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my rediscovery

my journal; honest, bold, uncensored and unedited.

PERU | Monday, 24 November 2008 | Views [1875] | Comments [1]

Right now, I do not have the time to upload my photos and only have my journal for you all to read. At first, I was going to abandon continuing my scribbles and thoughts on the blog, there have been some of you who have been asking, what is going on in that head of yours. We’d like to know....so ok, I’ve had to quickly work through the free time I have which is called; afternoon naps for you all, so there better be some appreciation here on your end.

Photos will follow at a later date.

I realized, trying to get everything to be perfect or in the correct place...it’s making me crazy and I know I was told in bereavement counseling it is ok to lose control, it is a normal part of life. Ok, I’ll do that in cyberspace. A good place to start since my head has been out in space somewhere for awhile. 

So here I am, to lose control, actually the best part in writing, it’s called unedited, uncensored and there are a few more words but now is not the time. I hate losing control. But after losing control of my body for 2 days and having my body control me. I’ve just decided, you know what, my flaws are just that flaws. You either embrace it or laugh at it. If you cry or be embarrassed then that is just no way to live. Those that have access to my blog are those that I have a deep sense of respect for, admire and appreciate. I know you feel the same.


November 6, 2008

It’s a quarter after five, flying over rush hour traffic in Miami on my way to South America where I'll be spending the next 4 weeks lugging 74.5 pounds of luggage (yes, i actually checked the scale at the check-in at LaGuardia) seeking the unknown, finding and loving myself again, exploring life outside of the country, and getting over my grief, something that will always be with me. I know there is so much more out there, waiting.

You see my journey started January 20th, 2008, late Sunday evening. Only I didn’t know till 8 hours later. To be a bit more specific, I awoke and couldn’t remember if the trash goes out today, being a holiday. Peering out the window, I see a cop car in front of the house. It's close to 6 am and I'm running real late for work, a day off which I voluntarily offered to cover another co-worker. Being late, I chose not to overanalyze a situation that could have been nothing. I couldn’t be more wrong, it was that knock at the door that every woman dreads and fears. It started at 9:30 and ended at 10:10, last night but since I’m deaf I had to be awake to see the knock happening at the door. A phone call had to be made and the truth came out of a police officer’s mouth; “your husband is dead.” Of course, me being me, “That's not funny.” 

Dozens of calls made, hours later, family passed through, decisions made, and before dawn, I hit the road to face a really bad joke, George is going to pop out of the closet to prove I'm a bit over-paranoid.

No joke, a new chapter; my rebirth. 

be strong, be brave, be bold.

Fast forward; 9 months later. I've aged 15 years, been paying 2 sets of bills, cried in private, took a baseball bat to stereo equipment. Those that know George, he saved everything. The equipment from the 70’s, got me a real workout. The equipment from the 90’s, exploded and imploded on impact. ran, ran, ran and injured myself, ordered not to run for a month, spent more time on the bike, spent less time swimming, took up kickboxing ‘cos bereavement counseling just was not working and i ran out of stuff to destroy,  got hit by a car while running home, ran away to Vermont quite a few times and still had a job to return to,  got a free week at bikram yoga and continued after my week was up, got a dumpster to clean out George's house only to discover an hour later I need another dumpster, in the process of selling the New York house, quit my job, blew half my savings on a month long active adventure tour in south America, moved some belongings to my house in Vermont. Had my will written up. Are you exhausted?

I know I am. 

Many are wondering, what was it that made me choose to disappear for 4 weeks.

Many of you have been around to watch me the last 9 and half months and know I’m due a vacation. You see, I subscribe to Outside magazine and for the longest time the active adventure tour ad stood out. As a wife, I was not disappearing into the jungles. As a Widow, I am!

Getting hit by a car was a profound moment in time for me. There were plenty of witnesses but no one wanted to be a witness. I laid in a puddle of water, my life was a an episode of a black and white twilight zone. 2 days later, watching the news, 2 girls got hit by a car and didn’t live. I did and I decided, the trip is happening now. I couldn’t decide; peru or galapagos islands. George knew for a while I wanted to do the Galapagos but there’s something about seeing the ruins. What the hell, by then I’ll be unemployed and have the time to devote to myself. 

Be Selfish and think of only me for a change, the hell with everything else and everyone else


Something I haven’t been able to do since George passed.

Told some friends what I plan to do and most of them were supportive. 

The time for me is Now. That was 6 weeks ago.

Now is happening.

This is my rediscovery phase.

I’m nervous, my stomach is acting up. Kinda like being at the start of a race. 

be bold, be strong, be brave.

As darkness falls, blue skies are now grey, flying into the clouds towards Lima. Reappearing in the darkness above the clouds, millions of stars on the horizon. Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, hold on...too many stars I see, which is the one I wish on, that song needs to be modified. I’m too tired. Brain going 200 miles an hour and finally get to see a falling star, I get to wish, ok, which wish do I choose, so many in my brain that is spinning 200 miles an hour. 

We land, 9 hours later, I spot my luggage, thank goodness for silver duct tape, George taught me well.

The taxi ride reminded me of home, crazy drivers, running red lights, driving through side streets, resembling the alphabet city some 30 years ago.

It’s now 11:30 and I made it to the hotel. Now, I’m wide awake, having a rebuttal with the hotel manager about no shuttle pick up. I’m complaining about having to pay 45 bucks for the ride to the hotel. “You mean 45 soles ma’am?” 

“No, 45 American dollars.”

“No way, that too expensive, You mean, soles.”

Back and forth, forth and back again, like two little kids, one is right and the 

other is wrong.

“No sir, let me show you the receipt.”

20 minutes later, got myself a free brew.

Took another 5 minutes to realize it’s a twist off cap, thanks to the locals.

My first conversation in South America. 

Where are you from?

Did I vote? 

Who did I vote for?

Saw a corner that disappeared somewhere and excused myself.

Over the years, I’ve learned, discussing politics has ruined some friendships. 

Be brave, be strong, be bold

good night, George.

November 7, 2008

A restless night. Wandering outdoors into the unknown at 2 am was not an option.

Tossing and turning, watching the room change from dark to light.

It will be 10 months in 13 days.

Sleep has become a luxury. Hopefully, by the time my journey in the rediscovery phase, will take on a new meaning; a necessity.

Back to the airport, this time for only 20 bucks and a free breakfast.

Windows rolled down, snapping away, taking photos of everything and nothing.

Driver is complaining how cold it is in the car.

“Turn on the heat.”

Driver: Do you speak spanish?

Me: Como Esta

Dead air

By the sea, plenty of runners running

Up the road, I spy a cyclist

Back into alphabet city some 30 years ago, folks running and rushing climbing into and out of buses.

Cost me 6 bucks and 5 cents to get past immigration.

I’m not sure which I prefer, getting proofed in New York to buy a drink or pulling out my passport to show I can move around freely.

Now, onto the last leg of the journey, to Cusco, where I’ll be for the next 2 weeks. A flight which I thought was 2 and half hours, I was told an hour and 15 minutes into the flight to turn off my computer. Huh?

I’m running on adrenaline and fumes right now.

Round two at the baggage claim and duct tape gets me in and out of the airport.

Into a taxi, windows rolled down. The camera sees what it sees and captures what it captures, everything and nothing, once again.

No elevator in the hotel. Poor porter lugging 74.5 pounds of luggage. up 4 flights of stairs. cute little room, twin size bed, awesome views of the hills and rooftops!

My stomach is still rumbling up something, it ain’t no band of butterflies. Definitely need to look for a box of pepto while strolling the Plaza de Armas.

Side streets after side streets and another, eventually getting myself sidetracked and cranky. It’s time for a nap and then a bite to eat. While looking for the street back to the hotel, I came upon a carnival happening. More photos of everything and nothing and trying to ask around what is happening? I’m not sure if the folks I’ve come across speak English, now I’m wondering if I’m speaking English as no one is understanding me.

Follow the colors the young girls are wearing, high heels to slippers to psychedelic to pink to white to black outfits. There’s the lead car with speakers attached to the roof.

Hotel is not happening any time soon.

I’m back in the Plaza and there are hundreds upon hundreds of people sitting on the steps of the church, or it could be an art museum, I’m not going to know till I find someone who understands me!

There’s a city tour package that covers quite a few museums and ruins. Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow. I don’t know if I want to spend time indoors when it’s beautiful outside.

I’m just learning now, the rainy season is upon us. It’s just a few sprinkles here and there nothing that requires an umbrella.

Maybe i should check the schedule again and see what we’re actually doing now that I'm local and I can figure out what is what even though i prefer the GPS system over map reading.

Ok, brain overload, let’s just stop and rest and find a place to watch the carnival with a drink. Up above is a restaurant that has outdoor seating outside, feel like I’m at an opera.

It’s now 3pm and the temperature has gone from 80 to 60 and dropping. 

Watching folks now putting on sweaters, caps and zippering up. Can’t help but think, driving from new york to vermont. I know to either have a sweater in the car to put on at the gas station or to wear shorts and have the heat warm me up after all the temperature change is about 10-20 degrees which took me quite a few years to figure out, pack and adjust accordingly. Wow, just happy I overpacked!

I’m in the mood for chocolate and of course the waitress and waiter have no clue what I’m saying, just 2 more days before other jackasses like me arrive, only I hope they packed their translation books and pepto.

I chicken out, and move inside to watch the carnival which seems never ending, more young ladies dressed to impress and dancing their hearts out. It’s been close to 4 hours since I got lost and found the carnival.

Spy a lady with a toddler carrying a baby goat. She’s attracting all kinds of attention and does not allow anyone to touch or take a photo. I’m trying my best to get that shot. A few taken, I’ll know back in the room if I can find the goat.

Finally, at 4pm and 50 degrees I’m headed back to the hotel. Run into some military personnel. Do I need to make a left or a right?

It takes 3 to decide i need to go left 2 blocks.

I’m still lost.

A lady appears and I show her the map, 

I need to get here and then use sign language, left or right? 

She’s speaking English and tells me she understands me.


Points to the map and tells me I’m here and need to make a right and then another right.

All Right!

I’m running up 4 flights of stairs, just happy to have found my way back.

It’s only taken me 3 trips around the block to make it right the 4th time.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings. 

Layer upon layer, I’m ready for another stroll before darkness sets.

Found me a piece of chocolate cake with a a local brew.

I’m happy and ready for bed.

Plug in all my gadgets, batteries charging, photos downloading. In 12 hours I’ve shot over 200 photos. Do people really want to see these? Everything and nothing? I’ve got to make sure there’s plenty of food, beverages and distractions!

I know it’s never a dull day when I’m around!

Spot of tea.

be brave be bold be strong

g’ night george

Awake to the smell of diesel fumes and it’s 11pm.

Peer out the window to see what in the world is happening just outside my window.

Just darkness with lights twinkling

Pop an alka seltzer to get a few more hours sleep.

November 8, 2008

It’s morning and I’m hurting all over.

Maybe I should just chill with a spot of tea and read a book.

Let’s see what they’re serving for breakfast.

bread. More bread. watermelon, mango, watered down yogurt, granola.

there’s cheese and something that resembles spam or is it bologna.

Bread, stale...

Yogurt, belongs in a cup and drank, not eaten with a spoon.

granola, very interesting, not eating anymore.

watermelon and mango

tea, can’t screw that up. Well, since we’re in south america the water has to be boiled first otherwise there will be serious gastronomical issues.

people start coming in.

