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Ride Tales An easy way to post your ride reports, whether it's a weekend ride or around the world. Please make the first words of the title WHERE the ride is. See the announcement in the forum for details on posting. Please do NOT just post a link to your site. For a link, see Get a Link.
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  #106  
Old 28 Aug 2011
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very jealous, everytime i come to get my latest installment of your journey I just want to pack up get on my bike and leave. Look forward to the next one.
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  #107  
Old 29 Aug 2011
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Quito!

En route to Quito. Check it out. My camera takes bitchin photos. That, and my girlfriend is gorgeous.



Put a check mark next to it. We're in Quito. The camera is coming out of the bag, and we're hitting the streets soon.

Damn photos are hard to put up when staying so busy. It's off the breakfast now after I fix this bed we just broke...

Son of a bitch.

Make that, off to the hardware store...

--Alex
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  #108  
Old 29 Aug 2011
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Last day in Cali

The last day spent in Cali had us walking around the city looking around, just trying to find something to do before we took a 10pm bus headed to Pasto. First stop was to drop off our belongings at the Casa Blanca Hostel where the guys were staying at. With that achieved, Tom came down and led us to the ATM at the Home Center; the local equivalent of a Lowes or Home Depot (home furnishing department store). Outside Kristi saw some “pretty green plants.” Here is the obligatory photo.



After that, we went with Tom to the Suzuki Dealership where he picked up a couple of spark plugs that he had ordered. A whopping $18 later, he had two genuine Japanese Suzuki original parts spark plugs. I’ll stick with my $3 Suzuki NGK CR9E. Tom’s got all original stuff though, and Suzuki does it right, so no worries there. He had ordered a throttle cable, but it didn’t arrive on time. Oh well.

After that we walked a couple blocks to Crepes and Waffles. This is a absolutely fantastic Colombian (from what I understand) restaurant chain that sells Crepes, Waffles, and among other things, gourmet ice cream. Their ice cream is damn good. So we went for some ice cream. Kristi really likes ice cream.



As we had several hours to kill before our 10pm night bus, we walked some more.



And found a little park area…



Where she convinced me to smooch her…



I told you guys, I have to post this stuff. It’s part of the deal. You get to see awesome shit for 4+ months, and now you get to grin and bear it for a few weeks….

Well, after a Colombian mid-evening make out, we walked back to the hostel and told the guys that we were off for dinner if they wanted to join. They weren’t hungry yet though, so we took off alone, and ate at an Italian Pizza and Pasta restaurant. I ordered a massive Calzone (Pizza Pantalone) and Kristi had a chicken salad and part of the outrageously huge calzone.



Next step. Night bus to Pasto where we should arrive at 7am’ish. Just in time to find a cheap place to stay where we can pass out for a few hours, eat some food, spend the night, and continue south to Ecuador!

Next installment already in the works.

--Alex
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  #109  
Old 30 Aug 2011
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August 29th Day 148 Pasto-Quito

Ahh, nothing like 9 hours on a bus in the Colombian Andes with 30+ strangers. It was good.
We slept most of the way from Cali to Pasto, and this time upon arrival, had a place in mind of where to stay. The Koala Inn Hotel. Less than $17 for a private room and a cheap restaurant close by to give me my fix of Carne and Arroz, and we were ready to go.

We had a decent view from our third floor room.


My leg feels better every day, though after half day bus rides, my foot swells up quite heavily. After a 2 hour nap with the leg elevated on a pillow, and a bit of massaging, it’s ready for a walk around town. It doesn’t hurt to walk, and every day I wake up there is a noticeable difference in how it feels.

We found a cool plaza for another photo.



Mmmmm. Carne, Arroz, Papas, y Ensalada. My staple diet for the past month.



Everyone around here is well dressed. This has been the case since we entered Colombia over 4 weeks ago. This guy is headed somewhere important. At about 5ft even (1.5mt) he was booking along.



After a walk, and food, and a walk back, we passed out again.



Awake again, we hit the street. As a Saturday, everyone was out and about and all the street vendors were in out in force. First stop was the guy squeezing orange juice into a cup for $.50. Two please.



I snagged a second photo at a different angle. Notice the normal mode of familial transportation.



We hit up an ice cream guy soon thereafter (another $.50) and after having a walk around the park where half of the town was hanging out, we snagged some more orange juice for the walk back to the hostel. Damn, I’m going to have to pay the man to fill up one of my liter bottles with this stuff.

Later that afternoon, Charlie, Tom, and Andy arrived. They stayed at the same place, parked their moto’s down the street, and later that afternoon, along with a couple from New Zealand, went out in search of food and drinks.
Well, we didn’t find much, and ended up down the road at a hole in the wall, eating pizza, more carne, spaghetti and burgers. Some s later, we all walked back and passed out for the night.

The next morning, the guys took off earlier then we did, and hit the road headed for Quito. Kristi and I got a late start and opted for the hostel breakfast of pancakes with fresh fruit and honey. They were some damn good pancakes. Kristi says hello Debbie and Kevin!



Hey look Mom and Dad. After I take a shower, and comb my hair, and put on a clean(ish) shirt, and smile for the camera… Well. I look okay!



After breakfast we took a cheap taxi to the bus station, headed for the border town of Ipiales some 2 and a half hours away. We had read that we could get there for 6-7k pesos each. We paid 7k, or less than $8 total, and hopped in a van with some others. When the van filled to capacity, we hit the road for the long and windy haul to the border. The van makes at least one, if not two, round trips a day. On the other side of the sign that reads “Pasto” it reads “Ipiales”



2.5 glorious, windy, 20-60mph hours later and we hit the border town. All the houses are stacked upon one another up the hill.



We heeded the call of the van driver around the corner for “Frontera” and in less than $2 we were faced with the easy task of stamping ourselves out of Colombia. First though, might you please take a look at the local form of transportation? Pile everyone in, and pile their stuff on top.



With no trouble at all, we stamped ourselves out of Colombia, and after a short walk, stamped ourselves straight into Ecuador. Success! It shall go down as the first country that Kristi and I have entered together of which neither of us has been to before.

After stamping in, we caught a $3.50 taxi to the bus station, again heeded the call of a driver for “Quito” and after a $10 transaction we were loaded onto seats 34y35 for the 5hr journey to the capital city. Well, after the bus filled up 40 minutes later. While we waited, we were serenaded by a kid, rapping his heart out to a 4 inch speaker. I gave him $.35. He was pretty good.

As the sun came out, we took off. Here’s that same photo from before.



We cruised as fast as the bus could handle the turns, passing every vehicle slower than us, winding up and down and around the Ecuadorian Andes on our way south.



Please look very closely at this photo. In it, amongst the bus seats, T.V., and a picture of Baby Jesus that reads “I will be reunited” (Yo Reinare); you will see the reflection of our venerable bus driver talking on his cell phone in the his rear view mirror. Most excellent.


