Archive for January, 2013


Breakfast at Noon

Queensberry-Classic-Laranja-320gYes, BREAKFAST!

I have had various cups of coffee, but between napping and procrastinating I have omitted to eat anything.

I am in the process of remedying that situation now. The grill is on to make toast.

Challenge met!

There is no breakfast quite like marmalade on toast.

Here, they call it geleia de laranja (orange jam). Brazilians don’t have the concept of marmalade, although this is imported, and horrendously expensive (R$9.98 a jar), there is no word that equates to marmalade. Not to be confused with mermelada in Spanish which means jam and not maramalade.

Having a late breakfast is rather fortuitous today, as I have nothing for lunch. I got fish at the supermarket on Monday night, but I didn’t take it out to thaw. The fact that the supermarket was crowded, I forgot to get anything else edible, except chocolate. One shouldn’t have chocolate for breakfast. Which is as good a reason as any to have lunch out tomorrow when I go shopping with my ex and Emmylee for school stuff.

I was surprised by a comment today on yesterday’s post. Who or what is a Bieber, pray?

JBA Beiber is having the unfortunate condition where ones singing enchants young adolescent girls whose hearts throb at the very mention of his name.

Quite frankly, he is the nadir of singer wanna-bes who are under the delusion that they can sing. Which is supported by the fact that only immature adolescent girls (mainly) consider he can.

I was under the impression that everyone knew who Bieber was, even if only to avoid anything supposedly musical connected with his name. But apparently, not in Hong Kong. Oh the bliss of living in a place where Bieber is unknown.

The fridge saga… Yes, once again the best laid plans of mice and men went awry. During the day the availability of the pick-up disappeared. Now we have set Thursday as the day.

The nuts and bolts of blogging

The nuts and bolts of blogging

I am worried. I keep an eye on my stats for the blogs, and since the weekend they have been way down. My best two blogs Nether Region of the Earth III and Things that Fizz & Stuff are down from 150+ visits per day to 32 and 61 respectively, and that reflects for Mondays (normally the best day of the week) stats too. Eco-Crap, while not the best, is the only blog still swimming with the current. It makes me woonder if I am doing something wrong when I see dips like that. Blogging is not without its frustrations.

Later.

Life is so Repetitive

This one should be big enough

This one should be big enough

First, I did the dishes…

Then, I cooked lunch…

Which undid the dishes!

The kitchen looks no different to when I made coffee this morning; my saving grace.

I need a bigger coffee pot.

I’m so excited, I could wet my plants!

Today is fridge day!

At last…

Now all that needs to happen is that Lincoln comes home early with the pick-up as planned, and the owner of the fridge not changing his plans.

Life always depends on other people.

Taking a break to eat lunch and watch the news…

The news was bad… 10 more died in hospital since the fire.

Lunch was great…

The dishes remain undone…

I just read on Twitter, Justin Bieber groped a fans breasts…

They say if you play Bieber’s music backwards it sounds Satanic; but what’s worse, if you play it forwards it sounds like Justin Bieber, que horror!

Later.

I don’t do Mornings

dr_alarmEspecially Monday mornings.

Actually, I do do mornings, it’s just that Monday mornings have this reputation that must be upheld.

Yesterday I made an amazing discovery.

One that I am sure will go down in the Annals of Improbable Research. Who knows, I mat even be in line for and Ignoble Award.

It came to me as I was pondering over Mercury thiocyanate, now most of my readers and visitors don’t ponder over such mundane matters, but I thought it of interest and duly posted on my Tomus Arcanum blog.

While embroiled in my research pondering, Lixo was sound asleep on the bed. I crept out of the bedroom to the bathroom, and time the interval between audibly lowering the toilet seat until Lixo arrived rubbing himself against my legs for a scratch as he is want to do. An incredible 12 seconds elapsed. To wake and wander the length of the house for a scratch… incredible; 12 seconds.

So you can see why I should be in line for an appearance at the annual Annals of Improbable Research Ignoble prize awards.

An example of the type of research that qualified for these awards.

Scary coffee headline of the week: Two cups to incontinence

This new article adds fuel of some sort to the ever-brewing debates as to whether coffee has tremendously good effects on people, or tremendously bad effects, or tremendously few effects, or all of the aforementioned, or none:

Talking my fish for a walk… I love this photo

I had pan-fried fish for lunch yesterday, and will have poached fish for lunch today and deep-fried tomorrow.

