Name: Lainie, aka "ilainie"
Posts by ilainie:
My relationship to technology:
Before we left on our trip, things were different. I worked with technology every day. But I do remember a time before my laptop and I were fused together. I had computer(s), yes, but back then, I refused to own a laptop.
Because I knew myself. I owned and ran a busy a design / branding agency and I was a workaholic. I spend at least 60+ hours a week in front of my duel giga-something apples in the office loft, (which for many years also happened to where I resided).
For what reason could I possibly need a laptop too?
My fear was, I’d take the laptop into my bed and never get any separation from work, technology and being connected. I’d never have a break.
Yes. I know myself. WELL.
I was a self proclaimed work-aholic for oh so many years. Prior to our travels, it was worse. I am committed, I am passionate and I am focussed. And I knew one thing for sure: Back then, I WOULD INDEED HAVE TAKEN MY LAPTOP INTO BED WITH ME. Without a doubt.
I bought my first laptop for our trip and for the last five years, my laptop has been my lifeline. I use my laptop to earn a living, to stay connected with friends and family and even to provide entertainment watching movies and tv shows and listening to music.
I couldn’t imagine traveling long-term without a laptop. I couldn’t work without one, support ourselves, or manage to stay connected. So, when Miro and I decided to travel to Ecuador for 10 days and we decided to both go without our personal laptop computers, it was a monumental decision for both of us. (I am not saying we didn’t use the internet cafes once a day to check in, but it was an intentional choice at that point, rather than wasting hours in front of our computers.)
So, what happened as a result of this little experiment?
Besides the obvious (not being in front of the computer all day and night) I noticed some miraculously wonderful side effects of being computer-free:
- Miro and I did not have to worry about leaving our valuable computers in our hostel room while we were out enjoying the beach.
- Miro and I spent all of our time together interacting and playing (multiple card and chess games) with one another
- Miro and I laughed so much together, the days seemed to be filled with nothing but laughter and joy
- Miro and I experienced the days as being longer and we had more time.
- Miro and I were more present at every meal, every interaction, every activity.
- Miro and I exercised creative ways to entertain ourselves; taking walks, pretending we were super-spies, drawing in the sand and making new friends.
Sometimes, you gotta just take a break.
Sometimes you gotta give yourself a few computer-free days, whether you are traveling or not.
I met a beautiful Polish couple, who’s dream it come here to Peru and peruse their passion for archeology and research. Today, you can help them by simply voting for them. It takes just a moment and a little effort, but I am willing to do this for such a passionate couple. Read their story and if you too are inspired by their vision, simply vote for them, TODAY.
We are young archaeologists from Wroclaw, Poland – Lainie was very kind to give us some writing space on her blog and we’d like to tell you something about our archaeological trekking project.
Recently, we’re trying to organize a trip to Peru – we’re planning to trek into the Amazonas region in the north-east in search of the Chachapoya – “The Cloud People” or “The Warriors of the Clouds”, a pre-Inca tribe best known by their eerie anthropomorphic sarcophagi. Specialists estimate that only 5% of the Chachapoya sites have been properly researched. The biggest issues are: general remoteness of this region (located between Marañón and Huallaga rivers and partly covered in cloud forests) and huaqueros, or tomb raiders destroying the sites in search of precious objects which can be smuggled into Europe or USA.
What we’d like to accomplish is to visit the archaeological sites but also trek deeper into the cloud forest and maybe…, just maybe we’ll find a Chachapoya site that hasn’t been reported yet. This is our biggest dream.
And now, we’d like to share something about what’s driving us and give you our different perspectives on passion and creativity.
Kinga: It may sound corny but archaeology has always been my passion. It must have started when I was an 8-year-old digging in my parent’s garden and dreaming of ancient Egypt. But something happened and in high school I decided to be too rational about my life choices. So, I’ve chosen a path that led straight to working in a controlled environment of a corporate cubicle. Which was fine, until it wasn’t. I began to feel dead inside – devoid of passion and creativity, too tired to even finish reading a book. At almost 25 I’ve decided to change my life dramatically and I’ve started studying archaeology. This is my last year of a five-year archaeology course and I must say that I’ve never been happier and more fulfilled in my life. Next semester I plan to start working on a PhD thesis doing my own research in the field that’s most interesting for me (archaeometry). So if you care deeply about something, if you have a passion – it must be the right path. I think that it’s not as much about right choices as about following your heart’s desire.