On the way, we stopped a few times at police control points, at which time the local vendors would climb aboard and sell the passengers everything they forgot they needed and more .
Here you can see a guy selling ice creams, and a woman selling chicken and yucca.


We bought some chicken. It was $1.50



2 hours, a mild case of dehydration, overheating, and lethargy, we arrived in Quito. Apparently there are 3 bus stations in Quito: the north, center, and south. Well, we got off at the north, and hopped in a taxi headed for our destination, The Vibes Hostel. We found it in good order, and after paying twice as much as I should have for the taxi, $20 rather than $8-$10, we piled our things into a private room for the night.

When we first met our taxi driver, he was very nice, very polite, very talkative, and asked lots of interesting questions. He was an excellent con artist. HOWEVER, I spied him from half a mile away. He asked if it was our first time in Quito/Ecuador. I replied honestly and said yes, (Don’t ever do that). He how long we’d be staying or where we had been (We told him we didn’t know, and we hadn’t been anywhere). And we continued along our merry way to the hostel. I asked him the price while we were in the cab (Not before hand like you should ALWAYS do). He told me $20. Was it very far? I asked. Oh yes, it’s quite far. I charge a good price senor. These guys here, they charge a very high price, like $30, $40, $50. $20 is a fair, honest price.

I smiled and nodded, and accepted his pile of B.S. And then, in a moment of light heartedness when we arrived at our destination, I gave him $20. He talked a good talk, and walked a good walk. He was successful (mostly).

After checking in, we hit the town, found a restaurant, ate more carne, papas, and spaghetti, and called it a night. Tom, Charlie and Andy stopped further north at Ibarra after a long enough day of riding.
That was yesterday. Today, they have arrived, we’ve eaten local food, walked more than 3 miles (5km) and are going out again tonight to find the guys.

Tomorrow morning we hit a bus to Quayquil, 9 hours or so south of here. The day after, we enter Peru headed for the coastal town of Mancorra. Ty and Jill will be headed that direction also, and we’ll likely catch up with the Kiwi girls in Quayquil upon their return from the Galapagos Islands. Then, it’s party time. Get ready everyone!

More to come!

--Alex
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  #110  
Old 30 Aug 2011
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More of Quito

Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, home to 4 million people, has been our home for two nights. We first arrived in Quito after a long bus ride, a too expensive cab ride, and found ourselves in the last available private room in “The Vibes Hostel.” We booked it, ate some food, and hit the sack.

The next day, we got up around 9’ish and took off for the obligatory walk around the surrounding area. First step was food, and we found ourselves sitting at a nice little café drinking tea and juice while Kristi demolished some eggs and ham with some bread. I had eaten a couple bananas and 4 slices of bread at the hostel before we left (free continental breakfast…)


Before we left though, Kristi made a valiant effort to tame her mane. She only mildly succeeded.




After breakfast we walked for about 2hrs. Exercise is good for my leg, and though I am straining the muscles, I don’t feel any pain in my bone. After 2 weeks of not using my left leg, it atrophied noticeably and is visibly thinner than my right leg. Ergo, walking for extended periods, going up/down stairs, and simply standing for half an hour is difficult and I can feel the burn as the muscle rebuilds itself.

So, instead of running through the flock of pigeons in the park we found, Kristi did the running as I watched.




The pigeons claimed this statue as their own and made it their home when they felt like it.



The local graffiti artists hit the street at night and paint up the concrete walls. Notice the broken glass cemented into the structure to prevent any old bum from climbing the wall…



How about a close up? Some of the glass looks to be 1/4”-5/16” plate glass. Also, notice the spikes. I don’t suppose it would be much fun being impaled on one of those eh?



Can she make it!?



Later on we found another park with a group of 5 esteemed, well dressed individuals. Kristi went to have a chat with them. It was like they were speaking a different language.



We found this prism garden in the same park. It was dedicated to the victims of political violence that occurred in the past 30 years. Each prism topped a square granite pole that had a name engraved in it.



After our walk, we headed back to the hostel to hang out and relax. I found some food on the street corner, and had my fill. Kristi is wary of the street food; as she should be with only a month of travel. Any sickness could cut 3 days/10% off her trip. She’ll stick to the Orange Juice for now.

Back at the Hostel, Kristi napped while I attempted to upload photos and do some future hostel researching. An hour later, the cleaning lady abruptly walked in. She immediately apologized profusely (it didn’t matter, I didn’t lock the door on purpose) and mentioned that she needed to clean the room. I told her not to worry, and that we’d use the same linens again that night. She smiled and left.

Well, not 5 minutes later, the hostel reception worker guy knocked lightly, and when I answered, politely confirmed with me that check out time was 11am. Well as it was 1pm, I told him, “Right, yes, ok. Can we stay another night then?” He replied with, “Oh, yes, I’m sorry, I’d love for you to stay again here in this room, but we have a reservation for it.”

What? You think he might have mentioned that the night before when we checked in right? Well. Damn, we liked this room. I told him not to worry, and that we’d be down soon so that they could clean the room for the next people arriving. I woke Kristi up, and before she was even fully awake, we had packed everything, paid the man, walked across the street, and booked into a cheaper hotel with a private room with private bathroom. Internet is skimpy at best, but it’s working. Our bathroom door handle is nonexistent, and here’s a shot to show you what I mean.



Well, not long after we checked into our second hotel in 2 days in the same city, we went out for another walk, saw some of the same stuff, and then returned to take another nap. Quito sits at between 8500-9000 feet (Around 2600-2800meters) and walking around for an hour or two can tire out an unaccustomed traveler. The altitude isn’t too much; it just takes a slight toll. We’re adjusting fast though, so it’s no worry.

Back at the hostel, I checked the web. The biker boys had arrived and were at a different hostel a $2 cab ride away. An hour or so later, Ride Report updated, photos loaded, and we were on the road heading over for a visit.

They are staying in a 5 story brick building hostel in the old part of town called the “Secret Garden Hostel.” It’s not cheap, but it’s within range, and the location is good enough. The bummer for the guys? They close the rooftop bar at 11pm. What the HELL? Give us a good location, serve us cheap and wine on your rooftop terrace bar, and then close of the well at 11pm? That’s crazy talk!

Well, I tend not to drink much anyway, as I don’t much enjoy it often, and currently with a healing leg, any loss of feeling or subdued pain can only result in a bad outcome. So I had a big . Tom and Charlie were 4 big s deep when we found them. I can’t speak to the condition of Andy, but I think he had been drinking too, naturally.

Well the boys had already eaten, so Kristi and I headed down 4 stories and across the street for some local pizza at a pizzeria. We ordered the family sized pizza, I ate 2/3rds of it, and Kristi had her fill. We took some with us on the way out, and went back to rejoin the festivities.

There was a rooftop fire burning in an old steel wheel barrow, and between the cigarette smoke, fire, and booze, the scene was a bit hazy.



