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Moscow to Machu Picchu: Sheena & Rich's Big Trip

Easy now. Welcome to Sheena and Rich's travel page. We are currently on a year long world trip, which started in Russia and should end in South America (if we don't get lost!). If you are interested in how we are getting on, check out this webpage which we will update with a few travel tales and the odd picture. We hope you enjoy! Sheena and Rich

Diary Entries

Friday, 26 May 2006

Location: Machu Picchu & Inca Trail, Peru

From Cusco we set out on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, which was to be one of our trip highlights. We set off early the first morning with a three hour bus ride to where we started the hike. The first day way was reasonably easy with some uphill at the end, interupted by a great 4 course lunch. There were 15 trekkers and 20 porters who carried all the tents, cooking equipment and food. The porters were running the trail in sandals and gym shoes and carrying up to 25kilos - unbelievable. When we arrived for lunch they already had the lunch tent set up with table and chairs and all we had to do was eat - the most luxurious hiking we have ever done. The second day was the hardest as we walked over Dead Woman´s Pass which reached a height of 4,200 metres. Everyone was feeling the altitude by that point. In the evening we had to play a game with the porters where they had to guess our ages, Rich did quite well with the porters gradually increasing there bids till someone guessed his age as 60 - the light was poor in the tent... Third day started off cloudy but then as we headed down the valley the mist cleared to give great views of the mountains. On the forth day we were up at 4am in order to walk to the lost city of Machu Picchu. We arrived and it was cloudy but by 8am it had cleared to provide us with some of the most impressive views of our trip. The city is quite amazing with a spectacular setting, its impossible to comprehend how the Incas actually built in this location. We spent all day at the site then headed down to Aguas Calientes where we were staying before getting the train back to Cusco the next day. Luckily some of our fellow trekkers have allowed us copies of their photos which we have displayed on the photo page.

Now we are back in Cusco with only about one week left before we come home. The plan is to relax and not do anything too exciting whilst gradually making our way to Lima for our flight. So basically "Thats All Folks", as this is our last update so hope you have enjoyed the site and hopefully catch up with you when we are back in the UK.

Saturday, 20 May 2006

Location: Lake Titicaca and Cusco, Peru

From La Paz, we headed over to Copacabana on Lake Titicaca. From here, we caught a ferry over to the Isla Del Sol (Island of the Sun), a small island a couple of hours away. Here we did some excellent hiking over the 4000 metre hills, with fine views across the lake. It was almost as though we were on a Greek Island. We visited some of the Inca ruins around the island and stayed over at one of the nicest hostels on our trip so far. Next it was time to head over to Cusco in Peru, although we did stop over at Puno in Peru so that we could take a short boat tour of the floating islands. These are islands hand made from reeds where a number of families have been living for hundreds of years and use reed boats to get around.
After an overnight bus journey, we arrived in Cusco, once the capital of the Inca Empire. The city still has lots of Inca ruins in and around it, which we explored over a couple of days. One of the days we went on a tour around the Sacred Valley, taking in an Inca settlement and a fortress, one of the few locations where the Incas defeated the Spanish in a battle. Unfortunately we couldnt take any digital photos of all of these places as our camera had broken - we were forced to use a highly advanced bright yellow Kodak disposable, so we havent been able to upload any pics.

