Nov. 23 Lima and the Larco Museum

Apparently no trip to Lima would be complete without two important sites: the Monasterio de San Franciso, and the Museo Larco.  SKELETONS AND EROTICA!  (In that order.)  The Monastery of San Francisco, bright yellow on the outside, and beautiful, but inside, deep in the catacombs are the bones of an estimated 70,000 remains.

Bl. #2 San Fran. MonasteryBl. #2 San Fran. M. BonesNext came the Larco Museum surrounded by plants and flowers that were a feast to the eye.  Bougainvilleas every where!! The walkway to the museum overflowed with them, so dramatic and beautiful.  Inside were ceremonial clay pots and jewellery from the height of the Inca Empires and more…erotica pottery.  In all shapes and sizes.  In all positions.  More than you can imagine.  Way more. My father did a series of erotic sculptures when he was 70.  I guess I’ll wait 10 years for my series.Bl. #2 Museo Larco #3 Bl. #2 Museo Larco #5 Bl. #2 Museo Larco Erotica Bl.#2 Museo Larco #2

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Nov. 21 – Dec. 2, 2014 PERU AND MACHU PICHU! We began in Lima…

Me and Bec in Machu Pichu#1My youngest daughter Rebecca and I embarked on another adventure, this time to South America.  Combining her biologist/conservation/educator profession and mine as an artist, I learnt to see things differently.  Our introduction to Lima was the  ruin near our hotel in Miraflores, called “Huaca Pucllana” built by people of the Lima culture around the 5th century A.D.  The site was considered a “Nawpallacta”: an ancient sacred place.  Small adobe bricks were made by hand and placed in vertical rows.  The effect was pure symmetry . The restaurant on site was an unintentional find:  Lima is becoming one of the culinary capitals of the world. The food was absolutely deliBl.#1 Lima;adobe brickscious.  Rebecca had her first ceviche – delicately marinated raw fish. Bl.#1 Model brick maker

Bl.#1 Restaurant on site

Ceviche at the Huaca PpucThe next day, we walked through the old part of Lima.  Plaza des Armas, for example, with it’s original fountain, has it’s own story.  Every year on July 27th, it is filled with Pisco Sour, for every one to enjoy.  Or so they say..Bl #1 Old LIma architecture Bl#1 Old Lima DoorwayBl. #1 ME & B. in Old LimaBl#1 Place des Armas

 

The architecture is a type of neo-colonial style, with a Moorish influence.  I will learn later on in the trip that Peru consists of many cultures, blending from the Incas, Spaniards, Chinese, and so many more.  The buildings in Old Lima reflected this.  I started thinking about paintings with these brightly coloured buildings and delicately carved wooden balconies.

 

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Dec. 3 Our Last Day in Jaipur and the End of Our Adventure

Touring the City Palace of Jaipur (Rajasthan) was to behold one beautiful thing after another.  The ornate marble patterns, the carvings, inlays and even giant silver urns meant to carry water from the Ganges for the Maharaja’s travels, were all spectacular.  One again, the colors shone for me.Jaipur, Entrance to the City PalaceJaipur City Palace #1Jaipur City Palace #2Jaipur City Palace #3Jaipur City Palace #4Jaipur City Palace Silver UrnA memorable and suitable finish to our stay in Jaipur and our tour of India was the “Gaitore” Crematorium, a mausoleum for the Maharajas. It was quiet there. Peaceful.  Gaitore Royal Crematorium #1Gaitore Crematorium #2Gaitore Crematorium #3Gaitore Crematorium #4And for my daughter Tamara, who did not want to walk through yet another beautiful sight, there was a lady doing henna in a hut by the crematorium.  So we were both quite satisfied. 
Gaitore Crematorium #5
Henna HutHenna Arm #1Henna Arm #2 Finally, the ladies of Jaipur chatting on our way home (why can’t I dress this way?) juxtaposed with a painting in the lobby of our hotel. Lastly, a Happy Hour good bye with my new favourite wine, Indian Fratelli Chardonay.

Painting in Hotel LobbyChatting Ladies of JaipurJaipur Hotel FlowersHappy Hour Goodbye to India

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Dec. 2 Jaipur Still Delights

Onwards to Amber Fort for our elephant ride, certainly a high light, and a thrill of a life time!Jaipur, Elephants ready for us!Jaipur, Painted Elephant #1Jaipur, Elephants going down from the PalaceJaipur, Elephant Traffic JamJaipur, Painted Elephant #2

Jaipur, Our Elephant

Jaipur, Elephant with a view!

