DO COME TRUE
dreaming about the place and saying “I’d love to go there one day
and see….” it finally was a reality for me. In October 2005, I
boarded a plane in
and her friend Katherine met me at the airport and I was introduced to
the first taste of the sights and smells of BA. The place is huge and
your first impressions are of a city busting at the seams with a
passionate vibrant energy. It reminded me a little of life in
girls took me home, we dropped off the gear and headed straight to the
hostel to meet Fiona’s friend, Mariela, a beautiful Argentinean girl
who welcomed me with open arms and a kiss on the cheek. I instantly had
another “adopted daughter”. Many delightful afternoons were spent
visiting Mariela, sharing a meal together or sipping “Mate” and
giggling over some of the day’s events.
was based in San Telmo in an apartment there complete with antique
mirrored lift operated by a pulley system of weights and
apartment overlooked the Plaza Dereago. Daily the music would waft up to
my balcony and continue through most of the night as the Tango dancers
performed to appreciative crowds and craftspeople made and sold their
wares to passing tourists.
Sunday an Antiques market is held, the streets are closed and market
Collections of bygone treasures, showing years of
dedicated addiction to their particular interest, were on display.
Telmo is part of the old city with narrow Italian style streets and
apartments towering above you decorated with ornate iron work and hand
painted tiles on the doorways. The effects of the years and the economic
collapse have had their toll. You have to look where you are walking to
avoid the potholes, rubbish and inevitable evidence of where the dog
walkers have taken their charges for their morning constitutional.
Telmo is also one of the “arty” areas of Buenos Aries where artists,
musicians, actors, writers, dancers and philosophers seem to congregate,
sip the endless coffees while discussing the finer points of a work or
simply having a jam session with their friends as they sit on the
pavement. I spent a lot of
time here chatting and absorbing and being absorbed by the culture and
way of life. The art of people watching, one of my favourite pastimes
has been taken to its sublime summit here.
spent 2 weeks based in San Telmo and divided my time between an amazing
3 day trip to Iguazu Falls, (the largest and most spectacular falls I
have ever seen), a short trip over the
border to Uruguay,
(Fiona and I
going crazy on a scooter forgetting they drive on the other side of the
street!) and taking in the
sights (as all good tourists should) exploring the city, sketching,
people watching, and relishing
in the energy of the place as I tried to communicate with the locals (my
Spanish improved very quickly, it does when you have to). I enjoyed
everything, the markets, restaurants, people and
of course the shopping.
of my most treasured memories is of the last Sunday I had in Argentina.
Bruce and I had been invited to join Sebastian and his family and
friends in an Asado. An Asado is a special type of barbeque and it was
a great honour to be included. We had a delightful day, eating, drinking,
talking, laughing and even creating a “Combined Communal Art Work“
as a special gift to Sebastian, who was heading off to the states.
It was a very special experience I will never forget.
the second half of my stay, Fiona and I joined a tour group doing The
Inca Adventure. We traveled with an Australian company, Peregrine, who
looked after us extremely well. Some of the places we visited included
Lima, Cusco, Sacsayhuaman, Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Aguas Callentes, Lake
Titicaca, Sillustani, Tiahuanaco and La Paz. The group initially
comprised of 9 but due to sickness and some of our group joining another
tour to trek through the mountains via another route we ended up with a
merry band of 5 which was perfect. There was myself and Fiona, another
Australian Bruce, and Sheena, who was from
began our journey under the semi permanent smog grey skies of
headed south east climbing steadily, eventually reaching the delightful
ancient Inca capital,
traveled the next day through the sacred valley, located between the
towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo. The
and upward we boarded the early morning train and journeyed through some
simply spectacular country following the
heart was thumping with excitement as we rounded each hairpin bend on
the steep climb, eager to see the successive visual delights around each
corner. I will never forget my first trip up that incredible road.
On reaching the summit we had to have tickets checked, how long
that process seemed to take, but eventually passing through the gates
and climbing up over the ridge, I was there.
Machu Picchu stood before me as she had for centuries, serene,
awesome and encapsulated in what felt like a time bubble. I stood,
breathed and let time pass. I
had fulfilled one my dreams. A sublime moment in this lifetime.
guided us around that afternoon filling our heads with information he
had gathered from a life time of passionate study. The following day we
returned for the full day to explore by ourselves. I spent a good part
of the day just sitting in meditation, or watching a humming bird feed.
It is an incredibly spiritual and beautiful place. I
spent some time sketching and gathering visual information, but also
just lying on the grass allowing the energy of the place to filter into
my system and heal me. I had eaten something my system did not agree
with the night before and was feeling the consequences of it now.
afternoon Fiona, Sheena and I were treated to a local game of soccer by
Marco and some of his friends and in the evening the whole village
dressed up for a festival in our honour.
Unfortunately Fiona chose that night to succumb to the dreaded
“tummy bug”. We had rather a long night of high fevers and cramps
but I guess if you are going to get sick it is good to have your mum
around. Much improved but still weak, the next morning we continued our
journey around the lake, stopping at the floating islands. These amazing
islands, and just about everything these inventive people use, are
completely fashioned from the reeds growing around the edge of the lake
and provide them a completely sustainable lifestyle.
the lake we headed across the boarder to
final evening was spent together dining at a local restaurant where the
owners put on a wonderful floor show, showing different aspects of
Bolivian culture and dress, for us. It was a great night and a fitting
end to my amazing Inca Adventure.
: fresh from the palette : spring
: summer : autumn : winter : traditional/portraits
gem-art : personalised paintings : about : South America : biennale : workshops : drawing marathon : feedback
Hayshead Studio, PO Box 45, Thangool 4716 Queensland AUSTRALIA