Search This Blog


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Architecture & Real Estate in Bohemian Lima, Peru

I still find myself pondering my recent visit to Paséo Sáenz Peña in the district of Barranco, Lima, Peru.
Whilst sitting in the covered bench area, overlooking the Pacific, I saw a sign that I instantly dismissed. It was a harbinger that all too frequently happens to artistic neighborhoods: a forthcoming luxury apartment development. This one touts itself as Entre el Cielo y el Mar (between the sky and the sea).
With signs like that some could say it’s a return to Barranco’s finer days. Others might eschew this as gentrification.
Consider these facts about the area, a formerly favored vacation area for wealthy locals: a small handful of ambassadors live in the area; famous Peruvian artists and writers are said to as well. Signs adhered haphazardly around the area, akin to “Missing Cat” notices, advertise roommates or landlords who only want foreign roommates. I saw no prices on these signs, so I can’t speak to the cost of rent, though Lonely Planet literally refers to Barranco as the “tony” area of Lima.
I’ve been to the tony places at night, and concede that it’s true. However, my new free-spirited friends who sell handmade jewelry to tourists on stone promenades over the Pacific also live there.
Flipping through some real estate prices reveal that some of the casonas reach US $1.4 million and higher. Judging by the fact that Barranco has evidently won design awards for its rehab efforts of several century-old mansions, I’m connecting more and more the gentrification word and the elevated real estate prices.

Many of the tall, two-story buildings along the street are well-maintained former casonas (mansions) that now house commercial and nonprofit establishments. For instance, in optimistic colors ubiquitous to Lima is Aposento Los Girasoles Hospedaje (an upscale hostel). Its quaint, grassy outer courtyard offers enough privacy for two travelers to unwind over tea.

The Casa de Leeuw apartment building speaks through elegant architecture detail such as Romeo and Juliet balconies, a cupola bearing an oriel window, and muted hues that enhance designerly dimensions. Built in the early 20th century, this former vacation house for the wealthy now contains four exclusive, fully furnished apartments.

One casona seems anomalous. The large Victorian stands out not only because the architectural style isn’t common in Peru, but also because it’s in pitiful need of some care, unlike the others. It’s adoringly complete with an apropos hue of faded lemon yellow, yet it exudes the air of a haunted house. (Perhaps that’s simply because it’s empty.)

Lima already has exclusive communities such as Miraflores and San Isidro. Let’s let the artists have at least one of their own.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Vlog of Urbanism in Peru

This video blog marks's foray into vlogging. Look for new media and other upcoming changes the blog.

Barranco is better known for its nightlife than its diurnal activities, and my two social outings there have proven that reputation correct. But today's journey is an exploration of what I hadn't witnessed and a return for photos of what I already had. I had a cab drop me off at La Avenida Sáenz Peña before one of the many narrow median parkways fulfilled its purpose as a quiet public space. At its end a somewhat sheltered area serves up benches from which to view the Pacific-- like all good city planners should do-- and though the day's drizzly and hovering around 70 degrees--common for Limean winters-- the desire to smoke a fag whilst taking it all in proves compelling. I sit for a while, watching surfers make their way to their heaven, and enjoy the ocean air smell and the humidity moistening my cheeks. Then it's time to peruse nearby museums such as the Galería Lucía de la Puente, (Sáenz Peña 206, The lackluster paintings that smack of Pop Art aren't enough to warrant my lengthy interest, though I do lollygag over the interior architecture of the two-story casona (mansion). It's worth it to stay a few minutes more at the Punto de Cafe for an Illy espresso (S/. 4) and a torte de chocolate (S/. 6) or some lightly fried yucca sticks (S/. 6.5). 
I stroll through the rest of the park, trying not to chase the cooing pigeons, only to stumble upon La Casa Cultural Mocha Graña (Sáenz Peña 107), which isn't in my Lonely Planet travel guide.  it's the lovely Latina donning an exquisite red dress for a forthcoming flamenco presentation that settles it. Not only does it have a wonderfully spacious and clean bathroom, which I've discovered is de rigeuer in Lima, it marks a cultural lesson on its own. Sitting in a quaint cafe to spend some time on the Interwebs, rhythmic thuds of dance steps carry from what are surely wood floors on the second story of the building-- likely another historic casona-- down to the main floor. An employee of the avant-garde theatre and dance center speaks entertainingly with cafe employees, seemingly family members, and hustles theatre equipment around. Pollo (chicken) empañadas, other finger foods, and desserts are available for S/. 4 or 5, though I don't partake as I see no vegetarian options.
An hour or so later, I depart to browse the PPPP design gallery at the end of Sáenz Peña (Avenida Grau 810). Again interior architecture takes hold and I'm staring at the ceiling, embellished by square cupolas with operable ribbon glass and the floors of colorful hand-lain tile designs. The gallery space is well curated and comfortable furniture absolutely insists I sit on it, letting my eyes linger horizontally. It's a good time to ponder the owner couple's pieces: rugs of Andean hand-weaving tradition and Italian architectural design accessories.
Finally it's time to explore the part of Barranco more frequently discussed, heading south on Grau for a brisk six blocks. I pass musicians, architectural students and professionals, and some free spirits along the way, knowing I've finally located the bohemian center I longed for. What would Hemingway do?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Writing from Bohemian Lima

