Adventures through South America...

December 21, 2009


Well, I finally made it to Columbia. I spent the last week or so in Mendoza. Its a cool town to pass some time in and has a lot of opportunities for adventure tourism. Anna, my new BBFF (British Best Friend Forever...hahah) MADE me go paragliding and rafting...

Paragliding was actually amazing and not at all as terrifying as I thought it was. In fact, I had to fight the urge to take a nap while in the air! (naps come easy these days). So those of you who arent sure what paragliding is, basically you just run off the top of a mountain (or large hill - ours was 1650 metres above sea level) attached to a chute...and OF COURSE a professional guide...haha. It was actually really comfortable, you have this seat that you kind of sit in that is attached to the guide and he takes you higher, and lower and then around in circles until you think you are going to throw up and then you land...but you have to run in order to not fall when you land. I was the only one who didnt fall or muck up the landing. GO ERIN!

THEN, the next day, we went rafting (no, not white water rafting, more like red mud rafting) outside of the city. We got a big group together - we had met these three Canadian navy boys the first day in our hostel, and just went down the river (once again, with guides). Only we picked a day with some of the rockiest water conditions. It truly was scary, but we all managed to stay inside the raft for the whole hour! After rafting, we treated ourselves to some beers by the pool...and then more beers...and a bottle or two of wine...and next thing you know, its 4 pm the next afternoon. much for our biking wine tour. Which was for the best really. I think Anna and I had consumed enough Argentinian wine on our own that we didnt need to get on a bike and do it!

So thats the good stuff. The bad stuff (as there always will be). We got to our hostel (recommended by lonely planet so of course i figured it would be ok) only to be informed that some nice Argentinian lads broke into the room the night before and stole everyones electronics. So without haste, already having paid for our first night, we went and found a much more amazing hostel that people didnt break into. Anyway, we went to bed relatively early that night, only to be awoken by one of the British lads fighting with two more Argentinian boys who managed to make their way into our room. We checked out real fast. There was a lot more crime in Mendoza than I would have liked. But we made it out unharmed.

I left Mendoza on Sunday on a 6 hour bus to Santiago, Chile. Then headed straight to the airport (9pm) to wait for my flight (730am the next day). I was amazed at how many people actually sleep in airports...and not just backpackers...there were 60 year old couples there too! Crazy. Got on my delayed flight about 9am....flew to Lima, Peru by 10 am. Then waited around for my 530pm flight to Bogota, Columbia. Got to my hostel about 10pm and man I am exhausted!!!

Off to Santa Marta tomorrow for Christmas and then Taganga for New Years. If I dont post again before then:


December 7, 2009

Back in BA

Well, I arrived back in Buenos Aires on Friday. Just in time for a crazy action packed weekend!

Friday night, I met up with two friends from Ireland, who were staying at the beach house in Uruguay too, for a few pints and the longest happy hour ever. Didn't quite make it past midnight, as I was really tired from my long days travel.

Saturday, it was raining, but I decided to trek it to Recoletta and check out the cemetery. It was pretty cool, but not being a fan of being in cemeteries, I checked out Evita's grave and left. On my walk back home, I found a great little market and had a belt custom made for me!

Saturday night, we went to see the Boca Juniors football game. It was pretty intense. The fans are so passionate, it was a dry event, and Boca lost, so we were stuck inside the stadium until the opposing team fans left so there wouldn't be riots. Great game though.

Saturday night, I met a few people at the hostel and we made our way to one of the most famous nightclubs in town, Pacha. Didn't get home til the sun had come up. Quite an experience. The club was huge, and there must have been at least 8000 people there.

Yesterday, I managed to get a ticket to go see ACDC, which was unbelievable! Also, another dry event. I'm not understanding this concept yet. We were pretty amazing that ACDC would preform a dry event. Anyway, it was pretty awesome and I'm glad I finally got to see them.