I defrosted the fridge on Saturday night for something of interest to do during the TV ad breaks, as a result the fish thawed out. Now I have to use it. I am hoping that will be the last fridge defrost I have to do.

Now the plan to get the new fridge is tomorrow, couldn’t do it over the weekend because fridge owner went to São Paulo for the weekend.

Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria after the fire

Yesterday, Brazil suffered it’s worst nightclub fire tragedy, In the Rio Grande do Sul city of Santa Maria, after a band decided to have a pyrotechnic display on stage indoors, the soundproofing material above caught alight and engulfed the club with fire and toxic smoke; 233 people, mainly students from the local university, died.

Since, I started writing, the death toll has risen to 245.

Regulations for public venues in Brazil exist, but there are little or no inspections. In this case, there were no fire escape doors, only the entrance and it has been reported that this was locked to prevent people entering without paying.

Well, I was supposed to be going to the dentist with ex and then shopping for school material for Emmylee, but it is now 9:30am and no sign of them. I have most of my blogging up to date to accommodate my absence, and now there’s nothing to do.

I suppose I could should wash the dishes.

Twice in two days, the kitchen would die of shock.

Later.

Sunday Travel Tales

A shorter version of this story appeared a few weeks ago. But now that I have recovered the file, here is the full chapter.

Chapter 5 – Paracas Peninsula

Into the bus, although, this time it had shrunk to a van. We were off to visit the peninsula itself, the museum, a formation called “La Catedral” and lunch at Lagunilla beach.

First the check point. The whole peninsula is a nature reserve. Here our pockets were made two soles lighter. The money, we were assured, was to go towards maintaining and developing the park. I wondered about this as we left the asphalt for a dusty and very unmaintained road.

The underground villages of the “cabeca largas” (Big Heads) were pointed out as we turned off the road into the museum. Another entrance fee, pockets again lighter, but this time I could immediately see this was spent where it was supposed to be. The museum, although small, was new and well presented. Detailing the rises, lives and subsequent declines of the various cultures that came and went along the Paracas coast, from the south of Lima down to Nazca and beyond.

Cabeca Larga skull in the museum

Cabeca Larga skull in the museum

One of the most interesting exhibits was the display of skulls with remarkably deformed crowns in various shapes. Cranial deformation started in the cradle and was designed to demonstrate ones postion in society’s pecking order. Right next to these (and quite appropriately so)  were three fine examples of trepanned skulls (the forerunner of modern brain surgery). Trepanning involved removal of sections of bone in the crown, purportedly to release “bad spirits,” undoubtedly the mental abberations caused by the aforementioned practice of cranial deformation.

Looking down from the cliff to the front of the Cathedral

Looking down from the cliff to the front of the Cathedral

After a short van ride on a road that deteriorated as we went, we found ourselves at the top of a high cliff overlooking a sandy beach far below. The sun was now hot and the air dry. As a group we wound our way down the crude tortuous path and found ourselves on the beach. Dead birds, rotting sealion carcases, all the fetid evidence of nature’s cruelty. The rolling breakers crashing on to the sand as we trudged along the water line before clambering over a promentory and on to another beach, surrounded by higher cliffs. The isolation adding, not fear, so much as wonder to our place in the greater order of nature.

The cave that is the back entrance to the Cathedral - image: AV

The cave that is the back entrance to the Cathedral – image: AV

We reached the far end of the second beach and the cliff opened, waves could be seen on yet a third beach.

Shoes and socks removed, trousers rolled up and we timed our entrance to match the tidal fluctuations, before stepping into the dark. Wrong… most of us still got wet, nature can be so unpredictable, we were wet to the crotch, women squealed and the men cursed as we stepped into the cave, it opened out to a huge natural cavern. Inside a small shingle beach covered in flotsam, waves crashing, their thunder magnified by the cavernous maw to echo in our ears.

Inside the Cathedral - Image: AV

Inside the Cathedral – Image: AV

This was “The Cathedral,” quite spectacular.

From the high entrance we were treated to the sunny view of the third beach and towering cliffs. The breakers pounding over a rocky shelf at the entrance to send up temendous fountains a of spray and massive clouds of mist hung in the air.