After inadvertently discovering a romantic little spot where couples come to kiss during siesta, I've located a tiny cafe located within a theatre and dance building. Posters of plays performed here adorn the lime green and watermelon pink walls. The building on Paseo Saentz Pena stands across from a poorly maintained yet still surprising Victorian house. Groups of women, solo students and older men park themselves for hours at a time on the benches in the park that forms the median of Saentz Pena. The neighborhood, called Barranco, has so far lived up to its reputation as the bohemian area of Lima; artists, musicians, and creative students race down the perpendicular street, Avenida Grau.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Writing into Another World

Got lost in applying for writing gigs today online before realizing a little exercise would be good. I hadn't been out of the house all day and immediately upon leaving the thick wood door then the wrought iron gate out of the front courtyard, the very nature of a world outside of my mind slapped me into a different reality. Honestly this reality was like another world.
The particular odor of diesel fuel assaulted my olfactory senses. The darkness of light caused my eyes to open wide in attempt to acclimate. The presence of other people cause me to straighten my posture. It took half a moment to realize that not only was I in a world other than my own mind, I was in another country. Fortunately the neighborhood of my host family is tranquil, enjoys light foot traffic, and isn't overrun by light pollution. In fact the laid-back culture here in Lima is fairly easy to acclimate to. Returning home a few minutes later, my mind had cleared and my energy levels had risen enough to gain a slight second wind. Time to rework a part of my travel book, making it worthy of magazine publication.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Branching out in Lima

It's not easy to post when the tubes in the Interwebs aren't illuminating.

Today was supposed to be a day to quickly retrieve from Peruvian customs a package sent more than two weeks ago from the US. Evidently nothing's brief at customs, however. The locals surely must realize that the hours spent waiting and waiting...then waiting again would prevent them from showing up to work that day. My host family mother accompanied me, thank gracious; the obfuscation of the process would imminently have rendered my rudimentary Spanish-speaking skills moot.
We first have a difficult time to hail a cab who wants to go so far as Los Olivos. We arrive at the wrong office and are directed to another, again the wrong one, until finally we hit the jackpot. From here we're directed to one booth to fill out papers. Then to another, at which we are given a number 138. If numbers were a sign of chronological attention almost every person in the package retrieval center of SerPost (like the USPS) would be helped first. That wasn't the case, yet an empty stomach, frustration with children acting up out of boredom, and sleepiness wore on me by the time we left-- four hours later.

