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The Dude Breaks OUT!!!

Ladies and Gents, welcome to my only piece of work for the next few months - I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy creating it!

BY THE BY, if you´re interested, Em´s page is on www.planetranger.com/phlegma.

Diary Entries

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Location: Nazca, Peru

Another bloody 06:30 start but this time in a Cruz del Sur bus so, although we spent an extra fiver each, we could sit down and actually relax.

This was for the 7+ hour journey from Arequipa to Nazca. I think both Emma and I were starting to wonder when we were going to 'holiday' on this holiday...

The bus journey, although we started with a magic show because the video was broken where a bloke was trying to speak to us in Spanish over a microphone, was largely uneventful (THANK GOD FOR THE LACK OF TROUT!) but the scenery was amazing. We initially travelled from Arequipa to Camana, on the coast and were treated to the sight of the Pacific doing its utmost to smash holes in the side of the cliffs we were driving along. The place was pretty arid - the only human habitation looked as though it would be industrial ports that looked as though they were part of mines.

We stopped off in Camana and picked up a couple of people. Then proceeded along the highway towards Ocona (I don't know how to do those spanish squiggly lines over 'n's on English keyboards - sorry).

As we travelled along we saw condors wheeling above the cliffs - I don't know what they ate out here but I think their 3m wings enjoyed the fact that there were plenty of thermals to ensure they didn't have to land.

Eventually, we arrived in Ocona - this was the first village we had seen for miles and turned out to be little more than a couple of restaurants that feed bus passengers. As it was getting a little close to lunch and I hadn't had any proper breakfast so I opted to have some of the local fish. The menu said that there was something called "pescados reies" (I think). This translates to King Fish in English so, naturally, I expected to have a massive fish delivered on a plate. Unfortunately, they turned up with something a little bit like a cross between whitebait (i.e. whole) and mackerel (i.e. bigger than whitebait).

As they were there and I was starving I ate them, much to Emma's disgust. Their brains were particularly tasty.

Walking out of the restaurant was like walking into a giant hair dryer but we managed to make it the 5 yards to the bus, get back to the seats and watch some films.

A few hours later, we arrived in Nazca. Now, Nazca has absolutely NOTHING to do with boring cars driving in a boring circle for what seems like boring hours (at admittedly exciting speeds). Nazca is a pretty ancient town, towards the south of Peru, that has its own civilisation living there.

This makes you sort of realise that Peru is quite similar to Spain in that the people there never admit to being Peruvian - they're all Nazcanian or Cuzquainian (like in Spain they're never Spanish but Catalan or Basque etc., etc.).

The Nazcanians were another set of pretty clever people. Whilst travelling to this place, you sort of wonder why the bloody hell they built a town this far, in the middle of a massive desert. Then you find out that, all of a sudden the dry expanses of sand transform into a large, pretty green city.

These clever guys managed to irrigate the desert. They worked out that, if you had a load of tunnels under the sand, with water flowing through them, you were able to grow stuff above them.

The original Nazcanian irrigation channels are still in use today and each farmer is responsible for looking after their own part of the channel.

Anyway, we arrived in Nazca in the early afternoon, having read a load of useful information about the place. The main piece of information that all the guide books mentioned was that you should never listen to the taxi drivers and you should force them to drive you to where you wanted to go.

We wanted to stay at the Hotel Alegria and, apparently, the taxi drivers were particularly unfriendly to this place because it is run by a Jewish person (and I am totally against all forms of discrimination). Sure enough, when we arrived, every single taxi driver tried to take us to another hotel. I got annoyed about this and ignored all of them that wouldn't take us to the Alegria. Eventually, one kind soul (whom shall, from now on, be referred to as "the cheeky bastard") agreed to take us there... but he was grinning in a way I didn't trust.

Sure enough, the cheeky bastard drove us around the block and dropped us on the other side of the road from the bus station. If you do get to a place you don't know and have to get a taxi, CHECK YOUR MAP FIRST! It pained me giving him some money...

