A Travellerspoint blog

Galapogos, going shopping, going home

Ecuador, Galapagos, Home!

Day 126 31 May, 2011

We didn’t move too much today. We decided that after three weeks on the move we deserved a day of rest. We also had to do research for C’s Melbourne university interview.

We did manage to get to the gym and have a swim and we had a nice dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Day 127 1 June, 2011

We met our group in the lobby and were driven to the airport. Sometimes it’s good to pay that extra money - we had a guide doing all the work in getting our boarding passes and paying the taxes which was great as the airport was madness. We literally made it through security and boarded the plane.

Once in the Galapagos we got a bus, boat and mini van to get to our boat. I (W) soon realised that I would need the sea sickness tablets. Our guide kept saying that it was going to get a lot worse!

After lunch we went back to Santa Cruz Island and walked through the Darwin centre. I really didn’t like all of the iguanas on the dock, but everyone else seemed to think it was great.
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We saw how their breeding the baby turtles to help the population numbers and got to see ‘Lonesome George’ the last giant tortoise from one particular island. They’ve had two female tortoises in the enclosure with him for 15 years and only in the last two years has there been any eggs – they weren’t fertilized but they’re hopeful he will get the idea soon. Apparently because he lived for 50 years without any females they think he doesn’t know how to use his bits… he lives for up to 170 years so he has time.
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We saw heaps of other giant tortoises and got quite close to some.

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After exploring the town of Puerto Ayora we went back to our boat and settled in. Dinner was awesome - but did threaten to come back up for a few people when we set sail. The stemitel worked for me but it was still like sleeping in a washing machine.

Day 128 2 June, 2011

We were woken for breaky at 7:00 and headed off on our first dry landing on South Plasas island. There were lots of land iguanas (which I jumped over) and some sea lions that craved attention from photographers. We wandered around the island cactus forest.
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Back to the boat and after lunch we dozed while we cruised to Santa Fe Island. Once there went snorkeling which was amazing – the sea lions are very inquisitive and love bubbles so when you dive down they come to see what you’re doing. C managed to get a waterproof case for his camera so he got some amazing photos of them.
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Just for fun, W and I started the trend of jumping off the top of the boat (W – I got a massive wedgie).

We then landed on Santa Fe and went for a walk – I think there were more sea lions, iguanas etc.

They seem to feed us every two hours so as C and I were having a drink on the top deck we also got some tasty snacks. Dinner was another feast – but followed by the rocking as we sailed during the night. (C- stemetil may have been used to make sure we slept)

Day 129 3 June, 2011

This morning’s visit was to post office bay on Florena island.
On the island we passed the cranky sea lions to get to the inland lakes. They stink. We saw some very pink flamingoes (let them have the lake). Then we headed to one of the most purest beaches we have ever seen. It is straight from the movies. We had to be careful as the area behind the grass was a turtle nesting ground, you could see the drag marks from previous turtles and we actually saw the cormorant birds hunting (and getting) for little turtles.
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Next was snorkeling around the “crown”. It is the remnants of a volcanic event that is now effectively a rock structure sitting out of water that has accumulated really vibrant reefs and subsequently fish.

It was really a bit of swim. We started at one point and then swam around the entire rock formation of about 60m diameter. We then swam through the middle of the crater. We saw really vibrantly coloured fish and a couple of sharks (apparently they are vegetarian).
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We continued to swim out further into the ocean hunting for sharks before heading back the best part of 200m back to the boat.

After lunch we headed to another part of the island and landed in a bay and went to explore the island. We saw the infamous “post office box”. The idea is that passing ships pick up mail that was near to where they would berth and deliver it for free. It is mainly a tourist thing these days – we’re expecting our letter to Bear to turn up and we’ve left a surprise for someone who gets to the Galapagos next!
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Next we headed down to an old lava tube, it was so dark you could not see in front of your face. Sharing the one remaining torch (out of the four originals) was interesting navigating the trails.

Iater that afternoon the snorkeling was just off the shore line and we came across so many turtles. They really don’t give damn about the humans. We had some fun trying to play follow the leader. W and I discovered, that even with our altitude training, the turtles can hold their breath a lot longer and can swim faster then us.
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The ship crew had a good game of soccer against the other boats while we enjoyed the serenity of the beach.

Back to the boat, W and I headed up the top deck and drinks for a beautiful sunset, how can you beat that?

Day 130, 4 June, 2011

The boat cruised over night and we awoke to the anchor getting dropped off shore from Espanola Island. We headed to Punta Suarez and started walking along the cliffs to watch the wildlife, particularly the birds. At the beginning all the seal lions and iguanas were dozing on the beach like the beach was one big party the previous night and they all have hangovers.

The cliff walk showed a huge variety of bird life. W even managed to capture blue footed booby doing its’ mating dance. There various nests from the different species were every where and therefore were the photographers paradise.
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Most entertaining was the place they call “albatross airport”, where the birds with the largest wing span I have seen, launch themselves. It is quite funny to see the these creatures extend their wings, get warmed up and then wait for the right gust of wind before jumping off the cliff and then sailing into the sky.

The only disruption was blow hole that erupted with the wave cycles.

At the bay we saw the infamous games the sea lions play with the marine iguanas. The iguanas swim around and then the sea lions decide to chase them. The iguanas rapidly increase their swimming speed, like nitrogen injection increase.

We moved to garner bay and went snorkeling off the shore. There was a real mixture of sea life and then we had to convince ourselves to get back in the water to go shark hunting. The buggers came up right underneath and I swear one winked at me when he showed his teeth. I left them alone very quickly.

Last drinks on the deck, it seems surreal it is all coming to end

Day 131, 5 June, 2011

We got to San Cristobel/ Puerto Baquerizo late in the night and before we know it we are leaving the boat. The town isn’t much, but we still seem to have our sea legs and the world keeps moving! W and I went for good walk and then settled in for some juices at a bar.

We endured the rigmoral of a plane flight via Quayakil, bus in Quito, hotel check-in.

I had an interview for Melbourne so W grilled me for 4hours in prep. Slept well aft the adrenalin rush had worn off.

Day 132, 6 June, 2011

We walked every where today.

We headed off to see some hats, checked out “gringo land” and headed across the city to “Teleferico”, the cable car. We had fun negotiating the roads, but got there in the end. The view was ok, but the clouds were rolling in. We tried a local fruity drink called canalassi that is served with a shot of liquor and very hot.
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We stopped by a supermarket and caught a taxi, feeling our feet had done enough work

Day 133, 7 June, 2011

We were so good with our budgeting and then today happened.

W had arranged a tour to the equator, Otvalo markets and town that was renowned for leather goods.