The taxi ride there, now that I was traveling through the city during daylight, did expose the poorer side of Lima. Graffiti tattoos walls of squatters' houses and business the level of convenience stores. The quality of the abodes of the impoverished smacked of India, though they weren't dense enough or dirty enough. I'd show photos but taking clear photos from within a cab racing 75 clicks through the city doesn't lead to great art. The mountains were about as high as those I've seen in Northeast China, yet remained fairly heavily veiled behind a white mist. What I found interesting was that, by appearances at least, the poorer classes seem huddled just above the foot of those mountains as well as just along the shoreline of the Pacific. Their homes still bear the neon aqua, Barbie pink, and sunny yellow hues of middle and upper class houses throughout the city. Instead of large, square, varnished doors of local wood, however, these seemed to bear little more than cardboard for entrances, and the density was admittedly higher. Many hostels were nestled amongst the tenements, too. That I found quite surprising and I was more than glad to have done the research and had my Dad's assistance, both of which steered me in the direction I needed to be, landing me in the middle-class areas of Lima, rather than a hostel room on a street that could have been named Crime Avenue.

On the return trip we passed through the central district of Lima, basically the business downtown. No real highrises appeared, and of course international hotels like the Sheraton shown prettily, but the historic museums and cathedrals will definitely require my return visit. Then and there I will take photos. It might also mark my second post for my new Hong Kong blog, details of which will be revealed later.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Birth and post-partum pains from writing

Just as only they can understand the elation of birthing the words, only writers can understand the feeling of post-partum depression that sometimes follows it. Yesterday marked one of those depression-filled days. No writing was done. I'm not sure if I even made a note in my iPhone, in fact. Today, however, a few more words made their way out of my head and into the world.
(Image credit)

I don't expect to give birth to the next Buddha, a timely notion considering the Dalai Lama has relinquished a good many of his tasks and a new godly infant will be sought to fill his role in the not too distant future, though I do expect that something's gotta give with my writing.
(Image credit)
What the hell it is that must give still lies beyond my instant knowledge. It does, however, have something to do with travel. Therefore, like Marie Osmond has done, I pick my post-departum self up by whatever passes as my bootstraps nowadays, and I ponder my next writing move. I research travel writing, eschewing whatever shyte was taught us in grad school, I jot a few essay ideas that are almost already written, and I take a fork in this bloody literary road fate has chosen for me.
Just as in actual motherhood, to which I personally cannot empathize only sympathize, articles, like children, sometimes piss you off, sometimes make you want to run away (back to the Marie Osmond link with post-partum depression), and sometimes fill you with joy. Not much joy have I known with writing lately, expect when I actually do it. It seems I'm doing it in a bloody vacuum, what with lack of GD sales. But it is the only thing I know to do. It's what I was put on this planet to do-- even if it kills me.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Writing Fairy Makes a Return

This is the feeling that only creatives know. This feeling of having just poured your entire self onto a page so that there's virtually nothing left of the mind.
After several weeks, nay almost two months, of not writing the travel book I've been at it again. Some three hours worth. Now I'm spent. It's like jet lag, just of the mental pose. It's why writing is always better than sex-- afterglow of the former lasts for hours, sometimes days. Sex fades, no matter how good it is.
Writing like this makes everything surrounding you feel surreal. It's as if writing puts you in a mindset of some drug because of which all else feels cottony, untouchable, mute, colorless. It also makes you want to crawl into bed for a heavy snorefest afterward.
The writing fairy has returned. Let's just hope her cameo becomes a starring role to complete this tome.

Strolling through San Borja, Lima, Peru

A wanderly stroll through my neighborhood in Lima, Peru gently reveals elements of urban planning. For a new visitor to Peru, San Borja, my upper-middle-class district, the grid system facilitates walking the dog, jaunting to the supermarket a couple blocks southwest, or trotting to the plethora of pharmacies just a couple blocks straight ahead.  Crosswalks don’t put a major crimp in your pace as traffic is consistent and light. Narrow pedestrian alleyways offer intriguing landscaped vistas and quicken the arrival to your destination.
Pedestrian alleyways offer privacy yet also a sense of community.

Greenery dresses almost every Peruvian building.

Green means more than plantlife, as we see here with two shades of green on buildings. 

Peruvians maximize space, especially for parking.

