Archive for November, 2008

Sad News from Home

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

We got some sad news from home a few days after arriving into Ecuador. My cousin Mary, who`d been sick for some time, was expected to live only a few days longer. She died the following day in the company of her family and friends.

Mary was one of the most generous, selfless people I´ve had the pleasure of knowing. Her bright smile rarely faded, no matter what she was going through, and she always put others before herself. One of the last times I saw her, in the Mater hospital a month or so before we left, I remember being moved about how excited she was for our plans of travelling and moving to the West, a place that she had spent a lot of time paddling in over the years. She thrived on seeing other people happy.

Mary enjoyed life to the full whenever she could. She was a long time kayaker and loved travelling – she´d been to Central America herself (drawn there by the whitewater rafting!) and had spent time trekking in the Himalayas. She enjoyed her skiing and continued to go on skiing holidays with her brothers and friends to soak up the atmosphere even when she didn´t have the strength to partake. In recent months, when she didn´t have the energy to read, she´d have my mum print out the latest stories from this blog and read them out to her (it was great to know that someone was reading it!).

It´s hard being away from home when something like this happens. It would have been nice to be home to see her off but Mary wouldn´t have wanted that. We decided to remember her in our own way and went rafting, something that she certainly would have approved of! It felt right.

We´ll miss you Mary, rest in peace.

Mary off Inis Gola, June 2006

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Northern Peru

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

The two weeks we spent in Peru after leaving Cusco were laid back, very relaxing and pretty uneventful. After treating ourselves to a fancy night bus to Lima (not as fancy as an Argentinian bus, but pretty good nonetheless), we arrived in the Peruvian capital and took a taxi to Miraflores. Lima has a reputation for being a city full of scam artists and thieves, but the area where we stayed was actually quite nice and had a great vibe on the streets for Halloween night. The Limians really put a big effort into Halloween, and the parks in Miraflores were full of kids in fancy dress and old people waltzing to a live band and choir. There was supposed to be a party in the Flying Dog hostel where we stayed, but the bar was empty when we went in so we went back to the common area and played cards with some of the other folks staying there (and learned how to play Whist from an Irish lad in the process). The next day was spent strolling around a fancy shopping center built into a cliff at the seafront and watching the paragliders trying to take off – paragliding is one of the big attractions in Lima but the wind wasn´t up to it when we were there. At one stage we were outside a cinema looking at the listings when what felt like a bomb going off sent everybody legging it in every direction – it turned out to be a small earthquake 43 kms away that registered 4.5 on the Richter scale, but apparently these are fairly common in Peru! Later in the evening, we stocked up on fancy goods in a place very like Donnybrook Fair and had our tea in the hostel. The Flying Dog was nice (and has a good DVD collection!) but very expensive at 75 soles a night for the two of us (nearly 20 euro!). The following day we took a bus to Trujillo, a small city eight hours north and headed straight to Huanchaco, a beach town about 20 minutes further.

Huanchaco at Dusk


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