Thursday, December 10, 2009

If It Isn't Broke...Don't Fix It

So...where have I been?

Literally, everyday while I was abroad I had the opportunity to do something. Something special or new. Something I did not want to miss out on. So I went. And the going is how the blogging got left far, far behind. I love blogging. I really do. I even do it for my job now. Faced with the question of "Katie, would you like to go/see/try something or stay home and blog?" I always picked the going/seeing/trying.

So that was where the blog stopped. And I thought the stop was going to be permanent. However, when I got home I also knew that I wanted some way to record all of my amazing experiences. My Mom is an amazing scrapbooker. And I have dabbled. And for a long time I tried that route. Scrapbooking, in case you are wondering is expensive. And time consuming. And quite frankly, my Mom does it better. Every page felt like this, "Well, that doesn't look half bad, I like this page it looks good. Mom's would look so much better." After awhile, I just gave up on that route.

So, if it isn't broke, don't fix it. I liked blogging. My Mom doesn't do it better. It is free. So, I am back to blogging. I read a lot of blogs. I know that they are all written in the present. I like to be a trendsetter. Bear with me.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Pity Party is Over

Well, everyone thanks for putting up with my Pity Party. I was really bummed at the time that I posted and I was being overly dramatic. Me...dramatic? It certainly didn´t hurt that I got to go on a mini vacation to relax and forget all about Franky & Ricky. I went to Mollendo, a city right on the Pacific Ocean. It was beautiful and very "off the beaten path." This is not the city the average tourist visits. I only saw one other white person and I talked to her...she had a U.K. accent. People stared at me a lot more, but that was okay. I had pink hair once, I can handle a few odd looks. This is Mollendo.

I visited 3 beaches on my vacation. Mollendo, Mejia, and Catarindo. Mollendo and Mejia are both cities with beaches. Catarindo is just a beach. I lived in Mollendo. Mejia is where the "beautiful people" of Perú vacation. Catarindo was my favorite beach. Here is Catarindo.

The Pacific is a very Mighty Ocean. I cannot believe how different it is from the Atlantic. The sand is dark brown instead of white and so hot I actually had burns on my feet. Obviously, as you can see it is a very rocky landscape. The water is darker, colder, and I swear saltier. I like to think I am a pretty strong swimmer, but I couldn´t even stand when the waves would crash. There are 2 options: fall into the water under the wave, or walk with the current. The oddest feeling was the waves crashing into shore pushing you and the tide going back out to sea pulling you out.

The nice thing about Catarindo is that the cove creates a relatively tranquil ocean. I say relative because the waves were still something. Here is video of Catarindo Waves.

And the view of Catarindo from my beach chair under an umbrella. The chair/umbrella combo is kind of the thing.
No matter which beach though, I think my favorite part was the Pelicans. These birds are HUGE! This guy stood all the way to my hip.

The breed is actually the Peruvian Pelican, I did my research. They fly in flocks of about 10, which is even stranger to see. Huge birds in huge flocks. They dive into the water and scoop up fish. One of the only other breeds of Pelican to eat like this is the Brown Pelican.

I love Pelicans. Here is the Castillo de Mollendo that I could see from the beach.

I am not entirely sure the history of the Castle, but it is privately owned and in total disrepair. It is really a shame, it probably was one of the most amazing places I have ever been.

Here is where we walked in. I joked that I wanted to buy the Castillo in order to fix it up. Most people found this pretty funny.

It didn´t take me long to figure out that most people thought I was serious though too. The assumed wealth of Americans is crazy. Even if I bought the place, could you imagine? What a Money Pit.

However, even in it´s Money Pit state, the Castillo is gorgeous and impressive. Inside, there still seems to be a lingearing air of grandeur. That and pigeon poop.

That grandeur makes it all the more difficult to understand why the Castillo is in this state. It is privately owned. I cannot imagine owning such a property and letting this happen to it. Here is a skylight, in a few areas original tile and paint are still visible. This was an enchanting place at one time.

Here is where the stairway should have been. I would have really loved to see the 2nd and 3rd floor, but there was no longer a way.

I feel like this must have been a ballroom or something. This room was so huge. Standing at the window is Anita and Cesi, the friends I stayed with on vacation. The spray paint is an elegant touch to the room.

Here is the balcony. In some areas the balcony was leaning so precariously I think I could have pushed and pieces would have tumbled down the precipice.

I really feel like some one, or some organization should protect and restore the Castillo. I cannot imagine that it will be too long before Perú no longer has this treasure.

Being in Mollendo reminded me of home a lot. First, the main church is Immaculate Conception Parish, just like in Sheboygan.

I went to church with Anita and people came and left the service whenever. If you had to leave half way through to go to work...so be it. If you couldn´t come until Communion because you over slept, that´s fine. Church is very different here.