Friday, 12 May 2006

Location: Sucre - Amazon, Bolivia

Spent 2 weeks in Sucre while Sheena did some Spanish lessons while Rich caught up with the football. Its the most beautiful city in Bolivia, all the buildings are white with red tile roofs. Did a walk in the mountains to see some rock paintings and also took an inca trail but unfortunately the weather was rubbish. After Sucre headed to La Paz. From a distance the city is really impresive as it has an amazing location in a valley in the mountains. Close up though, most of it is pretty shabby with half built houses and a lot of the lovely architecture has been left to ruins. After a few days we took a mountain bike trip down the World´s Most Dangerous Road from La Paz to Coroico, a distance of about 68km. Basically the road is a narrow track on the edge of the mountains with a sheer drop on one side. We started at an altitude of 4,700m in the clouds and freezing conditions. After an hour it was more bearable but it was misty and we could not see down into the jungle below which was probably just as well as it was scarey enough as it was. An average of 26 vehicles go over the edge each year mostly through bad driving.
After surviving that we spent a night in Corico and then took a bus down to Rurrenabaque in the Amazon from where you can do jungle and pampas tours. We did a 6 day Jungle and Pampas tour which was excellent. In the jungle we saw lots of wild pigs and some monkeys plus hundreds of insects. In the Pampas we saw an amazing selection of birdlife - eagles, herons, kingfishers, peregrin falcons, jabirus etc and the largest rodent in the world, a capyvara which is like a huge guinea pig. Also lots of aligators and pink dolphins which Rich tried to swim with. Went pirahna fishing and caught a few fish. Rich caught a sardine....! We were able to try the pirahnas but they are pretty small with not too much meat on them. Rather than the 20 hour bus trip back to La Paz we opted for the 45 minute flight in a 20 seater plane. Got some good views from the plane but the last five mintues were a bit scarey with the turbulance. Currently relaxing in La Paz for a couple of days, Rich wants to watch the FA Cup final, then its off to Lake Titicaca and to Peru for our last 3 weeks!

Wednesday, 12 April 2006

Location: Bolivia

After an uneventful border crossing in to Bolivia, we arrived at Tupiza, which is a real wild west town. Here we did a triathlon tour, involving cycling, a 4 wheel drive and horseriding around the area which was excellent fun, especially the final cycle ride where we got driven up to the top of the surrounding mountains and got to freewheel for about an hour back to town.
The next day we set off for a 4 day jeep tour of the South West of Bolivia, which has some other world scenery. The tour consisted of us, a driver/guide, a cook and four other travellers we had met previously. We spent the 4 days driving around weird coloured lakes that contained Flamingoes, beautiful mountains, deserts, snowy passes, deserted towns and the biggest salt lake in the world. During this time we had to cope with altitude sickness (we reached a maximum height of 5200 metres), hot days, freezing nights, a jeep that kept breaking down but overall, an amazing landscape that constantly took our breath away.
After the tour we headed for Potosi, once the worlds richest city and still the worlds heighest city (4070 metres). It was the worlds richest in previous centuries because of the adjacent mountain, that used to be packed full of silver but is now mainly mined for zinc. Most of Spains wealth came from this city as their coins were made here during the 16th - 18th century, and also a lot of the wealth ended up in British hands, thanks to the pirating skills of Sir Francis Drake and others.
The conditions in the mines that are still in operation have changed little in the last 400 years and we got to experience this through a tour. First we put on all the miners kit, then we went to the miners market to buy drinks, cigarettes and dynamite (no ID necessary) as gifts for the miners. This was followed by a 3 hour tour of the mine involving clambering up and down shafts, through tight tunnels and watching the actual miners at work with picks, shovels and drills. Some how office work doesn´t seem so bad anymore!

Thursday, 30 March 2006

Location: Heading North, Argentina

The days spent chilling out in Bariloche worked wonders for our energy levels, although we still managed to squeeze in a 60km bike around the area and a hike to the top of the hill overlooking town.
We were now ready for Pucon (back in Chile) and the live volcano climb. This entailed getting up at 4.15 am to start the climb at 5.30 (in the dark). We walked for about an hour before we reached the snow line where we had to put on crampons and helmet, and were each given an ice axe. Luckily the sun had come up by then which provided us with fantastic views across to Argentina. We then climbed for a further 3 hours to the top (crater) which was hard work, especially as we had to speed up to avoid the clouds that were chasing us up the volcano. We made it to the top, still in the sunshine, and got to look in to the crater itself which was giving out lots of volcanic gases and you could see the odd splash of lava. We could only stay for about 10 minutes as the gases made breathing difficult so we then headed back down, getting to the bottom in about a third of the time. It was a really enjoyable day but we were left exhausted - so we planned a 3 day hike in the local national park for the next day.
This hike, although in a less spectacular park than some of the previous parks, was really worthwhile . It had a mixture of mountains, monkey puzzle trees and lakes, was extremely quiet (the second day we didnt see any other hikers) and had the added bonus of open air thermal pools during the second day which we also had to ourselves.
After returning to Pucon, we then left Chile for the last time to head on up to Mendoza, the wine capital of Argentina. We spent one of the days visiting the local wineries where we sampled some (lots) of the produce and bought a couple of bottles for good measure.
From there it was another overnight bus journey to Buenos Aires before heading up to Iguazu, home of the mighty Iguazu Falls. This is a collection of waterfalls that were without doubt the most spectacular we had ever seen. Check the photos - we enjoyed them so much that we spent a second day over the border in Brazil, seeing them from the other side of the river. While in Brazil, we also managed to take in Itaipu, the largest hydro electric project in the world and the 7th wonder of the modern world (as they kept telling us). All very impressive though, and worth the 11 bus journeys of the day to see the dam/falls.
The next day we did a marathon 28 hour bus journey to get over to Salta, where we are staying for a couple of days before we head up to the border of Bolivia, a mere 5121 km from Ushuia (and all covered by bus!). Its going to be sad to leave Argentina as its had fantastic scenery and sights, great steaks (for Sheena), excellent wine and friendly people. Then again, we have only heard good things about Bolivia and its even cheaper - yipee!

