Sunday, July 26, 2009

Peru Trips, Jan 2010

Well, this one is a bit unusual for me, as I'm here to sell you something. The company that puts together two trips to Peru for me annually--they get most of the clients--feels they've tapped out their market at this point. But I am having too good a time taking people out to the deep Amazon green to toss in my jungle boots. So I'm going to have to get some people on my own to make my two January trips materialize.
Now I've already got a couple for the first trip, which begins on Saturday, Jan 9. That trip will run 12 1/2 days in Iquitos and the Jungle, then another 8 1/2 days in Cuzco/Machu Picchu, with one day of decompression from the jungle in Lima. I do the Iquitos/Jungle portion, then my friend Alan Shoemaker or Carolyn Melnyck take over for the mountains.Overall, the trip runs Jan 9, through Friday, Jan. 29.
The second trip will begin on Saturday, Jan 23 and run through Thursday, Feb 4. It's 12 1/2 days in Iquitos and the jungle, without the highland end of things.
What are the trips like? Magic, mystery, beauty, medicine, deep cleansing, changing. THey're about dirt under your fingernails, walks in the deep jungle, night canoing, swamp hiking, magic mushrooms, riverboats, fishing towns, jungle lakes, ayahuasca, the Matses' medicines sapo and nu-nu. They're about opening up spaces in your soul and letting go of nonsense you needn't carry around any longer. They're about spending time with the best team of associates I've ever been around. They're about pushing your limits and surpassing your capabilities. They're about fun, laughter, joy and occasional emotional terror when the medicines ask you to confront things you've long buried.
They're not physically difficult trips, though my staff and I can make them as difficult or easy as anyone wants. Want to haul through the jungle? One of my team will haul with you. Want to walk slower than the rest? One of my team will stay back with you. We will, in fact, outnumber you, so there will always be someone to do what you want to do, whether that's medicinal plant collecting, wild food foraging, painting jungle name it,and if you let me know ahead of time, we'll figure out how to get it done for you.
So that's the pitch. 21 day trip costs $3600. If you only want to do the jungle, that's $2000; if you only want to do the mountains, that's $1800. The 12 1/2 day trip is $2000. We'll pick you up at the airport in Iquitos (airfare not included), and all hotels, ground transport, river transport, ceremonies, some food (all food in the jungle; some food in Iquitos/Lima/Cuzco) and jungle gear is included. You don't need much but an open heart and some walking around/food money for this trip.
A deposit of $400 will hold a space. Any questions you can email me at
Oh, one more thing: there will be dirt under your fingernails and there will be mosquitoes some times. We'll have mats and mosquito nets to sleep on, and the best damned after-bite (Gorman's Jungle Juice) in the world, but there is no complaining on this trip. No bitching, no moaning, no whining. If I put you into a hotel with cold water, there is a reason for it (it's the only hotel with river views, for example). If I take you to a swamp, there's going to be something so spectacular there that the difficult walking will pale in comparison to the payoff.
So sorry to use this space as a billboard, but I'm itching to get back to the thick thick green and my team, so sign up and sign up quickly. Get it? Good. This trip is worth the money and more.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Kids, Damned Kids...

Well, one day I'm crying for joy about my kids; next day I want to hang them from the nearest oak tree if I could find one big enough here in Texas the land of the dwarf oaks...
This morning, all was go for dinner. Marco, his girl, Italo, Sarah, Me, maybe DRay and even Renzo would be eating. So I went through the lump crab meat, couple of pounds I bought yesterday at the best store around here, then went out and got some organic parsley. I chopped and cooked the parsley down with olive oil, fresh roasted and skinned red pepper, scallions and celery. Put three eggs in a bowl, some mayo, seasoning and the things I'd cooked. Mixed it up. Added some bread crumbs--top quality--for binder, then mixed in the crab. Tossed in the juice from three very very juicy limes, some salt and pepper, a little mustard, a touch of Worstershire...and voila: Fantastic crabmeat for crab cakes.
Then made a home made cole slaw.
Then I made a sauce of vinegar, egg yolk, left over red pepper (skinned), horseradish, parsley and lime, plus seasoning (including cracked black pepper, salt, very fresh paprika and achote from Peru). Great sauce.
Now I also bought 2 pounds of shrimp for cocktail and made a cocktail sauce that's been in the fridge since 11 this morning. Then I cooked the shrimp and they're cooling.
Then I started the rice and vegetables--a medley of several.
And now Marco says he's going to Carly's because her parents are going to Mexico tomorrow. And Italo just called to say Sarah is staying with her folks tonight and he is staying at Cowboys' stadium, practicing with a British soccer club so he won't be home till midnight or so...and Renzo is taking Italo's times and photos, so he won't be coming either. And DRay ain't gonna come if his pals ain't here...
So I've got a $50-$60 buck meal of lump crab cakes and shrimp cocktail, done in a way your best restaurant wouldn't know (though I didn't make the asparagus with fresh corn in garlicked-Balsamic vinegar since that's the last thing that would have gotten done. Still. It's a pretty fancy feast for no one but me to eat).
So I want to wring my kids' necks. I asked them if they'd be here. I guess life intervened.
But know what? I'm going out to paint for an hour. I'm gonna finish the interior of the fence and then attack the exterior. And when I've gone through more than half a gallon I'm coming inside. I'm gonna shower then make a very very cold drink out of red wine and grapefruit juice and pour it over ice. Maybe a quart. And I'm gonna start drinking that while I cook up some of those cakes. AND THEN I'm gonna sit down and find a movie (somehow, since I'm never sure I know how) to watch and eat crab cakes and shrimp cocktail with spinach, coleslaw and a vegetable medley. I'll skip the rice.
And I'm gonna have myself a time.
The kids lose out here. I ain't crying. I might have three crab cakes. Ha! The heck with them.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Here's Karma For You...

