Market day in Pisac

The market days on Pisac are on Thursdays and Sundays. Sundays are specially lively because is also the day the locals go tho the church for the morning mass. After the mass is over they usually visit the market to buy whatever they need. I was fascinated by the colorful garments that some of the people wear.

The girls decorate their heads and their toys with flowers.

Chullos are knitted hats with wonderful patterns on it. I was able to buy several of them. The designs are incredible beautiful

This baby alpaca was resting inside the shop where I bough the chullos

And more market pictures:

A woman was selling these pigments for dyeing fibers

This child was very content with his ice cream

More pictures to come…

“If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?”

Rumi

Pictures from Peru

I didn’t want to start writing about my trip to Peru with the boring flight from SF to Lima, but the flight itself was a bit of an adventure. My friend Amelia and I left SF at about 1:00 am. I (we) slept most of the way to El Salvador, luckily our overstay at the Salvador airport didn’t last more than 45 minutes. Once in Lima, we spent the night at a hotel literally across from the Lima airport. We had to get up at 4 am the next morning in order to get our flight that would take us to Cusco, our last destination, well, almost our last, because our final destination was the Town of Pisac, which takes about 45 minutes to get there.  Well, back to Lima, and next day, we got our sorry selves up at 3:45  in the morning to get ready to take our next flight to Cusco. After having breakfast, we dragged our luggage (and ourselves) to the airport just to find out that our flight was going to be delayed until 10 am! Grrrrrrrrr! I was furious and soooo tired! We grabbed our luggage (once again) and  went back to the hotel. They where so nice to give us our room back , and I was so happy to have it back too. Of course, all that I was thinking about was going back to bed. Well, let me tell ya, waking up again was the hardest thing to do. Finally we went back (again ) to the airport. The flight from Lima to Cusco takes about an hour and the views are breathtaking.

I felt more reinvigorated once we got to Cusco, although I could feel the 11,200 feet of altitude right away.

We got an expensive tourist priced taxi to get to the Town of Pisac. I realized right there that in that area every taxi driver will give you a different price, but If you are a tourist, they nail you with high prices. We didn’t have much of an option, because we were dragging a bit of luggage with us, and frankly we were very tired too, so we didn’t bargained at all. Plus I was getting a little bit of a headache from the altitude. Nonetheless, I was very happy and excited to be there. On our way to Pisac we passed herds of sheep and alpacas grazing at the edge of the road. I was so excited to see them in their native land, grazing freely along the highway. From time to time the taxi driver had to stop to let the cows cross the road.

The Town of Pisac is located at a lower altitude than Cusco, so I could feel that my headache was going away. Pisac is famous for its market on Sundays, but it is easy to find the locals selling their crafts on the streets every single day. The cobblestone and narrow streets are fun and wonderful to explore and  a great place to find all sorts of crafts. Of course I was more attracted towards the knitted and woven items for sale, but everything seemed very interesting. People, crafts,  life and even the smells played a great roll  like a kaleidoscope of colors and forms moving and changing constantly before my eyes.

The next day we got into a local taxi that charged us about 3 soles which is the equivalent of $1.50, and went back to Cusco. We had a wonderful day exploring every single store in the San Blas area. The place has a uniqueness of its own. Narrow streets, interesting shops, and has a boho, easy-going feeling. I spotted a woman working on embroidering a hand knitted chullo. After buying something from her I asked her if I could take a picture and she agreed.

This hat was probably knitted with nothing else but wires. Later on during a trip I visited a museum with a great exhibition of garments from different villages of the area and I saw a hat in progress like this one being knitted with thin wires.

We walked towards the Plaza de Armas which means the Army Square (Huacaypata in Quechua) and enjoyed the view of the magnificent Cathedral.

While walking the San Blas area I stumbled upon this girl and her alpaca pet and probably was waiting for tourists to take pictures of her for a few soles. I asked her if I could take a picture of her and she did this gracious pose for me .

After I took the picture, I gave her a dollar and I noticed that she was disappointed.  I asked her why and she said that she wanted two soles, not a dollar. I tried to explain to her that a dollar was  more money than the two soles, but she didn’t want the dollar. She  was only happy after I gave her the two soles that she was requesting. One dollar is the equivalent of 2.80 soles approximately. They were other tourists there containing their laugh about the funny situation I was getting into. I suspected they probably got into the same situation a few minutes earlier than me and were waiting for another unaware tourist (like me) to come and  observe the situation. After talking to them, my suspicion proved right.

