Archive for March, 2013

Sunday Bonus – This is Crazy!

House of The Rising Sun – Musical Tesla Coils


House of The Rising Sun played on Steve Caton’s and Eric Goodchild’s (me) 7 foot tall Musical Tesla Coils.

This was the first time the coils have ever been run together. It was a marvelous first test.

These are two gigantic solid state musical Tesla Coils. A Tesla Coil is a special type of transformer invented by Nikola Tesla that is able to generating extremely large voltages using a phenomenon known as electrical resonance. Each coil in this video is capable of generating a 13 foot spark. This equates to about 500,000 volts of electricity.

The primary drive system for the coils consists of high power semiconductors arranged into an H-Bridge switching configuration. During a spark event, the coil is pulsed on for a few hundred millionths of a second. During this short time, thousands of amps circulate within the primary tank circuit and the energy is coupled into the secondary resonator through magnetism.

So what appears to be a continuous burst of sparks is actually a specific number of sparks generated per second. By modulating the number of sparks that emit from the coil each second, different tones can be produced by the coils.

These coils were constructed by Eric Goodchild and Steven Caton.

Eric Goodchild is currently an EE student at ASU Polytechnic.

His personal website is:

Steven Caton is currently an EE student at UCLA

His personal website is:

Chapter 13 – Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu


A five o’clock start, early calls for everyone. It’s a good thing we didn’t have a late night at Rosie O’Grady’s. Breadrolls and strawberry jam for an early breakfast, then it was bags downstairs and into the bus for our next trip.


Today we were off to the Sacred Valley, the first part of our journey to Machu Picchu. 6:30am, yawns and bags into the bus and we got underway. The city seemed strangely quiet at this hour. We briefly visited some archaelogical sites like Qenqo, and Tambu Machay and Puku Pukara on the way to Pisac, the first town in the valley.



Tambo Machay fountains

Both Qenqo and Puka Pukara were pretty much run-of-the-mill archaeological sites, they were “ho hum” interesting. Tambo Machay, was where the action was. The action consisted of two spouts of water flowing from an Inca wall. They were ceremonial spouts and to put one’s hand under the water of the appropriate male or female spout one was assured of success in love. Okay, now we would all have successful love lives and we were again on the way to Pisac.


Pisac ruins looking down at Pisac - image: AV

Pisac ruins looking down at Pisac – image: AV

The attraction of Pisac is the “Sunday Market”, but today wasn’t Sunday. However we were assured that the market exists on other days too, although not as grand and less tourists, so more freedom. First we were taken to see the Pisac ruins, and after a strenuous downhill scramble we would get to Pisac. The ruins were high above the town. We were afforded a grand view of the Urumbamba Valley and river, as well as seeing some of the best preserved ruins in the area.


Pisac market

Pisac market

The descent to Pisac was, as promised, strenuous. We arrived in the Plaza exhausted, ready to sit and relax. Coca tea and fizzy drinks were welcome. We still had about 45 minutes to explore the market, which covered the entire plaza. We were left wondering if this was a small market, what must the one on Sundays be like? Stalls made from blue tarpaulins were every where, offering souvenirs. Alpaca jerseys, Alpaca wool wall-hangings with beautiful pictures, statuettes of everyday life and erotica (apparently even the Inca must have appreciated this aspect of life) were among the offerings.



The terraces at Ollantaytambo – image: AV

After testing our powers of bargaining we were off once again, this time to the town of Ollaytaytambo at the head of the valley, with more ruins to explore and the prospect of lunch. Again were were assaulted by people selling everything as we made our way through the township and into the ruins where again, our tourist tickets were punched like a bus-conductor. As groups or singly we explored the famous terraces of Ollantaytambo. Ollantaytambo was famous as the last stronghold  and stand of Manco Inca against the  Hernando Pizarro’s Spanish conquistadors in 1536. So we were privileged to be at the last place on Earth where the Inca existed as a civilisation


Kids playing

Kids playing in the princess bath – image:AV

Besides the terraces there is also the smaller site below known as Inca Misanca, which has the Baño de la Ñusta, the “princess’ bath”. The lesser site is rather better preserved and today the bath is the playground of the many children who visit, a somewhat ignoble end to a noble beginning.