I ask about the mystery meat.

No one understands me. 

They ask where I’m from.

New York 

Oh New York and move away. Dare I say run away.

2 men walk in and grab loads of mystery meat.

What is that? I ask.

a little bit everything.

He understood me, I say; it looks like spam or bologna.

little bit everything.

Like hot dog?


conversation over

I head out with my tea and up 4 flights of stairs.

I’ve decided I’m going to go back to the plaza and hike up to that statue up on the hill.

I’ve seen it in movies and TV and can’t remember who and what it is. 

Maybe I’ll ask, maybe I won’t.

I’ve packed a book. I’m gonna do what people do when they go on vacation. Sit back and chill for a little while before the adventure begins tomorrow.

No seriously, I tell people I’m gonna be hiking, biking, kayaking and sleeping in a tent in the jungle. 

Quite a few have said I’m insane

Quite a few have said to behave.

Quite a few have said, a vacation is a hammock and a good book with an 

umbrella in a drink.

Then, they all look at me and tell me I’m insane.

I know.

Those that have tolerated my insanity, are my friends.

Ok, I’m off to follow my plan. Will I get sidetracked or lost today?

You’ll know in a few hours.

be bold, be strong be brave.

By now, You’ve got to be wondering what is it with that line?

I have no idea? It just appeared one day in my head and hasn’t disappeared.

I’ve tried to figure out, is it part of a phrase, a song, a verse? I can keep going on and on. I know if you sit back and tune everything out you can actually hear the gears turning, groaning, squealing in my head. 200 miles an hour. What will it take to stop?

Made a left turn and came across some little shops. Saw a sign “pharmacy”

Saw the pepto, and told the gal, that pink box, I want now!

Gave me 2 packages of the chewables. 

“No, I want the whole Box.”

4 for and she pops out the calculator and it reads 7.

7 soles?

let me see the bottle.

It’s plastic and only 11 soles.

here’s 15 soles.

pop the safety seal and take a few swigs.

the rumblings turn to mumbles and then nothing.

another turn and head up north.

While wandering through some interesting neighborhoods, the “be brave” part came to mind. You see, after I showered, I wanted to wear a skort. The last 3 days, I’ve been walking around with shorts with huge pockets to carry my passport and wallet. Today, I decided to lighten up and throw everything into the hotel vault.

Not a good idea, you could actually see the guys trying to see what color my underwear was. Ok, the skorts stay packed, maybe I’ll wear ‘em while in the jungle?!  For now, only the shorts are to be worn. 

A side street turned into a 200 step stairs and I’m feeling the altitude now. Not cool!

Every 6 steps, take a break and soak in the scenery, take a few more swigs of agua. My friends are going to freak when they see where I’ve been. Be Brave and being bold is happening right now. About 20 more steps to go and then I’m at the top. Pass some guys playing soccer. 

The houses are no more and they’re now huts with metal and cardboard roofing.

More steps and what I thought was the end was just a longer step leading to more steps. Having a sort of asthmatic heart attack. My heart is pounding like 250 beats per minute. 

Trying to appear strong and tough to the locals coming down.

The end is in sight, I see a bus pass and the road appears. 

There’s the sign, Christo Blanco. How could I forget! I took a photo of the sign so I don’t forget!

Plenty of locals hawking their crafts. A lady sitting and darning. LLama and children running around. 

Those with a brain, took a trolley car up, 15 minutes from Plaza de Armas.

Me, It took me about an hour and half to climb what I climbed. But, I got to take in the local scenery - Brave and Bold. Strength, got me up the stairs.

Guess it’s my personal mantra coming together, at last.

I’ve always wanted one but....

the voices appear and I’m having an argument with myself.

I sit on the side of the rocky stone path and pull out my journal and write, just to quiet Larry, curly and moe.

There was a person who was in my life not to long ago for a brief moment in time.

I told a similar story, my left and right side are fighting with each other. She replied, “oh, you mean the angel and the devil in your head.”

Um, yea, no, yea, I see your point.

Seriously, I didn’t.

Sure, I’ve got the devil on my ass, a monkey on my back, and an animal watching over my shoulder. One day you will understand. That’s another story for another time.

I thought and thought and tried to make sense of an angel and devil fighting in my head.

I came to the conclusion one evening after arguing with myself through the evening, they would be called larry, curly and moe. For me that totally made more sense. For you, I’m not sure.

You already know I’m insane.


As I sit and write, guys on the right start walking to the left where I’m sitting and causing a distraction. And another guy and two teenagers start veering to the left.

Duh, it’s the skort stupid!

Guess this side of the planet they’ve never seen a skort!

I Pack up and hike down with the goal to get back to the hotel and change.

Hotel isn’t happening right now. 

The lefts, rights and crowds have me thinking I’m missing out on something.

The smells, the sights the sounds. Yes, the sounds. Some days I hear better than others.

I wandered left and wandered right. Happened upon a wedding.

The bride and groom took photos as did I and then drove off in a taxi decorated with toilet paper.

Wandered some more, left and then another left and came upon another wedding.

Seems folks down here use toilet paper to decorate.

There’s no pillow holding the rings. A plate covered in toilet paper holds the rings.

Nervous bride, getting help making sure her wedding dress is perfect.

Nervous groom, making sure he don’t screw up the steps to the alter.

Bored little girl getting all restless.

I move on.

Stumble upon a market.

Only me.

Getting lost was something I loved, always found something off the beaten path.

Till George passed, became depended on the GPS he bought me for christmas.

It’s a makeshift market with hundreds of stalls.

One Wall, 10 stalls,  quite a few rows; blankets, crafts, wooden spoons in all shapes and sides, baskets in all different sizes, shapes and colors.

One row, fruit shakes being blended and decorated with fruits that look like flowers.

Another row, fresh fruits and veggies.

Another row, dried beans and flour.

I almost forgot, the chocolate. How could I forget. At work, No problems finding some chocolate in someone’s drawer. I didn’t steal, everyone knew I stole. I told!

The chocolate came in the shape of beans, bricks and stars. 

Different colors in plastic wrap or no wrap at all.

What’s that, why the plastic, why the star shape, why this, why that, why, why, why.

Before Larry, Moe and Curly could reappear, I stop myself and be realistic.

I can’t ask, I don’t habla espanol and got distracted by something very colorful and kids running around below.

I smell something fishy and see some meats hanging from bars and wires.

It’s the meat market, I quickly pass through recognizing some things you and I would never find in our butcher shop. No photos taken!

I don’t think I can even type what I saw. It was not a pretty sight. One quick look and I moved on quickly.

Good thing I won’t be shopping in a food store for another 4 weeks.

Made my way back to the hotel. 

Yep, I made the right turn. It was a right!

Up to the room, I quickly changed into shorts.

Discovered WIFI at the cafe where I ate lunch. I vowed I’d be back for dinner and dessert.

Would you believe, The cafe is located above a McDonalds!

I took a photo of that, and No, I did not order a burger!

I ordered something that would not dare upset my stomach. It’s been quiet now for a few hours after a few days!

There’s a time and place for that. Not here, not now.

I’ve decided today, I’m only eating at places that have desserts and WIFI.

The WIFI really didn’t get me to where I wanted to go but managed to come up with a simple solution to one problem. Catching up on gossip would have to wait.

I ordered apple pie, boy was I disappointed.

Tomorrow morning, the adventure tour begins.

Daring to be brave, be bold and be strong

g’nite George.

November 9, 2008

It’s 9pm, and here I am. Back in the room after a long day in the outdoors covering what I found by accident yesterday. Of course I packed the wrong long sleeve shirt. I had it right the first time around and figured we’d be back in the room before it got too cold, blah blah. It’s like taking an exam, you pick one answer and then go back ‘cos you think it’s the wrong answer and choose another answer. Every time, I fall for that. I’ve been told to leave my first answers as they were and move on. Never did heed the advice of others. Is it my problem with authority who knows but it cost me quite a few points and my grade went from A to B.

As I sit here, sunburnt from forgetting to put on lotion, I figured i’d only be out in the sun for an hour or so. I awoke at the crack of dawn and felt great and figured I’d get in a run. The goal was to run up to Blanco Christo. I’m in shorts and a t-shirt. It’s about 50 degrees and the local folk are in winter coats, gloves, hats and scarves. I can only imagine what they were thinking when they saw me run past. Could be good thoughts, could be bad thoughts or it could be thoughts that belong in the gutter. Who cares, I’ve got somewhere to be and that’s where I’m headed. I’m in the Plaza, my breathing is insane and my newborn heart is about to jump out of my chest. I’ve only run 6 minutes. 

It’s now 5:45 in the morning and church is quite busy. Folks gathering in and about. I remember 2 folks telling me Sunday is the Free day at church. You don’t have to pay admission. Ok, Let me check it out, maybe 10 minutes and I’ll be able to run up to Christo.

Something pats me on the shoulder and it’s a nun yelling and waving some paper at me.

I don’t need to speak spanish, she’s complaining my outfit is not fit to be worn in a church. 

What was I thinking, oh right, I wasn’t and run out the door.

Crazy! I’ve got quite a ways to go...I’m happy I have to stop at the cross walk and watch traffic zoom by. I run 2, then 3 then 4 blocks and I’m out of steam. I stop and walk a bit and turn back down hill and run towards the hotel. Hit the main road and there’s lots of dogs roaming around not caring if I’m in their way. Or the other way around, they’re in my way. Rules don’t apply in dog’s life. They’re 7 years to our 1!

30 minutes later I’m back at the hotel with a spot of tea.

Sun gets up higher in the sky , temperature goes from 70 to 80 and I just realize I forgot to put on suntan lotion. Ok, I’ll head back to the hotel room and then come back up to the Plaza and make another attempt to enter the church dressed appropriately. Or so I think.

Spot of tea, some hard boiled eggs, watermelon with cheese and hit the shower.

I wear my longest pair of shorts, well, not really they’re a bit too big and fall where it shouldn’t fall, no one but me knows that. Well now you do, but I doubt our paths are going to cross where you are going to pull my shorts down or lift up my shirt to see if crack is showing!

I’m at the church steps and making my way in. I wave to the nun and show her my shorts, pulling them down just a bit lower. She says something and I walk on in.

We’re in a 17th century church with baroque style carvings made out of cedar and painted with either 22 karat or 18 karat gold.

I focus more on the wood carvings, the wooden doors with massive locks and chains. Numerous paintings hang on the ceilings and walls. I Quickly look away at paintings that show death and dying.

I hear sermons being spoken. I see families praying together. I see the dedicated bowing and giving air kisses and air crosses. I see people lining up in the middle and figured, why not, I joined in and the lines quickly move and I’m in front of a priest who gives me a cracker.

Stuck to the roof of my mouth, I look around to see if others have the same dilemma as me. How to remove it politely. I decide to let it be. Time is all that is needed. Actually it’s patience!

I head out the door and sit on a bench. 

Moe, Larry and Curly are wide awake and giving me grief, I pull out my journal and start writing.

A lady sits next to me and tries to make conversation. Broken English and no Spanish.

I get, where are you from?

United States.


New York.

Me from santiago and whatchamallit (this is going to happen throughout my journal, I have no idea what the word is and I’m creating a new word. Welcome to my world where asking the same question over and over again just does not work.)

