Thursday, March 31, 2011

Futból en Perú

I know, surprise, surprise, soccer in South America? No....really? I am not an avid soccer fan, but did play when I was younger and love being at any sporting event when people are really into the game. A few friends from Portland and I have been talking about going to the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. What an experience that would be!  We shall see...

The Sunday after we arrived in Huaraz, we went to a local soccer game, Ancash vs Cristal (a team from Lima). We hadn´t eaten anything since breakfast so figured we would ¨splurge¨ on food at the 3:00pm game.

However, once inside, we realized there were no concessions with outrageously priced food, just people off the streets selling what they would on the streets, at the stadium, super cheaply. I think the three of us (Andy, Kyle and myself) ridiculously tried nearly everything: chicken and a potato halved (served cold of course) for about $1.30, turkey sandwhich (with dinky fries on it) for about $0.75, strawberry sucker, sugarized peanuts and popcorn for about $0.30 each.

Kyle buying popcorn from a little boy. Behind him you can see another lady with popcorn, chips and such.

View from our seats. These tickets were 10 soles each or about $3.50 to sit where you see the vast majority of people sitting in this picture.
Kyle said the stadium was built with way too big for the amount of people who go to the games. You can´t see it in this picture, but there are lights so they can play at night, as well as seating in the endzones.

The Ancash soccer team before the game.

It was interesting to determine which team to root for, but we didn't want to embarrass ourselves and ask which team was the home team. Neither team had their name on their jerseys. After each team was announced, they had their picture taken. The team above was cheered for quite loudly when announced. Then when the team pictured below was announced, there were a few cheers, but lots of whistles so we were slightly confused. As the game went on, we realized the whistling is like booing in the United States.

We weren´t sure what team was Ancash (who we were supposed to root for), but this turned out to be the other team, Cristal, from Lima.

It was a fun game to watch, and interesting because every time Ancash scored a goal, we were excited and wanted to stand up to cheer, but no one else did. Isn´t a goal a big deal in soccer? I mean, there waws excited cheering of course, but we felt more excited a goal was scored than anyone else seemed. Anyways, there were a handful of yellow cards given, but no one thrown out. Ancash beat Cristal 3-0 and it was awesome to be rooting for the winning team.

Kyle and Andy during halftime.
Thanks for tuning in! The next couple posts will have details of adventuring to the ruins of Chavin de Huantar as well as the day hike up past Lake Llaganuco to Lake Sixty-Nine.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Living Atop Mt. Hood (Or in Huaraz, Perú)

10 whole days without a post! Yikes! Well, my sincerest apologies. I also read through my last post and made lots of spelling/grammar corrections! So sorry about that as well. Maybe I was tired. Or maybe I was battling these foreign keyboards. Or a mix. Annnnnways....I will try my best to be better this time around.

Two Saturdays ago, on the 19th of March, we arrived by bus to Huaraz, Peru. We headed this direction to meet up with our friend Kyle, who is serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Marcara, a little town just outside of Huaraz.

I learned a lot about life in the Peace Corps from Kyle and the dozens of other volunteers in Ancash, some as far as 10-12 hours into the mountains away from the town of Huaraz. During our first couple days acclimatizing, we helped Kyle with one of his projects which was painting a world map on a wall outside (a common Peace Corps project) at the Marcara middle/high school. I love maps anyway, and this project was way cool! I want to do one with my own kids so they know their geography. I didn´t take a picture unfortunately, but Kyle said he will post the final product when finished.

This picture really doesn´t do the views justice. We had lots of cloud cover most of the time, so if you want to see better, jaw-dropping pictures, google image Cordillera Blanca :)

Huaraz is just over 10,000 feet above sea level, so it was like living atop Mt. Hood in Oregon. It is located in the region of Ancash and the town itself has over 100,000 people. It is in the valley between the Cordillera Blanca and Cordillera Negra mountain ranges which are part of the Andes. Huaraz is a mecca for climbers and trekkers as there are dozens of lakes, the Pastoruri Glacier, a four-day Santa Cruz trek, and over 16 peaks above 18,000 feet with the tallest being Huascarán at 22,200 feet! Every direction you look, there are huge mountains. It was gorgeous but hard to describe. (Again, google image it, because there are some amazing pictures out there.) We were there for the last little bit of rainy season, so we unfortunately had lots of cloud cover most of the time, and rain every afternoon/evening.

