South America

4am, stumbling about in Lima airport getting ready for the flight west across the Pacific (with a few detours thrown in for good luck).

… sitting in La Paz eating breakfast, and the guy serving us is surfing the morning tv channels… and there is the Sydney Harbour Bridge covered in fireworks.

So bits of Australia have started, and the cool cats in Bougainville will kick off soon.

Happy New Years to all.

Just rolled back into Cusco from the sacred valley.

Christmas eve in Peru, already christmas day back in Oz and PNG.

So best wishes to all, hope you´re with family and friends.

Yep, it is a doozie of a virus. Doesn´t look like I´ll have any solution to my puta blues before landing back in Australia and tracking down some install disks and probably finding myself a geek to help. On the road at present snapping pictures, so am unable to sort this out (no doubt would do more damage!).

So apologies for my slow responses to emails or lack of output to those waiting on things, I will try to keep on top of as much as possible without my files handy.

I´m tapping this out while sitting in a random hole-in-the-wall convenience store/net cafe inside the big Puno bus station, next to a dude surfing for pictures of the Simpsons cartoon… shoot me… now…

Getting off here to snap some pictures.

I´ve been off Kisim Piksa for a few days… the little PC has developed a serious cough, and I´m desperately trying to fix it (read: save my skin). Things are not looking good for me at this point. So now I´m sitting in a net cafe trying to figure out how a computer goofball can somehow get the machine going again… many thanks to those who think writing a computer virus is funny.

Still, today I saw Andean Condors floating around the Colca Canyon, so all is good in the world.

Llight aircraft vomit

C­heap hostel room: $7

Taxi to airport: $2

Seat in a light plane to see the Nazca lines: $50

Spewing all over yourself, your camera, your seat and the floor: Priceless

Birds at Ballestas Islands

Museo Larco

The capital of Peru, a fly by night visit, a whirlwind of big city lights.

From the Museo Larco with its stunning collection of textiles, pottery and of course gold (though we really can’t speak about the Larco without mentioning its extensive collection of pre-colonial erotic ceramics…) to the Catedral de Lima on the Plaza de Armas where the remains of Francisco Pizarro lie, the big city is full of places to see and things to indulge in.


President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil was visiting, so our time in downtown was full of 21 gun salutes, barricades and police. We ate well, enjoyed our time in the city and plodded about like the camera toting tourists we are.

Now we’ve landed in Pisco (after another jaunt on a bus), so now we need to track down the best spot for the famous ‘sour’ and enjoy the tingle. Road trippin…

Window galleries, 6th floor. Museo de la nacion, Lima

Sometimes, even when you have to rush through a show due to time constraints, the work leaves its mark.

The Museo de la Nacion in Lima has devoted a large amount of the 6th floor to Yayanapaq. To remember. In the tradition of excessive explanation, kisim piksa throws out that in the Quechua language ‘yayanapaq’ means ‘to remember’.

Peru and its decades long struggle with militant groups (such as the Shining Path), corrupt government undertakings and a law enforcement community prone to violent shadowy ‘justice’ is well known and documented.

The collection of photograhs is excellent (and by that I mean it is not flippant or ‘sexy’). It is an exhibition of the many wrongs committed against the Peruvian population. Deaths at the hands of rebel groups are treated with the same sharp eye as those people killed by law enforcement officials. Mass graves, houses full of bodies, the 1996 hostage situation in the Japanese Embassy and wrongfully jailed innocents finally released hang on the bare grey walls. A particularly arresting sequence is from a television crew, where frames from the moving footage are reproduced as stills, showing the few brief moments of terror as some teenagers are bundled into the boot (trunk) of a law enforcement vehicle. Their bodies were found the next day in a city hospital.

6th floor installation. Museo de la Nacion

The museum is an imposing, angular concrete structure that stands tall above a major road through Lima. The 6th floor gallery was a refreshing change from the white cube yawn fest that so many exhibiton spaces have become. The concrete rooms are small, concentrating the experience of the few pictures in each themed section. Free standing concrete slabs provide additional hanging and a way to break the larger areas into spaces where you can’t do the easy ‘lap of the wall’. In addition to the darkened nooks are the fantastic areas near the floor to ceiling windows, where thin fabric screens have been installed to permit glowing, bright, diffused light to flood parts of the space. These areas are used and images are hung effectively with the sprawling, slightly obscured, view of Lima stretching out to the horizon.

