Monday, September 22, 2008

Costa Rica, 2006

I did not like Costa Rica. I didn't care for the condition of the roads, the quality of the rooms booked by the travel agent, and the people who, for the most part, neither wore the welcoming smiles I had encountered on a recent trip to Oaxaca and refused to speak English even though taught by all schools.

My attitude may have been due to this trip coming too close after moving from CA to Texas. Everything appears Blah, when exhausted. Still, I had come to see monkeys, and I saw plenty of them :-)

Happy looking caiman

There is abundant water in Costa Rica, and the country's ecological efforts have preserved abundant wildlife.

Here you see a difficult to spot howler monkey.

We viewed these sunbathing crocodiles safely from up above, standing on a bridge.

Jesus Christ lizards, so called because they walk on water. Yes, really!

Tiny bats, all camouflaged in a row

Cottage in the mangroves

The "Biggest & Baddest"

To our delight, the monkeys jumped onto the canopy of our boat. We were warned to not put our hands out, and to be careful of our sunglasses.

Mangroves. This is where we saw the largest number of monkeys because the small tourist boat captains feed them with bananas and watermelon.

I have determined that it's possible to get photos of beautiful things no matter where one goes. All one needs to do is isolate
images. Therefore, it's always a mistake to assume one knows the environment from looking at photos. All you really know is the photographer's viewpoint, and possible determination.
The only place where we saw such magical flowers where within our resort on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Perhaps, elsewhere the blossoms were food for the wildlife.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

PERU, 2007 Staying in an Art Gallery in Barranco

We had heard that Barranco was the artists district of Lima, and I had located a B & B right in the center of it. This was to be our place of a few days of rest before heading back to the U.S. Little did we know what awaited us!

All was hidden behind these gates. The old, restored house had been Victor Delphin's gallery, open to the public. Though some rooms had been converted into simple but beautiful guest rooms, the house remained a only open to guests.

We had several glorious days of feasting our eyes on these and more of Delphin's well as sometimes,

Delfin's studio high above the ocean. One level higher is the swimming pool, and one more higher were the gardens and gallery in which we were occupied one of the 5 guest rooms.

A special treat was having a tour of Victor Delphin's studio, and meeting the artist. I had to laugh at myself, though! I...usually rather an attack of "awe" and shyness.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Impressions of Lima, May 2007

Admission is charged everywhere, and though I expect that in museums, I have an issue with paying to enter a house of God. I get quite stubborn about this, actually. We were able to sneak into this church. Such golden splendor! I wondered how many public bathrooms....just for starters...could be built so no one would need to urinate on the sidewalks. This was no house of God.

I was that nasty tourist who dared take a few flash photos
inside a church! But, just look at the gold! It's real!

There are treasures inside the old buildings, and this ceiling was one of the few we were fortunate enough to see.

I don't care for large cities, in general. I saw men urinating on the street...rather casually....and more squalor than I have seen anytime in recent history. The people are friendly and helpful, though visibly more stressed than they are in the small cities and villages. Still, I had no wish to linger, and stayed out of Lima on my second trip to Peru. I was coughing and gagging from the diesel fumes, so I was more than just a little bit cranky.
Though this city of almost 8 million people is choked with pollution from diesel belching cars....lots of them, taking up every square inch of the wide city streets without painted traffic lanes....there are gems of Colonial architecture to see among mostly unfinished building projects.

Peruvians are excellent drivers! We were very impressed both by their skill, patience, and courtesy. It's really amazing!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Photos from First Trip to Peru, May 2007

A friend sent me this photo, but it is true that guinea pig is on most menus in Peru. As far as I know, it is the wild guinea pig that is eaten, and not this domestic one. We didn't touch any "pigs", but did try llama once.

Pretty Pigs

Two Guinea pigs, wearing Peruvian local dresses, are displayed during the Guinea pig food festival in Huacho, Peru, Sunday, July 20, 2008. Guinea pigs are native to the high Andes, and have been an important source of protein for millennia. Nowadays, in Peru, the animal is served with a generous portion of Andean tubers.

Reliving that wonderful trip to Peru last year, I realize now that it was merely a warm-up for what was to come this year. My experience this year was so much richer....and, even more satisfying than before.

There were so many men....and, also, alpacas....that I wanted to bring home with me!