Getting my Adventure on!!!

Trip Start Jan 28, 2012
Trip End Jul 02, 2012

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Flag of Peru  ,
Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Huaraz has been absolutely great. A very interesting city. It seems here the people tend to be more traditional and what we think of when we think Peru. A good percentage of women still wear the traditional clothing, the Quechua or Alpaca clothing,  which I did not know was still a popular clothing. The women also carry their babies in a blanket wrapped around the upper body. I have no idea how they manage it but it seems to work out just fine. The little things that stand out here in Huaraz make me really feel like I am in Peru. Since it is Carnival, I am always alert. During this month it is custom to throw water!!!! Boys throw at girls and girls at boys. Kids are constantly standing around the streets with water balloons or buckets in their hands waiting for their next victim. I was hit coming back for lunch one day. Essy, the son of the family I live with, and his three friends surrounded me and I was destroyed. Completely soaked. Hopefully I will return the favor one day! Today is Martes Guerra, meaning Tuesday War, where everyone is a target. It is quite the scene. I have yet to leave the house other than the morning (when the kids are still waking up) and am not sure how I am going to get out. Although I should be used to getting wet here. The rain is intense. I would say about 90 percent of my time here has had rainy days. Some so strong we canceled class. People couldn't cross the street. 

Teaching here has been lovely. I am still in the classroom with another teacher and we usually split the class into different levels. I am getting to know the students very well and we are always joking around about the differences between our cultures. Let me tell you, it is hard to be right when no one agrees with you!!! The students are older but seem to be learning fast. They have a good grasp for the English language and I just hope that I am helping each one of them.I I have so much fun going to the class and seeing what they might say to me that day. They are all characters. Even the other teacher. She is always asking me about life in the US and I always want their stories of Peru.  

The family I am staying with is so sweet. Luis is the program director, as well as the dad of the house. He is the one who has put this whole organization together and knows just what to do with all us volunteers. Haydee is the madre de la casa, who makes us breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day! The food here is different but Haydee is the you would want cooking for you! She is fantastic. Let me warn you though, if you want Peruvian food, plan on rice and potatoes all at once, two meals a day (which sometimes comes with a soup that has pasta in it). It is a carbohydrate feast!!!! There are also Sindy and Essy, who are their kids. Sindy is 28 and a complete sweetheart. She loves to watch her telenovelas which is always entertaining. Essy though......  better keep an eye on him, he is a trickster!!! But what can you expect from a 12 year old boy!?!? I also live now with one other volunteer, Kaytlin (from Seattle) who has become a great friend. Our adventures out and about always have a story to them! The house we live in is quite a good walk from the center. It is not that far but the hill up to the house is killer! Especially on a warm day (which only happens before 2pm). Even though the house is far, the rooftop view is to die for. We can see every which way and on clear days have an incredible view of the Huascaran peak! Living here has been a fabulous treat, showing me the true side of Peruvian culture. 

Speaking of Peruvian culture and adventures, I had an experience that was very Peru. One volunteer, Ben, was leaving and we had a small despedida dinner ( goodbye dinner), and of course we had to have the specialty and traditional Cuy to eat. What is Cuy you ask??? It is Guinea Pig, That's right!! I had Guinea Pig! It is a delicacy here, only served on special occasions like this. I had the rib section and lets just say it was...... chewy! Personally I am not a fan but it wasn't the worst thing I have eaten. Luis loves it! He was going to town on the jaw and head of the Guinea Pig. It was a sight to see. I just hope for my despedida dinner we have chicken! 

Being here in Huaraz is amazing. The best part is that we are able to hop on a bus ride to some ruins, a laguna, rock climbing, a day hike and much more. Some friend and I decided to take the three hour bus ride to Chavin de Huantar. Chavin is a ruin site known as the capital of the Chavin culture and said to be one of the oldest sites in Peru. On the way there we were able to stop at a beautiful laguna and take some pictures. It was so pretty, only wish it had been warm enough to swim in. Getting to the ruins was an adventure in itself. Imagine a big tour bus turning sharp corners next to a cliff thousands of feet up. It was nerve wracking to say the least, These bus drivers can handle anything. When we got to the ruins it was mind blowing thinking about how the people built these great structures with such large stones and no technology. Chavin was fantastic.It really shows you what a great culture they have here in Peru. 

My friends and I decided to take a break from volunteering and take a quick trip to the beach, and of course to see some more ruins. We took the overnight bus to Trujillo, a city near the water.  Wanting some warm weather, we heading straight to the beach in Huanchaco ( a place where my brother spent a week surfing) and loved it! There was actually a surf competition but I was too focused on the sun to see anything else. the beach was amazing, trying for the first time Cebiche! A dish here with fish, spices and much more. I will definitely be getting more of that soon! Walking around Trujillo was nice, with all the colorful buildings and beautiful plazas, we were in heaven.  The next day we made it to the Chan Chan ruins and that was my favorite. This place looked like a giant sand castle. Everything was built near the water and this place was HUGE. Estimating 30 to 60 thousand people living there. It was so fun wondering through these maze like ruins finding new details around each corner. Chan Chan is one of my top favorites right now, although I feel they are all my favorites. My friends and I ended up getting a cheap meal in the city, which landed three of us sick in bed for about 2 days. Let me warn everyone now. If you get juice from a sketchy restaurant either don't drink it or ask if it was made from water from the faucet. All three of us can tell you now, it is worth asking. After resting, we ended up going to our last ruin sight, Huaca del Sol y de la Luna. When we first got off the bus, which was another small van with tons of people in it, we decided we could walk. Later finding it was 5 Km of a walk we said no. We somehow squished ourselves into a TINY taxi for four soles. I was hanging out one side while two of my friends, one sitting on another, were hanging out the other side.  These ruin sights were also very interesting. What I loved about it was how grand ( 5 stories) it was and how the inside decor was still standing. The original paint from when they built the ruins were somewhat in tack and had such great detail. I am loving the history of this country more and more each day and and so eager to find out more. 
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mum & dad on

the rain!!! wow thats unbelievable!! thanks for your wonderful pictures my love. We are soo enjoying your blog honey, nice job!...cant wait for the next one... (p.s. no more juice for you I you....xoxo

Dad on

Hi Sweetie,
Do you want that Helley Hansen rain jacket? The amount of water in the street looked like a disaster movie. Maybe I will send you a kayak so you can get in some white water rafting. What is the name of that big snow covered mountain in the pictures? I will send you some skies also. Looks like you have a lot of ground to cover in all the exploring ahead of you, have fun be wise.
Amor Papa

Avril on

Lovin' the sharing of your adventures! The rain in your pics was quite a surprise! It was quite dry when I was in Peru. But the view of an approaching storm when we were at Machu Picchu was spetacular!

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