Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Lucky

I'm feeling a bit lucky this evening as I watch the destruction that missed the Cayman's, Sandy the super storm. I feel for those affected, and there are millions by the looks of the reach of the storm. The photos of New York are sad, Battery Park under water and the subway flooded. NY is on my soon to go list, I may have to wait a while until things settle.

It's got cold here, okay so 25C is not cold to most folks but to me it's not that warm either. I needed a pashmina this evening to sit outside, unfortunately I left mine at home so I had to suffer a little. I may even have to wear my big fluffy red dressing gown I bought in Al Ain. It's funny how just a small fluctuation in temperature is noticeable.

It's almost halloween, a big thing for the kids and adults here. Last year I had to ignore the door and hide upstairs as I had nothing to offer, this year I have some bags of chocolate things. Chocolate things because I amy get to eat any that are left over. I have on definite, 3 year old Jon and his mum and dad are coming to visit. Jon is just three and when we had his dress rehearsal last night, he did a pirate striptease. that hook just had to go. I hope he can keep the outfit on for the evening, he's very entertaining.

One of the beautiful bulls guarding an old church on the way to Lake Titikaca

Monday, 29 October 2012

Busyness

There seems to have been a busyness surrounding me lately. I'm getting some good down time today, the rest of the week has been hectic. Actually October until now has been a bit crazy. Plenty of fun things like sailing and socialising, plenty more work things. Work, when I raise my head from the details, I see the bigger picture. A big picture that bodes well for the future here.

We are in the process of laying the foundation for the next five years, a strategic direction that must increase the well being of the children here as they progress through their education. The direction is even more far reaching. Friday was humbling, sitting in a room with a group of dedicated professionals who debated and negotiated to make changes to the law of the land.

I took some time to reflect on this, reflecting on the people I get to work with every day. I looked in from the outside, this New Zealander sharing ideas of best education practice with the Government movers and shakers. Humbling and exciting, knowing we are further forward than we had thought. By mid November early childhood care and education should have a place in law, regulations will have been drafted and policy set. It's been a journey, we are almost there. On the coat tails of this major change will come other changes, easier to set once this is passed.

On this journey I've learnt such a lot. Amazing experiences only possible when working in a small system. A small amount of people doing a major job. This type of reform, these changes, in a big system would have many, many people dealing withe details and driving the process. That's not so here, the same amount of work with a fraction of the people.

So that explains the busyness a little. I'm never too busy to talk to my family and I got to talk to almost everyone last evening. Noah was not very interested, too busy for grandma. I did get a smile and a quick chat, he's growing so fast and looks older with some of his curls gone. Eve was helping dad with the new TV. Clever wee girl can say grandma and likes to chat with me. I suspect we may be in our own conversations, she is so gorgeous with beautiful big blue eyes.

I got to welcome Liberty to the family, Nick's fiance. A new addition I will get to meet when I go home for Christmas. I'm getting excited about going, it's not too long now. The best news is that some of my family want to come and visit me here, very exciting news. I can't wait to show them this beautiful place, can't wait to spend time with them relaxing by the pool or out on the water.

This ramble must end, I'm racing this afternoon. Luckily the wind has died a little, making sailing possible. Not so lucky for those who experienced Hurricane Sandy and lost family and friends or those who are waiting for her to hit. We got whipped a little by the tail, I wouldn't want to have been hit any harder. Take care out in the world.

Inca treasure, Lima

Lima lions

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Normal transmission

I've been really busy lately with work, sailing and social activities so this space has been neglected somewhat. I still have stories and photos from my last two trips to share and now have another on offer, Jamaica to go sailing. Actually sailing to Jamaica to get there is on the cards, exciting and a little scary.

There will be more stories, normal transmission will resume soon. In the mean time it would be nice to hear from my readers. I see plenty of you are visiting, it would be good to hear from you, to learn a bit about where you are from and what you think of my humble musings. I will reply, promise.

One of the amazing treasures in the museum in Lima, Peru

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

A birthday treat

I didn't really get to finish my last post, Skype intervened. I love my chats with friends and family. They keep me grounded, knowing there are people out in the world who think of me as I think of them. I will return to the story soon and for now here are a couple more photos from my time on and around Lake Titicaca. It was funny, I was going to take this out of my itinerary and decided to take a couple of extra days of leave so I could leave it in, an excellent choice. 

While the celebrations in the photo below were not actually in honour of my birthday, I celebrated along with the people of AmantanĂ­ at their special celebration. I felt very privileged to able to watch, hopefully unobtrusively. They had a type of May pole set up with ribbons and danced around these for the entertainment of the elders and dignitaries who were seated alongside the village square in the shade. Our guide explained the significance of how they were dressed, the clothing and tightly knitted belts and hats, denoting their place within the community. 

Their marital status was declared by the belts they had knitted that contained within it the hair of their wives. Knitting is a highly prized skill and a man must show his prospective father in law his knitting in order to be approved as a husband. The quality of the knitting really counts. As the other picture shows the men are the main providers of the most amazing knitted goods. I don't think I saw many men there who were not knitting as they chatted with each other. The women manned the stalls. I bought Noah and Eve a hat each, not sure if they will wear them, they are a work of art so worthy of sharing.




Monday, 1 October 2012

More from Peru

I've spent the evening deleting old photos, quite a few old photos. Enough to import some more of my Peru pics. I have backed these ones up, just need to trust my hard drive, so I only kept the precious ones.

My birthday this year was very special, spent on Lake Titicaca. Looking at the photos for the day, I was thrilled with the ones I'd kept. I had had to do an on camera delete to free up some space, something I don't like to do. The ones I've kept capture the day so it worked out okay this time. Note to self, take an extra memory card or two.

The photos are from the floating islands or as Wikipedia describes:

"Titicaca is notable for a population of people who live on the Uros, a group of 44 or so artificial islands made of floating reeds (totora, a reed that abounds in the shallows of the lake). These islands have become a major tourist attraction for Peru, drawing excursions from the lakeside city of Puno. Their original purpose was defensive, and they could be moved if a threat arose. Many of the islands contain watchtowers largely constructed of reeds."

Stepping off the boat onto these spongy, reed islands is interesting. It takes a bit of time to gain your balance. They are surprisingly dry, not as damp as I thought they might be although it was a warm day. The living huts are small and I wondered how warm they would be in winter. Here are some pics of the people and the place. The men are showing us how they build the islands while the women sit and sew their lovely handcrafts.

The women of Uros

Taxi!

This is how we build them