The equator was interesting. There is another monument, but we tried to squeeze as much as possible in and two equator trips seemed a bit much. The sun dial is huge and we were given a really interesting talk about the unique aspects in terms of solstices and astrological views available here in Ecuador.
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Next was the markets. There was too much to choose from but our limited space in the bags and the budget getting blown to hell. Oh well, we are coming home soon.

Next was the leather town and Wendy did very well for herself, Westpac will be calling us anytime soon now.

That night we planned to have our final dinner and went to this really nice restaurant call ”sur”. It is renowned for its’ BBQ. Wendy had steak and I had the BBQ selection. They do not waste any portions of beast here, I had to leave some of the “select” cuts on the plate. The kidneys do not taste the same as the way they are prepared in a breakfast creek pie.

We continued on to cool cocktail bar that was themed for the Beatles. Going out in style.

Day 134, 8 June, 2011

We woke up late and repacked the bags for the final time.

After checking out we headed out to get a few final items and explore the old town. We walked to the old town. We saw the observatory and the basilica on the way. The basicllica is massive and has all these gothic like spires, very imposing.

Eventually we found the tourist information and got map to see the area. We found the church “Öf the company of Jesus”. The gilding on the walls was incredible. The nativity displays and artwork carved from wood were very intricate and in some cases very gruesome.

We tried to walk a supposedly famous tourist strip and found one land mark out of seven, the others either closed or no longer existent.

Somehow we managed to get on public bus and started heading home but stopped off for lunch in gringoland and then went hat shopping. We think we have new idea for business, the hats over here are so cheap compared to Australia.

Back to the hotel for swim and shower and final repacking, mainly to fit the hat boxes.

We met some friends for quick dinner at my favorite restaurant, “Hunter’s”, the bbq sauce is incredible.

Of course, we managed to catch a taxi in peak hour and took a lot longer to get to the airport, luckily the taxis are comparatively cheap.

The Airline had our tickets this time! And then we had to wait for 30mins whilst they actually figured how to use the tickets and get our bags to Brisbane. QANTAS we miss you!

Just to top off the flight, we were called by the police to open our bags for inspection in the loading area. No stress at all, just trying to repack & zip a bag after police have searched it, messing up the intricate packing system and having baggage handlers wait for you as you get more zip ties into the zips.

Want to predict how the flight went?

Day 135, 9 June, 2011

We landed very unhappy in Santiago. I think that C dind’t actually wake up until we were in the airport looking for a loo. After working out that there were no ATMs around we changed our last Aussie $$ into some Pesos and went in search of coffee.

We’re now four hours down with about 9 to go…..

There won’t be much more to write after this. We keep asking each other if we think we’ve changed, if we’ll do things differently when we get back and are starting to gear up for what is in store in the next six months.

I think that we’ve confirmed that we’re stronger together, just as much in love as always and we can handle pretty much anything that gets thrown at us. Maybe we have a better understanding of what our role is within our relationship, our strengths and weaknesses, hopefully we are a little more patient and a little more worldy.

We’ve seen the deepest depths of poverty, experienced the friendly acceptance of others and witnessed some of natures most amazing feats. But as it was called this was about life and liberation – I hope that by taking this time out we’ll look a little differently at the routine of every day life, we’ll see beauty in simple things and always remember that there are amazing things out there and everyday life doesn’t need to get in the way of it.

C- what exactly can I add to that? Viva liberation!

Day 136, 10 June, 2011

Today was not meant to happen. Due to a volcano most plane flights were grounded out of santiago. Our plane was delayed until 4.30. but it took off! we are coming home.

Day 137, 12 June, 2011

And yet the bloody volcano does us again. WE had to stop over in Auckland.

Day 138, 13 June, 2011

WE ARE HOME!

Posted by ourlife 15:47 Comments (0)

There are always more ups.

Corderllia Blanca & the Huayhuash Trail

It was during the Huayhuash trek that we coined the phrase - there are always more ups - as each corner we turned, each hill we got to the top of always had another up hill. It also appealed to us metaphorically - in terms of there is always a better time..... you become very D&M after walking for 12 days in the Andes!

Day 109 14 May, 2011

The weight loss programme starts today. (W - C’s does anyway…)

We were up early and for the bus by 8:00. It was the usual mini van/bus, but we chose very bad seats with no leg room at all. The journey stared off with the bus driver ducking in and out of traffic, no change from yesterday. It took an hour to actually get out of Lima and onto the highway.

The highway is an interesting setup. It is right beside the beach and the dunes border right up to edge, it is very disconcerting when the dunes are towering over you.

The bus travelled up the coast for about 200km and then you turn right. The road then cuts across the mountains, at one point up to 4100m above sea level. We passed a town that seemed to be celebrating something and sold a lot of ‘cueso’ (cheese).

After about 10hrs we arrived in Huarez (pronounced Warez) and our hotel is about 15km just outside the city. The hotel is better then we expected. It is an old house that has been converted. It is a nice mix of colonial and rustic.

Dinner took ages to come even though we had pre-booked, then we went off to bed.

Day 110 15 May, 2011

We were supposed to have a sleep in today. C managed to hold out till 7:30. I was up at 6:30. After breakfast we dusted off our trekking gear and headed off up the hill. Everyone soon learnt the effects of altitude - heaving for breath after only 30m. It was hard going up hill but we managed. There is a big mix of ages in the group – between 25-73. So far it seems like a good bunch with lots of different kinds of experiences.

We walked to the top of one hill then around two more, through fields and between mud brick buildings. There are cows, dogs and pigs everywhere which means there is lots of poop to avoid.

After about 3.5 hours we made it to the ruins which is where we were to have lunch. It was a nice spot under a few gum trees.

After lunch and going through the museum we met the bus and made our way back to the hotel. After a quick change we went up the street to the hot springs. They were a lot different to those in Colca Canyon – the water was muddy and even though we went in the ‘over 25’ pool there were lots of kids splashing around. Still, it is supposed to have cured our rumatisim, muscle pains and ‘gripe’ (interpret that as you will).

We headed into Huarez for last minute shopping and then had a group dinner. At our end of the table we entertained ourselves by working out a few different plots for one of the guys’(a filmmaker) movie that he was going to make during the hike.

Day 111 16 May, 2011

We were up early and after a long wait for the delivery of lunches we set off toward Cordillera Blanca. We drove past a town was completely wiped out in the 70s after an earthquake caused a lake to break its banks and flood the valley.

After about 3 hours we stopped at the national park gate, then bumped along a treacherous road for another 30 mins. Once off the bus we started walking through a field past a few cattle men setting up their camp. After a while we reached the bottom of the range and then the endless switchbacks started and didn’t stop till we reached lake 68.