Going to do some more touristy things in the next couple of days, including steak dinner and the drum show again...saw it last time I was here and it was pretty good. Then I'm off to Iguazu on Tuesday night...


December 3, 2009

Photos: Salt Flats

Photos from our 4 day Salt Flat tour:

Sunset at the end of day one, at over 4000 metres above sea level.Bondy and I in front of one of many lagoons.
The red lagoon. Not sure of the real name.

Me attempting a handstand. Gravity and age are not working with me.GIANT animals on the actual salt flats.

More photos

7 hour horse trek from Tupiza, Bolivia
Me and my horse

Considering alternate career options in Potosi.I have discovered that mining is not one of them.

Photos: Sucre

Photos in Sucre:

Sunset behind the church in the main square.

On our way to the mirador over the city, pictured below.

Giant and delicious fruit salads. Cost about 2 dollars.

Photos: Gato

Here are only a couple of photos from Inti Wara Yassi.

December 2, 2009

End of a Beach Era

Well, I´ve done it. I´ve left Punta del Diablo. It is sad. I miss the beach.

We didn´t do very much other than tan, swim, eat and drink for two weeks. I took up surfing (for about 20 minutes) and nearly broke my finger. I have a tan that will likely fade in 2 days. It was fun. Punta del Diablo was an awesome little town, that hasn´t quite woken up yet from it´s winter slumber. You could however, feel the vibe of the townspeople getting ready for the influx of summer visitors, I can only imagine how busy it will be in a couple of weeks.

I moved on to Colonia today. Going to check out some of the ´quaint´ things it has to offer, then head to Buenos Aires for the weekend.

Not much of an update, but that´s all I have got right now.

November 22, 2009

Surf and Sand

Got to Uruguay yesterday! Our beach house is pretty cool. Cozy (meaning we are all sleeping in the same room)!

We spent a few (more than enough) nights in Buenos Aires partying (no surprise there) and I can´t wait to get back! We took the boat on Friday morning to Colonia, Uruguay, then a bus to Montevideo and THEN a bus to Punta del Este. So we have made it almost to the Brazilian border. Yesterday the weather was absolutely horrible, and nothing in the town was open. We were worried we´d be stuck here for two weeks without anything to do and in not nice weather!!! But we woke up this morning and the sun was shining!!

When the sun comes out, so do the people! It was awesome and I spent some time in the ocean bodysurfing. Feels great to finally get to the beach!

Our place has an outdoor BBQ and a couple of fireplaces inside and a fully equiped kitchen and a jacuzzi in the bathroom - so we arent really roughing it!

Other then that, we plan to take a day trip to Punta del Este tomorrow to do some banking (theres no bank here....only 700 people) and then spend the next couple of weeks on the beach!!!

November 17, 2009

Little post from the Big City

Well, we made it to Buenos Aires.

Last time I posted we were headed to Potosi, Bolivia. We got there and had a great pj party for Bens birthday. Got nice and drunk and almost got kicked out of our hostel...all class.
I ended up doing the mine tour with everyone. I was definitely interesting. First, we went to the miners market and had to buy gifts for the miners, including 96% alcohol, cocoa leaves, dynamite, gloves, etc. Then we got all dressed up in our wares and headed down to the mine. It was pretty easy going down, only a few small holes to climb through. We met a lot of the miners (who start working there as young 14) and shared their alcohol with them (its rude to say no apparently.) The alcohol was essentially just rubbing alcohol and very disgusting. Oh ya, on the way to the mines I managed to work up a HUGE wad of cocoa in my mouth, so I fit right in when I got down there. We also saw Tio, who is the devil that they worship in the mines. What else....oh ya, I almost decided to stay down in the mine when we were leaving because it was so incredibly hard to climb back up. My lungs were full of dust and I couldnt breathe at all! But I made it!!!

After Potosi, we headed to Tupiza and did a 7 hour horse trek, which was absolutely amazing! For my first time on a horse I managed to not fall off! I had the most stubborn horse who only ran when the others did and then proceeded to cut everyone off. It was a lot of fun.

