La Vida Loca! (Update from Cuzco, Peru)

As I write this I am sitting on the patio of the Intro Hostel in Cuzco, Peru.


It has been two months since my last blog post  and like Ricky Ricardo said to Lucy, “Lucy, You got some explaining to do!!!”.

There are posts still to come on Hoi An, Vietnam; Siem Reap, Cambodia; and the amazing Angkor Wat. After three months in SouthEast Asia we headed back home to Portland, Oregon for what we expected would be a one month travel break to take care of a couple important issues.

1: The Cough. In a previous post I mentioned that I went to the hospital in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I had come down with a bad cough that had morphed into an asthmatic bronchitis. This cough continued and advanced to the point that I needed to seek additional medical care. In Hoi An we debated to go home or press through to Cambodia. I had already accepted the fact that I simply wasn’t well enough to continue onto Myanmar. After five rainy days at the amazing Joi An Homestay in Hoi An, we decided I had rested enough and we were too close to turn back. We decided to skip Phnom Penh and head straight to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. It was so amazing and I will be writing a lengthy post on Cambodia.

In the month we spent back in Portland I saw several physicians, had a complete pulmonary function workup, lab workup, and a CT scan of my chest. The doctors could see the distress I was in, could hear something really weird going on in my chest, and yet could not find anything wrong. Turns out that I have the lungs of a man twenty years younger!!! After ten days of extreme high dose steroids my cough finally calmed down. The doctors theorize that I inhaled something foreign and set something off in my lungs and my immune system.

We have been in Peru now for almost three weeks and Laurie is now coughing the way I was in Asia. We are hoping we can nip this in the bud.

2: Bella. While we were in SouthEast Asia our amazing, incredible, and beautiful Border Collie, Bella, was living with our older two sons in Portland, Oregon. Jordan and Jared had one-way tickets to Santiago, Chile, leaving on January 31st and would no longer be able to watch Bella for us. We needed to find a temporary home for Bella in order for us to continue on our journey. Not just any home as Bella deserves the best home possible. There were requirements that unless filled would stop us from traveling anytime soon. Bella is a very sensitive girly girl dog. She is also highly intuitive and empathic. She needs a house filled with love and not any  arguing, yelling, or fighting. She needs to be walked, played with, heavily exercised, and loved. Most of all, if possible, this home needed to have a couple little girls to play with. Bella loves playing with little girls more than anything in this world.  We were struggling with this seemingly impossible task when Laurie got an intuitive hit to call Chelsea Phillips. Chelsea, her husband Nathaniel, and their two adorable daughters were the perfect fit. They were open and it was love at first sight for Bella!!!

With Bella safe, happy, and loved we were free to plan our next journey!!!


With everything complete we purchased our tickets to Lima, Peru to begin our South American  adventure. I have become very good at finding extremely low airfares and was pleased that we were able to build in a ten day visit with Laurie’s mom on our way to South America. A visit that would prove to be full of surprises and lead to unexpected diversions to Hawaii and Florida. Sitting with Laurie’s mom, Dolores, we received an urgent phone call from Hilo, Hawaii. Laurie’s Uncle Ronnie was in the hospital, recovery uncertain, and her Auntie Louise wasn’t able to fully care for herself. Both elderly in their mid 80s and with mild dementia they needed family to step in and help. After speaking with other family members it turned out that we were really the only ones able to help out. We had wanted to take Laurie’s mom to Hawaii for years and it never seemed to work out. Funny how things work out. We cancelled our tickets to Lima and bought tickets to Hilo. Less than two days later we found ourselves in Oahu with a six hour layover. Laurie’s younger sister Alisa, who passed three years ago, had a boyfriend/caretaker that moved back to Oahu to care for his father. We called Steven and he dropped everything to come pick us up at the airport and take us to lunch. Afterwards he took us to a beautiful vantage point overlooking Pearl Harbor. It was so special to see Steven.



It was good news when we arrived in Hilo. Uncle Ronnie was rapidly improving and was transferred to a convalescent facility, Life Care Center of Hilo. A wonderful, caring place with an amazing staff. We are so indebted to them for such loving care!!! We stayed for three weeks until Uncle Ronnie checked himself out of the facility against medical advice. He is an ornery S.O.B., and always will be, so we took this as a sign it was time to go. We had stayed long enough to make sure that Auntie Louise was okay. Mission accomplished we said our goodbyes and headed to Kona side to visit some dear friends.


This is the view from Uncle Ronnie and Auntie Louise’s condo in Hilo.


The cove to the side of their condo building is a favorite spot for sea turtles. On any given day you can spot six to ten turtles swimming amongst people enjoying the protection the cove provides from the turbulent ocean.


I spent some time in 2007 living in Kona with Steve and Shelene Grey. We were contemplating a move there that never quite worked out. We have been friends since 1994 and it was so great to see them!!!

This is Steve.


This is Laurie with her mom Dolores, and Shelene. I have always loved the wooden dolphins!


This is the view from their Lanai looking down over Kailua-Kona.

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Steve has trained many of the local birds to come when he calls and to eat from his hand. He took some time to teach Dolores and to share some of the magic!


This is Peep. One of the friendliest. Do not confuse him with an Easter marshmallow!


Laurie shared in the magic!

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Since we finally had Dolores traveling with us we invited her to fly to Florida with us. We needed to change planes in Florida in order to fly to Lima. We made plans for her to visit friends in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

Our first stop was in Delray Beach, Florida where we were able to visit with Auntie Louise’s sisters Sonia Barnes and Flo Rosenfield.


Our next stop was an extremely special one. Dolores had not seen her best friend, Judy Presel and her husband Allen, in forty years. It was such a sweet reunion.

Our last stop with Dolores in Florida was with her cousin in The Villages outside of Orlando, Florida. We had rented a car so we drove her to visit her cousin, Linda Pistoll. We left Dolores there to spend the week. We left for Lima, Peru the next morning.

After rushing to the airport we waited for hours only to have our flight cancelled. Jet Blue was awesome and treated us to a night at the Hyatt with vouchers for three meals. We were off to Lima the next morning. Finally!!! Hooray!!!

With Jared waiting for us in Cuzco we cut our time in Lima very short with just one day to explore. We visited a very upscale area called Mira Flores.


Love that Paddington Bear is so celebrated here!!!


These cars were on an intersection divider on the way to the airport.


That brings you up to date to me sitting on the patio of the Intro Hostel. So much more to come!!!


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