Peruvians may not recycle bottles and plastics much, but they do believe in green. Buildings typically feature a veranda, a landscaped rooftop, and plant-bedecked front courtyards. Rather than large slabs of concrete, which attracts the city-heat- island effect, driveways are often mere strips of concrete or stone that allow for grass to breathe through.
Letting the grass grow through in parking spots.

Safety measures echo South Africa.

Images of South Africa come to mind when street-side building facades reveal large barbed metal guards, topped with electrical wiring. However, safety isn’t absent. Traffic lights along well maintained sidewalks dot wide two-lane streets, and manned guard stands outside of expensive condo buildings pepper the streets.
After all, even a dog can take a siesta from his watch before his master’s house.

Whether it’s the smell of jasmine that tickles the olfactory senses or the palette of home colors that caresses the eyes, this neighborhood offers peace from my deadlines and joy in learning a new culture.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Three happiness

Some things that make me happy: autonomy to catch a cab by myself and tell the driver, in Spanish (or the local language of wherever I am), where I want to go and to find my way around the neighborhood to a bodega and supermarket; converse with my roommate and a member of my host family about places we've visited around the world; finishing an in-depth article that's taken scores of hours.
Last night I visited a neighborhood I've never encountered, the so-called bohemian barrio of Barranco. We met on the square and walked to Javier, an oceanfront restaurant. There I met up with an English woman, freelance writer, and a new Peruvian friend for maracuyas sours (a cocktail of the local alcohol called pisco and passionfruit juice).We discussed surfing through sewage here in Lima, entertaining cultural differences between Westerns and Indonesians, whale watching on a boat from Boston to Canada, and religious manipulation attempts by Indians. We sat on the top floor of the restaurant, a terrace encumbered by no architecture to allow us to hear and see the smiling waves hit the Pacific shore. A slight breeze blew, causing us to need a light jacket, and recorded local music played softly in the background. A good time had by all. I wanted it to continue but my friends are early risers-- surfing and whale watching, of course, so I returned home and read Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt.
At the bodega today I located a trial-sized tube of toothpaste, much needed since I ran out today. Why not buy a regular sized tube? One awaits me in a package I sent myself to Peru whilst still in Ohio. Evidently a box of books, clothes, and toiletries are something to hold up in Peruvian customs.
Then I made my way to the supermarket. Multiple bottles of Coke Zero, veggie snacks, and beer were called for. At the cashier I encountered a problem. Something about one of the two beers was evidently not going home with me. Reasons remain unknown. The cashier has no English and spoke Spanish so rapidly that I must have looked at her like she had seven heads. Making the request of 'Despacio' (slow), when trying to speak Spanish has repeatedly proven ineffective; they continue to speak a million miles per hour. Even when I returned home and asked my host mother about why such a thing would happen, she thought it 'raro' (strange).
Anyway, my listening is improving, though the previous example doesn't indicate that. When speaking with the host family I'm forced to speak and hear Spanish. It's a splendid means of indoctrination, one I'm truly enjoying. The Spanish is indeed getting deep enough for me to partially dream and think, and even sing American songs, in it. In fact, my daily use of it has squeezed the Hindi and Chinese words out of my daily vocab.
Then there was the completion of the article. I've spoken to some 20 people from coast to coast of Los Estados Unidos over the course of three weeks. The information was difficult to contain in 2,000 words but at last, I succeeded. There is no feeling like completing an in-depth article and sending off an invoice. Admittedly it put a little swagger in my step.
Finally having a proper conversation with my young American male roommate also lifted the day. It had occurred to me over the past two days that he was intimidated by me. It actually stirred memories of my earliest moments with Nicolas, the love of my life who's seven years younger than me. I'm not exactly sure what caused him to commence speaking in full sentences and for a long period with me, but I'm enjoying it. We do, after all, share a bathroom! Maybe I'll share my sole beer with him tonight....

