So where’s Fred?! And some photos of our journey in Mexico and Peru

I know I’ve left many of you on the edge of your seats wondering: What happened to Fred, and did those toxic meds fix what ailed me?!? Well, so as not to draw out the suspense, I do believe Fred is gone and my system seems to be back in regular working order. The altitude of Peru leaves me a bit shaky every morning and the new fauna and flora are surely getting adjusted. But in all I think whatever had its grip on me has left. For now. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
When we left you all, Aiden and I were learning to navigate Puerto Escondido, a town I may have judged too harshly at the outset. I realized by the end of our stay that as with any new town, it takes time to get a lay of the land and to become familiar. And without familiarity of any new place it’s hard to feel content and comfortable. So the longer we stayed in Puerto Escondido, the more lovely it became. With the help of many long time Canadian expats, we learned the best beaches and the best meals to order at which restaurant, where there was internet, and who had the best Oaxacan hot chocolate. And how easy it was to walk in our nearby surroundings to access whatever we needed. Suddenly an unfamiliar location, like any and all new places where we land — became homey.  It’s a good reminder for me for those days entering new locales when the frustration heightens and there’s an urge to jump on yet another plane and retreat to something more familiar. So by the end of our stay Puerto Escondido was wonderful, and we’ll likely return.
From Puerto Escondido we returned to San Miguel de Allende in preparation for a visit to the Butterfly sanctuary, an experience I had been waiting for for years. Literally years. We went by van down past Mexico City and through several so called Magic Pueblos, beautiful small towns deemed by the government to be worthy of funding, preserving and thus visiting as a tourist. Apparently there are dozens of these villages, and from my experience of a few of them, I’d say all of them would be worth a visit!
 I’m not sure I understood just how much my body longed to be in nature but walking from the concrete and exhaust-filled streets of San Miguel into the soft forest, overflowing with yellow Monarch butterflies, filled me with a euphoria I hadn’t experienced in a long time. It was magical beyond words. Butterflies performed their dance all around us, filling the sky with orange flakes and leaving us giddy, a state of pure joy. A biopreserve called El Chalula was our first visit and by chance we were the only ones on the long winding forest trail. The next day at a separate preserve called El Rosario, it was a different experience: crowded walkways, with little walking at all. But the presence of so many Butterflies still made us feel as if we were walking into a different, light-filled and magical world. There aren’t enough words to describe how wonderful the experience, so I’ll just stop there and hope that anyone interested gets to experience this annual migration.
At the end of February we flew to Lima, Peru, a cultural stop I felt we should make before heading further inland to visit my dear childhood friend Sunday near Cusco. It was poor judgment, to be sure, as Lima is an enormous, dirty and hot city for which we had little patience. Luckily I had chosen a hotel in the Miraflores district, by far the nicest (and most expensive) part of Lima. Its cliffside, grassy park extends for miles, with climbing trees, green grass, quaint cafes and even a parachute lift off area where Aiden was able to entertain his daredevil self. It took me a good while to reconcile the idea I’d be sending my son over a cliff in a piece of flimsy parachute fabric, but seeing a shot of his enormous smiling face, followed by a dose of his growing confidence, made it worth the few years of my life I surely hacked off! Just an addition to my ever-growing challenge of letting go, and his efforts of spreading his wings wide.
Unfortunately, the heat left us uninspired to check out some of the other attractions in Lima, like the pre-Colombian museum, whose quasi pornographic artworks I had heard much about. Nor did we visit the old town Cathedral. Perhaps when we next pass through on our way to Ecuador.
Flying into Cusco, a town nestled among mountains as dramatic as they were welcoming, was almost as special as the Butterfly sanctuary. It was another reminder of my need for nature and expansiveness. My friend Sunday picked us up at the airport – always a gift if you have such a friend! — and took us to her yoga farm an hour away in the Sacred Valley. If I thought Cusco was surrounded by welcoming mountains, those surrounding her property positively embraced us. The scene was right out of the postcard rack, with fresh mountain air and misty clouds overhead. It felt like the drama of nature was everything I needed to wash my mind of the US and all the toxic, negative antics going on there. Plus there’s no internet, so that helps a lot.
Cusco sits at eleven thousand feet above sea level, so it took some time to adjust. But it was a great excuse to hang out, find some good books and take in the scenery. Favorite book? Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams, a fabulous travel/historical journal the likes of which I aspire to write one day!
Next up is a view of our trip to the hot springs but I’m still simmering in the images of vistas it took to get there. In the meantime, some more shots from Puerto Escondido and now Peru…

Our last day in Puerto Escondido. Emperor of the Beach!


Sun, sand, sea and so much love.


Rock art


More rock art.


Rock art with boy and bird.


Crab hunting under the sun.


Took me a while to muster the courage to throw my son off a cliff in the hands of this parachutist.


Seeing Aiden’s face as he flew made my fear dissolve. A little.
Last time I saw this ABQ girl was about 15 years ago! But I recognized her from this Lima coffee shop!


My favorite ruin is Sacsayhauman, in Cusco.
Ancient Inca slides at Sacsayhuaman.
Yep, there’s a lot of tourists in Cusco. Aiden was a prime target for this shop owner! And yes, we bought the guinea pig.


Hiking with new friends in the Sacred Valley.


Curious Llama friends.


Town of Pisac on Market Day.


Buying natural dyes in Pisac.

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