Kitten And Owlet Become Best Friends And Nap Buddies
Peter Stewart - The Exoskeleton
Peter Stewart - Barriers To The Sky
Peter Stewart - Inside Chungking
Peter Stewart - Stacked - Urban Architecture of Hong Kong
Ghost Light by Studio Arhoj
I have a new music video coming out really soon, here’s a moment of glitch that I did for it…
Dr. Vella provides a thorough background of New Orleans further back than I had read in detail, which finally made clear to me the intersections and cultural tensions between the French New Orleans government to the Spanish-Creole government back to France and then finally Louisiana Purchased into America. Aha! One side of the heroine's family (her family by blood) were Spanish nobility, the other (her family by marriage) French nobility, and she goes back and forth in the book between New Orleans and France, investing heavily in real estate and inheriting property in both. It's the best book I've read on the changing economics of the aristocracies of the time, and how that shaped the city. Literally -- the heroine's New Orleans holdings included the buildings around what is now Jackson Square. She was the architect. It's a deep look at property rights, the rights of women, the differences in marital law between France and Louisiana, urban planning, charitable giving, and a complicated love-hate relationship that defied both families in turn and inspired an opera. I'm loving it. I'm seeking out everything else the author has written -- apparently she's got a book on George Washington Carver coming out this year that I'm totally going to read. I love her authorial voice -- she gives you what's known of the facts, and describes how she got this data, but she doesn't hesitate to pass judgment when that's appropriate, and her sly wit is *hilarious*. Five soaring transatlantic iron arches out of five.
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After the UbuCon Latin America conference that I wrote about here I had a day of work and personal project catch up with a dash of relaxation at my hotel before MJ arrived that night. Monday morning we were picked up by the folks at Viajes Pacifico who I had booked a tour of Lima and Cusco with.
It was the first time I used a group tour company, the price of the tour included all the hotels (selected by them) as well as transportation and entrance fees into the sites our tour went to. I definitely prefer the private driver we had in Mexico for our honeymoon, and we’re putting together our own itinerary for our trip to Japan in October, but given my schedule this year I simply didn’t have the time or energy to put together a schedule for Peru. The selected hotels were fine, but we likely would have gone to nicer ones if we booked ourselves. The tours were kept small, with the largest group being one in Cusco that was maybe 14 of us and the smallest being only 4. I wasn’t a fan of the schedule execution, we had a loose schedule each day but they wouldn’t contact us until the evening before with exact pickup times and it was unclear how long the tours would last or which trains we’d be taking, which caused making dinner reservations and the like to be a bit dicey. Still, it all worked out and it was great to have someone else worry about the logistical details.
On Monday we were picked up from our hotel in the afternoon for the schedule Lima city tour, which began at El Parque del Amor (Love Park), a beautiful seaside park in Miraflores with lots of flowers, a giant sculpture of a couple and lovely view of the Pacific Ocean. From there the tour bus did a quick drive around the ruins of Huaca Pucllana, which I had really hoped to see beyond just the windows of a bus – alas! And then on to the rest of our tour that took us to the main square in Lima where we got a tour of Basilica Cathedral of Lima which is notable not only by being the main cathedral but also the tomb of famous Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro. I learned that during excavations they discovered that his head was buried in a box separate from his body. The cathedral itself is beautiful.
More photos from the cathedral here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/sets/72157657445084381
Our next stop was the Convent of Santo Domingo. The claim to fame there are the tombs and related accoutrements of both Saint Rose of Lima and Saint Martin de Porres. They had an impressive library that spanned not just religious books, but various topics in Spanish and Latin. The convent also had some nice gardens and history of these places is always interesting to learn about. I think we may have gotten more out of them if were were Catholic (or even Christian).
More photos from the convent here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/sets/72157657445106491
That evening we met up with a friend of mine from high school who has lived in Lima for several years. It was fun to catch up over a nice Peruvian meal that included more ceviche and my first round of Pisco Sours.
Tuesday was our non-tour day in Lima, so I got up early for a walk down by the ocean and then up to the Artisan Markets of Miraflores (the “Inka Market”). I was able to pick up some tourist goodies and on my way to the market I walked through Kennedy Park. We were told about this park on the tour the previous day, it’s full of cats! Cats in the flowers, cats on the lawn, cats on the benches. Given my love for cats, it was quite the enjoyable experience. I took a bunch of pictures: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/sets/72157657420782972
I made it back to our hotel shortly after noon in time to meet up with MJ to go to our lunch reservations at the famous Astrid y Gaston. This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip to Lima. We partook of their tasting menu which was made of over a dozen small plates that each were their own little work of art. It was easily one of the best meals I’ve ever had.
After lunch, which was a multiple hour affair, we made it to the ruins of Huaca Huallamarca just before closing. They have a small, single room museum that contains a mummy that was found on the site and some artifacts. They let you climb the mud brick “pyramid” that seems to have active archaeological digs going on (though no one was there when we visited). Definitely worth the stop as we rounded out our afternoon.
More photos of the site here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/sets/72157657376822346
Our early evening plans were made partially by what was still open after 5PM, which is how we found ourselves at the gem that is Museo Larco. Beautifully manicured grounds with lots of flowering plants, a stunning array of Peruvian artifacts dating back several thousand years with descriptions in multiple languages and a generally pleasant place to be. I particularly liked the exhibits with the cat themes, as the cats were an ancient symbol of earth (with heavens the bird and snakes below). Highly recommended and they’re open until 10PM! We didn’t stay that late though, we had dinner reservations at Brujas de Cachiche back down in Miraflores. With a focus on seafood, the menu was massive and the food was good.
More photos from Museo Larco here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/sets/72157657420797692
That meal wrapped up the Lima portion of or trip, we were up before the sun the next day for our flight to Cusco!
And more photos more generally around Lima are here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/albums/72157657029669660
Science can be a dangerous game.
I love the idea that this guy in Texas was like “Did I just find a rodent in Texas that is NEW TO SCIENCE!?”