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It is the morning of the 27 of March, went to sleep about 9:00 PM, figured I'd wake up early, I did, 3:15 AM, thinking it was time to get the taxi to go to the airport, but it wasn't.
I tuned over saw my clock, a little black one, listening to Nat King Cole playing on my CD-player.
I had the fan off, Rosa was ill the last few days; talked to Cody an hour last night.
Anyhow I looked at the clock and jumped out of bed, my wife jumped into the shower, all in fifteen minutes only to find out, it was 1:30 AM, not 3:30 AM--too early to go to the airport (I read the clock with my glasses off).
"Sorry, I think I read the clock wrong," I said to my wife.
"Oh well, lots of time to get ready," Rosa said (oh well, back to sleep).
Waking up.
It is 3/27/2006, 5:30 AM.
Breakfast at the airport, a treat of my wife's; they brought me a ham and cheese sandwich, it looked fresh in the glass showcase.
She baked it, Rosa told her to bring it back (it was not what she ordered), she said she ordered it the way it looked in the glass case, uncooked.
"But you didn't' tell me you didn't wanted it backed," said the waitress.
"But you didn't say you were going to back it...
" Rosa said back to the waitress.
It took a little longer, but I got a new sandwich, uncooked, out of the whole thing.
It is now 6:00 AM.
Now waiting for 'Star Peru (airplane)'.
We will have a quick stop in Trujillo, then onto Chiclayo.
There are perhaps eight stewardesses at the gate chatting away as if they are on a holiday, and everyone is going it seems, every one but the Peruvian's and me, going to Machu Picchu.
All the customers seem droopy, tried, no smiles on their faces.
Flying is not like it used to be.
7:00 AM, I'm on the plane now, it seems Peruvians or perhaps it is Spanish related, but lots of fussing going on in boarding a plane.
The plane looks filled.
The sky is soupy this morning.
Two or three planes took off with tourists to Cuzco.
A stewardess asked me if I was going to Cuzco, thinking because I'm a gringo, I was about to miss my flight I suppose.
I said 'No, I'm going to Chicago,' and she just walked away.
(28,000-feet in the air) I wonder how many people believe in reincarnation would not prefer to come back again as someone else.
Most seem middle class for Peruvians on this plane.
8:00 AM we are descending into Trujillo, got thinking of a little girl I met a few days ago in the plaza area in Miraflores, Lima, she was five years old, with a painter friend of mine, whom is about 35-years old.
He is going with her mother.
She said, "I don't understand all that is happening around me," and Custy said, "You're not expected to at five years old.
" Funny, I'm fifty-eight, and I feel like the little girl: I bought her some popcorn that night.
By the time she's old enough to vote, I'll be long dead, and I wonder if she'll remember what she said, and that bag of popcorn? 8:30 AM Stopped in Trujillo, ran to the privy.
They gave someone my seat, sold my seat to another person, lucky there were empty seats, I told the man I was not moving, it was mine, and he'd have to talk to someone about it, he did, the stewardess, and ended up in a seat across from me.
No fireworks.
The sun is seeping through the open door of the plane, warm, getting closer to the equator.
(In Chicago)1:30 PM went the site of Sapin, went to the top of the sun temple (pyramid), stood where kings were, and got a few ceramic vases, at the local merchants stand.
The site dates back to about AD 500.
It is a very hot day today.
Back to Chicago: it was not a long ride out her, perhaps 45-minutes; went across a 92-year old bridge: red cast-iron, across the Rio.
2:15 PM saw a blue-headed lizard at the site; Rosa was amazed, so was I.
Going back now to have some coffee.
Had to have the waiter go back three times to make my coffee strong enough.
Had chicken, it was good.
3:40 PM I'm sitting on a bench in downtown Chicago, many people, it seems a dozen elbows have hit me: cops walking all around.
Chicago reminds me of San Pedro del Sole, in Honduras, not a good memory nor a real bad one, just feel unsafe.
(I felt I needed to be extra guarded while in Chicago.
) The Bus Ride Nine hours they said to Chachapoyas.
It will be a long day.
Met an Archeologist Julio, he will be accompanying us on our journey to Kuelap.
(Left Chicago at 8:00 PM)9:00 PM this bus is bad news, no shocks, you feel every bump; and I learned it will be an 11-hour ride.
Everyone is like a sardine, packed tightly into a silver can.
Maria talked to someone, and got me to sit up front, where I can stretch my feet.
The lights are two dim for me to read or write.
(A few hours later, looking out the window in the dark) The bus almost went over the side of a cliff; a washed out road, several buses got stuck, but ours didn't: the driver zoomed on through like a mad man.
The road looked like a river, it is a wild ride.
(I got my adventure up to my nose this time, I do believe.
) 4:30 AM, it is a new day, 3/28/06, and between yesterday and now it has been a long full twenty-four hours, plus.
The bus is going up a dirt road; everything rattles like a loose lawnmower.
I can't believe this bus will not fall apart--it is a death trap.
5 Walking Around Chachapoyas [Walking around Chachapoyas: 3/28-3/31/06]While looking for a place to have coffee, and a light lunch, we [Maria, Rosa, myself, and Julio] walked past a church, there was a lady sitting there on the steps, head lowered, her daughter along side of her, dirty faced, flowers laying along side of her.
It was a hot day, a moist day, and we walked past her, and after a hundred feet or so I asked my wife to go back and buy the flowers, all of them, then I joined her.
Now writing this out, it is evening in our Spanish hotel (three Stars***: La Casona), and here is my poem about the Flower Lady: The Flower Lady of Chachapoyas The flower lady sat on the church steps...