The computers here are pretty slow and so I´ve been having a hard time getting pictures uploaded. Thanks for your patience! Tomorrow, I will share some from a soccer game, then our adventures to Chavín de Huantar (pre-Incan ruins), Lakes Llaganuco and Sixty-Nine, as well as other observations on food and transportation. I promise!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Adios, Lima!

And lastly, in this series of photo-heavy posts, are pictures from venturing via bus to el centro, or the center of Lima. It was about a 30 minute bus ride from Barranco.

My favorite picture so far! I love the color. We wandered upon this little plaza with the Church of La Recoleta, accidentally on our way to the main square. It is quite small compared to the rest of the churches we saw.

City streets, on our walk to the main Square, Plaza de Armas. I love the brightly colored buildings.

Plaza de San Martin, with the statue of the liberator, Jose de San Martin on his horse, was inagurated in 1921for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the independence of Peru. Jose de San Martin declared Peru´s independence from this spot in 1821. This square has had many functions throughout history from a bull fighting ring to an open air theater and even the stage for the Spanish Inquisition to burn people to death. The beautiful white buildings in the background surrounds the plaza on all four sides.

La Catedral, was finished in 1625 and has withstood both the 1746 and 1940 earthquakes. It´s layout was dictated by Francisco Pizzarro, the founder of Lima. He is entombed inside.

Palacio de Justicia was enormous. It was constructed based on the Law Courts in Brussels, Belgium. Its width spans 4-5 times the width of what you see in this picture.

This picture does not reflect how pink the Church of St. Domingo really is, but you get the idea.

And for my 3rd reminder of how stinky/dirty Lima is, here is a picture of the Rimac River which runs through Lima and of course, off into the Pacific. As much as I´ve said it´s dirty, it´s not so bad that I´m filthy from one afternoon of walking, as the streets are fairly clean for a big city. There is just lots of polluted water. That´s all.

The Church and Convent of St. Francis is by far the most visited and recommended chuch, as it was the site for Lima´s first graveyard and has catacombs filled with 75,000+ people. There are also erie geometric patterns of skulls and other bones. If you get creeped out easily, don´t click here to see them.
And that concludes your mini tour via blog of the center of Lima! Hope you enjoyed!

We actually left Lima 2 nights ago, but I´m a little slow at getting the pictures posted. We took an 8 hour bus ride overnight into the Cordillera mountain range to the city of Huaraz. We arrived at 6am yesterday morning, had sort of a funky day since we went back to sleep when we got into town due to not getting many zzzz´s on the bus. Then we had a couple of tasty meals, before enjoying a little nightlife and lots more sleep. I´ll post soon (in more detail) about my time in Huaraz, and if I´m lucky, some pictures.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Barranco: Mi Casa Away from Home

I´ve been in Lima for a week today staying at Casona Roja Backpackers, but it feels like forever. (In a good way!) So, I thought I´d share some more pictures of the area I´ve been living for the past 7 days.

This is the view from a small park Andy and I have gone a couple times to lay in the grass (there´s more to the right that isn´t a cliff!), play cards and people watch. As I previously said, do not be fooled, the water may look nice, but it´s dirty and the beach is stinky, as many parts of Lima seem to be.

This is the view from the coastal cliffs, but looking south. A couple days ago we so 3 or 4 parasailers swinging right along the coastline, close to buildings, as it was quite a windy day.

The view walking up from the beach before getting to la Puente de Suspiros, which is pictured below.

Apparently, I don´t have a picture of the small, slightly rickety Bridge of Sighs, but this is the view looking toward the Pacific Ocean from it, on to the walkway pictured above.
Awesome mustard colored church in the center of Barranco.

My friend, Andy, took this picture. I added it because 1) I think the bug, especially an old one, is funny looking [isn´t the new one coming out soon? Loved those Super Bowl ads!] and 2) it is just a fun shot, the car seemingly rolling to the ocean.

