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Don’t Sweep the Walls – or – Things in Peru are Different

The most social place in any house is the kitchen. In this, at least, my Peruvian homestay was like any other home in the world. Life happened while meals were being cooked. It was the specific details of that life that constantly reminded me that I was living in a different culture. I loved living […]

The Birthday Party

Tia Maria turned 47 yesterday. Tia (Aunt) Maria is Feliciana’s sister, and runs a local food-and-lodging establishment and internet café. Unlike the one-year-old birthday party for Maria’s granddaughter, Luciana, that I attended the first weekend I arrived in Ollantaytambo, this party was noticeably lacking in pink decorations and Barbie piñatas. There were no elaborately frosted […]

John Muir’s take on friendship and love

“To ask me whether I could endure to live without friends is absurd. It is easy enough to live out of material sight of friends, but to live without human love is impossible. Quench love, and what is left of a man’s life but the folding of a few jointed bones and square inches of […]

Plane tickets: bought! And, why Americans should travel more.

Tonight’s my last night working at Solitude. These past several weeks have been a long, white blur. I come home at midnight, collapse into bed and dream until the beepbeepbeep of the alarm crashes the slumber party, waking me up to do it all over again. I also worked at my editing job this morning, […]

Susan’s next adventure – and first real writing job!

I’m planning a trip back to Peru in March and April, this time not just for fun, but with a purpose. I’m going to be working for a non-profit organization (Awamaki) based in Ollantaytambo, a small town not far from the famous Inca ruins at Machu Picchu. Ollantaytambo is one of the oldest continuously inhabited […]

Getting there is half the fun

We left the jungle before sunrise, standing up in the back of a quarter-ton pickup with seven people and their luggage, plus a bed frame, six bags of aguaje fruit, a stack of unfinished lumber, and a live chicken in a plastic bag tied to the side of the truck that clucked mournfully with every […]

points of re-entry

The United States is quiet. No car horns. No shouting vendors. No roaring, muffler-less combis or downshifting buses. It’s clean. I took a walk around Syreena’s suburban neighborhood and found a single piece of trash: a cardboard McDonald’s box. Everyone has American accents, and I no longer have to do a double take when […]

drink the water II

Jesus and I left Iquitos on the Eduardo VI, a posh(er) version of the Jeisawell, more crowded, less quaint. We weren’t the only tourists this time, though we were the only two sleeping in hammocks in the economy class. The two Dutch had mattresses on the upper deck, and the Belgians slept in a private […]

drink the water

The sidewalk under my feet bears a skin of slippery green moss from the night before. Sweat slides between my shoulder blades. It’s early, but it’s already thirty-six degrees (96F). The sun is low in the sky across the Rio Napo. At the waterfront, three men are carving a wooden canoe. Two use machetes to […]

Protected: una aventura mas – señor qoyllur-ritti

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