! It was forenoon, the first week of summer-- In Chachapoya's -square, daughter by her side (both tired, almost withdrawn; the child dirty- faced, eyes lowered weary and faded.
We walked past her, my wife and I once, only to return: "How much for the flowers," asked my wife? "How much for the flowers!" she looks up the second time: "Three soles," she said (about one-dollar).
After she paid, we walked away, but I had to look back-- And saw them both rushing to nearby store hungry as two weary birds...
in a storm! #1296, 3/30/06; written in the afternoon when I had gone back to the hotel for rest.
6 On the Way to Kuelap [Morning of: 3/28/06] It was a four-hour driver up and around the mountain (s) near Chachapoyas and a long four hours at that.
It was like riding on the moon; there was Rosa my wife, our archeologist friend Julio, and Maria, the owner of 'Sipan Tours.
'(I seem to have complained a lot as I find myself writing out these notes, but it was a great trip, and the problems that came about are expected in such areas as the Amazonas, in March, the rainy season.
Actually, it all made my trip a bit more exciting.
) We have two assistants, what more could you ask for, Maria needs to see how things are in Chachapoyas (she hasn't been here she said going on two years), so it is a little business, as well as being our guide, and something of a leader.
Julio is full of information on the historical elements of the region.
The driver came with a station wagon, when in essence we need something bigger; he went back, and just returned with a Van, thank god.
(The following poem was written after gathering information from our archeologist, written on the way to the site) Under the Kuelap Sky Under March skies, In ancient ruins lies (a fortress ((temple)) long deserted by the birds) The Chachapoyas gold of old in Kuelap's leaves Glow, in the nearby sacred dirt.
With hungry fearful words--, Here, longing spirits, resting-silent, grieve On desecrations, anticipated! Note:While visiting within the Ancient Fortress of Kuelap, one of the spirits whispered a message to me, and it seemed to relate to the Archeologist, whom was having nightmares, and was an aid for me.
In essence, he told me: we do not like the excavation in the area because of fear of desecration.
The Archeologist assured the spirit, in the great walls of the fortress, an extended face from the wall came out of it, in stone, I had touched it, and thus came the message.
Next, the nightmares seemed to stop concerning this issue.
In addition to this, it is legend that says, there is much gold in the nearby dirt, in the Kuelap Valley region.
I myself have grabbed some mud and could see it sparkling.
Although this is a relatively small poem, written a day after my return from the Amazonas (4/1/06), it says a lot I do believe on a simple fact, that many of the people already know in the area, of the Great Sacred Fortress of Kuelap, that rests on top of a mountain top, like a mesa [or table top].
The walls are high and it can house 8,000-people; it has 400-houses.
It is a second Machu Picchu.
7 Chicago to Chachapoyas (Notes from the evening: 3/28/06) We got off the bus, an eleven-hour ride, my ass was sore as if it was sunburned, and we had a special guide to take us to Sipan, in Chicago; now we were in Chachapoyas, and at a nice Hotel, and our trip started after we had breakfast, I bought it for everyone, American-style: eggs, ham, coke, coffee and potatoes (French-fries, that is), and toast.
The price was right, it was about half the price it would have been in Lima, maybe: $8.
50 [25 s/.
,] a good price; after breakfast we started up the mountain to the "Forgotten Fortress": known as Kuelap.
But nothing is as easy as it should be, we had ended up with two young girls on our private trip, not sure how that happened, but our driver had found them someplace, and had--I guessed--offered them a ride for a price.
To me it was the price I had to pay to ride in a Van, verses a car, and the car would not be comfortable with even four people (so I thought at the time), and two more sitting in the back of the wagon was two, too many people (and now that I'm looking back, the car would not have made the trip at all, even with just four of us, and now it was six; it was too wet, rainy and muddy on the way up to Kuelap).
Maria or Julio had thought to mention that we should purchase long rubber boots for the trip, and so we did; and I suggested a black sweater for Rosa who gets cold all the time, even in the desert sun.
For myself, boots was fine; Rosa got some extra socks(and perhaps that was smart, my feet would get cold later on).
In addition, Rosa suggested I purchase a nylon vest, and I did (and would find out later, it was a good purchase, worth its 25 soles; as were the boots).
When we got about one third of the way up the mountain, it started to rain unkindly, it had been raining but not to this degree, I mean, it was but a very light rain before.
The roads in this area were all dirt roads, and some of the tracks that trucks, buses and cars made--made in the mud--were over a foot high now, yet that didn't stop our trip, or driver, or the van, it made its way through, that is until we got about thirty-minutes away from the site, we had been on the road nearly three and a half hours now; it was flooded, a mud slide covered the whole road, no way of getting through.
Henceforward, Julio helped me through the mud by foot; foot by foot we pushed through its down pouring water from nearby, down it went across the road, and down a small embankment; a stream, I'd guess you could call it--somehow attached to the road, under the road that is; we had left the Van behind, and then Julio went back for my wife, and Maria, and the two girls.
He was Manco Capac (so Maria had nicknamed him for the event) the hero of the day.
We were now on the other side of the road (somewhat safe); and here little girls (perchance: twelve or thirteen) who lived in the township of Maria, were walking across this disaster with no boots on, bare legged, were walking in mud up to their upper thighs, and beyond, making us look like armatures, which I was.
Chachapoyas Mud High in the mountains Above the Kuelap Valley-- Be careful when you go: Ride her old dirt roads! Lest you find yourself like me Stuck in mud beyond your knees Trying to get to the 'Forgotten City'.
#12903/29/06 [Written after returning from Kuelap, at the hotel, in the late hours of the night, or early morning hours of the 29th of March.

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