Location: Buenes Aires, Argentina
Yes I am still in the land of the living LOL. But had quite a few days when I had no internet. I went on a big bus ride from Cusco to Lake Titicaca, haven´t got my itinerary with me so not sure which day I think it was Monday. It took 8 hours to get there. I hate buses, it wasn´t too pleasant, but enjoyed the scenery. There were no toilets so if we wanted to stop we all piled in to the bush and tried not to let the shepherds see us haha.
We did stop in one town on the way. We got off in the square (everywhere has squares here). The place was deserted, only one or two people to be seen in the whole town, dust blowing and it felt like we had arrived in a ghost town. A few sturdy ones walked up a hill to a sacred site, but the rest of us hung around to try and find a banos (toilet). Our guide managed to find us a toilet in the municiple building in the square, but it only had a mens and we all piled in getting weird looks from the caretaker.
When we came out, the square was full of people. The women and children had rushed out to uncover their stalls. The gringos had arrived and they were all wanting our money. One poor little boy had leprosy and he just hung around our bus door looking very sad. He is the only person I have seen in really bad condition the whole time here.
We finally arrived at our hotel and we were over joyed, it was an amazing place. Only thing they had no internet or tv, the manager wanted it to be like a retreat. But they had a great cheap shop there and we all got to be on first name terms with Paula that owned the shop LOL.
We would laugh every dinner time as our options were, trout, chicken, beef or spaghetti. When they said spaghetti that was about all we did have, not even any sauce. The soup was nice, but we got sick of asparagus every night haha.
The next day we went for a bus ride round more spiritual sites, they were fantastic, I enjoyed more than Machu Pichu. We were about 10 mins from the Bolivian border. We got stopped a few times by the police. One takes a bribe from the bus driver while another walks around the bus glaring at us all. But apparently a few years back you all had to get off the bus and show passports. Now they just pretend to be scary. The bribe is 3 soles which is $1.50NZ, doesn´t seem worth it, until I found out police in Peru only get paid 30 soles a month, but they can stop a lot of traffic.
I´m getting tired now as had big night last night getting here, so I am going to go to my hotel room and pack my bag and watch a movie in English, that will be lovely, awhile since I done that. Tomorrow I get picked up at 9am to go on a hydrofoil to Uruguay for a tour, have to entertain myself in the afternoon over there, hope I can find a cafe. Then I get dropped at airport at 7pm and have to wait for my flight at 1.19am, hope I can drop my bags somewhere. A friend of mine from Auckland will be at the airport at the same time as we are on the same flight, she is very quiet though. So I should have quite a bit of time to get on te internet and try and bring my travels up to date.
Love you all XXX
Location: Cusco, Peru
I am back in Cusco. Yesterday some of us went for a walk to a waterfall at the foot of Machu Pichu, it is at the beginning of the amazon jungle, it was very beautiful but surprisingly very like New Zealand. Only there were parrots flying overhead and lots of butterflys. For about an hour each way there was no footpath, only the railway track to walk on. The sleepers were the best thing to walk on but unfortunately they were totally random spacing and so we had to concentrate the whole time haha. Luckily whenever the train goes around a corner they toot their horn as it is a normal occurence for people to walk on the tracks.
So the 3 hour walk we were promised was 5 hours and we were all absolutely exhausted, my legs still a bit achy, but I´m sure it is good for me, didn´t stop me moaning at the guide, the others felt the same. The 2 guides we had were treating us like children and when we would say how far to go they would just say just around the next corner LOL. Then we went for another train ride, when we got to the train station the guide could not find our bus so he told us to stay on the train and we went to the next station an hour down the track. We got there at 7pm at night, it was dark and no bus, we were the only ones on the train and the guards kept us locked in the station. It took 30-45 mins for the bus to finally find us and then we went for a meal and then a 2 hour bus ride to Cusco. We got in late and crashed.
Today was a free day and we all just blobbed out. Went out for dinner tonight and watched Peruvian dancing, it was great. Then I had to pack again, it is not getting any easier haha. Tomorrow breakfast is at 7am and we leave on a bus at 8am for Lake Titicaca, that is what I am really looking forward to. Only problem is it is a 6 hour drive and the buses here are made for people with shorter legs than me, I´m going to try and get on quick and grab a back seat. We do get to have a stop on the way they are not that cruel. So better go to sleep now. It was quite sad tonight as one of our guides last night tonight, he has looked after us so well we were all really sad to think we might never see him again, he is just a young guy, born 240kms into the amazon jungle and he was the greatest, mothered us all. Taking our hand whenever it was needed, giving us a hug and forever walking around us counting our heads to make sure we were all there. He never left anywhere until we were all accounted for and fantastic interpruter. Night night XX
Location: agua cariantes, Peru
Had to get up at 4am this morning and you all know how hard that is for me. But it was so worth it, we got on a lovrly little train for a 2.5 hour journey that blew my socks off it was amazing. I took a couple of short videos, but we were only allowed limited luggage so I have just realised I have sent my camera connection on to next hotel which will not be until Saturday, sorry guys.