As last call was made and the lights came on at 10:30 on the rooftop terrace, Charlie made the fanatical call and went straight to the bar for 6 more glasses of wine. Dutifully they were poured, and he and Tom brought them back between themselves, for themselves, with no intention to share outside themselves. Or so it would be planned. Half an hour later, and 4 glasses of wine still left to be consumed, the party was shut down and those who wanted to continue the fight hit up the $1 party bus that was headed to the bars.

Andy respectfully declined, and headed to bed. The rest of us decided against the party bus and instead went down 4 floors to Charlie’s private room to listen to music and rally on in privacy.

A parting shot of the cityscape.



Before we could leave though, a mild cheering began, much to the oblivion of the receiving party one level below.



Another man (or woman) has succeeded.



Downstairs, Tom was soon man enough to admit defeat and left the room headed for his dorm bed. Charlie accused him of having a soft wanker. Tom told him to kindly F’off, and then there were three.

Charlie then began trying to pass off one of the glasses of wine to me. I declined. I now also had a soft wanker. Kristi put hers aside as she was beginning to feel dizzy. Half an hour later I asked the night receptionist/guard to call a taxi for us.

In the mean time, Kristi and I each had a piece of the left over pizza, and after confirming with Charlie that the tap water was safe to drink, fed Kristi a couple of glasses of water to fend off the morning wine hangover that was sure to ensue.

Failure Number 1: Let Kristi drink 5 glasses of wine in 3 hours on the roof top bar of a hostel situated at nearly 9200ft (2800m). Less oxygen in the air at higher altitudes thins your blood, allowing for a quicker transmission of alcohol into your system, resulting in a faster, harder, heavier drunk. Damn it.

Failure Number 2: Feed Kristi tap water in the old town section of Quito. The water might be clean from where it starts, but by the time it passes through the pipes in old town/old buildings, it is likely to be contaminated.

Failure Number 3: Combine tap water and booze, resulting in a sorely depleted immune system, greater susceptibility to water/food borne illnesses, and a sick Kristi.



Kristi is now currently passed out sleeping. Within 1 hour of drinking that tap water, she told me she was feeling bad. I chocked it up the wine, ordered the Taxi, and delivered her to bed. 1.5 hours post water, she told me she felt sick, the wine was getting to her. I fed her bottled water from our reserve in the hotel room. 2 hrs post water, and she was being annihilated by something other than the booze.

For the next 5 hours, every 30-40 minutes Kristi was sick. I slept fully clothed, she slept in the sleeping bag we’ve been carrying along with us. Wake up, bucket, wipe face, wait 5 minutes, go back to bed. The process repeated itself 8 times. I would count the minutes on my watch between bouts. Every next session appeared to be 5 minutes later then the last. She was improving… Slowly…

And so, I sleep walked, all night. Kristi didn’t rest much at all.

This morning, at 8am sharp, I got up still fully dressed and walked the 3 blocks to the nearest mini mart, bought 1.5 liters of water, 1.5 liters of Gatorade, and small packets of Ritz Crackers for Kristi for later. I asked directions to the nearest pharmacy, and 1 block later arrived at the just opened doors of a local Droqueria (Drug store with licensed pharmacy technician behind the counter).

I described the symptoms and walked away with $8 worth of drugs. First up was a 3 course meal of pills that came in pairs to be taken in 15 minute intervals: 1st, a stomach suppressant, 2nd an anti-diarrheal, 3rd a stomach antibiotic. Second, was a 3 day course of antibiotics to be administered three times daily every 8 hours until finished. Along with the drugs I bought a rehydration fluid.

I went back to the hotel, and started with the first dose, the stomach suppressant to be taken with a bit of the hydrating fluid. FAIL!


Any more than a cap full of liquid turned her stomach inside out. I didn’t see the pills regurgitated, but that doesn’t mean they stayed down…


15 minutes later, the anti-diarrheal… Success. 15 more minutes, and a foul smelling stomach antibiotic… Success. Combined with light capfuls of water every 5-10 minutes or when she wakes up, she’s seen 2 hours sans sickness.



Here’s to keeping that streak going!

And now, at 10am local time I type away with a dazed and confused sleeping Kristi in the bed.

You may remember, but about 2 months ago, in San Jose, Costa Rica, Charlie had a very similar bout of sickness that wiped him out for 3 days. He took a very similar course of antibiotics and within 2 days was feeling much better, and on the third day we were back on our bikes. I hope for the same outcome for Kristi, and am glad at least that we had the fortunate luck to in a countries capital city again while fighting it off.

Kristi will be fine, but we’re staying in Quito tonight. If she feels better, we’ll take the overnight bus tomorrow night to Mancorra, Peru skipping Quayquil on our way south. With only one date, September 19th, to make (her flight home), our plans can change. No worries!

Onward!

--Alex
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  #111  
Old 31 Aug 2011
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Here are a few photos:

Of the people that matter the most in my life:

These picture links were orginally posted over here:
BUY ME A BEER, but I thought it would be nice to share the fame in this main thread as well.

Because, these people Kick Major Ass.


My Mom and Dad Rock. They created yours truly, and I'm more THAN happy with it.

Thanks to my Dad and Mom for EVERYTHING.



My Dad is Grandpa twice over thanks to my lovely sister Lorraine
Dad, keep up the good work!



My Mom fed me breakfast, lunch, and dinner from the day I was born until the days I stopped coming home in time for dinner. I ate 2 school lunches in my entire life, once in 3rd grade and again in 11th. I didn't even know how to get it....

Mom, I love you!


My Sister is my sister, and the mother of my niece Ellie Louise Blakley, and nephew Spencer James Blakely (whom I've yet to meet!) Her and her husband Brandon have done well for themselves!

Sister! Because we always go WAY back!


My girlfriend Kristi is of a whole other league of people. She goes beyond the norm and has not EVER let me down. She is a giant success in her own right, and the positive outcome of a positive upbringing by her parents Kevin and Debbie Clayton. They are my second family, and they likely already know they'll never see
the last of me.

Kristi! You're my favorite!


My ridiculous, late identical twin Brother. He didn't know the limit of his own success, and never cared to find out. This picture describes him quite well. Twin 12" Achilles wing tattoos adorned each ankle. Flying was second nature. He made the ring that adorns my left middle finger (that got bent in my crash on day 10 in Baja)

Andy! Cause you were always a Winner!


This is the kind of stuff that raised his blood pressure... Slightly. His best friend Allen Davidson recently posted this on facebook titling it, "this is some Andy Shit here".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWfph...layer_embedded

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  #112  
Old 2 Sep 2011
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Mancora to the Rescue

Hello Everyone! It is 4:40am as I begin this, and we sit in our bed at the Loki Hostel in Mancora, Peru with the pacific ocean crashing not but a few hundred yards from the building itself. Excellent!


Ok...


So the bus to Mancora left Quito, headed first to Quayaquil at 9am, and we were there for the start of the race.

10 hours later, at 7pm, we were 50minutes early for the 7:50pm departure from Quayaquil to Mancora.

9 hours later and we arrived!

