Sunday, January 25, 2009

Back in Lima, heading home tomorrow!

Jess and I made it back to Lima this morning after a 15 hour bus ride. Jess is getting on a plane tonight and I get on a plane tomorrow night at around 11. We had a great day in Arequipa yesterday and did get to go white water rafting! The boat almost flipped and when it did, Jess and I were 2 of the 3 people that sucessfully did not fall out of the boat!

Today we hung out on the beach in the hot, hot sun, and I'm hoping that my sunscreen did its work! I am TOO worn out from the sun to try to monkey with pictures, but I'll upload them all when I get back on Tuesday!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Made it to Arequipa!

We made it to Arequipa safe and sound! Today we're just hanging out and checking out the city. Tomorrow, we're going white water rafting, then getting an overnight bus back to Lima for Jess' flight home!

I've finally got my camera cord so I was able to upload a few images!

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The beginning of our 4 day trek, riding bikes down a big mountain in the rain! We ran into a river flowing over the road... We had to load our bikes back onto our van which was able to drive over the water which was at least 8 inches deep or so and flowing fast!

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Posing in front of another river on the bike tour

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Jess and I during our 13 mile hike on the 2nd day of our 4 day bike/hike/Machu Picchu trek! Jess is doing something new with her hair... can you spot it?

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Day four of our hike in front of Machu Picchu! Pictures definitely don´t do this place justice!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Back in Cusco, heading to Arequipa tonight!

We successfully finished our mini-trek and it was a blast! Our last day we got up at FOUR AM (I think I mentioned that last time) to hike up the Machu Picchu mountain. Other than the early hour it was really awesome. Machu Picchu is really unbelievable. In short, it's this huge Incan city made of rock and was abandoned only about 500 years ago! The Incans were living there and building this incredible city in the Mountains when they got word that the Spanish were coming to kill them and destroy their cities and build nice churches on top of the wreckage.

I think Machu Picchu get so much attention because it was one of the few Incan cities that avoided that fate. Scholars think it was because the Incans, in anticipation of the Spanish coming, burned down their own city (leaving only the rock walls, pottery and other non-burnables) and hid all the paths to the city. They did this so the Spanish couldn't follow the paths and use the city as a camp for their men.

ANYWAY, it was great. I have awesome photos, but unfortunately I forgot to bring my camera cord with me today, so they'll have to wait for another day. Tonight we're getting on an overnight bus at 9pm to arive in Arequipa tomorrow morning. We're hopefully going to do some fun stuff, like white water rafting! Then only a couple more days 'til Jess flies home on the 25th and I fly home on the 26th!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

On a 4 day, 3 night trek, Going to Machu Picchu tomorrow!

Sorry for the posting delay! After I arrived in Lima, we got up the next morning and hopped on a plane to Cusco which is the biggest city that acts as a staging ground for trips to Machu Picchu. When we got into Cusco we booked a 4 day/3 night trek that ends at Machu Picchu, which will be tomorrow!

That trip started at 8am the next day and we've had no Internet access until now. There is a world famous "Inca Trail" that is a multi-day hike to Machu Picchu but that is really pricey and generally requires 6-9 months advanced booking. SO: Our trip takes us on the OTHER Inca trail. Which is just as awesome, as far as I know, but less expensive... and easier to book.

The first day, we drove in vans to the top of a mountain... I think around 4,000 meters? Well, it was way too snowy and sleety and cold up there, so we drove closer to 3,000 meters (I'm making most of these numbers up) and they let us off and we BIKED DOWN on bicycles they provided. It was really fun. It was never too steep. It was cold and raining at the top, but by the bottom it was probably 80 degrees and sunny. It took a long time for the whole bike... probably 4 or 5 hours? One girl fell off her bike and sliced open her arm, but luckily one of the 12 people on our trip is a medical student from Argentina and SHE did the stiches to help the girl!

The NEXT two days were long hikes... 13 miles and 10 miles or something like that. We ended up at some awesome natural hot springs buried in the mountains last night. The trails are incredibly cool and incredibly rural. We passed a lot of native Peruvians and it's amazing to think how our lives would be different if we lived in these tiny huts seemingly hundreds of miles from civilazation. Despite being hard to imagine how different our lives would be, we've tried and here's what we came up with:
  • We would watch fewer YouTube videos
  • We would go on more hikes
  • We wouldn't care as much about Obama being president
  • Fewer facebook friends
  • We would have more pet dogs and cats (they're everwhere)
  • We wouldn't care as much about who will be the next American Idol
  • We would care way more about who will be the next Peruvian Idol

So tonight, we're crashing in Aguas Calientes, and tomorrow at FOUR AM we are hiking up 1600 steps to Machu Picchu. (Apparently in South America they have a four AM in addition to the more traditional four PM)

I didn't bring my camera cord on this mini-trek, so this is all for now! Hopefully I'll have pictures later

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Arrived in Lima, Peru! Heading to Cusco

I have officially arrived in Lima and successfully found Jessica, making the most difficult portion of my trip complete! It was a fairly uneventful travel. A guy from the hostel even came to the airport with a sign that said my name to pick me up and take me back! Pretty lucky. I´m kind of a big wig around here. Jessica also missed a boycott of some sort that shut down all busses between Ecuador and Peru. That would have left us stranded in different countries, EXCEPT the boycott luckily started a day after she got through!

We´re headed to Cusco which is the city closest to Machu Picchu, which we´ll hopefully see in the next day or two!