The Amber or Amer Fort is a blend of Hindu and Mugal architecture.  We explored the palaces and temples and gardens still unbelievable in their pristine condition.Jaipur, The Surrounds of Amber FortJaipur, The Amber Fort PalaceJaipur, Amber Fort ArchwayJaipur, Amber Fort MosaicJaipur, Amber Fort Inlay Ceiling

The Amber Fort was stocked with architectural and artistic wonders, like the mirrored rooms which glowed in the sunlight, the ceilings glistening silver and the inlayed semi precious stones radiating gem like colors.
Jaipur, Amber Fort Mirrored Rooms
Jaipur, Amber Fort mirrored ceilingsJaipur, Amber Fort, silver and gems

And the women “sweepers” composed a scene worthy of a painting…Jaipur, Amber Fort, Women SweepersNot to mention the gardensJaipur, Amber Fort, GardensJaipur, Amber Fort, Snake Charmers and finally, a visit with the snake charmers!!

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Dec. 1, The Pink City of Jaipur

Walking around Jaipur, founded in 1727 and called the Pink City, one might see shades of deep oranges and paler reds, and golds and diffused yellows, rather than pink.  There are larger roads here, lined with bazar-like shops selling everything.  All this was  punctuated by amazing architecture like the “Howa Mahal”  which was constructed for the Royal Harem to observe daily life, without being seen. 
Jaipur, Howa Mahal
Shops lining roads in JaipurJaipur, Row of shopsWhat I marvelled at was the architecture of this city, the woodwork almost looked lacy, delicate, ornate but not over powering, I love it.  I love Jaipur.

The stops that nourished my artistic needs were as follows:  First, a textile co-operative on Old Amer Road.  I learnt how the textile industry came about and how fabric is printed upon today, in the old ways still.  Harkening back to my beginnings as a print maker, I am always on the lookout for new ways of incorporating printing styles in my work…
Jaipur, Printing on a Table clothJaipur, Printing multiple colors

Jaipur, I made a print!

Jaipur, Weaving a RugJaipur, Rug PatternsSecond, we went to a painting collective, The Khajana Art Gallery, specializing in miniature painting.  I watched intensely as an artist painted an elephant with single hairs of his brush to represent the hairs of the elephants back, then wrote our names on a piece of rice.  Talk about excellent eye sight!!  I had to use my reading glasses to make out the perfectly written names.  What dexterity! What skill!!Jaipur, Painting MiniaturesJaipur, Painting on a piece of riceOur first day in Jaipur was filled with the arts and color…Jaipur, Artist with his workJaipur, Driving in the Old City #1

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Nov. 30 Agra to Jaipur by car

The five and half hour drive from Agra to Jaipur was delightful, like driving through a movie – brightly coloured saris on women laughing on the back of a truck…  camels.. and best of all marble cutting and inlay places all along the road.  Of course I had to get that hammer and chisel in my hand…Agra to Jaipur, marketAgra to Jaipur, DonkeysAga to Jaipur, Fresh VegetablesAgra to Jaipur, Woman carries a heavy loadAgra to Jaipur, Women laughing on the back of a truckAs I knelt down to carve,  all the memories of my workshop days with Stanley Lewis, lively stone sculpture teacher at the Saidye Bronfman Centre in Montreal, and advisor to Irving Stone’s “The Agony and the Ecstasy”. Agra to Jaipur, Marble carvingAgra to Jaipur, Hindu Gods at TemplyAgra to Jaipur, HIndu God #2

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Nov. 27 Agra and the Taj Mahal

It’s like walking into a post card.  But even more grand.  The marble is so white.  The details overwhelm.  Learning about the art of inlaying precious and semi precious stones, still done today but only by a handful of family descendants who know the secrets of the procedure and the guarded glue recipe.  The Taj Mahal grounds are spotless.  An oasis amidst the chaos.India, Agra, The Taj Mahal, me and TamIndia, Agra, Taj Mahal in all it's GloryAgra has approx. 1.6 million people with a decaying third world infrastructure, but they are trying to rebuild.  Driving mere miles is hazardous, horns blowing, cars, motorcycles, tuk tuks, bicycles, camels, cows, and people in a steady stream with no apparent order.  But there is great beauty in the sheer exotic nature of it all.

I will never get enough of the saris..

I will never get enough of the saris..

India, Agra, Carving in Marble Taj MahalIndia, Agra, Decendants of Stone Carvers, Taj MahalIndia, Agra, Inlay of semi precious stones

India, Agra, Taj Mahal so white!

Next up: Agra Fort.  My reading for this trip is a series of historical fiction novels by Indu Sundaresan, so I felt like I was back in the 16th century of the Mughal empire, reliving what I had read about the Agra Fort.  It’s spectacular.

India, Agra, Agra Fort EntranceInida, Agra, Agra Fort ArchwaysIndia, Agra, Agra Fort Tam and meIndia, Agra, Taj From Agra Fort

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