The next day we did a 4 day tour to the salt flats. It was a lot of lagoons, flamingos and sleeping in really really cold accommodation with no showers!! It was fun, but I was pretty tired by the time we got to the salt flats. We took some cool photos (which will go up on Facebook soon).

After we got back from the salt flats, we headed across the border to Salta. Our bus from Tupiza to Villazon (the Bolivian border town) was horrible. The seats werent even bolted to the bottom of the bus. What a way to leave the country!!! We walked into Argentina then got on an awesome bus to Salta. We didnt do too much there, but we did manage to go out until about 5 am, which was fun....

From Salta, we took a 23 hour bus to Buenos Aires....the bus was really nice, which leather seats and everything (compared to Bolivian buses, anything is nice) and we managed to last the entire ride on Valium (which you can just buy over the counter here!)

Last night, we went to a drum show and then partied at our hostel pretty its been a lazy day.

Im going to just post pics on facebook from now on, its easier then posting on here....

Inti Wara Yassi pics

Machu Picchu pics

Let me know if the links dont work.

More later....

November 3, 2009

Moving on...


Still no photos. :(

I left Inti Wara Yassi on Thursday with some people I met there and we headed to Cochabamba (again...). We stayed for a couple of nights taking in some horrible, horrible movies at the Cine (not much choice when you want them in English) and visited one of the girls in the hospital that was bit by a monkey at the park. Long story, but it was bad (she was bit by one of the monkeys that has been isolated and he bit a couple of tendons, arteries and nerves). Don´t worry! She is going to be ok! They stitched everything back together and she is on her way home to do some physiotherapy. So glad I spent my month working with a Puma!!

We hauled it to the bus station on Saturday eve to get a bus to Sucre...only, every bus was sold out!! Apparently Halloween is a big travelling day for the Bolivians. So we checked into a cheap hostel, which turned out to be nice and kicked it for another day in Cochabamba...involving a hunt for many many saltenas (patries with loads of meat and veggies and an awesome sauce in them)

The next night, we managed to get on a bus to Sucre (10 hours, overnight) which wasn´t the nicest Bolivian bus I´ve seen, but we made it safe and sound. Sucre is a really pretty town. Not much here other then markets, churches and pretty white buildings. The weather is amazing. I still cannot believe that it´s November 3 and it´s about 30 degrees outside! See ya later winter!! ha ha I can´t wait until it snows in Canada. After not being able to find any saltenas in Cochabamba, they are everywhere here, so we are quite satisfied. We went to the market today for some fruit salad with yogurt and cream and loads of goodies on it...for only 80 cents...amazing!!

We are headed to Potosi tomorrow. Have not yet decided whether or not I´m going to navigate the mines with everyone else, or if I´m just going to lay in bed due to the high altitude! I think it´s almost 5000 metres above sea level! YIKES!

Ciao - and soon you will see pictures!

October 27, 2009

Ciao Gato!!

Well, the time has come. I am leaving on Thursday. After more than 30 days of blisters, rashes, puma bites, an ill tummy, more blisters, sweat rash, unidentifiable bites, etc I think it´s time.

I´m really sad to leave Gato. We have spent some time bonding for sure (bound to happen when you are alone in the jungle for 8 hours every day). I just wish I took more pictures.

It has been a great month! I have learned lots, met loads of great people who are donating their time to help out animals in need, met Jane Goodall, eaten lots of gross salty cheese and slept at least 9 hours a night....every night! (and that´s if I go to bed late!)

The last few days have brought lots and lots and lots and lots of rain...which means that the trails in the jungle are getting pretty sloshy. I don´t even think my clothes are washable anymore. Great timing to leave on my part!