After our individual explorations, lunch, and then off to the train station. We had to get the train from here to Aguas Calientes. The train was due to arrive at 3pm from Cusco. Our travel agency had bought the tickets from Cusco in the morning, so we were guaranteed of seats. Most tourists tour the Sacred Valley on one day and catch the train from Cusco to Aguas the next, our company combined the two events to save time and an unnecessary trip back to Cusco. At the station we waited amongst the locals who were waiting for the same train. This was the local train, not the tourist railcar which would have whisked through here much earlier in the day without stopping. This was the train that served local communities from Cusco to Quillabamba much further along the tracks.


The train arrives at Aguas Calientes

The train arrives at Aguas Calientes – image: AV

The train arrived, along with the commotion, people disembarking, people (including us) embarking, all through the same doors at the same time with much pushing and shoving.


Again we found our seats occupied by locals, this time, however, we didn’t make such a fuss, we accepted places dotted about the carriage and left the invaders in peace; we were becoming culturally accustomed. For the rest of the journey we looked at the scenery going past our windows. It was interesting to note that the vegetation changed, from Altiplano to more tropical types. Something that people aren’t generally aware of, knowing that Machu Picchu is also a mountain, people expect to go up to Machu Picchu, in fact, Machu Picchu is down, at only 1,800m a.s.l. We passed many small villages, kids waiting for the train, we stopped briefly at some stations until we found ourselves in the deep gorge of the Urumabmba River and chugging to a stop at Aguas Calientes. Our signal to get off. We did, amongst tourists with backpacks and locals, all pushing and shoving in every direction again.


The steep main street in Aguas Calientes - image: AV

The steep main street in Aguas Calientes – image: AV

We were pleased to be out of the station and found ourselves in a small plaza, a neat fairly modern church and our guide led us off to our lodgings. The street wasn’t a street in the general sense of the word. It was a series of steep steps and slippery concrete slopes up the hillside, we seemed to be going up and up forever with our bags. Finally we reached our hotel, it was with a collective sigh of relief that we dropped our bags where we stood sweating in the humid atmosphere.


We were in the entrance to the hotel, it served also as the lobby, reception and in the morning we discovered also the dining room. It was a quaint place, colourful with lots of plants in the central courtyard off which were our rooms. We settled in quickly and gathered again in the lobby-reception-dining room were we met our guide for the next day when we were to explore Machu Picchu and to dutifully receive our complimentary pisco sours.

The colourful hostel  - image: AV

The colourful hostel – image: AV

Tomorrow was to be an early start, we were to catch the first tourist bus, which left at 6:30am, up the mountain. That meant we had to be up and watered and down at the bus stop before then. Hmmmm, an early night was called for. It was already 6pm, time to explore a little and have dinner. There were hot pools at the top of the street, so I opted for those to relax. After it was group time for pizza, and more complimentary pisco sours, a local band entertained us with music from the Altiplano played on a variety of panpipes with guitar and native drums in accompaniment, followed by our early night.


We yawned collectively over our breadrolls and strawberry jam at 5:30 in the morning. We also enjoyed a lot of fresh fruit, paw paw (papaya) and watermelon, lots of fruit juice too and for the first time on our trip we had cereal with milk. Then it was day packs on our shoulders and off downhill for the bus.


A lone llama in the mist at Machu Picchu  - image: AV

A lone llama in the mist at Machu Picchu – image: AV

Once aboard our guide started his story of Machu Picchu and how it was only discovered in 1911 by Hiram Brigham, along the road with the steep sides of the gorge on one side and the Urubamba river some 30m below flowing furiously through the narrows on the other. Across the river and up the zig-zag road that took us to the top. We were surprised to find a five-star hotel up there. One look inside the lobby, which didn’t double as a dining room, told us why we were staying at the hotel in Aguas Calientes, very plush. Nilo, our guide, came and distributed our entrance tickets and we were off in the crisp morning air. It was still very foggy, which added to the mystique, as we climbed among the ruins, pausing for Nilo’s commentaries. We were the first group of tourists in the place, the people who had hiked the Inca Trail would just be coming across the last pass at this hour to descend into Machu Picchu. So we were privileged to be able to take photos without the presence of lots of people to detract from the essence of our visit.