Anyway, we rocked on up to the hotel and out popped a bloke to give us a hand with our stuff. It must have cost us around £30 - 40 for the night but, my god, was it worth it.

We ended up in a small room but it was pretty well kept and was about 10 seconds walk from the bar and 20 seconds from the pool.

Nazca was the first civilized place that we had been, during daytime, since Cuzco so I sat down to have a beer... just to check how civilized it actually was... oh and we went to an internet cafe to contact our respective families.

Nazca is an odd place - you can't help wondering if it would be so big if the old guys hadn't have carved pictures in the desert and the tourists hadn't turned up...

We for a swim in the pool, had a beer and then went out to sort flights over the lines, for the next day. We had chosen the hotel partly because the tour agency associated with it was meant to have extremely good flights over the lines... with experienced pilots. I was expecting to pay a fair amount of cash for this but they charged us $40 each. So, having this all sorted, we headed over the road to find food.

We ended up in a pretty a big restaurant that looked pretty busy (always a good sign). We decided to order a speciality of Peru - ceviche. This is raw fish marinaded in lime with a bit of chile added. We had been reliably informed that, if the chefs started messing around with ceviche, and putting things like tomatoes or anything alien like that in, the traveller's diarrhoea beckons. So armed with this we double checked what was in the ceviche - citrus fruit and chile - it sounded good so Emma and I got a plate each.

The plates came out after we had managed to drink a couple of beers and they were huge... filled over the brim with ceviche.

I really really liked it - it was sort of like the sushi we had ate in Vancouver but had a bit more of a natural tang. It's surprising how a bit of lime can 'cook' something but it certainly gave the texture a little bit extra over the sushi.

However, there was enough to feed about 2 people on each plate. Obviously, I had to finish it (as goes without saying being a Lynch bloke) but Em really struggled with hers. The other thing was that there was no accompaniment to the fish so that was all you got. It did get a little repetitive and I did look as though I was sucking on a particularly fiery lime by the time I had finished.

After we had finished the meal, we walked a couple of blocks down the road to a pub that we had read had a load of graffiti on its wall. We found it and it had a really good atmosphere - partly because it was in the Peruvian desert, we were in a dark little bar and they were feeding me beer but partly because "The ozzy boys got hammered on Pissssssco blah blahbla" (or something like that).

By the time we had sorted all this out, we were pretty knackered so headed back to the hotel to sleep.

The next day we were up again, quite early, to be picked up from the hotel to go to fly over the Nazca lines. On arrival to the airfield, the guys who were running the trip showed us to a hangar where we sat down and watched the first part of a BBC documentary about the lines. It was pretty interesting - there seems to be quite a few Americans that believe the trapezoids show UFO landing areas and that all the pictures were actually created by these little green guys.

I have no problem with people having hypotheses like this but doesn't anyone else thing that it's a little odd that they ABSOLUTELY believe in this without a shred of proper scientific evidence (although I'm sure they could produce a few hours worth of discussion material at the drop of a hat)?

The scientists on the program came to a semi-conclusion that whilst aliens could be a possible cause they were not the probable cause. They suspected that the Nazcanians were clever people that took far too many drugs - they hypothesized that the pictures were for their Shamen, when they had taken a trip (from the local cactus plants).

Anyway, after all this excitement, we were called up by our pilot to come and board the plane. We got on board and were, pretty soon, taxiing along the runway and taking off.

Flying in a light aircraft was actually quite good fun but it didn't half make me panic when I heard someone shouting "WAIL! WAIL! WAIL!" as we banked rather steeply to the right. It turned out that the pilot was explaining to us that the ancient Nazcanian civilisation had, for some reason, created a few hundred metre picture of a whale in the desert. We then banked steeply to the left and he, again, shouted "WHALE! WHALE! WHALE!" which made more sense, this time. He still did his best to panic us with such shouts as "DOG! DOG! DOG!", "SPIDER! SPIDER! SPIDER!", "CONDOR! CONDOR! CONDOR!" and "ASTRONAUT! ASTRONAUT! ASTRONAUT!" but, by this time, we'd sussed his game out.

