Our Second Trip To Peru

Recently I wrote the following for a just for fun poetry contest. The theme to write on was a trip that you’ve been on, and the form to be used is called a haibun(a combination of prose and haiku). I didn’t place in the contest, but I truly enjoyed writing this and reliving the memories. Missions trips are the best!



In 2014 my family and I were privileged to be able to go on our second missions trip to Peru. The year before we had gone down with a group of 12 from our church, comprised of mostly young people, but this year it would be just my husband, 2 grown children and I. After about 10 hours of flying, we landed at the airport in Lima. We were greeted by the missionary and his helpers, loaded our luggage into a couple of vehicles and began our trip to the missionary’s home. Lima, which is the capitol of Peru has a population of over 12 million people and driving in this city can be a hair raising adventure, to say the least.

In Lima’s traffic
a person can learn to pray
for their survival.


On our first trip, we had spent all our time in Lima and her surrounding suburbs, but on this trip we had plans to visit Iquitos, a city in the Amazon jungle region and Cusco, a city and area of high elevation and home of the legendary Machu Picchu. Our first stop was to Iquitos, the largest city in the world that is only accessible by plane or boat. Cars are pretty scarce in Iquitos. The most used method of transportation is the rickshaw, which is basically a motorcycle with a cart behind it in which passengers sit. This open air form of transportation was a new and fun experience for us.


Hailing a rickshaw
negotiating the fare
and then we take off.


My husband was scheduled to preach a crusade that they were having at one of the churches in Iquitos. The people greeted us warmly, the worship was exuberant and it was very hot. None of the churches there have air conditioning.


Sweating a river
in jungle sanctuary
we praise God anyhow.


I told myself I would do my best not to use the restroom while we were at church. It’s just not the same as it is in America. However, there was one service where I just had to go.


Primitive toilets
sometimes do not have a seat.
Bring your own tp.


We enjoyed our time in services with the Peruvians, and after the crusade was over, we had occasion to do some sightseeing. We paid to take a trip down the dirty Amazon River to a small wildlife refuge. It was a peaceful ride down the river, and after about half an hour, we pulled up to the shore where there was a rickety wooden stairway that leads up to a small wildlife refuge. As we exited the boat, we saw several small monkeys coming down the side rails of the stairway. Much to my son’s delight, one of the monkeys came and jumped right onto his shoulder. These monkeys seemed truly happy and anxious to see who their visitors were. We found out that these monkeys, as cute as they are, also can be full of mischief. One of the little guys pulled a chopstick out of my daughter’s hair and tried to run off with it, but we were able to apprehend him and retrieve the article. I had my own encounter with a small imp.


Fresh little monkey
trying to lift up my skirt.
Missionary laughs.


As we made our way through the refuge, there were several animals that we were allowed to hold in our hands if we so desired. We all took turns holding a giant turtle, a toucan and a colorful parrot sitting on a limb. All of the animals there have been thoroughly cleaned up and have had parasites removed from them. I also held a sloth. It was not what I was expecting.


Stiff, sanitized sloth
much like a furry backpack
held near in my arms.


Before we returned to the city area of Iquitos, we planned to make one more stop. The missionary told us that there were groups of native people that live along the river that ran around very scantily clad or sometimes naked. We weren’t at all interested in seeing that, but the tour guide on the boat told the missionary he knew of some native people that were not like that, and he could show us where they were. He took us to the spot, we got off the boat and started walking towards a large hut that was in the distance. For some reason, my son was ahead of everybody else in a group, and when he reached the hut, he went inside. That tour guide must have fibbed. My son was mortified.


A primeval hut
filled with half naked women
he quickly exists.


Once we had returned to Iquitos we took a walk through an open air market. Just one look at the filthy hands of most of the merchants let us know that we would be playing Russian roulette with our health by eating anything here. We came to one particular vendor where we just stopped and stared for a few minutes.


Grub worm on a stick
regional delicacy
I think I will pass.


Near the end of our Peruvian trip we boarded another plane for our flight to Cusco. Cusco is a region of Peru, and there is also a city by the same name. We were told that where we were landing the elevation was 11,000 feet. . As soon as our plane was on the ground, I could feel the difference.