Cusco is a magnet for artists from all over the world.  These people have made of Cusco their home and their source of inspiration. One store that drew my attention for the uniqueness of the designs was Hilo owned by a designer for Ireland whose name I don’t recall. The style of their designs has a steampunk flavor. The  hand made clothing combines different textures and colors made with lace, hardware and leather, arranged in a way that doesn’t seem out of line at all.

I wish I had met the designer but it was nice to talk to the girl in charge of running the store.

Back to Pisac I took pictures from my bedroom of the surrounding mountains. Above the house from my window I could see the Pisac Ruinst that I was going to visit the next day.

We got up early in the morning and we headed towards downtown. The locals where selling food and I couldn’t resist the temptation of trying their famous Choclo which is nothing but an oversized corn on the cob on steroids. I think I have never seen corn this big before.

I had my corn with the chicha morada which is a traditional drink made of corn. They also have a version of a fermented chicha, but I didn’t dare to try before climbing the ruins.

The size of the kernels are half the size of my thumb. Eating one of these makes a whole meal. After eating my Choclo we started our way up to the ruins. We claimbed very slow because of the altitude. I would take my time going up the stairs, but it was well worth the effort. The view of the town and mountains was beautiful. The temperature also dropped a bit once we reached the top.

This last picture shows the terraces used (yes still in use) by the locals to grow food. They were created by the Inca by hauling top soil from the lower lands (Wikipedia) probably on top of their backs.

This tale will continue probably tomorrow…

“It may be that the satisfaction I need depends on my going away, so that when I’ve gone and come back, I’ll find it at home.”

Rumi

Peru

It is a reality now. Next week I will be on the land of the Inca Empire, Vicuñas and wonderful textiles. I will be visiting Peru with my friend Amelia. Two weeks of pure discovery. I can’t believe the bunch of things that I have to do before I leave. Suddenly I have sale taxes to pay, bookkeeping to do, and the list goes on and on, and for some reason, it is becoming a bit overwhelming.  I’ve been feeling a bit unfocused and distracted. On the other hand I’ve been finding refuge in my knitting and spinning. I finished my “Margaritas” scarf and I’m very happy with the results. I might start another one in a different color…Mmmmhhh, maybe something like Charcoal will look good with the same design.

I started another project that I had in mind for quite a while, but other projects always step in front and I keep forgetting about it. And to be honest with, I was a bit intimidated too.

The stitch pattern might be an old Shetland lace pattern, and I took it from the book “Knitting Lace” by Susanna E. Lewis. I love when authors go an extra mile to include diagrams which makes it so easy to follow. After repeating the stitch pattern a few times, the lace design starts to unfold and show its real beauty. But before… after casting on and working with the yarn overs, I was on cloud nine until I got my first “P2tog, then sl 1 st kwise. Return both sts to L ndl, psso, return Rt ndl”. Whhhhhaaaat? Is this one stitch? Oh, gosh, I felt that this was going to slow me down a lot, I even started looking for an easier stitch to make, but being the stubborn gal that I am, I stuck with it. Actually…It is very easy and after a while I stopped thinking about it.

I was hoping to take it with me to Peru and knit on the airplane, but the policies of the Airline Company won’t allow me to to do it. Bummer!

My project will have to wait for me at home…

Finally I finished spinning all the Yak that I had in my basket. It has been a year since I bough it and start spinning it. I have mention in the past that this fiber spins sooooooo slow. Two weeks ago, before the Tour de Fleece started I made up my mind to be done with it. I have two spools that I will ply when I come back.

I can’t wait to ply them. I already have two skeins and they turned out beautiful. At the end I realized… you know what? It is worth the effort…

Ideas shape the course of history.

John Maynard Keynes

Doors and windows

Little by little I will be sharing pictures of my trip. This collection of door’s pictures was taken in San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas. With camera in hand, I left our hotel one afternoon with the intention of capturing the vast array of doorways and windows all decorated in different styles and colors.  I just couldn’t pass the opportunity of  taking back with me the images of this special place. People here don’t seem to skimp on the use of paint.

Well, this one doesn’t have much paint, but I think it is very charming.

