Nona and Papa tell me “No!” but I want to fly!

Dear Nicalai,

When we arrived in Lima, Peru, we went for an evening walk in our neighborhood.  Our neighborhood is called Miraflores, and I really like it. So do Nona and Papa.

Something else I like here, or, well, I think I would like it: On our walk we saw these paragliders, and, right away, I knew flying in Miraflores was for me. So, I said, let’s do that! Nona and Papa both said, “No!” in a way that I knew they really meant it.

All you need to paraglide is right here in Lima: strong ocean winds and a cliff to jump off, and you’re airborne!

All you need to paraglide is right here in Lima: strong ocean winds and a cliff to jump off, and you’re airborne! Look at them taking a selfie way up there!

I’m still wondering what Nona and Papa don’t like about flying around Miraflores attached to a big kite. Is it the cost or the jumping off a cliff part? Maybe both?

You have choices when paragliding in Miraflores -- get close up to the high-rise buildings or take an excursion out over the ocean.

You have choices when paragliding in Miraflores — get close up to the high-rise buildings or take an excursion out over the ocean.

Watching these people paragliding was fun, but I bet you have more fun actually doing it.  Some people went up there on their kite all by themselves.  They were the ones who did a lot of zooming, diving, and climbing.  Others went with a pilot.  That’s called “going tandem,” and, if you don’t know how to paraglide, you can go tandem with an experienced pilot. That’s how I’d start out, if only Nona and Papa would let me.

This is the little paraglider' airport by the ocean. They have a paragliding school here too!

This is the little paraglider’ airport by the ocean. They have a paragliding school here too! We watched this fellow a long time. He never did take off.

We think that guy must have been just learning how to paraglide. I know that, if I were facing that steep cliff by myself for the first time, I would take a long time to step off.  Wouldn’t you?

You have to steer to miss hitting, trees, lighthouses, and buildings.  Learning to steer would be very important, I think.

You have to steer to miss hitting, trees, lighthouses, and buildings.  Learning to steer would be very important, I think.

On the other hand, I saw a lot of paragliders who took off, zoomed around, and landed just like they were going for an evening walk.  Just that easy.  Papa said, “Solbit, with experience comes ease and grace.  You can see it in some of those fliers up there, can’t you?”  I sure could, and, don’t tell Nona and Papa, but I’m going to find a way to get that experience. Look for me showing “ease and grace” in the clouds one of these days. Stay tuned. Bye! I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

August 2016

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit remembers making friends in Peru

Dear Nicalai,

I know I should be writing you about our next big adventure, and we are having fun now, but you know how sometimes your mind just keeps going back to some pleasant times, rather than getting with the current program.  That’s me now.  We had a slow but very pleasant time in Cuzco, and I think I have to write you about it, just so I can put it behind me and move on.

I guess I’m sort of missing my canine (that means dog) friend, Sandy. Did I already tell you about her?  We saw her every day when we walked to the Plaza de Armas.

My Cuzco friend, Sandy, liked to use her tail as a pointer.  She'd point out things she wanted me to see.

My Cuzco friend, Sandy, liked to use her tail as a pointer.  She’d point out things she wanted me to see.

Of course, Cousin Susie was still with us when we were in Cuzco, and I can’t get it out of my mind how she talked about our seeing the Inca ruin that’s named “Sexy Woman.” Except, of course, it isn’t.  It has a Quechua name that sounds something like that, but it’s really “Sachsaywaman,” that means “falcon” or “variable hawk.”

Nona introduced me to an alpaca (or was it a llama?) at “Sachsaywaman.” Still, thanks to cousin Susie, I’ll always think of it as “Sexy Woman.”

Nona introduced me to an alpaca (or was it a llama?) at “Sachsaywaman.” Still, thanks to cousin Susie, I’ll always think of it as “Sexy Woman.”

Sachsaywaman is where you can see AMAZING stone work of the Incas.  Everyone has their photo taken in front of a spot in the wall like this.

Where else can you see fine stone work like this except in Peru?

Where else can you see fine stone work like this except in Peru?

Papa talked about the “ingenuity” of the Inca people, and he asked me, “Solbit, do you think we people could do something this beautiful with stone today?”  I just shrugged, and then he said, “I think it is a lost art.”  So, I asked him, “Well, why don’t you help look for it? It must be around here somewhere.  How far could it have gone, anyway?”  He patted me on my head and smiled.  I think that means he didn’t want to take the time to go looking for it.

Cousin Tom has also been coming to mind.  I think he’s a bit like me.  He likes the llamas and the alpacas, but he has a hard time telling the difference, too.

Cousin Tom took photos of my new friends, but he kept his distance.  I don't know why.  These alpacas were very friendly.

Cousin Tom took photos of my new friends, but he kept his distance.  I don’t know why.  These alpacas were very friendly.

I wonder if Cousin Tom could keep some llamas and alpacas on his and Cousin Susie’s wildlife refuge in New Jersey?  If he did then, eventually, we’d get pretty good at knowing the difference between a llama and an alpaca, wouldn’t we?  Do you think I should send him a suggestion like that?  Another benefit would be that their herding dog, Luna — she’s a puli — would have friends that she could herd! Oh, say, have you seen Luna, she has amazing fur, Papa says she is covered in dreadlocks, and she is! Just look at her …

Did you know that not just dogs like luna have dreadlocks.  Some people have them too.  I know I’ve seen them.