That’s very cool, have you been in the church yet?

yes, and she runs up the stairs and says something to the nun and vanishes in the dark.

So much for that thought. A scream, I look around and it’s a lady screaming and pointing toward something. It wasn’t the scream that got my attention. Well, somewhat, to a point since I heard her and looked at her and saw her point at something and followed her hand to where she was pointing.  It’s another carnival. You’d think after one i’ve had enough, never!

I walked over to the market and bought myself another bottle of suntan lotion. 

Watched and waited and waited some more. Ate a powerbar and watched the little kids start selling their wares.

Shot some more photos, sat and wrote in my journal. It’s now close to 11:30 and the tour is starting at noon. I head back over to the hotel. Check myself out in the mirror. A bit of a burn. Oh well, nothing I can’t handle. My goodie basket from the gals at work contain a bottle of aloe.

Tour has begun and the only best news is I don’t have to share a room with anyone.

Jimmy and Jessie; engaged, preppy couple from boston. She had her toenails painted to match her sandals. Jimmy didn’t set up the camelback properly and everything got soaked with 2 liters of water.

Marcia and Tobias, children of the 60’s, she’s a pharmacist, Tobias is a smoker.

Me, I’m the 5th wheel for the next 2 weeks.

We walk through the maze of a neighborhood to hit the market. Oh, I found this place yesterday.

I can get some help in the chocolate section.

Mr. Lima is our tour guide for the next 2 weeks and he’s already explaining what’s what. We start out in the “entrails” section. Which is the medicinal section in South America and what I thought were sacs were sacks of the inner workings of animals that is used for sore muscles. I’ll stick with what we use in North America, thank you and we move on.

For those of you, and I know quite a few of you. Frogs are the best things for asthmatics.

Couldn’t get a snapshot of them swimming around, too slow.

Ok, we move on to the herbs, breads, shakes. The chocolate section is closed, I mean empty! I’m so not happy.

We move out and head to a sports bar where there’s lots of Americans watching football.

Not missing anything and we sit to eat.

Once our order has been taken we now share why we’re down here. Of course, I get to start.

I start and begin by saying, quit my life in New York and moved up to Vermont a few weeks ago, quit my job and now I’m here.

You just moved to another state, quit your job why?

Because life is too short and because I just can!

Mrs. Portland and Tobias agree.

Jessie and Jimmy are puzzled.

I do not mention George and I can feel his presence saying, “what about me.”

This is a moment where I cannot speak out loud...nor am I going to the bathroom to have an argument with the mirror. 

The guys order a beer and I hear whispering in my ear “get for a beer”

I shake my head “no” and hopefully no one notices.

I decide against it as I know we have a steep climb ahead of us after lunch and my lunch consists of way too many potatoes and rice.

presence is gone and I’m left alone for the moment.

We head out and upward many, many, many steps. This is a different route that I did yesterday and I tell Mr Lima, See that house over there about 2 miles to the right of us and He said you did that by yourself and I told him I did. I guess I wasn’t supposed to. Oh well. Ignorance is bliss.

We meet up with another guide who takes us through the ruins. Instead of spelling it out I’m just going to call it the Jaguar’s teeth ruins. For those who want a history lesson, please do a google search.

I forgot his name and he explains the mystics behind the setting of the 130 ton stones and how they were carefully crafted to fit together. See my photos for more details.

We wander around, up some more stairs, down some more and pass some locals with llamas and we’re told if we take pictures we should give a few soles for their time.

I did it all yesterday, no need to do it today.

The winds are picking up and it’s getting a bit chilly. It’s now around 4:30 and of course I’m starting to get annoyed at myself for swapping long sleeve shirts.

They all think my legs are cold. No, I don’t wear pants. My legs are fine.

I spy snowcapped mountains in the distance and am told it’s 8 hours away by air.

How cold?

minus 13.

did you say minus?

ya, minus 13.

Ouch, that’s what I’ll be going home to in a month.

We stop and see kids sliding down the stones. How cool, I give Tom my camera in sport motion and head up the slippery slope and sit. It’s a bit cooler than the air.

I head down and it’s a quick fast ride. Both guides at the bottom to catch me.

We head on to the other side where there is a cave and we wander in the darkness for 10 meters. The phones are used as flashlights.

We finally head back to town for dinner, but Mr. Lima is called away for an hour so we head over to the cafe and get a brew. I point to which one I want and tell the waitress. “the big one, no small, the big one”

She comes back with the small one and we all tell her, “the big one and she says no we don’t have small”, she’s annoyed ‘cos she opened the bottle. I tell her to take it away if she doesn’t have the big bottle, she walks off and comes back with the big bottle.

We drink and an hour quickly passes and we head over and meet Mr. Lima and get dinner.

It’s now a bit after 7 and a bit late for dinner. I keep it simple with salad, soup and chocolate cake. 

Jessie asks what I plan to do when I get to Vermont.

I lick my finger and hold it up in the air.

That’s it?

That’s it, I’m down here for 4 weeks and that’s all I care about.

Food arrives and conversation switches to what is that?

what did you order?

want to try some?

we eat, they chat, I eat.

It’s now close to ten and everyone’s ready for bed. Big day tomorrow.

Biking and then hiking.

Guess I’m not learning to salsa tonight.

I’m wide awake and plug my laptop to get the pictures and my story going.

It’s now 1:30am.

Becoming a bit more bolder, braver and stronger.

G’Night George.

Larry, Moe and Curly keep me up till 3.

November 10, 2008

another attempt at a morning run. This time wear long sleeves.

I did not make it up to Christo Blanco this morning. Between the altitude and the hills, I’m not whining. Just didn’t have it in me to continue running up hills. I promised myself and told the gang, before I fly home I will make it up the hill. That will be my Peru marathon.

We all meet at the lobby after eating watermelon, cheese, bread with jam and yogurt.

We’re all in bike gear. Today we’re going to bike down into the valley. The ride is a total breeze. I’m getting the hang of cruising at 25 miles an hour on a mountain bike but that’s as fast as I’m going to attempt to go. The downhills still do something nasty to my stomach, no fear does not work down in the depth of the bowels. 

We pass the local villages...it’s sorta like the theme Hillary Clinton was pitching years ago when her husband was president of the united states. “It takes a village to raise a child.” Only this scenario it takes a village to help build the village. Neighbors help neighbors build their mud houses. After a few hours, I couldn’t tell the difference between real brick and mud brick. 

Vinyl siding is replaced by paintings of political characters, names of women, alcoholic beverages and some spanish that I could not translate. 

Once we made it down the “hill” we arrive in a town called Pisac where we checked out the local market for local goodies. I left my wallet behind on the bus so I just wander down up and down the colorful psychedelic colors that make Peru, Peru.

After paying a sole (1 dollar) to use the bathroom, and I have to supply my own toilet paper.

We head up to the Ruins. It was really hot, minus the humidity. We all take our time hiking upwards 2 thousand feet. I wear my heart rate monitor and my foot pod to see exactly where my    nearly 10 month old BPM stands and how far this hike is exactly.

3 hours later, back to the bus, we nearly hit a mile and my BPM hit btw 185 and 120. Am I impressed? It’s too hot to really care about the scientific within my internal firings and misfirings. Back to the bus it starts to rain, we all scramble to get inside and eat lunch.

We all do not debate whether we take a final bike ride down the mountain, we’re going to do it.

Even though inside my brain, it clearly remembers 4 months ago where I had to go for a bike ride after a storm. Riding over the railroad trestle at 18 miles an hour, my handlebars go  right and my body flies off left. I manage to cover my face before impact. Just all bloody and bruised and another scar to add to my 2008 collection of injuries sustained. The rain stops as we get off the bus and hop on the bikes and ride down 20 minutes to the bottom. We pass kids on the way home from school thinking it’s cool to throw pebbles at passing bikes, I just sit back and enjoy my 2nd mountain bike ride and add that to my to do list during the winter/spring of 2009.

Potholes, pebbles, grass, all meet the wheels with ease. I’m snapped out of single or dual suspension when the local dogs warn me I’m invading their territory...all bark? Will they bite, I’m left to quickly ride pass them and hoping there is no sudden impact. 

Make it down to meet the fast guys and breathe, No new scars happening to this body today.

We have time for a quick shower and then meet up for dinner. We end up at a place that is very lively and at this point, I’m really sick of potatoes and everyone knows it and makes sure they remind me. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. I feel like I’m turning into a tator. I already appear like a tot to many.

November 11-14, 2008.

When I first started this journey, I was going to log things daily. But, being on the Inca trail, there is no way I can do a daily log. It’s more of a compacted summary. I promise I will try my best to include many funny little anecdotes and bats in the belfry comments. After all there are so many hours in a day. I’m on vacation and writing before breakfast or after dinner is just too complicated. We already have to be up at 5am and by the time we finish dinner it’s 9pm. I want to see if I can sleep through the night, just once this vacation would be nice. A total of 7 hours minimum.

Its just the 3 of us from our group, Mr and Mrs. Portland. Remember, I’m deaf and there are some traditional deaf things I do. It will be fully known now that I’m confessing how parts of my brain work.

You see, deaf people don’t really go by names, we pick a character flaw, or a personal habit that one has. It’ll become more apparent as we progress with my personal journey. You cannot hold it against me but understand that you must make fun of yourself just like we do you.

Our lives were thrown together by travel agents at the right place at the right time.

g: mr. jeff gordon

m:  mr. squinty eyes

r: moe, curly and bald

m: mr. beckham

c: mr. crewcut

t: quit his life to take a journey into the wilds

b and j: mr and mrs cape cod

m: and t: mr and mrs portland

me: I’ll leave that to your imagination

d: eye darter

s: chainsmoker

d: ireland boy

November 15, 2008

Today is our free day to take a break from the group and roam the streets of Cusco and do some shopping or sleeping or whatever. My time is spent at the cafe, a very expensive cafe to use the WIFI to upload photos and do what needs to be done. However, the uploading doesn’t go as well as expected and just do what can be done and be on my way.

There’s no running for me this morning, my legs are dead weight from the 100,000 step journey the last 4 days.

November 16-18, 2008

Im in the middle of the rainforest laying in a hammock. I have 20 minutes before lunch. 

The hammock is in my room, instead of a couch or one of those oversized love seats, it´s a hammock and some tree stumps for stools. In my room are 2 twin sized beds with mesh netting that is a requirement out here in the rainforest as there is no glass in the windows. It´s all open for all to see and the winds and wildlife to join me and keep me company. I wonder if there were any monkeys in the room while I sleep? What keeps them out? Do they know what is what? 

Last night I got 7 hours sleep as two days ago I only got 2 hours sleep. We partied till 4 in the morning and Mr and Mrs. cape town walked me back to the hotel as I wanted to get some fresh air. Hopefully get some of the cigarette sink off me. I should have known better, the only thing that removes stink is the washing machine. 

It takes some hell banging to get the reception guy to wake up. He´s sleeping in a sleeping bag on the couch and ignoring the doorbell. I remember what it takes to open up the deadbolt as I didn´t want to climb the fence. 

Reception guy finally wakes up and signals for my friends to leave and gives me the room key. I tell him, no, they´re my friends and they´re coming in to use the banos and quickly close the door ending our conversation. He pops his head out and tell 

s my friends they need to leave. Mr. Cape town tells me to let it go and I point him in the direction of the men´s room and push him inside. We chat a bit and we´re all on our way to sleep a few hours before we take off to our next destination. 