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We stopped for lunch and had some interesting looks from the cows. After lunch we set off up and up and up the side of the mountain which was really steep. Eventually we made it to lake 69 which was amazingly beautiful (another one of those ‘oh wow’ moments). There were quite a few other hikers there – some were getting their gear off so C called them the sirens of lake 69….

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It took forever to get back to the bus then it was a long and uncomfortable ride home. Some really badly dubbed videos were shown on the bus.

Day 112 17 May, 2011

Today was taken up by a really long bus ride further into the mountains. We stopped in a small town for last minute provisions and after lunch we got some great views of the Huayhuash (pronounced whywash) range.
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We made it into camp at about 5pm and met the horsemen and the rest of the crew. Later that night we realised out how cold it was going to be!

Day 113 18 May, 2011

We survived the night (barely in the cold) only to wake up to a freezing morning. As we had breaky our camp was packed up and put onto the donkeys. We set off at about 8:45 and made it to Cacanampunta Pass (4,700) within about 3.5 hours.
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We thought it was pretty hard going – until the donkeys and horsemen all caught up with us and were running along the track.

We descended into the valley and had lunch near a memorial for a polish explorer who died while trying to find the Amazon River headwaters.
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After lunch we walked for another 2.5hours through lush green fields and got to the Janca camp at about 2pm. It was an amazing view of the mountains from the tents.

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Later that arvo we went for a walk to a lake which was closer to the mountains, then we had to get back to camp through a very swampy field.

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It was slightly warmer than last night but I (W) got a hot water bottle which helped. The wind during the night kept us awake.

Day 114 19 May, 2011

Today we walked to the Carhuachoa lake via the Carhuac Pass. It was an easier start but still a very long up hill for about 2.5 hours.

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The view of the lake was phenomenal and our camp was perched high up on the side of the lake. C did the domestic duties – washing- with a brilliant backdrop.
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We played a few games of a French racing car card game before bed. C opted for a hot water bottle as well tonight.

Day 115 20 May, 2011

We were up a bit earlier today. It seems to be getting easier to get up, re-pack and get moving.

We got down to the lake, crossed a stream (some not so well) and then walked along the edge of a valley for about an hour and a half.
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Then the up hill began…
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dodging donkeys, horses and cows, slipping on the gravel, it seemed to go on forever. But once at the top we then had a 4km trek along a gradual uphill bit until the last few hills before the pass. Finally we got to Carnessaro (the butcher) pass (4,600).

We went down along past a lake and had a great hot lunch (most of the other days we have a packed lunch).
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It was another long 3km up and down to camp.

Day 116 21 May, 2011

Today we left by 8:00am and went up for 2hrs. Each day I think we get fitter, but the cumulative fatigue is evident. We hit the pass (4,700) and while waited for everyone else we made plans to heli ski down some of the mountains from a different range called the sleeping lion.

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We had lunch and a siesta a bit further down the range, passing Lake Viconga, and after another hour we could see camp from the top of a mountain (a long way away). Our guide had to pay some people to unlock a gate – the land we walk on isn’t national park, but community land so we have to pay the locals the camping fee each time we go into a different area.

Once we were settled into camp we set off to find the hot springs. It was a neat set up – two pools - one for ‘washing’ and one for swimming. The swimming one, however was way too hot to stay in so after dunking ourselves we wen to the washing one. Eventually we got back into the swimming one which was a lot cleaner.

We had a few games of ‘banana grams’ which is like scrabble before dinner. What kind of word is quar…

Day 117 22 May, 2011

IT SNOWED LAST NIGHT!!!!

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We woke up (and heard it throughout most of the night) to a white wonderland which was beautiful, but cold.

I’ve managed to develop a good cough so combining it with walking up hill in altitude breathing is all the more harder. Part of the way into the walk today, I was really struggling to breath – and had a bit of a panic attack. Lots of people came to the rescue though and after some ventalin and sweet coca tea everything was ok.

We reached the Cuvoc Pass (5,050m) after about 3 hours.
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It was quite cold at the top so we sheltered behind a rock. It was hard to manage getting down on really slippery skree but once we did we were welcomed to our lunch spot with hot tea. After another 2hour walk we got to our camp at Hcancapatay

Day 118 23 May, 2011

Our guide had offered to change the itinerary of the trek a bit so we could get to do an extra pass called San Antonio Pass. Today was the day so we left camp a bit early setting off up a very steep track – along some pretty hairy drop offs, before trekking the last few kms in snow (yes, it bought back not so welcome memories of Kili).

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But the view and the elation at the top was worth every step.

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We had some fun!!!

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The view we got of Sula Grand was phenomenal. We also saw what has been named ’Simpson’s Rock’ because it was where one of the guys from the Touching the Void storey were found.

The descent from the pass was also pretty nasty and we traipsed along the side of the mountain before finding the lunch spot.

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It was a very long walk down the valley to camp and C managed to fall and give his ankle a bit of a sprain – it didn’t turn out to be too bad but it was a worry so he ‘iced’ it in a stream for 20 mins.

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We enjoyed a few drinks that night and really slept well!

Day 119 24 May, 2011

After packing up we walked further down the valley into the town of Huayllapa. This town is pretty amazing as there are no cars – just horses and donkeys. We got a few provisions from a very basic shop before going back up the hill to the track.

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It was a long, hard up hill walk through a valley to lunch. The donkeys became a bit friendly after lunch – looking for leftovers. We made it to camp Huatia about an hour after lunch and C and I set about doing some washing in a freezing stream. The view from the toilet tents was pretty amazing.

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Day 120 25 May, 2011

We had yet another early rise today and we set off up hill to a plateau. After about three hours we made it to Tapush Pass (4,800) passing a mining company base and the start of the road to Huayllapa. We got great views of Diablo mudo (the mute devil) from the pass.

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We got into camp reasonably early and some of the group went up various mountains while C and another guy commentated.

The horsemen bought a sheep from a local farmer and it was prepared for our Andean bbq in a few days. It was another very cold night.

Day 121 26 May, 2011

We walked down and around into the valley then climbed and climbed to Yarcha pass. Although this was the ‘last pass’ it was by no means easy. The last hour involved climbing along skree which I (W) seem to have gotten better at.

Once at the top a few of us went up to a look out and had a brilliant view of the Hyayhyash range.

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We made our way down and down and down along the side of the mountains passing beautiful wildflower bushes and made it to another alfresco hot lunch amongst the cows. It still amazes us how the chef manages to cook for so many people with barely any tools.

The walk after lunch seemed like it would never end. We had to go down about another 700m on a slippery gravel path. In some parts C had to go first to give me something to fall onto.