Did you know that not just dogs like luna have dreadlocks.  Some people have them too.  I know I’ve seen them.

Well, next time I write, I’ll tell you about our new place. Bye!

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

August 2016

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Close Encounter of a different kind, or, OK, this is going to be gross!

Dear Nicalai,

[Warning: you may not want to look at my second and third photos.]

You know how sometimes you feel very comfortable being close to another animal, for example with llamas or alpacas, like these.

Every time we encounter these animals -- even a close encounter -- I can't tell whether its an alpaca or a llama. Can you?

Every time we encounter these animals — even a close encounter — I can’t tell whether its an alpaca or a llama. Can you?

Other times, though, you really want to see another animal — let’s say a very deadly snake — but you don’t want a close encounter with it, right?

What is good is when you get to make the choice for yourself.  You chose what kind of encounter to have, right?  Close or distant, depending on how you feel about the animal beside you or that you want to observe. You could say that I’m a pro-choice kind of plastic Jurassic.  I like to make my own choices about these encounters with others in the animal world.

Maybe you’re like me, so pity poor Papa.  Why? Well, when we were here in Peru, he had a very close encounter with an animal.  That animal didn’t even give him a choice of how close the encounter would be. In fact, he didn’t even know about his close encounter at the time … not until a few weeks later. That’s when, as a result of the unknown encounter, well, you’ll see what I mean … just look at this photo that Nona and I took of Papa’s ankle:

Papa called me,

Papa called me, “Solbit, come look at my ankle, please. Tell me what is that coming out of the skin?”

I didn’t want to get too close, but I had to get close to see that little thing wiggling out of Papa’s skin.

From Nona's and my close encounter with this little beast, we agreed on what we had seen, and I replied to Papa,

From Nona’s and my close encounter with this little beast, we agreed on what we had seen, and I replied to Papa, “OOO! Yuck! That looks like a maggot!” And Nona said, “It is a maggot!”

Guess what? That little wiggly thing was alive, and it wasn’t Papa’s skin that was wiggling either. No, we found out that, because this thing was coming out of Papa’s ankle now, that meant that some weeks ago an insect, called a “bot fly,”  had bitten Papa and laid eggs inside Papa’s skin.  That would have happened a few weeks ago when we were in the jungle of the Amazon Basin area of Peru, a region called ManuRemember, I wrote you before about that trip?

Oh, yuck, those eggs were in there all that time! Yes, not just “egg” but “eggs,” plural (that means “more than one.”) So, a few more maggots came out later.  Poor Papa. Fortunately, the eggs weren’t heavy and the maggots are so very tiny that they didn’t eat much of him, and, “best” of all, they came out of his ankle. They didn’t decide to stay there.

So Papa’s ok now, although he does spend a lot of time checking his ankles for bot flies now. Nona keeps saying, “For Pete’s sake, Papa, stop swatting at your ankles. We’re not in the jungle anymore.”

Of course, not all close encounters are bad.  Some can be very good, if you have them by choice. For example, I’m looking forward to a close encounter with you this December. Bye!

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

August 2016

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit sees huge vultures flying below her!

Dear Nicalai,

Nona was pretty excited, “Solbit, we’re off to Colca Canyon, and we’re going to see Andean Condors there!”  “What’re Andean Condors?” I asked, in the most boring tone I could convey.  See, I just wanted to relax on our sunny porch at Killawasi Lodge here in Yanque, Peru.

Nona answered, again very excitedly, “They are very big vultures!”  “Oh,” I said somewhat deflated, “I’ve already seen canyons and vultures. Black vultures. Turkey Vultures. Seeing vultures really doesn’t sound interesting to me.”  Of course, Nona was her usual enthusiastic self.  No stopping her.

So, I didn’t get to kick back on our sunny terrace.  Off we went to see canyon and condor. Well, I have to admit that the canyon was beautiful.

This isn't even the deep part of Colca Canyon . The deep part is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the US!

This isn’t even the deep part of Colca Canyon . The deep part is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the US!

Nona, Papa, and I hiked down the shallow canyon to the river and then hiked up the other side. We had beautiful views on the steep paths, and, guess what, we weren’t even in the deepest part of the canyon.  Good thing we weren’t, because we would have taken days to hike out of the deep part.

We took a bus ride on a steep and winding road, with a lot of other people, to get to the edge of the steeper part of the canyon.  When we got off the bus, we saw crowds of other people leaning over the edge of the canyon.  We hurried over there.  When we looked down, this is what we saw …

We saw the Andean Condors. It is a type of vulture that likes to eat big dead animals. Oh, yuck! On the other hand, they do clean up messes, don’t they?

We saw the Andean Condors. It is a type of vulture that likes to eat big dead animals. Oh, yuck! On the other hand, they do clean up messes, don’t they?

