Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Santo Rico performing at CLG Salsa party

I have never seen anything like this before . . . the choreography deserves its own god.

Santo Rico performs Gangsta at SR Showcase

Salsa at its absolute best . . .

Friday, January 9, 2009

5 Friends Uncensored

Hey guys, just don't do it . . .unless you care enough.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Back To Ica And Huacachina

Ok, I know it seems like its been years. It was long. About 2 months since our last entry. Many reasons, many excuses. But the main one being laziness of course. Sorry. But we're Back and ready to tell all. So here it goes...
We jumped on the "Flores Bus" (our company of choice, cheap) down to Ica. As you may not be be aware, Ica and the surrounding area was devasted by the earthquake just about a month before. So while most of the structures had little damage done upon them, there was still much rubble on the streets sweeped up in giant piles by the curbs, lots of dust in the air, people walking around with those little white masks over the nose and mouth and tents set up along the highways to house the newly homeless. It sucks. Unlike in the land of the free, there's no disaster relief. Not even bad relief that comes weeks later. People are just stranded, left to survive and make their way again. But most don't cry and dwell on their misfortune. In the morning, they get up and try to go out to support the family. Its a rough life.
It left a guilty feeling about being here on vacation. But in a way, we were helping by just being here, buying fruit and chicken and a bottle of the local wine (which was not very good by the way, not a big fan of sweet wine) and of course, we came here for the dunes. Our place was in a little oasis, Huacachina. Litterally an oasis set in the midst of giant sand dunes with a lake in the middle of it. I can't make this stuff up. Peru's diversity is so incredible with the Amazon jungle, towering mountains, beaches, ancient ruins, and now this... sand dunes. Wow! We relaxed by the pool with our attention seeking women. Can't live without them. The mornings began with either mom or Rich knocking on our door and waking us up. So everyday, we were forced to wake up at like 8 or 9 am. Can you believe it? After quick showers, we would walk to our breakfast spot and fill up on fruit, eggs, pancakes and coffee and converstion, jokes and laughter. Beautiful! And on our 2nd day, we set off on the buggy. The dune buggy that is. The awesome thing about the parents is that they still get down and sandy. Without hesitation, mom and Rich jumped on the boards and flew down the dunes.

Life is beautiful! in so many ways...
It was 2 hours of fun, being thrown from side to side in the buggy as we climbed and jumped dunes, sand boarded them, tumbled down them, and then with sand stuck within our cavities, we laughed and then tumbled some more.

Our time there was short. So that same day, we packed our stuff and went to the bus station for our 8 pm overnight bus to Arequipa. OK, what a surprise, the bus was late. 3 hours later it still wasn't, so we had some drinks and laughed about it. The bus got there eventually. But the night wasn't over until mom had to fight for our rightful seats with the bus attendant.
Finally frutrated and broken down by my mom, he gave in and gave us the sweet seats on the bottom of the bus where we finally fell asleep to wake up the following morning in "White City", Arequipa.Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Update Time! 10/28/07

Hello Everyone! We have not posted blogs in a while, but it isn´t because we don´t love you! It´s because we´re lazy! No, really, since Lima . . . a lot has happened and we´ll get to it, promise. Since Lima, we had visited Arequipa and Chivay in Peru; Compacabana, La Paz, Coroico, and of course, the Salt Flat desert of Uyuni in Bolivia; and Corobá and Buenos Aires in Argentina. And it´s a little overwhelming to catch up with all of that right at this moment.
You see, since we have arrived in Buenos Aires in mid-October, Mishka has left to surprise his sister in Costa Rica and his parents in the US, and I have remained behind primarily to study Argentine Tango and eat more steak. (Not always at the same time) And both were gooooooooood.
As of today, Mishka is back home, bought a car, looking for work and taking a trip to Moscow with his sister for Christmas, and I . . . well I´m still here. I´m up north at Puerto Iquazu about to see the famous Iquazu Waterfalls that border Argentina and Brazil. Then I head back south via an interesting route or cross over to BRAZIL. It´s funny that I´m only 20 hours away from Rio, where we basically started out trip almost 11 months ago. Crazy! Next month, I fly out to Puerto Rico to see my mom and my sister, and finally return home (but not for long, I suspect.)
I know it sound all glorious and crazy, and it is, but that is just plain ol´ travelling . . . something all the kids we meet around here are doing as well. So next to them, we´re not so glorious and crazy, but just one of the bunch . . . the vagabonding bunch.

Stay tuned! This program will return to its usual schedule after the . . . .

