The Drakes in Bellingham, Washington
News and Notes for 1996


‘Tis that time of the year again when we share with our friends and relatives some of the highlights of the past year and visions for the next. Travels: January to Mexico, first to the beach with cousin Louise and Jack and friends Shirley and Estelle, a group that has held together for over 40 years in nursing and travels. Then in March George and I flew to La Paz, Bolivia, to begin a one month trek through Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador.

In Bolivia we immensely enjoyed getting to know a number of the native people, artisans, ceramists and weavers. Walter Melendez, a ceramist in La Paz makes incredible nativity scenes, all of the persons dressed in Aymara costumes. He loves his culture and wants to share it with the world. George wants to promote his work and sell it via his web page. We went to Cochabamba and hired a private guide to show us some of the very old towns near by.

We took our first group booked tour to Copacabana on the shore of Lake Titicaka. An experience well worth the cost. From La Paz we flew to Cusco where we spent several days redoing the trip we took 32 years earlier when David traveled on George’s back. Machu Pichu is one of those places that just has to be on one’s “to visit list” at least once in a lifetime. On to Lima and found that we just could not stand the noise, pollution and wild pace of the city so we took a plane to Ayacucho where we spent four days. It was interesting. George visited the university there and we both hiked in the barrios meeting artisans, some of them with incredible skills.

On to Quito where we stayed with Gustavo Perez Ramirez and his wife Fina Guerreo de Perez in a magnificent condo in a high rise apt. house on one of the highest hills in the city. They drove us to Otovalo and we took a plane to Cuenca and bussed back to Quito from there. On the way an earthquake hit and ruined the RR track so we had to give up the plan to take the train as the track was damaged. The dining room where we were to have had Saturday dinner was destroyed.  Lucky the earthquake hit before we went to the finca for dinner!

David stayed home again by himself. This time we did not organize the entire neighborhood to look in on him, only half of it. He is getting much more independent all the time. He is still a “love” and a blessing and a big help to us both. David celebrated his 35th birthday in Big Rock Garden Park with about 45 guests. The big surprise was the “Grand March” by the Bellingham Pipe Band. The sound of the bag pipes in the park/garden was just fantastic. David especially loved it that Todd came for the day.

David will join us at the beach in Oaxaca in January but will return to Bellingham with a friend while George and I take a bus through Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, returning at the end of February to join David in Bellingham.

This is the last year the International Creche Festival is in Bellingham. George is trying to sell it as it is too big for him to manage by himself and is too costly for us to finance alone. This year he put up exhibits in 65 store windows showing 320 nativity scenes from 37 nations. A poster was made of the first prize work which George sent to Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the UN, also from Ghana, home of the winner. Check out his web page on the internet: <http://www.creche.org/creche/>.

We all send our love and best wishes for a peaceful New Year.

Mary Ann, George and David