Well, here's karma for you. If anyone has strong opinions about abortion, please stop reading now, okay. Cause I'm gonna talk about it.
I was raised quite catholic, as in catholic alter boy, Legion of Mary kid who went to old people's homes to make them food and talk with them, all of that. It was only my father, who was Lutheran--at best--who pursueded me not to join a monastery to become a priest.
I didn't get laid till I was 19. I didn't jerk off till I was 20 because I didn't know you could. It just never occurred to me.
Now I know I was born in 1951, but even for the mid-sixties I was pretty reserved.
Then I did have sex. And the first girl I had sex with, using a condom, I broke it and she got pregnant and had an abortion. Then I lived with and Loved CL for 15 years and she had maybe 6 or 7 abortions. I just wasn't ready for kids. She got pregnant on the pill, using the diaphram, while menstruating, using condoms....hell, I was Irish and so was she and between us we were the most fertile ground God ever paved. And then I was with X and Y and Z and I had another 5 or 6 abortions. And then in Peru, as an adult of over 35 I probably had another 5 or 6. I never left a baby anywhere on this planet except for Madeleina. I know Italo and Marco are mine by blood now, but that's after 17 years of being together. In terms of sperm, it's just Madeleina.
And I never took a single abortion lightly. I prayed for those angels to understand that I would not do them right and that they were better off finding other parents. I felt awfully each time, though I still back a woman's right to have an abortion.
But just the last couple of days I've been shaking my head at myself. Know why? Because I'd give anything to have 15 or 20 kids. I love kids. I want Italo's Sarah to have her baby soon, and I want Marco's Carly to get pregnant, and I love Chepa's new babies as if they were mine. I could live for raising kids. And then here I am, the man who sent maybe 15 of those angels back home without ever having a moment here on earth because I didn't think I was ready. And now I miss them all.
That's karma. No, that's Karma with a capital Karma.
I'm not feeling sorry for myself, and I don't think I did anything wrong telling those angels to find a better dad. It's just that now I realize I would have been a good dad. I would have been okay if I wasn't so scared. And now that I'm not, nobody in the world wants to have a baby with me. Ain't that something?
Just thinking, that's all. And a little bit sad.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More Manly Things

Well, continuing to try to do manly things--despite my ingrown townail slowing me down to a painful, and I mean painful, gait, Italo and I painted the second bridge and started on the Fence. Now the fence doesn't sound like a lot when you call it "the fence", but actually it's a yard contained in our larger yard. The fence is 8' high and covers over 200 feet, with 3 posts for every foot. So painting the fence means painting 600 posts on four sides, plus all of the connecting 2 X 4"s and posts. Which means digging up 400- feet of overgrown weeds at fence bottom. Which means we used two gallons of paint today and got one side of 1/4 of the fence done. And that took three hours. And that was after taking out the garbage to the dump, which really stunk since Marco and Italo had not taken it out since I left on June 1 or 2. There were also about a million mice and half-a-dozen rats living in the garbage and those of you who know me know me and rats don't get along, so I was jumping like a schoolgirl (no offence to schoolgirls). Anyway, painting the fence I felt like Tom Sawyer but nobody came along to pay me to do my work. Nuts. Sam Clemens, you're a lyin' sack of sawdust....
Still, I'm getting strong. The work cleans me out. Tonight me and the boys are going to do frog sweat to clean our organs and skin. I told them we ought to do it once a month. Those of you who have done it know that's hard because it hurts so much. On the other hand, those of you who have done it know there is nothing as cleansing as frogsweat, including the lemon water cleanser I've just started.
So nothing great to report. If you come by, be prepared to work. It's Spring cleaning time here and everybody chips in if they want some of the roast chicken and rice with vegetables we're having tonight, or the country style ribs with homemade barbeque we're having tomorrow. Or the steak a la pizzaola we had yesterday. Just warning you: I'd love to see you but we got work to do.
And that's it from here. Hope you're all having a great day.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Things Get Thicker All the Time

