Cusco, Peru...Come on PADDINGTON!!
Aug 1, 2005
|Wow! How quickly the week has gone!! And it has finally been a full working week!! No more national holidays, religious festivals getting in the way!! And I needed all that time, as time is running out for me in Peru - as discussed in last week's entry! So, the familiar sleepy-eyed feelings returned from my architectural student days, as I continued to struggle waking up earlier in the morning for a longer working day.
And so, felt pretty frustrated all week - wanting to leave Cusco, and continue travelling, but couldn't - until the work is done. Hence wanted to work faster, but not really succeeding. Still found myself arriving at Inti Huahuacuna at about eleven, feeling tired, but leisurely chitchatting to all the members of staff - interrupting their work, before going downstairs again, unlocking the door to "my office", and taking my time "inspecting" the work and "planning" what to do next. Inevitably someone would then come along, and I would find myself sitting around chatting away - again. And if I was lucky, a helper would turn up, and I would take more time off preparing stuff for them to do - keeping an eye on them, and then sit on the table stressing how I couldn't get any work done myself!
Despite Tony's great work touching up Paddington last week, and bouncing away promising to return Monday morning, he actually did not turn up all week. Well it is school vacation - but do poor Peruvians also go on family holidays? Much as I liked Yhomar's free style, he has not helped me at all this week neither. Still, I see him everyday at the centre, and he would ask when I was painting, and then saying that he would help me then...Ok! What is it with people in Cusco thinking it's ok not to turn up? Maybe I should be more scary, so they can't walk all over me!
Philip, the American volunteer (who is actually the same age as some of my eighteen year-old helpers) apologised on Monday for not turning up in the morning. No problem. But when he was given an easy task of covering the door in blue, and then managing to get so carried away that part of my skyline of New York literally were scraped into the sky - and not owned up, but then went home - well, that IS a problem. Then he turned up after a few days' absence with a cold - and I started sneezing again the day after.
Moreover, I finally got sick of eating the same stuff (Arroz a la Cubana - rice with fried egg, fried bananas and salad. Very limited veggie options in Zarzuela!) for lunch after a week - and for the first time in two weeks, I left Zarzuela on Thursday, and escaped into town for lunch!
So from all these complaints, it may well look like it's been a bad week, and that Jani may well be right about not needing another week's work, but yet another one.
But still good progress was made. Painted most of Cusco, with the Plaza de Armas (central square), and the famous Inca ruins of Machu Pichhu and Sacaywaman. It is recognisable (my God! How much work was required!), and the staff and kids were especially thrilled at their city's symbols. Still need to be "touched up", and hopefully wouldn't need to spend more than one more day on it.
On Friday, was really determined to paint at least the base coat quickly on every wall. With renewed energy and passion painted in the wall representing the Isla de Ballestas (Poor Man's Galapagos) and the deep deep Colca Canyon. Wanted to paint in Lake Titicaca as well, but ran out of blue paint (Azual Ultramar - and none of the ferreterias have any left in stock) and the batteries on my camera died, so I couldn't do my sketch of Zarzuela from a photo I'd taken...
Also made the decision to erase one of Jani's beautifully painted Paddingtons... and incorporated him into the ring of skipping children in Zarzuela. I wasn't too happy myself with his previous position crawling on the ground (had planned him to be doing some puzzles with the kids), as he would be about to get his paws stepped on. It took a while for the sketch to look right, but it's worth the effort.
Flor also recruited Edwin (posed with postcard a couple of weeks back) to help me paint. He was very patient, and did not mind the more tedious tasks. What's more, he was the most punctual helper I have had so far. So rewarded him with the "fun task" on Friday of sponging in clouds to mask the differernt shades of blue of the sky (my fault in mixing the colour not exactly right). He really enjoyed freeing up, though it did take a little while for him to perfect the technique to to suggest cloudy texture and tone - and the form needs more convincing. But overall, was very happy with his help.
The Dutchies also made their last appearance in Zarzuela on Tuesday, perfectly timed to relieve me just as I was getting really pissed off with the kids repeatedly knocking on the door and window. They knew I was getting stressed, and wanted to help me paint one last time, and did a beautiful job of labelling Paddington's name in the room (Suz), painting in the new Paddington and the dancing children (Jani).
The kids are getting quite excited about the room, as they see more and more stuff appearing when they peeped through the window. Was invited to watch them do a "variety show" on Thursday evening. Was very flattered, but as I sat in the Sala de Juegos - where there was a little section for theatre - I wondered why I didn't take up Flor's offer of painting that little corner?!? I would have been done in two weeks!! Tops!! What have I got myself into???
But everyone, especially the staff at Inti Huahuacuna have been great. They constantly praised me (and knew I was getting tired and stressed) and even allowed me to take the keys home for the weekend, so I could go in on Sunday. I am aiming to wake up earlier all next week, and if necessary, work on Saturaday too. But by Sat night, I will have to take the bus to leave Cusco, and cross the border into Bolivia before my visa expires. Hopefully after a week of holiday on Lake Titicaca, I could go back to Cusco to do a trek to Machu Pichhu without having to worry about finishing the painting! But the work will be done! (Don't get me wrong, I still really enjoy painting though!)