The border crossings were standard, and everything went as planned.

When we arrived in Mancora we told the Tuk-Tuk taxi driver that we were headed for the Loki Hostal. He knew where to go, and for 4 Peruvian Soles, ($1.5) we were on the road! Minutes later we arrived, and soon after we were checked in!

A short clip of our ride to the hostel.

http://s979.photobucket.com/albums/a...t=MVI_4872.mp4

So far so good!!!

--Alex (aka. Shaggy)

P.S. Is it possible to embed video here? I tried the embed code provided by my photo bucket account and its not working here as it did on Adv... I'd like to share a bit more easily if possible. Thanks!
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  #113  
Old 2 Sep 2011
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End of our stay in Quito.

Our last real day in Quito was spent with a quite morning relaxing, and allowing Kristi to catch up a bit having just recently gotten over her bout of illness.

I had a bit of an issue connecting to the internet and so went out to the lobby for a better connection where I met Conner, a 30 some odd year old Irish guy who was wrapping up 5 months in South America before flying north to visit his extended family in Vancouver, Canada.

In the middle of it all, Tom sent me a message over facebook to see if we wanted to meet him and Charlie at the bottom of the Teleferico, a several thousand meter Gondola ride that rises 1050 meters over the capital city of Ecuador allowing an extended view of the entire area . I said Sure, let’s do it. For some reason, Andy decided come, and therefore wouldn’t be meeting us there there .We all surmised that it was due to the fact that his girlfriend Cass, would be arriving in less than 24 hours, and he was preparing himself mentally and physically.

So, I invited the Irish guy, told Kristi what our new plans were, and after a little while we were off to the corner burger stand where we all sat down and had a burger with fries and a coke for $2 each. Hell yes. Kristi even finished her meal! Success!

From there it was a $4 taxi ride to the base of the Gondola, where we met Tom and Charlie, paid the obligatory $8 foreigner rate for the return trip up the mountain, and stood in line.



After a short wait, we all piled into the Gondola and started the climb up the mountain.

Welcome!



To The!


Teleferico!



As we climbed, we looked down over the landscape and were able to see the city for what it really was; a sprawling urban capital complete with way too many people.



Further up the mountain we could see our destination.



Charlie and Connor had a look about as we climbed higher.



At the top, we all climbed out, half winded at the altitude, just over 4000m or 13,000ft. It was also significantly colder at the top, and we were all glad we brought our warmer outer layers .
I lined up Kristi and snagged a photo.



Next it was my turn.



Couples photo! We make these for our parents. Here you are Mom, Dad, Debbie, Kevin.



You guys haven’t seen Tom in a while, so we I snagged a shot of him facing the opposite climb. Even at 4,000 meters, we were still another thousand meters below the summit of the mountain above us. The hike up takes about 5-6 hours and is a daylong event. None of us even considered it.

What’s up Tom!


Jackets on, we all climbed a couple hundred more yards up the hill to a different lookout.



Group photo! (More of the same stuff)



Meet Connor!



Here is a view down the path that we climbed from the Gondola station.



Having had our fill of 4k meter elevation, wind chill and frozen ears, we all took in our last couple of views and made out way back to the station for the ride down. With not much else planned for the day, I took a parting photo. Tomorrow, we hop on a bus, and head to Mancora. It’s a 16+ hour bus riding adventure, so it’ll do us well to get to bed early.

Ciao for now!



--Alex
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  #114  
Old 3 Sep 2011
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The Long Haul from Quito, Ecuador to Mancora, Peru

The day began easily. Wake up on time at 7am. Feed Kristi her antibiotic pill, and start the wake up process. Jumping out of bed and blasting into space (i.e, being ready instantly) is a habit I learned in my early days while going to school. Sleep as much as possible, and be ready NOW. Kristi… Well, she needs like 20mins. This equates to me typing away at my laptop encouraging her to get her ass out of bed. Often times this involves rolling her around vigorously to annoy her enough to make her angry thus waking her up. She never stays angry, as she knows she needs the help!

First stop was the pharmacy to stock up on basics, ask the pharmacist guy behind the counter about the easiest way to get to Quayaquil (mid way to Mancora), and hit the road, walking the 6 blocks to the bus station that the pharmacy guy recommended.

We arrived just as the 8:30am bus was pulling away at 8:40am. No worries, the 9am bus was just behind it, and for $9 each, we piled out things under the bus and got ready for the long haul 9hr bus ride. That’s right. Here in Ecuador, buses cost $1/hr. Hell yes.

In a moment of spasticness, I pulled out my camera to snag a photo just to realize the memory card was still in my computer in the luggage under the bus. I bolted out of my seat, just in time to get to my luggage, grab my spare 1gb card (I have two 4gb, and one 1gb card), hop back on the bus, and pop it it.



We were off and rolling before we knew it, and sooner than later we realized that we were hungry. Damn. We had however, prepared ourselves this time around, and stuffed our day pack with not only our spare jackets, but half a gallon (2liters) of water/Gatorade, 3 bread rolls, 2 generic packs of peanuts, a 6pack of Oreos, a mini pack of Ritz crackers, 4 oranges, 2 kiwis, and 4 mini peaches. We were giving the big middle finger to hunger and thirst for the next 20 hours of planned consecutive bus riding.

Well. As many people know, you needn’t over concern yourself with food while on these South American bus rides. There is nearly always someone or many someone’s that hop on the bus and start vending you their wares. The first one we jumped on was the lady selling corn on the cob with optional salt for $.50. I’ll take some salt please.



Being that it was only 11:00am or so by this time, we had the full glory of the Ecuadorian landscape staring us in the face under the scorching sun. With no clouds and 10k+ feet of elevation, often times simply walking outside will leave your bare skin feeling as if it’s being fried; it’s incredible. The bus window does little to lessen this effect.



Some hours down the road we were staring down the continuous rows of banana trees. You know those awesome banana’s you might enjoy at home? Well there are good odds that they come from Ecuador.



After a couple of river crossing, (not the kind I had in mind at the beginning of this journey), I snagged this shot.



Many hours later, half of which I slept through, having drank nearly all of the water and Gatorade between the two of us, the sun began to set and we began to feel a bit more like sleeping.



After 9 hours of joy, we made it to Quayaquil at 7pm. 7:50pm saw us on a double-decker bus, sitting in the front row of the upper deck with the best view in the house, re-stocked with a new liter of Gatorade, a 2liter of water, a couple of chicken and beef empanadas in our bellies, and 3 bags of popcorn to stave off any hunger during the night ride to the Peruvian border.



Kristi and I were both happy to enjoy the leg room provided by the upper level front row. Saweet.



Fast forward 9 hours, and we’ve checked ourselves out of Ecuador, and into Peru. The border wait times weren’t too bad, and by 3:15am we were pulling into the Mancora, Peru bus station. After unloading our bags, we were soon being informed by many people that they had the best hotel/hostel for us. I politely informed them that we had a place to stay.