Yeah, isn’t that amazing that we looked down into the canyon to see the soaring vultures, the Andean Condors, and they are the biggest bird I’d ever seen. I don’t want to say that I was wrong, but the truth is that the sight was not boring.

On our bus ride to and from seeing the Andean Condors, we passed through villages, called pueblos.  Nona explained that the Spanish conquerors made the native people move from their homes scattered across the landscape into these pueblos, so they could be controlled by the Spanish.  So these villages were really not so nice in the beginning.

We saw this church in a pueblo (a village).  Isn’t it pretty?

We saw this church in a pueblo (a village).  Isn’t it pretty?

The Spanish conquerors forced  native people, who were not Christians, to build it and forced them to join the church.  Papa said, “Just the way Jesus would have wanted it!”  The way he said that made me think that he wasn’t serious, though. So, I guess “looks can be deceiving.” On the other hand, “time heals all wounds,” so maybe things are better now. Do you think?

People here enjoy wearing beautifully colored, handcrafted fabrics.  In fact, I got so carried away looking at the clothes that I got fooled.

Here’s a statue that fooled me, for just a second. I had thought, “Wow? That’s a big person carrying that fox!”

Here’s a statue that fooled me, for just a second. I had thought, “Wow? That’s a big person carrying that fox!”

Fooled, again!

Here's a real person who fooled me. I had thought, "Wow, the sculptor really brought that piece to life." Then I realized, "She's a real person."

Here’s a real person who fooled me. I had thought, “Wow, the sculptor really brought that piece to life.” Then I realized, “She’s a real person.”

Anyway, if I were a person, rather than a plastic jurassic, I’d like to wear clothes like those.  I wouldn’t be like Nona and Papa and wear the same boring brown and black and blue clothing all the time.

I think we’re going to make the trip back to Arequipa tomorrow, so I have to help pack now.  Bye!

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

August 2012

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit’s shocking discovery in Peru

Dear Nicalai,

Before I tell you about my shocking discovery here in Peru, I want to show you another and more pleasant discovery: doors.  I think I hadn’t appreciated doors enough, until Nona and Papa took me to other countries.  Traveling abroad, I’ve discovered that doors aren’t just for walking through walls.  No, doors can also be things of beauty. Let me show you two really nice doors.

One of my favorite sights on our trips to different countries are the doors. Yes, doors. Isn't that odd? But don't you like this one in Arequipa?

One of my favorite sights on our trips to different countries are the doors. Yes, doors. Isn’t that odd? But don’t you like this one in Arequipa?

Yes, we’re in Arequipa now. We saw that door (above) and this one (below) at the Santa Catalina Monastery of nuns here. I think back in the U.S. we would say it is a “convent,” rather than “monastery.”  Right?  Anyway, it is really old. it was built way back in 1579.  Here’s that other door that I liked.

The most simple doorway can be pleasing, if you have the right colors and light. Usually, I like my doors simple.

The most simple doorway can be pleasing, if you have the right colors and light. Usually, I like my doors simple.

Well, those were my pleasant discoveries. Now for my shocking discovery.  We had to go to a plain and simple restaurant, Hatunpa, for me to make this discovery.

At Hatunpa what's on the menu is potato, all kinds of native Peruvian potatoes.

At Hatunpa what’s on the menu is potato, all kinds of native Peruvian potatoes. My new friend, Tica, showed us the different potatoes we’d get in our dishes.

Well, here’s my shocking discovery:  Papa, my travel companion and your grandfather, is the name for “potato” in South America!   They’re even pronounced the same way.  So, when I called “Papa” to get Papa’s attention, it’s not a wonder that people gave me funny looks.  Did they think I was calling for a potato?  (Oh, by the way, did you know that more than 4,000 varieties of potatoes are native to the Andean highlands of Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia? Isn’t that amazing?)

That restaurant’s name, Hatunpa, means “Big Potato” in the quechua language. They only serve potatoes — all kinds of potatoes — and you can get your choice of all kinds of fillings to put on them, too.

Papa (not the potato) got a tuna sauce on this potatoes, and Nona got a traditional mixed vegetables sauce. Both were really good, too.  Another really good thing was that the restaurant has little flags for all the countries of the world, and, when you sit down, they ask you what country you are from and then put that country’s flag on your table.  We could see people from a lot of different countries at other tables.  Cool, huh?

Peru has a lot of good restaurants, according to Nona and Papa. Being a plastic Jurassic, I wouldn’t know.  I do know that mostly human beings go to restaurants for the food, but not always.  We went twice to another place, the Zig Zag Restaurant and Bar, for the food and for something else, too. Here’s what I mean …

Papa may have liked the view more than the food, and he really did like the food at Zig Zag Restaurant and Bar.

Papa liked the view from Zig Zag Restaurant and Bar as much as he liked the food.

Oh, I forgot. Papa says it is okay for us to continue to call him “Papa” even though he knows it means “potato.”  Nona says that, if you put an accent over the last “a,” like this: “papá”, then it does mean dad or grandfather.  Somehow that accent mark changes how to pronounce the word, she claims.  Anyway, I’m sticking with just “papa.”  Papa doesn’t care, and neither do the potatoes, I’m sure.  Bye!

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

August 2016

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”