- F***, cut my finger deep! As the bleeding didn’t stop, I went to the emergency room. They stitched it up nicely. they gave me a day’s rest.. 1 year ago
- Based on my prediction of the last 13 MLB games, Nationals finish with 99 wins and Yankees & Orioles will finish with 93 wins each for a tie 1 year ago
- The landlord, in a surprise move, asked if we are interested in a table for our living room. Sure! Why not? What’s next? Widescreen TV? 1 year ago
- When some idiotic neighbors decide at 3.30 in the night to start a karaoke session, it is time to call serenazgo (neighborhood watch). 1 year ago
- In 1.5 hrs we are going to celebrate in the best sushi-restaurant in Lima: Edo! One of those delicious luxuries one should permit oneself… 1 year ago
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Helping out a pigeon mother
Ever since I was young, I remember my dad trying to help birds, either by giving them food in the winter or building a little house for them to build their nests. I guess this sort of got imprinted in my DNA. Then the other day, I noticed that on our patio, a pigeon was trying to build a nest. Actually, we first noticed leaves and branches on our staircase and I was mildly annoyed that our neighbors were leaving so much dirt around and that the landlord didn’t clean more often.
But then we noticed that this lady pigeon was trying to construct her nest, but sort of failing in the attempt. Perhaps it is too windy or she is just not very good at nest-building, I don’t know. But clearly her efforts were failing, because half her nest was ending up in the staircase. And to make matters worse, one day last week we found a broken egg on the stairs. And then I remembered having seen two broken eggs a couple of weeks earlier. And I must have thought back then that it was strange to find them, but I didn’t make the connection.
Last week I helped out in the construction of the roof over a biodigestor. According to Green Empowerments blog, a biodigestor is:
… The ultimate in closed-cycle resource use. You put cow manure in one end and get out usable cooking gas and organic fertilizer. The odorless gas is piped into the kitchen where it can be burned for 4-5hrs a day, replacing the need to collect firewood. The liquid fertilizer is rich in nutrients to boost crop production. And, the patio is no longer littered with cow manure. Biodigestors are relatively simple to construct and made with cheap local materials. It’s basically a huge plastic bag laying on top of straw, insulated between adobe walls and covered with a roof.
This is in fact a nice technology. The materials are not expensive, the construction is not essentially complicated and in operation it is very simple, if slightly unappealing for many people. It is after all, animal shit that you have to put into it. But it so happens that animal waste is a big source of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and using it like this, burning it to the advantage of heating or cooking is an excellent way of reducing greenhouse gases.
First match of the hockey championship
So there we were: some 60 enthusiasts in the National Sports Center (VIDENA) en San Luis. All Sunday morning there were hockey matches, indoor. Indoor is not exactly my favorite variety, but it is hockey and it is competitive. And the level is good, better than I expected. After a training and a half, we were “ready” to get going. For 14 Sundays if I am correct we will be playing the national championship. Both men and women.
The first match was not a success, neither for me personally, nor for the team. I have to admit that drinking some pisco sours the night before was not a great preparation (although it was in the style of how I used to play hockey in Holland. Of course that was 16 years ago and I was young and “experienced”, both in the alcohol consumption and in hockey). I played a total of 5 minutes out of 40 and I was dead. Unfortunately I couldn’t contribute much to our team and to make matters worse, our lack of training together killed us. We lost 1-3 against what is supposed to be one of the best teams of the competition.
My mam always has plenty of stories how as a child I was in love with puzzles. I don’t remember this particularly vividly, but I am prepared to take her word for it. Yesterday I was passing the shop window of a toy shop and I noticed that they had a big collection of jigsaw puzzles. This is actually not all that common in Peru. So I thought, why not, let’s check out the price.
The price was reasonable, so I just bought a 500 piece puzzle. The image is the Rome Coliseum by night. The sky is not too big (important, because it is always a hassle to put together the sky with all the pieces basically the same color). I settled on 500 pieces and not a bigger number (1000 and 2500 were also available), because I always fear boredom. So I wanted to finish the puzzle before getting bored. It turned out that it was an investment of about 10 soles per hour, because within 4 hours the 500 pieces were put together to form this lovely image of the Coliseum.
On the radio for the 2nd time
Recently I got an email asking me if I was interested in participating in a telephone interview for the Dutch radio. They told me that they were doing a show about taxis and wanted to hear my experiences. Of course, I agreed (always eager to hear my own voice, although it sounds really strange to me when I hear it on the radio). So last week they called me and they asked me several questions about my experiences with taxis in Lima. I answered faithfully.
