Now we´re movin´

Trip Start Jul 06, 2005
Trip End Mar 10, 2006

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Flag of Peru  ,
Sunday, October 23, 2005

We´ve covered some serious ground since we last talked, crossed two borders and already halfway across Peru. The borders have so far (knock on wood) been a BREEZE. Crossing into the states these days is ten times more harrowing. But I get ahead of myself...

The Reunion

Ahhh Quito, thats right, this is why I had to leave. MASSIVE weekend in Quito with all the new volunteers, clients, and whatever holdouts were left from our time there. Highlights...I guess its all pretty blurry really...Really great to catch up with Mattias and Lucien, the crazy swiss managers. Nice to see the new volunteer set doesn´t rock that hostel anything like we did; on that note they´re putting up a wall of fame in the new volunteers apartment, Mark and I getting slots 1 and 2. Awwww, thats nice. Snuck in one more salsa class for a refresher. Managed walk in like we owned the place and pretty much take over, and to leave with a bill far smaller than logic would have dictated. Ahhh Quito, I CAN´T stay here any longer.

Vilcabamba y mi amigo San Pedro

Rallied a couple of people from the hostel to join us for the 12 hour bus ride to Vilcabamba for a few days. Small town in an absolutely beautiful valley, cliffs and mountains on all sides, somewhat desert climate, and the nicest place we´ve stayed by far. This place was cheap, included a pool, jacuzzi (with TV and DVD player!), sauna, turkish steam bath, pool tables, free breakfast, video rental place, internet - EVERYTHING. Vilcabamba is most famous for one thing though, San Pedro, a locally growing cactus used in native spiritual journeys...hmmm, why not?

So on only the vaguest of directions we wander out of town "towards the zoo, first left after the bridge, land rover in the driveway" to find this Austrian woman that has been living in the Ecuadorian countryside for 19 years. Along with her native Ecuadorian husband Lucho, they act as shaman´s, spiritual guides, only for those they feel come with the right motivations. Apparently we fit, because the next night under a perfectly full moon and clear sky, following several stories, drum and smudging sessions and some seriously bitter tasting cactus juice...for those who think there´s more to perception and reality than we tend to experience, I can tell you one place to find it. His name is San Pedro, he´s a cactus, and I love him (I think he´s following me).

Bus Hell

Ok, maybe we´ve been pretty lucky thus far bus wise, but we paid for it this week - ugh. Missed our bus from Vilcabamba by 15 minutes, wandered for 15 minutes more before finding another bus that was leaving...5 minutes ago. Great. So caught a later one, which instead of being 9 hours direct required a 6 hour bus, a nighttime solo border crossing, a taxi, a 3 hour bus, and a taxi, only to arrive at the bus "area" (not a station by any means) of Piura, Peru approaching midnight. Where, it should be clear by now, our bus had obviously left 15 minutes before! Argh!! So after being driven on a wild goose chase by a somewhat dodgy taxi driver we gave up on finding another bus (despite his somewhat creepy suggestion that we could drive to the highway and just wait for one going our way in the middle of the night) and grabbed a hotel.

Next day, back on track, 9 hour bus, 2 hour wait (just enough time to backtrack across town via taxi for Mark´s forgotten jacket and hoody on previously mentioned bus), 14 hour overnight bus, and here we are. I arrived sick as a bloody dog, vicious combo of the very suspect burger I ate before getting on the bus, no sleep, and the 3000+ metre altitude of Huaraz, our current location. Ah hah, so its not all fun and games they think! Well, I slept for 23 hours straight, literally, and feelin´ gooood. Yah well, talk to me after this epic 4 day mountain trek we´re going on tomorrow...

Wish me luck!

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