Showing posts from April 8, 2012

The tango wow factor

We are back in town - and back into the tango scene. Not dancing for 3 weeks, we also went the night before to get in a bit of practise, but I was still wobbly at the beginning of the night. And after watching last night's performance by Carolina Bonaventura and Francisco Forquera I wish that we could do the workshops with them this weekend - or even take off to South Australia for Buenos Aires in the Vales which we had originally hoped to do. But work commitments have got in the way!! Last night's performance was brilliant tango. It had all the elements, fine technique, clever and precise footwork, originality, passion and beauty! Carolina's footwork is faultless, and looks effortless, and Francisco's disassociation amazing. Sitting next to me, Monsieur Botton Hole, was in awe of his leading and pointed out a number of times when he led very difficult moves. They danced three numbers - sorry I forgot to write down the first 2 - but the last was Tango Negro. I check

Our Amazon Adventure

You guessed it - another early start. We left Cusco, where the night before we ventured from our hotel in pouring rain, to buy a few rain ponchos and get a meal. We almost missed the flight to Puerto Maldonado thanks to the incompetence of the airline staff. Puerto Maldonado is at sea level (so no need to suck coca sweets which seem to bear a close resemblance to boiled lollies made of grass clippings). We were met by our guide Josie, who turned out to be an amazingly resourceful and knowledgeable young woman, and joined by an American called Randy who fitted in to our group like he had always belonged. We drove for about 3 hours through shanty towns of gold miners who are steadily destroying the jungle, to our first boat ride. 10 minutes across the water and we clambered into 2 more vehicles for a 45 minute drive across rough dusty roads to the Madre de Dios River. Here we met another boat - this time with padded seats and life jackets, for our approximately 4 hour ride to the M

Riding on the Andean explorer

I love trains and boats and we have had some great excursions on both on this trip. The Andean Explorer goes from Puno to Cusco, through the towns of Puno and Juliaca and up into the Andes. It takes about 10 hours to do the trip and is much slower than any other form of transport - but that is hardly a drawback unless time is  important. It is a superbly comfortable way to travel and see the country. We departed Puno station at 8 a.m. comfortably ensconced in our armchair seats and ready for a day of sightseeing. It is a single track railway and the train slowly chugs through the towns, especially the markets in Juliaca which seem to go for miles and actually cover the tracks, so the train is forced to blow it's whistle continuously warning stall holders to remove their goods and themselves from the tracks as it comes through. Awnings and merchandise, small children and dogs are dangerously close to the train, but it passes without incident and to the amazement of the passeng

Lake Titicaca and Puno

Sorry for the delay in posting - no internet in the Amazon and we have had such a hectic schedule! We arrived in Puno by plane ( my very least favourite form of travel, I even prefer the car!) A short trip from Arequipa the plane comes into the market town of Juliaca and then it is a car trip of a couple of hours to Puno. Our last trip, way back in 2003 was a frightening experience, when we were met by a violent soccer crowd angry because Juliaca had lost a match, and our bus had to take a detour over fields and back tracks to avoid being stoned. This time the roads were smooth and so was the trip. Our guide took us to Sillustani on the way. This is an Incan and Chechuan burial site consisting of silos of stone where important members of the community were buried with worldly goods and prepared for their journey into the next world. It is on a high hill next to a beautiful lagoon. Our guide was a from the indigenous community and he explained many of the rituals and beliefs associa