I decide to take a shower now and pack. It´s now 5am and I have to wake up at 7. 

Lights out as soon as i hit the pillow. 

7 am and I´m awake and in the cafeteria waiting for the rest of the group for our flight out to Puerto Maldonado. 

I know they´re all shocked that I´m awake before them and breathe a sigh of relief knowing I made it back safe and sound. 

On the bus ride, I´m asked all kinds of questions and tell them my favorite is dancing on the bar. They ask to see photos and I remind them i actually left my camera behind but the guys for sure got quite a few shots of me having a blast. 

For me, those few hours with the guys, were a cleansing moment in time for me. A signal that I´m ready to move to the next level in my life. I know removing the wedding bands from my neck is and was the right thing for me to do. It´s close to 10 months and as painful as it is. I need to move forward now. I know a widow told me it would take me 2 years. 2 years to grieve. I don´t think so. I know george would not want that for me. 

I try and nap on the plane before we land. I might have dozed off for a moment or two as I’m not sure since we hit so much turbulence

Writing my story or bits of it in a hammock is pretty cool. pretty tricky as well. Nature is also playing some tricks on me. things are moving around in the trees in front of me. rocking in a hammock takes a bit of getting used to and a core workout. If i move a bit too far too fast, i´ve knocked over my cup of tea. If I´m just swaying just right, my writings have become chicken scratch and I'm having a hard time deciphering what I´ve written. If anything, I should have learned by now working with a PT who has horrible handwriting, he can´t even read his own writing most days. 

Anyway, the 2nd screwup i did on the hike is knock over one of those ant hills. You really can´t miss it but if you´re on another planet daydreaming or looking up for something you definitely will miss it. These things stick out of the ground like an erect penis. We did have a few laughs over that remark. I´m not the one that said it out loud, I know George would have gotten a kick out of that. For me one less erect object, I doubt the world is going to miss. But, we´re in the rainforest, i´ll leave it at that. 


Back at the lodge, nothing else has been destroyed by me. But, the day isn´t over yet. 

In the store, the natives of tambopata made jewelry from seeds in the rainforest. This would be a perfect replacement for the rings I wore around my neck. Th 

e rings have been worn since I closed the rented coffin one last time. There´s been a bit of guilt. A part of me wishes I had left his band on him. He loved it, the design sort of looked like “ski tracks”, while mine had the waves for the swim portion of a triathlon that is my weakest part of the sport. My fear of water which causes an anxiety attack. The wet suit keeps me floating till I snap out of it as different colored wave caps are swimming past me. I do not want to be the last out of the water, the sooner i get to land, the better. 


The rings are safely hidden in my first aid kit. 


The necklace is put on, in 3 days it will be exactly 10 months. A moment I know I´m moving forward. A few days ago, I gave away a pair of shoes george bought me when we were married. 

The lady behind the register explains the meaning of each of the beats. I keep it simple and go with the wasai seeds. They´re red and black, the story I'm told and modified for you. They´re like pearls in oysters. Some are red and black and others all red. The all red go in a bowl and is used for decoration. The red and black symbolize good luck on ones journey. lets see how things progress for me from this moment forward. 

It´s custom to take a seed or two and give them to a loved one. I´ve got a wallet full so let´s see what happens once I hit the states and p 

ass them around till I run out. 

The necklace was made by a gal, her name is elsa at the ese, eja de infierno. the neatest thing, the necklace comes packed for me in a handmade sachet. 


A bracelet with all brown beads was bought for a pal who now likes things in all shades of brown. 

I´m able to pay american dollars which makes things a bit easier on me. Some days I have plenty of money in my wallet and other days not enough. 


My eye caught something moving in the forest, A specific section of the tree is moving. I see something, I´m not sure if it´s a monkey or a bird. Getting up from the hammock is a very cool core workout. Only thing is, the goal is not to come crashing down. In my case, crashing down along with my cup of tea sitting on a tree stump stool. I´m able to stay in the hammock, the tea cup and it´s contents crash to the floor. 

If a tea cup falls in the forest, does it make a sound? 

The ceilings are shared by all. It´s an open ceiling plan. If I can smell Mr portland smoking a cigarette then he can hear me crash to the floor. I´ll know in an hour or so if he heard me. 


In keeping my balance on the hammock, trying to see if I saw monkey or bird is long gone. Some things just have to stay a mystery. 

It´s so great to finally be able to breathe. The dry air in Cusco vs Puerto Maldonado is a huge difference. Our time so far has been hurried and challenging. Here in the rainforest, i´ve slowed down. There´s something magical about this place. It just does something deep inside the soul. My pace has gone from 30 mph to 2mph. The smells, the sights, are incredible. 

On the boat, I volunteer to paddle. I´m just bored standing around watching time move slowly and growing colder as I stand around just standing. 

IT´s in the low 60´s and I´m still in shorts. In pants I feel like I´ve put my legs in prison. 

We pull over and the fishing poles come out. They´re human-made, no reel, no fancy colorful hooks. 

I didn´t catch anything, but just getting a few bites from something down below a lot smarter than me, was enough to pique my interest for only 10 minutes. It´s like watching a dog chase a ball you´ve thrown way too many times. Yes, I finally got bored and passed on the rod and called it a day. I know there is no way I´m going to be catching lunch this morning. Watching everyone else try and try was entertainment for just a little while. 

The mesh netting that wraps around the bed. I was a bit worried about my bathroom midnight runs and getting trapped and stuck till help came to cut me out. My paranoia, is just that, an overactive imagination. Using and dealing with the mesh netting is much easier than making the bed. Corners get wrapped quickly and easily. Easy on and off. Once again, my imagination goes into overdrive not having glass in the windows. The walls are made of bamboo rods. You can see out and anyone can see in, walking around naked is not a good idea. 


Not having windows, I thought it would get much colder at night and I ended up taking more layers off than I should have put on. I awoke in the morning in a pile of clothing rather than a blanket. 

Does the wildlife pay us a visit in the middle of the night and confuse our snoring with mating calls? 

I awoke a few times but it was just the wind and the trees creating the illusions that would only exist in my head. 

If I was an illustrator, I´d create some pretty surreal stuff that would start a new surrealism revolution. 

I know there are a few bats in my belfry along with some cobwebs made of steel to stand the 200 mph heavy winds created by my wheels creaking and turning and groaning. 


Back now from another journey on the river. Downwards, the use of a huge wooden paddle that no one could figure out how to use but the driver of the boat. We land and take a short hike around in a circle and pop out to head back up river breathing in diesel fuel. 


Just out of the shower. The set up is awesome. Totally like being in the outdoors with running water. Only problem you have 2 choices. Cold and off. I try my best to be tough, just stand there and do what I´ve got to do. I hate cold showers and I´ve gone 4 days and 3 nights without one. 

I figure I´´d stand outside the spray and quickly work my way through my issues. As I try and grab the soap dispenser, my body revolts and pretty much the entire contents of the dispenser is creating a bubble bath down below. This stuff is biodegradable to a point. 

At this point, I´m kinda worried about my clumsiness, it´s going to get me thrown out of the rainforest. 

I´m not being overly dramatic. I came close to stepping on a bug. This bug, I´m told is an important part of the ecosystem. This bug was in a tree that I was trespassing trying to get a cool photo shot of myself. 

The look in the guide´s eye made me feel like I was 2 inches tall. Even though in the rainforest I am. 

Mrs. Portland came and saved the future by pointing downwards for me to see what I almost did. 

There was a movie I saw not too long ago. I can´t remember the name of it but it involved a scientist who created a time machine to bring groups of people back to the age of the dinosaurs. Paying customers were briefed to wear specific clothing and to stay on the path. The decontamination system that was supposed to be operational wasn´t. No one knew that and one wrong step changed humankind, chaos reigned. It was the job of the scientist and of course the beauty bombshell to find out where they went wrong and right that wrong. That´s all I´m going to tell you as I don´t want to ruin the ending for those that haven´t seen it yet. 

Today we had 5 am wake up call and of course I didn’t wait till then. I awoke at 4 am.

Last night, we had a coupla beers, lots of photos were taken, I think more of the collection of beer bottles we gathered than of ourselves. We were having a ball using our candlelight feature on our digital cameras. The majority of the shots were experimental till we finally figured out how to do what we did to create awesome professional looking amateur shots. The glow of the candles matched the color of the beer labels and we found some kind of strange fascination with that. Could have just been a combination of being extremely tired and lots of beer thrown in the mix as it was our last night in the rainforest. We were still on a natural high and giddy like little kids in the candy store. About 2 hours ago, we went searching for bugs in the dark using our flashlights. At first I was in the middle of the pack, our guide Mr told us to hurry and follow him and he started talking real fast, I’m just following the pack. Everyone was flashing their headlights up and down and around, circle to the left, circle to the right and freeze, nope, that was a dried up dead leaf looking like a frog. I finally got the hang of what exactly was going on. One frog was found, lots of shots taken, reviewed, erased, shot again, reviewed again, asked around - what do you think? in focus out of focus? What do you think? keep it delete it? Then we hear someone shout out, I found something. More frogs, some interesting looking bugs, and a tarantula nesting on a Oje tree, or so I think. It was too dark and I was really really hungry.

Back in the room, light the candles, put away my head lamp and decide, by candlelight, I’m going to  pack for the journey back to Cusco. Just of of curiosity to see how life was like without the awesome power of electricity. I have to admit, I had a blast, it was totally relaxing and not worried about starting any fires, just burning myself with wax as I moved from the bedroom to the bathroom and back. I left all my clothes in the bathroom piled up on the shelf as sticks of bamboo in the bedroom do not give a naked person much coverage while walking around the room in search of clothes to wear.

As I awake at 4 and look out the windowless window to see if there is any wildlife hanging around on the patio or laying in the hammock. It’s just my imagination in overdrive again. I realized I packed the flashlights and don’t even remember where I put the candles or the lighters. Had other things floating through my mind that an important detail like seeing in the dark is really important.  I just do it and reach out to the night stand and it’s a lighter in my hand. Ok, I think I did what needed to be done after all. I wave my hand around and hit the candlestick. Ok, I did good after all and do not dare hop in the shower but get dressed and wash up and pack whatever is left lying around.

We all meet in the lobby at 5:30. We really were supposed to meet at 5:15 but everything is relaxed casual down here. We head out to where we need to remain silent. I’ve no idea where we’re going and I’ll let you know in a minute or two. We head down a trail that is kind of under construction. It does not involve heavy machinery or power tools. Just a shovel and some sacks. They’re building a dirt platform with rocks to make sure we all stay on the trail and do not venture off into the unknown. A bit hard to do here but I’ll let it be. We arrive to a rickety winding steps downwards and told to remain quiet. Very important to do so. We’re all half asleep and I don’t think anyone can actually start a dialog at this point since we met at 5:30 we all forgot stuff in our rooms and had to go back and forth and least 2 times. We’re in a room off the stairs with a view of the river just swimmingly  along keeps me captivated till Im told to go to the window. It’s not a window but the leaves from trees have been cut away to make viewable areas for bird-watching or bird sighting which ever you prefer as there was a serious couple looking through a pair of binoculars on the hunt for something really cool. I sit and wait and stare and wait some more. I’m known to not be a very patient person and I’m wondering how much longer I should remain seated till I become really really bored. This would be a perfect time for me to work on my just sitting and doing nothing for at least 5 minutes. And my patience has lasted long enough to see a few tiny black specks come into view. It’s the parrots, they’ve come to play in the trees and provide some simulating entertainment for us all. There’s another kind of bird in view for a little while. We all look to watch the birds in flight and hanging out on the vines enjoying themselves. The colors are so awesome, I know I’ve seen them in the bird shops or pet shops but nothing like a free bird for the tired and weary. We’ve got some energy to move around and take pictures by using the magnifying glass. I failed miserably and put my camera down to watch the birds in flight and try to take photogenic images in my head. I know in about 12 hours they’ll go from psychedelic to black and white images till I see a magazine photo of them again and I can proudly say I saw those birds in flight in real life down in the rainforest.