The lines themselves were pretty impressive - it must have taken a huge amount of organisation to create these massive pictures in the ground. The astronaut was the freakiest of the lot because no one knows what they based this picture on and it was on the side of a small hill. The other thing I was impressed with was some of the regular shapes that were drawn in the ground (where aliens had landed). I also enjoyed the flight in the plane - where else can you get a 30-45 minute in a light aircraft for twenty quid?

Anyway, we landed and returned to the hotel before lunch. As we had already packed all of our belongings, we were ready to leave and legged it to the Ormeno bus stop to jump on the 13:30 bus to Ica to see if we could have a couple of 'holiday nights' in Huacachina before we headed to Lima and Brazil....

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Location: Arequipa, Peru

So where to after the epic journey to get the bus from Copacabana?

We had a choice in buses to get from Copacabana to Arequipa in Peru - one was at 09:00 and the other was at 13:00. As we had got up at 05:30 in the morning, I thought it prudent to take the 09:00 bus. Unfortunately so did about ten ladies carrying everything they owned... One forced us to stand up and sit on a blanket she was selling for her - not really too sure why this happened.

All of them sported large hand-woven blankets which they folded over all their wears and formed into a sort of makeshift rucksack to carry stuff around in. I think that they were all on their way to a market somewhere to sell all this stuff.

The net effect of all this stuff was that I was getting in a pretty bad mood (soz Emma). I had been up since 05:15, walked a helluva long way in the pitch black and was now expected to sit next to someone who had brought everything they owned into the bus with them. It was lucky that we turned up early because we managed to get our luggage on - a few people were struggling outside.

We set off and then I realised that the bus didn't have a toilet, which cheered me up no end. About an hour in, the bus stopped to let people on that were selling snacks for the rest of the journey. For the first time in my life, I was offered a "fresh fried trout - still hot" as a snack to eat on a bus. I started feeling unwell.

Eventually, we crossed the border and got to Puno (much to our relief) and got some proper food inside us.

There, we were told we had to get another bus so we sorted out our seats and got on the next one. Travelled for another bloody 7 hours (without a bloody toilet) and finally arrived in Arequipa.

Arequipa is a beautiful place. As you come towards the city, the first thing you see of the surrounding area is "El Misti".

This is a 6000m tall volcano that towers above the city. It perpetually has snow on top of it and is another of my "most amazing sights".

We eventually arrived into Arequipa and got off at the bus station. The only thing was it was knocking on 20:00 in the evening and we didn't know where we were staying. We also wanted to leave the next morning so that we could get to Nazca.

First things first - we sorted a trip (with a reputable bus company, this time) to Nazca.

After getting a trip booked with Cruz del Sur, we travelled into the town centre to get a room sorted. Our first choice was, unfortunately, full so we ended up going to a place that was actually cheaper. The place we stayed in was a colonial building with a huge courtyard and a sun-terrace where you could see the whole city. It was called La Casita de Ugarte and is thoroughly reccommended (the bloke who owns it is really helpful!). The guy who owned the place told us that taxi drivers try to drive customers away from the hostel because he refuses to pay them money for them to reccommend it (he said they were like the Mafia!). The place wasn't too bad for £3 a night and had hot showers!!! The first hot shower we'd had since Cuzco.

Something to bear in mind when in Arequipa - never let the taxi drivers take you where THEY want to go - always insist on the hotel of your choice.

When we had sorted all of our stuff out in our room (i.e. I had emptied all my stuff onto the floor), we headed out ot find a restaurant. We ended up in a really, really nice Moroccan place. just a couple of doors down from the hostel and, finally, chilled out...

Tomorrow, we're up, again, at 05:30 to get the early bus to Nazca...