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We made it into camp in the afternoon and had a great vew of the lake, mountains and glaciers (ABG!). We had a few beers that night to celebrate the ‘last pass’.

Day 122 27 May, 2011

Today was the only day that it wasn’t sunny but it didn’t matter too much as it was our rest day. Notwithstanding we still went for a walk around the side of the lake, avoiding the muddy patches, and up a hill to get a closer view of the glacier and mountain lake. It was another spectacular view. We tried to get some rocks into the lake until our guide told us that it’s what the locals do to upset the mountain gods to make it rain….. (it did rain a lot that afternoon).

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Once back in camp we spent the arvo/evening hiding in our tents and playing cards.

Day 123 28 May, 2011

When someone tells you that ít’s an easy walk down by the via duct” you assume that it will be an easy walk…. Not a 5 hour terrifying (for me) walk along a cliff with a 100 m drop and scrambling in some parts!!!! That being said it was a beautiful walk down the valley and C and I got some time to ourselves to ponder the meaning of life (as if we haven’t had enough time already).

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We were amazed at the engineering of the water pipe- but also seeing sheep grazing on the hill side.

The walk seemed to take forever and the downhill was endless, but we eventually got into the town of Llamac, and found our way to the soccer ground to where we were camping. We picked up a few beers along the way and got into enjoying our last afternoon in the andes.

The final of the fifa soccer finals were on so our guide managed to get a local store owner to let us come and watch it on her TV. Not that we’re into soccer – but it was just entertaining to sit in a dingy little room on wooden stools with all the horsemen and listen to them.

After the football we were taken to a local’s place to watch the ‘Patchamanca” which is a traditional Peruvian bbq where they heat up rocks then bury the meat in the ground to cook it. Yes, C took photos and we’ll probably have one of these in our yard within the next months. The lamb (sheep) was beautifully cooked.

Before dinner we had the tipping ceremony and C and I bought one of the horsemen’s ponchos (it really smells like horse).

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Day 124 29 May, 2011

We were up a bit later than planned as our crew had had a big night and didn’t wake us up at the arranged time. Anyway we were packed up and on the road by about 7:30am.

The road out was terrifying (for me) as it was only one lane (total) so each time a car came the other way one of us had to reverse until there was enough room to pass. I also didn’t cope too well with the windy road.

After too many hours we made it back to Lima, going over the very scary sand dune highway again. We cleaned up, kind of re-packed and went off for dinner with the group. It was a fairly ritzy, but quite nice restaurant near some inca ruins.

Day 125 30 May, 2011

Our transfer picked us up at 9:00 and we were dropped into the chaos of Lima airport. There was some issues with our ticket, but eventually we were given our boarding passes, trudged through security and immigration and were whisked off toward Ecuador.

The length of time we’ve had in Peru has really given us an insight into the people and the culture. We’re still a bit peeved that we didn’t get to do the inca trail, but it leaves something to do in the future.

We landed on time in Quito, butt were the last off the plane, the last through immigration and our bags were sitting beside the carousel – but at least there was a man with a sign there to pick us up.

The hotel we’re in reflects the cost of the tour! It is quite old, but recently refurbished – in a very nice part of town. The people on our transfer were surprised that it was us getting off at this hotel!

We went in search of the supermarket for some provisions and found a cool restaurant that C claims has the best bbq sauce ever.

Posted by ourlife 14:31 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Indians, Incas and Insects that can kill you

Cusco, Machu Pichu, Amazon, Lima

sunny

Day 96, 3 May 2011

We left reasonably early and went to the bus station where we got on a bus for the long ride to Cusco. There were a few stops along the way but otherwise we just watched the changing scenery and saw two movies (C-Spanish language, English subtitles, different).

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Once we were settled in Cusco we ducked out for a sandwich then after a briefing we went for a wander around town (C-one of the worst sandwiches ever).

We were going to go out for dinner but decided not to as I wasn’t feeling very good. Later that night/ the next morning (at 3am) unfortunately, Chris was coming down with the same thing I had and then had a skype interview for a potential job in Tassie. We didn’t get much more sleep as the full force of the bug hit us in the early hours of the morning.

Day 97, 4 May 2011

Luckily today was set aside as a free day –well we spent most of it in bed. We did manage to go to a shop that showed us the difference between synthetic wool jumpers and alpaca. There is a huge market here for jumpers here but many that claim to be 100% alpaca or ‘baby alpaca are actually fake (C- ‘maybe alpaca’). I got an alpaca jumper..

We did venture out in the afternoon, but struggled to get much further than the main square (about 500m). It was a long day of tv watching and feeling sorry for ourselves.

Day 98, 5 May 2011

We were much better today! We managed to get out of bed and ate some breaky then we headed toward the shopping precinct. We walked and walked through markets, got a few trinkets and ended up at the Inca temple of the sun. It was interesting to learn that when the Spanish got to Cusco they flattened all temples (except this one) and built churches. This temple had a beautiful court yard in the middle and was set in really nice grounds.

We also went through a monastery which was interesting, but a bit eerie. We then did the dirty…. We went to Mc Donalds. To give us some cred – we did only want safe, reliable food. But why is it that once you’re there with the burger it’s exactly the same as it always is.

I think we went out for dinner that night with the group but were fairly early to bed.

Day 99, 6 May 2011

We were up early and off in a mini van four our tour of the sacred valley. The first stop was an animal shelter where we saw some macaws, puma, condors and other interesting animals. The shelter gets the animals from people who are caught trying to sell them on the black market.

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Next we stopped at a charity project where the women are encouraged to explain the process of weaving with alpaca, wool and llama. We experienced another hard sell on some products, but we managed to get a good price on a piece of material (another wall hanging!).

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After a long drive past some inca ruins we made it to more ruins. We were shown around and then were allowed to explore ourselves. C and I made our way to the very top and agreed that it would have been a great place to play hide and seek except for the heaving breaths you’d have because of the altitude.

After another stop for lunch we got to the town of Ollyantaytambo and walked up some more ruins. These ones were up the side of a bit hill. The terracing is amazing – they make use of every possible bit of land no matter how steep it is. (C- there are also some faces carved into the stone, some parts formed by nature, others the Incas accentuated with their masonry, very impressive)

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We had a nice room at the hotel– apparently some of the walls were ‘inca walls’ (hmmm yep complete with new concrete) and after dinner we crawled into bed as it was freezing.

Day 100, 7 May 2011

We thought we were up to day 99 today so we didn’t celebrate…

Today was a bit of a gap filler. We were up and out of the hotel by 8:00 and on the train to Agua Callientes (hot springs) town by 8:30. The scenery from train was amazing as the environment changed from altiplano to jungle. The size of the mountains was unbelievable – especially when we were at the bottom of the valley.