Arek: Going there might be the first step onto the path I’ve always seen myself taking. Ever since I was a kid I’ve read unhealthy amounts of adventure novels, from bad fiction like the Indiana Jones novelizations to diaries of real exploration heroes and it showed. Drawing maps and flags of countries I was going to visit some day. I wanted to be everywhere.
When I was eight I was close to finishing my first written story – 65 pages about a family travelling through Europe with regular horse in the trunk of their car. Cute. After that I guess I had several bad years with public education I completely lost faith in the afterhours stuff. Regrettably at 14 all my creative stuff was thrown into the fire. That’s teenage angst directed inwards.
Studying archaeology has given me some insight into the inner workings of history but also allowed me to go places. It’s not much of a journey though, but it certainly allowed the creative juices to flow again and now I’m in a middle of writing The Big One, finally having real faith in what I’m doing.
And there’s Kinga. We’re fueling each other’s interests and together we’re going through “South American phase” digesting a lot of media about archaeology there, jungle and occasional manifestation of Klaus Kinski. It turned out that Peru might be my first real trip.
I’m pretty excited.
We’d really like to go to South America and one way to achieve this is to compete in a voting contest: Piotr Morawski Memorial Award. This contest memorizes Polish mountaineer, Piotr Morawski who died tragically in the Himalayas some years ago. We submitted our project and now (till the end of February) we need to collect as many votes as possible.
Here’s the voting page: http://miejodwage.pl/zgloszenia.php?!=ziemia&id=216 – the description is in Polish, but we also have a blog and there’s an option to translate it into English: http://projekt-huaca.blogspot.com/. And here are our photos: http://projekt-huaca.blogspot.com/p/o-nas.html.
In order to vote, you need to click on “Oddaj głos” button on the left side and then you need to fill in your e-mail address. You’ll receive a confirmation message and the last step is to confirm via clicking on the link provided in this message.
The faint sounds of muffled sobbing softly radiated from the seat behind me.
It was all so familiar, the release of overwhelming sadness, able to occupy the entire mind simply by giving it attention. However without attention, such sadness can be stored just below the surface and plainly hidden from sight.
The bump, bump, bump vibrating sounds of the bus were hypnotic. But the faint sniffles and controlled inhales were all I could hear. I sat in the darkness, wide-eyed, focused on the pain being experienced behind me.
I tend to be quite empathetic, but usually in the case of children. But in this case, I knew exactly what the girl in seat 20 was feeling. She was feeling loss. It was thick, but sweet. But it was undoubtedly the sadness of loss.
Miro and I were on the second leg of our journey back to Lima. We had endured one overnight bus from Guyaquil to Chiclayo and were now on our second overnight bus headed towards Lima. We chatted with a few other travelers in the bus station and Miro and I connected with the traveler in the row behind us.
She was a beautiful blond backpacker, in her twenties. She was from Australia and was wrapping up a 10 month solo round-the-world trip.
I could only surmise she was processing the loss of a friendship she had made somewhere along the way, but I would never know for sure.
As travelers, we are just acutely present. We are intensely in-the-moment. And our connections with other people and our relationships tend to be equally intense.
As travelers, we have to savor each moment we have with others, as if each moment will the be the last.
As travelers, we intrinsically know everything is temporary.
As travelers, we live with constant change, both external circumstances and internal conditions.
As travelers we live with goodbyes.
And as travelers, we experience loss profoundly.
But I would argue, real-life offers the same challenges. However travel invites us not to get distracted by life circumstances, schedules or routines.
The beautiful blonde traveling in seat 20 on route to Lima was experiencing her rights of passage. Her human right to be present with her feelings of joy and sadness. Permission to be with whatever it was and process it in her own way.
Such is life.
