Sunday, July 18, 2010

Casa Roja -Vilcabamba, Ecuador


Add comment May 24, 2007


It’s a long long way to Ecuador from Malaysia. Holy cow. The first flight was fine, slept in 2-3 hour segments, missed two entire movies (caught both on the second flight). The 18hr ‘stopover’ in Amsterdam passed without grand event unless you count getting on the wrong train from Schipol and ending up in Amersfoort but even then I caught a glimpse of the green flatness of the Dutch country-side that would have otherwise gone amiss. Vanessa had her new flat, now a property-owner she is proud of her accomplishment and rightly so its in a great part of town and as with anywhere in central Amsterdam a 10minute cycle from just about everywhere else and close to public transport; who could ask for more. Got some shopping done but failed to find a Mac compatible webcam even at Schipol airport duty free. Went to the World Press photo exhibit which while with individual photos of great merit was overall unimpressive for some reason. A short nap and shorter shower back at the new flat, dinner with MSF friends of Vanessa’s and then back to Schipol.

Schipol airport was shutting down for the night, the Quito flight is the last of the day and there isn’t another until 6am! That surprised me as did the crowd for the flight to Ecuador via Bonaire. This flight too wasn’t so bad, the aircraft a McDonell Douglas tristar was very comfortable. Must remember to book row 23 again in the future. I couldn’t sleep much on this flight though I wanted to and watched the movie and read Hashim Matars ‘In a Country of Men’ cover to cover.

The big dilemma of how to get to Vilcabamba on a Saturday resolved when I resolved not to spend any time in Guyaquil supported by a now clear desire to get to Vilcabamba without delay. In the queue waiting for immigration a woman hinted that there might be daily flights to Cuenca as well as Quito and lured by the comfort of going to a place I already knew I managed to get straight onto a Cuenca flight and landed there at 7:20 am having arrived in Guayquil at six o’clock! Not to hit pause I went straight to the bus station and at 7:45am the Executiva Express pulled out to Loja. This ride was a bit long but it is stunning how the road somehow finds its way south winding along the green cultivated hillsides and over the gentle passes of the lower Andes. We didn’t stop and without breakfast (unless the one on the flight 4hrs earlier counts) I also missed lunch but arrived in Loja at 1:30. Caught the Vilcabamba Turs bus enroute to the taxi cooperativa and slowly we made our way up that lovely valley to Vilcabamba by 2:30pm. Wow. Guayquil to Vilcabamba in 8.5hrs.

Like so often in this funny little town the question of how to find Fabricio and they keys to the house was solved when I got down from the bus and there (in Victors old house) stood Jorge Mendieta who called Fabricio on the phone. I was pleasantly surprised at how many people I know and in the first 10 minutes in town (literally 10 minutes) had re-acquainted with 5 people and found out who else was about. The place really hasn’t changed a bit.

Fabricio was in good form, looking fit and tanned and we walked up the old trail (which has decayed somewhat due to the horse traffic) to the back road entrance that Kathy had built. It was in exactly the place I had wanted and you arrive at the turnaround place without ever seeing the house (or being seen from the house). A very nice little camino takes you into the back of the property through what is now a pleasant small orchard with lots of fruit tree species growing then up through the landscaped flower beds to the back door. Entering the house was a thrill. The knowledge that we designed and built this place is almost overpowering in that it is really really nice! I mean how did we do this? Everything works, thanks to Fabricio there are no leaks, the hot water and plumbing (except for one leak in the green bathroom) are fine. The stove and fridge work. Kathy had painted the whole interior white and it looks great. She has replaced the big piece of butchers block island chopping board with a piece of green marble which as a counter is nice, perhaps there was too much wood happening. The upstairs floor like all the terraces are firm and without loose creaking boards and the tranquility in lovely lighting which we reveled in for that short month in 2004 remains the singular emotional sense. Its fabulous.

Its now 4:30am and I have been awake since 1:30. I know its Sunday at home and my little family is fully active and busy with all of what goes on in their lives on Sunday. I have had half-awake rememberances of Kasems lovely little wriggling curious body and Zaki’s mischievious laugh and of Cecile’s amazing presence. I wish they were here to enjoy this with me, I want to share it with them but know that it would have been a very hard trip and that there are things to be done here best done by me alone. And perhaps ‘absence will make the heart grow fonder’ and this fondness I feel for my family will displace the discontent that otherwise has pervaded my consciousness these past months.

Add comment May 24, 2007

flying solito

bygone days

successfully pasted this old picture into the blogpage so things are progressing in daddyoh’s blogland.

whew. first half of the journey is over and it wasn’t too bad. i think i actually slept reasonably well on the plane. not for long but still quite well, no little boys to chase down the aisle (very few kids on the plane), no nappies to change, a whole seat to myself.

i want to make this trip a good time for self-reflection and try to allow whatever spirit healing is required to take place without effort. lets see what happens, meditate a bit each day, write a bit each day and take it from there.

i do want to get things done. i am a doer and doing is what we do us doers so hopefully there will be some good changes at the house and the trip will be productive. somehow it needs to be so that i don’t feel guilty for leaving my little family for so long…. it will be interesting to be in Vilcabamba again…my 5th time to return to spend time in the pueblo.

it seems the universe has conspired to ensure i do not finish the IFRC report on this trip as even the version that has been sent to me is not the most recent one so it will have to wait. pushed out of my mind.

one thing i know for sure is that i love my darling, i love my boys, i love being a father but i have a confused notion of why i have had such a hard time embracing the change in my life. its really odd since this is what i was supposed to be good at! (managing change well), should just let that whole thing go i guess.

1 comment May 18, 2007

lots left

gotta get on with the lots left to do. packing a bag for one thing! its all under control at this point and i’ll head to the train station around 9 i guess, after the boys are in bed.

oh dear. am tired but its okay.

Add comment May 17, 2007

one more sleep

oh boy. its really coming close now. i feel like i have so many pressing things to do but i guess it is just a question of being organized. haven’t been sleeping so well, too many broken nights. what to do.

Annie is here. its actually a bit more work the first day or two while she finds her feet and gets oriented. theres alot to know and to remember and as my Dad would say her ‘forgettery’ is working well. i cannot emphasize enough for her to try to respect their weekly and daily routines. it is not a joke and it is not trivial and i really hope that she clicks in with whats going on. i wish i had more confidence then i wouldn’t be so nervous in leaving. i know the boys will survive but i want better than that.

Zaki is not feeling too well this week. this virus is back, the one that gives him the compression cough and snotty nose, congested chest. it sounds so asthmatic but i guess that would have been diagnosed by now if it were some allergic reaction… Kasem too is having the snuffles, will raise his bed again to elevate his head a bit. poor little guys.

anyways. have decided to finish the IFRC thing while i am away. better to take the pressure off and let me get at it when i have time for it. wish i could be more easy going than i feel. like i used to be. seems like the ‘responsibility’ of being a parent has changed me, or something like that.

am not looking forward to the journey. that has to be said. so many hours in a plane and two missed nights. sucks. oh well. flying alone will be different thats for sure!

Add comment May 16, 2007

2 more sleeps

Only 2 more sleeps until daddy hits the airways and flies far away. daddy is not looking forward to being so far from his boys or his mummy. already i am getting nervous about how things will go and i hope this trip doesn’t upset the apple cart. this blog site will make it easy to check in on me and see what i am up to. i will buy a new camera in Amsterdam airport so that i can send you pictures in case we are not so easily able to use Skype. i love you guys…you are my life.

1 comment May 15, 2007

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