This weekend, the show aired on Radio Nederland Wereldomroep. They have a segment that is called Expat on Air, where they interview Dutch expats living all over the world about topics in the news. They put these segments online as well, so you can listen to it (and read the summary).The link is: http://www.rnw.nl/nederlands/article/gilde-van-chauffeurs-verbetert-taxikwaliteit
I realized that my comments had been embedded in a story about how guilds of taxi-drivers improve quality and safety. Now I have to admit that I can recognize certain advantages about deregulated taxis as well: price comes to mind first of all. In my experience taking a taxi in Amsterdam might be safe and comfortable, but it also costs a small fortune.
As an aspiring artist you have to experiment and seize the opportunities when you see them. So when I saw this blue with white wall, and I realized that I was wearing a blue shirt (and considering that my skin is really white, not fun to admit, but it is the truth), I saw an opportunity.
Just for reference I have included an example of what a real artist would be able to do with the same idea. See more of that work here: http://designtaxi.com/news/351376/Artist-Blends-Herself-Into-Backgrounds/
III. International Festival of Impro
From 2 to 5 February Ketó organized 4 theater performances under the header “3rd International Festival of Impro”. We had invited improvisers from Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Spain and Argentina to participate in this Festival. Some of them were doing workshops during the day and on 4 consecutive evenings we presented the traditional formats of Ketó: “Simplemente Impro”, “Impro Sport”, “Improthlon” and “Improvisaciones Minimas”. Each of the formats is unique in that it highlights another aspect of impro.
Of course, this meant hard work and memories of Aiesec-conferences came back to my mind. It felt very much like working in an OC (Organising Committee). But the hard work paid off, in the sense that we sold out 4 nights in a row and the public was very, very enthusiastic about the shows. On the other hand, our guests from abroad were thrilled as well, and the conclusion of the director was that artistically it was a big success.
The photo was taken on Sunday night at the end of the 4th performance and shows pretty much everyone that was involved in organizing and making it happen. I am pleased to be there, but also had to admit that the week after I needed some rest. I am not anymore that young Aiesec-er that could go on and on without sleeping. Those OC-days are definitely over.
Hockey in Peru
Between December 1985 and June 1996 I had a fine hockey-career with MHC Flevoland in Dronten. In this period I played in almost every team, from the D-juniors all the way until the seniors. While studying I had the habit of coming home to Dronten, the village where my parents lived (and are still living) to work in the C1000 supermarket and play hockey. Hockey is my sport. In fact, it had been even before moving to Dronten in 1985, but the tiny village I was living before 1985 (Hardegarijp in Friesland) didn’t have a hockey club.
Due to conflicting priorities, I stopped playing hockey competitively in 1996. After that, I have played some friendlies, or some 1-day tournaments, but I never got round to playing hockey in competition again. Then I moved to Hungary in 2004 and I thought that was the end of it. Hungary is not really known for its hockey prowess. Neither is Peru, so when moving here in 2009 I didn’t really think about checking it out.
Now that’s what I’d like to drive. And this being the dashboard of my father-in-law’s 1967 Volkswagen Beetle, I do get the chance occasionally to drive this beauty.
On our journey in Europe we visited. This was a long cherished wish of mine, as I am a big fan of Miró. I had visited Barcelona years ago, but didn’t have time to visit the museum. The collection is impressive and contains paintings, sculptures and other work.
I like this photo especially, because it seems to me that the two of them are having a casual, neighborly chat.
Our building has a terrace on the roof and around sunset, this is the view. The church is commonly referred to as “La Cúpula”. The real name is: Parroquia Corazon de Maria.
This is one of the tallest churches in Lima. Constructed in 1956 in a style of Renaissance Revival. There is a statue of the Virgin Mary on the dome, 10 metres tall, made by a plastic artist, Freddy Luque Sonco (source: lastminutelima.com)
The most famous church of Barcelona (and possibly of Spain) is without a doubt Gaudí’s Sagrada Família. An unfinished masterpiece, perpetually under construction. It was difficult to make a good photo with so much scaffolding. But this detail is most interesting.
The Hungarian Parliament Building (Hungarian: Országház, literally country house) is the seat of the National Assembly of Hungary, one of Europe’s oldest legislative buildings, a notable landmark of Hungary and a popular tourist destination of Budapest. It lies in Lajos Kossuth Square, on the bank of the Danube, in Budapest. It is currently the largest building in Hungary.
This particular photo was taken from a boat. Returning from Visegrád we took the boat instead of the bus, which gave me the excellent chance to take this photo.