The quickest Tuk-Tuk driver was quick to size us up and realize we must be staying in the only real, honest to goodness traveler hostel in the small town, The Loki Hostel, and asked us as much. We confirmed that we were, and he hustled us to his Tuk-Tuk. We negotiated 4 soles, ($1.5) for the ride to the hostel.



Like the smart backpacker I have since become in the last week and a half, I emailed ahead to the hostel to attempt reserving a private room. I never had time to check for a reply, but I had the faith. And it worked. We checked in at 4am to our private room, and I managed to not have to pay for the wee hours of the morning. Success. We piled into bed, and after I updated the RideReport, hit the sack.

We awoke to this.



And minutes later had this girl knocking at our door.



Here is the view from the other side.



And from the side of the pool looking up, we’re on the third floor smack in the middle.



Well, we hit the sun pretty quickly and were laying in the sun chairs and along the poolside. Anna makes her reappearance in good form as always.



Some of Kristi’s first words were, “This is way better than Hawaii.” She is back in her element!



As the day wore on, we took a break from the sunbathing and made sure to eat enough food to fight off the ever present night life that exists in the Hostel world. Did I mention that Ty and Jill have arrived? And that Kim was just hiding around the corner from Anna? Ty was in the moment for this shot.



We all decided we needed food other than what the hostel offered. So we headed for the streets. On the way, a slightly less than sober Ty made sure that we had a seat on his bike. This is the first time that Kristi has seen it. She took the pilots seat as I hopped on the back. I make these big bikes look like toys.



After we all found the too expensive menus offered at the local restaurants, we went right back to the hostel and ordered the house food.

Have I mentioned what makes these places so popular? Location helps too…



How’s your food Kristi? Oh, you like that Pineapple Rum Slushy more eh? This one’s for you Mr. Ken 5cent!



To top the night off, I made sure to snag the group photo of Jill, Anna, and Kristi. Mancora has proved to be the highlight of the short month that Kristi has so far. However, we intend to make even more happen when we hit Cusco!



Stay tuned for more to come!

--Alex
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Old 4 Sep 2011
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Sept 3rd, Living it up on the Coast.

The sun is hot, and the breeze is cool; a dangerous combination when you can’t feel your skin cooking, and that cheap suntan lotion that you bought from the pharmacy across the street only works mildly.

Well, that just means we’ll be a bit tan I suppose eh? So with little else to do mid morning, we hit the beach for a walk that soon turned from 20mins to well over an hour. Kristi spied some “pretty” shells on the beach early on, and it quickly turned into a shell hunting expedition.

The vendors even hit up the beaches down here. Ice cream anyone?


Out here you don’t need many clothes, so we were lathered in sun tan lotion (sun cream to anyone not American), and hit the sand.



For a while, everything was nice, calm, and easy. Then, off in the distance we saw a car coming our way, driving sporadically through the surf and sand. The driver was polite to any passing pedestrians and slowed down and drove around them. However, he/she was completely abusing the apparently new vehicle.


When it drove by, the passenger window was open, and I could see a young guy in the driver seat with a young teenage girl in the passenger seat. Some spastic young kid trying to impress a girl; all while rusting out the bottom of his parents purchased rig. Damn.



Out here, less is better. She looked to be about 35…



After finding way too many broken shells, and not many spectacular ones, we stopped for a photo shoot.




She looks better than me… L



After a little while longer, we turned around, and headed back to our hostel/resort on the beach. Have I mentioned that a dorm room bed goes for $10/night, and that a private room goes for just under $31?



We’re literally ocean side, with a better view than a $100/night Hawaiian Hotel room, with way more like minded people around, complete with traveling friends. I’m above my personal allowed daily budget, but Kristi was worked into my budget 2.5 months ago. So I’m still doing fine.

Oh, and this place serves great food too. And the prices are reasonable (less than $5 for the Hamburger and fries). We don’t have to leave this place. Another hostel well built around the principles of traveling youngsters. Provide cheap accommodation, good food at decent prices, copious amounts of alcohol with extended happy hours, and a view; and you’ll be a happy business owner. Not since Zephyr Lodge in Eastern Guatemala has another hostel done it as well.

Back at the hostel, the sun went down and people began milling about. There was word buzzing around about a “P” party, in which all participants were urged to dress up as something that started with a “P”. Well, we didn’t see much action happening as of yet, so we hit the pool table.



Neither of us are very good at pool.



She’s not even posing.



Both of us suck at pool, and I lost both games that we played by scratching on the 8 ball. Son of a Bitch.

After a drink or two with Jill, (Ty spent the entire day in their room feeling sick), we went back to our room to find our next door neighbor trying in vain to get a condom over his head. He would be a Penis tonight at the “P” party.



Well, shit, we look the fools now don’t we!? We’re not even dressed up. We need to get on the bandwagon. Well. What are we going to dress up as? Kristi soon decided on her outfit, and moments later I had mine. So we got to work and soon looked like everyone else at the party, scantily clad and painted.



Kristi was a “P”ussy Cat!



Who after a few drinks needed to find herself a cab, so made good use of the phone standing nearby.



Hey everybody!



Oh man, that “P”et Dog over there is really getting some nice attention from her “P”revious owner!



Soon, “P”retty Woman was gossiping with the “P”ussy Cat and having a grand ‘ole time.



“P”retty Woman took the following event quite seriously, while the “P”ussy Cat was just playing around.



Over the course of the night, too many Pineapple Rum drinks and Mango Rum slushy’s were consumed leaving the “P”irate being attacked by “P”eter “P”an all the while Ms. “P”izza Delivery Girl stood watch along with Mr. “P”eace.



By the end of the night, the “P”revious owner had fandangled his way into a shot with both his “P”et Dog and her arch enemy, the “P”ussy Cat.



At this point it was time for bed, so I took my Prized Pussy Cat home with me back to our room to sleep off the effects of a rum punch or two.

We’re staying here tomorrow night and leaving the day after… “P”robably.

--Alex
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Old 6 Sep 2011
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Goodbye Mancora!

After our participation in the “P” Party, waking up was a bit easier than you might think. We left the festivities about 2-3 hours earlier than everyone else, and therefore awoke with little problem.

The food that they serve here is good. Free bread, coffee and tea are available until 1pm every day, and the food menu is tasty. A complete breakfast (Chorizo, Bacon, 2 eggs, two slices of toast, and half a fried tomato) is $4.5 and was my choice for the morning after. Kristi enjoys the fruit salad with yogurt and granola on top.



A whole lot of nothing else happened until around 4:30pm when Ty, Jill, Kristi and I went down to the surf shop and checked in for our previously booked surfing lessons. Kristi was super excited to try it out, and having surfed a couple of times before in Hawaii, was willing to give it another go. Ty and Jill were happily optimistic as well.

And so we were all given the same sized long board, sent to the beach with our instructors, whom spoke only basic English (besides mine who spoke none), and away we went.