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Writing through the Vacuum: Frustration of No Responses

Editing the article felt good today. Still not quite good enough to remind me of why I used to love what I do or what's happening right now.
I'm finding it difficult to understand why I made more money and had more work while sitting in little old Sarasota, working for mostly for third-tier publications, still not social media savvy, than I do now. Now I travel the world and find work in the countries I live in/visit. Now I have the courage to pitch to any and every publication suitable for the current work.
Now, however, I can't get the time of day from publishers. Nor, however, can I get timely responses to articles I'm working on. For how many weeks can an article linger on my screen? How many repeat attempts do I have to make to editors and sources?
Tomorrow night I'm meeting a British freelance writer whom I just met last week. She's just started and already she's got work in two American mags and two British mags. I was instantly jealous when she told me this. Instantly I felt worse than I have for the past four months. What am I doing wrong?
I awoke this morning to an email seeking my skills as a travel writer. It piqued my curiosity, but upon investigating for one mere minute it appeared more like an ad for a free classified listing for writers who make house calls. 'Do you want the client to travel to you or do you travel to clients?' 'What's your hourly rate?' No, these are not questions professional travel writers are asked.
I'm tired of pulling myself up by my bootstraps. That muscle and those straps are all but gone. It was just a few years ago that I had all the motivation and ambition and persistence needed to get the kind of writing gigs I wanted. Now, it's my humility and pain that run my days. It's as if I have to wait for he pain to dissipate before I can commence another round of unanswered calls and another half dozen pitches.
Jesus, is it too much to ask for to merely make a damned living? I'm not expecting to become the next Joan Didion, Paul Theroux, or Graham Greene, but for heaven's sake can you please steer me in the proper direction to actually make a bloody living?
Surely the gods hate me.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Settling in to Write Abroad

The first day that I moved into new accommodations marked the day I ended the four months of having none of my own interior design. I never put up anything in my dad's house, but now that I'm back to living abroad and finally in a more personal space such as a Peruvian family's house the moment of hesitation or questioning never arose. Happily I placed a hand painted scroll of Ganesh on a bedside table. An intricate, palm-sized hand painting of Lakshmi rests on my desk before my silver Mac laptop. A laminated wall map of Mumbai reminds me of details when I return to scribbling the travel book.
(Pipo, the my Peruvian host family's dog, sticks around to look up words in the thesaurus. He hasn't mastered the dictionary yet.)
Likely part of the reasons for placing these things is because I'll be getting back to writing. Another part is that I feel it's really my own space because I'm on my own again. Traveling have evidently become more a part of my life than I'd realized; the weight gained from living in America is already shedding itself, as is the lethargy that is Palace life. The psychological and physical muscles used to travel abroad are redeveloping.
Architecture books and travel magazines placed on my desk and a shelf immediately adjacent feel like liberty's caress. I feel good, as if I'm on my drive home after an eventful architecture event and the words await their release. What a relief it is to know I can return to hours and hours of writing tomorrow, surrounded by mementos that are mine.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Sound of South American Cars

The only autos large enough to compare with a Cadillac is a van here in Lima, Peru, but that's about all the similarities between the American and Peruano auto scene. These vans are usually chockablock full of taxied passengers, unlike Cadillacs, while their horns would be considered laughably abysmal in the US, further unlike Cadillacs with their short bursts and tinny audible expulsions.
The horns of the vans do occasionally ring out. Usually it's a means for the drivers to communicate caution to a nearby driver, though sometimes it's to warn pedestrians in the neighborhood of my hotel to tread carefully.
Almost as often while walking along the short city blocks is the sound of car alarms. How long has it been since you've heard a car alarm in the US? They're ubiquitous in China and Hong Kong, especially the latter, unmemorable in India, and I do recall their being many in Costa Rica. Here, they're not as seemingly endless, though that could be because up here on the penthouse level-- 12th floor, I'm in my own heavenly cove of comparative silence.
I'm still trying to figure out the patterns in traffic. Yes, they do drive on the same side of the road as most of the world (right side); Yes, they do drive on the same side of the car as most of the world (left side). Certainly traffic jams abound but walking around cars piled together at a stop light is easy. They're not as fast or as dangerous as I've experienced in the East, nor are they as organized and efficient as I know from my US home. Fortunately, however, the seatbelts are easy to locate.
The most curious element so far strikes you immediately upon leaving the airport: the cars run on diesel fuel. That thick, mechanical, dirty smell seems to permeate your skin, hair, and clothes. There is smog; I haven't sen a blue sky since my Sunday arrival. However, the level of pollution isn't palpable enough to cause one to wretch like Guanzhou China. And, from what I've heard, going only half an hour from the city brings respite from the smog, clouds of diesel fumes, and even the white noise of the gently beeping car horns.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Peru: Pisco Sours and Gyrating Hips

