postcards from usa… the joshua tree desert

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We left the high rise buildings and hustle bustle of LA, and watched the landscape slowly become more desolate until it became the desert. It was classic, iconic, Americana desert. Despite the lack of those big old tumbleweeds it did feel like being in an old western movie. Yuccas en mass, scattered amongst small low growing shrubs and bushes. Big ol’ boulders stacked precariously and cracked from years of mother natures loving forces. The big black crow watching us from his vantage point atop of the largest rock. The teeny lizards nervously darting about. A striking sparse, open, and quiet landscape.
Then the special rock. A candle, an inscription on the rock, the feather from a black crow. There is most certainly a special vibe around this rock, a kind of calm peace. It’s the special place in the Joshua Tree Desert that means something to any Gram Parsons fan. We listened to our new obscure little releases of Gram cd’s driving in and out, and I felt sad for the loss of so many talented musicians that have left this earth so young. And at the same time I felt grateful, for the beautiful music they have left behind for us to enjoy decades after they made it. Music that stands the test of time.
Our day trip out to the desert was the highlight on this last leg of our holiday in LA. We fly home tonight with hearts full of gratitude and wonderful memories, feeling so damn blessed and lucky. Will write again as soon as I’ve settled back into normality. I have some beautiful baby alpaca yarn I can’t wait to show you!

postcards from peru… machu picchu

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Machu Picchu is very high in the clouds, peaceful despite the murmur of tourist and guides, and oh so magical. The awe inspiring stonework is quite something to behold, the scale impossible to grasp in photos. The massive rocks and boulders that were too large to move, were incorporated beautifully in the design. Some stones perfectly rectangle, others with little notches carved out to fit the next layer precisely. It’s not as high as Cusco but I felt closer to the sky than I’ve ever been (aside from flying!), literally amongst the clouds. The huge surrounding mountains and their jagged ridge tops, allow sunrays to filter through the clouds and shine on this incredible wonder of the world so beautifully. Perfectly curved terraces hug the steep mountain tightly, making use of every available bit of space. Water channels weave their way through the site. Sweet happy soundings swallows flit about. Baby hawks on the lookout for food. The friendliest ‘wild’ lamas wandering about. One sat down, had a couple of big yawns, then let people sit next to him, patting him and getting their photo taken. I swear he was smiling at the camera! Another followed tourists sniffing out food and gobbled it down quickly when it appeared. We wandered for hours, mostly in silent awe, and tried to soak it all in. The spiritual vibe. The calmness. The beauty. The majesty. You can’t possibly take it all in on one day. So we’re going back tomorrow for more. Will write again soon.

postcards from peru… streets of cusco

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Hello! Hope this finds you well. We’ve been walking the streets of Cusco! Some young Peruvian dude approached us on our wanders, ‘Ah you’ve been looking for me yes? I’m Johnny Cash, would you like to buy my paintings?’ … Never thought I’d meet a Johnny Cash in Cusco! So many street sellers, many napping until their 6th sense kicked when someone walked by. Little street markets where I was thrilled to see so many stall holders either spinning, knitting or crocheting. Some with bubs on their back, some with multiple strands of yarn wrapped over their shoulders. Shops inside shops, through courtyards, into more shops inside shops. Watching the dramatic sounding Peruvian TV is the thing to do if you are a shop owner too, they all seemed riveted!
Cusco is a maze of streets and alleyways, so narrow you think they are just for pedestrians until a small car comes along honking his horn warning you to move over. In fact driving in Cusco involves a lot of horn beeping, seems it’s not an aggressive annoyed thing, more a courteous I’m here, move over thing. There’s been a few hold-your-breath taxi rides as it all feels quite chaotic on the road, people ‘merging’ millimetres in front of you, with right of way seemingly going to those with the most guts pulling out. Stray dogs know to get out of the way, and the lucky ones are chewing a bone by the side of the road.
Tonight on the taxi ride home, we passed the bustling hub of San Pedro, listening to Twisted Sister on the radio, passing traditional elderly Peruvians, young modern Peruvians, and Tourists. It was a hive of activity and noise and a huge cultural mix, and I found myself welling up. I’m feeling so lucky and blessed to experience this amazing city and need to pinch myself to remind myself that’s it’s real. I’m here. In Cusco! What a thrill! Take care, write soon.

postcards from peru… cusco

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We arrived in Cusco yesterday weary but excited be here and to see my son for the first time in ages. It’s only been 7 months but it felt like a long time… that first hug was a tight one. We celebrated with dinner at a nice restaurant in town and tried to catch up on 7 months of happenings. I’m impressed with his language skills as he conversed with ease to the waiter and our taxi driver, he’s come a long way since the Spanish lessons he used to have at the dining table back home this time last year.
The lack of oxygen takes some getting used to, we need to take it easy until the dizziness, headaches and general woosy sort of feeling fades. So we had a quiet morning then went to San Pedro Market, and it was everything I thought a Cusco market would be and more. From the traditionally dressed women with their aprons, skirts, jumpers, plaits and hats to the mamas carrying their bubbas on their back in the colourful woven fabrics Peru is known for. I was in alpaca heaven surrounded by alpaca jumpers, hats, gloves, scarfs, and socks… I may have partially filled that spare suitcase with a ‘couple’ of jumpers. The butcher section of the market proudly displayed their meat with the goats heads taking pride of place at the front. A bit confronting for me but maybe that’s just because the heads still had a full set of teeth in, eerily smiling at you as you walked by! Then there were the potatoes. I know Peru is famous for them but to see so many varieties was quite a buzz. We found our way to another the fruit & veg market. It was absolutely a locals market and we got a few stares as we wondered around stocking up on supplies. In fact two very cute young girls, maybe five years old, followed us for a wee bit giggling shyly at me when I smiled at them. I guess a white haired pale skinned lady wasn’t something they saw everyday. All in all it was a special day taking in the Cusco vibe. Hope you’re all keeping well, will write again soon.

postcards from usa… malibu

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Maalibuuuuu! Said best like Courtney Love sings it, but beware – it’ll be stuck in your head all day if you do! Ah the sparkly waters of Malibu on a beautiful sunny day, surfers surfing the most perfect waves, lunch on the Malibu Pier, blown away by the traditional craftsmanship at a Native American Indian arts centre, a cruise down Mullhullond drive, dinner, mojitos and last wander around Santa Monica. It’s been a lovely beachy visit to LA, but now for the real adventure, Machu Picchu here we come!

postcards from usa… sun, sweat & freaks

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Today was a hot summers sweat-rolling-down-your-back kinda day. I forgot to put sunscreen on my feet and they now have a fabulous sandal pattern, in a soft shade of crab shell. (I know, who gets burnt feet?) ‘Twas totally worth it though. Saw strawberries as big as apples at Santa Monica farmers market, saw the skaters, freaks, destitute, tourists, show offs, and everything else in between along the Venice Beach Boardwalk, Muscle Beach and Skate Park. They still have a freak show at Venice Beach, and the bearded lady stands out the front to entice you in to see the two headed pig, sword swallowers and more! We kept walking. And walking and walking, I think we walked about 15kms today! We dipped our toes in the cool soothing waves, along with thousands of other beach goers on this Labour Day long weekend. There was a ride in a beautiful old Merry-Go-Round (cos you’re never too old for them), up in the Ferris Wheel for a slightly sweaty palmed nervous ride, then saw Santa Monica Pier glowing in the late afternoon sun. It was the sweetest end to a hot summers day by the beach.