Such is the life of a traveler…..
Image by .Andi based on creative commons license.
Since certain ingredients are used as a result of both history and geographic conditions, one of the best ways to educate yourself about a country is to sample its food. As well as treating your taste buds to exotic culinary delights, eating in a new country is a great way to truly immerse yourself in the culture of a new country, and meet new friends.
Chicken is eaten everywhere
The humble fowl really does have widespread international following. From China to Peru you’ll discover that every country on the planet has a different way of preparing chicken. You can stir fry it, or you can let it cook in an oven as a casserole. The chicken is perfect as a dish for curries or as a tempting recovery meal for anyone who has been ill.
French chicken classic
A classic French dish that is easy to prepare is chicken in white wine sauce. Simply buy some chicken breasts, fry them in a deep pan or casserole dish, add equal measures of chicken stock and white wine and then add 4 cloves of whole garlic and place the whole mixture to simmer for around 40 minutes. You can check if the chicken is properly cooked by just piercing the breast with a thin knife and making sure that it’s no longer pink. Mushrooms added in the last ten minutes of cooking time will enrich this recipe. You should also add herbs as well as salt and pepper for extra taste. Reduce the sauce by removing the lid and boiling quickly. This is when you add the cream.
Sample some Andean culture in Peru
In Peru they cook fiery chicken dishes using chillies, cumin and evaporated milk. This unlikely sounding combination is in fact delicious. It’s a one-pot recipe so once you’ve boiled your chicken and shredded it you can then fry the onion, chillies, pecan nuts and garlic and spices. Add evaporated milk to the spices then combine with the chicken. All that’s left to do is enjoy this meal while learning about the Incas and the lost civilizations of this fascinating part of the world.
Try Middle Eastern chicken recipes
Turkey is renowned for its incredible fusion of cultures, astonishing monuments and its mysterious Hittite people. It’s also famous for its beaches and bazaars. Chicken dishes from this country can incorporate cardamom, paprika and nuts. Simply boil your chicken pieces for around 20 minutes and then strain through a sieve. Whiz up the walnuts, onion and the water/stock from the chicken, adding paprika, some crusts of bread and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Smear the paste over the chicken and you’ll have a delicious meal.
Miro and I spent a week in Chiclayo about two years ago and loved the array of cultural offerings. As we traveled back to Lima from our third trip to Ecuador, we stopped in the magical city for about 8 hours. Miro and I shared several of our past experiences with a few fellow travelers on the bus, but realized I had never written a comprehensive guide to Chiclayo to refer them to. So, here it is:
A Detailed Guide to Chiclayo’s Cultural
Heritage Sites & Museums
Chiclayo, also known as the “city of friendship”, is located near the northern coast of Peru. It is the fourth largest city in Peru and probably the most modern. Its sunny climate, desert oasis and fresh sea breeze are pretty welcoming. The city offers its visitors a number of tourist attractions, from cultural sites to natural wonders. The ancient history from the area adds color to Peru’s already stunning legacy.
This time, according to Miro, he has already visited all the sites and remembered having a cultural overdose last time we were there. So this time, with our 8 hours layover, he said “NO WAY ” to revisiting any of the same sites.
Our first visit was to the capital of Sican culture, the complex of Túcume. The site is located 35 Kilometers from the Chiclayo. It is believed that Túcume was built later after the Sicán abandoned and burnt their capital of Batán Grande in A.D. 1050. Commonly referred to as Valle de las Pirámides, the area is easy to understand mainly from the lookout on Cerro Purgatorio. This offers an excellent view over the entire complex which has a small but interesting museum, opened 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.
Lord of Sipan Tomb
Our next destination was one of the most significant archeological sites in the region – the Tomb of the Lord of Sipan . It was discovered close to the coast, in the middle of Lambayeque Valley, just 35 kilometers east of Chiclayo. The Lord of Sipan (or Señor de Sipán) ruled about 1600 years ago and was thought to be only 30 to 40 years old when he died. The Lord was buried in traditional Moche funeral clothes which adorned with gold, silver and jewels and on display at Museo Tumbas Reales de Sípan.
