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Street in Cusco, Peru – sketch

What’s HGTV you ask?  It’s a horrid channel that sucks me in and makes me waste hours and hours of time all the while incredulous at how they are able to do home makeovers for under $2,000 or how 20 somethings house hunt and every 4,000 square foot house they see isn’t big enough.

Makes me want to gag.

I live in an old building.  Ok, maybe not old by Europe’s standards, but old by US standards. Almost 100 years old. (The building, not me.) Nothing is square, plumb or level.  I have lived in the same 950 sq. ft. apartment for 22 years. One bathroom.  Small kitchen.   Me, the Husband and a large dog.  (Not the same dog.)  Change a light fixture?  Takes about 20 years and 3 tries.  One by the Husband, one by the Brother who does not read my blog and one by the Emergency Electrician who had to be called when sparks shot out of the ceiling and we tripped the circuit breaker, not just for my apartment, but for the whole building.

So how do these people on HGTV come in and redo a whole house in 3 days and under $2,000?  One of the mysteries of life I suppose.

Another mystery is will I ever get my sketchbook finished.  It’s due in less than a week and I’m not done.  Here’s a sketch I did of one of the Cusco streets with its unending steps.   I bet none of these buildings has had a makeover in hundreds of years.

Maybe I’ll wait to redo my place too.

Visiting Machu Piccu and Cusco was like going to a step aerobics class that never ended.  Step, step, step, suck in as much air as possible,  step!   Boy, those Incas sure liked steps!

We were walking up the steps to Sacsaywaman when we saw this woman descending with her posse.   It was a long hike up and I was convinced I wouldn’t make it.    But I did and it was worth it.

Often the women and young girls who live in the small mountain villages would dress up in these traditional Peruvian costumes and walk around with a llama and a lamb or puppy.  If you want to take a picture with them, of course you are expected to pay them.   Don’t pay them too little, or they will tell you!

I returned from a 10 day trip to Peru to find the work in my office piled to the rafters.   Ugh!  Whatever iota of relaxation I felt during those ten days left rather quickly.   But what won’t ever leave are the fabulous memories of Peru, Machu Picchu and the wonderful Peruvian people.

We flew into Lima, the capital of Peru and spent a couple of days wandering around this very interesting city.   It is on the ocean and has a beautiful coast and a fascinating historical center with wonderful colonial architecture.   We then flew to Cusco, high up in the Andes mountains.  At 11,200 feet you have to take it slowly the first day.  For those of you who may live in the mountains, this may not seem like a big deal, but for us sea level dwellers, we experienced shortness of breath and headache.  A few cups of coca tea (yes, THAT coca) put us right.

The second day in Cusco we climbed to Sacsaywaman, also known as Sacsayhuaman which almost killed me.  Damn, those Incas loved steps.   A fascinating tour with Mario, a local shaman had us up there for over four hours. It was exhausting but well worth the trip.

I won’t bore you with ALL the details of our trip, but will show you some pictures of the main attraction...Machu Picchu. This ancient Incan site was magical and amazing and fabulous.  Here are just a few of the 1400 + pictures we took:

And look at this….the tiredest pre-colombian Peruvian that ever lived:

Oh,  the platters on the very top are a couple I painted for some very special people.  Cousin Tommy and Chrissy for their 25th wedding anniversary and the other for a couple that just got married.  Since I haven’t given it to them yet, I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

No matter how much fun vacations are, it’s always good to be home, with friends and family and in this case, back at sea level.

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