Agua Callientes itself doesn’t have much to offer except for a number of over priced restaurants and tourist touts. C and I bummed around for most of the afternoon, then found a place with reasonably priced beer and pondered our return to Aus.

Later that night C and I ordered a guinea pig for dinner (which we called Bob- we also agreed never to have a guinea pig as a pet, C- or a pet named bob). It was interesting, but not sure if we would try it again. There wasn’t much meat and the taste was not very good. It was kind of too well cooked but maybe you have to cook it like that (C bring on the Argentinean steak!).
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Day 101, 8 May 2011

I can not believe that we’re here. Today was awesome. We were up very early and bundled off in busses to climb up to the top of a mountain to the entrance of Machu Pichu. We had been told that it was near on impossible to get a stamp to allow you to climb a particular mountain, huanapichu, in MP as they limit them to 400 per day and people queue from 3:00am to get them. We were lucky however as when we got there, they were still handing out the stamps.

So as soon as we got in we raced off to Huanapichu, waited to be let in and then set off at a cracking pace, heaving for breath most of the way up. There were lots of small slippery steps, even some that you needed rope to hang on. However it paid off as we were about the 5th people up the top and it was magical. You could see the whole MP site but the surrounding mountains were spectacular.

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We then had the arduous task of getting down all of the steep steps. It was fun though, and we made it back to our group in time to start the tour. I think we were lucky to do the climb early in the morning as by 9:00am it was quite hot and sunny.

The tour was interesting – telling us that MP was really a trading centre and a lot of people bought their goods there to swap for other things. The engineering of the waterways, the earthquake proof walls, the sun dials and the ‘Inca GPS’ system make you wonder why we need so much fancy technology to produce things. But the sheer size and perfection that makes the whole site just blows you away.

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Thinking it was our 100th day, C and I shared a beer on the top of MP overlooking the site. It was really cool.

We met our group who had walked the inca trail in Agua Callientes, got the train to Ollyantaytambo then headed back to Cusco.

Later that night we had a few drinks at the world’s ‘highest’ Irish pub, (C- Wendy managed to meet Pat Cash the tennis player).

Day 102, 9 May 2011

We had a very slow start too the day as my head was not the best. But luckily it was another free day so C did some computer work while I slept. We headed out about lunch time and did a bit of shopping.

C and I went to a cool place for dinner and had some food that was like home – an Aussie burger and fish and chips…. We also got our South America t-shirt that says ‘no gracias’ as it is a saying that we’ve said too many times to the touts.

Day 103, 10 May 2011

After re-packing and scoffing breakfast we set off for the airport. I would have thought getting 16 people through everything and on a plane together would be nigh on impossible, but we all just followed our leader, dropped off the bags, went through security and eventually boarded.

We arrived in Porto Moldanado which is a growing town in the Amazon. The change in temperature hit you like a slap in the face – a welcome change from the cold of Cusco, but the humidity didn’t agree with quite a few people.

After changing bags and bumping along a dirt road to a very make-shift port (stairs down a river bank a few planks) we got onto very long thin boats that I think resemble the Chinese junk boats. At least we had life jackets!

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We zoomed along the river, stopping at a ranger’s office but also stopping to look at various wildlife. We did see a number of Capybaras (they are like a big guinea pig) (C-60kg guinea pigs!) snuffling at the water’s edge.

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After about 2 hours we made it to the lodge which was beautiful. It was a big open air wooden structure with couches, hammocks and a bar with cold drinks. The rooms were also pretty amazing. There were no hard walls between the rooms- just bamboo dividers (all three off the supposed walls that don’t even reach the ceiling, if someone snores, we will know), the doors were bits of calico and we had an open area looking straight into the jungle. Luckily we did have mosquito nets over the beds and two candles for light. It was very rustic but really cool too.

After dinner we were taken on a night walk and went back on the boat to search for cayman. We saw a few eyes poking out from the water, but not much. We did see a few too many spiders & scorpions though (C- we only saw one that would kill you, the rest were just impressive for their shear size).

Day 104 11May 2011

The noises in the jungle were amazing. I was up quite early as I wanted to see if there was news from home, but it wasn’t hard to be woken by the cacophony of birds, cicadas etc. After breakfast we set off on a nature walk, stopping at a big tower and then to a lake. The lake was lovely, but quite hot. We went in search of the big trees, then fed piranhas bread (one of our group actually cut himself to see if they liked blood).

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We all flaked before and after lunch, but I did manage to get online and see that Josh and Charlotte Barwick had been bought into the world and were doing great. One of the tougher moments to be a million miles from home, in the middle of nowhere I have to say (C- however, you have to admit, internet in the middle of the Amazon is a sign of the times)

We went off on another activity, this time going through a fruit farm, tasting all the strange fruits they grow. I have no idea what they were called but there were quite a few sour type of fruits. We were assured that most of them make good ice cream.

We played a few rounds of cards before dinner, then the boys got stuck into a bottle of rum afterwards (C- not purely my idea, someone else brought the rum).

Day 105 12 May 2011

The days are going fast now. I can’t believe that we only have 30 left!

We left the lodge fairly early and made our way back to the airport. It was a long flight, via Cusco to Lima and before we knew it, we were back at the starting hotel. (C-more disconcerting was weight of our bags 37.5 kg and we have two in storage in Lima).

After a shower and loading some washing we set off for our last group dinner. I can’t say it was the best food we’ve had but by the time the food came everyone was starving.

We headed to a bar and had a few drinks with the group before finding our way back to the hotel.

Day 104 13 May 2011

C- Black Friday, and I have the headache. Wendy seemed to get a burst of energy and was typing up some of the blog.

We also discovered that our toothbrushes have gone walkabout, blame it on black Friday (re-located but covered in rid).

At breakfast, we caught up with some of the group as everyone was making their final preparations for leaving. Again we started repacking, in Wendy’s words, “I am used to repacking, but whether I like repacking is debatable”.

We headed into the main part of Lima City with tour member and began to explore the city. We walked around the buildings shops of the square and enjoyed some ice cream. A public display on the history of food in peru was being shown. It looked really good, although we couldn’t read any of the Spanish descriptions.

A political conference was taking plae at the presidential palace. So we found bench and did some people/ event wathxing before catching up with our friend.

Next was the catacombs. This was a real surprise. We managed to get there just as an enlgish tour was starting. The art work was amazing and then you decend into the old catacombs. It use to be public cementary under the church. Due to the burial rituals, more and more people were buried until it was full. They estimate about 25,000 people were buried in the main pits alone. The main pits are wells that are about 10m deep and 3m diameter, full of bones. Wendy stayed close to me, although I kept bumping head on the roof.