Met two new friends at a cafe yesterday. Talk centered around Peruvian culture, Internet connectivity throughout the country, and what kinds of changes the Peruanos expect because of the newly elected president. Seems it's a far more abrupt transition than what we encounter in the US; one of my new friends, who owns lots of land, may have to put lots of business on hold; my other new friend says the new president may effect if far flung Peruvian towns have reliable Internet access soon or much later.
Our conversations were more than half English. Here's what I love about Spanglish: "Double v double v double v point claro punto com dot p e" translates to

Later, finally imbibing my first pisco sour, Peru's national drink which tastes much like a margarita (I don't like margaritas), a live cultural program ensued at the restaurant just below the lounge. Because the two spaces are directly connected, I could easily look over the balcony to watch the show. Lots of boodie shaking and gyrating hips. I'm definitely not in India, where a cinematic kiss is considered risque, or in China, where the locals don't know their hips actually rotate.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Writing City Sounds and Architecture

It's about noon when I take my first stroll out of the hotel. There is no destination until later in the day when I must procure a SIM card and stockpile some food at the groceria to keep expenses down. I'm absorbing the sounds. A car slowly pulls into the hotel's adjacent parking lot; a single woman walks out of the gym and, judging by her attire, back to her professional job; a young man talks quietly on the phone while riding his old-fashioned bike toward the residences on the next street; the doorman bids 'Buenos Dias' to all who pass his way; a truck with a delapidated muffler labors down the main thoroughfare on the opposite side of the hotel.
A few puffs into my L&M Blue cigarette and a curiously designed house at the end of the block toward the more residential side of my hotel's street grabs my attention.

Two fine wooden doors welcome guests to this building, which appears to be two residences, if I'm to understand the difference between the slatted and the paneled doors. These doors are tall like a Medieval King's throne chair and block the views of what's surely a driveway and parking spaces for two or three cars. The next possible visage is of the second story where large windows reveal the inhabitants' piquing design sense. Later that day when the hazy day has grown somewhat darker I will see that behind the bay window of one residence is a major candy apple red wall trimmed in white and bearing a large Asian art canvas. Above that wall however is another aperture that seems didn't fully evolve into a window. For days I will contemplate that void.
It resides in such contrast to the staircase seen at the forefront of the artful window and the openness of the pergola immediately beside it on the duplex's other half. There a glass-enclosed patio, bedecked with plants and indoor trees invites. This embrace of the outdoors becomes more apparent as I walk around the house and along the streets surrounding the hotel: Peruvians like outdoors spaces designed within their buildings through which they can optimize the sunlight, air, and weather.
With the contrast of the inviting and the restricted elements of the residence, I walk to see its side facade. A couple of minor yet visually appealing windows lend mystery. What's behind the long ribbon windows of the top story, and who are these residents who prefer tight, short vases of tight, white flowers visible on the second story's rectangular window?
I continue to ponder the house as I make my way back to the Doubletree El Pardo Hotel here in exclusive neighborhood of Miraflores in Lima, Peru. An ambulance van rushes by, evaporating my contemplative thoughts when a voice over a loudspeaker directs pedestrians and traffic away in Spanish. Its cheap, unrefined gasoline punctures the air momentarily until fading into the overcast day. I've returned to the hotel. It's time to change from my tie-dye tee, Birks, and brown yoga pants into something a bit more professional to commence my first shopping experience in Peru.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Writing Pit Stop on the First Day of Travel