Well, that´s almost all the pictures from Lima. Tomorrow, I will post one more set of pictures from venturing into the center of the city, meaning lots of pretty churches and big old buildings.

The Pictures Have Arrived (Finally!)

Finally, finally, finally, I have some of my own pictures to share instead of having to google images to give each post a little color. They´re not with my fancy camera, nor have they had any editing, but at least I took them!

Since I have quite a few to share, I´m going to break them up into a couple posts according  to the areas of town they were taken.

First, here are some from exploring the Miraflores district which is northwest, 30-45 minutes walking distance, from Barranco. It is arguably the nicest distrcit in Lima. There are many designer shops, a boardwalk, fancy hotels and it is quite clean and mostly unstinky. That was all nice and well, but my favorite part of Miraflores was north of the main roundabout and park, where there is a large artisan market called Indio Market. I am sucha sucker for crafted goods. Plus, they have so many things made out of alpaca wool, and it is so soft!

The equivalent of City Hall (Municipalidad de Miraflores) is the yellow building and just past it on the right is the cathedral. Both buildings are right across the street from Parque Miraflores, which is to the right in this picture.

Restaurants on the east side of the Parque Miraflores, just past City Hall and the Cathedral.

I´ve realized, I really like water features. I just thought this one was so cool! It is on the north side of Parque Miraflores, across the street from City Hall.

Not the greatest picture of Parque Miraflores (technically split by the small road you see, into Parque Central and Parque Kennedy) but still, green grass, lots of trees, cobblestone, play structure, a small open air theater (not pictured) as well as some street artists around the fences (again, not pictured).

Pucllana is the name of this ancient ruin, which was once a pyramid from pre-Inca peoples. This dates back to at least the 4th century! Excavations are ongoing and you can tour the inside as well as walk around the top of the north side. (This picture is taken from the southside, through the gate that completely surrounds it.) It is hard to explain its scale and how big it actually is, but it takes up multiple city blocks and is literally surrounded by housing. I was just shocked it has not been destroyed or built over as Lima has expanded and developed.
 Stay tuned, more to come!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patty´s Day from Peru!

You would never guess by looking at me that I´m of Irish heritage, however, my ancestors on my dad´s side traveled across the Atlantic from Ireland. Our last name used to have an O in front of it: O´Phelan (pronounced O fay len, I´ve been told). My Uncle Jerry has done a lot of research on our family´s ancestory and has our family name´s coat of arms and such.

I am not a crazy ´kiss me, I´m Irish,´get wasted on the 17th of March kind of girl, but I do appreciate my heritage, so I thought I´d share a little cartoon and saying I thought was cute.

As they say in the old country: 
If you´re lucky enough to be Irish,
you´re lucky enough.
No matter how far away you live,
no matter how distant your Irish ancestors,
Ireland will always be a part of you.
Thank the Good Lord.

And one more for fun and because I think the last sentence in particular fits where I´m at in life right now.

Sorry for the poor picture quality. That´s what happens when you use your camera phone and are photographing a page in a book!
 Through the ages, imagination has lifted the Irish
above life´s toils and troubles to the realms of
fairies, leprechauns, dragons, and mythic heroes.
Induldge your Irish imagination.
A flight of fantasy now and then provides
a healthy balance to the daily grind. 

Have a blessed day!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Unnecessity of an Alarm Clock

Well, I´ve been in Lima, Peru since late Thursday night. Frankly, I haven´t done a whole lot and it has been wonderful. I have never been on a vacation without feeling like I have to jam everything into a short amount of time. Hence, I´ve slept in every day since I´ve been here, forgot an alarm clock and brought white flip flops. Why did I do that?! They´re already gross. Silly me.

Two days ago, we walked around the district pictured below, Miraflores, all afternoon. It is just north of the Barranco district, where I´m staying. Also, do not be deceived by the blue water, it´s not that blue and had been deemed not clean enough to swim in, although many locals do, as well as surf. Lima is also pretty stinky. It´s been fun so far, but nothing I would highly, highly recommend. Once will be enough. I´m looking forward to moving outside of the big city.