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Lima And The Coming Of Mom And Z 09/08/07 to 09/12/07

Ok, we got to Lima, the capital of Peru, a city of 8 million people and a lot of trash. It sucks that wherever there is poverty, there is pollution. Both things are bad (obviously), but there is definitely a relation between the two. I guess you can't blame people for having the biggest worry of putting food on the table and pushing the rest of the problems to the side. But anyway, Lima, ¨The City of Kings¨ was founded shortly after the quick elimination of the Incas by the Spanish and became Spain's capital in the New World. You go Francisco Pizarro and your murderous gang of conquestadors!As the story goes, once the Americas were discovered, 2 of the world's most richest countries wanted a piece of the action. So the problem settled it's way on to the desk of the most powerful man, the Pope. He pointed his finger on to a spot of the unfinished map and basically to the east belonged to Portuguese and to the west of that finger was now Spanish territory. Funny, huh? Of course, frontiers were constantly redrawn, and then again and again. But that's how the story goes.
Lima is a sad city. Not only because of the economic troubles, but also because of it's sky which is covered with clouds for 9 months of the year. Depressing and cold! Yes, cold even while Lima is just about 600 miles south of the equator. Well, we stayed in the historic center of the city in which still remain many beautiful examples of Spanish architecture.
Anyway, we were here for Mom & Rich, so we got to work on finding a place. While looking for a cup of coffee, we found this guy...
A cool, older gentleman who took us from hostal to hostal until we found Hostal España, a beautiful little place with the best neighbors:
That day was anxiously anticipated since the parents were coming that night. So after the preparations were made, we headed to the airport.
The drivers who crowded around us as they were holding signs of their own were astounded by the beauty of ours, laughed and whispered. Yeah Baby, Mom and Z are a comin'!! Finally, after dozens of people came out, it was impossible to not notice the smile of mama and the lost look of Richie as they strolled out of those doors. They made it!

After hugs and kisses, we packed them into a combi, a minivan which seats about 10, but holds triple the amount of people, and headed for the hostal. Not until the bus broke down on the way and after a few bangs on the side of the truck, it was back on its way again. After a little settling in, we finished the night with wine and fruit as deserving of the greatness of our guests... and of course conversation. The following morning, we hit the streets. We visited Iglesia San Francisco and its catacombs that supposedly stretch for miles underneath the city connecting it to various important buildings in the area and also being home to over a 100,000 bodies of people who were buried there.
Spookily standing over a pit of nicely arranged skulls and bones, never afraid!

"Rich looook...NO LOOOK!" Yes mom is here. Amazed at everything, looking at the world as through the eyes of a baby. And that is so beautiful! The church is beautiful as well with wood carved ceilings that took 40 years to make, paintings, reliefs, Portuguese tile, and a lot of priceless Jesuses everywhere. It is incredible to imagine, the money, time and lives that goes into these places of God, while so many people starve and die of sicknesses and slavery. At least the first 2 apply to almost any religion. Hey, this is the stuff that runs through my mind sometimes. Am I a cynic? Hey look at that! A solid cast iron sink over 200 years old! I wanted to swipe the grated drain in the middle of the sink for my boss, but then thought better of it. Yes, I may be crazy to be taking pictures of stuff like this, but think about it. How long did it take to make? How many hands and things were washed in it? What had this sink seen that you and I can never imagine?
We just did a lot of walking around the city, from small markets to parks, to just watching Peruvians going about their business. And of course, most Peruvians are nice, even the ones guarding the Presidential Palace.
The guys are so obliging that they even let me hold the machine gun. Mom! Look what I can do!

We strolled the city streets looking at old buildings, laughing and eating fried chicken ( a Peruvian specialty). Yes, chicken and fries is the most popular dish in Peru. Also found this antique plane. Richie loves planes and mom loves Richie.
The nest day we checked out Museo de Oro. The Museum of Gold is the pride of Lima. Its a private museum that is owned by the family of this guy who spent his life collecting gold artifacts from Peru's archaelogical cites and guns. So many guns, swords, daggers and other weapons that would make your head spin. A lot of guns, Russian guns, French guns, German guns, American guns and so on. You get the point. Here are some pics of guns and swords:

Samurai swords and armor galore. I love samurais! Of course picture taking is not allowed, but we're rebels. Walking around the museum makes you wander at all the art and work going into these weapons. Priceless materials going into them like ivory, gold, extict woods. All of that to kill people. A piece of our history nevertheless.

Here is my princess teaching a knight a thing or two. Then we descended into the vaulted basement of gold. Here are Richie's favorite pieces:
Those pieces were obviously the best, and there were others which were really cool as well:
Mom and mummy! And with that, we put Lima behind us as we descended south towards Ica and its giant sand dunes. Stay tuned...