Thursday, 09 March 2006

Location: Patagonia, Argentina

We went to the Boca Juniors football match which was an excellent experience, right in amongst the local fans, singing along with them as they watched their side win 3-0.
Then we headed south by bus for the tip of South America, Tierra Del Fuego. After 4 days of travelling, we eventually made it to Ushuaia, the most Southern city in the world and a major depature point for trips to Antartica (which we decided against due to the $3600 price tag). On one of the days we did a boat trip on the beagle channel, visting uninhabited islands and various bird and seal colonies. It also gave us fantastic views back over the National Park. We also did a tour of the prison which used to hold all of Argentinas most notorious criminals - it was really quite bleak and would have been horrible being sent here.
Next stop was a trip to Torres Del Paine in Chile, reported as the best National Park in South America and we found out why. We did a 5 day hike around the park, sleeping in our tent and cooking all our own food which meant the bags were pretty heavy. The scenery was fantastic, as the photos hopefully show, although the walk was the toughest yet. The highlight was camping above Glacier Grey, which provided us with views all the way up the Glacier to the mountain range behind.
Hopping back in to Argentina, we visited Los Glaciares National Park, which contains the Moreno Glacier and the Fitz Roy Range. The Moreno Glacier is a monster of a Glacier which regularly calves huge chunks of ice in to the lake below, causing massive waves to spread out into the lake - boats have to keep their distance in case they become overcome. In the Fitz Roy Range, we did a day walk and a 2 day walk up into the mountains, which have fantastic formations and are popular with rock climbers (who must be mad to climb them).
From here, we planned to leave Patagonia for the Lake District, and decided it would be a bit of an adventure to go via the Carretera Austral in Chile, a gravel road trip that had been recommended for its fantastic scenery. 6 wet days later we arrived in the Lake District having seen only glimpses of the scenery through the clouds, having spent a night in a remote village with an ex Chilean Navy captain who enjoyed sticking dead Pumas and Eagles (as well as pictures of near naked women) around his lodgings, and having endured an 8 hour ferry trip that took 16 hours but no one seemed to worry about it. It seems that our luck with the weather had finally given out, but the scenery was fantastic and it was a mini adventure.
Now we have arrived in Bariloche in the Lake District, Sheena is on cloud nine as its the chocolate capital of Argentina, with shops selling mountains of top quality chocs at rock bottom prices. The plan now is to head up to luxury lodgings on the hillside above Bariloche and chill for a couple of days before we continue our journey North.

Sunday, 05 February 2006

Location: Santiago and Buenos Aires, Argentina

After the longest day we have had (going through the international date line, the 30 January lasted about 40 hours!) we arrived in Santiago for three days before our onward flight to Argentina. Most of the three days was spent trying to recover from the jet lag - always waking up at 3.30 am starving. We did a walking tour of the centre one day and visited a couple of museums but didnt really do much else except try to relax and go out for meals. Things are cheap here and we were making the most of it, Rich even allowed us to go to some nice restaurants for a change.
Then flew to Buenos Aires where we are staying in a trendy area with loads of bars and eateries. BA is a real party city with people not even going out for meals till about 10 and then you shouldnt go to the clubs before 2am - its not cool. So this is all doing wonders for our sleep pattern. We looked aroung the Evita Museum and one of the Government Buildings and also the Recoleta Cemetery where all the rich and famous of Argentina are buried in very ornate tombs/mausoleums ( wish we knew who half of them were, but we did see Evitas tomb). Tonight we are off to see Boca Juniors who are Buenos Aires most famous Football team - won the Argentinian league etc. Rich is getting excited.

