A Travellerspoint blog

Argentina, this time for real.

Ok, so I will try and be serious. In this post we have Iguazu falls, Salta, and Tucuman in Argentina.

So I think I left off saying I went from Buenos Aires (BA for short) to Iguazu Falls. I stayed at this huge hostel with like 175 beds or something like this. Place was nuts, I havent seen a clean or as organized place ever. I later learned that this may not be as good as you think. When you stay in a super large place like this, you get a real international crowd, but its honestly cooler when you stay in some place where they dont speak english and you can converse with them and learn all about their country.

When I first got to Puerto Iguazu (name of the town), I went around town with this jewish girl from NYC who was super sheltered, and was OCD about getting yellow fever. It was funny. Any mosquitoes that were around, shed go nuts with the bug spray. The other girl was this Canadian ginger girl Catherine. So we went around town and then went to this cool point where its the junction of Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina. It was really beautiful there. When I left BA I was really hungover, and you can never really get a good sleep on the busses, so I took a nap there at sunset. They had a ferry to Paraguay we were going to take for a dollar, but we got there late and it was the last and we would have gotten stuck. Oh well, Paraguay will have to wait till next time.

From this vantage point, standing in Argentina I threw rocks at Paraguay and Brazil, hence trashing three countries at the same time. Quite an achievement. I can cross that off the "to do" list... lol.

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The computers here have terrible monitors, so this looks bad but im sure it will look better on your comps. Brazil is on the right, and Paraguay on the left.

From there proceeded to eat about 6 pounds of grassfed steak at the all you can eat and drink dinner at the hostel. Made a lot of cool friends there, and had a good night. There were the guys from spain, the girls from UCLA, the irish guy and dude from Montana. I was supposed to do this tour thing, the "grand adventure" the next day in the morning, but it was pouring buckets so I went in the afternoon, but in the process got kicked out of the hostel because I didnt have a reservation. I found some no name hostel, which was interesting (will bring this up later).

Iguazu Falls is awesome. Its really beautiful, and the grand adventure is something you for sure have to do if you go. You start off going in some army style (similar to a deuce for all you military types) truck and went through the jungle. Then you get in this boat, and you go to both halves of the falls (there are two sections) for photographs, then you put your stuff in these waterproof bags and then you actually go under the waterfall. The boats arent that impressive, but they have twin 250 hp outboard motors which they need because the currents are absolutely nuts. When your under the waterfall your literally a foot and a half from the rocks behind the waterfall. I dont know how they dont kill people, but they dont. We had a rowdy crowd, and after egging the pilot on by chanting "duchas, duchas, duchas!!!" (duchas = shower), he really had a go at it. Then you walk around the park, and they have various lookout points, with the upper lookouts literally above the point where the water goes over the edge (SWEET!).

The falls are famous as well. They were in the new Indiana Jones, Moonraker (james bond), the new Miami Vice, amongst others.

The falls are shared between Brazil and Argentina. The Argentinian side is the best, but the Brazillian side (directly across) has a good overall perspective. When I went to catch the bus to the falls from town, I was late and hopped into a bus that was leaving the station. Turns out I went to Brazil by accident, but then got back on track. To go to Brazil is $130 for a visa, dollars I cant afford. I was going to go to Rio from Argentina with these Dutch people I met on the bus, but for one week in Brazil its not worth it. If you go on the Brazillian embassys website they say its because thats the price Brazillians have to pay to go to the US. Thats a load of crap. The real reason is because the president of Brazil and Bolivia are best buds. Evo Morales (president of Bolivia) instated a $100 visa for Americans, and in turn Luiz Lula de Silva (president of Brazil) made it $130. There was always a visa for Americans in Brazil, but never so high.

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I ran into the girls from UCLA when I went in, and they gave me their rain ponchos (score). I took a picture modeling in it, and however dashing I looked in it I just think this one does the job.

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Truck

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This is as close as I could get to the Brazillian side without selling my shirt

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This is one of the boats heading into the waterfall

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Maybe this shows it better

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This pic was taken from the other side (san miguel side)

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This guy was having a good time

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View from the top

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One more from the top

Ok, so when I spent the night in the no name hostel I met this Irish guy who was hitting on the girl who worked there, but he spoke no spanish, and she spoke no english. He told me he was there for 9 days (nobody spends more than two or three days in Iguazu) which I thought it was odd. I saw them getting along although they couldnt communicate. It was weird, but I found out the truth from these Irish girls who knew him. It turns out one night he hooked up with the girl from that shabby hotel, and he fell in love with her, and bought her a ring. That guy was crazy.