Finally back again

Happy to be back. The trip went really well. Since we cover so much territory in Oaxaca and Chiapas, lot of driving was involved. We were lucky that we had Nicolas and Jesus (two local and wonderful guides) driving us on the first part of the trip. Keith, who was leading a tour with 12 more people as participants, had a great time looking at birds on beautiful places like Valle Nacional in Oaxaca, Puerto Angel in the coast of Oaxaca, and San Jose del Pacifico, a beautiful small community in the Oaxacan highlands.

Our first day of our trip involved airports. We had to spend about 7 hrs. at the airport in Mexico city. One of those flights where nobody knows where the plane is taking off. The airport is huge with long walkways to get from point A to point B. After we landed and got off the plane, we didn’t know where to turn, we were very tired, since we had to get up very early that morning to drive to the SFO airport for our early flight. We knew that we had to wait many hours before our next flight to Oaxaca takes off, so the next thing we needed was a place to sit and rest. We walked and we didn’t find anything available. We realized that the airport doesn’t have many seats available for people to rest. The only seats available were at the restaurants, of course! We got it. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. They prompt people this way to go to restaurants and consume. So we did too. The food was mediocre and expensive, but at least we were able to spend about three hours there until the waitress start to ask us if we needed anything else. We then decided to move on and go through security check. We still didn’t know where to catch our next flight. All we knew was  that our plane was going to be delayed about an hour. I was able to connect with some folks that were going to take the same flight, so we stick to them like ticks. Finally, 15 minutes before our departure, we heard the gate number  we needed to be and we ran, because as I said, the airport is huge. We still had to wait about 45 m. before our departure, but we did it!

When we finally got to Oaxaca we got a taxi to get to our hotel, which was located close to down town. I felt suddenly revived and told Keith that I wanted to go out right away. We walked to the zocalo and the place was totally alive at about 8:30 pm with vendors of balloons, food, corn in the cob, and live marimbas music. We had dinner at one of the outdoor cafes. I ordered a margarita right away.

These pictures were taken the day after our arrival, but I saw the same sort of vendors at night too.

I noticed that kids were eating this candy, and I wanted to know what it was and I discovered that they were apples covered with caramel and chilly powder. They seemed very appealing to me, but I didn’t dare to get sick right away.

The trip so far promised to be at least full of color and discoveries… I was very excited and happy to be there! The time that I spent at the airport was already forgotten…

To be continued…

Among individuals as among nations, the respect to other peoples rights is peace.

~Benito Juarez. Mexican President born in Oaxaca of Zapotec origins.

The Omo People

Wow! I had to post this video. The human creativity is just endless and amazing.  And what a lovely way of manifesting it. It brings me memories of my travels to the Panama border with Colombia several years ago, in a small gap called the Darien where I visited the Wounnan tribe. The Darien gap is so thick that is literally impossible to cross it over.  I know of several failed expeditions because the place is extremely dangerous;  there are not trails, lots of swamps,  guerrillas, drug traffickers, kidnappers, and not to mention the dangerous snakes among other dangers. Keith and I thought that if we ever got kidnap there, at least we knew that 95% of the kidnapped people usually get released safely! We got there by boat, and as soon as we got to land, we got to be welcomed by beautiful striking people. The first thing to notice is how they paint their bodies. They use the Tagua fruit that produces a black juice that stains, and the indians use them to make elaborated tatoos on their bodies. They also like to use flowers to make headdresses. The children usually have tattoos with lizards, birds and snakes. We got out of the place safe, and the experience was incredible. The jungle was so luscious and wonderful and Keith got to see the bird that he wanted to see.

I’m very inspired by this video. I hope my wool arrives today, because I can’t wait to get back to my dye pots!

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.
A wise man does not need advice and a fool won’t take it.

Mount Tamalpais

Earlier this week my dear friends Charlotte, Elia and me, went for a hiking at Mountain Tamalpais. We couldn’t planned better. The morning was just wonderful. I don’t do very well with the cold wind, but that morning was perfect. Mt. Tamalpais

So we sat, and had a picnic breakfast  in front of a magnificent view. Charlotte made an egg salad and some bread. I swear, I was the best egg salad I ever had before.

Mt. Tamalpais

The sun gently welcome us with a nice warm greeting in our backs. We didn’t want to get up and continue with our hiking! We realized that was ok to just sit and enjoy the moment…

Stinson Beach view

We will go back again when the lupines start blooming. Meanwhile, enjoy these pictures…

Mt. Tamalpais