The scenery is incredible here, the train driver has to keep tooting the horn cos people just walk along train tracks. Also when he goes around corners so people know he is coming.
The stewards on the train are funny, they have big black coats on when they take your tickets, then on the train they change into little aprons when they serve food and then they come around with the tourist books and hats etc, they put on these safari jackets that they are trying to sell. I so nearly bought one they were a jacket that is also a backpack, with hundreds of pockets, but a good friend talked me out of it LOL.
I still think thry are cool and I have found them at the market so may still get one.
Got to go to lunch will try and get on later, off to Machu Pichu this afternoon for the first time but we are going up every day for 4 days this is so much fun, just want to stay here.
Had fantastic lunch, the food here is so good and we only have to pay for lunch, which is not going to break the bank because everything here is so cheap. After lunch we went on another scary ride up to Machu Pichu, lots of twists and turns, steep cliff on one side of the road and very narrow road. There are these fabulous Mercedes Benz coaches going up and down and trying to pass each other when really not enough room for 2.
Had fabulous afternoon up there, our shaman guide is excellent and teaching us heaps as we go around. He also explains lots of things to us and points out all special places, lots of climbing up hills, my legs are quite sore, but it is so worth it and I am getting compulsory work outs every day.
Tonight when we came down the hill an incan boy about 10 ran down the hill, it takes 25 mins in the bus so you can imagine how far it is, but the road goes backwards and forwards coming down and he just runs straight down and on every loop he was there in incan costume yelling out to us and waving then as we drove past he took off again, that was a lot of times in 25 mins. He was so cute and big smiles and waves. When we got to the bottom he got on the bus and smiled for photos and took a bag around he must have made at least 60 soles($30 NZ) and that would not have been the only time he did it today.
We went for a fabulous meal this evening, it is like a carnival atmosphere on the street and very safe, the internet is only 2 doors from Hotel but I feel very safe out on my own, it is 11pm now, most of the group have gone to bed cos we were up so early this morning but I have just got my 2nd wind. Also breakfast is not till 8am tomorrow. Then at 9am we are going back up to Machu Pichu and spending the whole day up there. The next day a few of us are going to stay in town and do the hot springs. While the adventurous walk up that mountain you see as a back drop to Machu Pichu. I do not want a day of torture no matter how nice.LOL. This is the first hotel I have stayed at in Sth America that does not have a guard on the front door, so much more relaxed. I´m having a ball and the other members of the group feel like family, I have lots of people wanting me to visit them all over the world and lots want to come and visit me, such amazing contacts I am making with people that think like me.
Love you all and love getting the messages
Location: Middle of nowhere, Peru
Hi guys sorry still no photos, you wouldn´t believe where i am. Lovely hotel but they don´t have internet, so had to go down the street to a little shop, I am having to hold the keyboard up with my knees or it wobbles too much LOL.
I am getting messages it is just I didn´t know I had to delete them and I don´t have much time so its only a quick note to let you know I am fine. We have been staying in fabulous places considering the conditions, no wonder they think we are wealthy.
Yesterday we went to a market and had 4 hours to shop, I am hopeless at bartering so a friend went with me and she saved me about 300 soles which is 150 NZ. Great bargains I love the shopping, but when I am on my own I pay full price cos just want to help these beautiful people.
After big shop we walked up a mountain, pretty hairy in places and a few people freaked out, but it was so worth it for the view and the magnificant place, we are all exhausted when we get back to hotel at night.
Today new hotel and we went for a really hairy bus ride up another mountain and walked to a fabulous inca site, we did a ceremony there for peace and harmony in the world. Then this afternoon went on another scary bus ride to orphanage, that was amazing the people so amazing and the woman that runs the place has 30 children there. They grow there own food and feed about 150 other people in the area. The children are taught to wash there own clothes by hand from the age of 5, they all have to work in the garden. Incredible, it just makes you want to come and help.
The people here are in such hardship, it is a third world country, but unbelievably friendly and happy.