We also found this man doing traditional weaving, and found out the bargain of the tour, 15 sols (5$Aus) for hand made wall hanging.

We headed back to the hotel in a taxi, driving in Peru must be dangerous part time, Wendy and our friend were hiding in the back talking, oblivious to the traffic conditions and dricing I was watching from the front.

We picked up the bags, said some final farewells and then head off to the next hotel to start the Huayhuash (pronounced - whywash) tour. The briefing was at 7 and was a few short as more people were flying in that night. Afterwards some of the group went out to dinne. W and I recommended the first place we visited with Neil on the GAP tour. I even manged to ask for some free pisco sours. An early night as tomorrow we start the next adventure.

Posted by ourlife 12:39 Archived in Peru Tagged ruins forest amazon inca Comments (0)

Lima, Pisco, Nascar, Arequiepa & Puno

Days 85 to 93

sunny 28 °C

Day 85, 24 April 2011

We had been put into a really nice room but didn’t really get to enjoy it too much. We were up a bit later, re-packed and met everyone at about 11am.

After waiting for our transfer we headed to the bus station which was pretty quiet. It was really nice to have someone who knew what to do and where to go. We loaded onto the bus and C watched a few movies – unfortunately they changed it from English to Spanish so he had to read the subtitles.

We made it to Pisco by about 4pm, then onto Paracas and settled into the hotel and went out for lunch/dinner and saw a really nice sunset.

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The tour is good – we just do what we’re told and follow the leader.

One year since we got engaged today!

Day 86, 25 April

We got up late and headed down to the beach front to look for breakfast. Breakfast here seems to consist of an egg on brad roll and a drink. I went for a coffee, although I think W won the day with some fresh pineapple juice. We went down to shore line to see what the beach was like, definitely not the gold coast, it seems to have dark gritty feel like dirt to it, at least we can say we have been on both sides of the pacific ocean.

Afterwards, we caught a mini bus to a pisco winery. It was interesting to compare the different techniques used to make pisco. The main element being that the grapes are much sweeter due to the heat. We toured through the traditional process and then found out it is used once a year to celebrate the harvest season, the rest of the time, stainless steel and machine are used.

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Then the tasting! There were some good, some bad and some that were just plain ugly.

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Towards the end the tour leader just grabbed the bottle of leftovers and started pouring, a great technique to get us to sleep on the bus.

The bus headed off towards Nasca, on the way there was stop over at desert oasis. Most of the group went on the dune buggies and sand boarding, W and I hung out at the oasis and watched the sun go down.

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When the group came back we saw them emptying their pockets, shoes and any other receptacle of sand which brought back memories of Swakupmund in Namibia.

2 ½ hours later we arrived in Nasca. W and I had dinner and watched a documentary on the upcoming wedding of Prince William and Kate Middelton, riveting viewing (and the only program in English on the TV)

Day 87, 26 April 2011

It was another late wake-up. We packed our bags and then headed into the town of Nasca. The first attraction was to see the traditional cemetery. It was interesting to see the preservation of the bodies due to the low moisture content. Unfortunately over the last couple of hundred years, grave robbers have attempted to take all the valuable items. They used to probe the ground, unearth the bodies and then leave the bodies on the surface. Even now you can still see some bones just sitting on the surface that have been uncovered by the wind. The restoration and re-creation of the burial sites was intriguing, although a little unnerving. Most them had teeth though which was good to see.

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After stopping at a small pottery workshop, we went to the airport for the ‘Nazca lines’ plane flight. The airport is tiny and effectively setup just to handle the light aircraft to go view the lines. Again we had to step on the scales to our weights, so far so good.

The airplane was a ‘CESSNA 205’, just big enough to handle 6 people. It was bit warm and at times a little bumpy, but w and I were fine and no incidents. The lines were really impressive to see, although our cameras don’t do them justice. The shear scale is what really amazes you.

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(if you look at these you should see the astronaught, the monkey, the spider and the tree i think)

A greasy lunch help settled everyone’s stomachs and then we headed back to the hotel to pick up our bags.

We headed into town and the hit the local karaoke bar, the locals didn’t know what hit them.

Then the over night bus, although for Wendy and I it was the best bus trip so far, the setup is quite interesting, the seats almost become full lay down beds, and that was only 2nd class, we caught a glimpse of first class, it looks like the space capsule on the planes.

Day 89, 27 April 2011

We arrived in Arequipe at about 7am and were transferred to a hotel where our bags were dropped off. We all headed to a local coffee shop for much needed coffee. W and I took a look at what was suggested and made our plan for the day.

First we looked at the ‘ice maiden’ museum. We watched a documentary and were then guided through the halls displaying the artifacts. The story is about the sacrifice of young girl during the times of the Incas and then the recovery and examination of the preserved body.

What was unique was the discovery of the body in the late 90’s was only because a near by volcano erupted and the surrounding snow on nearby mountains melted. Some archeologist climbers stumbled upon the body on accident and it opened up a whole new area of research into the Inca traditions.

Next we wandered around and looked the buildings which are very colonial. It is called the white city as the original buildings were built of volcanic ash bricks which were naturally white. We finished our city exploration by going through the Cathedral. It was quite impressive and the views from the top showed the city as it spread out.

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We headed back and chilled out in hotel room, caught up on some internet stuff and then joined the rest of the group fro drinks in the courtyard. A few different techniques to remove broken corks from bottles were being demonstrated, some to great success, others less so.

The group went for dinner and then W & I headed back, I was very impressed to see ‘Ghost-busters’ in English.

Day 90, 29 April 2011

We packed up and were off by about 9am. This part of the tour is operated by a local guide (with a great mullet) in a private bus so we were pretty comfy. We got out of Araqueipa and headed up and up – reaching 4800 at one point. Everyone was pretty nervous about the altitude, but most seemed to manage it well. Somehow C and I are the ones they all ask the questions because we’ve been through it in Bolivia.

I got a new camera case from a roadside stall and patted a baby llama/alpaca. We made our way into the town of Colca and got to the hotel at about 2pm. After a lovely lunch and a szz in a hammock we went for an acclimatisation walk.

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The scenery is beautiful – a lot greener than Bolivia, but still not much ground cover other than small bushes and lots of cactus.
After the walk we chilled out next to a fire and had dinner before retiring pretty early.

Day 91, 30 April 2011

We left pretty early and made our way to the Condor Cross. We made a few stops along the way and I kept my eyes closed where the bus went too close to the edge (C- the bus driver turning off the lights in the tunnel didn’t help either). We found a spot on a rock and waited for the canyon to warm up. Apparently the condors fly higher as the canyon gets warmer.