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Recent Messages

From Ky
Hi Joe

Looking forward to seeing the photos of your south america trip

Ky
Response: Hi KY! I'll sort the pictures out as soon as I've finished writing the blog! It's taking far longer than I wanted but keep your eyes out because I am still making progress!! Oh and THANK YOU loads for coming out to meet all my mates in Hong Kong - it turned out to be a pretty good night!
From Marizipan
Hi Joe,
how do you fancy wearing a kilt to our wedding? Andrew and his dad and brother are?
We had curry on the ferry with Dad for his birthday, was cool. Saw a seal too.
See you soon, Love Marianne
Response: An interesting thing to put on my public blog... ;o) I'll go with the flow but I don't know of any Scottish in me so it'd have to be a Polish kilt (if such a thing exists) or an Irish one... or a skirt, I suppose. Like Andrew, though, I ain't going commando in someone else's fatigues...
From Mum & Dad
Hi Joe
From your blog it appears that you are still on 8-May-2007 and have not yet left Cusco. Is this a mis-spelling of Cisco and you are have been working all the time in Woking?

Have a good trip home.

See you soon

Mum & Dad
Response: Yes father (I am guessing mum didn't have a lot to do with this message). I like talking in riddles/code. Apple apple banana strawberry cherry (see - I fooled you with that one, didn't I?!).
From Mme McDevitt
Ello! Just to say, enjoy your last couple of days in S. America! Say goodbye to Rio for me and don't get too upset about all the queues. It's quite good flying out after we saw the flight path with that plane landing when we were on Sugar Loaf. Have a BRILLIANT time ine HK, you'll be glad of all those Canonese lessons haha. Enjoy wakeboarding, just don't go ripping yourself another....you know! Have fun, see you at the airport! Love Em x
Response: Hooray! I'm in Honkers! My brain's a little addled by the travel and the chicken feet/cow stomach for lunch. Ipanema was scorching yesterday (about two days ago). I said goodbye to it for ya. Was absolutely gutted when I left but you can English beer here so not all bad ;o). See you soon my little lovely!
From vlado
Hi Jow
how is it going down there?
Nice reading keep working on. When I was in Peru I had the same experience with beer, food , cigar... Inca Trail ,Machu Pichu is excellent and also the spa in Aguas Caliente.
Response: Hi vlado!
It´s really good to hear from you! Having a few probs with computers as well! I´m going to try to updatethe rest of Peru ASAP and then move on to Rio! Am now in Iguazu so keep your eyes open!
From darragh
joey
hows shes hangin. sounds like you're up to your balls in adventure. are ya not looking forward to your creature comforts yet! s. america sounds deadly we still haven't got around to booking anything yet its hectic at mo here at home. you'll be back before we get out, when do you finish up galavanting actually?! i made my debut voyage to your isle 2 weeks ago to watch 'mini ireland' win the championship. had a ball, took in manchester too. yer actually not a bad race are ye! ye do need to replemish your stocks thou. sunderland is irish mad, must have been 500 travelled for the last home game. we met up with daryl murphy, 'our local kid done good', scored too so we celebrated for him.
joe mind yourself and don't lose your way in a rainforest, use pebbles not breadcrumbs. will definitely meet up somewhere in the north atlantic. soon i hope. all the best and me lack says 'well boy' too! a (waterford thing....no joe not watford!)
Response: Say a big hello to your lack from us, too!

Glad you had a good stay in England. Mate, you should get to Peru/Ecuador - they´re a bloody great place. Get this - Ecuador has a fiesta every week called "San Viernes" (Saint Friday). This is like where you go out on the lash with your mates after work on Friday except, I suppose, they´ve created a Saint for it! How irish is that?! ;o)
From Gerry
Hi Joe
Whats all this about Spanish. A man of your constitutions surely can get by in those foreign parts by just speaking English a bit louder! Alternatively if you just stay drunk your English will be just as incomprehensible as your Spanish.

Have a great time, see you soon.
Response: I´m glad to see that I´ve created such a good impression of what I have been doing on this trip! ;o)

The only pain with Spanish is that it is very similar to French so when I attempt speak it I end up wearing a beret and garlic around my neck (soz Nico).

Rest assured, things are pretty sweet a the mo´ ;o)
From Dad
Hi Joe

Just to let you know I printed a copy of these pages for Granny
and she loved them
I am sure you are both having aa great time

best wishes to Emma

Dad
Response: Thanks dad - I´ll be extra careful with any bad language then (as Nana is now checking in on me, too!).

