Welcome to the world of corners ...

On the 5th day of every month you will come across a new corner and a new story around ...
To make this journey a bit more challenging an extra corner will be occasionally thrown in as a surprise.
Any footprints from your travelling experience left in the comment box will be always appreciated.
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Sunday, 14 April 2013

(Part 2) "Lake Titicaca, me and the power of Natural Therapies."

PART 2 ...

Another three weeks went by without any success with obtaining a refund or any clue about the purpose of my trip. And then, one afternoon about seven weeks before my departure, a message shot like an arrow through my mind: “You are going back to Amantani Island to offer your healing services for the community.”

“Thank you!” I replied as I felt my “Virgo rising” letting out a big sigh of relief and my “Piscean sun” looking forward to the magical energy of Lake Titicaca.

18 December 2005 – Lima to Puno

Only a few hours after arriving in Lima at 11pm, I was back at the same airport catching my 6am flight to Juliaca near Puno. With quite a few plane trips in recent years I have become proficient in saying “Hand check, no X-ray please” when handing over the homeopathic items for my personal use. I also noticed the security staff were getting more familiar with this kind of medicine, making the whole process so much easier. I guess this is one way of introducing natural therapies to the world.

On this particular morning I had an older man with a happy face checking my “treasure box” and while looking at the collection of remedies, he asked: “Do they really work?” to which I joyously replied: “Yes, and with no side effects.” He seemed content, as if my answer reinforced his own opinion. Furthermore, after questioning the purpose of my trip, he was pleased to hear my answer, acknowledging that the people on the islands were often the last in line to receive any help. His comment gave me a warm reassurance that I was heading in the right direction.

21 December 2005 – Puno to Amantani Island – Lake Titicaca

I was all ready and full of anticipation for my two week stay on this “very special to me” island. A travel representative called to confirm my early morning pickup. He also informed me that Benedicto’s home where I had organised to stay was situated on the other side of the island from where the boat would arrive. And so, my first night on Amantani would be with a different family. I wasn’t too happy about it as I wanted to set myself up as soon as I could, but in South America hiccups are not uncommon. At times, “going with the flow” is the best option to avoid making things more difficult.

I was one of the first to be picked up and once on the boat, I was greeted by yet another hiccup. Expecting a direct trip by the public boat, I was surprised to be part of the overnight tour to the islands, identical to the one that I had done only a year ago. I wondered if it was my safety or extra income that had influenced their decision. However, on the more positive side, there is a usually a reason behind most hiccups, in this case to be revealed sooner than I thought.

The group on the boat was made up of smaller groups of two to four travellers from different countries. Our local guide Bruno as well as other people on the boat were a bit curious about the reason for my extended stay, as Amantani is not exactly a Greek island. Nevertheless it has its own charm, despite an altitude of about 4000 metres, lack of electricity and running water, a rainy season with overnight temperatures at the time of below 10ºC and daytime temperatures in the sun of 54ºC as well as other minor “highlights”. Bruno was very interested in my work and in natural therapies. He was eager to find out as much as possible, so I tried my best to answer his many questions.

Upon arrival on Amantani by the floating islands, I discovered I was to share a bedroom with two French girls. Shortly after entering the premises of our host family, we were invited to the kitchen for lunch. This was still being prepared in clay pots over traditional wood fire clay stove by the mother and daughter. It wasn’t long before the increasing level of smoke looking for a non-existent chimney filled our eyes. Our “French” resistance was short-lived and with tears running down our cheeks, we gave ourselves permission to wait outside.

After lunch, together with Bruno, we made our way up to the Pachatata Temple where we would await the sunset over Lake Titicaca. The island has two temples: a round-shaped Pachamama to celebrate the female energy of Mother Earth located on the highest point of the island and a square-shaped Pachatata to celebrate her male energy on the second highest point. You can make a wish and have it granted by walking three times in an anti-clockwise direction around either of the temples. Having done this on my first trip, I was pleasantly surprised to see my wish come true. Be careful what you wish for as these requests do get granted, except perhaps when you wish for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

As the sun disappeared, the temperature dropped rather quickly, so a warm dinner upon our return was very much appreciated. And to warm us up even more, a traditional dance party was awaiting us at the local community hall. Dressed in their traditional clothing, we had a lot of fun following our local dance partners to the sounds of the Andean band. As the party came to an end, we felt hot, tired and definitely ready for bed. The sky was full of stars that night and it seemed to me like there were more stars than the sky itself.

As my roommates went to sleep, I stayed back with Bruno in the courtyard as he offered to write a short note in Spanish for me explaining the purpose of my stay and anything else I thought the people might want to know. The island’s native language is Quechua, but the majority of people speak Spanish. I could speak neither!