Bright green on the outside and pink on the inside. I didn´t rememeber to take a photo of the inside, but I am going to try and ask a friend still at the beach.

Another thing that reminded me of home...trains in Perú. This is PerúRail. Someone please show my Dad.


Another really cool thing I saw were the street musicians. Every night I would hang out at the Plaza. Most people do this. These are 2 musicians playing Folkloric Music together. The man drumming is also playing a traditional flute and singing. Pretty impressive.

This was just funny to me. Anita ran into a friend she knew. While they were talking I couldn´t help but notice this crowd. What were they doing? What was going on over there?

They were watching a soccer game on big screen TV´s at the Electronic Store. I couldn´t believe they all just stood there.

I leave you with a video. The audio is what is important. Those are my neighbors for the entire week. I didn´t exactly sleep well this vacation.

video

Thursday, February 26, 2009

And Now it´s Time to Say Good-bye?

It has recently come to my attention that using photos of Franky & Ricky in this way is not in following with Franky & Ricky Policy. Therefore, the blog must come down. I will be tearing it down on Monday afternoon after I am done at a meeting.

I will not be putting more time into the blog and I don´t know if I will continue to blog after the teardown.

Can I hear a little protesting in the comments? It might make me feel a bit less dejected.

Thanks for reading.


Katie

Monday, February 23, 2009

All Work and No Play...Yea, Right

So it took longer than expected...considering where I am in the world. However, after 3 weeks I finally got to see them:

ALPACAS

They were so cute and I had a really great time. I went to Mundo Alpaca, (Alpaca World). For more information be sure to check out their website www.mundoalpaca.com.pe. Mundo Alpaca is an eco-tourist facility designed to educate people and give the history of the Michell Company, The Finest Peruvian Alpaca. At the time, I wasn´t really interested in what they were selling, I was hanging out with these guys:

I got to go in the Alpaca pen and feed them Peruvian Alfalfa. Peruvians are very "snotty" when it comes to Alpaca fiber. Alpacas in South America eat Ichu and live at certain altitudes. They don´t have these resources in America or the rest of the world, therefore, South American Alpaca fleece is superior. Perhaps...perhaps they are just a tad possessive of their Andean Gold, and rightfully so.

I am feeding a Mom and her Baby Suri Alpaca. See...

They were so soft and really friendly. The Moms were a bit on the shy side because of the little ones. It was sorta funny too, just touching the Mom and then the Baby it was easy to feel the difference between Alpaca and Baby Alpaca. Baby doesn´t necessarily mean that the fiber came from a baby though. It is just the the classification used. For the South American Camelids here are the fibers from worst to best (if you can call that worst). Llama, Alpaca, Baby Alpaca, Royal Alpaca, Guanaco, and Vicuña. Vicuña is considered the softest fiber in the world. When I touch it it makes me think of what I thought a cloud felt like when I was a kid. (Don´t tell Peruvians about Musk Ox, they don´t wanna hear it).

They were really hungry.

Vicuñas and Guanacos do not live in captivity. They are not domesticated and do not live well except in the wild. For that reason Vicuñas nearly became extinct in the 1960´s. People hunted them for their fiber because they couldn´t be kept in captivity. Now, every few years the herds of Vicuña are penned for a small amount of time, sheared and relased. Their population is doing much better. There is only one kind of Vicuña as far as I know and one type of Guanaco. However, Guanacos will breed with Llamas and then you get Ccara. This type of Llama is more camel like, has short hair, and apparently loves the camera.

Llamas also have a long haired variety that is "normal." Chaku is the name of this "normal" Llama most people are used to seeing. There are also developments to breed Llamas with Suri Alpacas for very long-haired Llamas. I don´t know if these chimera of sorts have the ability to breed themselves. Up next we have the Alpacas. The Huacayo is the most common Alpaca. It has fluffy hair and a lot of color variety. This little guy is Huacayo.

The other Alpaca breed is the Suri. It has hair that looks like a mop or dreadlocks. It is less common and in my opinion softer. This Mom and Baby are both Suri.

There were a few new families at Mundo Alpaca. This is a Huacayo family. And the dark brown butt you can see is a Suri Llama. She wasn´t interested in me.

Not like my other friend.