It was just announced to us that we have raised enough money in order to buy the land at another park, so that they will own all of it. (here, the park doesn´t own the land, the government does, so a lot of the cats are losing their trails to the Bolivians reclaiming their land) It´s exciting news, given the poverty levels in Bolivia and the difficulty to find support from anyway. If you have a minute, check out the website, and if you have a dollar, donate. It goes a long way here.

Anyway, although I am really excited to move on with my journey, I am extremely sad to leave Gato. I learned a lot from spending my days with him and know I will never stop wondering how he is doing as I gaze down at the scars from his teeth in my leg...*sigh*

Ciao for now...

October 14, 2009

Bolivian Flu

Well, it´s finally happened. I was struck with the Bolivian flu (I named it that myself) in the middle of the night. You may be asking what this involves: a hell of a lot of papel higenico and many many trips to the bathroom. Loads of fun!!

I have spent the last two days sleeping and not eating, and I feel much much better now. I can now eat again and think I´m ready to get back out there with my cat!

Speaking of which, he had a hayday with my knees and legs the other day. It was a beach day and it was raining fairly consistently. The rain always makes the animals a little bit crazy. Gato started off the morning grumbling more so than more (i think the wet weather bothers his legs) and we walked around the beach (no shelter from the jungle). It was really wet and cold, and about mid day (after already mistaking my skin for stretchy leggings that he likes to chew on) he got a little frisky and wanted to play. I had puma all over me. No worries though, he just wanted to play, and therefore did not bite hard. Being the easily bruised person that I am though, I do have a pretty great picture of my bites, so I will try to post on Facebook soon (I can´t seem to get any photos up here).

Anyway, only 12 more days left here, then I am going to head further south for some more great adventures. Most of the people I met when I started at the volunteer place here have already or are leaving soon, which means I must make new friends...ugh! haha

I think I may have forgotten to talk about Jane Goodall. She has come and left already, but her visit was pretty cool. Everyone at this place tried really hard to impress her, but she seemed rather complacent. Something I´m sure happens after travelling 300 days a year at the age of 75. She got to see Gato, which she thought was rather cool, and I felt really proud walking him around the beach with Jane Goodall watching...pretty cool. Oh ya, she´s vegetarian and makes some pretty crazy monkey noises!

That´s about it for now, just thought I´d write a quick update about my new bite and my ´Bolivian flu´.

October 9, 2009

My First Puma Bite


It´s been a busy couple of weeks here, so I haven´t had much chance to write.

Anyway, I am now at Inti Wara Yassi, the animal refuge. I spent my first day working with the monkeys in the monkey park, and then moved on to a puma. It has definitely been challenging! My puma´s name is Gato. He has been at the park since it opened (12 years ago) and is now about 15. Pumas only live for about 17 years, so he is fairly old. When he was a baby, a farmer killed his mother for her fur and sold him to a circus. At the circus they broke his back legs and made him jump through hoops of fire. The director here caught wind of a circus passing through and went to rescue the animals. Alas, Gato!

He is very docile, and will never be released into the wild, due to being around humans most of his life. He sleeps in a cage in the jungle and I go up daily at 8 am to spend the day with him. We rotate days at the beach with days in the jungle. He LOVES going to the beach and I get to cross the river with him while he swims. We keep him on a cord that is attached to our waist and he basically leads us where he wants to go. So more or less, I´m being walked by a puma. ha ha

He is really mellow, walks slowly and a lot, naps sometimes, loves to drink bottled water from my hand, hisses at me when I wake him up from his naps, hates noise and people talking, is not bothered by other animals (except for tejons...which scare me too!), likes to be petted but not often, doesn´t eat much and grumbles...A LOT!

He is really old and doesn´t like to stop walking. He bit me for the first time last week, but it was not serious, just some bruises. We help feed him grass when we are at the beach (in order to induce vomiting to help his digestion - he gets frustrated when he can´t eat it himself) and after he is done eating the grass, he will come up to us and playfully bite our knees...when we say ¨No mas¨(no more) he will stop and then he will lick our leg until he is ready to vomit.

