The year that was – 2009

Well, 2009 went off without too many personal dramas.  I was fortunate  enough to go with Andrew to South America for 5 and a half weeks. From Late march till the end of May.  We were blessed with great weather everywhere we went which made trekking around very comfortable. I reunited with a travel companion from 30 years ago, Amalia Solari Faerman and met her funny husband Gustavo and their 3 grown children in Buenos Aires.  I really loved South America and long to return to see a bit more…That trip has been heavily chronicled in earlier posts.

My work with the IPED National Editors Conference finished in October when we presented a fantastic conference here in Adelaide. Visit the site.  I wrote most of the ‘News’ section: http://www.editors-sa.org.au/?q=IPEd%20conference

On the work front we both had enough to keep us going and I made a weak attempt at reducing my hours to 9, rather than 10 days a fortnight.  It only lasted a few months and now I am back to full time.  Work is challenging due to the departure of a boss who had the technical skills to take me through this particular project I am working on. We are getting through the work, just more slowly than expected.

In the household we have enjoyed our two ginger tabby brother cats antics, especially the precocious Speedy! He and Jose are so fun to watch and at 2 years old still have heaps of kitten in them.

We are just about finished a minor renovation that opened a few rooms up, re-purposed a few and gave us a new kitchen.  There is still some painting and tiling to do and a tidy-up of the office, but these things take time.

On a literary note I read quite a few books this year including Cloud Atlas, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, The Time Traveler’s Wife,  The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, Dear Fatty, the Power of One and probably more…currently just about to finish A Secret History, by Donna Tartt. Not a bad year, but I have other books on the go and stacks on the bedside table and bookshelves waiting to be read.

I attempted NaNoWriMo but was not really successful! See previous posts.

Musically, we saw a few live performances, notably Ry Cooder and Nick Lowe at the Festival Centre here in Adelaide, a Joni Mitchell Tribute at the Sydney Opera House, Leonard Cohen at a winery in McLaren Vale, near Adelaide, and of course Neil Young at the Big Day Out in Adelaide. (Next year we are already looking forward to seeing Ravi Shankar at WOMADELAIDE – http://womadelaide.com.au/.)

The goals for the new year will include those post-reno tasks, more reading and writing and a commitment to getting rid of stuff.  Here’s to more free time in the new year!

Buenos Aires – 25 May 2009

Hola chicos,

Excuse typing errors – very worn out keyboard…We are back in Buenos Aires and I must say, this could be the undisputed capital of empanadas.  Today we went to a place called Ña Serapia, Las Heras, Av. 3357, and the empanadas were fragrant, delicate and so very delicious.

http://www.guiaoleo.com.ar/detail.php?ID=917

As well as the empanadas we had Locra which I can only describe as a soup or stew with heaps of corn and beans and other yummy things.  And just because it looked so good, we also had by far the best tamale I have ever had, anywhere.  This is definitely one to experiment with when we get home. We only have 24 hours left in BA and we are considering going back tomorrow before our flight…

So a bit of a recap since the transport strike.  We did manage to get to Machu Picchu and it was quite a journey.  Once in the town of Aguas Calientes one must locate the office to buy the entry pass and pay a rather large sum of money.  I think it equaled about 60 Aussie dollars.  Then you locate the place where you buy the tickets for the bus, and fork over another 15 or so bucks for a 20 minute all uphill, hair-raising, nail-biting bus ride.  Once inside the grounds you go up about a thousand steps to get the vantage point for the postcard photo of the actual Inca Ruins and the huge hill, Waynu Picchu!  Unbelievable.  After seeing it in so many documentaries and photos it is hard to believe you are actually standing there.  The depth and scale of it all is overwhelming!  I am so glad we got there.

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We spent about 5 hours walking around and I think Andrew took over 100 photos.  It seemed we walked forever.

Back in town that evening we made good use of the hot springs that give the town it’s name and soaked our aching muscles.

Machu Picchu was the pinnacle for sure, but we also visited many other Inca ruins (Sacsayhuamán, Pisac, Ollantaytambo to name a few) and walked up and down numerous sets of stairs and terraced agricultural sites! The combination of altitude and stairs has been tough!

We got back to Cusco and enjoyed a few more meals at a favourite traveller’s haunt called Jacks where we had warming soups and herbal teas.

It has been an amazing adventure, not without a few hitches. Our flight from Cusco to Lima went fine then we sat in Lima airport for 5 hours waiting to get back to BA.  We finally arrived at our accommodation at 2am.

The B&B we are staying at in Recoleta is friendly and very comfy so we are resting up for the big flight back home.

What do we miss?  Our own bed and decent pillows! And Andrew’s Prawn and Pernot Risotto which he’ll make soon after we get back.

Would we do it again?  YES!  We are already starting sentences with “next time we come to South America…”.  There is so much more to see.  We would like to focus on Southern Argentina and Chile (and La Cumbre to see Tuti!).  But that’s another email.  We’ll let you all know when we get home safely and will post pictures on our Flickr site, eventually…

Buenos Aires – 20 April 2009

Just a very jet lagged message to say we have arrived in Buenos Aires.

Our Culinary Vuelta de Empanadas officially began today soon after our arrival.

Empanadas are the South American equivalent of pasties with different savoury fillings!  So many choices!  We tried three types today.

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Flight was just bloody long but met a few nice people.

Catching up with a travel mate from 1980 tomorrow.  Time for nana nap now!

Love, Lou & Roo