It's cleaner than most of China here in Lima, Peru. Its short buildings remind me of Mumbai, though blessedly fortunately the city's not nearly as dense. Color abounds everywhere, giving the eye a feast when we're not driving beside the Pacific Ocean. People are so friendly that you want to speak their language, especially to share a giggle with them. Though I was asleep by 1 AM this morning, most of my words for the previous two hours, since my arrival time, that is, were in Spanish. In fact once while checking the TV scene in my DoubleTree El Pardo hotel room an American station came in that was in English, but I found myself translating the Spanish subtitles at the bottom of the screen before realizing what I was doing.
An online university degree is an option for people who are mobile yet also want to learn more about how to be a great writer. Writing courses are available from the comfort of your computer - all you need is your computer and an Internet connection to learn more.
This morning I awoke an hour before my wake up call. No longer was that feeling of wondering what the heck I was doing. I can't say that I felt at home; I don't even know what Lima or Peru looks like in the daylight yet. It did, however, feel good to wake up with playful dreams lingering in my psyche.
I am off for a desayuno then to shop for a SIM card and an plug adaptor. Shortly after that I am to meet a fellow surfer, who also is into interior design bathroom installations, at least) to discuss business and where I should live/stay up north (where the best and warmest waves are at this time of year, and the palce not so filled with expats). Later tonight it's a free cocktail-- a pisco sour, Peru's national favorite-- in the hotel lounge. In between, excitedly enough, I will put some Peruvian comida (food) in my belly!
Photos will be posted for your entertainment.
Ah, the joys of the first day of traveling....

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Last Day in the US: Momentary Breath from Writing

It'll be a few days until I can return to this blog, as the Peru chapter in my life commences manana. Today reminds me of reading Truckby Michael Perry a few months ago. In it he mentions that he was traveling to promote his previous book, meanwhile of course writing the one I was then reading. having just begun my first book, the thought of mentally ping ponging between books wore me out. Now, it appears, I will be doing a similar thing: whilst living in yet another country, I'll be finishing up my book about the China/Hong Kong/India experience.
Meanwhile, yesterday marked an overall lovely day for journalism. Interviews included Eden Brukman, vice president of the International Living Building Institute (who came through shiningly with images, quotes, and contacts), and Ed McMahon, a fellow of the Urban Land Institute-- who also happens to be the coolest guy on the planet for his knowledge, resourcefulness, intellect, and planning expertise.
Lakshmi, Ganesh, and Krishna, please shower me with your beauty, for I certainly will need it!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Rewriting the Beginning

It took me several years to discover but expecting to start a book or an article with the very first sentence or words makes no sense. The first line, at least the intro, comes after you've figured out what you want to say, what there is to be said. I'd call this separating the writing from the pre-writing and editing phases, or a milemarker along the writing journey.
Information about online masters degrees is available for people with busy, mobile schedules who also want to pursue advanced writing knowledge via online courses. People who have a passion for writing often benefit from honing their skills in a formal manner.
Something fun to do is scribble the various intros or an intro's iterations rumbling through your head at the beginning. No, it may not initially make any sense. It's blind composition. Let the piece continue its journey toward the end, which also comes on its own accord. The first glimpses into the editing stage will see those numerous beginnings fall away, leaving you with the one that actually articulates what you've just written.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Packing Books and Hindu Wishes

Today is a day of packing for Peru. I'm still unsure at this point where the heck to go after my initial five-day visit to Lima, but will not revisit the issue until my head is clearer from other travel abroad minutiae. This week marks my last in the States for six months. There is still another immunization shot, a dental visit, and post office stop before I can think of becoming excited. (After moving about to a few countries thus far it has dawned on me to send myself a box of books and sundries before my arrival. It prevents my having to pay for a weight overage, and I've got something from home to look forward to upon my arrival.)
Meanwhile, I'm hoping I do actually get excited; the feeling of hyperactivity and flurry of eager thoughts haven't hit me yet, and I'm concerned over my lack of enthusiasm thus far. The image of my sitting in a Peruvian cafe, pouring over the two books and copious journalism, and surrounded by colorful colonial architecture, still hasn't abandoned me, though. May the writing fairy immediately be followed by Laxshmi, the Hindu goddess of fortune and fortuity.