He has also tried to bite me after getting playful in the shrubs or jungle at the beach, but it is more like he is pretending to bite us until we say No Mas. He´s even lazy when he bites.
We usually try to get back to his cage for dinner around 4:30, but he can be extremely stubborn and slow so sometimes it´s 6 before we get back!

Gato seems to like me. I tried to upload a picture of him and I. Today he came up and lied next to me and put his head on my foot so I could pet him!

Anyway, that is what my days are like. When I get home I try to shower (when there is water), then I go to bed. I slipped in the creek last week and bruised some ribs, so I did a couple of days of construction this week because the trails are really difficult. Some are very steep and slippery, with not much to grab on to on your way down. Everyday always has something exciting usually involving me falling or grabbing a prickly tree....

My photos still don´t work, cause the internet is too slow, but I will try to add more soon!

September 25, 2009

Into the Jungle I go..

Ok, so I just wrote a post and deleted it. silly me.

Apparently Bolivia doesn´t like my photos, so I´m afraid this blog is going to be more text then anything. Somehow I´ll try to keep it interesting. I´m moving on again tomorrow to my next destination, Villa Tunari. Why, you ask? Well, I´ll tell you:

I have a death wish. Ha ha no it will be good for me. Maybe do some soul searching, like I was supposed to when I was in France almost 6 years ago (yes, it´s been that long) and ended up only finding wine and cheese...

Anyway, I´m going to spend at least two weeks (possibly a month) getting peed and pooped on and trying to make nice with the jungle cats. I wonder if I´m allergic to them too...hmmm.

The nearest village has a dodgy internet connection, so I´ll try to post while I can.

Yours truly,
the unscarred, unbitten, clean,

September 23, 2009

Lost in La Paz

So Niamh and I had arrived in La Paz last Monday. She had already warned me about the amazing ability to get stuck in La Paz, especially staying at the Wild Rover hostel (our intended destination). Naturally, I just laughed it off, and said ¨Not me!¨

Well, it´s been 9 days, and I´m still here. I woke up in a frenzy this morning and ran to book a bus ticket out of here...

La Paz is truly one of the craziest cities I´ve ever seen. The centre is full of cars honking and exhausting fumes that take over your already extended lungs. There are few stop lights, and when there are they aren´t obeyed. There are people EVERYWHERE, trying to sell you EVERYTHING. Anything you could ever think of needing, from pens, to deoderant, to toilet paper, to any item of clothing can be found in the streets of La Paz.

While here, I have checked out the Witches Market, where we may or may not have purchased a colon cleansing potion after about 4 days straight of drinking. I have also attempted to find the black market, which I am still not sure I found. It´s so possible to just get lost in the street vendors. I also have purchased some new glasses (as mine were stolen) for the price of 160 BS ($25) including my eye test. I have checked out a few odd museums including one on the Apollo missions, found some nice neighbourhoods and restaurants and eaten and drank almost everything on my hostel´s menu!

And...I spent 7 days drinking. And I mean DRINKING. The hostel that I am staying at is full of Irish, English and Aussies who love to drink. I got into quite the routine of starting around 5pm, drinking at the hostel bar until 2am then going to one, maybe two clubs until 6am and then sleeping until 3pm and starting all over again. I didn´t leave the hostel for days. But as all good things must come to an end, I lost my voice and smartened up! :)

I´ve been sober for two days now. Yay me! haha It´s funny how easy it is to get sucked into the powers of entertainment. I´m off to Cochabamba next, where the weather is supposed to be nicer and the city a little calmer...phew!!

Still no photos, but I will try to remedy that this weekend!

Let me in to Bolivia

Ok, so it´s been a while. I got lost in the frenzy that is La Paz. Here´s what I´ve been up to...

We left Cusco on the 11th and were headed for Copacabana, but not before we spent the day in Pisac, which is a little market town outside of Cusco.