I see a guide from another group grab my camera and speak with Mr. Portland who is showing him how to use the camera as his wife has a similar one. I let it go. My waterproof camera has my guide Mr. Lima in awe, He is not able to comprehend that you can actually drop the camera in water and take photos. But, anyway let’s go back instead of jumping around confusing the hell out of you. The guide had my camera, I let him play with it and I watched the birds take flight and disappear into the daylight. The guide comes over and gives me my camera and says something, I quickly put it in review mode and he actually got some photos of the birds. I was like very cool, and expressed gratitude as I was not expecting that. He apologized that the photos were so-so. I said I can see the birds and their colors that’s more than enough. After all I do not know how much storage is left in my brain. 


need to use the banos. Only one sole. In the states, you have to either buy a meal or a drink in order to use the bathroom. 1 sole versus 15 to 20 bucks. 

So i think I´m getting a pretty good deal down here. Only flip side, are you getting some toilet paper or not. 

You get caught in between in the locals after using the bowl, trying to sell you their wares while you try and adjust yourself and get some hand sanitizer on yourself before you can even think of looking around. 

Once you´re adjusted and clean, they´ve attached themselves like white on rice and peeling them off you trying to get out the door is a workout. 


We´re back on the bus, everyone is sleeping after a meal of rice and potatoes. I´m wide awake as my stomach is pretty annoyed with me for making it digest starch after starch. 

I see a rainbow outside the window and love the fact that my camera has a mode for taking photos behind glass. My 2nd in 2 weeks. This rainbow is so clear, the colors have their own space and not meshed with the others. The purple stands out, incredible views. 


11 20 


I really did not sleep well last night. 

little bed bugs sharing the bed with me. At first I thought it was my imagination kicking into overdrive ´cos we got our dinner at 8 30 and we didn't finish up till 10 minutes later, we were so hungry we just folded out pizza in half and gobbled it dow 

n in about 4 bites. I hate eating so late, it creates crazy dreams, either i remember parts of the dream or don't remember anything at all but know i did dream something crazy. 


my breathing is becoming pretty erratic and I'm getting a bit worried, i should be used to the altitude now. could it be lack of sleep or just doing too much of a good thing and there´s a revolution going on in my body? Just walking up one flight of stairs causes me to stop and catch my breath. feel like a person with emphysema. Could it be the bad air that I'm breathing down here. we already know there is no smog or emissions control down here. just seeing the swirls of black smoke coming out of tailpipes is enough evidence. Or could it be 2nd hand smoke from hanging out with smokers? Or could it be my body telling me that a pivotal moment is coming in a few hours? at 10 pm tonight is when they called it 10 months ago and it´s weighing heavily on my 10 month old reborn heart. 

It´s amazing that I´ve gone this long and this far without a husband at my side. Some days I´m bold and then some days I'm in a corner like a little mouse trapped. 

Some days I'm strong and then some days I´m dead weight and just can´t get out of bed. 

Some days I´m brave and then other days I´m hiding behind locked doors not leaving the safety of my home. 

I do know some of my emotions have gotten the best of me. I know the walls keep going up and some bricks removed and then put back up again. 

I know I´m surrounded by some wonderful people who have been my rock. 

I know I´m allowing those who have abused me to cause fear in allowing people inside. 

I know the barriers have to come down and they do need to come down. If I did find love once, I know I can again even though the rules have changed. Not just rules but requirements. At the top of the list is if one can´t or won´t take care of himself then he has no respect for himself or others. 

Case in point, smokers, they seem to think they´re not affecting others. 

I really do miss my husband but I know that by removing the rings off my body, a painful symbol of love is a signal grief needs to come to an end. 

While george and I had our happy moments, the last few weeks were a nightmare that i need to get over and move on. He refused to go to the doctor, is that the reason for his early demise, we´ll never know. 

I know i need to allow myself to trust even though some remind me of people who i should have trusted and was betrayed. i know not everyone is a betrayer. first impressions are just that, flaws need to be overlooked rather than analyzed. just let it be and let it go. 

What keeps me going, my circle, adding on to that circle is part of life. Things a 

re starting to fall in place, though some moments it´s moving a bit too slowly. 

I know i shouldn´t rush myself, some past decisions i´ve made were in haste. some i regret but from those decisions came new decisions which made me a better person. There are those that remind me of my mistakes. things that happened 10 or 20 years ago are just that, memories. 

Life is just too short. 

just let it be 

I find out Mrs. portland is also having similar breathing problems and mrs boston didn´t sleep well, overslept and missed breakfast. We all had to wait for her. 

Today we´re on our way to Puno to kayak and stay with a sponsor family. The ride to the port was a thrilling ride. a carriage hooked up to a bike. My driver found it fascinating that i was taking pictures of left and right and pointed to what i should take photos of. the ride is over before it really begins. 

We´re at port and we´re told to fill up plastic bags full of goodies for our sponsors. i throw in pasta, oil, rice, and toilet paper. 


We´re on a boat, we choose to sit outside and we´re told we have to go inside. We moan and groan and told it´s only for a few minutes. Inside we meet our guide who gives us a bit of Peruvian and bolivian history. Even with all of it´s political issues. fishermen from both sides are allowed to cross and fish in peace. 

Something north america needs t 

o learn..too much political bullshit has created a continental divide. I´ll leave it at that. as politics has ruined some friendships. wonder if anyone has tried to swim each others waters and get a ride home back to their country with no problems. 

we´ve got a 2 and half hour boat ride to lake titicaca, everyone is inside sleeping. I just hang out up top and just sit, chill and enjoy the scenery. Weather is perfect and the quiet is much needed as a few tears have fallen the last 24 hours. they shouldn´t have but I'm told is a normal part of the healing process. I grew up with the belief that big girls don´t cry only babies. 

I wasn´t sure if i would still feel George's presence since I´ve taken off what was sacred and important to us both, our wedding bands. 

As we stood in the middle of a hike, in the horizon were snowcapped mountains, he appeared again and then quickly vanished. It was a pivotal moment in time, i was doing my thing while he has gone off to do his thing. The mountain in that one moment in time, became crystal clear, I could see the mountain in all its glory. 

I quickly snap out of it, this is my journey, my time, my new beginning. 

We arrive and dock, get lessons on how to use the kayak and we´re off. We were told it´s a 2 hour trip that took 3 hours. 

It took a bit of time to get used tom the paddling, the seating arrangements 

, the splashing, the boats with fishermen grabbing nets and pulling them into the boats, it´s dinner´s special catch. 

Once we all got into a groove we all stopped and ate some snacks to refuel for the rest of the journey. i ate a powerbar and saved the crackers and peanuts for the boat. 

Mr lima and I share a boat. He needs to work on his upper body strength. I quickly tire from being the responsible one and get a bit annoyed. mr and mrs portland disappear from sight and mr and mrs boston are ahead of us by half a mile. i do the marathon countdown, hoping it would help me get to shore a bit faster, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 , 5, 10, 9 , 8 ,7...not working, just sit and chill and u´ll get to shore when you get to shore no matter how cold and wet i am. 

i rethink things and think to myself, fiberglass or plastic kayak; which will i buy, oh yea the fiberglass is lighter but plastic takes a beating. larry, moe and curly make an appearance for a short while, they disappear as soon as they realize the water is too cold for them. 

Now there are 2 new things to buy for next year, a mountain bike and a kayak. I know this winter i can find a good deal. i know i got to buy the high end stuff, i´ve already crashed twice on my road bike and had it inspected by my bike guy who found no internal damages just new battle scars. Those are the reminders not to be stupid, again. for now anyway. 


By the time we get to shore, I'm soaking wet, cold and sitting in a pool of water. As the guys unattached me, water ends up down my back and butt, causing me to shriek in cold pain shock. Quickly one of the guys wrap me in a blanket and guide me to the boat. 

it was neat to be the one to get the special treatment and attention from the guys...it was ´cos i was flying solo and the other 2 gals had their men to warm them up. 


i ate some crackers and mr lima handed over a cup of tea. Found a chocolate bar in the bag and ate that. gave the guys working the boat the rest of my crackers and the bag of nuts. Sitting in the sun drinking tea while the boat is floating off to our next destination, really didn´t warm me up or dry me out a bit. !0 minutes later we´re docked and told to boat hop to our boat to get our bags. we had to jump in between 4 or 5 boats before we arrived to ours. Changing was not an option as we had to hurry, we were late. 

We´re quickly broken up into threes, it´s me with the portlands and mr lima with the bostons. 

We head up the mountain through a yard up man made stone steps that would not pass home insurance inspection. We´re escorted to our rooms and told to wait till we´re called for lunch. we change quickly out of our dry clothes and then gather to check out each others rooms. the banos is awesome. the best looking bathroom on the hill that is for sure, i know it was better than some of the bathrooms in some of the hotels we stayed in! would u believe there was one that was too small to accommodate me, I'm 5 feet 2 and do not take a lot of space, could  

the potatoes have fattened me up to a point where I'm no longer the size i left home in? tator tot? 


The winds have picked up dramatically and the mr lake titicaca comes in and gives us hats and explains we need to put them on at 4 and when we´re done in the morning to leave them in the room. We look at our watches and have an hour and half. Lunch is served at 230. Our lunch is rice, potatoes and fried cheese, i think the 3 of us try hard not to laugh as i know my face has turned green from seeing the potatoes on the plate. i eat them out of respect for the sponsors and the cheese is very salty and i end up very thirsty and have to wait to get some aqua from my camelback. lots of it! 

mrs lake titicaca is a beautiful woman, a grandmother with 3 grandchildren. lines on her face show the years of experience she has experienced living here on the lake. We want to take photos and she quickly brushes us off, we try our best and forget our flash is on and quickly turn it off. 

we ask them to join us in eating and they tell us they´ve already eaten. we say it´s pretty late we understand. 10 minutes later they quickly sit in front of the fire and eat bowls of rice, potatoes and cheese, i beg for one photo of the 2 of them and say i will leave them alone. we get one shot and we finish up and told to head to our rooms. we have an hour and i tell the portlands I'm going for a walk. mr portland wants a nap and quickly changes his mind, we walk up the stairs and end up in other peoples backyards. the altitude is very harsh on my system and i see mrs portland is also having breathing issues as well. it´s like we´re at the 26th mile mark and we´ve gone out too fast and ran out of steam to finish the .2. 