In Aalsmeer, Holland one can find the biggest flower auction in the world. The great thing about it: you can visit it. We did visit during our Europe-trip and it is truly impressive. Especially the logistics of it all is mind-boggling. Recommended as a tourist attraction when in Holland (hint: you have to go early morning, 7-8am)
On one of our walking tours in the city we passed through a little square. There were stairs and in the corner there was a cafe. Some people were sitting outside, drinking coffee or smoking a cigarette. I tried to look through the window to see what was inside. And this is what I saw.
The advantage of having friends in places all over the world is that they can show you some unexpected things about their country. When we visited Barcelona, our friends took us for a little trip to the Catalunya countryside and between two cameras we took this collection of photos.
In Budapest one can find the Vajdahunyad Castle, a replica of the same castle in Transylvania. On the grounds of the Castle, there is a church, the Ják Chapel. It is the entrance to this church that captured my attention. Allegedly this is a typical style for Romanian and Moldovan churches. I thought it was worth the visit.
The Parque Guëll is Barcelona is famous. The salamander is probably the most photographed, but my attention was actually drawn by the seemingly random tiling of the seats.
The Casa Garagay used to be part of a much bigger complex that includes the Huaca de Garagay as well. A while ago I did a LimaWalk in Los Olivos and we visited both the Huaca and the Casa. The house is now abandoned, but still shows some of its former beauty.
Even though my laptop and therefore my whole photo collection was lost recently, I managed to salvage a big part of my favorite photos from my iPod where I had them stored as well. So for today’s post an oldie from my London days: Paddington Station in the afternoon sun.
Lunahuaná is a town about 1 hour uphill from Cañete. The area has some wine and pisco-making going on, but the main attraction is the fast running Cañete River, which features rapids up to Class IV. Rafting is not really my thing, but the view of the river at sunset is beautiful.
LimaEasy says about the National Afroperuvian Museum that it is:
“… [l]ocated in the Casa de las Trece Monedas, a colonial rococo mansion from the 18th century [...]. The museum explains the history of Afro-Americans in Peru and the contribution their culture made to the country.”
I didn’t actually visit the collection, but during our LimaWalk Barrios Altos we were allowed a quick peek inside the courtyard.
According to LimaEasy:
“The original house on this property was built by Captain Villegas (governor of Callao) in 1752. In 1818 the building was bought by the Lobatón Laos family. Its current design dates back to the middle of the 19th century, when General César Canevaro, a war hero of the Chilean War (1879 – 1883) rebuilt the house in a typical republican style with pure and refined lines and beautiful wooden balconies”
It has to be noted that the house may have been painted recently, because the photos on LimaEasy are different than the photo I took a week ago.
Processions are a common feature in the religious calendar of Peru. The most famous are the processions for Senor de los Milagros. The procession depicted in the photo is another one though. Also note the Presidential Palace in the background.
In Rimac one can find the Convento de los Descalzos (the convent of those without shoes, that is: the Franciscans). The convent is well-preserved in an otherwise run-down area. Tours are organized and they allow you to take photos, fortunately.
A while back in the Museo de Arqueología, Antropología e Historia del Perú I saw this statuette. Lovely, clearly very artistic. This type of “art” always brings a smile to my face, but this being a museum , we’ll accept it as anthropology!
On 28 July the Plaza de Armas was closed for the public due to the Presidential Parade. However, we were slightly cheeky and pushy and therefore we were among the first people allowed back onto the square after the event. Therefore we had the chance to take some nice photos without too many annoying tourists on the background (or foreground).
In Peru 28 July is THE national holiday. Actually there are celebrations on 28 and 29 of July. The weekend before I went to La Punta, in the tip of Callao. There I saw this kindergarten, cutely decorated in the national colors (red and white) in preparation for the national holiday.
Lima’s Plaza de Armas has several interesting buildings. There is the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral and more. But the building with the best balconies has to be the Palace of the Archbishop, right next to the Cathedral. Check the photo and judge for yourself!
During 28 July, the Peruvian National Holiday, the President goes from his house (on the Plaza the Armas) to Congress (about 10 blocks away). He is doing this accompanied by a band on horseback and all the 10 blocks are guarded by a Presidential Guard, made up of all the army, navy and police units. We had the chance the witness this almost steetside from a cafe.
This is the Fuente Arco Iris (rainbow fountain) of the Lima Agua Park. This park is has been made on the location of a drug-dealers park near Centro de Lima as part of a neighborhood regeneration. People said it would cost a fortune, but nowadays many people visit every evening, as the entrance fee is modest. The rainbow fountain is my personal favorite.
Taken a while back in the courtyard of the convento San Francisco in the late afternoon, around 4 or 4.30pm. The birds on the square were stirred by some running children. The effect is amazing.