Learning to cast net in the Amazon with Marcos

I had the pleasure of having lunch made by Shirley’s friend Joaquina (pollo al horno) and going fishing with Marcos, her husband. He makes all of his nets by hand and is extremely good at his craft. We caught devil fish, and other species common to this lake along the Madre del Rios. Today he will make traditional soup from the fish and Sunday we will be going fishing on the Madre Del Rios.

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Yesterday’s Hike in the Rainforest and the days events.

Yesterday Shirley took me to a local lodge Estancia Bello Horizonte https://www.estanciabellohorizonte.com just a short distance from Puerto Maldonado with an beautiful rainforest hike, natural spring pool, and canopy climb. The price for the day also includes a delicious lunch. the staff was very accommodating and friendly. We had an amazing time and I was very appreciative to have such an great day together. Later that evening we went to the local stadium to see the celebration recognizing the local schools educational programs with volleyball games consisting of teachers from each school playing against each other in tournament. After the introduction ceremony we and to have pizza at our favorite spot El Horinitos http://elhornitopizzeria.com in the main square of Puerto Maldonado.

Back to Peru and trip to Aruba.

After spending about two months back in The United States and corresponding with Shirley. I decided it was time to head back to Peru to spend time with Shirley and take her up on her offer to show me more of Peru. We decided to first meet in Lima and fly to Aruba for a week before coming back to Peru. I packed my bags and booked my flight for Oct. 2 and scheduled with Shirley her flight from Puerto Maldonado so we could meet in Lima.

I was excited to be returning to Peru and also looking forward to seeing Shirley. I arrived at Pittsburgh airport two hours early and unfortunately my flight to Miami was delayed and therefore I would miss my connecting flight to Lima. So I had to take a completely different flight to Dallas Fort Worth with an eight-hour layover and then onto Lima. Eventually I made it to Lima and to my surprise Shirley was waiting for me at the airport with our driver “Walter” and flowers. I was not expecting her to be at the airport especially since my flight was twelve hours late and arrived at 6:00AM but I could hear her voice saying my name aloud as I made my way toward ground transportation. It touched my heart that she would not only come back to the airport to meet me but bring flowers. Lima airport is very busy so I made my way to her we embraced one another and made our way quickly outside, into our taxi, and an hour drive to our hotel in Miraflores. I was releived to be in Peru and happy to see Shirley again.

I was exhausted so I took a nap at the hotel Casa Andina Standard before Shirley showed me around lima and we went to get something to eat. Experiencing Peru with Shirley was an amazing experience compared to being alone or with a group as a tourist. She showed and taught me a lot of things that are customary for locals. I also learned of her great taste for Picarones, which are a donut like dessert with a type of syrup and I must say is very delicious. We explored lima more, including; the coastline, Locomar, Lovers Park, Miraflores marina lighthouse and she explained to me the history and politics of the region before we walked back to our hotel. We got ready and went out that evening for dinner before calling it a night because our flight for Aruba was in the morning.

Our flight to Aruba was a little turbulent but good overall. Shirley had not had much experience flying so it was a lot of new experiences for her but she handled everything with grace. Shirley has an amazing ability to stay positive and be kind yet assertive in stressful situations. Where as I sometimes get frustrated and have a hard time expressing my emotion without getting angry.

When we arrived in Aruba it was raining which was rare on the island. Our driver met us and assured us that the rain would stop shortly in the weather would be great. Since Shirley is fluent in Spanish she was able to communicate with some of the locals who came to Aruba from many Spanish-speaking countries including Peru. After about a 45 minute drive we arrived at our hotel the Marriott in Aruba and the rain had stopped. We checked in and made our way to our room. The partial view of the ocean was beautiful so we quickly unpacked our things, got our bathing suits on, and made our way to the beach. We enjoyed walking the beach looking for sea shells and absorbing the Caribbean breeze and sun. The Marriott is a beautiful and accommodating property. We had the most wonderful server named Odaliz. The Balashi Chill beer, mojito, and food were amazing but there should have been more entertainment, luckily I am pretty entertaining.

Aruba is a small beautiful arid desert island with an amazing beach and ocean. Often called the Dutch Caribbean. The island itself is small enough (20 miles long) to be explored in one day. So after spending a few days enjoying the hotel pool, beach, and ocean we decided to go on a guided Jeep tour of the island which included snorkeling at baby beach. A van picked us up and several other people from various hotels and we went to the starting point of the Jeep adventure. There were two other couples including a couple on their honeymoon from Italy. They did not feel comfortable driving and since I was very excited to get behind the wheel of the Jeep and explore the island they decided to ride with us which was a really cool experience especially since I am Italian but learned that Spanish and Italian are not as similar as I had thought they where.