Landing in Cusco
one thought dominates my mind.
I need oxygen!


The next morning a taxi that was scheduled to pick us up came and dropped us off at the train station. The train ride to Machu Picchu was about an hour long, but it was scenic and pleasant. After exiting the train, we got on a nice, spacious tour bus which would take us the rest of the way there. All I can say is that Machu Picchu is absolutely breathtaking. I can certainly see why it is now named as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.


Oh my, what splendor
Machu Picchu in person
Photos can’t compare!


I might mention that the elevation is around 7,000 feet at Machu Picchu, so I had no problems breathing during our visit. There is so much more that I could say, but I will end my recollections by saying that this was a trip of a lifetime, and I was so blessed to be able to experience this with my family. I will never be the same!


The people, the sights
of our journey to Peru
live within my heart.


San Antonio Trip(Part 1)

This past week, our family was blessed to be able to go to San Antonio Texas for the purposes of

-attending Jen’s graduation from ICAT(Institute of Conservative Apostolic Theology)

-being with my hubby/Jen and Paul’s dad as he taught a theological seminar

-celebrating anniversary services with Alamo City Apostolic Church in San Antonio, Texas

I have some pictures(although they are not very good)that I hope to share soon. I tried posting some of them, but was having difficulties, first on my laptop, then on my phone. (There is a part of me that feels like screaming right now.) I’m afraid I’m somewhat of a technological dingbat, and will need to enlist the help of my son.

Stayed tuned for more…………………………………..hopefully soon!

Update-Through a rigorous distance learning program(my son instructing me through texts), I now can post some pictures.


Jennifer is giving her graduation speech. I’m so proud of her. She worked hard on her capstone project. It about done her in, but bless her heart, she finished it!


This is Dr.(Brother)Shane Milazzo addressing and admonishing the graduates and all who were present to “dig deeper”. He did an excellent job.



Jen and Paul are standing with Sister Garcia. We were honored to stay at the beautiful home of Brother and Sister Garcia, and I hope to share more about this wonderful couple in a future post.img_3234


Time is running short for me now, but I just want to say, “Congratulations, Jen!” I am proud of your accomplishments and so thankful to God for the fine, young lady you have become.

The Happiest Place On Earth?

Tomorrow, we leave for a few days to go to what has been called “the happiest place on earth”.  While I have my doubts concerning this description of Disneyland, I am looking forward to getting away for a few days with my family. Our children are teenagers and have never been to Disney before, so we’re looking forward to this. I’ll try to take pictures and post when I can.

Life’s Twists and Turns

We will be leaving in about 40 minutes to head to the airport for a trip to New York. We had no idea when this day began that we would be flying out of state, but my husband’s mom who is 81 and in the hospital is not doing very well.  You know what? Nothing ever takes God by surprise, and we’re praying for His will to be done in all of this.

Potpourri Post

This is going to be a pretty random post. I just wanted to share some things that have happened over the past few days.

Our church website has been updated. If you click here,you should be able to view some pictures of the renovation done on the building and what it looks like now. I feel so thankful when I see these photos. God blessed us with a lot of good help, and the building (I’m referring to the physical structure and the people) has come a long way in a short time. Thank you Jesus!

My brother-in-law Dean flew in for a visit on Wednesday. We are really enjoying having him out here. On Friday, we were able to spend some time in San Francisco. We went to Fort Funston in hopes that we would get to see some hang gliding. It didn’t look like that was going to happen, but as we were getting ready to leave, the wind started picking up a little, and my husband talked this man named Eric into doing a flight so we could take some pictures. It was really neat to watch him, and it looks like a lot of fun, but I still don’t think I could bring myself to do it. Do you?




Of course, no trip to San Francisco is quite complete without a visit to Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf. We always enjoy seeing the well known “Bush Man”.