The swell of the tide gave us an insight into the immense power, that she is able to move such great quantities of water. The bloated carcase of a sealion rose and fell with her undulations like a great lifeless ballon. Bouncing off the rocks, being dragged away by the ebb only to be thrust again at nature’s whim cruelly against the rocks.

I was left wandering what would become of this hapless creature, this vision of nature’s uglier side as I picture, somewhat morbidly, the putrefying remains of the animal and the stench that would be offered to future tourists inside our cavern.

I shuddered at the thought and found myself at the entrance and followed the rest of the group into the bright, almost blinding sunlight after the dimness of the cavern. I left the morbid thoughts in the catherdral, trudged back along the beach, over the promentory, up the steep track to the cliff top, into the van and along the bumpy road.

Presently, we were perched atop the the cliff above the third beach where we were treated to another view of the cathedral. On the other side of the inlet was the great maw where we had been an hour ealier. The view of this wonder with its natural formations, cliffs and pounding surf gave the scene an air of majesty, breathtakingly beautiful as our cameras whirred and clicked.

Once again on the bumpy road, the long drive to Langunilla. All we had been told was that it was another beach, four restaurants and no toilets. We were left wondering, why Lagunilla?

Lagunilla

Lagunilla Beach – image: AV

Eventually we arrived at a small fishing community, there were the four promised restaurants and a small beach of golden sand. Several other vans arrived at the same time from other tours, so our guide was urging us along, look at the view later, so that we got the better seats in the best restaurant before the other groups. We didn’t need convincing, the long dusty drive had given us a serious appetite that needed tending in the best possible surroundings.

Cerviches and chincharrones soon adorned our tables along with Coca Cola, several bottles of beer and some of our number opting to try the diabolical bottled bubblegum called Inka Kola for the first time. We tucked in. Tongues seared by the “aji” hotness of the cerviches, to be soothed by our fizzy mouthwashes. Mouthful by hot tingling mouthful our fare eaten. Sinuses cleared (aji does that), thirsts quenched and tongues still tingling a little, we had an hour free to explore.

Explorer’s instincts took over. I headed for the beach, others with lesser bladders search in vain for toilets, only to find our guide wasn’t kidding… there were none, and the awful truth and reality of Peruvian rural hygiene dawned on them as they searched for discrete spots in which to perform.

Children in the crystal clear waters squealing, mums and dads lying on the golden sand, some rather attractive, others resembled beached whales reddening in the now blazing early afternoon sun. A group of boys leaping from a rock with bloodcurdling screams into the refreshing water.

I sat in silence on a convenient rock near the divers, reflecting on our day, knowing that I should be out of the sun, that I had had enough for one day, taking all this in.

My reverie was broken by the insistant call of our van horn.

Before long we were off again, the initial topic was how we managed to cope with our needs of relief while at the beach. Then all too soon we were staring at sign Hotel Hispana, our day was nearly over. Cold showers to relieve the sunburn, sweaty clothes changed for clean and dinner…

Tomorrow, I would be off on my next adventure.

The Rain Came Back

what-if-there-was-no-internetWell, we had three days of hot weather, yesterday reached 37°C (clocking close to 100°F) and then last night it rained heavily, so heavily that when I woke at the late hour of 7am the internet was down. That was all I needed to go back to bed; after all what is life without the net?

The net returned and I had a productive morning managing to post something on all blogs, this is the last. Not only that I have three posts done for tomorrow

Success, I got the dishes done.

Lunch, rough and ready beef stew. Done, eaten, enjoyed.

Unfortunately, now the dishes are undone.

Got a new private student coming to visit me about classes at 2pm. Hope he drinks beer, because we’re meeting at the botequim.

Okay, until Sunday Travel Tales tomorrow…

Over the Hump

Hump-Day

Some people enjoy Hump Day

And on the downhill run towards the weekend. I hate the run-up to hump day, even worse is the day it’s self.

I only discovered Hump Day a couple of days ago on Twitter, I saw it mentioned and tweeted, what’s Hump Day? The reply was logical and I wonder why my tiny brain couldn’t figure it out.

An astounding success for social media.

Take yesterday, I reheated the pizza from the previous night.

Tasted great, until the last slice and I realised that not all the specks of oregano were oregano.

