Saturday, December 15, 2018

Istella (part ii)

As mentioned in my previous post, Istella is seen here serving Chicha, a fermented  beverage derived from corn.  

Chicha morada is a non-fermented chicha usually made from ears of purple maize (maíz morado), which are boiled with pineapple rind, cinnamon, and cloves. This gives a strong, purple-colored liquid, which is then mixed with sugar and lemon. This beverage is usually taken as a refreshment, but in recent years many health benefits of purple corn have been found. Chicha morada is common in Bolivian and Peruvian cultures and is generally drunk as an accompaniment to food.

Women are most associated with the production of chicha. Men and children are still involved with the process of making chicha, but women control the production and distribution. For many women in Andean society, making and selling chicha is a key part of their identity because it provides a substantial amount of political power and leverage.

A good day to be alive.

Friday, December 14, 2018


Lima by the coast is about an hour's flight to Cusco, which is at 12,000 feet elevation.  At this elevation, Rose and I experienced altitude sickness despite taking pills to prevent it.  In fact, the symptoms were the same when one took the pills.  Coming down from Peru to Lima is even worse.  This is what happened to the half empty water bottle I had when the plane descended from 12,000 feet down to sea level in one hour.  Imagine what our body went through during that flight.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Stone Henge of Peru

So really the Celts rolled a second group of Stone Henge from Wales to Saqsayhuman.  It has never been discovered before.  Until now.  Really.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Cristo Blanco

A ten minute walk from Saqsayhuaman is the location of the Cristo Blanco or the White Jesus towering at about 26 feet.   It is perched high above on the hill of Pukamoqo.  It was given as a gift from the Palestinians who sought refuge in Cusco after the World War II.  The statue was designed by the local artist Francisco Olazo Allende.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Dreaming of Lennon after several cups of tea

Another one captured on expired Fuji Across 100 film.  I used the 80mm lens on the Hasselblad 500 CM.  Developed using Ilford developer, stop bath and fixer.  Not too shabby I think.  But somebody must have spiked my tea.


Monday, December 10, 2018

Scallops as Art

Chef Ignacio toured us through the market where he always buy his ingredients and materials for his cooking.  Probably the most fascinating part of our tour.  There were all kinds of fruits and fish but no beef.  Lima is next to the Pacific Ocean so they have an abundance of fish.

Scallops are hermaphrodite, which means they have male and female sex organs, which means they can reproduce without a partner, which means it's weird but that is nature.  They must be pretty contended creatures.

Saturday, December 08, 2018


Istella was hospitable to us.  She offered us with a cup of freshly brewed Chica,  a fermented  beverage derived from corn.  As part of the tradition, the first sip is thrown to the ground for Mother Earth.  After tasting the brew, Rose and I thought that Mother Earth can have all of it.

Hope your day is going well.

Friday, December 07, 2018


The relics located at Saqsayhuaman outside the city of Cusco, Peru are remains from the Incans.  They were used for religious purposes.  Once the Spaniards came in the 16th century, the place became a quarry for their infrastructure.  The remains are now protected as heritage site.

It's a good day to be alive.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

In their own world

Despite the compression and the density, there is immediacy and clarity that fixes in the mind.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Street Smart with Smartphones

Still in Machupicchu, Peru.  Usually tourists would visit Machupicchu via Lima through Cusco and then through Sacred Valley.  Lima is by the Pacific Ocean and has very mild temperature - mostly in the low 70s Fahrenheit during Springtime and it never rains during the entire year.  Cusco is about 12,000 feet in elavation, and it rains almost every day.  The temperature could go down to the 40s F.  Sacred Valley is a bit warmer but not a whole lot.  Machupicchu can be reached either by hiking from Sacred Valley or by train.  The average temperature during daytime is in the high 60s.  This lady tourist definitely came well prepared.

In every places I travelled to, almost everyone would take pictures with their smart phones.  Whether selfies, or just to document where they have been.  Twenty years ago, this phenomenon would have been unheard of.  This is the world we now live in.  I admit I am guilty of using my smart phone to document my travels.  In this image, I used my trusty rangefinder instead.  I was going for that soft film look - specifically the beloved Fuji Astia 100F.

Hope your day is going well.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Incan Weaver

For me, the most interesting things in traveling to other countries are the culture and the food.  I love to immerse myself in culture, which means one gets to meet different kinds of people.  I was fascinated to meet this young Incan woman.  She appeared to have been from a different century.  I like her attire.  All the tools she used are indigenous.  For instance, the weaving needle is made from an alpaca bone.  I dig the frame loom.  It's simple yet rigidly attached to the post.    

Ancient Andean weaving developed by pre-Inca civilizations and inherited and perfected by the Incas is considered as one of the greatest textile in the world.  The wool of alpacas, llamas and the superior and rare wool of vicuñas are used as raw materials.  

Traditionally, weavers are women.  As in any crafts, it takes years of practice to be able to weave fast and produced good quality fabrics. 

Hope your day is going well.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Cantua Buxifolia

I found this flowering plant while we were at Awana Kancha, a little village a few miles from Cusco, Peru.  It's called Cantua Buxifolia and is the national flower of Peru.  The  flowering plant can be found in the high valleys of the Yungas of the Andes mountains in western South America. Also known as the Peruvian Magic Tree because the Incas believed that its essence makes the water stay pure for a long time.  

This evergreen shrub grows to 4 m (13 ft) tall by 2.5 m (8.2 ft) wide with small leaves and clusters of brilliant pink, narrow tubular flower.  We were fortunate to see the flowers as early spring is when it starts to bloom.

Notice that the colors of the flower are common in Peru's architecture.  The yellow being the dominant tone with the red as accent.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Proud Maria

Peru's culture is a set of beliefs, customs and way of life inherited from the native Incas, Spanish conquistadors and settlers. Immigrant groups such as Africans, JapaneseChinese and Europeans have also contributed to the society, blend of cultures and ways in which Peruvians live.