My friend Niamh and I were brave enough to sample some fresh hot chocolate in a nice cafe...made with milk...which was likely unpasteurized. Fast forward to our 12 hour bus journey...

We spent our first bus ride from Cusco to Puno in absolute pain just trying to fall asleep to escape...then we spent the hours of 4:30 am to 7 am in the bus terminal in Puno taking turns paying 50 centimos (about 15 cents) using the facilities. We boarded our next bus to Copacabana on time and feeling a miniscule amount better.

It was on this bus that I experienced my first border crossing. Our driver was really good in explaining how it was to work. We stopped in the town just before the boarder to change money to Bolivianos, because to our surprise there were no banks or ATM´s in Copacabana. After changing the minimal Soles we had to Bolivianos and fretting over not being quite sure if we´d have enough money to make it out of Copacabana, we arrived at the border. We then proceeded to walk ourselves from the Peruvian office to get our goodbye stamp (you are granted a tourist card when you arrive that you must have stamped when you leave), over to the Bolivian side to get our new tourist card. For most English speaking countries, we are granted only 30 days (as opposed to the usual 90) in Bolivia, so I had to ask for special permission (in spanish) to stay 90 days. Trust me, not a pleasant experience after being sick on a bus for 12 hours and tired as hell...but alas, the grumpy border official let me have it. And that, is what crossing borders in South America is like. You actually just walk yourselves over!

Anyway, we got to Copacababa with no problems, and managed to sleep a lot our first day there. On Sunday we woke up early and took off on a trek to Yampaputa (the end of the peninsula) in order to get a boat to Isla del Sol. Our trek took us almost 6 hours and was such a beautiful and peaceful walk. Nevermind the hills at an altitude of over 3000 metres above sea level. I felt like my health was deteriorating, having to stop every 12 steps to catch my breath.

We walked through a number of small villages along Lake Titicaca, until we almost got to the end. We found a gentleman by the name of Horario Paye (as suggested in the Lonely Planet) and asked him to take us out on his reed boat. After our relaxing reed boat ride, we definitely did not want to finish the last hour of our trek so we paid Horario´s much younger (really he was probably 65) to ROW us to Isla del Sol. It was a 2 hour boat ride, during which we pulled our own weight and took to the oars!

We finished the night with a great meal of fresh trout from Lake Titicaca. The next day Niamh and I headed back to Copacabana due to a lack of funds! We had to haggle our way on to the boat just to get back to mainland, then managed to get half price tickets on a bus to La Paz.

I´m not having any luck posting photos today, but will try to get them up as soon as possible!

September 11, 2009

Machu Picchu

Well, finally here are my pics from Machu Picchu.

I ended up doing the Inka Jungle Trek (one of many alternative treks to the original Inka Trail) with Niamh and Mig, who I met in Pisco. The trek was 4 days and 3 nights and involved biking downhill, trekking, trekking and more trekking and climbing a bunch of mountains.

The first day we started out by driving to the site where we´d begin our bike part. It was not hard, but it was painful. We biked over a rocky road for 3 hours and by the end, my arms and legs were vibrating on their own. Then, we trekked some.
We spent the first night in a little village called Santa Maria. The next day, we took a truck into the jungle and began trekking from there for 3 hours.
We stopped for a 2 hour lunch break, which involved having 2 naps in a hammock. Then we took off on some more trekking until we got to the thermal baths near Santa Theresa. The trek that day was really hard and involved some serious climbing up mountains. The thermal baths were pretty amazing! There were three different pools, one hot, one warm and one cold. Also, there were some hot showers outdoors that I took advantage of. That night we stayed in Santa Theresa. The next day our group opted to take the bus to the Hidroelectric station (where the train tracks began) and hike from there (3 hours) to Aguas Caliente. After we got to Aguas Caliente, we decided to climb up another mountain that has a great view of Machu Picchu. It was incredibly strenuous, but entirely worth it!!