Museo Tumbas Reales de Sípan
Miro and I toured the Museo Tumbas Reales de Sípan which is the principal museum in Lambayeque. The museum was inaugurated on November 8th, 2002, is considered to house one of the nations leading archeological collections. The impressive building has been designed to reflect that pyramid-like sanctuaries of the Moche culture. Its multi-level interior, meanwhile, is a world-class showcase for the region’s many pre-Columbian artifacts. At the centerpiece, there is the Señor de Sipán collection (from the site of the same name, also called Huaca Rajada, outside Chiclayo), that features exquisite items that have been taken from the tomb of the Lord of Sipán.
Visitors enter the museum through the top floor and then descend to the second and first levels. Several tour guides are readily available but at an extra fee – if you aren’t familiar with the cultures of the northern coast, a guide can help you get the most from the museum.
Miro and I also visited the Museo Sicán during our visit. Located in Ferreñafe, about 20 kilometers from Chiclayo city, Museo Sicán is located along the road leading to Bosque de PómacSanctuary. This museum display various aspects of the daily life within the Sican culture including metallurgy and ceramics. Additionally, the Museo Sicán has a display of the Sican royal tombs.
The name Sicán is used to refer to the culture that flourished in Lambayeque area about 750 AD. The culture traces its roots to the Mochica culture and to some other contemporary cultures like the Wari, Cajamarca and Pachacamac.
The Brüning Museum marked the end of our tour of the Chiclayo region in Peru. Located in Lambayeque , the Brüning Museum was built to house the collection of German-born archaeologist and ethnographer Hans Heinrich Brüning Brookstedt. Brüning spent much of his life in northern Peru, exploring and recording the culture of the region and its past civilizations. In the 1920s, the Peruvian government purchased much of Brüning’s collection, including his photographs, sketches and an ever-growing assortment of ceramics and other archaeological artefacts. Brüning Museum has more than 1,500 pieces from various cultures of northern Peru that includes the Moche, Chimú, Vicús and Lambayeque civilizations. Many of these pieces show scenes of everyday life, including rituals and fishing scenes which is a vital occupation along the desert coast.
It is a well known fact:
Happy people ALWAYS have contagious effects on others.
Last Sunday I found myself a helpless victim to an orgy of happiness and joy.
This particular Sunday was a typical Peruvian summer day in the capital. Locals gathered in parks throughout the city to enjoy the cool ocean breeze, the company of one other and experience a general sense of community. Miro and I had the same intention as we wandered into Parque Kennedy in the Miraflores district of Peru’s capital. In his backpack, Miro carried in his heavy chess set, pieces hand-carved from Andean stone, my gift to him last year for Hanukkah.
Our purpose for being in Lima was to renew our passports and now we found ourselves waiting for the new ones to arrive. We lived in Lima before we moved tomi Cusco, and as always, love the opportunity to catch up with the friends we’ve made along the way. This Sunday, we connected with our friend Cale.
The first time we met American backpack-clad Cale, he arrived at our house in Antigua, Guatemala. He was couchsurfing with us, having just hitchhiked from Mexico. He was one of our favorite guests in Antigua as we sat for hours sharing travel stories and reminisced about our travel experiences to date. Our paths crossed twice again, as often times, travelers find themselves on the same route. We were so exited to connect with Cale again, and happy his path led him back to Lima the same time ours did.
Parque Kennedy was alive with people.
Miro, Cale and I made our way to the sunken amphitheater offering ample seating for people to gather. We spread out the thin red sarong over the concrete to keep us cool. Miro pulled out the heavy chess set. The hand carved pieces were ready for battle, small Inca Warriors challenging the Spanish Conquistadors. Miro always chooses the Spanish pieces, not because of a political stance, quite the contrary. He chooses the black pieces strategically because he does not like to make the first move. With that, Cale sat down with the Incas poised in challenge in hopes of changing Peru’s 500 year old past.