Looking at Miraflores, arguably the fanciest district in Lima. There were a lot of tourists here.

I have met some fun people, with great stories and adventures that makes me feel lame. For example, there is a Canadian kid at my hostel who drove a motorcycle from Alberta, through Washington, Oregon, California, Mexico and then when he reached Guatemala, his bike (and him!) caught on fire and was toast. Literally. So after a few weeks of headaches trying to buy a new one in Mexico, he flew back home to Alberta, bought another bike and started over!! He said originally he had enough money to travel on his bike for 3 years but now with having to start his trip over, probably only 18 months or so. His final destination is to volunteer at a water purification project in Chile (I believe) to put his degree in engineering to use for a few months. How cool!

Then there was a Swiss couple. Cute looking pair, who started backpacking through Asia, flew to South America and will have traveled for 6 months total. Talk about a backpacking trip! Geesh. Oh, and when asked what they are going to do when they get home, they modestly said, we both have jobs waiting for us. Pretty cool. Then, when probed for what they will be doing, they said, we both just finished up schooling to be doctors and have residencies in dermatology and as a surgeon!! Geeeeez, these people are so cool! They were so modest about it all.

Makes me feel sort of lame for having a bachelor´s degree and not knowing what to do when I get home! Oh, maybe next post, I´ll tell you about Steve from Austrailia. Talk about world touring! This post is getting a little long, so I will wrap it up!

Today, we took the bus into the center of town. We saw multiple churches as well as the very impressive Plaza Mayor, also known as Plaza de Armas. It has been declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was huge! Below is a small part of it. I haven´t been able to upload any of my pictures yet, so hang tight. This will have to do.

I just googled to find this picture, but have nearly the same one on my camera!
Anywho, I´m stinky and need to go shower. Look for more updates before we head to Huaraz on Friday!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Itty Bitty Baby Booties

I'm always excited to start a new project, but in attempting my first pair of baby booties, I was more jazzed than usual. Not only do I just think itty bitty baby booties are too cute, it meant I had baby to give them to, Olivia Suzanne. I just can't get over how cute they are!

A few months ago at one of JoAnn's 99 cent Simplicity pattern sales, my sister and I stocked up on a couple of patterns, one being Simplicity 2491, which has 9 different booties in sizes XS-L. Ebay also has this pattern pretty darn cheap if you can't wait for JoAnn's to have their great sale.

I made booty C which is the one pictured in the top left hand corner. It was the easiest looking to me (or D, right hand side, middle, but I liked the folded loop). I chose to make size small because I didn't want the extra small be too small.

The fabric is also from JoAnn's and is called Woodhaven Hearts. I just love it! My favorite colors are blue and green, so I wish I could keep them for myself...however, I have no baby, which means no use for them. I'm not, however, in the slightest disappointed with the fabric I have left over :)

That being said, I have a lot of fabric left over. Do patterns (Simplicity or others) always "require" too much fabric. I'd obviously rather have too much fabric than not enough, but I had nearly four times the amount I needed.

So, here's what I'm going to do. Below, you will find a few things I would have found helpful to know before I bought fabric and made these:

1. You only need a piece of fabric that is 12x12 inches to make any size of booty C! It tells you to get 3/8 yard. You will have leftover if you buy 3/8 yard like I did.

2. I have a very old Morse sewing machine so it could completely blamed on its picky temperament, but the ribbon I used was too flimsy and would not allow for machine sewing, so it was done by hand.

3. I had extra fabric sandwich of wool, heat bond and cotton, so I cut out two green hearts to partially covered up the stitches from attaching the Velcro by fabric gluing them on top of the ribbon.

It was a little tough to get the first booty turned, but when I made the matching booty, it was much easier the second time around so I'm guessing as with most things, it will get easier and easier the more I make. What a great excuse to make more!

Be on the look out (maybe tomorrow!) for another part of the baby gift! Please feel free to ask me questions if you aren't sure about the pattern.

Friday, March 4, 2011

TBF List

TBF. To Be Finished. Anyone else have one of these lists that is so long, you cannot recall everything and every so often when you think of yet another project to add, it all becomes overwhelming? Yeah, me too.