Minutes later we were in the water, paddling away, heading for the waves. 45 minutes later, we were all beat, and headed back in. We all managed to surf at least a few waves, and had a good time doing it. Ty said it best though. “Do you think I would snowboard if I had to hike my ass up to the top of the mountain just to ride down? That’s what surfing is; hiking your ass to the top of a mountain to ride down. It doesn’t do it for me.”

My camera isn’t water/sand proof, so it stayed in the room. No pictures of the surf, sorry people.

The sunset that night from our room was pretty spectacular.



And when the time came, we all put our name down for the barbeque that was being held that night. At a cost of 15 soles (Just under $6), nearly everyone signed up.



The barbeque consisted of a pile of rice/beans, half a potato, salad, coleslaw, a shrimp skewer, piece of chicken, and piece of beef. No one went hungry, but I can always eat more!



Sooner than later, the girls were on the rum/pineapple drinks, and Ty and I were drinking .



That was the end of that night, and with no urge to continue with the drinks, we all went to bed more or less earlier than usual. Kristi and I had a bus to catch the next day at 6pm heading to Lima, an 18 hour adventure. We needed our rest for this one.

Having gone to bed early, we woke up early as well. Kristi didn’t like the smell that was coming from her dirty clothes bag and decided to wash her clothes in the sink. She deep cleaned everything.



Well, that morning, Jill told me that she had been in contact with Andy and the other guys, and they were planning to arrive that night. What? You mean, we’re leaving tonight and they are arriving? Damn. Two minutes later it was decided that Kristi and I would stay, at no expense from Jill’s insistence. It would likely be the last/only time that all of us would be in the same place at the same time. It would mark 8 of us. Ty, Jill, Andy, Cass, Tom, Charlie, Kristi and I would all be ready to rock and roll that night if we stayed.

And so, before the 12:30 check out time rolled around, I walked down to the bus depot that sold me our bus tickets, and for a cost of 4soles, or $1.5us each, I moved our bus departure back a day.

Back at the hostel, we hung around lounging. Kristi is enjoying the sunshine here, and with only 2 weeks left on her trip, she’s begun to realize that she can’t do everything, and might as well enjoy a few select spots for longer than planned, and save the rest for later. So we’re relaxing.

I joined a “Killer Pool” tournament for 5soles, and did my best not to lose. I didn’t have a chance.



Then, all of a sudden around 6pm, everyone arrived! Beers were accumulated and paid for, and we all were sitting around the bar in short order.



Later, we moved to a table, and continued the merriment.



And that is where the merriment ended for me. Half way through the day, I realized that I didn’t feel too well. Later that afternoon, I still didn’t feel well. And just after everyone arrived, I realized I was soon to be pretty buggered and had to skip off early for bed. Dammit.



It doesn’t look it, but I was feverish, and freezing my ass off with chills. Combine that with some gut cramps, and a feeling that I would be up all night, and I hit the sack.



That night was just as it had not been planned: waking up every 30 minutes, sleeping on top of a towel to absorb my sweat, using the bathroom with abnormal frequency, and otherwise sleeping like hell.

The next morning however, I wasn’t the only one feeling a bit under the weather. The long ride to the hostel, combined with above average quantities of left Tom happy to update his blog just as I am now.



Having moved our bus ticket back a day we are now scheduled to be at the bus depot at 5:30pm. We should depart at 6pm and arrive 18 hours later in Lima, Peru on Sept 7th.

From there, we plan to spend little time in the countries capital as we have booked already booked and paid for our transportation from Lima to Cusco. With little time left on Kristi’s mini summer adventure with me, we have decided to forgo the bottom half of Peru and make our way directly to Cusco in order to find and schedule a hike to Machu Picchu.



The bus trip/ticket associated with mini journey is listed as 24 hours, and $66us. The nicest buses are $85. A 1hr 20min flight is $100…..


We’re flying.

--Alex
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Old 8 Sep 2011
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The last of Mancora, and a snippet of Lima

The last of Mancora, and a snippet of Lima.

Our last day in Mancora was a nice sunny day. It was early to bed and early to rise for Kristi and I, and I was feeling a lot better. Tom was hungover, Andy and Cass were doing fine, and Charlie was unusually chipper. Seems he’s been off the booze for a while.

Kristi was just content for the first while to lounge around in the sunshine. So I took a photo. I like these kinds of photos.



Well, with everyone else happy to lounge around, Kristi and I hit the beach to find a secluded spot to snag some sexy beach shots to remind us about our youth when we’re old farts and want to remember how good she looked.



I don’t even pretend to need to worry about how I looked when I get older. I’ll never look this good…



I’ve got more of where those came from, but you don’t get to see them! AHAHAHAHAHAHA. Sorry guys, and probably some of you girls!

On the way back to the hostel, we saw this poor fella. He was out of luck.



If he wasn’t so dead, I might have considered eating him. He was a good sized fish.



Back at the hostel, we ordered some cheeseburgers, and hung around a bit longer before grabbing this parting shot of the boys and one girl.



Their bikes, parked in the hostel main entrance, make me a bit sad. I miss my motorcycle!



A minute later we were piled into the back of a TukTuk heading for the bus station. A .70 ride about a 3/4 mile down the road.



We sat there, 30 minutes early as we had been instructed, and waited 30 minutes for our buses scheduled arrival time. Of course it arrived 30 minutes late. Like we didn’t see that coming! Haha. It just gave us time to make sure we were stocked up with 3 liters of water, and enough snacks to ward off any hunger pains.

All the while, we got a good laugh at this little boy who was raising holy hell around the area.



It would seem his sister was content to make much less noise.



It got dark fast as we hit the road, positioned in the very front of the bus, and soon we were watching a movie dubbed in Spanish, with English sub titles. Thanks bus lady! (Kristi was the only one on the bus that can’t read/understand Spanish, and I was glad to have familiar words to read.) Soon after the movie a meal was served, and soon after that, we were sleeping.

When I awoke, Kristi was still passed out, but it was the next day. Another movie began playing, and I got a good view out the window of the passing Pacific Ocean and its accompanying desert sand dunes.



On the other side of the dunes, lays the ocean, at the bottom of a VERY steep hill/drop off. At the bottom, there are huts. Exactly who they belong to; I don’t have a clue, but it would seem that the inhabitants hike down via the sand dune. Rough climb!



On the way into Lima, we could see some writing in the hillside of the mountains. Written with tons of ham sized white rocks, the images are easily seen from a distance. “Faith and Joy, No 30, 21 Years Educating in Values



When we hit the bus station, we grabbed our things and snagged one of the waiting Taxi drivers. After agreeing to pay 12 soles, $4.50, we hopped in the cab with our bags. I immediately went to remove the 12 soles from my pocket as is my habit (as to not be fumbling for money when we arrive) and realized that my wallet was NOT in my pocket. DAMN.