Eventually we were awarded a great show of condors gliding through the sky, swooping down into the canyon. It was breath-taking. We went for a walk along the side of the canyon and met the bus.

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After another huge lunch in the town of Chivey we went back to the hotel for a rest. We were taken to the hot springs later that afternoon and enjoyed a very hot, sulfur bath. We were then taken to a restaurant to experience a Peruvian dinner/dance.
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Our driver had some fun on the way home playing bad music and flashing the lights.

Day 92, 1 May 2011

Today we left the colca canyon, passing over a very high point – I think about 4800m, then after a few stops and a long drive we got to the city of Puno. Puno is on the side of Lake Titicaca which is a huge lake that is at 3,600m.

C and I split from the group and we ventured out for a cheap lunch then tried to find the markets. We had to re-find our group to find the ‘black’ market. I thought this was a spice market, but it turned out to be a market full of fake products- like asian markets.

We went to a cool pizza place – but it took an hour for our pizza to come and even longer to get a beer!

Day 93, 2 May 2011

We left early – on bicycle manned rickshaws and had a race to the port. We boarded a motor boat and sailed for about 2 hours to Taquelle Island. We walked across the island, had a look at the markets and had lunch overlooking the lake. Chris got another weird knife – not sure whether this one will make it home as it has sheep’s teeth in it.

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We then sailed to the village where our homestays were. We were greeted by the community – all in traditional dress, and made our way to the school where some of our group was challenged to a soccer game. Our team won, but there were some interesting tactics used (C stealing a goal keeper may have been a tatic used).

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The community then treated us to a traditional party – where we were dressed up in their traditional clothes and taught how to do their dances. we looked ridiculous but it was a lot of fun.

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After the party we ventured up the hill in the dark to our house, and after playing with the children and the dog we had dinner. Although it was in a kitchen – we think that it isn’t where they actually eat. I think that they try to maintain the old ways for the tourists, but are moving forward as well. We made small talk for a bit then went to bed.

During the night it rained and hailed so hard that C thought it was coming through the roof.

Day 93, 2 May 2011

We had breaky in the family’s kitchen and then headed back down the hill to the port and said good bye to our ‘mama’. After a boat ride we reached the Uyros floating islands. We were given a presentation on how the islands are made, then shown inside a house and pushed around a market.
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Some of the boys (including C) decided to jump into the lake – they didn’t stay in the water very long.
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Later in the afternoon, after checking into the hotel, we ventured out to a festival – which consists of a long street of markets where they sell everything in miniature. Apparently if you buy the miniature things then you get them in real life. There are small cars, hardware, babies, pots of gold, fake money. We walked and walked, eventually finding a small house and returned to get C a model of a dentista with his foot on a patient’s chest pulling a tooth – not sure if we want this to come true!

We had a beer in part of the markets – which looked like they’ll be much livelier later on.

We had a quiet dinner at a pizza place, then a few drinks at a bar. Some of the boys had a few too many and didn’t make it home until after 2:30am.

Posted by ourlife 19:43 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Bolivia, bumpy, blinding and bold

Days 78 to 84

sunny

Day 78, 17 April 2011

What a hell of a day today was. After barely sleeping due to noise and fear of not waking up, we got up at 5:00am, repacked and dragged our bags down the horrible stairs. We couldn’t remember getting change for the room last night and C said was missing 50pesos so he asked the guy at the front desk whether he’d been given change as– of course the guy said he had ….

We made it to Santa Cruz airport, waited for 15 mins to pass through immigration, ran for our bags, cleared customs (after trying to declare our fruit), lined up for 20mins to re-check in and got stung US$5 airport tax. It was when we went to get Bolivanos out that we realised that we’d left a card in an atm in BA - #@$#@. So as we heard over the loudspeaker to go though the boarding area we raced to an internet/phone shop and managed to ring travelex and cancel the card. At security check, the wine bottle opener (we’d used once I think) that had gone through the four previous flights in the same place, set off all sorts of alarms and was confiscated.

The plane (which C said was a jet) basically went up then went down (you’d understand why flying is recommended when you look at it – very mountainous) and we landed on what I think is the only bit of flat around here and made it to Sucre.

As we’d researched that we could get a late night bus from Sucre to Uynui we got a cab to the bus terminal to find the bus company, Todo Turismo. After walking around and asking a few people we determined that it doesn’t exist in the Sucre bus terminal.

There are no other bus companies that go overnight to Uynui, only at 7 or 8:30am so we re-considered out timetable and went in search of internet to find a place to stay overnight.

After finding a map of the apparent office of the bus company and an address for a hostel we went looking. Carrying all of our big bags (me with about 30kgs and C with 40kgs) we walked up and down hills for 20 mins – AT 2970M ALTITUDE it hurt!. We gave up looking for the bus co and looked for the hostel which was supposed to be close by – we got lost doing so but got help from some local girls.

The hostel was nice and had a spare double room so we dumped our bags and went back to the bus station to book tickets for the next morning. Once there, we worked out that they were telling us that there was going to be a strike the next day and no busses or taxis would be leaving from anywhere in Bolivia…. We were stumped! One lady said that we may be able to check early in the morning as the strike may be called off.

We gave up looking for alternatives and got a cab into the central plaza. It was a beautifully manicured square – full of mothers and children playing. We went in search of a place recommended by the guide book but came across a travel agent on the way. They offered to sort out the bus tickets to Uynui, the salt flat tour and the ticket to La Paz – for a price that was pretty much the same as we’d seen elsewhere. They also assured us that the strike wasn’t going to stop busses.

We worked out that we were feeling crap because of the crazy day we’d just done and the altitude so after a cheap meal we went back to the hostel and crashed. (C- luckily W and I were still talking to each other on what is perhaps the most stressful day so far on this journey!)

we did remember our 7 month wedding anniversary - but we were too tired and too sick to celebrate!

Day 79, 18 April 2011

After a good night sleep and some diamox (for the altitude) we’re feeling better today. We got to the bus station just before 8:00am and got our tickets. After a very stale bread roll and vegemite we tried to get our bags under the bus – they were eventually put on but with no tags. I’m now sitting at the window watching each time they open the luggage hold to make sure that they aren’t taken. The country side is pretty, but unforgiving. We got to Potosi which is apparently about 3800 then Uynui is between 3000-4000m above sea level. We thought we might go in search of the infamous coco leaves to help with the altitude.

At potosi we went searching for bathrooms. W found one in a pharmacy and I found one in a servo but had to run out we some bloke yelled at me in Spanish which I did not understand. Previously W had tried to climb through a window to use bathroom at service station but was also chased by some lady apparently saying no water was available. We were brave enough to try some food being sold at a street stall beside the bus which was deep fried chicken and potatoes on some corn kernels. We waited anxiously but our stomachs did not erupt thank goodness.