If you’re not familiar with the “Bush Man” , he is a busker who makes his living by hiding behind some eucalyptus branches and scaring unsuspecting passers by. He’s selective about whom he chooses to scare and avoids elderly folks .  Many people who know where he hangs out will stand across the street and watch as he looks for victims to startle. It’s really quite amusing to watch. We did a little online research later and found out that in a good year, the Bush Man makes about $60,000.  Have I missed my calling? LOL

Below are some more pics from our San Francisco trip. Dean will be with us until Thursday, and while he heads to Phoenix, we’ll be traveling up to Ontario, Oregon where my husband will be preaching for our friends, the Savalas. I may not post again until we get back.


The Kidz having fun at Funston


Some poochies having fun at Funston



Alcatraz Island – We’ve been here almost 20 years, and I’ve never gone there.


Uncle Dean and Jen looking for fun at Funston.

Why do I make a big deal over Fort Funston? We didn’t even know the place existed until Martin Luther King  Jr. Day this year. We have some friends that live in the Bay Area, and they thought it might be fun to go to Fort Funston and see some hang gliding. Well, we picked a terrible day to go. We had a real late start that day, and by the time we got there, it was almost sunset. It was extremely windy, and us ladies at least, we’re freezing. There were only a few other people there and not a single hang glider. We stayed a few minutes and left. We made a joke about it and started calling it “Fort Funless.” I’m glad we gave it a second chance, because it was fun this time.

Pearl Harbor Day

One of the things we had definitely planned to do when we were in Oahu was to visit Pearl Harbor and see the Arizona memorial. We were able to do this on August 14th. Before visiting the Arizona memorial, we were ushered into a big theatre with those in our group where we saw a 30 minute film that dealt with the events leading up to World War II and what happened on the day (December 7, 1941)when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. We then made our way onto a boat which took us a short distance across the harbor to where the Arizona memorial stands. We walked around inside the memorial, taking pictures and reading some information. At the far end of the building is the room that has the wall with all the names engraved on it of those that died on the S.S. Arizona(over 1000) It was a very solemn experience seeing all the names of those that perished on that sad day. We got back on the boat, returned to shore and walked around the grounds some more. We came across some displays of torpedos, which were the type that my father-in-law worked with when he was stationed at Pearl Harbor, after the bombing incident. It was special for my husband to be in a place of which his dad had talked about and had spent much time. We were going to tour the Missouri, but upon counting the cost and both feeling tired, we decided against it. We got in the car and drove for about an hour and came to the beautiful Waimea Valley in Hale ‘iwa. The botanical gardens there were beckoning to us, and we answered the call. Cameras were pulled out, and we took our time walking through the garden, trying to capture on film some of God’s beautiful creations. Pete went ever so slightly off the path to try and get a shot of this unique purple flower. He stopped on a stone which was a little wobbly and stretched out his left hand against a tree to steady himself. Immediately, he yelled, “Ow!” and moved his hand away from the tree. Upon looking closer, we could see that this tree was covered with short, razor-like needles. We read a placard nearby the tree which informed us that the fruit on this tree was poisonous. I’m glad we didn’t eat any of it(not that we were planning to), and that Pete was not seriously hurt from touching that treacherous tree. On the way back to the hotel, we ate a nice place called Jameson’s By The Sea. We both ate light, because neither one of us felt real well, but the salad I had and clam chowder were both excellent. After dinner, we headed back to our hotel to freshen up and then began walking the crazy streets of Waikiki. The streets were crowded with people, and we saw breakdancers, the silver man(looked a lot like the guy we see in San Francisco, all painted in silver) steel drum players, guitar players and a man that was all clad in newspapers. Interesting. This walk was a reality check for us to wake us up to the fact that we’re not in our 20’s anymore. We should have hailed a cab on the way back, because Pete’s knee was killing him and my hip was aching, but we were trying to be young and tough. Ibuprofen was consumed upon the return to our hotel. Below are some pictures from this day.

The white structure in the water is the Arizona Memorial.


A remnant of the U.S.S. Arizona.

A section of the memorial wall.

This is part of that treacherous tree that Pete touched. Ouch!

This is Waihi Falls at the end of the garden path.

Waikiki night life.