The next morning we got up at 3 am in order to hike up to Machu Picchu. We made it in about 1.5 hours and got there before it opened. We had a guided tour for the first 2 hours, then were on our own to climb WaynaPicchu (another mountain beside Machu Picchu)! Also, definitely worth it!

I climbed the mountain in the middle of this picture the day before I went to Machu Picchu!

After we climbed down from Machu Picchu, we paid our hostel lady for a shower and got on the train to come back to Cusco! So exhausting!


Well, I´ve managed to stay in Cusco for longer than I thought! I ended up taking some Spanish lessons, meeting up with some friends from Pisco, going on a trek to Machu Picchu (separate blog) and having way too much fun!

Let´s see...
I went out to a bar one night with some friends from Pisco, and tried Shisha (a large bong filled with flavoured tobacco) for the first time. It was a lot of fun.

Actually, we have gone to the bars a lot. All of the night clubs around here have people in the streets handing out free drink tickets to get you to go into their clubs. AND every bar has a different happy hour, where you can get two drinks for the price of one!

Cusco is a really pretty town! It has a really nice main square with three cathedrals and there is so much to do here. I have found some awesome (and cheap) restaurants too! One of them serves a vegetarian meal for only 5 soles. ($1.25) and you get tea, soup as a starter and a full entree with rice and some vegetarian meal. I love eating here.
In our cooking class this week, we made papas rellenas (stuffed potatoes). Basically you mash potatoes, roll them into balls, flatten them, then stuff them with veggies, and reform them into potatoes. The best part? You then deep fry them and eat them with spicy aji (a hot pepper sauce). I´m going to miss the food!

The other day, we went to visit Qorikancha, an Inca site in the city. What remains of the Inca walls now surrounds a colonial church. It was the head of the Inca Empire, and was mostly covered in gold!

Oh ya, and this is the one purchase I´m probably going to regret not making!

August 28, 2009

On the way to Cusco

After all the excitement in Huacachina, we decided it was time to move on. We booked an overnight bus ticket to Cusco (the ride was 18 hours) for the following day.

We spent the day in Ica, doing stuff, (i.e. giving police officers money) including a wine and pisco tour by a local taxi driver. It was neat to get out into the country and go to some private wineries and learn how pisco is made.

After that, we went back to Ica, for dinner and to catch our 7:30pm bus. Getting to the bus station at 7 just in case the bus arrived early (ha!), it was about 8:30 before we asked where the bus was. Oh it caught on fire. I think they were lying to us and the 7:30 bus just didn´t exist. We ended up waiting for the 9:30 bus, which showed up at 11:15pm. Gotta love Peruvian time. It´s funny because we went all out and purchased a ticket with the expensive bus company and one of their statements is that they are always punctual! Riiight.

Anyway, we got on the bus (which provided us with blankets, movies, a crappy breakfast, and 2 roadside stops). The bus was trekking it through the mountains along tiny winding roads and I woke up multiple times in the night to look out the window and there was no road in front of us! (We book the very front seats on the top deck). Also, I had to demand one the roadside stops because you are only allowed to go #1 on the bus, and 18 hours is a LONG time.
We arrived safely in Cusco on Tuesday around 4pm. I haven´t done much here, yet. Suzy used to volunteer here a couple of months ago, so she introduced me to the city and the volunteer organization she worked with. We also toured around a bunch of the different markets. I picked up some alpaca clothing to keep me warm!

On Wednesday, we went to a cooking class and we learned (kind of) how to make a potato dish.

Cusco is an awesome city, it´s so pretty. I think I´m going to stick around and take some Spanish lessons before I move on again!

Will have more pics the next time I post!

Huacachina, Peru

Sorry, it´s been a while. Oh the stories,

Last Saturday, Suzy (my new British friend) and I got on a bus to Huacachina, which is an oasis town in the middle of the desert. That it was, check out some pics:

This was our hostel - definitely roughing it. It was actually hot enough for some sunbathing!