From Iguazu I took the 23 hour bus to Salta. Salta is a medium sized city in the north, giving it an Andean feel that you dont get in the rest of Argentina (and I miss from Peru). The town is nice, and when I got there I ran into the French Canadian girl from Iguazu and we walked around the next day a bit. Shes a bit eccentric, and a lil crazy but whatever. She was real good with a map, so it was cool to take a break from figuring out where to go all the time. I have to say it is a lil weird to travel with a girl because everyone, and I mean everyone thinks your dating or hooking up no matter how much you explain that your not. We snuck into this museam which I was told is the most importand in South America, which has these four mummies of sacrificed children. The mummies were preserved because they were buried in the Andes at locations close to 6,000 meters (19,500 feet) in ice. Turns out two werent on display because they were in the laboratory for experiments (oh well). All four had the elongated skulls, the sign of the elite. If you have seen the new Indiana Jones, the shape of the crystal skull is no joke what some look like. The elite deformed the skulls to look like an aliens. Really weird stuff.

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I made out with this chick... SIKE!

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Me and Catherine in Salta

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The full picture of Iglesia de San Fancisco, in my opinion the nicest in Salta

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Looking through a waterfall at the top of the Teleferiqo in Salta

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Id be lying if I said Id never been there, done that!!!

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Im a candy fiend

The next day we went on a tour with what seemed like the whole hostel to Cafayate (cool town to the south). There we went into this canyon area, which was really cool. It was layered and multicolored. Every ten feet or so the layers would shift direction, and sometimes it would make your mind go loose because you couldnt figure out how it looked. This area is famous for different formations in the rocks. You had rocks/mountains that looked like windows, priests, the titanic, turtles, castles, etc.

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This was an area called the devils throat

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I like how the light was layered through the mountains

For lunch we headed to an authentic Asado (BBQ) joint, and had a unique blend of meats I hadnt had before. You get the whole deal where we went. Intestines, kidneys, liver. I had it all, and it was a lil weird, but hey - when in Rome.

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MMMMMMM!!!!

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Salta party crew

After lunch we headed to a couple of wineries in the area. Cafayate only produces 3% of Argentinian wine (the other 97% from Mendoza), but Cafayate is special because the grapes are grown at altitude which gives it a unique taste. The most popular is a white called Torrontes.

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That night, as a group we got smashed and went to a night club in town and danced the night away. We had to head out though, because the british girls had to make it to a 7:30 tour that morning. We quite literally made it back to the hostel at 7:25 lol. I had to leave a couple hours later, and still out of it I saw Aurelie, this really awesome French girl who I partyed with the night before. When in the taxi I stuck my head out to yell au revoir to her, and my hat flew off my head! The Argentines in Tucuman told me its a tax to pachamama (Andean spirit of mother earth)!

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This girl made me lose my hat!

Next day I blew that popsicle stand with Catherine, and we headed to Tucuman. Tucuman is a good city, but there isnt a whole lot to do there. Everywhere you went you could tell the government was trying to bring more tourists which was funny. We really stopped there to break up the bus ride to Cordoba so it wasnt so long. When I was walking around Tucuman I ran into the spanish guys from Iguazu, and they were renting a car. I would have really have liked to party again with those guys, but I decided to stick to the plan and head south. That night we had Asado with a whole group of Argentines on holiday. After we talked anbd then danced to 3 in the morning. I schooled them of what little I knew about McCains military history, the electoral college, and the distribution of political states in the US. They schooled me on the issue the farmers have with the Argentine government over the beef taxes (this post is too long - you should look it up though), cumbia, dulce de leche, and cortetito. Then I had dancing lessons. Its funny because the way to pick up girls in Argentina (at least what they told me) was that you stand in the corner and dance with yourself in small circles. Back home the guy who does this just seems like a creep, or a pervert. I tought them how to let the D slang, fistpump, start the mower, pop bottles, a half assed attempt at the salamander, the finger gun dance, etc. Good times.

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Theres apparently a strong G&R following in Tucuman???

I thought the coolest part of Tucuman was San Javier hill where they had this giant Christo.

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I never made it to Rio, so I suppose this will have to do!

Im in Cordoba now, which is awesome. I bought a new hat too! Alright, I dont know about you, but im wore out. I need a beer!

B

Posted by bejuan99 08:03 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Mini Entry

I missed a few items that I forgot to previously mention.

First of all, and foremost lets talk a little bit about this - Operation Be a Man its 2008 Already, AKA Operation Mustache Rides for $5, AKA Operation Handlebars Like Dennis Hopper in Eazyrider, AKA NCAA Mustache Madness, AKA....

Well, every good speech starts off with a joke - so here goes...

Tom Selleck could have saved Thailand from the tsunami by soaking up the waves with his mustache. Too bad Tom Selleck hates Thailand.

Ok, now lets get serious. First I will tell you a story...