On Wednesday we have to get up at 4am to get the train up to Machu Pichu, but I am assured it is all worth it.
Very early mornings and I am struggling a bit but so are the rest, the days are so full on we are up about 5.30am and don´t stop till we hit the sack about 9 or 10pm. We do have a day off on Sunday, phew. Just the one day off as we have to keep going to make the most of everything.
It is much easier being at work that is a doddle compared to this, but I would rather do this.
I´d better go dinner is soon and I have to go and put some lavender on my sunburn.
Location: Cusco, Peru
Sorry still not got photo connection going yet but am going to give it a go tomorrow when I am on cheaper internet rates.
I have had the most incredible day, four of us from the group went with 3 guides from Peru,( they have all been friends since children, 2 born in Cusco and one in the Amazon). One was our driver, one a musician and the other the interpreter. We picked up a shaman on the way and drove to the top of a mountain just outside of Cusco, they had rented a bus and I bet the rental company would have had a fit if they had seen where we drove haha.
We went to an old Incan water temple, it was incredible and the energy was amazing, the shaman led us through a beautiful ceremony to get us in touch with the mother earth, so that we can go out and help people to understand what we are doing to her. It was very emotional and magical, we had a small fire and then it started to drizzle for awhile and then the thunder rolled and then the wind blew all around us followed by the sun again, all at the appropriate times. There was a lot of tears and laughter.
The musician then played us lots of his original songs with his guitar. They were amazing songs about the hardship they have had to endure in the 80´s and 90´s when the soldiers were killing them off and they had to hide in the forests. There are many orphans and widows here. He himself has had to support himself and his family for many years since his parents were killed and he was the elder of the family. His songs were beautiful and we got to buy a CD of them, so when I play it I will always remember the day we got to spend with him and his mates and what special people they are and yet they all have had to endure such great hardships.
We then went down the mountain and we were driving through a town which specialises in cooking pig, on the side of the road was these huge hunks of crackling like a foot square, so we got the guys to stop and we purchased a supermarket bag full. 3 mins later we stopped at our restaurant haha. Anyway I had been hearing about guinea pig which is the most popular meat up here. One of our guides ordered it, I said that I would only like to try it if it came out in thin slices, which they do not do, it is the whole thing. So they cut a bit off for Enrikai,(which still had the paw attached). He kindly cut me off a small mouthful. It was very gamey, they said it was a bit like rabbit, but it was much stronger, anyway I have tried it now and don´t need to do again. But I think it is a really good food source as you don´t need much room to keep them and they breed so prolifically.
We then drove through the countryside, so amazing, very much like parts of New Zealand but with totally different houses and people. The number one sport here seems to be to drive a car as mad as you can and try to run over as many pedestrians as possible.
We then went to another Incan temple up another mountain, this time we had to walk up quite a way after we had driven up a scary track. It was huge and magnificant. The waterways they had built quite amazing architicture, I have taken some amazing photos which you will get to see soon I promise. Anyway right at the top was a soccer game going on. The workers of the temple play once a week after work, so they had the 2 teams playing and about 30 spectators. It was up on a level and 2 guys had 2 stand down on the next level about 30 feet down, they were the ball boys and didn´t get to see any of the game, just retrieve when it went over the side and they got to kick it back up. They were having so much fun and when they finished they got to walk down the mountain to go home.
We ourselves then drove back to Cusco, very happy and exhausted. Such a beautiful special day with amazing people. The actual tour starts tomorrow at 2pm. I am looking forward to that, we are doing fantastic things. Goodnight
Location: Cusco, Peru
I am having problems sleeping for more than 2 hours at a time, but I did get 8 hors last night in total. Was awake at 5am. Met another lady for breakfast and we had a chat and then were just going out to find the internet cafe and in walked most of the tour, we recognised the tour guide, so we hung around with them for a few hours and got all the financial stuff done and got to know some of the others. Then a man brought out some artifacts and jewellery. I had to buy a huge a quartz necklace, very representative of Peru and just felt it was for me. So that is my purchases for today. We are all going for a walk shortly to some sacred sites in town.
The architecture is amazing here, for a little town way up in the highlands, the buildings are as equal to what you find in Buenes Aires and Lima. It is hard to believe for such a poor economy. They leave NZ for dead thats for real, but I guess it is so much older here.
They have lots of squares here, you walk down a little street and come out at another square and each one is surrounded by amazing building, not very tall though because of all the earthquakes.
The weather is gorgeous, must be at least 20 degrees and sunny, I have had great weather all over, hardly any rain, I brought too many winter clothes and not enough summer I think.