Well, yup, Italo's Sarah is pregnant and Marco is definitely getting married to Carly. I know Sarah's pregnant because she puked breakfast two days in a row and didn't want to hear how cool that was or how it was just a natural hormonal thing....And the cat had kittens last night so there are now a whole swath of new blind babies running around--or crying for milk, anyway. And the goats are out again, meaning I've got to go fix a fence. But that's okay because today is a manly day. Manly in that I got up at 5 AM, had fantastic coffee, answered letters for two hours, read newspapers for two hours, did laundry the whole time and after 5 loads have the house nearly cleared of dirty sox and underwear. Then Italo and I took two couches from the garage (playroom, with weights, heavy bag, speed bag, ping-pong, foosball, pool, the freezer full of freshly killed pig meat and what was three couches in a lounging area) and brought them to the dump. Seems while I was away Marco left the garage door open for a couple of days and the goats got inside and peed on them. Man, they stunk! So off they went. Then we went to the stone dealer and bought 310 pounds of red flagstones to add to those in the front yard flood area. Then I went back and bought another 400 pounds alone and just finished putting them in place. In between I went to Home Depot and bought new railing wood for one of the bridges over our creek and paint and galvanized nails and am about to go change the railing and paint the little bridge.
Is this a manly day or what???? And when that's done I think I'll take the hatchet and trim some trees. Then drink a little Jim Beam and make some chicken breasts with garlic, onion, tomato and cilantro and a bit of chicken stock.
I will say that we ate the first of the pig yesterday. Excellent bacon and sausage, and maybe the best chops I ever had, even in the restaurants I worked over the years. I had them cut an inch thick with just a bit of fat around the edge. Sliced them along the back and stuffed them with spinach sauteed with garlic and thin sliced red pepper and then added diced swiss cheese when things cooled off. Dredged them in seasoned flour and eggs then covered them in fresh-parsley'd bread crumbs. Sauteed them till brown then baked at 325 for about 40 minutes, took them out and dressed them in pork gravy infused with fresh squeezed oranges. Man, when you cut into those and that cheeze and spinach came oozing out, well, heaven was thisclose to your tastebuds. I wish some of you had been here just to verify I ain't lying.....
Out to the bridge. The manly day won't be over till that's done and the lawn's been cut and raked....
PS: Now just after 5 PM, fixed the bridge with Italo, painted it barn red, fixed the fence, got the goats, and now fixing dinner while I enjoy a Beam. Manly day. Manly. Almost makes me wish I were one....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Home Again

Well, hello y'all. Hope a few of you are still with me. Walked into the house after a 19 hour trip from Iquitos about an hour ago, went through the mail, collected a couple of checks, and now, after a hot shower--something I have not had for 6 weeks--I am going to Walmart to buy a small freezer and then driving over to Rendon Meats to pick up my beautiful pig. 140 pounds they tell me, is what she produced, and that ought to be enough pork to kill me--a nice payback for having killed her.
While I was away the Houston Press Club gave me second place in Journalist of the Year for Texas and first place for best Investigative Feature--which is nice.
When I returned home I discovered that the house is a mess, the lawn needs mowing, the dogs and goats and birds and cats need food, the garbage needs bringing to the dump and the cars all need gas. Madeleina and Sierra and Alexa are out in Indiana visiting Chepa's boyfriend--not good as I miss my Madeleina and the babies as well. But I came back unhurt, didn't drink too much (most days) on the trip, gave a good talk at the Shamanism Conference, had two fantastic trips into the woods, made a few bucks, finally got a check from the gas company, am awaiting the delivery of my two lost bags, and then Italo's Sarah is pregnant and Marco proposed to his girl Carly.
Yes, that's a lot of information but I got it in the same amount of time with the same deadpan delivery.
Gee it's great to be back home....home is where I want to be, Man, I've been on the road so long.....(apologies to P Simon, of course).
Glad to be back. Hope you're all having a wonderful summer. I'll talk soon.