The ruins at Machu Picchu  - image: AV

The ruins at Machu Picchu – image: AV

We walked, we climbed, we paused to rest and listen in this once land of the Inca. The mist and fog cleared and the day became bright and sunny, and the walking hotter and sweatier as we marveled at the once lost community and tried to imagine what Machu Picchu must have been like in its heyday. Some of the structures were massive, others were more modest and had obviously been the living areas. There was an ever present evidence that Machu Picchu was primarily ceremonial. Water courses and aqueducts ran through the place, little waterfalls and spouts making picturesque interludes. Machu Picchu was truly the marvel we had been promised, it was everything that had been written about it.


Fountains in the ruins  - image: AV

Fountains in the ruins – image: AV

The day wore on, and after being in the ruins for four hours in the now hot hot sun it was time to return to Aguas Calientes. I elected to walk down the hill and back to Aguas, so I set off alone. The others, who were not quite so adventurous waited for the bus at midday.


After descending down, sometimes inelegantly for the way was scree, the track that cut the zig-zags and crossing the bridge, I found myself alone in the solitude of the gorge. The steep rock sides rose far above me, dwarfing me, and the feeling of being an insignificant part of the natural order of the world was so overpowering as the river ran wildly on my right far below. It was an eerie feeling, one that I had never before known.


After lunch, it was back to the station to get the train back to Cusco, we arrived at 9pm, back to the hotel, dinner and bed. For tomorrow was another adventure, we were flying to Puerto Maldonado and off into the jungle.

Been & Gone

My Saturday students changed to an 8am start, they’ve been and gone and I was exhausted, so back to bed.

Woke at 1pm, day wasted.

In a fit of energy I resolved to do yesterday’s trip, got up got dressed got out.

The Kombi went the back way which was some way from my first port of call.

awhitepepperI passed a shop that has herbs and spices, they’ve been out of white pepper for months; but I stopped in to have a look, just as I had given up and was leaving there it was, a stack of ground white pepper! Bought two bags.

Onward, I found a shop selling the same carpets as I had bought the week before; only they were R$30 cheaper and a better selection of colours. Damned!

Onward, I went to the fish market and bought some fresh halibut. On the way out of the fish market I found some salsa crespo (curly parsley) seeds, bought a pack. Brazilians don’t use curly parsley much, preferring a plain leaf variety.

Onward, I walk through a large department store, oh there were lots of wonderful things for my kitchen, but the shop was crowded, last minute Easter egg shoppers. There was no way that I was going to brave that throng to get to the check out.

Leg was beginning to hurt, onward.

Along the road, up the hill, leg was now beginning to ache.

Got to plant shop, oh I wanted to stop and shop, but I just looked and left.

Need a seat…

Nearest seat was in Brazeiro, oh what a happy coincidence. A seat and a BBQ lunch to boot.

More than two hours for a leisurely lunch, beer and no dishes.

Home again.


Good Friday = Two Naps

bartjesusYes, for me a good Friday is one when I can justify and squeeze in not one, but two naps.

At 10am I was showered and smelled good. I had decided to go out.

I got to the other side of the park and had a quick chat with a neighbour and it began to rain.

Trip cancelled, home to bed for a nap.

I had planned to go to the plant shop, then the supermarket and the fish market, by the time all that was done there would have been a strong possibility I would have caved into the whim and gone to Brazeiro (BBQ restaurant for lunch).

Now that would have made it a great Friday.

But instead, I had to settle for a good Friday and the last two bread rolls with garlic butter (last Sunday’s leftovers) for breakfast.

Woke, read the news, none of it any good. Posted, read my emails, visited some blogs, then it began to rain… second nap while frozen lump of pork was boiling for lunch.

5pm, pork has boiled, I still haven’t had lunch… However, I am giving the idea a lot of thought. So is my belly.


It’s Thursday

Just thought I’d let you know.

Three day weekend coming up.

Yesterday, after I posted, I finally got all the BBQ dishes done. The sink blocked up and looked like the Rio Guandú from yesterdays post. But got it going again and my kitchen is all sparkling clean again.

I had pizza last night for dinner, then I had pizza leftovers for lunch today. Bacon and mushroom pizza, nom noms.

Cyprus, just a little island

Cyprus, just a little island

Who is watching the news about Cyprus, or don’t you care? I mean, it’s just a little island in the Mediterranean. The only people who care about it are the Turks and the Greeks. But Cyprus is in deep shit. And you would do well to watch what happens there, because it’s coming to a government near you. People should be getting their money out of banks just as fast as their little legs can carry them, before you can’t, just like the Cypriots. The best buy at the moment is a safe. Take your money and keep it safe from the money hungry hands of you darling elected officials begin thinking.