We spent the day Saturday just enjoying being in the middle of the desert and preparing for our sandboarding adventure the next day...

Oh Sandboarding. We decided to take the early afternoon tour in order to take advantage of the sun. The dune buggy ride was awesome! We were ripping through (and over) the dunes like nobody´s business. At one point we reaching the top of a dune and we couldn´t see the bottom of was a ridiculous incline and we ended up going down the dune almost 90 degrees. I may or may not have screamed a little :S

Our driver took us to two separate locations - the first having three ¨small¨ dunes to conquer. It was hard to get started but after the second dune I felt I had the hang of it. So I sucked it up and braved the third ¨small¨ dune. I managed pretty well (i.e. I remained standing) until I got to the bottom of the dune.
Then I´m not sure what happened equates to me doing some acrobatic moves I wasn´t at all prepared for, thus landing on my back, neck and head. Suzy said from the top of the dune I just turned into a cloud of sand. When I landed, I had no idea what happened, but I had knocked the wind out of me. I got up and shook it off, but man it hurt!

Here´s a shot of me after I decided to allow sand to inhibit every crevice in my body:

Hot, eh?

After making a quick trip to the doctor (yes, I´ve only been a week in South America before needing a doctor) I determined that I just badly injured some muscles and I´d be ok...

(needless to say, I went down the next hill on my bum...) Look at how big it was:

You win this round giant sand dunes.

August 27, 2009


Howdy, I have reverted back to blogger, as it is easier to update in internet cafes here.

I can`t believe that it has been two weeks already! I am currently still in Peru, but will post a couple of updates so that you can get caught up :)



June 19, 2009

Finland: Day One


Well I arrived in Finland yesterday. I was up for way too long, but managed to beat jet lag and get a full night of sleep! Yay me. And soon enough I will have my website up and I won't have to use this blog anymore :)

Here is what we did yesterday:Kirppu made a great breakfast that consisted of Karelian pies with cheese, tomatoes and cucumbers, yogurt, juice (she had made rhubarb juice - so good!) and tea :) mmm

These are the Karelian pies. They are by far, my favourite thing about Finland. I remember them from the last time I was here and I have been counting down the days until I could have them again. Basically they are a pastry filled with rice porridge.
Here is me trying a typical Finnish yogurt. It has the consistency of milk that has gone bad (stretchy) but is actually sweet. You can see how it just hangs off the spoon...mmm. The one I had was flavoured with rose hip jam. (Pardon the chin fat)Then of course after me showering all the plane dirt off and getting ready for the day, we were both ready for lunch:
Kirppu had made pasta with tomatoes, basil and reindeer meat. Yep, reindeer meat - it's really good!!Then we hit the town. It was really quiet in Helsinki due to the fact that everyone has fled the city to go to their summer cottages for midsummers! There was no one around.
I fared pretty well touring around the city considering I was working on no sleep. I got really sleepy on the bus ride in though. We went to go visit another friend, Kristiina, from when we were studying in France. We went to her place for some aperatifs and then on to a restaurant for dinner.We went to Savotta for dinner - it's a tourist place and the inside is designed to look like it is inhabited by tukkijatkat. Ha ha that translates to lumberjacks. (almost). Kristiina and I had a pike-perch dish with beetroot and some sort of coleslaw (yummy). Kirppu had the muikute (traditional Finnish fish - called Vendace in English, they were like smelt but a little bigger) which came with garlic potatoes.Oh AND the waitress charged us an extra 66 cents a glass because she poured us too much and got in trouble my her boss. Seriously!!!

After dinner, we walked around the city centre looking for a bar - all of which were pretty empty. We settled on an Irish pub, hahah go figure, and enjoyed a pint of Hoegaarden rose, which tasted just like juice :)

This post is getting very long. We left the pub at about 10:30 and it was still broad daylight out.Notice the time on the building and how bright it is still!

Anyway, that was my first day in Finland. Very eventful. I almost passed out a billion times on the bus on the way home!!!