We met our guide Juan who was a really free-spirited energetic guy. We all jumped in our jeeps and followed him to our first destination which would be the Aruba lighthouse. When we got there we got some fresh coconut juice and enjoyed a great view on that end of the island. Shirley got a picture with local Parrot and we got our picture take. Together as bride and groom on front of Italian restaurant “Faro Blanco” beside the lighthouse which Juan said was really good but excessive. We continued our journey along the very rugged rocky shoreline of Aruba where we would stop occasionally and enjoy the ocean. We also decided to pick up any trash we saw while exploring various locations. We visited the “Alto Vista Chapel” where I said a prayer for my mom and than got a Coco Loco from Dr. Coco Loco which is a rum spiced coconut water. We then continuing on to the “Aruba Ostrich farm” where we had lunch and experienced the life of an ostrich which are very strong aggressive but quite comical bird.

After leaving the ostrich farm we drove for another hour or so until we reached Baby Beach where we enjoyed the remainder of the day snorkeling and having A few drinks before returning to our starting point and then getting in a van to be dropped off at our hotel.

That night we had dinner at Texas de Brazil which was an amazing restaurant and great experience I highly recommend. Our waiter Edgar was without question the best waiter I’ve ever had in my life who made our evening exceptional which included a canister of sangria on the balcony. After dinner we walked along the beach back to our hotel and went to sleep.

The next morning we got up and went to the spa for our scheduled massage. We were truly pampered at the spa and it was exactly what we needed to completely relax. We then headed down to the beach and spent the day enjoying the ocean before going to the pool to catch lizards. That evening we walked the beach until we found a really lively tiki bar playing good music. We danced for a while and talked the night away. We enjoyed a few drinks maybe a few too many before returning to our hotel and passing out.

That evening we relaxed and enjoyed dinner at Giannis Restaurant which has really good pasta especially if you like cheese and I highly recommend. They bring out enormous rounds of parmesan cheese and light a type of alcohol which they pour onto the cheese. When the cheese is melted the pasta is placed onto the round of cheese and toss in it before plating. After dinner we enjoyed the local vendors and explored Irausquin Blvd. We then walked along the beach back to our hotel.

We got up the next day excited for the catamaran and went to have breakfast. Odaliz our waitress explained that the dock we would depart from was close enough that we could walk so we walked along the beach until we arrived at the dock and boarded the Catamaran, which was enormous and extremely well taken care of. They distributed the snorkel gear and gave us a brief orientation. Caesar was our guide who was extremely entertaining, informative, and responsible. The cruise included snorkeling in two locations with lunch and free drinks. Shirley has not much experience snorkeling except what we had done at baby beach but this water was very deep and far out in the ocean. She handled it like a trooper and I assured her she could hold on to me and I would not leave her side in the ocean unless she was comfortable. We saw an abundance of fish and later an amazing shipwreck. We also had time to swim and I enjoyed doing flips off the side of the catamaran. While relaxing and drinking a beer Shirley spotted a sea turtle which was absolutely beautiful and Cesar said is good luck. We spent another few hours enjoying the catamaran before watching the sunset together, appreciating each other, gods creation, and the amazing day we had. We had one more day exploring Aruba before we boarded a plane back to Peru. We where a little sad to say goodbye to Aruba but so excited to be exploring Peru more and visiting Shirley’s family in Abancay.

The Hegelian dialectic

In a world going mad I think it important for people to understand the philosophy that is heavily utilized by the elite or whatever you want to call the people who conspire to control the world. To them this is not a world gone mad but a planned escalation of there intentions for humanity and our world in general. It is one of ways the elite control us and dictates our future.

Hegelian dialectic: is an interpretive method in which the contradiction between a proposition (thesis) and its antithesis is resolved at a higher level of truth (synthesis)

They are always ahead of us and have had planned solutions for scheduled events throughout history. It may sound crazy but it is very true and with almost every event both government and military that has brought about a pre-planned solution throughout history can be boiled down to this equation. The elites use this trick and they believe if the preview these events through music, movies, cartoons, or whatever, that it negates then of the negative karma associated with the evil plan.

A prime example is 9/11 they created the problem and had a solution waiting in the wings. The manufactured problem was Bin Laden, the event to spark action 9/11, and the planned solution the patriot act and occupation of Iraq in the simplest form.

This is just one example of a tool the elite use to manipulate us like puppets.

What about the Ego?

As I posted about ancient history in the Peru itinerary blog I thought about how much our egos play a role in keeping us from reaching our potential by magnifying fear of how we’ll be perceived or judged.

Are we afraid we’ll look silly, weak, dumb, or any myriad of emotions which hold us back from expressing ourselves fully. Maybe if we strip down our ego we have the ability to reach a greater communion with one another, god, and universal consciousness. I think one of the main things that holds us back is that it makes us very vulnerable and that strikes at the deepest fear in our being.

My mom never knew a stranger because she was always and open book and was genuinely interested in what people were saying. I know this because I never saw her judge anyone or have ulterior motives with anyone. She had an amazing ability to have deep meaningful friendships with people. I really admired and had the pleasure of experiencing that in its truest form as her closest friends were by her side as she was battling cancer.