Tom Selleck was originally cast to play the role of Michael Knight in the Knight Rider series. When he found out that his costar would be a Firebird instead of a Ferrarri, he promptly declined the role and then boned the producer's wife.

No, in all reality when I was in Peru I was trying to grow a mustache. I tried for one month, with very little to show. My fair mothers polish blood blessed me with blonde hairs only on my upper lip. Every night in Peru I dreamt that one day I would finally achieve my dream. I WOULD STAND ON MACCU PICCU WITH A MUSTACHE DAG NABIT!!!

So I tried, and I tried, and I pressed, and I studied, did yoga, aromatherapy, shiatsu massage, went to the deluxe car wash, prayed to king tutankamun, did a rain dance, sacrificed chickens, etc. You get the point. Well it came down to the final countdown. T-minus 24 hours to the big day. I knew around maccu piccu they wouldnt have hot water, so I prepped the day before by taking down the sides and leaving a gotea. On the morning when the sun rose in the south I would take the rest down and revel in the glory that every man wishes to achieve once in his lifetime!

Well that time came and went. Absolutely hopeless. What a dissapointment. I contemplated splashin on a little just for men, however when I remembered that running water was considered a luxury in the town I knew the chances of them knowing about the little 5 minute miracle most middle aged western men know about was slim to none.

Topic number two - Travel writers, Afghanistan, & Batman

I saw the new Batman, met a travel writer, and read The Kite Runner (a book about Afghanistan). Any further questions? Just kidding, but no - seriously.

More importantly topic number three -

So last weekend was the Red Bull US Grand Prix (motoGP race) in Laguna Seca California. Casey Stoner swept all the practice sessions, and landed on pole position just as he did the previous year. When the five time world champion Valentino Rossi was asked how he was going to battle with Casey Stoner on race day, he replied with a simple ¨The only way to stop that man is with a gun.¨Turns out the old dog still had a trick or two up his sleeve. On lap 24 of 32 Rossi got a whif up the inside and made a dashing pass on the infamous corkscrew (turn 13) before going on to take the win. Bridgestone without a doubt dominated the weekend, and upset with his performance and lack of improvement from his Michelin tires, 2006 world champion Nickey Haden verbally communicated his frustration with the French based tire manufacturer. American AMA rider Ben Spies (knickname Elbowz) made the proverbial hop from being an American rider and stepped onto the world stage by placing 8th overall in the motogp race. Overall an excellent weekend for Rizzla Suzuki with Spies making the top ten in his opening debut, and Chris Vermulen stepping on the podium for the second time in two races with a third place. Dani Pedrosa sat out, upsetting injuries from earlier in the season during a ravaging lowside during free practice two.

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Spies, of which I have incredible admiration for ended up second overall in the AMA superbike race, but considering the 36 point lead he has over his teamate Matt Mladin he can sit back and enjoy his sucess. Spies has considered moving up to the international level and has had discussions with several bike manufacturers, but has yet to sign. He has said time and again that the number one reason why he hasnt made the move yet is solely because he hates to fly!!!! Hes picking up another wildcard position when the motoGP circuit heads back to the US for the Indianapolis GP (first time in the US), and I am sure that his sucess there will dictate the direction of any further contract negotiations.

Two weeks time is the Cardion AB Grand Prix at Brno, Czech Republic. Wounds will heal, tire companies will rework their formulas, and the riders will get a rest from the daunting summer circuit. Five time motoGP (500cc to be exact) champion Mick Doohan will be comentating with Kevin Schwantz on CBS sports as part of Dorna´s plan to bring a larger community of fans in the US into the sport.

Also, im not sure how many people check this website, but you can subscribe if you create a username. This means you get an email every time I put up a new post. It says this website has had 2,500 hits, but im not so sure thats right because that seems like a lot. If it is, your awesome!!!! If not your awesome anyways!!!

Topic C - Irony

I wrote all this yesterday when I was sober, but now it is the opposite. I will try and write good, but this is hard. Argentina is the most western country in south america. They have toilet paper, soap, paper towels, hot water, electricity, etc... However they also have skeleton keys, and toilets that have the tank on the wall, like the godfather. The most modern place also has some of the oldest remnances of the 19th century. Ironic, eh?

LEAVE THE GUN TAKE THE CANOLIS!!!!

Dont worry, be happy!

Posted by bejuan99 17:36 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Bloody mess...

Alright, so back to Cuzco. Its a lovely city, but a bit touristy. All the stores are restaurants, photoshops, gear shops (for the inca trail), or massage parlors (also for people who do the inca trail). These girls stand in the street and the only word in english they know is massage, and they say it about ten to twenty thousand million times a day. Its legit massages though, not like the ones I will discuss later in this post. The inca trail kicks your ass from what I hear, and so hikers hit it up to recover before their flights home (the inca trail is a 5 day hike to Maccu Piccu).