Other headline news, The Pope is going to be washing the feet of young offenders… I personally don’t care if he wipes the smelly backsides of cows. It’s not headline news. Tell us something important; like what shitty tricks our governments are up to.

I love clutter. I’m happy in a cluttered state. If things are tidy, I can never find stuff. If I put something down somewhere, I know exactly where it is. I read a blog post yesterday about decluttering and organising, it was quite depressing to think that all these people are going to lose things because they can’t remember where it got organised to.

The curved supports are rusting at the joints

The curved supports are rusting at the joints

The big football stadium in Rio, not Maracanã that’s out of action being refurbished and rebuilt for the World Cup and the Olympics, the other one – Engenhão that was built for the games in 2007. They’ve found rusting cracks in the supports for the gigantic roof. The stadium has been closed for safety reasons as two out of three reports indicate that a high wind could topple it. Another stone in the Brazilian shoe for the games.

Oh, the world is just full of wonderful news.

I have to get ready for work.


A Cold Wintery Day

Lixo, a cat with the right attitude

Lixo, a cat with the right attitude

Cold front came over last night, result, a cold wintery day.

I am going to take a leaf out of Lixo P. Cat’s book and have an 11am nap, I’ll finish this post when I wake…


Nap over.

One doesn’t really expect Rio de Janeiro to have wintery days, Rio’s reputation is hot & sunny, along with summer rains that cause flooding, but those days aren’t cold like today.

It’s lunch time. Noon has rolled around. The Lunch menu: Oven Fried fish ‘n chips, doesn’t that sound healthy?

Actually, it’s left overs from yesterday reheated in the oven. I’ll eat it while sprawled on the sofa watching the news and quaffing a chilled bottle of Chateau Guandú.


These houses on the bank of the river would discharge their sewerage untreated directly into the river

The Rio Guandú is Rio de Janeiro’s notoriously polluted river that flows into Guanabara Bay, equally notoriously polluted.

The river is also the source of Rio’s water supply after passing through the CEDAE (water company) treatment plant.

Most people won’t drink tap water here, but I along with those who can’t afford an alternative do. Chateau Guandú therefore is a euphemism for my tap water after passing through my fridge.

You see, not all the world has sparkling clean rivers like my own city in New Zealand where you can scoop water from the river and drink it from your hand.

Lunch beckons.


My version of Chateau Guandú

Fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee

Little Black Bastard sort of like this

Little Black Bastard sort of like this

Well, so the Big Bang lyrics go…

I don’t know about the butterfly, didn’t see one. But I saw the bee and certainly felt it when the little bastard stung me under the forearm at work. It wasn’t a regular honeybee type bee it was a little black bastard, in more senses than one.

Boy, he may have been small, but did he ever pack a punch.

The sting remained behind, and when I asked the secretary if she had a box cutter or something sharp that I could scrape the sting out with, she burst into action. I must go to the medical section, big factory, has medical section.

She hurried me off so fast that I felt I should have had a red flashing light on my walking stick and be going “Daah – daah – daah -daah” along the way looking like a proper Norman berk.

On arrival at the medical section, nice nurse, many questions. Was I allergic to bee stings, and the like as we went into the dispensary. I told her that I had worked a long time in the Pantanal, getting stung by bees, bitten by ticks and shaking scorpions out of your boots in the morning were daily occupational hazards.

Then she did exactly what one shouldn’t do with a bee stinger, with a piece of gauze soaked in alcohol she pinched it between two fingers and removed it; you do that and you risk squeezing more venom into the wound. The stinger should be scraped out from under to avoid that. Happened so fast I didn’t have time to object.

aspidermanbandaidMy thoughts of ‘nice nurse’ changed to ‘stupid bitch.’

Honestly, the more I see of people the more I like dogs…

And she didn’t even have a Spiderman band-aid to put on it. Mind you, it could have been worse, she might have had Hello Kitty ones.

Well, that was my excitement for the day and not even a band-aid to show for it.

