Finding Pablo Neruda’s Machu Picchu

When I first came back from Peru, I would wake in the middle of the night and not know where I was. I would stare and stare into the darkness of the bedroom and swear that the walls were made of adobe and the doorway to the bathroom was really a stone hallway leading somewhere.

This morning when I woke, I wondered what day it was, and realized that it was two weeks ago today that I rose at 4 am to wonder the ruins of Machu Picchu, the evil mosquito bites on my calves still slightly itchy and healing.

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Pisac Ruins

The Pisac ruins were built sometime during the Inca Empire (between the 1440s and when the Spanish conquered Pisac in the 1530s). The tombs of the mummies dotting the hillside were raided long ago, but the waterways are still flowing after more than 500 years. The stones, carefully carved and place so as to not […]

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The Weaver’s Way – Trek Through the Andes

I woke at 5 am with severe stomach cramps and diarrhea and proceeded to spend the next two hours on the bathroom floor, chewing Pepto Bismal, suddenly dreading the upcoming 5-hour bus ride that would signal the beginning of our three-day trek through the weaving villages in the central Andes. I had been acclimating with […]

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Lima to Cusco to Pisac

We arrived late in the evening in Lima and were escorted to a hostel in Miraflores, about 45 minutes from the airport. The Hostal El Patio was charming and musty. The rooms were arranged around a courtyard filled with lush, flowering plants and brightly painted walls. Our flight to Cusco left Lima at 10 am […]

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Amsterdam

So many bikes!!! Inspiring. In the frigid temps, everyone was commuting on bicycles. There wasn’t a railing that didn’t have a bike attached to it. The bonus of missing my flight out of Accra was getting a day in Amsterdam to visit the Van Gogh Museum and have a cappacinno in a quaint cafe at the intersection of three cobble stone streets.

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Kumasi and Around

The road to Kumasi is beautiful green and lush, breaking into small towns and villages along the way. Clara and I woke at 5 am and Ninasei took us to the bus station, an area where dozens of buses wait and depart for Kumasi every 30 minutes. Clara found a comfortable bus with A/C, and we left around 6:15. We watched Nigerian and Ghanaian tv on the screen mounted in the front, were treated to a sales pitch from a man who travels the route back and forth to Kumasi selling herbal remedies, and then settled into 4 hours of Reggea music watching a beautiful tropical and hilly landscape roll by.

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The Driving Adventure to Krobo and Back

The beads made in Krobo are the popular Ghanaian beads you see in shops in the U.S.

The market was completely fabulous and fascinating. Row upon row upon row of tables of beads. It was like being a kid in a candy store. They are exquisitely beautiful, and I purchased I don’t know how my hundreds of $ worth (ikes!). I haven’t quite figured out the conversion but I think I bought $150 worth of beads — a huge bag at any rate. So, I’ll be making lots of jewelry for presents next Christmas.

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Daily Routine in Accra

Our daily routine: I’m enjoying the food immensely. We usually have toast and tea with evaporated milk for breakfast, basmati rice with a spicey oily red sauce and redehydrated tilapia for lunch, and either the same thing for dinner or some variation. My favorite meal was fried plantains with stirfried carrots, cabbage and peppers with a fried egg! I like fufu very much and the spicey dehydrated fish red sauce.

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Sites, Sounds, Smells of Accra

Bats flitting in the mango tree outside my bedroom window during the night

The call to prayers at dawn and dusk from the nearby mosque

Music blasting from stereos from all different directions – hiphop, Bob Marley, Afro-pop, Christmas caroles

Cocks crowing

A morning dove cooing

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Greetings from Ghana

I woke to a light tap tap tapping sound outside my door and the sound of small voices talking. I was in a deep slumber with my ear plugs in, but somewhere in the depths of unconscious I was roused and popped the plugs out and heard a small voice saying, “We want to meet you!”

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