worldwide walkabout the tiniest bird takes a walk.


mancora, peru

mancora seemed to be the perfect location and genre for a miniature stop on the big push up north. it's a touristy little surf beach and one day here was just perfect. after spending so much time in the highlands i was happy to be at sea level and breathe without my heart hurting. now to get rid of this confounded indigestion (it's been weeks and weeks of it...not sure if it's also related to elevation).


on turbulent buses

leaving huaraz was insane. the only option for northbound buses were nighttime departures, much to my dismay. even more to my dismay was that the route were switchbacks up the mountain (90 degree turns, no joke). i was sitting in the very front of the bus, the landscape one big blur left and then right and then left...had i known i would not have eaten dinner and drank a giant glass of orange papaya juice which already halfway tasted like puke. the juice was the first thing i threw up with gusto. i went to the toilet to throw it away but had to wait for the man who was wretching, cartoon style, into the toilet. he coughed in between, all the while the bus churning and churning.

the second time i threw up it was from the depths of my stomach. when i went to the toilet to dispose of it, a lady was coming down the stairs slowly, like a drunkard, the bus continuing its turbulence. i suddenly got scared that she would throw up on me so i pushed by. her hand hit me in the face, i don't know if it was the bus moving suddenly or if she was cross with me about getting by. either way i made an exclamatory sound and she moved toward the toilet silently.

the bus arrived 2 hours early, much to my dismay because it meant we were in trujillo at 4 am. northern peru has a way of not having a central bus terminal which meant that i had to take a taxi by myself to a different station. super not stoked on the idea of being kidnapped by taxi; i try not to take taxis for various reasons. from there i had to change buses 3 more times to get to mancora, mostly not from the same station. people were, for the most part, very helpful.

i have spared you any photos of bags and boxes of vomit. you're welcome.

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santa cruz trek/the cordilleras blanca, peru

i found the cordillera range and parque nacional huascaran to be absolutely stunning. i made time to join isabelle on the famous santa cruz trek. we had such a nice time photographing all of the gorgeous mountains from the bus, all the while incredulous that the bus was, indeed, not going to stop for us to enjoy the view with stillness. the bus bumped on and on up the dusty switchbacks and we started the hike. it rained lightly the first day but we made it to camp dry.

the second day was more challenging for two reasons-the 1000 meter climb up (and then 500 meters down), and also that it rained and snowed. hard. luckily i took the easy route; others took the new route which was explained by sebastian the german guy as "we were scaling the rocks and holding onto grass on the side of the mountain. i thought it was a joke."  by the time we made it to the campsite the mules were hours behind (they had lost a mule that morning so the load was carried by one less), we were drenched and cold, and when our supplies arrived they were soaked by the precipitation. despite our hot dinner and fun card game "asshole" with the crew, we still had a fairly miserable night because of the cold and wet supplies.

the third day was long; isabelle and i chose to do the trek in three days instead of four because of our busy schedules. thankfully we had sun and good weather for most of the journey down. a few others chose to do the abbreviated trek and somehow got caught up in a marsh. literally. they sank knee deep in muck, had a good laugh about it until they realized there were 6 more hours left to hike...

i was so happy to have a chance to see these incredible mountains. through the thick and thin of it.

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glacier nevado pastoruri, peru

i was happy to meet isabelle, a sweet and fun french lady while visiting the glacier. she and i had some good laughs in the coming days and i felt inspired to join her on the santa cruz trek.

first we saw the giant puya raimondii plants (up to 10 meters). some were flowering which is special because they can take up to 100 years to grow. after they flower they self-destruct; they appear as if they were torched by a flamethrower. curious plants.

because of the elevation at the glacier it took a moment to adjust while hiking up...despite being at high elevations for much of the trip i still find it difficult to breathe. the sun buggered off and it snowed a bit.


flight of the condors, peru

from cabanaconde, we left early for the bus to cruz del condor where the condors soar in thermal air currents. unfortunately, while getting off the bus bobby left his camera and hat on the seat. upon returning to where we were sitting, he was only able to recover his hat. after several hours at cruz, we took the long journey back to arequipa where we said goodbye. i went north, bobby headed south to return to la finca (the farm) in san rafael.

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colca canyon trek, round 2. peru.

from arequipa we made the 6 hour bus journey to cabanaconde to start our trek. in addition to being completely deranged by bedbugs, bobby caught something gnarly and was pretty destroyed for the 2nd and 3rd day. because colca is one of the world's deepest canyons, getting back to the top is not an easy feat even when one is well.

we really enjoyed the nice comfy beds of cabanaconde upon our return!

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arequipa, peru

i was so elated to return to the beautiful cobblestone streets of arequipa. i was much less elated to find myself eaten alive by bedbugs; because it takes some time for bites to show up, we spent two nights in a room infested with them. somehow they were only after me, not bobby, a few so much so that they stowed away in my clothes and continued to bite me during our three day trek in colca canyon. after day 5 of new bites, i cried, particularly because the bites turn into extremely itchy welts that last for a week. and they were on my face. and neck. and hands. and feet.  and shoulders and back. and arms and legs....worst!!!

arequipa is still great though. what a gorgeous place.

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in the spirit of adventure

after much time at home, i decided to take advantage of having so few responsibilities. i am in chile, perhaps argentina, perhaps peru for three weeks and then colombia for three weeks. i look forward to being on the road again, more soon.


on keeping paranoia under raps

south america (or parts of) is known to be notoriously unsafe. in general i've felt pretty good about being here, although i have felt less inclined to have my cameras out and about: i've met way too many travelers who have had their cameras nicked. i think some guys tried to rob me on the bus in peru-they spilled water all over the floor and tried to store my bag in the overhead shelves behind me. having had the prior experience of being "helped" (and subsequently robbed) i declined. the guys got off the bus 5 minutes later and i think tried again to distract me.

recently two of my friends were robbed: one opportunistically in the bus station in valparaiso and the other at knife point while waiting for a pickup for  the inca trail. in the early morning. both lost a camera (or cameras!) and passports. my heart goes out to them.

to increase paranoia even more, i watched a film on the way from santiago to mendoza about two young women who get kidnapped in paris by the evil albanian mafia. their mission is to drug-trap women into prostitution. luckily one girl's father is an ex-cia agent and manages to kill every albanian (sans personal injury despite the amount he was shot at) and rescue his daughter. unluckily, the other girl overdoses and is found dead. moral of the story: don't talk to handsome strangers because they may be involved in a plot to kidnap you. noted.

to top it all off, while we were in santiago and valparaiso, my new friend mike took it as his hobby to have me think there was a ferocious dog about to nip at my ankle again...thanks mike.

trying to keep paranoia at a minimum, vigilance at a maximum, and above all-trying to have a good time.


cuzco and return to lima

i had been warned that i would love love love cuzco. true! what a gorgeous place.

however, my perception of the place became different after finding out that my friend noorje got mugged in the early morning while waiting to be picked up for an inca trail tour. my heart goes out to her-she was robbed of her passport and Both of her cameras.