Now, check this out. My wallet has the funky habit or working itself UP from the depths of my front right pant pocket whenever I am sitting down. Why? You might ask… Well, it’s because most seats are low enough to the ground, and I am tall enough, that the difference leads to my knees being Higher in relation to my hips, providing an incline for my wallet (actually, I love the damn thing, it’s called a Smart Clip [url=http://www.smartmoneyclip.com/]The Official Site of the Smart Money Clip
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Old 10 Sep 2011
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Lima to Cusco, Day 158

Our only night in Lima was a productive one.


First, after arriving, showering, sleeping, and getting hungry, we found a place to eat on “Pizza Street”; a street that is essentially all restaurants and bars that fight for your business with way too many flyers and shout outs.


After a good meal of grilled meat, we found a taxi off to the Parque de Agua. (Water fountain park)


We arrived around 8:30pm, and had a walk around the world’s largest water fountain park. Cool.


At 9:30pm the show began, and like a professional idiot, I brought my camera, and left my SD memory card in my computer. DAMN IT.


So, to show you the awesomeness of what we saw, I found this link, that I hope works.


Amazing Water fountain SHOW!! in PERU!! - YouTube

The next morning, we hit the road early.


We woke up earlier than usual, at 7:30am, with the realization that in the next 4.5 hours, we’d be walking off a plane at nearly 12,000ft elevation. Is my body ready for this ass kicking I wonder?



Well, we intended to get up early, so that we could leave early for the airport, so that we could arrive early for our flight, so we wouldn’t have to worry. Well…. Those plans were shot.


A taxi ride to the airport normally takes about 20mins, but with the horrible morning traffic that exists every morning in Lima, that ride turns into 45mins-1hr. Shiiiiiiit.


Well, in timely fashion, we left the hostel at 8:30am, with two German brothers on a whirlwind 3 week tour of Peru. Straight to the airport we went. At 9:30, we arrived, only 40 minutes prior to our 10:10am flight to Cusco. Shiiiit again.

Well, when we first tried to check into the flight, they told us it was closed. Then, 4 Brazilians on the same flight arrived late as well. Damn. We’re going to hold up the show here!


Well, we were lucky, and everything got expedited, and both of our bags made it to the plane, my slightly crippled self speed walked to the departure gate, and all was well. In a moment, Kristi and I were seated on the plane, ready for takeoff.



On the way there, I zoomed in on the window for a shot of the Andes Mountains.



After the first set of mountains, the earth plateau’s.



Then, we were above the clouds! (Imagine that eh?)



Check out Mt. Salkantay!



In less than 1hr and 15mins we touched down onto the third highest airport in the world. Minutes later we were waiting at baggage claim, sucking wind at 10,860ft. Soon after that we were walking out of the airport with bags in hand, being solicited for taxi rides that were way over priced. It helps that I have been here before (summer 2008), or I might have paid the 25 soles (almost $9) up the hill to our hostel (Loki Hostel, Cusco, Peru).

Instead, I lead Kristi out of the airport gates, a 1 minute walk, hailed the first taxi and paid him 8 soles to take us to the our hostel. On the way, we saw some neat stuff.



And a statue of an Incan chief?



And old stone and brick buildings.



What is this? The Loki hostel weekly party schedule. Oh man.



After a quick check in, lunch break, and 4 hour nap, we walked outside. Damn, walking up this hill will suck.



Down the hill we went, and made it to Plaza de Armas where the tourists like to be.



Say hi Kristi!!!



The fountain in the middle of the main square is quite the ornamental piece.



At this point it was about 6pm, and the sun was on its way down. Kristi and I however, were on our way to meet Fiona, a Loki Hostel employee that had only hours before finagled us into volunteering the next day. She then mentioned that she was off at 5pm to meet her friends Lynden and Jeanette, two Australians on motorcycles that have spent the last 13 months traversing their way south from Canada.


She then showed me photos. Of two 2009 DR650’s. With FMF pipes, happy trail panniers, and IMS tanks.


I nearly fainted. Obviously I had to meet these people.


And forget to bring my camera.


And not get their photos.


DAMMIT.


So, after chatting it up for an hour and a bit at Paddy’s Irish Pub, the highest all Irish owned Irish Pub in the world, we hit the streets again to hike our asses back up the hills to our hostel.



That was the day and night of September 8th. Easy enough.

September 9th was a different story all together (a good one) and is set to be told soon!

--Alex
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Old 11 Sep 2011
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CUSCO Day 159

Our first full day in Cusco was a riot. First thing first, I woke up earlier than Kristi and headed to the restaurant/bar section of the hostel to type away. Kristi likes to sleep more than me, so I use that time allowance to support my addiction. (This RR).

Our private room in the hostel came complete with an electric tea kettle, tea cups, and tea bags. Saweet.


I typed away for an hour or more, until Kristi showed up, then I typed away even more as she ate her fruit bowl for breakfast.


The next step was to move out of our private room, and move into another one, as ours has been reserved for that night. Easy, we moved 5 doors down. From there, we piled all of our dirty clothes into a plastic bag and I carried them across the street to the Lavanderia to have our clothes washed. We had 7 kilos of clothes (nearly ALL of our clothes) and we paid $6.60 for our clothes to be washed. I dropped them off with a 6pm retrieval time listed on my receipt.

Minutes later, we were waiting in the lobby for Fiona; an Australian women 11 months into her travels, living and working at Loki Hostel, and volunteering every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with an after school program for some of the poorest local school kids around.

When she arrived, we took off down the hill. We were 3 Israeli girls, 1 British guy, Kristi and I, and Fiona. Our destination was at the very bottom of the hill, and was represented by a store that sold everything. Our aim? School supplies, paints, pencils, crayons, coloring books, stickers, feathers, beads, string, markers, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, glue, scissors, and everything else that little kids love. Our target audience was aged 5-15. We had to cover our bases.



Kristi was in her second element of choice. After the sun, come the arts and crafts. I let her loose with instructions to check prices, and not skimp of these kids. They have nothing more than the same clothes to wear every day, and they love this shit. All of you guys that have added to the “Beer Fund” can have the happiness of knowing that on September 9th, 2011, you bought some happy kids some fun.



Back up to the top of the hill we walked, and at 2pm we were set to catch the nearest taxi, and pile all 7 of us into the next station wagon that rolled by.



In no time at all we were headed in the right direction, out of town a little ways, and into the hillside. The kids come from the surrounding area after school each day to the same place. Not all of them know each other, and it’s a good place for these kids to make friends.



When we arrived, there were some children already there. Fiona had brought a new ball with her, and one of the boys went nuts nearly immediately and took off with it. They other children were more subdued and waited for us to pile all of their new play toys and supplies on the floor of the communal area.



Nearly immediately, these kids were stringing beads on string, laying colors down in the coloring books, painting, gluing, and creating. We all joined in.



The more flamboyant kids were flaunting there native headdresses in minutes.



This kid might have a permanent smile. He created that necklace, which he self declared as “muy bonita”, very beautiful/pretty, in seconds flat.



Have I ever mentioned that Kristi loves kids? I wonder what that will translate into in the next decade?