I feel like a chain smoker, something i used to be, many many years, a lifetime ago. it was a cool thing to do and just went with the flow, till i moved to california and the smog was enough for me, i lit up, one puff and ended up tossing the cigarettes and didn´t light up again for another 4 years. That was when i moved to chicago, cigarettes were my rebounder. got an offer to work from home. first project was coloring a comic book digitally which was very cool till late one night i saw it was 2 am, i was out of cigarettes, thirsty, tired, all alone and needed more cigarettes and took a look at my ashtray...full of butts, that´s how i felt! the glamour of working at home in PJ´s quickly wore off. Got a phone call and my life changed quickly again, moved back to a place i left many years ago. too quickly things happened, the move, the job, the relationship. Too quickly i did things till i met the man i knew i was going to marry and did. things slowed down quickly and i finally settled into a routine that i never had before. 


We´re sitting drinking with a beer, watching the football game, the locals vs the tourists. the game is over before i know who won. i asked around and no one seems to know and we´re told to get moving. We´re off on another hike that climbs higher and higher and our breathing becomes more labored and i can actually hear everyone breathing. strange sounds to be hearing in this beautiful air that seems to be getting colder as we climb higher. i put the hat back on and climb a bit higher and faster just to get it over with...i warm up quickly and take the hat off. I'm super impressed. the hat, while locally made out of llama wool is super warm. we´ve stopped to take a look at the views, the water, so blue. everyone can hear the waters hitting the shore except for me. my imagination can do that and much more, I'm not offended or worried. it´s a part of me that i accepted many years ago. just to stare out and see what nature has offered us is enough. 



Are we at risk for getting shot at or no one cares. we retreat and head up another path to another and quickly find out we´re out of time and head back down. the sponsors will not be walking us to the football game but their granddaughter all dressed up will be taking us. 


We stop and see snow capped mountains, we head up a bit more and walk through stone arches, I'm reminded tonight is 10 months and I'm not sure how things are going to happen within me. We stop and sit and admire the beauty that we´re surrounded by. the sun is close to setting. As the sun heads south, the sky colors changing, mr lima pulls out a bottle of red wine, cups are passed around to be shared, he fills up we spill some to bless and thank the earth. 

Sun is moving faster now and we´re playing with our camera taking as many shots as we can in different scene settings. The temperature has dropped quickly and dramatically,we quickly put on our 2nd fleece sweaters and hats. 

Turns out we´re not the only ones staying with sponsors, many more colorful hats are moving around the trail. 

As the sun drops below, we head down and stop into the beverage place and pick up some brews for the evening. 


We arrive back at the house and told to go to our rooms and wait till we get called. We don´t protest, we just do it. even though we feel like kids that have been punished, neither of us wants to go to the rooms, we want to sit in the kitchen and watch dinner being made in front of the fire. 


As I lay down, I can just feel my body being drained of whatever energy is left. between the lack of sleep the last 2 weeks and knowing in a few hours another month has come and gone. I eat half a granola bar quickly, i don’t want to get caught as lunch didn´t fill me up and i know more potatoes are being served for dinner and i´ll try to eat as much as i can out of respect. 

We finally get called for dinner, it´s whole wheat pasta with potatoes, i try to move the potatoes to the edge of the plate but they´re cut too small for me to even try and move. Starch on top of starch, under starch, side by side starch. Do you feel a bit green now? i just have to stuck it up for one more meal and then lunch time it´s just veggies and more veggies. Of course, the remainder of power bars, beef jerky and power gels that i have stashed in my bag for my 2nd leg of the journey. I have no idea what will be served on the islands. 

Especially for turkey dinner..what will we be having? i´ll know in just 24 hours. 


I hope my stash of beef jerky will do me and the group justice if it´s more rice and potatoes. just bring out the cheese and crackers. 

We´re close to finishing up our dinner and we´re told to hurry up, go to our rooms. i have close to half a plate left and mr portland swaps plates with mrs portland and I'm like, no fair! mr portland is still hungry and swaps plates with me and cleans it off. I'm happy! but I'm full of starch and extremely tired. 

we quickly end our conversation and thank our sponsors and wish them good evening. 


 we head off to our rooms and mr portland asks if I'm ready to open my brew, time for el siesta. i pass on that offer and head to bed. no way am i staying up till 10 to bless another month without a husband. i look at the photos that i have brought with me to survive the journey. quickly put them away and it´s close to 830 and I'm out for the night. 


I awake to see birds flying around a tree outside the room. it´s not 4 am or 5 am. i´ve slept through the night and i just feel great. the birds are a pretty sight and I'm wondering if they´re chirping. I make a mental note to ask the portlands when we meet for breakfast. I remember mrs boston telling me they heard a bird outside their room all nigh 

t and they called it the ambulance bird for the sounds it made as it circled the room over and over again. 


The sun is something fierce this early in the morning. I pull out the suntan lotion, open the door and put the chair outside my room and just sit and admire the view one last time. we leave in 2 hours time or so i think. being in the room sucks. i pull out my camera and start taking photos, the first photo shows a rainbow. i look again and it´s there i look straight ahead and don´t see a visible rainbow i put the camera to where i took the image and match the scene in the camera to the scene to my eye sight and see nothing. I'm confused. i take another photo. this time the rainbow is even bigger and brighter. I'm very confused and in awe at the same time. this is really crazy, what does it mean. what´s the logic behind it? the science? the imagination at play? just let it be. some things cannot be explained or so I'm told. i take another photo and this time there is no rainbow. 

I sit and wait for the breakfast signal. 

I tell and show the portlands what i´ve seen, actually not. they´ve got goosebumps. no explanation for the unexplained. 

i show the sponsors and they see the rainbow and just chatter amongst themselves, i guess i was hoping for some kind of a sign from them. none was given or received. 

I´ve accepted that what I'm going through now is normal, even though things i have done in the past has not been normal and folks have accepted; that´s nic. even though there have been folks that i´ve embarrassed over the years. I mean i haven´t broken any criminal laws, just the standard conduct of life´s rules. the last 10 months have been going from living in a black and white episode of the twilight zone to getting hit by a mack truck in a groundhog day a thousand times a day to a few times a day. Now, it comes and goes. I´ve checked the scientific books, scientific minds, and some things are going to stay unexplainable, it just is. It´s not life is a box of chocolate. For months I argued, the logic the science, the chocolates, it all has to happen for a reason. At this point in time, just let it be. and enjoy the chocolate, if it´s good eat it, if it sucks, just toss it. 


I´m taking another trip back in time, on the river heading back to town leaving the rainforest. Mr. lima asks for some english to be translated into sign language and in turn i ask for the words in spanish. I quickly realize I´ve been here close to 2 weeks now and i´ve yet to utter a word of spanish. I´m out of my american comfort zone and customs. nothing is similar, we´re all home sick. 

Everyone down here is so laid-back, of course the towns have the same slime we have back in the 

states. They overcharge on laundry, money exchange, bartering on goods. 

I´m not complaining, i´ve lost a few soles here and there, nothing compared to the thousands i´ve lost back at home in the states. 

I am a big believer, what goes around comes around. I´d like to be there when they get their due when the world comes back to bite them in the ass. 



This is a section that was moved from somewhere within my journal.

Today, over a beer. The Portlands and I were discussing trips to each others home state.

I fell in love with Portland years ago, but it was just not meant to be for a single gal fresh out of college starting from scratch.

Mrs. Portland asks if I ski and I tell her I’ll be learning this winter and if all goes well, I’ll spend the winter as a ski bum.

Mr. Portland then jumps in and says wait a minute what’s with that shirt we asked about.

I told him that was a shirt I wear in private, I grabbed the wrong shirt and by the time I realized what I was wearing it was too late you all saw me coming down the stairs, so I just let it be. Figured we were all tired, we’d eat real fast and then go to bed, no one would remember anything or be any wiser. I was wrong.

I asked if he remembered over dinner yesterday that I said I had a few things to do “tonight?”

He said he remembered.

I told it it was 10 months ago when my husband passed.

He was the race skier.

Time stopped for a moment and then passed.


I think I should call it quits on the dates. It’s either making me neurotic or organizing me.

That will be your call, to tell me if I’m confusing the crap out of you or this is a typical nic and just let it be. Que. sera sera, Que. sera sera.

Anyway, it’s 10 am this sunny sunday morning, I just realized I haven’t read the sunday funnies in a few weeks. I forgot to tell Mrs. New Hyde Park to save them for me. Oh well, Life has changed dramatically with each passing hour so life 2 weeks ago is nothing like life this moment in time.

I know I haven’t been writing as religiously as I should have been but, the packing, unpacking, lugging baggage, carting baggage, paying lots of soles and american dollars ‘cos I'm lugging too much crap. I’ve already given away a few items. I don’t have much more than I want to unload.

I’ve unloaded enough the last 10 months, leave me alone, I’ll pay the extra baggage fees. I don’t need people like Mr and Mrs Boston telling me my shoes weigh 26 pounds and i should take them out of my bags and lug them around my shoulders. I’ve packed and repacked and packed in a way where I remember what packed where. I’m glad I forgot I hid some extra american dollars for emergencies. Exactly how much, I don’t remember, I’ll know once we land and I’m safely behind a dead-bolted hotel door. Like that really matters much?

There’s a pair of pants that I finally tossed. They've been with me quite a few years now. I didn’t want to toss them as we’re taking a few hikes and if they get ripped, torn, attacked by an animal or any other figment of my imagination as we go along happens upon me, happens. I decided, I haven’t put on a pair of pants on any of our hikes. I make a generous donation to the garbage can. Have I already mentioned this? I can’t remember. If I’m repeating myself, Let it go, If Stephen King can do it, and charge per book and make the best seller list. So can I.

You see, I woke up 10 minutes before the cab arrives. I know I awoke at 4:30 and I’m not sure if I was having an intense conversation with larry, moe and curly and time passed quickly or I actually fell asleep and just awoke. Well, I’m not feeling too hot. I don’t have time to argue and deal with my body, my bags have to get packed and I’ve got to get out the door for my taxi cab that’s waiting out in the lobby for me. Plus, I’ve got a cup of tea that needs to get paid for, or was it two? I don’t remember. They may charge me for 4 and I won’t argue. No time, just like that rabbit in Alice in wonderland. I’m late, I’m late for a date. I don’t have a date, just a plane to catch. I shouldn’t need 2 and half hours at the airport.

Well, I’m in the cab and i need my meds. I forgot which bag they went into this time. 

We arrive at the airport and the line is a mile long. I’m not kidding. My glasses haven’t failed me yet, just all scratched up from me not being nice to them.

I’m told to get my bags wrapped. I pass, the guy I’m behind tells me to get them wrapped and he’d hold my place. I leave the line and follow the gal to the wrapping section.

Very cool process, the bags get wrapped and shrunk down a few sizes. Ok, now I understand the process they’re talking about at the Spas around the country. drop a few dress sizes with the body wraps. At least something of mine is getting protectively wrapped and manhandled. I fee better and yet at the same time jealous of 2 pieces of luggage. Ok, I know I definitely have a fever spiking in my head. I’m not going any further with the sewage that is floating around up there when something is brewing down there. I forget to look for my antibiotics. So now I’m going to have to wait a few hours till the unwrapping begins. For now, I’ll just stick with a bottle of coke and hope it just passes. It doesn’t, in an hour I’ve made about 7 bathroom trips and this is all before customs and tariff stop. It costs me 31 bucks to leave Lima. I don’t care, I’m asking for banos that’s all that matters at this point. I have to go through security before I can use the banos. Ok, that makes sense but I’ve nothing to hide just eliminate. Of course, they make me pull everything apart and for some reason something goes off and they pull me aside and ask me to empty out my pockets. I tell the gal it’s not my pockets that need emptying out. But, she doesn’t speak any English so I’m left alone with my little quips and wisecracks.