Now believe me I have put my foot in my mouth many times and have had the tendency to close myself off from the world and not let people in but I think that’s par for the course when your diving so deep into emotions while experiencing such a diverse set of life events that make you question everything.

Everyone has developed there own unhealthy ways of dealing with things that affect them from closing off, overcompensating with material processions, to deflecting our judgement of ourselves onto others.

It would be nice if we had more time to focus on developing ourselves, creating healthy coping mechanism, and spirituality. This takes more energy and time than falling into self destructive bad habits which the world is full of in all forms… Maybe that’s there plan.

Untitled, 1982, Jean-Michel Basquiat, American, 1960–1988, acrylic, spray paint, and oilstick on canvas, 72-1/8″ x 68-1/8″

Return to Cusco and saying goodbye.

After spending the day in Oracles with Shirley and some of her family we celebrated my birthday with a traditional Peruvian dinner of Cuy (guinea pig) potatoes, pasta, and Chicha which is a corn fermented beer. The meal was very good but guinea pig is a acquired taste.

We then played a game of Sopa and they surprised me with a birthday cake. I greatly appreciated them celebrating my birthday and being so kind. I felt a true sense of communion and connection even though we did not fluently speak each other’s languages. We enjoyed visiting for a while longer before Shirley and got in a taxi and headed back to Cusco for our last night together because she would be returning home to Puerto Maldonado.

The ride back to Cusco was nice and Shirley and I stopped at a Basilica of the Virgin of the Assumption a Catholic church outside of Cusco were a local Quechua woman was selling clothing and other goods made from Alpaca. We bought a few things and Shirley talked to her for a while before we returned to our taxi and our friend Victor to continue our drive to Cusco.

When we finally arrived in Cusco it was late and we were both tired so we spent an hour together and made plans to meet in the morning. I would go with her to the airport for her flight home. We both knew our time together was limited and were so happy to have met but sad to say goodbye. When I returned to my hotel room I thought to myself how amazing the world is and how fortunate I was to have so many wonderful experiences and have met such amazing people. I fell asleep I said a few prayers.

When morning came I woke up early around 6:00 because Shirley’s flight was departing at 8:30 I grabbed my clothes got dressed and ran downstairs drank some orange juice and had a bite to eat before going outside to meet Shirley. I jumped in Taxi and we headed to the airport. When we got to the airport it was busting with activity. I walked her to the security and we embraced for what could be the last time said goodbye. My heart was overwhelmed with emotions; would we ever see each other again. In my mind I prayed we would but how?

I returned to the taxi and Victor drove me to the hotel it felt strange being completely alone again. I would have one last night in Cusco before heading to Lima and then back to America. That night I wondered around Cusco streets and had an amazing dinner at Cicciolina which I would highly recommend but make reservations. I found myself emotional that evening and overwhelmed by everything that I had experienced. I felt very close to mom and could feel her presence as I felt sure she was happy to see me experiencing so many amazing things.

I went back to hotel and packed my things for my flight to Lima in the morning. I woke up early, grabbed my bags and went downstairs and into a taxi. I got to the airport and through security but my plane to Lima was delayed and I ended up missing my connecting flight to America. Word of advice do not fly international with Spirit air!!! I ended up having to spend and extra 2 days in Lima and wait for the next flight to America.

I made the best of it and spent more time exploring Lima and met a few local business owners and some international travelers. I ended up flying out on 9-11 which was an interesting experience flying from Peru with a layover in Miami. I felt the brunt of TSA security but eventually made it to Pittsburgh International airport and home. It felt strange to drive and to be back in the United States and I had a gut feeling I would not be here for long.

Back to Cusco and onto Oracles.

After leaving Aquas Calientes I returned to Cusco were I would spend the next 4 days including my birthday. During my stay in the Amazon I met a girl named Shirley whom said she was going to be in Cusco during my birthday and would show me around. I was excited and so after checking into my motel (which I decided to spoil myself for my birthday and stay at the Marriott) I called Shirley and asked if she would like to meet at the restaurant across the street from my hotel. Some of the members of the group I hiked with also met there including my friend Robert Da Bruce from Scotland. Shirley arrived and we had a few drinks and talked the remainder of the night. She knew some members of the group because they had previously been in the Amazon also.

That was a bitter sweet night because the members of the group that I hiked with where leaving the next day to continue onto Bolivia and some going home. It was great to have met Shirley and we made plans to goto Moray and Oracles the following day so I was excited for the new adventure with someone I felt a connection to and was looking forward to getting to know.

After laughing and talking late into the night everyone decided to head back to there hotels. Shirley and I made plans to meet the next day and explore Cusco. The morning arrived and I said goodbye to my fellow hikers as they continued on and then I met Shirley and we spent an amazing day together, I spoke only a little Spanish and she spoke intermediate English and we had no problem communicating.

That evening we met back at my hotel and had our first dinner together. I felt so fortunate to have had all these amazing experiences and met such genuine people. At dinner we made plans to goto Oracles to visit some of her family and see Moray site for my birthday.