*Thinks* Did anything else happen yesterday, apart from leaving the BBQ dishes to soak…


Today’s excitement began with coffee, toasted garlic rolls left over from BBQ and the BBQ dishes. I have posted about crumpet and Easter eggs on Fizz and Eco-Crap blogs.

Wow! I lead such an exciting life.



A Two BBQ Weekend


Monday is blank.

I have no plans, therefore I fully expect it to be a success.

Looming clouds

Looming clouds – image: Emmylee

Yesterday, as Plan B, was a success. The second BBQ of the weekend. Ex & kids arrived late after the bus broke down and they had to wait for another.

Food was immediately available when they arrived, as I had be BBQing for an hour already.

The day wasn’t hot, as clouds looming over the treetops.

Emerson avoiding Emmylee's attempt to capture him for posterity

Emerson avoiding Emmylee’s attempt to capture him for posterity

Branco, second eldest didn’t appear for the second time. Ex told me he was at church; not to get religionificated or Godifed or anything serious for at church, ‘here there be girls.’ Branco is a typically testosterone driven sixteen year old with hormones are on overdrive. Therefore when it comes to BBQ with stepdad or church; guess which wins. NB: No prizes for correct answer.


It could have been worse… – image: Emmylee

Emmylee went berserk with the camera, snapping off 170+ photos before the battery died of exhaustion; 130 of which I edited for blurs, fingers in front of the lens and uninteresting things like the dead rat on the compost heap.

So about 5pm ex decided it was time to go home to avoid the rain.

Emerson wanted to watch the football game. At 18, he fast becoming a Brazilian male. “Just five minutes more.”

I explained to ex that ‘five minutes’ more football is about the same as ‘five minutes’ is to a woman getting ready to go out. Both infinitely flexible time frames.

So ended a wonderful afternoon.

Sunday Travel Tales

The contuing story of Strawberry Jam, Bread Rolls and Pisco Sours


Chapter 12 – Cusco

Tarim zig-zagging up the hill - image: AV

Train zig-zagging up the hill – image: AV

After a cool night snuggled safely under heavy blankets we woke to bright sunshine. At breakfast, our treat returned to bread rolls and strawberry jam, it was beginning to get a little monotonous. But we ate, drank coffee or had coca tea, there was also juice, plenty of it this time, in jugs on an ornate sideboard. Slowly we gathered and ate, then a hubbub of excitement, someone from another group pointing excitedly out the window. On the hillside opposite, in among the houses, there was a train going up the hill. But it was just going up the hill, it’s path was backward and forwards, as it zig-zagged up the hill. This was the train to Aguas Calientes. The same one that we would get in two days time when we travelled to Machu Picchu. For the next two days we had free, no planned activities, just rest and explore this fabulously famous city of the Inca.

I was going to go it alone. Although, I had formed some friendships within the group, I preferred the prospect of not having to consult a partner when it came to making decisions about when and where to go. Others in the group had planned similarly and some had planned to leave the group and actually hike the famed Inca Trail, four arduous days to Machu Picchu was not for this tourist, my days of hiking were long past and now I much preferred the comfort of train or bus.

Kids in traditional costumes selling everything - image: AV

Kids in traditional costumes selling everything – image: AV

My first idea was to explore the centre of the city, take photos and see what Cusco had to offer. There were several sites within the city that one should see, so first it was down the street to the Plaza and get my bearings amongst the tourists, churches, restaurants and travel agencies.

I quickly discovered that I could get my shoes shined by an urchin about twenty times a day, whether they needed it or not, I could buy postcards from a gaily costumed Qechua girls by the thousand, or have my photo taken ad nauseum with equally costumed families, who plied the streets with their similarly decorated animals.

I came to realise, Cusco existed today for the tourist and those who preyed on them to eke out an existence. At first it was unnerving to be attacked so ferociously by these Lilliputian street sellers. The local city guards tried in vain to shoo these kids from the plaza, but as they cleared one side, the kids invaded the other, and so it became a never-ending game of hide ‘n’ seek. The kids were the clear winners, leaving the guards exasperated by the end of the day.

The main plaza - image: AV

The main plaza – image: AV

I sat in the Plaza for a while, I took some photos, one was of a young girl slinging a plastic bag over her head talking business with yet another hapless tourist. It was in short order that I was to find out her name, Idália, she was eight, she had lots of brothers and sisters who didn’t have enough to eat. Yes, she was begging. However, I took a shine to her, we sat and chatted, she told me she loved talking to tourists, even if she didn’t get any money, because tourists were from far off places, the places of her dreams to one day be a beautiful princes in a castle in some far away enchanted land.