The summer sun was warm on my cheeks, and I loved the opportunity to just sit and watch the constant flow of relaxed people strolling through Parque Kennedy. I noticed school age girls wearing denim shorts and tank tops while others choose flirty sundresses. There were dozens of mothers holding their toddler’s hands, as their little capped heads bopped up and down with each skip. Many more sat in closed groups scattered through out the grassy patches and flower beds. Cats ran through park and grass was cool and inviting.
Miro and Cale were engaged in a series of heated chess matches. I felt honored that Miro finally had a real challenger which pushed his limits. Miro’s chess skills far surpassed my own and now I fear, I am no longer a worthy opponent for my son.
I happily sat, feeling the warmth of the sun on my cheeks and contentment with people watching.
Within the amphitheater itself, many seniors gathered, all with spirited aliveness. The opposite side of amphitheater, a group was growing. Then, a few older gentlemen with guitars sat down and others with percussion instruments. I realized this must be a weekly social gathering, summer, sun, and music.
I watched. I observed.
I sensed the rising heat running through the blood of everyone there, rising with passion and zest for life. I was beautiful to witness. As the crowd grew, the energy rose and people’s smiles widened and hips started to sway. And more and more gathered, and within a 10 minute time span the entire amphitheater was alive with people. I watched each new comer grace the cheeks of those already there with kisses and smiles. I love kisses as greetings, a tradition in Peru I absolutely adore.
The women all of a “certain age” looked tanned and beautiful, expressing a sense comfort with their round and aging bodies, in varies shapes and dimensions. Each proudly highlighted their curves with the form fitting summer tops and accenting their ample bottoms with clinging skirts. Many of the over 50 crowd wore heels and moved with such grace. I was experiencing such joy watching them, feeling blessed to witness a cultural gathering not filled with the California pretense I was accustomed to.
An hour before we settled into the amphitheater, Miro and I witnessed a double decker bus circle Parque Kennedy. The second floor of the bus was open and an enthusiastic crowd of no less than 30 high energy people were cheering and holding up signs. The signs garnered beautiful self love messages like “be happy” and “love yourself”. The joy pouring out of that bus was contagious as people were encouraged to feel happy.
“Who needs encouragement?” I thought. Being happy is my preference.
Miro said, “Mom you are the only person I know who could do that, be a part of that bus.”
Indeed I could, and I smiled ear to ear and waved ferociously back at the happy-bus-crew.
Sometime during Miro and Cale’s second game of chess, we noticed the bus reappear. The cheering and jeering from the bus became progressively louder as the bus came to at halt just outside the amphitheater. The passengers poured out of the bus and headed towards the center of the amphitheater. The now full amphitheater had reached its seating capacity and many of the crowd overflowed into the center.
The happy-bus-crew piled into the center literally bouncing up and down with glee, proudly chanting the slogans on their hand-written signs. They embodied joy, smiling and laughing, dancing, and chanting over and over “soy feliz, soy feliz!” (I am happy, I am happy) over and over! Their smiles were contagious, their frenetic energy felt so completely joyful. Some of the happy-bus-crew ran into the amphitheater seating and hugged random people and encouraged them to repeat “soy feliz!”.
I was overcome with so much joy, watching and receiving this selfless exchange of happy energy.
As if it was precisely orchestrated, an Argentinian street band appeared out of nowhere, made it’s way into the center of amphitheater and started to play. Suddenly the amphitheater became alive with dancers, men and woman of all ages and the wonderful happy-bus-crew too.
I watched as the seniors who had been sitting around get up and join the group of dancers. At some point the entire center was filled with nothing but happy dancing seniors expressing their joy for living in that moment. Everyone seemed to be feeling pleasure and joy. The dancers moved their bodies as the bombastic music encouraged freedom.
This was one of the most incredible scenes I’ve witnessed in a very long time. I felt the joy. I felt the joy of others spark the joy in me. I felt the tears of joy in my eyes.
I witnessed presence without any pretense. No one was preoccupied with how they might look to anyone else. I witnessed freedom in joy. I saw community.
I saw life, how it should be experienced, an orgy of joy.
The happy-bus-crew had done their job well.
I want to be a member of the happy-bus-crew from here on out.