25th Anniversary in Oahu

We had a fun day on August 13th, our 25th wedding anniversary. After sleeping in we had a wonderful lunch at the Kona Brewing Company. The coffee was outstanding. We then headed over to Hanouma Bay, which is about 15 minutes from our hotel. It was very beautiful, and we spent a couple of hours there walking around, taking pictures, dipping our toes in the water and playing hide and seek with some sea turtles. Afterwards, we took a long drive and ended up at the Dole Pineapple Plantation. We were able to tour their lovely gardens, ride the pineapple train which takes you all around the plantation and visit their large gift shop. For our anniversary dinner, we went to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. I have heard a lot about this place from people who have eaten their in San Francisco, but we had never gone to one. The food was outstanding, and the steaks were almost as good as my husband’s, but I would still have to give his steaks first place. I know I’ve gained some weight on this trip, but what a way to go!!

[rockyou id=120680591]

Vacation Glitch

Up until yesterday, we had had just a perfect vacation with not one thing going wrong.  That was soon to change. On the morning of the 12th, we ate breakfast at Don The Beachcomber restaurant inside the Royal Kona hotel. We were able to sit outdoors and enjoy the beautiful ocean view as we feasted on the breakfast buffet.  After breakfast, we headed to the airport in Kona where we would catch a flight to Maui, have about a 2 hour layover and then fly to Oahu. Unbeknown to us, the flight had been changed to a later time, and we were never notified of this change.  It was getting close to our flight time, with no plane in sight when my husband noticed a discrepancy between our boarding passes and our original flight information.  He went back out to security to check it out.  Indeed our flight was delayed for 2 more hours, and I noticed on the boarding pass for our plane in Oahu that we wouldn’t  be leaving until 7 p.m. which was also a couple of hours later.  My husband was mad, because the people at Island Air told him one thing, and then when he called United, they gave him a different story.  He felt that both companies had been dishonest.  Anyhow, we did finally make it to Oahu, and we headed to a bed and breakfast place in Honolulu where we had reservations.  Upon our arrival, we were stunned to find out that this place was not what we expected at all.  The room where we were going to be staying had no curtains or blinds, which made us uncomfortable, even though we were assured that nobody could see inside. (My husband noticed that he could look outside and see things.) As we were leaving the room to go down and get our luggage, I noticed a big cockroach crawling down the hallway and pointed it out to Pete.  It just made my flesh crawl.  We ended up thanking the owner for her kindness to us, but we had to tell her that we just didn’t think we’d be happy staying there.  We were able to get a hotel about a mile a way, which cost more but was not the kind of place where you would find crawling critters.  As we sat in our room eating pizza at 11 p.m., we just had to laugh about the day’s calamities, and I knew this would be a fun thing to post.

Today was much better, but right now I’m too tired to go on, so it will have to wait until another time.  We’re having fun, but are looking forward to coming back and seeing the kiddos.  I miss them!

Helicopter Tour

On Saturday, my husband and I decided to splurge and do a 45 minute helicopter tour over parts of the big island.  The day before we arrived in Hawaii, the lava flows had stopped, and we prayed that they would start up again. (My husband really wanted me to be able to see this.) Our tour was at 2 p.m., and the pilot told us that at noon, the lava had started flowing again.  It was pretty cool to be able to see this from up in the air. Pete thoroughly enjoyed the helicopter ride, and I enjoyed it too, until about halfway through the trip when I started getting nauseaous.  Fortunately, I didn’t throw up. I had to stop taking pictures and just sit there calmly. Anyhow, here are a few pictures from our flight.

On Tuesday, we fly to Oahu!

In Hawaii!

On Thursday, our plane landed on the big island of Hawaii at approximately 11:20 a.m. Hawaiian Standard time.  So far, I would have to say that our time here has been absolutely glorious! We’ve done a lot already, and this is only our third day here. We’ve spent a good bit of time in Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park yesterday look at various old lava flows, craters and calderas.  Unfortunately, there are no current lava flows, but it could start up again at any time, so we can check to get any updated information.  Yesterday, we spent a few hours at the Botanical Gardens near Hilo.  It was spectacular, and both of us just took our time shooting pictures as we walked through this lush garden.  I’m going to share a few that my husband took.  Mine will be uploaded later. 

A lovely pond inside the garden

delicate orchids

A very unique pink quill flower

pristine waterfalls

Forgot the name of this one, but it is stunning.


More to follow!