In the accompanying exhibition catalogue (reproduced here as it is printed, so every so often the grammar or structure is a little tricky) the President of The Commission on the Truth and Reconciliation, Salomon Lerner Ferbes, writes:

“Any community that comes out of a history of violence faces, several dilemmas, one that is inevitable and radical: to remember or forget. Peru, set up a commission of Truth and Reconciliation. This commission took sides with remembering. Choosing to remember is at the same time, choosing the truth. It is a moral choice that involves courage and maturity.

Our duty was to offer the country a portrait of itself. This portrait was intended to restore the dramas experienced by hose who were victims of violence. The images selected for this photographic exhibition narrates part of the events between 1980 and 2000 and tries to reconstruct the visual memory of a period of internal armed conflict which resulted in the death and dsappearance of more than 69,000 people.

This is a documentation of the resistance of thousands of men and women of Peru, whose faces of desolation and puzzled by the tragedy fin the greatest moral commentary – testimony and education – while pressing a mandate: that of not acquiesce in oblivion indifferent or concerned, the obligation to write our recent history knowingly and integrating in it the memory of those who suffered in silence.

The Commission on the Truth and Reconciliation wants to offer this immediate facing of a truth that not only must be recognised and understood, but we also need to feel like it is our own truth to build over it a more peaceful and more humane country.”

Huanchaco beach

As mentioned, we’re on a bus at present. Rolling from Huanchaco to Lima along the stunning dry coastline of Peru. It is magic country; grey, pink and white soil windblown across stoney peaks.

Edwina looking out window enroute to Lima

So we’re sitting on a long haul bus, and I’m typing away on the PC, trying to finalise a piece of writing I’ve been working on for some time (S.D., I swear it’s almost ready!), and Carlos leans over and says ‘WiFi’… I respond ‘bullshit’… and then connect to the web… for free… on a Peruvian bus… and it’s kicking along at 54Mbps… and post this up…

Anyone in Australia reading this, believe the hype that we are getting GOUGED on our web/communications/connectivity services.

This.. kicks… arse… now I just need to figure out how to balance surfing for rubbish with enjoying the view out the window!

crop. Mancora street

Dogs seem to get cameras pointed at them… a lot. From the cringe worthy postcards and 20x24inch polaroids to the witty and amusing pictures by Cartier-Bresson and Erwitt, the range of possibilities is huge. HCB’s humping pooches and Erwitt’s entire book (a little brick of a thing), full of quirky and amusing asides, keep me giggling.

Robert Adams speaks of the importance of dogs to him and his friends or colleagues in a number of pieces of writing. His first meeting with Nicholas Nixon centred around the joy experienced at the enthusiam of Adams’ dog to meet Nixon at the front door. Another whole essay, or more accurately a collection of short statements, is devoted to the dog.

David Hurn made the statement in his discussions with Bill Jay that the shape of a dog somewhere in frame almost provides an anchor (this is major paraphrasing, on the road – in a bus – without access to either book or net, so only working from the dirty, dark corners of my failing memory).

A Larry Towell photograph that I adore (and have reproduced in this journal in times past) has the shrunken dogs arse through the photographer’s glasses within the wider street scene.

The PNG dogs haven’t grabbed me too much yet (other than attempting to run a few down out of pity and an aversion to seeing such mangey suffering). I’ve made a few snaps, and a times in Bougainville they have made it into the pictures as participants in the scene rather than just small blobs sniffing around on the periphery.

A few dog pictures have been snapped on this random trip, and the crop above (from a wider scene) showing one of the funny hairless Peruvian mutts has become a fav because of the Thylacine like yawn and distant memories of Chamberlain dramas and horrid fake Aussie accents (the dingo is now wearing the jumpsuit…).

Northern Peru, near coast, from bus

11 hours hauling across the arid north Peruvian coastal zone in a bus. Beautiful, but a lot of the trip was done in the dark.

Collapsed into bed last night, now up for adventuring.