Flakes of oregano don’t have little legs.

Oven-fried ants

Oven-fried ant pizza

I had been eating oven-fried ants. Tasted fine, tasted like pizza; now I am wondering if in fact the oven-fried ants enhanced the pizza or not.

I had left the pizza pan on the bench while preheating the oven.

This didn’t perturb me too much, as I read recently that on an average we eat 500gms (about 1lb) of extraneous things a year.

I shall study my oregano more closely in the future.

My fridge seems further away than ever. I had made alternative plans to collect it tonight, but my neighbour with the pick-up won’t have it tonight. It’s the work truck and the bastards want to use it for work, damned cheeky of them. Don’t they understand ‘perks’ of the job?

Curried chicken on rice

Curried chicken on rice

Curried chicken for lunch, no ants today. I bought chicken cubes yesterday at the supermarket, so lunch will take ten minutes to prepare. Cooking the rice takes longer than the curried chicken.

It could look something like this, if I don’t decide to eat it from the pot, which I do sometimes if I am in a hurry or want to save washing a plate. Being a bachelor is fun; I get to run around the house all day in my underpants, I get to poop with the toilet door open so Lixo can come in for his pet, nobody shouts at me to put the toilet seat down and there is never an argument over the TV remote.

Well, more coffee has appeared beside me, I shall blog right along…

 

 

I Opened the New Post Page

This has nothing to do with the post. It is merely a distraction so you don't notice my procrastination.

This has nothing to do with the post. It is merely a distraction so you don’t notice my procrastination.

Okay, now what?

I have had my two pre-Coffees and am half way through the fresh thermos flask, but I still found myself in the middle of the kitchen wondering what I came in there for. I also nearly poured the fresh coffee on top of the pre-heating water in the thermos.

They say coffee makes you do silly things faster…

My super post is still attracting ‘Likes’, up to 58 now and yesterday had 34 visitors, unbelievable.

Tuesday, no classes, day off.

My fridge has been delayed until Thursday, confirmed.

Found this on the web the other day.

FN49-Lead590

I had one. Mine was the 7x57mm version used by Venezuela. Best damn semi-auto I have ever used. Heavy as anything, but shooting-wise better than anything on today’s market; and when was it made? 1949 by Fabrique Nacional (FN) more than 60 years ago. I got ‘possibles’ many times at 600 yards; I had trouble doing that with its successor the SLR or FAL 7.62 NATO.

Rain, yes, it’s still raining. Just had a downpour, but the frequency is lessening.

Blogging right along.

Damn, the animation on the top image doesn’t appear to want to animate.

pre-Coffee

precoffeeThere is only one thing that is worse than being ‘pre-Coffee’ and that is being pre-Coffee on a Monday morning. It does nothing for the disposition.

The UrbanDictionary defines pre-Coffee as “The amount of coordination that most caffeine addicts have before their first cup of coffee.”

Seriously, there should be pre-Coffee, that’s coffee you can have while you are making your morning coffee. I usually have this in the form of left-over coffee from yesterday, reheat for first cup and while making fresh coffee. But I miscalculated my need for coffee yesterday.

I’ve had my first and I am now running on three cylinders, the last cylinder should kick in after this cup. I had an old car like that. A Vauxhall Wyvern, it was the four cylinder model of the same Velox.

VauxhallWyvern

It always grunted to start in the morning, and it didn’t have to be a Monday. A lovely old car about 1954 or 56, can’t remember. Actually it was my father’s, but I used to get to drive it. Oh, I paid for the privilege, mileage plus full tank out, full tank in; it wasn’t for free. That is until I rolled it when I was sixteen. The wreck was a write-off. My father was not amused, especially as he had just reconditioned the motor.

Yesterday I was at the keyboard like a one-armed paper-hanger. I posted a Satireday on Shit Happens that proved enormously successful, well, at least by my humble standards. The post attracted 50+ likes and two more have arrived while writing this. I have never had more than a 15-Like post before, so for me this was phenomenal. Especially on Shit Happens because it usually gets about 5 – 10 visitors on a good day. So being a responsible blogger, I visited, commented and Liked, all the blogs that had been to mine. I found one seriously funny blog, very well written, totally irreverent, but not smutty; The Jiggly Bits, you have to go and have a look, she does indeed talk about the ‘jiggly bits’.

