When the last blog was written myself and David were about to meet up again and head to South America. After an emotional reunion, DSW filled me in on all 3 of his jobs he had undertaken during our time apart, including telling me each and every song that made it onto his set when he was DJing. Whenever a song came on when we were out he would tell me at what point in the evening 'DJ Total Package'(His dubious DJ name) would spin it. I, in turn tried to claim that my guns had been sculpted through my building site work but this suggestion was quickly laughed off. Anyway, after buying the now obligatory toblerone from Auckland Airport we set off for Santiago and after a 12 hour flight we actually arrived before the time we set off - Mindboggling!
We only had about a day and a half in Santiago so saw the sights, watch the United scum play the Chelsea scum and caught a 4 AM flight to Quito, Ecuador, via Panama.
We had been warned repeatedly about the effects that altitude can have when you first arrived but I was probably a bit nonchalant about it and didn't drink enough H2O when we arrived. However, after a night of being either bent over the toilet or sat on it, I had gained a new found respect for altitude sickness. The reason we had flown to Quito was to meet up with the tour group that we would be travelling with, for the next 2 months, all the way to Rio. The tour we booked is an overland adventure tour and so our mode of transport and sometimes accomodation for nine weeks is a massive, orange, 6 tonne truck called Tortuga. Each of the 15 passengers on the trip got assigned 'Truck Jobs' and it was the duty of Truck Security. Safe or Dangerous? (I strongly believe that we were given this job due to my sheer physical presence but there are other competing theories floating about). On our 1st night our tour leader informed us that he had just had all his cards and passport stolen in the street. WELCOME TO SOUTH AMERICA!
Our 1st stop on the tour was the Ecuadorian Amazion jungles. We parked up the truck and had to get a wooden long boat out to our accomodation which was the Anaconda Lodge in the middle of the jungle. The 1st day in the jungle was made up of visiting a local jungle community and learning about their everyday lives and then rafts were built out of Balsa wood and we floated back down the river in the sun to our accomodation. The highlight of this rafting was DSWs attempt to hijack our rival raft. He successfully climbed aboard an fended off some attempts to dislodge him but as he started to celebrate victory, his right leg slipped between 2 piece of wood and he was wedged between them unable to move. Our tour group showed a lot of concern for this large tattooed lad stuck, helpless being dragged down the river. I, on the other hand was pissing myself.
That evening the local Shamen made an appearance at our lodge and as Shamen tend to do he bought with him some mindblowing, hallucinagenic concoction, which some of our group paid for the privilege of trying. Apparently, the drug cleaned your insides out and cleansed your aura but as we had recently had a shower, we felt we were clean enough and just had a few Ecuadorian lagers while we sat around the campfire and watch him do his stuff. After a lot of chanting and alcohol spitting the people who took the drug had to retire to their room to gain the full effects which we felt was a pretty unsocialable drug. Some of them spent the night throwing their supposedly 'Dirty' insides up and I believe they didn't feel too clean at that point.
The next day we trekked throught the jungle and tasted many of the natural foodstuffs that they live on including eating some ants, which Smudger claimed tasted of Sherbet Dip Dabs and some garlic leaves which the jungle lads added to food for flavour. We also, stopped at an animal sanctuary which had all manner of animals and birds including cheeky little spider monkeys and a trumpet bird who was named after the crazy sound it lets out constantly. Before we left for the truck again the next day we had another interesting walk trough the primary jungle, played ring-a-ring a roses with the local kids and then had footy game. This was a game of highs and lows for me as on 1 hand I scored a goal, but on the other hand I did kick the ball square into the face of a girl I had just met. Chin Up.
We drove on and made our way to Banos where we would camp for the first time. We sampled the thermal baths of the the town and bought a couple of rather fetching, matching wooly hats which were claimed to make us look a little bit bent but we still persisted in wearing them. We also walked to the Paillon de Diablo waterfall which was pretty spectacular and enjoyed a couple of very nice camp cooked meals. This point was Davs turn to have some bowel troubles but he recovered fairly quickly which left me with mixed emotions. The pro was that my good friend was feeling better but the con was that he was again able to fart confidently which was undoubtedly bad news when sharing a tent with him.
We left Banos and undertook a 21 hour truck journey deep into the night, crossing into Peru en route. The journey was well worth it when we saw where were would be pitching our tents. It wa on the lovely beach of Punta Sal and we put up our tents right next to the sea enabling us to have early morning dips to refresh us for the day ahead. The lads of the group prepared a BBQ for the group one night and probably the highlight was the Salsa lessons that we all took part in. Fuelled with some cheap punch for Dutch courage we stepped onto the dancefloor and tried to let our hips do the talking. DSW performed admirably and could easily have been mistaken for a larger, tattooed Shakira as he threw plenty of latin shapes on the dancefloor.
We again camped in the small town of Huanchaco and took in some history as we sampled a guided tour of the local Chan Chan ruins which was interesting. Some of the group also got to surf on the nearby beach before setting off very early the following day for Huarez. Here there was the opportunity to do some glacier climbing but as Dave and I had experienced the Franz Jozef Glacier in New Zealand we opted out and saved some cash. Huarez was again at a high altitude so we were sure to drink plenty of agua but this was to prove our downfall. This was because after dancing with the local latinas in a bar (where strangely enough, the bloody Backstreet Boys and Chumbawumba was played at 1 point) we bought a large bottle of water each to rehydrate. It turned out that the cheeky b****** shop owner had filled the bottles up with the dirty tap water and passed it off as mineral water. Safe to say, the next day in our toilet was not pretty!
The Capital of Peru was next up. LIMA. We did not really do a lot there to be honest, just a bit of admin and saw the cultural sights and DSW witnessed the Peruvian changing of the guard which he said was much like the John Cleese, Ministry of funny walks. We also had a very random night out where we wandered about aimlessly looking for a suitably establishment but we couldn't find one so we ended up in a small corner shop drinking bottles of lager. We stayed there quite late and ended up being locked in as we bantered the night away. The automatic lock in prompted shouts of 'Get the the Crystal!'. We were also serenaded by a older peruvian Delboy lookalike. We tried to get him to sing 'Put una pony in tu pocket with little success'.
After an early morning delay, whcih seem to be South American normality we headed to the remote spot of (BA) Paracas National Park. We got there quite late and were ready to eat lovely Spag Bol prepared by David 'Worral Thompson'Smith-Watson but the night was halted when our truck got 'bogged'deep into the sand. Over the next 7 hours we tried to dig our way out of trouble and managed to move it, the grand total of 5 metres. w***. Our tour guide, Dan remained upbeat and stated that all we needed was a landrover but as there were no f***ing landrovers in the middle of nowhere, we were properly f***ed. We rose again at 7AM to try more digging and jacking but were only saved when a massive lorry came to our rescue and towed us out. Even despite this setback, we had just beach-camped right next to the sea with nothing and no-one for miles around. Not a bad life really!
Anyway, we are in Cusco now, again at altitude and are preparing to boss the s*** out of the Inca trail. I am now bored of writing and I am sure you have long since switched off so thats all for now.
Jake and Dave (who is now calling himself 'The Ledge'as someone called him it one night due to his apparent likeness to Heath 'Brokeback Mountain'Ledger. This nickname has caught on to some extent. I am devastated!)