With an introductory letter in my hand, I quietly entered the room so as not to awaken the girls. By now I was looking forward to a well-deserved sleep as it had been a long journey for my body. Less than an hour later, I was woken up by the sound of the metal gate being opened and a conversation between two men. Wondering what was going on, I was startled by a knock on the door and my name being called.

                                               To be continued next month ...

Friday, 5 April 2013

(Part 1) "Lake Titicaca, me and the power of Natural Therapies."

Early January, 2005 – Sydney

I arrived home to an empty bank account, but full of excitement and a kind of disbelief that I had finally fulfilled my late teen’s dream.

It was in 1981 when I lived in Brussels (Belgium) that I became aware of a strong connection to the Andean culture. However my dream of going to South America took 23 years of watching the kettle on the stove steadily heating up the water until finally one morning, the sound of the whistle filled my body with the message that the time to go had come.


And suddenly it all became clear to me why I had been prevented from making this trip sooner. Had I gone to Peru earlier, I would probably still have had a wonderful time, but most likely without experiencing the same spiritual depth that I did by going when “the mango was ripe”.

I started taking the first small steps on the way to my spiritual development in 1991 and I haven’t stopped. Over these past years, a whole new world has opened up to me, or more honestly, I reconnected with an ever present beautiful “inner/outer” world that until then was simply outside my awareness. Through this reconnection I was able to recognise my inner calling and embarked on the new path of becoming a natural therapies practitioner. My Peruvian Pachamama (Mother Earth) was patiently waiting and watching my petals of spiritual growth opening up (at times very slowly) and when my bright yellow centre finally revealed itself, She knew that I was ready to come; ready to heal a very old issue that took place on the Andean land many lifetimes ago. But it is not the experience of this particular journey that I wish to share with you on this occasion, so let us return to the opening paragraph.

My trip to Peru did have one other plus. It gave me enough extra Frequent Flyer points to book a ticket to Thailand for this coming Christmas. But here comes February and my plans for Christmas are being challenged! It seemed like an ordinary day until I received a strong message from the “Big Boss” (God, Creator, etc), or to be more precise, an order: “You are going back to Peru for this Christmas.”

“What!?” I said, followed by my rather assertive and daring “If you want me to go back, you will have to pay for it because I have no money left.” From my past experience, I knew that this message was too strong to ignore or even to negotiate, so at the earliest opportunity I went to organise my trip to Lima with faith in my purse.


Well, I needed more than faith and I needed it sooner than I thought, as I had to pay for my ticket in full within seven days of booking. Fortunately, the seven days got extended as my travel agent was waiting for the release of departure tax fees for December 2005 to finalise the sale. As more than a few days went by without any response from the airlines, she decided to phone them directly. After obtaining the required information she fortuitously felt a need to reconfirm the price of the ticket before debiting my credit card. To her disbelief my ticket price was $1300 less than originally quoted. Without any delay she finalised my purchase and could not wait to share this exciting news with the comment: “You definitely have someone looking after you!” “I know” was my reply and I quietly thanked the “Big Boss” for his first instalment. I was sure that by now my name was pretty high on the “difficult souls” list.
A day later, a conversation with my herbalist after returning from my first trip to South America came to my mind. He had commented that Thailand seems to be much more healing for my spiritual body, and for my physical body … Peru. To which I replied, “Maybe for the next holiday I will buy two lots of tickets—one for my spiritual body to go to Thailand and another one to Peru for my physical body. The travel agent will probably suggest a trip to the psychiatrist.” We both laughed. Little did I know that a couple of months later I was going to have two sets of tickets with a departure date to Peru only a day ahead of my trip to Thailand.

Now that my trip to Peru was confirmed, I started to question its purpose. Seven months of searching for possible clues went by. The few doors I opened left me waiting with false hope for further directions. Furthermore, my follow-up emails were unanswered. With only ten weeks to go, my acceptance of “not knowing” was tested for trust and patience once again. I even made a joke that maybe the “Big Boss” was planning to disclose his mysterious plan for me only upon my arrival in Lima. But as I felt my joke possibly becoming a reality, I started to wonder if the “Big Boss” had changed his plans. It felt like a good time for an ultimatum. “If you have changed your mind, that’s fine by me, providing that you arrange for a refund of my non-refundable ticket. If not, you will have to tell me the purpose of my trip pretty soon.”

Another three weeks went by without any success with obtaining a refund or any clue about the purpose of my trip. And then, one afternoon about seven weeks before my departure, a message shot like an arrow through my mind: “You are going back to ...

                                To be continued in two weeks ...