Idália, chatting up a tourist - image: AV

Idália, chatting up a tourist – image: AV

She was so much like my own daughter had been many years earlier, we had lunch together in a restaurant as she showed me “Gringo Alley” Procuradores was a a street that existed only for the tourist. Gringo Alley was a street off the Plaza, restaurants, more travel agencies, places to get photos developed, laundries, shops with inflated prices for tourists preparing to go on the Inca Trail. We sat and talked, we ate and she told me about the “Sexy Woman.” Wait a minute, here I was in a restaurant talking to an eight year old about a sexy woman, I needed my head seen to. I soon discovered that “Sexy Woman” was how most tourists, who hadn’t mastered the art of pronouncing Qechua names, say Sachsayhuaman.


William, my guide to the 'sexy woman' - image: AV

William, my guide to the ‘sexy woman’ – image: AV

Sachsayhuaman was the large Inca ceremonial site up the hill and about two kilometres from the Plaza, and as it happened was on my list of things-to-do. It was then Idália revealed she had an older brother who would guide me to the site. Ah, I had developed an inside contact. After lunch she would go and fetch him. So I sat in the Plaza having an after lunch cigarette wondering if I would ever see her again. I only had to wait a quarter hour and she was back with her brother in tow. Now, when she had mentioned an older brother who was a guide, I had imagined a youth, someone a little older than the boy of eleven who now stood in front of me. William was quick to assure me that he knew all about Sachsayhuaman and for the princely sum of five soles he would take me there for the afternoon. The negotiation was set, and William and I set off.


Massive stone blocks - image: AV

Massive stone blocks – image: AV

Idália remained in the Plaza, I suspect to organise more tourists for the seasoned William to take to see the “Sexy Woman.”

Up past the hotel, turned right and up a street that was just steps, eventually we came out at an old church and another plaza. It was here that my pocket was lightened by a further twenty five soles, to enter the Sachsayhuaman site, I needed a tourist ticket, which also gave me entance to another 16 historic sites, churches and museums. William didn’t need one, he was Peruvian. On up the steep track and the enormity of the site became apparent, stone walls, immense stone walls, some of the blocks of stone were gigantic, William assured me they weighed tons. He pulled a small pocket knife from a pocket and offered it to me. What was I supposed to do? He showed me. The thin blade of the knife could not fit between theses huge blocks, they had been fitted so expertly that there was simply no space between them.

William and I spent a good couple of hours wandering around the place, me marvelling at the immensity and technology involved and William proved his capabilities, he was quite knowledgeable, even leading me through a dark tunnel between the ruins, that he explained most tourists never know about. The afternoon was wearing on, clouds began to threaten us with rain and the expert William said we should return downhill to the city, if we wanted to avoid getting wet. We did, he was right, it began to rain as we reached the Plaza. I offered him ten soles for his tour, he was most happy and readily accepted the invitation to dinner later that evening. He was a likeable kid and I found myself enjoying his company. We quickly found Idália, he showed her the ten sole note and rabbited on about dinner, I invited her as well. We parted and I returned to the hotel. A shower and rest before dinner.

Horrible stuff - image: unknown

Horrible stuff – image: unknown

As prearranged, I found William and his sister sitting in the Plaza in front of Gringo Alley, they weren’t alone, there was another girl, Veronica, with them, their cousin. The pair chortled and derided the girl, who had not believed I would show up. They took me off the Plaza, saying they knew were we could eat more cheaply than in Gringo Alley and they led me to a small local restaurant, crude, but clean and not a tourist in sight. We each had chicken and chips. Not just a piece of chicken, but a whole half a bird. I had beer, the kids, of course, Inka Kola. I was surprised when it came to pay the bill. For the price I would have paid for myself in Gringo Alley, I had fed the four of us quite handsomely. My guides, were definitely worth knowing, and definitely worth the extra few soles I had spent.