Of course, I’m at the end of the terminal. That’s not the bad part. I’ve got stairs to go down. I make it down and see the banos. It’s all mine. I quickly realize I’m all alone in my own terminal. I don’t think Tom Hanks had it this good. Then again, I just came across something on the net today, A man has gotten more rave reviews than Tom’s character. He’s actually lived in the airport. This is not a story I want to read. If I saw the movie, that’s enough.

I try and think back, what was it that made me sick...the fish? the salad? did I use tap water when I brushed my teeth? Or could it just be a fluke, only me? Just reliving the sevich dish is enough to make me sick. But, then again, so is the smell of coffee that someone is drinking 7 rows away. I search my bags. I got to have something. Found those little blue bottles of homeopathic pills and pop triple dose. I feel a bit better, then again it could be the 20 trips I’ve just taken to the bathroom. The area is WIFI and I pull out my computer, a distraction is what I need now and lately I’ve been receiving an email from someone I haven’t heard from in months. I’m too sick to be mad, then again, I’m just glad they’re all popping up again alive and well. No excuses, just telling me life has been the same and nothing has changed only the seasons.

Just another 3 hours and I’ll be safely tucked away in my hotel room, a bed, a shower, a toilet. That’s all I care about right now.

We take off, I’m fighting myself. I don’t need this right now. I’m on vacation, rest and sickness can wait for me when I return to the mountains. 

I was asked last night, what the highlight of my vacation was. It ends for them tomorrow morning and continues for another 2 weeks for me. I can’t give an answer now. We ate a very expensive meal but we had incredible views including a sun setting. The bill is just a bill, money is just money, we never have enough of it. But, here I sit on the plane, that very expensive bill and incredible views have created chaos in my stomach. What a revolution, but I’m glad I’m Blue, it’ll be over shortly instead of years.

I’m astonished now that I look at my notes from days ago. There were heads of states in the Marriott in Lima, we saw many vans and toyota SUV’s. All types of military and police groups, guys dressed in 3 piece suits and Tom Cruise sunglasses. No protestors or demonstrators. No one with placards and drums. It was just another day downtown at the mall. people came and went. It would have been nice to gotten in the middle of something. Then again, this is me we’re talking about so it was a good thing all was quiet and people were either shopping, eating or drinking. We just did the eating and drinking. I’ll just save my political protests and chants for Brattleboro, VT. Every first friday of the month is a protest, sermon in the park, and the drums with drummers marching down main street. Whether I get myself caught in the middle or just watch them all from the sidelines. We’ll see as time marches on.

My shopping has come to an end till we hit the galapagos islands. I know I brought a few extra bags. But, they’re already full with my crap in it. Hopefully, all the gel,s powerbars and beef jerky is enough to give me back 2 bags. I don’t understand. I got it all within my suitcase and now they’re elsewhere.

The Portlands were disappointed, they had hoped to see the United States motorcade. I didn’t want to tell them it doesn’t look like we’ll ever see them leave the Marriott due to the unfortunate situation going on in the states. The blue and the red switch on the one year anniversary of George’s passing. Could that be a sign of better things to come? The times they are a’changing.

We’ll see in 2 months time.

I’m doing my translation from my chicken scratch to digital and we’re back to that pair of pants I ditched. I’m not trying to compete with Stephen King. I know this is not going to be a 2000 page journal. I will make sure of that, trust me!

Ok, the next item left behind in Cusco was a pair of merrells that George had bought me when he was doing some shopping for himself a few winters ago. The cleaning/purging project continues to a point. 

The shoes, left behind. Got me a better room when we returned to Cusco for one last overnight stay and one last overcharged laundry bill. The difference between my new room and my old room, I did not smell desiel fuel or see lights for the rest of the night.

The third thing that I gave away, not willingly but by no choice. This was my shirt I wore on Saturday night partying with the guys till 4 am. Too many spilt rum slug shots on me instead of in me, I had enough of wearing the rum. I think it ended up in the bartenders back pocket.

Don’t worry folks, I had another 2 shirts wrapped around my waist. It’s cold out there and hot in here, things have to come off...as an athlete you live by the layer rule. Layer up and as the body temperature increases another layer comes off. It’s up to you if it gets tossed or wrapped around the waist towards the finish line or destination, whichever road you’re traveling.

The wedding bands I check every so often to make sure they still are in the first aid kit. I’m not doing anything yet that will leave me all bloody and in need of bandages so this bag stays behind in another bag. They’ve been there for over a week now and I’m relieved that I haven’t had the urge or desire to regret my decision to take them off and replace them with something I’ve found in the rainforest, or it found me. You get to make that call.

A friend, or used to be as it’s been awhile since I last heard from her, told me it will take me 2 years to grieve. I was shocked when she first told me this. I know it’s an ongoing process that will take a while but 2 years. There is no way I can sit back and just watch the world pass me by for 24 months. I haven’t done the math for days and I won’t. I know it’s a relationship that is broken and it’s “The End.” There is no opportunity for me to pick up the phone and tell him what a motherfucker he is, or drive by the house and egg his car and stuff potatoes in the tailpipe.

Bang down the door and get the explanation that i deserve. These things I did ask for and want to do in the beginning but bashing all of his equipment and donating things to charity is enough. Time to let go of the illusion no matter how optical or surreal it becomes. Living in the twilight zone I can see coming to an end. This is the 3rd week of my escape from reality and I can see things have changed. Some for the better, some needing improvement. Just like a sapling planted in the winter has found it’s way through the storms into the sunlight.

It’s close to 5 pm 11/25/08. I’m now sitting down in my room, my computer plugged into the electrical socket getting recharged. 2 hours ago I found out there is no need for a converter here in Quito. Guess what, I ran around from 10:30 this morning till 2:30. Ok, I took an hour and half for lunch. Looking for a freaking converter ‘cos I thought I burned the damn thing out after 2 weeks of continuous use. You see, the darn thing says do not use continuously and I did. I had a computer and 2 camera batteries to recharge what the heck. Of course, this process takes a few hours to do. I did not see the continuous till yesterday when my computer started flaking out on me. I have another 10 days of recharging to do and I needed to find another converter. You’d think, I’dkinda get the picture when people around here said they didn’t have one. For tourists they have quadrupled the amount and charge obscene prices ‘cos they know we’re desperate for this technical gadgets to make sure our other gadgets are working properly. I email someone at headquarters knowing that she would get it today within a few hours and respond in a timely matter. I beg her to contact the guides and bring down a converter for me and I’d pay whatever it cost. The guide was already here at the hotel early this morning, he left notes under our door and I ran down to reception and wrote a note to say to the guide. He lives down the block and would be over in 5 minutes. I check email and he’s here. I run up to my room to get the converter. He’s confused and calls someone and reads off the device and tells me I don’t need it. 

Are you telling me I can plug in my computer in the electrical socket upstairs and it won’t blow up. 

Where are you from?

New York and Vermont.

I’m from Massachusetts and my computer right now is charging, no problems.

Are you serious?


I want you to bring your laptop and I want to see it plugged into the wall.

I’m down the block.

Are you serious? Are you telling me I ran around like a lunatic for the last 4 hours for nothing.


I need a beer

There’s a place around the block and then a left.

I got to pick up my laundry first, are you talking about that place where they have outdoor music?

That explains why the converter wasn’t working, and damn me for listening to the maintenance guy, his pal opened it up before I knew what he did. I got to throw this thing out as something will blow, only me, you need a story I got plenty to tell.

There’s the garbage can, I got to run home and see you tomorrow night.

I’m left to watch Mr Mass run off and I turn the corner to get my laundry. Only $3.15 and I leave a 2 dollar tip just ‘cos I didn’t pay the hotel 40 bucks for doing my laundry...who the heck charges $2 bucks to wash shorts, doesn’t take Larry long enough and he tells me there are plenty of slime-balls out there who would charge that! I run off before I get smacked in the head.

I’m going to have a beer instead of kicking myself in the ass...and sit there for 2 hours drinking a beer till I’m run off by smokers.

Insane, this has to be a learning lesson for me.

It’s 5pm and my battery is done charging and my computer is charging and I can finish typing in my chicken scratch before dinner. So much for that. the batteries are fully charged. I’ve got a few more pages to type and I’m not even hungry for dinner. I just want to finish translating my notes. I’m back to getting closer to my 2nd leg of my journey, Quito. I want to sit by the window and take some photos of what I see. There’s a little gal who’s got the seat I want. For just a little while ok, as I know I’m still making lots of bathroom trips. Just grateful no one is asking if I’m ok.

I’ve gotten other bottle of coke from the stewardess and the revolution in my stomach is full blown, and the moment for taking photos is fleeting. I notice as we move through the clouds condensation is building up on the windows making my decision a difficult one. To call it a day and hope for a better photo op on the return flight home. Up ahead on the movie screen, that I’ve just finally noticed is an episode of LA Law. No it’s not I see Kevin Bacon’s wife. It’s an episode of Closure and I’m trying to remember her name. That will come in time as I’ve got other distractions happening that take priority right now and we’re 20 thousand feet up in the air.

I distract myself by remembering what we all did last night. The Portlands and I found a cigar shop. He wanted to buy a Cuban, as did I but didn’t say it out loud. There was a time when I did like to have a Cigar every now and then. This was the pre-marathon days, the time before 9-11.

He bought a pack of small ones where he could stash in his cigarette box and the gal brought out the sweet smelling ones which I said, Ok, that’s the one I want. 

At the hotel, in the lobby we decided to smoke a cigar as we weren’t ready to part ways just yet.

We all met in the courtyard and I brought out my laptop to show some photos from our journey over a cigar. I was given bottle of beer to drink as well. We sat through about 300 photos, the cigars long put out, the beer bottles empty and we knew it was time to call it a night. We would meet later on in another place and another time. I’m really glad to have had the opportunity to met them. They’re good people with a good heart. George, I’m sure enjoyed the company of new friends, minus the cigarettes. In the room, I’m psyched, I got a few good photos that I’ll have framed, blown up, giclee’d, mounted, collaged, and whatever else happens in the dead of winter when I’m housebound in front of the fire.

I pull out my journal and write some notes, just to keep busy as I didn’t feel like a visit from Larry, Moe and Curly. My mood was already in a funk.

Up on the hill at Lake Titicaca, Mrs. Boston gets all mushy with the Mr. and I walk on by and find something else to do. She calls out to me and tells me to hold up for the rest of the crowd. I’m ok, just getting a way from being the 3rd wheel, or the 5th wheel in this group. She tries to make me feel better that I’m not a wheel at all. 

How does a wife who is no longer, tolerate the overly dirty dancing, the exchanging of food, sampling each others plates and sharing of anything and everything that creates a whole lot of cooties just stand by and say, whatever?! Just that, whatever and move on.