Part of the success was bloggers who reblogged, about six, so the post got quite a good coverage.

He was something like this

Well, the rain continues. As I wrote that sentence the sun came out. It rained all weekend up until making the coffee this morning. Lixo slept on the bed all night, which he doesn’t do often now that he is a big cat; he spends most of his nocturnal hour tom-catting around the neighbourhood. But after coming in from doing his business outside, he was wet, bedraggled and not amused and wanted breakfast, NOW!

Well, I am firing on all cylinders now, I need to refuel and then I’ll blog right along.

Later.

Sunday Travel Tales

Chapter 4 – The Ballestas Islands

A knock at the door. I mumbled something, vaguely aware that something was supposed to happen. Seconds later it dawned on me that on hearing that knock I was supposed to wake up.

PlazaSanMartin

Plaza San Martin, Pisco

My eyes still asleep, I fumbled in the subdued light of daybreak and found the bathroom, it was exactly where I had left it. A short time later I emerged refreshed and in search of breakfast. The “posada” wasn’t yet equipped with dining facilities, although Juan had assured us they were under construction. So it was that I found myself at a wobbly wrought iron table in front of a cafe in the plaza. I gazed at the surroundings. Old men sat on park benches chatting, street sweepers swept, kids scrambled around a statue of  of San Martin, one of Peru’s national heroes, their school bags bobbing on their backs and boys with their shoeshine paraphernalia lay in wait to ambush anybody with the slightest scuff on their shoes. The scene was much like any town or city in Peru, as I was to discover.

My continental breakfast was placed haphazardly in front of me, sure enough, it was strawberry jam, bread rolls and “cafe con leche.” With the resignation that no other breakfast existed in Peru, I split my rolls, filled them with jam and studied the comings and goings in the plaza as I ate unenthusiastically.

It was during breakfast that I met the young lad who was with Lucho the previous evening. Surprisingly, he spoke good English, it was refreshing. The micro was due to leave in ten minutes. I finished my crumbling rolls and licked the excess jam off my fingers, paid the bill and followed him.

I climbed aboard the micro. Greeted those I recognised and remembered from the night before and being greeted by those I didn’t.

Heads were counted, the door creaked shut and we began our game of hopscotch anew as we battled with Pisco’s potholes. Out of town, past the sentinel B-25 Mitchell, past San Andreas wharf. Fishing boats already returning with the day’s catch waiting to dock and unload. The graceful, ever hopeful pelican, wheeled overhead awaiting their breakfast. The stallholders assembling their shelters and tents ready for the day’s commerce. On we pushed, that horribly  unique smell of the fortress-like fish-meal factories, their towers providing real or imagined protection. We arrived at Playa El Chaco.

The floating dock at Playa El Chaco serves both tourists and fishermen - Image: AV

The floating dock at Playa El Chaco serves both tourists and fishermen – Image: AV

Our micro waddled off the tar-seal like a drunken duck and stopped by the wharf, dwarfed by the big trucks waiting to load with crates of fish. There he was, large as life, grinning as he opened the door of the bus. Lucho shook all our hands strongly as we alighted and led us safely through a throng of children proffering various souvenirs made of sea shells and their plaintiff “compra mi’s.”

Along the jetty, wending our way and dodging fast-track barrow loads of fish to a small floating dock and more pelicans. The ebb and flow of the sea made the floating dock seem a precarious place to be. Big heavy-duty plastic boxes of various species of fish were being hefted by gum booted on one side from a brightly coloured barnacle encrusted boat; on the other side our sleek motorboat in stark contrast.

We stepped down and stumbled our way aboard, some with more grace than others. Ladies were given a helping hand by the gallant Lucho, men were left to fend for themselves. Instructions from our guide and we donned the day-glo orange life-jackets and jockeyed in the boat for what we considered the best vantage point clumsily in our newly encumbered states.

The 'Candalabra' perched on the peninsula - Image: AV

The ‘Candalabra’ perched on the peninsula – Image: AV

Judy, our guide, introduced herself in good English, then in Spanish; there were speakers of both languages aboard. The motor roared, momentarily drowning her words and we carved a great wake away from the wharf.

Bucketing our way over the wave tops, it appeared that even the sea here had potholes, Judy delivered her preliminary speech, quite an informative routine.