Monday, 30 January 2006

Location: The North - Part 2, New Zealand

We arrived in Lake Taupo to a torrential storm that bucketed down for 2 entire days. Luckily the 3rd day cleared up, allowing us to go jet boating on the rapids jet. This involved bombing it up and down a river in an aluminium boat, doing 180 degrees spins, getting very close to various obstacles in the water and flying over rapids so the boat almost left the water. In the process we got absolutely soaked but it was a really fun experience.
Following this, we decided to make the most of the good weather and booked ourselves on a tandem skydive that evening. It was one of the most amazing experiences we have ever had, although it did get the nerves jangling, especially when they open the door of the plane and you have to shuffle up to the edge before jumping out. This is then followed by 5 seconds of sheer terror as your body/mind tries to fathom what you are doing to it, but once you are levelled out with your arms out to balance, the next 40 seconds of freefall are absolutely fantastic. Then your instructor pulls the parachute and its a leisurely 4 minutes drifting to the ground with great views over the lakes and mountains. Superb.
The next day we did the Tongariro crossing, which is reckoned as one of the best day walks in New Zealand. This goes over a really barren landscape of volcanoes, lava fields and craters, and was used as the backdrop for Mordor in Lord of the Rings.
We then left the lake Taupo area to head up to visit Sheenas relative Jim via a stop over at the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua for some rest and relaxation. Jim owns a Kiwi farm so we got a guided tour of his place and a very welcome bed for the night (after almost a month of sleeping in a tent). Finally we headed back to Auckland to catch our flight over to Santiago in Chile - better get practicing our Spanish! Adios Amigos.

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Recent Messages

From Hayke
Hey there?? How are things going in Peru? Nice to have a look at your website! I Really enjoyed the trip in the Cordillera Real, was wonderful! Enjoy your last weeks!
Love, Hayke
Response: Hi hayke
we had a great time in Peru. The Inca Trail and Machu Picchu were a real highlight of our South American trip - a great way to finish. I got home to Scotland a few days ago, so back to reality again. Enjoy the rest of your trip.
From Paddy
Hi thanks fo calling have instantly checked out all the photos and now feel a bit of a wuss about travelling as i'm sure we're doing the pampered trail. Apart from the odd bus journey. Glad to hear your both well and i hear the steaks are great in south america so have one for me,

Take care and we'll see you when we get back
Love Paddy
Response: Hi Paddy
Hope your big day went well. Looking forward to the updates from your trip. Have Fun. Love Sheena
From Moot
Easy now Rich just caught up with your South American tales, keep it up! And good luck with the travelling too!
Response: Cheers mate. Only 3 weeks left!!!!
From Gina
Hello petals
the photos are amazing and it sounds like you are managing to do so much. Paddys wedding is on the saturday of the May day bank holiday weekend. think that is the 28th of April. I think south America looks stunning. Take care love Gina
From Johnny Stribs
Hey Guys,

Loving the updates. Great Photo's. Alex A say's Hi.

Take it easy.
Response: Glad you are enjoying - where did you see Alex?
From Paul & Siobhan
Hello you two!! Lovely to hear about your travels in South America - next on our list of travels after reading such great stories!! Oh the memories of Lord of the Rings Risk came back and yummy pizza!! Take care and see you in the summer. Love Paul & Siobhan
Response: Weve met a few people over here who have stayed at Kehoe Farm and they all loved. See you in the summer.
From Mel
Hiya Rich (and Sheena, sorry...we've never met)!

It's your cousin Mel here :-)
Your Dad passed your details on to Mum & Dad over Xmas and it's taken me this long (sorry) to get in touch and have a proper look at this site. I have to say I am really jealous of all the fantastic places you have looks like you've been having a pretty amazing time. Would be good to stay in contact and maybe meet up when you are back...perhaps with Sarah and Andrew too - can you believe he gets married in July!?!?
Anyway, take care and enjoy!