Mundo has a lot to offer. Llamas and Alpacas to pet was my favorite part though. There was also an area with fiber sorting taking place. South American Camelid fiber is still sorted by hand. The techniques used are handed down from generation to generation and cannot be mechanized. Artisanal weaving is another area of Mundo Alpaca. I really liked this area too. Traditional costumes, ancient techniques, all natural dyes. It was cool stuff and I will have to go get more than just Alpaca pictures next time. I loved the Machinery Museum too. Old machines...same process. The textile industry has great innovations, but very few changes. The Sol Alpaca flagship store and Michell yarn store is located here too. Gorgeous clothing. Amazing yarns. I was in heaven. I cannot wait to meet some of the designers. I also paid $3 for 200 meters of Baby Alpaca. Are you kidding me? Until we meet again Alpacas.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Monasterio de Santa Catalina

A few days ago I got to go to the Santa Catalina Convent. It was pretty neat. The Santa Catalina Convent was founded in 1579, less than 40 years after the Spanish arrived. The Convent has suffered many earthquakes so very little of it is from 1579, but a few parts are. Here is the Convent:The stone, when cleaned is white. It is from the volcanos. Women used to join Convents for reasons I would never have thought; widows joined, if you were the 2nd daughter in order to bring prestige to your family, and feminists of the day did to prevent arranged marriages. Here is where they slept:
They slept in archways for protection during earthquakes. Each cell is different as each family paid for the cell. Sometimes one nun lived alone and sometimes the cells were shared with family members. Each nun had 2 servants (women too poor to become nuns) and up to 4 slaves. This is one kitchen ajoining a cell. It still smells like ash.

The religious artifacts here a kinda morbid. Illiteracy was high, so art and sculpture were used for education and conversion. That is why images of Jesus are more "in your face" then in American and European traditions. This is one Jesus sculpture I saw. His hair was real human hair, he had a "baby teeth" in his mouth, and nails from corpses all to appear more real. There are also mirrors in his mouth to look like salivation. All of the Jesus sculptures in the Convent were crying and pouring blood.The Convent is "A City Within a City" and it is very true. There are several roads and for the most part it was pretty self sufficent. Nuns still live there to this day. I liked the laundry area.
The water flows down the irrigation channel, if you dam the water with your hand it flows into those huge, broken clay jars and the laundry can be washed. Slaves and servants did this work. Also, recognize this?It´s lantana, an annual flower in America. Here it is in Perú.


It is a tree here! There is also a Dome and Nave.You could walk almost to the top of the nave a look out over the whole city. This is Arequipa.
I really enjoyed all the architecture in the Convent.

That was my tour. Next up, a tour of the city hopefully. Chau.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Where in the World

Hóla My American friends. Getting ready to leave for Perú took forever. I kept thinking I would have time to post, especially considering I stayed up all night before I left. It never happened though. There is Perú in pink. I am still in the Wisconsin time zone. Weird huh? I would never have expected that.



I was on airplanes FOREVER! And I hate landing, it hurts my ears. It really is sort of like being on a bus. Someone gave me that comparison and it is very true. Sunsets above the clouds are really pretty and I am bummed my camera battery wasn´t charged. I flew from Milwaukee to Washington D.C. for a little over 1 hour, D.C. to Houston, Texas for a little over 3 hours, Houston to Lima Perú for 10 HOURS! and then Lima to Arequipa, Perú for almost 2 hours. Too long. Who knew airplane food is really good though? Seriously, maybe only vegan meals, because that is what they gave me, but Sunflower Bakery (http://www.sunflourbakery.net/) has some awesome chocolate chip cookies.



Then once you get off the airplane everything takes forever. Deplaning, customs, finding your luggage. My suitcase strap was broken too. Instead of being able to pull it on wheels I had to carry it. I don´t feel too bad though. I broke the headset on the flight from Houston to Lima. The headset plugs into the armrest. I fell asleep and the girl next to me needed to go the the bathroom. I just stood up. I forgot the headset was in my ears. I had the plastic piece, but the metal prongs were still in the armrest. I guess Continental and I are even. I at least said I was sorry to the attendant though.


Here is Arequipa´s relationship within Perú:





Isn´t it cool I can add accent marks to words and what not. They have extra keys on South American keyboards. I don´t know what all the lines on that map mean, it was just the best one I found via Google Images.


Most people know some English and they ask my lots of questions about America. How many names do I have? How many languages do I speak? Where all in the world have I already gone? My favorite question is: How was your sweet 16 party? I totally didn´t understand why they would ask that until someone explained that they like to watch MTV here including "My Super Sweet Sixteen." People here thought most Americans were like that. No wonder people think Americans are crazy when that is all they see. It would be like my judging Spanish speakers based on the Telemundo soap operas.


I leave you with one of my new favorite things I found in Perú. Inca Kola.


It is my new favorite soda. Coke is to America, what Inca Kola is to Peru. I really like it. I will hopefully be able to show pictures I have taken once I figure out where the USB port is.

Friday, January 16, 2009

When Keeping it Real...

Oh man, it just got Real...

There are tickets too! January 27, 2009. On man....