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"To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower; Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour." William Blake


Team Hygiene

September 23rd, 2009 by sunflowers

We had a small group of four which included two Australian’s (a doctor and an engineer). As we had a three bowl washing system we decided to call ourselves Team Hygiene. Herbie (our guide), Joel and Baz were excellent company, extremely funny and enjoyed playing cards in the evening. Thanks to everyone for making it a trip to remember.

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Introducing Team Hygiene left to right. Batman aka Baz (he must be up all night as he always looked tired), The Joker aka Joel (look at the photo), Iron Women aka Gaylene (she was the only one to carry all her own gear and still was faster than me – but I was pretty pleased I managed to keep up considering she has spent a year in Canada hiking all the time and Joel and Baz just finished mountain climbing in Bolivia) and seeing as how no one would give me a name I have decided on Warrior Princess after looking at the photo of me with the red face paint on.

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Posted in Peru | No Comments »


Debunking the Myths of the Inca Trail

September 22nd, 2009 by sunflowers

It isn’t really that hard if I managed to do it after ten months of inactivity on a motorcycle. Though that is if you don’t carry all your own stuff. And don’t think that hiking for three days and getting up at three in the morning on the last day will get you to Machu Picchu before the rest of the tourists as it wont.

But hiking through the mountains while having porters carry all your stuff, put up your tent and dining tent, cook all your meals and bring you a cup of hot tea in the morning is pretty cool.

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Posted in Peru | No Comments »


Being a Bus Driver

September 21st, 2009 by sunflowers

After going to see the parrot clay lick early in the morning on the last day of our jungle trip the rest of the day was spent driving back to Cusco. I don’t know how the bus drivers here do it. I would struggle to get a bus that size around those roads going forward but our bus driver would backup up 0.5km to let a truck by on a pass area that was just a little bit of extra road. Actually it was pretty hard on my nerves.

They also have to be mechanic as our bus driver was always fiddling with the engine. Then when we had to ford a river he had to take a bit out of the engine which the engine would run without and then put it back in after the river crossing.

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Canopy Zip Lining in the Amazon Jungle

September 20th, 2009 by sunflowers

The morning we were suppose to go to the parrot clay lick we woke up to pouring rain. So I got the chance to write up my blog for the first couple of hours before we headed off to do a canopy zip line which looked pretty scary but wasn’t that bad at all.

Then in the afternoon we took a trip on a traditional raft on a lake left over when the river changed direction. The bird life was amazing.

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Posted in Peru | 1 Comment »


Cock of the Rock

September 19th, 2009 by sunflowers

Cock of the Rock is the name of the official Peruvian bird and we went to a lek where they perform dances to attract the females. And yes it is a funny looking bird. On our bird walk I wasn’t so lucky in being able to take photos of the birds but did manage a couple shots of hummingbirds.

We also went rafting and to another coca farm but were more interested in seeing the pineapples growing. We asked the farmer if we could buy one.

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Posted in Peru | 2 Comments »


Welcome to the Jungle (Manu Reserve in the Peruvian Amazon Basin)

September 18th, 2009 by sunflowers

Peruvian AmazonPeruvian AmazonSomeone on our trip to Colca Canyon (to see the Condors) told us that in the Peruvian jungle you could go and see a macaw or parrot clay lick where all the birds go to eat clay to help them digest the toxins in the plants that they eat. We managed to find a four day tour to the Amazonian Jungle that included a parrot clay lick. So it was up at four to catch a bus at five. There is a couple from the Basque region of Spain on the tour with us who offered to help me with my Spanish when they saw me studying.

We drove through the sacred valley at six in the morning and unfortunately didn’t ask the driver to stop as we are not going to have enough time to see it when we get back. The road is pretty much just a dirt track with a shear drop on one side and sometimes our bus has to back up around the road to let trucks go back. The driving is pretty nerve wracking but cool to be in the Amazon Basin.

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To Work or Not to Work

September 17th, 2009 by sunflowers

PunoPunoThere is a job that I really want but it turns out that they want someone who can start straight away. After my sister leaves it would only take a few days to ride down to Northern Argentina and I considered applying as I am worried that after my sister goes I will be so travel weary I won’t enjoy the end of the trip. But I would also regret not making down to the bottom and I might not get it anyway.

Today we arrived in Cusco after a horrendous overnight bus journey and I spent the day doing paperwork which was a pity as I won’t get to see the museums in Cusco. When we went for dinner in Puno the police escorted us to a restaurant they recommended. It was a bit strange but they had one of the best pizzas and we went back there again the second night.

Posted in Peru | 1 Comment »


Lake Titicaca

September 16th, 2009 by sunflowers

Lake TiticacaLake TiticacaLake TiticacaLake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world at 3,856 meters above sea level. It sits between the borders of Bolivia and Peru and is roughly 165km long by 70km wide. If you go on a tour from Puno I would recommend only doing the half day tour to the reed islands which was much more interesting than the 5-6 hour return journey out to an island where they do handicrafts.

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Posted in Peru | No Comments »


Coca

September 15th, 2009 by sunflowers

CocaCoca is a leaf that has been grown by the indigenous people of the Andes region for at least four thousand years. Here they mostly chew it but also use it in a tea which we have been drinking as it helps combat altitude sickness. The indigenous people it is also used in a lot of religious ceremonies. When the Spanish first colonised this region the Catholic church declared it illegal until the colonial powers realised that miners chewing coca leafs could be made to work 48 hours without breaks or food and so it was made compulsory and Africans were brought in to harvest the plant and their descendants are still working the plantations.

In the 1800’s the west started to use it in medicines and as a stimulant. It is also the base for cocaine and used as a stimulant, the famous Dr. Fraud one of it’s early supporters until he died of nasal cancer. Cocaine was in the original Coca-cola and the coca leafs are still used to this day to flavour the popular drink.

But in 1961 the united nations made it illegal. All this information came from our visit to the Coca Museum in La Paz. On our trip to death road we stopped to look at a coca farm.

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Posted in Bolivia | No Comments »


Death Road

September 14th, 2009 by sunflowers

There is an old road to Chacaltaya from La Paz that used to be ‘the world’s most dangerous road’ nicknamed ‘death road’. It is now closed to traffic. When I was orignally asked if it was going to do it I wasn’t so fussed as I think that I have done enough death roads. But my sister wanted to bicycle it and the motorbikers I had met in La Paz were going so I went along. It wasn’t that scary but you could see it would be if there was buses and trucks on it.

On the way back there was a mix up in communication and I ended up riding into La Paz by myself at night. I was too scared to stop anywhere and I didn’t have the address or the suburb of the place I was leaving my bike but managed to ride across La Paz and find a house that I had only ridden to following someone else. I was pretty chuffed.

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Posted in Bolivia | 2 Comments »


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