Mel & Mike xx
Response: Hi there,
Good to hear from you both. That would be good to meet up. When we get ourselves sorted (not sure where we are going to live yet), I`ll get in contact and we can sort out a get together. Over the summer sometime would be good. Give my best wishes to Andrew for the wedding and say hi to Sarah and the folks for me.
From Charlie, Abi & Louis
Photos in South America look great. Amazing how technology allows you to superimpose yourselves on so many different backgrounds. We all know that you are doing the cabaret circuit around the Costa del Sol with your 'Dollar' tribute act.
Take Care, looking forward to seeing you both over the summer. We'll see if we can get you on a double bill with 'Greg and his Egg' at Sidmouth Folk Festival.
Response: I didn´t spend a year studying computing just to waste it on getting a job. Sidmouth Folk Festival sounds excellent - what weekend were you planning? Need to agree it with Sheena as its her 30th on the 10th.
From Steve
Rich, there's some waffles in the freezer.
Response: I aint going to the freezer - Rickards on the warpath.
From Philip Merryman
Hi Guys,
First time I have looked in AGES! Fantastic. Great Pics: I recognise so many places in Oz & NZ. I'll have to catch up on reading it later. Who did you do your Red Centre tour with? because it looks very similar to mine. The weather here has been cold and dull, the latter it seems for weeks: I have forgotten what the sun looks like! So you are definitely in the right place. Anyway I am off in a couple of months to see the sun blocked out properly :-)
Keep having a great time.
Response: We did our red centre tour with wayward bus - it was really good fun. Enjoy the eclipse whether it is!
Happy New Year to you both. We have had a great Christmas loads of prezzies. I got a massive prezzie that I did not know I was getting it was a bike. What did you get from Father Christmas?

Thats it lots of love Jacob
Response: Hi Jacob
Its good to hear you had a good christmas with lots of presents. Sheena and I got a tent from father christmas which we have been using to live in for the last few weeks. See you in June.
From John T
Hi guys,
Your diary certainly reads that you are enjoying the Kiwi part of your trip (and the rest too). If you can time and visit the NZ East coast, you may get in some whale watching or a dawn baloon flight. I'm sure you are both enjoying the food and healthy outdoors attitude of the Kiwi's. Shame about the Lion's Rugby results - best keep that quiet.
I haven't read and mention of bungie jumps's yet. Still to come? Skipper's cayon fun and gold maybe?
Enjoy, and think of us all trooping back into work tommorow,
Response: Hi John.
We gave the bungy jump a miss and went for the skydive option which was one hell of a buzz. Managed to get out to see the whales as well which was fantastic.
From Simon, Emma and Josh
Merry Christmas to you both. Hope to see you in the near future. Enjoy 2006 travels!

Response: Hope all is well in Deal with you all and you are enjoying the new job. See you sometime in 2006.
From Johnny Stribs
Great to hear you're having a fab time.

Have a great Christmas and New Year wherever you both are.

John & Nic
Response: See you summer of 2006 for fun and games.
From Lee
Hi kids,
Hows it goin?The Whitsundays is fantastic eh?Have you been to Frazer island yet?Dunk island is meant to be really nice aswell.Loads of islands eh?
When your in Sydney,Manly is by far the best place to stay.People will tell you to stay in or around bondi,but its not as nice as Manly.But Bondi(eastern suburbs)is more convenient for the city.As you have to catch a ferry really from Manly.Depends what you prefer?If you stay in or around Bondi,The Castle Backpackers is good.Can't remember the names,but there's a few in manly.Nip over to Watsons Bay by ferry on a sunday, get yourselves some fish and chips from Doyles.Climb up to look out across to Manly.Grab a few beers and enjoy the skyline of the city(best place to see it from).Go to Harry's cafe de wheels in Wooloomoloo on a hangover it'll sort you right out.If you walk from the opera house through the botanical gardens you'll reach it.Go to spit bridge(near Manly) and hire some kyaks.Do the Bondi cliff walk to Coogee.
Anyway,ark at me rattlin on!
Have fun!
Response: Hi lee,
Will try and do some of those things but we only have the 5 days in Sydney. Cheers for the info.
From Margaret & Bill
The plants are doing well, Sheena. This is surprising considering that most of mine have died. Bill has just about finished the kitchen- shall have to have a party to celebrate. Continue to enjoy Oz. it's a super country. Rae, from Melbourne, will be coming to UK in March & will stay with us. Shall have to think where to take her.
love to you both Marg & Bill
Response: Hi
Over the past 4 years I've toughened my plants up to last in many a drought and flood so hopefully they will remain OK. When you say "just about finished" I assume I will still be able to make the actual finishing celebrations next June! I hear you have just become grandparents again - congratulations.
From Stu
Hi Rich,

