Saturday, February 18, 2012

LINES IN THE SAND


In 1939, Paul Kosok, a United States scientist, flew in an airplane over southern Peru and discovered a series of drawings of animals and geometric lines and

shapes scratched into the arid crust of the desert. Some of them were over 1000 feet in size and had been preserved for more than 2000 years due to a complete lack of rain and winds.

DH and I were able to visit Nazca in 2007 with a group of people from the university where DH taught.

After a two-and-a-half hour bus trip down the sandy Pan-American Highway we were informed the weather at Nazca had been foggy for the previous two days

so there was a waiting list of people with reservations to fly over the desert ahead of us.  We were put on the bottom of the list and informed that only about half of those who wanted to go would get a turn.

We settled down to wait. It was a great chance to catch up on sleep, read books or get better acquainted with our fellow travelers.  Some wandered off to explore the town and found very little in the way of stores near the hotel.  Well, there were stores, but they looked like something out of a bad western movie:  very dark small and dirty.

Along with the ubiquitous Coca Cola there was always 
Inca Kola which tasted like super-sweet lemonade.

The minute we left the safety of the walls around the hotel we were accosted by locals with hand-made souvenirs for sale.  I met up with a mother and her little son and daughter, with small knitted figures hanging from a tray.  They had sold nearly everything they had to the people ahead of me, but the price was so very low that I couldn’t resist buying a little man, a woman and a llama.  I indicated I wanted to take a photo of them and they immediately struck several poses while I clicked away.

When it was apparent that very few of our group would get time in the air over the Nazca Lines we took a tour of some other sights in the town.  We visited a shop where pottery was made. The owner of the shop showed us how he used a smooth stone to polish the semi-dried clay.  Then he rubbed the stone on his nose to use the oil from his skin on the stone to even out the surface.  That, he told us with a wink, was why his people did not have large noses like the Incas.

Next stop was a gold refinery.  They were using the most primitive methods to extract gold from the red desert sand.  There was a man with a white miner’s helmet who showed us the process of panning and came up with some tiny, shiny flakes.  He showed us nuggets the size of peas that he had found.  He told use how they used mercury to separate the gold from clay.  Then he showed us

his sluice gate which was a long wooden trough where water was pumped through sand to separate out the gold ore.  The power for the pump was a skinny guy treading up and down on a seesaw device.

At the end of the day only seven of our group got an airplane ride.  Some of them didn’t enjoy it much because they got air sick.  DH and I were disappointed in missing a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the Nazca Lines from the air.

We boarded the bus for the return trip. As we rode back we watched carefully because we knew the highway had been built across some of the lines and shapes on the desert floor.  Occasionally, for a moment, we could see them a few yards wide disappearing into the distance.

We stopped at a tower that had been built near the highway where we were able to at least get a look at some of the designs.

Since it was late in the day the low angle of the sun helped us see the ancient artwork on the largest drawing tablet in the world.  After DH and I had taken our turn on the tower we waited in the sandy parking lot by the bus.  I wandered around and kicked up some rocks and picked up a heavy black one as a souvenir.  Then I noticed something dusty and smooth with sharp edges.  I was sure I had found a piece of prehistoric pottery.  I flipped it over and blew off the dust. 

The words “Inca Kola” were printed there on a blue label.
 I kept it anyway.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

PARCEL AND PRESENTS FROM L.S. IN PNW

One of the best parts of blogging is making friends
all over the world.  The next best thing is getting
cool presents from those friends.

 
Linda Sue from All I Ever Wanted who lives north of Seattle
often sends me goodies.  Yesterday I found a package on my
porch left by the postman.  The box was full to the top with...


Valentines, chocolate for me and the guys, ribbons for Thomas the cat,
a china baby that fits in a lace pillow scented with lavender, and

Laundry soap for Leelah Dahlie so she can finally do her laundry.

She's been wanting to try out her new pink washer and ironing board
for ever so long (well not really since everyone in her family have
their clothes painted on--we should take note of that wisdom).

Linda Sue even sent a new kettle for their stove and fresh
tomatoes and fish from the Pacific Northwest.

Well...the fish may have been fresh when they went in the box.
Seems it took a while for USPS to get that package to Idaho.

Monday, February 13, 2012

EXTREME MAKEOVER


When I rearrange furniture in our home I usually get a lot of grief from DH. 
One time he went so far as to walk outside and check to make sure he was at the right house.

But when I came home and found the basement toilet in the laundry room 
I wondered about his ideas in home d├ęcor.

 With the help of Beavis he’d also taken a saw to the walls of the bathroom
and ripped out the floor.  Maybe this was a good thing.  
It already looked better than the 
thirty year-old blue Formica shower and green walls.

New drywall went up.  We lightened up the dark walls with a 
coat of semi-gloss white, and the tub was re-plumbed for a different faucet.

We had new vinyl flooring installed to replace the old flooring 
which had a big burned spot that no one ever owned up to.

We got a new light fixture since we found rotten wires when we removed the old rusty one. 

I like how it looks like the guys are doing some kind of dance in this photo.

 Then a ceramic saw was set up in my laundry room.
  I was really, really upset that I had to suspend all washing and ironing for a few days. 
(Yeah, right)

 The guy who did such a fine job installing the tile 
in our master bath brought back his expertise.

The tile went together like a big puzzle.

 In no time at all we had a handsome shower stall.

 The new faucet was installed.

 The old vanity and paper holder were replaced.

 The tile backsplash matched the shower and the medicine cabinet matched the vanity.

 A minor slip-up installing the original porcelain fixture
 lead to the purchase of a new one which was more efficient anyway.

In our endeavors to lighten the dark basement room 
we ended up with almost everything colored copy-paper white. 
So I brought in some accent rugs and made curtains to match. 
The dark curtains put the room right back in the gloom.

I replaced them with lighter and more sheer curtains.  Much better.

Is this not the finest Valentine’s Day present ever?!