Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Family Vacations

Memorable travels
Noemi and Alejandro on Taquile
We supported a couple of family vacations right away before the start of the school year. First of all, Noemi had not been to Taquile for 6 years, not since her oldest, Alexander, was a baby. She and Alejandro had come to introduce him to her home, but the the trip was riddled with bus breakdowns and cold weather and her new husband didn´t have any fun.
This trip they spent time on Llachon with Asunta´s family (thus wisely avoiding Carnaval), then came to Taquile to be with us and the rest of the extended family. On Taquile they spent a day working in the fields of her mother, Celbia, and helped father, Felipe, on a building project. Then we spent a day at the beach where we played volleyball and swam, and the kids made sand castles. Back on Llachon they went to a big church choral performance of Asunta and Armando´s chorus while Kusi and Sam and I babysat. The next day again we played Volley and swam. Alejandro will now be more willing to come visit Noemi´s side of the family.

For the children, Alexander age 7, Dayana age 5, and Bianca nearly 2, it was special for them to be in the country, playing freely outside in ways they could not in Lima, and also important for them to see the place and culture of their mother. 

swimming in Lake Titicaca
Celbia delighted to have her baby granddaughter, Bianca, with her
More Memorable Travels 
We had returned with Noemi and family to LLachon to Asunta and Armando´s house on February 19 mainly on Noemi´s solicitation. We then realized that if we were going to take this family for an excursion to Sicuani before school started, it needed to be right away. So we all took the bus to Juliaca the following Monday, Feb. 22, bade Noemi´s family safe travels to Lima, and brought a contingent of 8 people to Sicuani: Asunta, Armando, Kusi age 15, Sarita age11, and Yhoel age 7, plus Sam and I. We found a reasonable hotel with shared batheroom. Three beds in one big room for them and a double bed room for us. 

Tuesday we bought a picnic and caught the taxi car up to the Aguas Termales, about a half-hour ride back up near the pass. Sam and I had been there last year and loved it, with the multiple, many-temperature pools. The kids had swum in Lake Titicaca and, indeed, the water is not as cold near Llachon as it is off Taquile, but still their water skills were sparse. At first they would scrunch up their faces and hold their ears lightly so no water would enter anywhere. I recalled my old swim intructor skills from my youth and we played. They let go of their ears rather quickly and bagan blowing bubbles, learning the simple skill of taking a breath out of water and blowing it out underwater. After a while they were doing the breaststroke more or less. I was astounded at the progress, particuarly of Yhoel and Sarita. We returned Thursday for another day of water play. By the end of Thursday, even Kusi was floating on her back in comfort. The littler kids were paddling around the pool. I started calling Yhoel a little fish, pescadito.
In the evenings, in their big hotel room, we played a rhyme game and when someone missed and had to do their penalty, it was a joke or a dance or a song or being arranged as a statue--lots of laughter and wholesome family fun. One evening we recalled memories from our 30 years of visiting Lake Titicaca, how Sam taught Sarita to walk in 2006, how Kusi would say HO-LA with her mouth exaggerating the shape, how we were digging potatoes and Sam grabbed Asunta´s brown, potato-colored toe! More laughter.

Sarita, Yhoel, and Kusi in front of the Viracocha Temple wall
 Wednesday we went to the ruins of Raqchi, in the other direction about a half-hour bus ride. These are the Inca temple of Viracocha. We hired a local guide, Deniz, who was knowledgable and spoke very clearly. He led us around for an hour and then we were on our own.

the hospedaje of the Inca when he came to worship

Celbia made friends with a local woman

Ceramic Studio Visit
When our guide, Deniz, learned that we are potters, he invited us to visit his father´s studio. Wonderful! Collegues in clay! I understood all his techniques and we were invited to come and work together someday.

In the ceramic studio of Gonzalo Rodriguez Moron

Museo de Tupac Amaru
After such a full day, we still had one more stop. The town of Tinta, a little bit further, has the house of Peruvian Revolutionary and Inca descendent, Tupac Amaru. I found the story more than chilling, as it portrayed not only the leader´s birth and  committment to the freedom of his people, but the terrible torture that the Spanish Conquistadores visited upon him and his family.  

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