John T passed me a link to your travel site. Looks like you are having a fantastic time. I went to Peru and trekked the inca trail about two months ago. Macchu Picchu is amazing. Enjoy...
Response: Hi Stu. I'll have to email you for some tips on Macchu Picchu. It sounds fantastic. Hope all is well with you back in Bristol.
From gina
hello petals. Keeping up todate with your adventures. All sounds amazing. Not sure about the crocodiles though, think I would be avoiding the water!!! Manchester is pooring with rain so looking at your pics to remind what the sun looks like!!
love to you both

love gina
Response: Hey Gina
Good luck with the job hunting. We've met loads of British nurses over here. If you can't persuade Thomas with the Edinburgh idea, why not try further afield!
Hope you are both well.
From Philip Merryman
Finally remembered to check your site. Perth, Uluru, etc all bring back great memories of my trip. I too walked around Uluru and into the Olgas. The night sky was stunning - first time I had seen the Clouds of Magellan. You have done the new bit of the Ghan to Darwin - it was being built while I was there. I have a mate in Adelaide who is English and a cricket fan. Ashes fever here was incredible. Hopefully he can get tickets for the Adelaide test v England next year. I can then do the Ghan all the way this time. Perhaps I need to go round again! Enjoy the rest of the trip. Cheers. Phil.
Response: The Ghan was good although I don't think it compared to the Trans-Siberian for interest. We watched the last match of the Ashes over here - brilliant. The Ozzies don't mention cricket much at the moment.
From Greg
Good luck Sheena in spending 2 months in campavan in the Australian outback with Rich. I am sure with his Lord of the Rings Top Trumps and his in-depth knowledge of Text-io and other software engineering languages the days will just fly-by.
Gods speed to you both.
Greg & Jo x
Response: Less of your sauce young Greg. The Lord of the Rings cards don't come out until we get to Middle Earth ... sorry NZ. Looking forward to the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe next.
From Martin
Hi you two
Been reading too quickly: at first I thought you said the quokas looked like Rich - & then I saw the pics!!! It all seems to get better & better - have started planning my trip now even though it'll be 15 years till I can do it...
Keep living it!
Response: If we are looking for animals that look like Rich, check out the frog on the North Queensland photos...
From Moot
Rich you're looking more and more like Frodo everyday! Sheena keep up the good work with ribbing Rich about the spreadsheet. I think he caught the bug scroogeous maximus from his old Clee Hall room mate!
See you soon Moot

P.S. We're going away the week you're in Melbourne, we'll leave the key under the mat!
Response: I didn't know that you got a key down the YMCA!
Looking forward to catching up mate. I'll need some time off drinking to update my spreadsheet. See you soon.
From Lee
Good to see your flyin the flag for us with the 'BRITZ' camper van badge.Bet the aussies lov it?Must be nice with the cricket victory still in the air.One of the things i remember when i was there was constantly being taunted with our in-
ability to play sport.
If your in Cairns,stay at 'UPTOP DOWNUNDER BACKPACKERS' if its still there?
Have fun kids!
Response: They don't mention the cricket (or the rugby) at the moment. Its nice to have won against them for a change. We stayed in a campsite in Cairns but we need a backpackers for Sydney. Any suggestions?
From adam
come back soon - one plant is already dead and the other one is growing mushrooms! doh!
Response: One more plant dies and we will send Andy around! Hope you both are well. What boat did you go on in the Whitsundays by the way?
From kam
I have spent all my lunch time today trying to catch up with your latest news. You are both having fun.
I just come back from my CPD in Bristol and learn nothing .....or was cancelled without any notification. Don'tt come back to the modern world yet so soon! You will be confused. Enjoy.

Response: If all goes to plan I wont be back to the working world for another 8 months.....hope I dont forget too much in that time! I'll prob need to do some serious CPD myself to get back up to date. Hope you are well.