;o)
From Ewka & Steve
Hi Joe,

Sounds like you are have one hell of a time. We are sitting here in Eastbourne with a definite tinge of green to our skin. We have even got your Nan to use the internet (we made your blog her homepage) so she can keep up with your exploits. Looking forward to the next instalment and more photos.

Steve & Ewka

p.s. Did you ever get an answer from the teacher after they had stopped laughing?
Response: Yeah. I got an answer. They made sure I repeated años about ten times until I had pronounced it right!

I´m glad you and Nana are checking up on me! Hope to see you soon after I get back!
From Jarod
Hey man!

Your S.A adventure sounds like its off to great start! Ive just returned home for ummm.. financial reasons haha, so ill be stating to plan my own S.A trip soon.
Ill be keeping a close eye on where your at so i know what to expect. Had an absolute blast hanging with you and Andy, you guys are heros!!
Response: Hey mate! Good to hear from ya. You will absolutely love Peru and Ecuador. Quito is damn good for a party but you´ll get mucho respecto (this is NOT Spanish) if you take lessons before you turn up!

Peru is one of the best places I have EVER been. The beer is cheap, there´s a ridiculous amount to see and do and I think I may have found you a new hobby.

You enjoyed Snow mobiling - have a go at sandboarding and dune buggying in Huacachina. Bloody painful and awesome in equal amounts!
From Dad
We havenot heard for a few days.

So browsing through the planetranger FAQ I have found the following to describe your trip so far

astonishing
awesome
stunning
staggering
sensational
extraordinary
breath-taking
awe-inspiring
excellent
outstanding
brilliant
exceptional
first-rate
admirable
superb
tremendous
remarkable
wonderful
incredible
startling
marvellous
miraculous
mind-blowing
jaw-dropping
<expletive> good

Espero que tu y Emma tenéis un buen viaje en Suramérica y podéis ir a los lugares que son solamente en mis sueños
Response: erm, isn´t this the same as the one I just replied to?
From Dad
We havenot heard for a few days.

So browsing through the planetranger FAQ I have found the following to describe your trip so far

astonishing
awesome
stunning
staggering
sensational
extraordinary
breath-taking
awe-inspiring
excellent
outstanding
brilliant
exceptional
first-rate
admirable
superb
tremendous
remarkable
wonderful
incredible
startling
marvellous
miraculous
mind-blowing
jaw-dropping
<expletive> good

Espero que tu y Emma tenéis un buen viaje en Suramérica y podéis ir a los lugares que son solamente en mis sueños
Response: Si, Emma y mi tenemos un buen viaje (done without using a flash translation tool) pero yo no entiendo "podéis ir a los lugares que son solamente en mis sueños". Como es significe? Not sure about all the grammar there but I hope the point gets across. Will try to update this at some point or other... Just tried calling you and mum but you weren´t around. I´ll try again when I´m not travelling somewhere... ;o)
From Lisa
Hey Joe!
Your season sounds cool!!! - much more snow than mine (in Tignes) - boo hoo! Where are you now? What are u up too? Cool website! I want to hear more!!!
Have fun!
Lisa
Response: Season was AWESOME (directly quoting any number of snowboarding pros that reside in Whistler). Am now sorta living it up in Peru. Keep an eye on the website and yull see what I am on about. I hope stuff went well with the photography.
From Emma
Lordy you are quite terrified of me aren't you?!! Buy me a Vodka Martini in Quito and all is forgiven....BUT ONLY IF THERE'S AN OLIVE IN IT <<cue general roaring sounds>>. X
Response: Hello, me lovely, I hope the Hosteria San Jorge did yuz alright! I´ll have a chat to you when I stand up after doing this answer message thing...
From Joe
Joe, did you notice that your board looks as though it says 'gimp' on the bottom of it?
Response: Nah... can´t be... that´d be too much of a coincidence...
From Gerry
Hi Joe

We have all been looking at your exploits with amazement and envy!