Que pasa amigo?



Elton John even made an appearance.



This little 11 year girl, named Elizabeth, didn’t talk much, but was happy the whole time.



Look guys. When you grow up with little, and have little of your own to claim to yourself your entire life, without as little as $2 to spare for entertainment; it is the little things in life that make up for it. This older woman was making up for lost time and loving it.



In the middle of all the mayhem, one of the permanent volunteers that had been living at this place for the past 2 weeks, brought out a massive pan of Chocolate Zucchini bread. It was AWESOME. I love zucchini bread, and so did all of these kids. We washed it down with some Tea.



The baker/volunteer from England, whose name I can’t remember, let everyone know that they needed to be careful as they ate their cake. He had baked a coin into the cake, and the recipient who found the coin would have good fortune for the next year!

T.J. found the coin!



After the cake and tea, we spent a few minutes and cleaned everything up. Then, we started with the group photos.



Here is another with all of the day’s volunteers and some of the children. When they realized that I would pick them up… All hell broke loose.



Kristi had to pitch in too!



All of a sudden, a plan began to form. Elizabeth had a near permanent berth on my back, and Kristi was full up. I had room for a couple more?



This kid was up for it, so on the count of three; I hauled his little butt into the air. (Keep an eye on the kid in blue behind us.



Kid in blue didn’t have a choice. He was next…



I had him with an iron grip. COME HERE YOU!



AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!



Then, it was time to go! So long, fare well, my little Cusquenan amigos. It was fun!

And so we took off down the hill, in search of the 25cent bus that would drop us off less than 100 meters from the front door of Loki Hostel. On the way down the hill, we met up with this local guard. He owned his ground.



Onto the bus we all piled, and took off on the short rumbling journey that would take us to our hostel.



Back at the hostel, Kristi and I took a shower, and then I hopped on line to find Anna. She had sent me a message outlining her plans to hike to Machu Picchu, and with which companies she had talked to. All in all, it turned out that we would all plan to hike to Machu Picchu, via the Salkantay Trail, on Tuesday.

To make this happen, we had to book that night. So we cruised down the hill, hung a left, took the first right, and found Anna at her hostel. Minutes later we were ponying up the cash for a 5day, 4night trek to M.P, with all the intermediate b.s. taken care of, and our permits into the site taken care of. On top of that, we were able to secure passes to hike up to Waynu Picchu, the summit that sits above the Machu Picchu site and affords those lucky enough to hike up it, a great view of the ruins below.

After booking everything, we headed off for dinner along with some other friends. Kim showed up, Peter from Ireland, and Ryan from the US. Pizza was on the menu that night.



After dinner, I took the last photo of the two Kiwi girls that have managed to meet up with us in 7 of the last 9 Latin America countries. Kim is already on her way into the tropics on jungle trek to M.P, and will likely not be seen again in the near future.




Group photo!


See you later Kim.




With a great day behind us, Kristi and I headed back to the hostel to pass out. Walking around all day at 11k feet elevation takes its toll on a body, and leads to lots of sleeping. Combined with the lack of water in the air, and the relative proximity of the sun, dehydration can factor in as well.

We purchased a 2.5 liter bottle of water, ged half of it, and hit the sack, wiped out.

Damn. Good day.

--Alex
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Old 12 Sep 2011
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Shopping and wild dogs.

For the past few days, at nearly 11k feet, Kristi has been freezing her ass off. Why? Well, she didn’t bring exactly the right clothes for this type of climate. She’s well dressed, but a little cold. So we made our way down the big ass hill that the hostel sits atop.

On the way down the hill, this little guy was walking at the same pace as we were, down the hill, taking the steps one at a time. He might have been 5 or 6 years old. Before I could ask him, a Flintstones Cartoon shining from inside a doorway caught his attention and we left him in our dust.



15-20 minutes later and about a thousand feet of elevation lower, we made our way into the Hand Craft Market where we intended to buy Kristi some cheap, warm, alpaca wool clothing.



Though Kristi hates this photo, because she says her hair looks like a grandma’s, it is the only photo of the nice lady that sold Kristi and I two sweaters for less than $25. I’m wearing mine now, and I am glad I have it.



This lady, though she looks grumpy, was one of the funniest people in the area. When I asked her for Moletos (fingerless gloves) she replied, “Ah, no senor, porque me preguntas por la cosas que no tengo?” (Ah, no mister, why do you ask me for the things that I don’t have). To which I replied “Porque no tienes las cosas de que estoy buscando? (Why don’t you have the things I am looking for?) And then I took the time to ask her for the two other things that I knew she would not have. #1 Pants that were long enough for me, and #2 Shoes that would fit me. To which she playfully cried, “Por que son tan altos? ¿Por que crecer tan alto?!?” (Why are you so tall? Why did you grow so tall?)



After buying Kristi a couple of knitted hats, and a pair of moletos (fingerless gloves), a sweater, and a bag for like $30, we walked out of the market and within 2 blocks of walking back to the hostel Kristi saw a girl wearing leggings. She wants leggings. At least I know that it wasn’t impulsive, as she had mentioned that leggings would help keep her warm (at least 4 times in the past 2 days). So we chased the girl down, and asked her where she bought her leggings, what she called them in Spanish (leggings…) and how much she paid for them. We could find them for $7 at the Molino Market, like 6 blocks down the road.

And so we walked, and saw some stuff. Like this statue overlooking the more modern power lines.



And then, after asking lots of people where this market was, we had walked about another mile, and suddenly we found ourselves looking at mannequins dressed in tight pants.



And $7.5 later, we had a pair of leggings and were making our way back to this lady selling meat skewers on the street for 2soles (70cents).




And then we stopped for some fresh squeezed orange juice for $.50. Thank you!


At the market entrance, where we had our snack, we hailed a taxi. For 3 soles, we were taken the 2 miles back up to the main square of the Santa Teresa area of Cusco, Plaza de Armas. On the way I took a picture of a museum.



On the resulting walk up the hill, we passed a pack of wild dogs. I counted 15 of them!



On the way to the hostel, I stopped off at a motorcycle rental shop. I had been told that for 90 soles, I could rent a motorcycle, with jacket, gloves, helmet and goggles for the whole day. That sounded good. Plus, Anna and a young American guy Cameron were interested. So I arranged to get her phone number to call her, to open the shop Sunday morning, to rent some bikes. Cooooool.


Back at the hostel, we got dragged out for dinner, which involved walking way back down the hill, and then back up again. Well, the chicken, rice and french-fries were worth it.





Anna and Cameron and Peter were at dinner with us, and that is where I filled in Anna and Cameron about the motorcycle rental. They were game, and so we planned to go. On the way back to the hostel, I made a couple of phone calls to the lady at the rental shop. She told me to call before 10pm or after 7am. It was 9:50pm, and she didn’t answer. Damn…








--Alex
__________________
NJ, NR, NBTTN

Last edited by bigalsmith101; 13 Sep 2011 at 00:15.
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