We got to Uyuni, tried to get directions to walk to the hostel but after walking 2 blocks, decided a taxi was the go. We got into our room in the hotel and dumped the bags. We met our tour agent, got the run down for the next day and then headed out for dinner. At least we can say that Bolivia is far cheaper to travel in then Argentina. Dinner cost about $12. Once again we had an early night, with lots of blankets to keep us warm.

Day 80, 19 April 2011

We had a nice sleep in, the only problem being that we were wide awake in periods from 5 – 8 am.

After re-packing (again) we went for a wander around the town. It is very basic – and pretty run down. We found a place that sold coca leaves which is supposed to alleviate altitude sickness – we tried one leaf first, but then had a bunch - it was gross!

We met the tour – found out that it was a full 4WD. They loaded the big bag on top and off we went. The first stop was a train graveyard. We’re not quite sure why they chose to dump the trains here but there were both steam and diesel engine bodies. C liked that someone had spray painted formula of Einstein and Newton on the side.

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Next we went to the salt flats. We had assumed that it would be a dry expanse but we actually had to drive through a reasonable amount of water to get to the salt ‘hotel’(C-the whole building was made of salt, the dining setting was made of salt bricks). We had lunch out the back of the car and I had a very dodgy toilet experience (Dunny rating of -34). It was pretty cool to see the massive area. There were men harvesting the salt and leaving it in big piles to be picked up by rusty old trucks (C a very hard days work I would imagine).

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After lunch we went back through Uynui and drove for a very long time to get to San Juan. It was a small village – really a few mud brick buildings. We were shown to rooms and then fed and we went to bed. As we’d been warned it was frightfully cold but we had enough warm gear not to feel it too much.

Day 81, 20 April 2011

We were up and going by about 8:00am (C- turns out it was -20c last night). We drove through the valley of the rocks and onto three different lakes, Laguna Canapa, Laguna Honda and Laguna Hedionda. I think that one was blue, one was white and one was grey because there was sulfur, borax and some other metal. Our fellow tour people helped a little in translating what the guide said but we had to guess a lot.

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The landscape is beautiful in a rough and ruggered kind of way. There are miles and miles of dirt that is sparsely covered with small bushes. We went past the Ollague Volcano into the national park and to the Laguna Colorada to see the pink flamingos.

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We went to our lodgings for the night (not sure what else to call them) which consisted of a room with six beds – a clear plastic corrugated sheet for a skylight. We had dinner and crashed for the night. Again we were warm enough with all of our clothes on and sleeping bags and blankets.

Day 82, 21 April 2011

Another long day!. We got up at 4am to be ready by 4:30 – but found out that we couldn’t leave because the kitchen lady hadn’t woken up so we didn’t have breakfast. After trying to climb into the kitchen through a window and the lady turning up we managed to leave by 5:15.

To follow up, about 40 mins later, however the guide stopped by the side of the road and ran out to lift the bonnet saying there was a problem. He worked out that the car was leaking gear fluid and set about trying to fix it. About 20 other cars came past and looked under the bonnet as we sat in the dark in the freezing cold altiplano desert. It wasn’t until we started threatening that we’d want a day’s fee back and the park entrance fee that he worked out that we could go with another car.

The next few that stopped weren’t full so we split up and bundled off to see the geysers.

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The car that C and I were in had a French couple who were going down to Atacama – the driver worked out at 9:30 that they needed to be at the bus stop by 10. He still managed to stop and let us look at another lake, sped through a check point and got to the bleakest looking bus stop we’ve ever seen just as they were loading the bags on. We picked up two more people on the way back, stopped at the hot springs (would have been nice to go swimming there earlier to warm up!) and found our guide – still on the side of the road having fixed the problem.

It was a very long, bumpy and dusty ride back to Uynui, but we were quite happy to be there. We found a shower, had a quick bite to eat (C the quickest and the cheapest so far!) and got onto the bus.

The bus was supposed to be a ‘tourist’ bus that provided better service – but we were right up the front so every time the assistant came into the back he opened the door and slammed it three times. It was a dirt road for the first three hours so we bumped along in the dark. At least we had a bit more room and the seats reclined a reasonable way.

Day 83, 22 April 2011

We were dumped on the streets of La Paz at about 5:30 after a pretty bad night and luckily the bus company helped us work out where the hotel was and we got a taxi there. We managed to wake up someone who let us into the room so we got a few hours sleep before going out to explore.

We saw a big church and wandered through the streets. There are very steep cobbled and with the altitude I suffered a bit walking up hill. We found a ‘Pellerique’ (Spanish barber) and C got a cut throat shave. I’ve never seen him sit soo still!

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The markets we were looking for unfortunately weren’t happening so we wandered back toward the livelier street, stopping along the way for lunch. We found the Coca museum which was quite interesting. Did you know that Coke-a-Cola still uses the coca plant in the drink for ‘flavour’.

We wandered around a bit more and are now chilling out catching up on washing and blogging.

Later on we headed out to find the streets full of people heading home from a parade. We managed to find a restaurant that had been suggested to us. It had a band and a cultural dance show. It was good that we persevered as the show was interesting with colourful costumes and crazy dancing. C was pulled up for a dance at one stage.

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We braved the streets and walked back to the hotel.

Day 84, 23 April 2011

Today was a later start, we packed the bags, checked the laundry to see if it was dry (most of it was). It had been recommended to go to ‘Él alto’ to view the lookout, so we booked a taxi and headed out. The city literally hangs off the walls of the cliffs. We’re not sure if it was the actual lookout – but it was high enough.

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We headed back into town to check out the witches markets and have last look. We think the main part of the witches markets has been taken over by stalls selling bulk discount goods, although we did see some dehydrated llama fetuses, and other very different things.

We got a taxi out to the airport – back past the lookout we’d been earlier that morning. After a bit of negotiation at the check-in counter and paying a hideous US$25 each for airport tax we settled down in a café and tried to do more blogging.

We made it through security and purchased our Bolivian trinket – a salt lamp and I was tempted by a really expensive necklace but held back.

We landed in Lima at about 6pm, made it to the hotel just in time for our tour briefing and headed out for dinner. We decided to go out with our leader to a Peruvian night club. It was mad. There was a band playing traditional music and a lot of other old classics. Chris enjoyed a syringe shot from a ‘nurse’ dressed in a spandex outfit. We had a bit of a dance and a few drinks then went home at about 2:30am.

Posted by ourlife 13:28 Archived in Bolivia Tagged mountains rocks Comments (0)

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