I'll have an Inka cola with my guinea pig please.

Trip Start Jan 28, 2005
Trip End Aug 2005

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Saturday, May 28, 2005

I am happy to announce the May 17th celebrations in Vilcabamba went very well and were rather fun! Not a bunad (that'll be the Viking national costume for you non-Norgies out there) in sight, but a congregation of 8 homemade (crayon drawn) flags and the Norwegian national anthem was heard from the top of Mandango all the way through the valley of longevity. (Obviously I have absolutely no proof they could hear us, but with my overactive imagination I like to think the villagers stopped in their tracks, gazed up the glorious mountain with tears in their eyes and listened to the beautiful singing..) Our King Harald was Bryan from New Zealand who took his role seriously and was very enthusiastic, he kept his crayon crown on for ages after we got off the mountain. Sjoerd from the Netherlands was our rather reluctant Queen Sonja, I sensed he was not impressed or amused with his flower crown. After a fab 4 hour hike on the stunning Mandango we waved goodbye to the utterly divine Izchayluma hotel (have just managed to spell it, will throw that word around a bit now) and headed to the bus station.

A bumpy 9 hours later and at 03.18 a.m exactly (unless my watch is wrong, which is probably is cuz I'm always late) I had my passport stamped out of Ecuador and walked across the bridge and into Peru. Had to pinch myself as the headlights of the bus lit up the sign above my head that read 'Bienvenidos a Peru. Welcome to Peru.' Oh I have been dreaming of Peru for a long time. Machu Piccu, the Nasca lines, Tucume, Cusco, the Incas... So here I was then, a bit cold, my back a bit stiff and my bottom numb from the bus, striding across the border to this land I had dreamt of for so long. I climbed back on the bus, fell asleep and woke up in Piura at a more humane time a few hours later. First thing that struck me was the sea of rickshaws.. EH?? Rickshaws in Peru? That was not part of the curriculum when I was at school. Bemused by the sight of rickshaws Madeleine, Bryan (aka King Harald) and Sjoerd (aka Queen Sonja) moved from one bus to another and headed straight to Chiclayo.

The next three days were spent rather culturally I have to say, learning the difference between the Lambayeque and the Chimus, the Mochis and the Incas. A short but bumpy (yes, I know I will stop saying it now..) ride north of Chiclayo is the amazing archeological site of Tucume. The excavations were once led by my before-mentioned fellow viking, Thor Heyerdahl. An utterly, utterly amazing sight. The following day we headed to Lambayeque, a rather curious site for probably one of the most beautiful museums I have ever seen. Tumbas Reales del Señor de Sipan was opened in 2003. Absolutely gorgeous museum, I don't think I have ever seen a museum like it. Huge and pink, a massive great pyramid it contains the treasures from the tombs of the Old and the young Lords of Sipan. Incredible. After the museum shut we moved swiftly (though bumpily) from one city to another, from one excavation site to another. This time we'd ended up in a rather grotty city called Trujillo. Don't think I'll revisit Trujillo again in the near future (at least not to see the city again). But the culture we'd gone to see did not dissapoint. Guided by an Englishman who's made his home in Trujillo we went to see Huaca de la Luna and Huaca del Sol. Again, amazing sights.

ALthough the rides have been bumpy I have to say the bus rides here have been not too bad. Though the entertainment, well the entertainment.. If there is not a bad comedy dubbed in Espanish, violent kick butt films are on the menu. There seems to be especially one The Rock film that the drivers are fond of. Though the more I see it the better it actually becomes.. Did I just write that? Strangely I am starting to look forward to seeing The Rock or Jean Claude when I board a bus now. Are there some latent violent tendencies in me somewhere, or is it just nice to look at a man with big pecs in a tight white tank top kick some serious ar%e? No time to dwell on that, moving swiftly on.


¡Gasolina! time again, though not the agreeable Daddy Yankee kind but the black-fumey-yucky-spewey-out-of-cars-kind. Cough. After a rather surprisingly pleasant 9 hour over night bus ride (we had two seats each and could spread out, whoopee !) though no blaring salsa music and sadly no violent Jean Claude Van Damme film to lull us to sleep we arrived in Lima. Hm, as with Trujillo not love at first sight I have to admit with Lima.. Then again, it was polluted, foggy, cloudy, coooold and a tad miserable. But we were not here to be miserable about the weather! We were here for more culture and for a rather special meeting.

5 years before me, Mom and Dad in Montana had an exchange student from Peru called Alejandro. Now I had heard about him and seen his picture on the wall. But never met him. Time to do something about that! So after months of emailing finally I got to meet my Peruvian ´brother´ and his lovely wife. We spent a great evening over dinner and beer getting to know each other. We both agreed it would be so much fun if all the Sauers exchange kids could one day meet in Montana. Perhaps one day.. Again, I am such a lucky lucky girl for meeting all these wonderful people along my way.

My mission to go to the cinema in every country I travel in has failed miserably, I haven't actually been to the movies at all for 3 months. So when Bryan mentioned that he'd like to go and see Star Wars I said I was desperate for the cinema experience and off we went. (Funnily enough the same movie, yes the one that is currently a box office hit all over the globe is playing on the computer next to me.. The copyrights law people must love the South American attitude to laws and regulations..) Ah, the smell of the cinema, the taste of the popcorn and Inka cola! The movie wasn't too bad either, though not quite up there with my favourite The Rock film.

I have actually not only arrived but spent the last 4 days in Cusco getting aclimatised to the altitude. But now my dears, I'd better get to bed (and I have probably sent you lot to sleep with my ramblings) I've got to be ready, able and willing at 4 in the morning.. I am such an optimist, sometime not a very realistic one.. I thought the Inca Trail would be a breeze to book. Turns out it ain't. The trail is now booked till August.. So we've decided to do the Salkantay trek instead. Much harder, much longer and apparently much more rewarding than the Inca Trail.. So that'll be me for the next 5 days and 4 nights high up in the glorious Andes mountains ending up in Machu Piccu in, well, 5 days. Send me a warm thought when you tuck yourselves in these next few nights. I'll be sleeping under the stars and the moon, hopefully in a very very warm sleeping bag.

Oh, before I go - I forgot to tell you. I finally had some grilled guinea pig this evening. But I'll elaborate on that experience for you when I get back. I'll leave you with a picture proof though.

¡¡¡¡¡Horray!!!! ¡¡¡Machu Piccu next !!!
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