The intimacy that she wears, I can say good and bad things. But, I’ll just leave it at that. Compare hers to Mrs. Portland, is a much more comfortable planet to be near. It’s all about time, Mrs. Portland tells me, you have someone who’s having a honeymoon before the wedding and then another honeymoon after the wedding in just a span of a month. We’ve done the simple thing and we’ve had 11 years together. Something that I do not understand as I only had 16 months. They bickering and demands had just begun before George passed. Maybe someday i’ll get it, right now I don’t know.

I do remember, late Saturday night or was it early Sunday morning while we all were partying in Cusco. I was asked who I’d be interested in. Each guy had their own character and personal flaws which became apparent as we took our 100,000 step journey through the rain, the cold, the starvation, the dehydration, the fierce sun, in tiredness, crankiness and happiness. I knew our hot showers at the hotel at the end of Macchu Picchu after a train and taxi cab ride, getting pulled over by the police ‘cos the driver didn’t stop at the line but just past the line and all it took after 45 minutes of arguing, he only had to apologize to the cop and we were on our way. The best moment after all that, was the hot shower and to just slip under the covers and go to sleep.

I know, you all want to know which guy I picked, I slept alone, the guy I chose to just kiss was the guy with the most baggage. I was asked to pick another, this isn’t a shopping trip for me. It was a one time deal for a specific thing and the time is not yet.

We did arrive to the hotel, the Portlands and I stank up something nasty, we didn’t care. It was our private joke when we had the energy in the van to laugh at each other and to laugh when Mr. Boston had to open the window a few times to get in some fresh air. When we all hooked up at Macchu Picchu, I was hot, tired, sunburnt, dehydrated and seeing them come out of the horizon, all pressed, shaven, clean, I’m pretty sure I saw some little dancing things around their feet. I was at a loss. Did they do anything physically challenging the last 4 days or did they sleep at a hotel for 4 days and get massages and fed grapes under huge banana leaves, drinks with umbrellas in them. I was dumbfounded but too tired to even go there. Just wanted to take a goddamn hot shower and some sleep. No more potatoes, steps, rain and rice.

We had a 4 am wake up call in the rain. I awoke at 3 and spent about 30 minutes trying to remember where I put my headlight. A few too many last night celebrating at Winay Wayna and using a toilet that flushed after being denied that opportunity for 3 and half days.

It wasn’t a sprinkle but a storm, we focus on eating breakfast which is pancakes, I pass and eat a power bar. The rain slows a bit and we head out, for our last journey upwards for about 20 minutes, and downwards and sideways for the next 5 hours.  At 10 am we arrive at makeshift base-camp for lunch. We’re soaking wet, we carefully peel off layers of clothing and head into the tent for some tea and to warm up. We’re all discussing, Lunch at 10 am?

Ahh, It’s kyra sedgwick, I remember now. My stomach is rumbling something awful. I’ve already eliminated food products in my system from 3 days ago. You didn’t need to know that.

Lunch at 10 am. No, we got to sit around drinking tea, moaning and groaning and trying to plot out the rest of the journey. In the rain or will the sun give us a break on our last few hours on the trails. The moans quickly subside and we try to bring on our happy faces. We’re starting to warm up and head out to the tent to see if we did pack that one shirt we’re hoping we did. I know I’ve no spare shirts, what I’ve got is all I’ve got till the end of Machu Picchu. I’m told our porters are long gone with our bags and are now heading home. 

These porters, many are my height. These guys should be given some kind of medal of valor, honor or a lifetime pass to a luxury golf course somewhere. They work the trails for at least 30-35 years. I’ve already had about 10 different career changes in the last 20 something years.

They lug overpacked, oversized bags up and down the trails for 4 days. I remember when we started out. I’m talking maybe 45 minutes into the hike, I was watching and admiring and wincing in pain just thinking of all that weight on the human body. These guys looked like ants. All you could see were the bags, they rose up to the sky and a pair of feet, that was all. I guarantee you, if you were to take one load off them and put them side by side the load would be taller than the porter! Some wore sneakers, some wore sneakers with socks, the majority wore sandals, just sandals! I can’t imagine the pain. I know I would be like a 2 year old going through the terrible twos if you made me wear that for 4 days. We would no longer be friends that’s for sure. Anyway, you can tell from this I’m in a trance watching these guys and one of the guides noticed me staring and asked if I would do that. 

For 4 days, hell no.

People around me heard me and laughs all around.

Maybe, for 25 feet to the bus and then drop and roll.

What gets a huge chuckle out of me. In the 4 days of hiking with the big boys. The 2nd day is our humbling moment. Who belongs in the front of the pack, the middle of the pack and the back of the pack. It was funny watching the competition between me and the big boys. They didn’t like it, not one bit when I passed them all on the uphills. Break times they caught up and moved on, not too far up, there they were taking their own break, clothes coming off water bottles drunk, the gasping and breathing slowly subsiding. I quickly pass by and they gather up and try and catch up. It was a game of cat and mouse that first day. They were annoyed, there’s a little shit kicking their arses. I could smell blood and laughed it off as I climbed further uphill with them behind me. They passed me as I took a few kodak moments and watched them quickly pick up the pace. Back and forth for the remainder of the day.

Base camp, we finally arrived and quickly get into our tents and set up our beds for the evening before dinner. Within the next 15 minutes the light was gone, it was pitch black.

We could have arrived maybe 2 hours earlier but got held up at the passport station before we could cross the bridge. I’m thrilled to have the inca and macchu stamps in my passport. 

I call it a night as I awoke at 3 am and knew we had a 5 am wake up all.

The 2nd day. 

5 am wake up call and we’re in and out of the camp ground onto the trail again. Some are in pain from working a bit too hard on the trail yesterday and we all take our rightful places in line. No one challenges anyone from that day forward.

It wasn’t till our last night in Winay Wayna when the guys bought me a beer...they learned my true identity. I beat people up for a living, once I get that look from them and know they’re actually paying attention, I’ll sneak in the personal trainer bit. I do marathons and triathlons. They got it now, there’s more to that short little shit who didn’t say much the last 3 days and on the 3rd night is more than happy to speak volumes.

Since I haven’t a clue where I’ve left off or dropped in information, but time is short and I want to get this portion of the journal sent off before I head out to the galapagos tomorrow morning.

For those who have been able to follow along, awesome.

For those who I’ve left in a confused state of mind, I do not apologize. These are my ramblings and I’m on vacation. This story is not complete and I’m on vacation, it’s all about me, not you.

Like they say with television, print and radio, if you don’t like what you see, hear or read, turn it off, close the book and put it down, or just throw it in the trash for tuesdays garbage pickup. Just be glad you get to walk 50 feet and drop the bag to the curb. In some places, people do not have garbage pick up. Like me in vermont, the dump is 4 miles north.

I now have a new journal for this part of the journey. It’s purple. Peru is pink and has been put into a plastic ziploc bag to be dealt with when I return home to vermont and match it all up with the 1400 photos that were taken. Too many, I know but iphoto turns it into a real cool slide show that should be enjoyable and painless for all that want to watch. Once that happens then I can take my scattered thoughts and organize them. 

It’s Wednesday the 26th. I’m sitting in the cafeteria drinking very expensive tea as my roommate showed up just as I was on my way out the door to head up to see the El Penecillo. It’s similiar to the Christo Statue in Cusco. You can actually walk up part way for only one american dollar. She’s  similiar to the Statue of Liberty but it’s only 20 steps to step outside and walk around her “love handles” or so I’ll call it. A lot of religious stained glass surrounds the walls and I quickly move on. Head down to town and there are lots of Churches. Would you believe they have signs in spanish. This is something I do not understand ‘cos those of us who are tourists cannot read in spanish. But, anyway, there’s a sign on the wall warning us tourists not to walk through the building while services for the natives and locals is happening. How did I manage to figure that out? All the tourists were just standing in the back trying to get a view of what is what. There I am, I’m strolling through the building, totally obvlious to the sign, ok, ok I admit I did see it but if you want the tourists to stay out, then print it out in our languages for us to follow.

One church they were actually cleaning up the sculptures. I coudn’t tell if they were painting the gold on them or cleaning the gold leaf that was already on them. But, the stink of the chemicals, was enough to keep the tourists out. 

The La Basilicia was the only church that was open and friendly to the tourists. We were allowed to roam, take photos, sit, light candles and even pray.

I bought 2 candles, I didn’t want to walk around with more change on me.

One I lit for a friend of a friend who passed last week after a long battle with cancer. The candle was lit, the bottom softened and placed on the plate.

Another for George, I’m not exactly sure, there was no love affair with the church. I was doing it just to be polite and to let him know I was thinking of him at that moment in time. The candle was lit and it would not stick to the plate no matter the length of time I let the bottom soften. Now is not the time for a fight. One last time under the flame and with some force, got it to stick. Sat a moment and then went about my merry way to explore the town in circles. After a few circles around the block, down the block and up the block, I found a cafe that serves beer for a buck. Hey, for a buck a beer and a quesadilla for lunch. I can’t complain as this is my first lunch since Saturday. A few beers will help with the additional circling I have to do to get back to the hotel.

We’ve got great weather, people, sights, stormy clouds. Kids out of school and whatcha know, I’ve found my way back to the hotel with one less circle.

I just noticed as I sit here, I haven’t added my mantra lately, being bold, brave and strong. 

Here with my tea, I’ve got 2 hours before the trip officially begins. So with the mantra on hold till I finish today’s log, and if there is time I can start getting all philosophical about my mantra.

Then again, I’m too tired. I had hoped for a nap and I’ve got a roommate who’s watching TV. I quickly run out as I’m not going to start snoring at 4 pm with a witness who is watching captioning in spanish and english.

I ask if she’s been out and about and she said she has. I see a room service food tray.

I bring back some bottles of water and remind her not to drink the tap water.

As I circled my way back to the hotel, there was a protest. Well, look at that. I finally get to get in the middle of something. As there was none in Lima. I think probably ‘cos everyone who wanted to protest was sick as a dog and stuck on the bowl like I was only 24 hours later. 

It’s part of a demonstration that I passed on the way down from the El Panecillo. The only word I understood on the banner was transportation. I think another one was green. I’m not sure. But to see crowds wandering down the rickety streets. All ages, sizes and shapes. Very cool. I was a bit relieved as I took a really bad detour back down. I was warned in Cusco not to do that again and I did. A big whoops, it’s like being half way down a mountain and you want to get off. You have 2 choices, up or down. Up is really not going to happen and u just turn and stuck it up and just head down till you get to the end and be grateful nothing has been broken or stolen.

More tea, A couple at the bar and I’m debating to head to the liquor store and buy some of that fantastic Espiritu as I don’t see it on the shelf at the bar. The waiter gave me some Monday night after having some vodka without the rocks. I wanted another but figured to wait another day for my body to recover. He knew I wanted another and brought out something else for me to try. This stuff is a great dessert whiskey. i took a shot and pulled out my translation dictionary and looked it up and you got it. It’s not a made up word. It’s actually spanish for 3 words.




I did a double-take. But decided against even analyzing the situation. For it’s time for me to say Good night to one and all.

My free time has ended.

My 2nd leg of the journey begins in 15 minutes.

Talk to you all soon

be well, be safe, be healthy.

When you have a drink, make sure you spill a drop on the floor to bless the earth and all it's creatures.



Hi Nic! Hope you're doing well and in good spirits. Haven't heard from you in a while (your journal). Am anxious to hear from you and will be thinking of you on your journey. Hugs! ~karen

  karen Dec 5, 2008 12:42 AM

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