Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
Well, thanks to the lovely Argentinean-at-heart Erin, you all can see the majority of my photos from Argentina... I`ve been in Peru for about a week and a half now, but it feels like longer since I`ve been doing so much. However, since like hot water and clean clothes, I left free internet in Argentina, I will have to just describe briefly what I`ve been doing. Stayed in Lima the first day, walked down to the coast, saw hangliders jump off cliffs and watched the surfers from the docks. I had no reason to be worried that there would be too many Americans in my group, as there are only 4 of us, and I am the only native English speaker. There`s a girl from Sweden that I'm rooming with, and a couple from Belgium, and then our Peruvian guide. Took a bus to Pisco, drank the famous Pisco Sours, the national drink, went to sleep listening to bad spanish karaoke and was woken by roosters and the cats living on our roof. Took a boat to Ballestas Islands, saw penguins, pelicans, sea lions, and unfortunately had the worst seat in the boat so got absolutely soaked. Went to vinyard in Ica to sample wine and pisco... still fairly early in the morning and hadn't had any breakfast, and then tried to go sandboarding after... Sandboarding in dunes of the Oasis of Huacachina. Harder than you would think to climb sand dunes, and sandboards don`t move very fast when you rent them cheap apparently... James Blunt unfortunately has crossed the equator, and is almost as popular here as the mokarena (yes... still...). Went to Nasca, climbed a tower to view the Nasca lines, went to ancient graveyard, which was basically just a lot of bones, sculls and mummies in ditches, all facing east... It apparently doesn`t rain and is never windy in the part of Nasca where the lines are as well, so although they aren't very deep they haven't disapeared for thousands of years. I`ve gotten used to being shocked by shady electical circuits, taking cold showers, and living out of my backpack... Went to a pottery shop, and a gold mine, took a night bus to Arequipa, which was one of the grossest busses I`ve ever been on (I think someone had previously thrown up in my seat in case you need a clearer picture). Arequipa however was beautiful so it was worth it. Old cathedrals everywhere, and surrounded by three volcanos, Pichu Pichu, El Misty and Chachani. There are earthquakes here about twice a day, but most can`t be felt. Went to a monastery that looked almost greek style, walked along the river, ate on a roof terrace with a great view and lounged in the town square. Had some Pisco Sours for appetizers and some guinnea pig and fries for dinner... i couldn`t eat much though because the whole thing is fried, feet, head and all, and you`re supposed to eat the bones, so I ate a leg and gave the head and the rest to our guide. Went to Colca Canyon, chewing on coca leaves and passing by the "alpaca crossing" signs. Went to the hight point of a mountain to see where people stack thousands of rocks as offerings to the mountain gods. Stayed in a small hotel in a town of 800 people, climbed a mountain to look over the pre Inca ruins, played with the pet alpaca, laid in a hammok, went to hotsprings, then... got altitude sickness... Had a fever at night, but was better by morning, so got up to to to Condor`s Cross to see the Condors fly, went on a hike, but didn't really enjoy it since my fever came back, I had a headache and a stomache ache and then went back to the hotel to sleep for 18 hours. Bumpy dirt roads and narrow streets are not always fun I`ve discovered. Went to Puno, took a boat out to one of the small islands on Lake Titikaka (Taquile), where they are known for their knitting skills, then hiked down a famouse stairway to take another boat to Amantan (another island) where we stayed with local families for the night. Hiked up to watch a futbol game, had dinner with the family, then were dressed in local clothes and had a party. Went to the floating islands today, where they are literally islands the people have built from reeds, met with the people that lived there and they took us into their houses, where again, made us try on thier clothes. Took a boat back to Puno where I`ll stay tonight, then tomorrow I leave for Cusco. I start the Inca Trail in 3 days, and I`m still not feeling 100% better, but hopefully by then I`ll be ok. Well, I guess that wasn't short, but about as short as I was able to make it... Don't think I'll be on again until I get to Lima on the 16th, so I`ll update more then... Oh, and I miscalculated on a couple things... I won't be in the Amazon for my birthday, I will be in Lima, and then I leave for Panama on the 19th.