Rosie O'Grady's, an Irish Pub in every corner of the world - image: AV

Rosie O’Grady’s, an Irish Pub in every corner of the world – image: AV

That wasn’t the end of the night, once again my little guides came to the rescue asking if I wanted to know where there was a good place to drink beer. Of course, the idea appealed to me immediately and they took me around the block and showed me an Irish Pub. There they left me, with the promise to see me tomorrow. And so I found myself at the door of Rosie O’Grady’s, there was naught else to do but go in, so I did. I found myself in a very pleasantly appointed bar, lots of tables with people eating, so food was available here too. If I hadn’t already eaten, I could have. I wasn’t at all interested in more food, but the bar looked inviting, so I took a seat. The barman introduced himself, a Peruvian with good English, I ordered a beer and that’s where I stayed for the rest of the evening. During the course of the evening I met the owner, an Irishman named Charlie, and we had a long talk about the world until I was ready to go.

In the morning I woke feeling a little under the weather, not with a hangover, or anything serious, but I was certainly reminded of having a few beers the previous night. If I had had one more, it might have been a different story. Nothing that wasn’t to be fixed by a good shower and a couple of extra bread rolls with my strawberry jam and coffee.

Korikancha, the church built on Incan foundations - image: AV

Korikancha, the church built on Incan foundations – image: AV

So fortified, I prepared to meet the day. There were several places that I wanted to see in the city itself, so armed with my camera I left the hotel and stated down toward the the Plaza. It was no great surprise that I was met by Idália and Veronica, the pair were so good yesterday and I enjoyed their company, so I was quite pleased to see them. They explained that William was with other tourists going up to see the Sexy Woman. So it was in their company that I visited such places as the historic neighbourhood of San Blas and the Catholic church that had been constructed on the remains of the Inca temple site at Korikancha and, after, a quick visit to some of the museums that my tourist ticket permitted.

After all that it was time for lunch. I didn’t mind the extra cost. During lunch we met some others of our group, who had coincidentally chosen the same restaurant, so we all lunched together. It came as no surprise that William also found us, it turned out that the tourists he took to see the Sexy Woman were the others in my group and they had also invited him to lunch. Conversation got round to Rosie O’Grady’s and we decided that it was a good place to spend the late afternoon after returning to the hotel for a shower and change.

It was a good chance to relax after being on the road continuously for the past ten days. For the next day, we were to begin our itinerary once again. We said our goodbyes to our young friends and returned to the hotel.

NB: Once again, I apologise for the B&W photos, the coloured originals are missing

I should not be sitting here!

I have guests arriving in about an hour for a BBQ.


Do NOT believe the sign

The meat is still in the fridge, I haven’t begun to marinate it. I still have potatoes to peel and cook for a potato salad, I still have a lettuce salad to make. I haven’t even thought about putting out tables and chairs or even buying charcoal. I have garlic butter to make, bread rolls to prepare.

The padeiro (breadman) that passed this morning in the rain thought I was crazy to have a BBQ today. Now the sun is shining, the birds are chirping; I told him the weather wouldn’t dare disappoint me.

One of the reasons for my dallying, is that my noon students decided on an 8am start today, then I needed a nap. I managed a Caturday post, but that’s it. I haven’t done a damned thing today, not even the dishes… yeah, so what’s new? Even this morning’s coffee was yesterday’s leftover.

I did pickle some beetroot last night… hopefully it will be pickled enough to use today. Usually I like to leave it three days before opening.



I am not whining, just saying.

So having said, I will now rattle my dags.

For those of you who are not familiar with the saying ‘to rattle ones dags’, the dags are the poopy bits that cling to the wool around a sheep’s bum. When they are dry and the sheep runs, they literally rattle.

Hence the saying, when one must get mobile, a move on, etc, their dags must rattle…

It’s a NZ rural farmy thing.

But rattling ones dags happens in the best of families, even my late mother used the saying.

Impromptu is best.



It has taken me an hour and two minutes and all is ready; well, nearly all, just the lettuce salad to make and mix the potato salad.

The ribs are all cut, I had a side of pork ribs, the meat is all marinated, the garlic butter done…

Here’s the crunch – The ex rang to say she is broke until tomorrow and they can’t get here today. In Brazil one expects these sorts of things.

So now I have to wash the meat, or it will be too salty and save it all.

But this will not perturb me. I will have a mini-BBQ for me for lunch with beer… and do it all again tomorrow.

Now isn’t that just a wonderful idea?

Later, it’s nearly beer o’clock.


Image from: Tooft Designs, lots of lovely clocks, you should check it out.

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