We listened as she pointed out the port of San Martin on the opposite side of the bay and then with a dramatic sweep of her arm, our gaze turned to the high dune rising from the bay as the engine was cut and the boat slowed so we wallowed in the troughs and peaks.the huge “candalabra” carved into the peninsula hillside.

 

Etched into the hillside was a magnificent triple “candalabra.” By whom it was built and when, nobody really knows; apart from the fact that a line through the middle points directly to the famed Nazca Lines 260kms distant. All this information added to the mystery and camera shutters clicked noisily.

On we surged, now out of the protection of the inner bay the boat seemed smaller now as we bucked and sped along at the mercy of the sea.

Our destination, the Ballestas Is - Image: AV

Our destination, the Ballestas Is – Image: AV

Suddenly, the boat reared up on its haunches like a stallion and we were under way again in an arc that took us further from land. The boat began to heave with the swell of the sea as we passed the end of the protective Paracas Peninsula and Judy stood in front, perfectly poised despite the undulating boat, fielding question after question.

Our boat sped on and a great shape made its presence felt on the starboard side. Gliding across wave tops and disappearing below the crests into troughs majestically rising again to soar on, a Royal Albatross graced us with his company; not a wing flap, as he showed us just who was the master of its environment on huge motionless outstretched wings. Again cameras went crazy as the great bird wheeled away and we all stood in silently awe at its magnificence.

The Ballestas Islands were pointed out in the distance, still just grey lumps low on the horizon as we followed the peninsula to open water.

Then panic! In the middle of nowhere, the motor idled, the boat slowed and wallowed dramatically to a halt for no apparent reason. We looked around momentarily bewildered. The islands, our destination, still a long way off, the safety of land was a long way behind us.

Judy drew our attention with the now familiar sweep of her arm to the starboard side once again. The surface of the sea broke and the sleek grey forms of a school of dolphins arched their backs, dorsal fins slicing the water, swam effortlessly along side the boat. Again, we were stunned into silence as Mother Nature showed us once more the beauty of her world. The boat rose and fell with the rhythm of the sea, audibly slapping the swells. It was several moments before cameras started their mechanical clicking hopeful of capturing and recording the seemingly choreographed serenity of the silent grey shapes as the rose again and again to the surface, for our benfit, I think not. Our shutters often fell on empty sea, as we sighed and focused our cameras. From six photos, I managed only one decent shot.

We could have stayed mesmerised for much longer, but the islands beckoned.

Again we surged forward, bow aimed at the dark rocks that now stood awesomely from the water with their creamy coffee-coloured topping.

Their true majesty becoming further apparent as we got nearer and nearer. What were just dark smudges on the horizon now stood breathtakingly far above our heads. Great jagged cliffs rose out of the sea. Caverns carved by millions of years by the raw force of the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean; shingle beaches still being pounded by those same waves.

A little brown face - Image - AV

A little brown face – Image: AV

Suddenly we were confronted with a small brown face peering down at us from a small rocky outcrop. The nose wrinkled, its whiskers twitched, our scent and the petrol fumes of the boat, had to have been a strange mixture. The big dark eyes blinked lazily.

Our first encounter with a sea-lion, a season-old female pup.

Looking down at us with bored interest, she followed our course as we circled her roost. Cameras clicked, the women clucked about how cute she was.

The sea raged against the pup’s rocky haven, dashing its fury almost up to where the brown-coated pup was perched. The orphan-like baby seemed to be cowering in safety as though the waves would dash its fragile body. Disturbed now, it humped along the promontory, one last disdainful look back  and she plopped into the churning waters, timed perfectly with the ebb and flow; nature takes care of its own.

Our attention became focused again on the main island. Thousands of sea birds roosting on the ledges. Blue-footed Boobies we were assured by our guide, then closer to the rocks and a large orange crab clung to the barnacle covered surface of the tidal fringe, wearing the same day-glo orange suit that we had on.

Yes, he took the boat through it - Image: AV

Yes, he took the boat through it – Image: AV

A cave loomed ahead, opening its great maw as if to swallow us like some beast about to enjoy a sweet morsel. We passed another shingle beach as we entered the cave, necks arched as the roof closed ominously over our heads, the swell making us rise and fall. The roar of the sea increased so that it echoed and thundered, amplified by the confines of this void. We sat in this deafening world, cameras clicking silently.

