world and see them as we talked? It was Star Trek "beam me up Scotty" science fiction. Today I've talked to a couple of people on Skype, I do this most weekends catching up with family and friends.

Today I was looking for a clip to show someone a little about New Zealand humour. I realised that much of who we are can be shown through advertisements, through technology that's been around a while. Those advertisements that were there before remote controls could fast forward them. I came across this montage and it made me laugh as I remembered these gems. When I was In Peru, I stayed with Christine and Mal, friends of multiple friends and I shared some clips. They are Australian so got it, many don't. Here's a selection, good old technology!

Monday, 20 August 2012

More of Chinchero

The mighty Andes at sunset

On the road to Chinchero
The photo above is the one of those I took to capture the Andes in all their magnificence. I don't think I succeeded except to say that I wasn't exactly up close and personal, more looking across the valleys from the height of New Zealand's highest mountain. The landscape is a shot from the bus, not ideal for photographs and this one doesn't bear close scrutiny. The countryside is beautiful, low foothills, fields and lakes the foreground for the bigger mountains. 

12,000 feet

A sign of the conquerors 

To the Andes beyond

Homeward bound 

I traveled to Cusco from Panama and although I still have Panama stories, I need  to write the stories in order of the photos I can down load. I was in Cusco for a few days and went on day trips from there.

Cusco, often spelled Cuzco, is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cuzco Province. Its elevation is around 3,400 m (11,200 ft). Wikipedia

I spent the first day, after arriving at stupid o'clock from Lima, wandering in a tired daze. Really, what was I thinking. It's cool sleeping in airports with your pack under your head when you're 20, not cool when you're ever so slightly older. My flight from Panama arrived in Lima in the early hours and I then had to recheck for Cusco. A few hours dozing on the seats I thought. Not a great plan, especially as there was a hotel at the airport, fancy that. I stayed there on my last night, an excellent choice.

Oh well, I was there. The hostel people were lovely. They arranged everything and gave me advice on where to go in town as well. The wandering was fantastic except for the nagging headache one gets at altitude. It's an oddly spaced out feeling. 

The second day I went on the Sacred Valley journey. Their description:

Our Sacred Valley tour begins at 8:30am. We visit Pisaq´s archaeological site and handicraft market. On our way to Urubamba, we go by colourful towns as Coya, Lamay, and Calca. After lunch in Urubamba, we sightsee the ancient inka town and fortress of Ollantaytambo. In Chinchero town, we visit the San Pedro Church. Our tour ends in Cusco´s main square.

Fantastic is all I can say, what an amazing day out. The final stop was the one that possibly impressed me the most. The photos are all from Chinchero. We arrived there at sunset, 12,000 plus feet up and watched the day turn to dusk while exploring the town. I had some wow moments, like walking into San Pedro church. I really did not expect to see such an ornate interior. It seemed out of character with everything else we had seen, and I suppose it was out of character, as it is the evidence of the brutal colonising that occurred when the Spanish arrived in these parts. 

I could have stayed in Chinchero for longer, I suspect it would take me a while to capture the place properly. The light was amazing, so clear. As it was, this stop was just a small peek in the window of life that illustrates the dichotomy that seems common in colonised countries. The mix of the old life and the new, the mixing of the peoples as they become one and the differences each brings from their lives before each other. Capturing the sunset over the Andes from this place was a challenge and I hope to find that photo to share soon. 

San Pedro

Gone sailing....

I have wonderful people out in the world who worry when I don't write and this month I haven't written much. Di shared this with me when we Skyped this morning. It's not because I'm not okay, I'm very okay at the moment. I just spend as much of my spare time as I can out sailing and recharging my batteries. Yesterday we went out on Blue Runner, had a sail, a swim, scrubbed the bottom to make it go faster for the next race and sailed back in the dark. A lovely day out with old and new friends, one who had just flown in that morning.

The scrubbing. Snorkels and masks on and armed with scrubbing brushes we did this out in the sound. Hard work, especially with the leaky snorkel I had, but needed. We must win the next race to be in the overall lead so every bit counts. I told Bruce he could use this as a tourist attraction, exercise and tone while enjoying the North Sound. I suspect he quite liked the idea of bikinied maidens scrubbing.

Last weekend Pete took out his catamaran and I was crew. Crew on a Dart is the one in the trapeze hanging out there, toes only on board. It was a blast, scooting fast across the North Sound toward lunch at Kaibo. No such luck, the mainsail halyard broke, that's kind of like your motor falling out while traveling fast, and we stopped suddenly. I went flying and landed facing backwards on a pontoon, circumnavigating the boat apparently. Pete thankfully stayed on. Lunch on the back burner and yet so close, we cruised back to the club and fixed the problem. I have a good bruise to prove the drama, tons of fun.

So that's part of the no writing thing. Mayhem, Jo's and my boat, is in the shop at the moment so we are having J22 with drawls but the race season starts soon so it will be all fixed by then. I'm having a home day today, well for now anyway. I've uploaded photos, put a pile of others onto my external drive to make room and am deleting the ones I can. It all takes time. I will post some Peru photos after this entry, promise. 

Sunday, 19 August 2012

It's Saturday!