Hope the next chapter goes as well.
Response: The next chapter isn´t written yet!! I´m about 3 weeks behind BUT ít´ll be worth reading when I get round to writing it (I hope)! Will try to keep you updated and, rest assured, I am having an amazing time!
From Rudy & Yvonne
Howzit Joe. the site looks classic! hows about you build us one in your spare time ;-) Was great to meet up with you and hopefully we will see you living down in surrey on our return. Cheers Cheers Rudy & Yvonne
Response: Cheers Whistler buds. Damn good to hear from ya! I am still trying to clear the backlog of messages I have so soz for the lack of response. Hope your trip is doing well!
From Dad
I would like to put the following on record.

As a long term observer of my son, I cannot believe that you, who had no head for heights as a child (sic), would do such a stupid thing.

Just remember that you (and Marianne andd Stephen) are our pension. I am so glad my pension has not been left on some rock in Whistler, or even washed away cool as a mountain stream.

Well done

Dad
Response: Pater, dearest. I regret to inform you that the pension you speak of has, unfortunately, taken permanent residence in the third urinal from the left in Moe Joe´s nightclub, Whistler, BC. I would suggest that the proprietor of said establishment would be more than happy to escort you to the urinal and then (rather quickly) off the premises.

Kind Regards,

Joe.
From Sageer
I take you are still in one piece &#61514; it sounds like you have been having fun you must be an expert snowboarder by now? So when are you off to South America and where did you say you were going first?
Response: Yeah mate - just about! I'm not really an expert but quite a bit better than I was! If you want to be included on emails saying when this is updated, please send me a mail to my gmail address!
From Shaun n Claire
Hey Joe-blog,

It was a pleasure boarding/drinking/BBQing/pigeon winging with you guys. Hopefully there will be a repeat performance in the near future and in years to come!
We hope you have a great time in the SA phase of your journey and keep in contact!
Cheers to the best goalie in the world!
Take care,
Shaun n Claire
Response: Shaun & Claire - it was an absolute pleasure! They are forecasting 10 - 25 cm of powder for tomorrow so sod packing for SA! I hope to see you soon!
From derek zoolander
hi joe
thank you for the kind words!! but we are not piss heads! we always take a break to sleep!! hope you have safe travels. we are trying to plan our own so we can head off late may ourselves. fingers crossed. enjoy your time left in whistler. wish we were there! say hi to the lads in the house!!
bye for now
maria and darragh
Response: Many apologies, Derek - I hope I didn't hurt your feelings.

Last night Luke and Paul left so there's only 4 left in the house, now. It's a little quiet... but their leaving do wasn't (it's why I'm here writing this instead of being up on the mountain today...).

Y'all keep an eye out for updates and I've no doubt we'll bump into you at some point in the future!

Laters...
From Jamie
Hey mate,

Cheers for showing me the slopes, snowboarding and Whistler was wicked! Still not sure about those T-bars but they were well worth it for the glacier.

Laters,
Jamie
Response: No worries mate! I'm glad you enjoyed it! I'm gonna be back before you know it!
From darragh
hey nice site joey cept it just fills me wit raging jealousy when i look at it!! talk soon
Response: Darragh - glad to see you have had a quick look in at this! I'll try to get some pictures of Maria and you up so that you can wallow in your own glory ;o). I'll also do my best to keep this a little more up to date...
From Marianne
Hi Joe,
how's it going now. You've gone a bit silent again. Andrew's family and ours went out for curry at the weekend, it was fab. Have decided on a venue and date (mid September-ish) for the wedding, just need to get booking... and paying. We are going to have a 3 day wedding!!! True Lynch/Nowicki/Duff style. When are you back?
Love Marianne
Response: I'm not back yet and doing my best not to think of such things (mid-June)! I would write more but the internet is stupidly expensive in Whistler - soz for letting you down, though!
From Biff
what do u mean - of course we're reading this - its all some of us have left!
Response: Sorry mate - was hoping you'd leave a message! I reeeeally hope you're looking better! Keep in touch (unlike what seem to be able to do) and I'll see you before you know it!