If you can't relate, I'm guessing you're one of those people who is really, really good at finishing projects, does not belong to Professional Procrastinators United or gets easily distracted.

All that being said, I have never, ever understood how people (grown adults) are "bored." Get a hobby. Volunteer. Live your life! I found this yesterday on a friend from college's blog Thrifty Solutions for an Urban Gal.

I love every word on that and I'm a sucker for fun typeface stuff. Love it.

Anyways, despite my slight digression, I wanted to showcase those projects that got lost in No Deadline Land, in small hopes of getting me a little motivated to get them wrapped up upon return to the U.S. at the end of April. I know this sounds odd, but it's essentially so I don't forget about them!

1. Addison's Memory Quilt (for my niece): All of the clothing my sister picked, I cut up (reluctantly because baby clothes are just so precious), layout is done, binding, backing and border fabric has been purchased and pre-washed. Why on earth isn't this finished?!

2. Black & White Photos Scrapbooked (for my aunt): I've sorted all of the photos, organized them, picked out all the paper. Now to stick the pictures on the page, embellish and journal. No big deal.

Aren't these old photo albums great? (Minus the fact that the acidic paper ruins photos.)

3. High School Memory Quilt (for myself!): This project really hasn't been started, unless you consider all my high school shirts washed, folded and boxed up as started.

I am really excited to finally make a memory quilt from a couple dozen shirts in blue/navy and yellow/gold with Bulldogs, my high school mascot, like this one! Stay tuned for details.

4. Baby boy gifts: I know very few baby boys and finally I am really excited to make a baby care package for Ariana, one of my good friends from middle and high school who is due to have her baby in July. I have a quite a few baby item patterns I've purchased at JoAnn's 99 cent pattern sales that I want to try out. We'll see what makes the cut.

5. My first quilt: No real direction here yet. Just know I need to make one to justify my stash.

I'm going to stop there, even though I could go on with the amount of fabric I have. Those are my top 5 projects I plan on getting done by the end of summer for sure. Promise.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

St. Patty's Specimen Art

I'm not sure how current I ever am on trends in DIY/homemade/etc. but for a while I saw subway art all over the blogs. I think it's really cute, but I've never made it myself. Eventually, I might. We'll see. Again, not sure if this is a trend I missed, or a newer one, but check this specimen art out!

Copyright Bev from Flamingo Toes

How perfect with St. Patty's Day just around the corner!

One of my favorite things about looking around blogland is all of the themed projects for holidays. I was looking at one of my favorite blogs, Flamingo Toes, and today she posted a suuuuper cute project/tutorial on how to make the St. Patrick's Day themed speciman art pictured above. She was inspired by this Halloween speciman art from the uber popular and one of my most favorite blogs, Tatertots & Jello. I love seeing a project posted online and using it as inspiration with your own twist for another project!

As if you need any more reasons to check it out, here's why I especially love this Lucky Clover Specimen Art made with fabric:

1. She was inspired by a post months earlier and actually remembered to use it to make it her own!

2. Right away, she mentioned being a "Silhouette free zone" here. That made me laugh and I can completely relate because I don't have one, which sometimes bums me out when I see what cute things people make with them.

3. She used fabric instead of paper! And as we all know from this post, I love fabric.

4. It reminds me of my grandpa who had actual specimens framed, the most memorable being beautifully colored and preserved butterflies! 

Copyright Bev from Flamingo Toes.

And now, as I come to wrap up this post...I'm wondering, is it St. Patty's or St. Paddy's? The tt's seemed right to me and then I realized I've seen it with dd's....Patrick has a t in it. Does that matter?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Welcome to the World Olivia Suzanne!

I can't help but create a quick post and brag about my amazing friend Michelle, her husband Steve and their new daughter, Olivia Suzanne, born in the wee hours of the morning. She is about an hour old here:

This is a camera phone photo, but isn't her skin just beautiful?! She was 7lbs 3oz and 20 inches long. What a beauty!

You can look forward to a handful of posts with baby related projects before I take off for Peru!
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