And I'm procrastinating. In fact, I could win a medal at the procrastination olympics if there was such a thing. I'm feeling a little lethargic. Could be from my week, far too many hours at work. Everything urgent. So much needed to begin the school year. Today I have work to do, not urgent but stuff best done while in the peace and quiet of home, the uninterrupted peace and quiet.

I'm having computer issues, not the computer's fault. User issues. My hard drive is so full I can't upload any of my Panama and Peru photos. This morning I've been going through and deleting some photos to make space. Funny, when they are on a computer you don't really look at the photos very often, not like when they are in an album on your coffee table. I bought two albums in Peru and intend to fill these soon.

It's been a trip down memory lane. The trip to Petra and my Bath and Salisbury trips got a bit axed today. Not before I'd wandered through the photos, remembering Sue and Di's company. Remembering my good friends I haven't seen in a while. It must be time for a visit to my Belgian family. Sue took this photo of me at Petra. It's funny, I don't have many pictures of me out and about, just of the places. A new friend I met in Panama had commented on the same thing as I took a photo of him.

I didn't follow advice so didn't get any photos of me in Peru. I wanted one on my birthday while out and about on Lake Titikaka but was a bit shy asking someone to do that. Not like me, it was a lovely reflective day where I preferred my own company to talking. Also not like me. Today is meant to be one where I can procrastinate so I will, although I must get out of my PJs so I can sit in the sun and finish my book.

The Treasury at Petra

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Teachers, lots of teachers

Teachers have long summer holidays, I used to. Teachers enjoy coming back to work feeling refreshed, I used to. Teachers like that time at the start of the year when they have their classroom to themselves, I used to. Teachers enjoy meeting the new crop of bright eyed youngsters, I used to. Teachers enjoy meeting the parents and learning a bit more about their pride and joys, I used to.

Today I got to meet the new group of teachers who have come to the island for the new school year. I had met many of them through the interview process, knew their CVs and interest well. It was so lovely to put faces to the names and get the chance for a informal conversation. There's plenty to do to get ready for the new school year, long hours to keep the many plates spinning. Multitasking, not one of my best strengths.

I had hoped to have added a couple of Peru and Panama stories by now but that may have to wait for the weekend. Sleep is needed, much sleep before the early start and meeting the new group all together. It promises to be an excellent day tomorrow, lots of chatting and getting to know this new group better. Teachers love to talk teaching, I still do.
Pohutukawa, a splash of colour

Friday, 3 August 2012

Up high

I wasn't really aware that I might get altitude sickness from being up above sea level. I was told that drinking coca tea, keeping hydrated and not drinking fizzy drinks were some things that helped. After the big day out, travelling up to 12,000 feet, I had a wicked headache and nausea. It was a funny, spaced out feeling. One I don't want again. Panadol and some tablets from the pharmacy helped plus a good nights sleep.

The next day was another early start, the trip up to Machu Picchu. I was so worried I wouldn't be well enough but I woke up feeling fine. The train trip up was fantastic. Beautiful scenery and the bonus of good campany. We chatted, helpful that they all spoke English. It's really hard to describe the feeling of looking over this very special place. I supect that after my long bus trip and sightseeing today, the words are not there so I will wait until I have photos.

Today I've come to Puno from Cosco, at a higher altitude to Cosco. It was a long trip, stopping along the way to see some very special sights. I cannot believe just how much there is to see here, the history is humbling espcially the evidence of a brutal colonisation. The people here are fantastic, friendly and welcoming to these tourists taking a peek at their reality.

Today there was a point when I realised that we could have been driving through the McKenzie country in New Zealand. Rolling tussock hills flanked the road with snowy mountain tops showing above. The road wended its way through the river valley, a river that feeds the mighty Amazon. The hint that I was elsewhere came with the small settlements of brown and red adobe homes clustered on the roadside and beyond. Evidence of the argricultural focus in this area was every where. People tending stock, crops growing and hay storred in corrals.

For the next two days I'm staying at Totorani Inn. Another lovely hostel with very friendly and helpful people. Tomorrow I'm on a tour around Lake Titicaca, a nice way to celebrate my birthday.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


Hola from Peru, sunny but chilly Peru! There are many stories to tell and photos to share but for now, on a borrowed computer with limited time I will keep it short. I think learning Spanish to a conversational level just may have been useful for this journey. I often get the giggles when a Spanish speaker and I are communicating. We both talk throwing in a little of the other´s language and hope there is some level of understanding. There is sometimes, sometimes there´s just more giggling and waving of arms as we solicit help. I had help in Panama, Margo to the rescue. There are stories from Panama to, fancy getting kidnapped by some musicians. Almost Almost Famous!

It´s been a fantastic few days here and tomorrow I head to Macchu Pichu first thing in the morning, a three plus hour journey. After today´s climbs up Inca ruins, I´m feeling a little jaded. It was awesome being at 12,000 feet and seeing folks just living their lives much as we do at sea level. There was impressive snow on the high Andes although none in the valleys due to the proximity to the Equator. It´s still very cold for this hot house flower!

Bed calls and someone else is waiting for a go on the computer. Who needs an iPad, just another thing to fit in my backpack!