I was pleased that our skipper seemed to know what he was about, he maneuvered the boat skillfully as each new swell threatened us with rocks. The light at the end of the tunnel, what a pleasant sight, nearer, then out again into daylight, a collective sigh.

More birds, perched on the rocks around us. All were named, their names quickly forgotten, lost in the magic.

A great roar shook us from our reverie. The huge maned head of a bull sea-lion glared at us. He reared up defiantly as he roared again, then he sneezed, the passengers on the port side got covered in great gobs of sea-lion snot. I was assured, amid squeals, a less than pleasant experience. He settled, our level of threat had diminished, we lacked the ability to return his challenging roar. He shook his great head, his multiple chins waggling as he did so. He propped is head on the rock to observe our slow progress away from his territory.

The colourful Zarcillo - Image: viru2012

The colourful Zarcillo – Image: viru2012

More Boobies and other assorted seabirds whose less than comic names forgotten. Inching our way along, a small colony of penguins, the colourful Zarcillo with its yellow moustache. They all blinked nonchalantly as we stared through our viewfinders. They continued to blink as we passed.

Image - AV

The gantries for loading guano – Image: AV

Around to the back of the island, and we were surprised to see old derelict buildings nested high on the rocks, suspended gantries and loading docks jutted from the cliffs. Guano, bird poop, was a major income source for Peru. The nitrogen rich fertiliser being highly sought around the world. These islands are now a wildlife reserve, and the haven of two old brothers who act as caretakers. The knee-deep guano is harvested every five years.

Circling the island we see more birds, sea-lions and penguins then into a small bay.

Sea-lion colony - Image: AV

Sea-lion colony – Image: AV

Here to our surprise, a whole colony of sea-lions along a stony beach. Few of the big males were to be seen, holding their heads regally aloft surveying their harems, mostly groups of females with their pups. The sea was full of sleek brown bodies of assorted sizes heading for the beach or leaving for the open sea to do whatever sea-lions do at sea. Swarms of pups played in the tumbling surf close to the beach. More film was exposed as we marveled at nature in the raw.

The dreaded announcement form our guide, it was time to return to the mainland. The boat wheeled away and we glanced back sadly as the islands shrank in the distance to meld with the horizon again. We motored on in silence, each of us shrouded in thought, some of us even eager to return to the safety of land as the mixture of petrol fumes and rolling sea threatened to embarrass us.

The shore came closer, the driver jockeyed for position amongst the other tour boats at the floating dock. The ever-present Lucho was on hand to welcome us and help the ladies to disembark on to the undulating jetty. Our Ballestas Islands tour was over.

We had our memories in our hearts and cameras as we sat at a cafe by the beach. We watched the local kids feed and tease the pelicans flapping at the water’s edge with fish that they had scrounged from the morning’s catches.

My stomach was still queasy from the motion of the boat, I am not a sailor, so I struggled with my orange juice as I evaded the “compra mi’s” of the local kids selling beautiful souvenir sea-lions and other assorted items. No time nor the inclination now for Pisco Sours, besides it was only a little after 10am.

PEELC197010

The kids feeding the pelicans – Image: AV

It was fun sitting there watching the kids as they would throw a fish into the water and race the pelicans to retrieve it. The ever-hopeful pelicans flapping and jostling for the pole position as another fish was cast into the water. The children squealed with delight at the confusion they had caused.

Then Lucho’s huge frame towered over the table threatening to block out the light of day, he was summoning us to our next destination.

I have Blogged

keep-calm-it-s-almost-beer-o-clockYes, I have posted on all my blogs today, and it’s only 3pm. This is the last before beer o’clock.

My new fridge didn’t eventuate. I arrived at the appointed place at the appointed time, but he wasn’t home. Disappointment. I can’t get him on the phone either. I guess we’ll do it during the week.

Lixo has been doing the housework. He has slept all morning on my jeans and now they look freshly ironed.

It’s been a noisy day. My neighbour is laying cement and finishing off his balcony veranda above the botequim. I let him store his material in the yard, so I have ahd workmen in and out all morning. It’s quiet at the moment, I think they have figured out it is beer o’clock.

So, without further ado, I feel socially obliged to join them.

Later

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