I was staying at Loki which is one of the worlds best hostels, and for sure where the party is at. There is no such thing as a sober or early night there. Not possible. As a gringo if you go out to the night clubs the local girls slip you roofies when your not looking and rob you so its kind of dodgy. Not knowing this, but wanting to party we went to a bar with all peruvians called Caos, and had a really good time. I cought a girl pouring something into my glass, and made her drink it all... lol.

The next day we wanted to go to Maccu Piccu the cheap way so we rode a chicken bus with the worst seats (might have been intentional), but saved a bunch of cash vs. the gringo route which is pretty lame. We got stuck in this town called Otallatantambo (I think), which was pretty cool. The woman at the hostel really (and I mean really) liked to talk, so by the time I left we had a 7 hour conversation, and it was around 2 in the morning. Boy, if you ever need a crash course in south american politics, Karen is perfect. I learned about che guevera, pablo escobar (who apparently isnt really dead, or so all of colombia believes so), every corrupt president, chavez, evo moralez, bush, the FARC, the shining path, etc...

Alright, so let me explain a little about peru because this is more interesting than anything else. Fifteen years ago the elitists from Lima (the capital), were real assholes to everybody else in the country, especially if they had dark skin (including non-indigenous). The light skinned Limeñas had control of the police, and had them playing like puppets to whatever they needed. The police (trained in Lima with the this mentality)were super rude to the poor, and raped and beat the indigenous, and people from the countryside. There was a japanese president Fujimori who redistributed the land to the poor to try and save the country, and in turn the rich bribed the police to kill the indigenous living on that land so that the rich could claim it was inhabited and reclaim back what the president redistributed. Police would kill whole villages, and have mass burials which to this day are still being found. Needless to say during the 70s and 80s the government policy was nearly 100% in favor of the light skinned creollas (a ethnic group defined as pure spanish blood that never mixed, as opposed to mestizos)

With that being said the people started to fight back. The main group responsible is the Sendero Luminoso (translated to shining path). They learned terrorist and guerrilla tactics and started wreaking havoc in Lima. Their message was clear that they wanted justice for what was being done, and that the people of the country need the respect that they deserve.

Karens parents owned a small shop in Lima at the time. With their dark skin they were always considered outcasts. One day a cop asked for a pack of cigarettes, but Karens dad who only sold them one by one told the cop he couldnt sell a whole pack. The cop told him ¨do you know who I am, you &%$"! (she went off naming like a hundred spanish curses that I dont understand¨, beat him with a police baton, spit on his face, and arrested him for one day. Just because he sold cigarettes one by one as oppposed to a pack. This is just one example she gave.

Ok, so the shining path with the help of the people of the countryside were wreaking havoc in Lima, and slowly the people of Lima started to fear the people from the countryside. Before there was no sign of curtesy between the groups, but today if there is an exchange of words a person from Lima will have limited words of curtesy, but they will be there nonetheless. This is in fact because they are scared more than anything else of people from the countryside. This is crazy!

Alright, so during this time the president was Alan Garcia (1985 - 1990). Around 1990 the four main prisons collaborated and underwent a massive cleansing campaign of terrorists. Around 400 to 500 prisoners were killed per jail (around 2k total), and buried without a word to the public. Once this leaked the country was outraged, and Garcia had to step down. How could the president allow this?

Well in 2006 Garcia came back out of exile, and won the popular election. The reason for this was because his opponent in the election (I dont know the name) was a military general who let it be clearly known his intentions. He told the country that he was going to investigate every MNC and look into every contract with other countries. This being known all those companies who were getting away with murder under a careless and corrupt regime flowed the word down to the individual employees that if they voted for the military candidate that they would lose their jobs. Basically the country was duped into blackmail. Garcia won the election in 3 of the 24 provinces of Peru (the most populous, with Lima counting for two of those three), and was put into power. The only reason they allowed him to comeback is because in that mass murder of the ¨terrorists¨, all those jail wardens in the four jails were murdered shortly thereafter. Garcia claimed that they all conspired together to perform the murders, and he was not aware of this. With all the wardens murdered, there is no way to prove if he is lying or not. Everybody in Peru thinks he is lying.

Ok, now to the wardens. Karens sister was married to a guy who went to the university of san carlos in Lima. There was a conspiracy that was never found to be true that anyone who goes to san carlos is part of a collaboration with the shining path, and there was a cloud of suspicion over anyone that attended that university. One day the shining path detonated a bomb very close to where Karens sisters husband and brother were. The two of them ran to get away from the explosion, and when this happened the police blamed the two of them. They were sent to jail innocently. Quite obviously they didnt do it. The shining path are experts and were nowhere near the location of the detonation. They would not make mistakes like that and get caught. So these two guys (Karens sisters husband and brother) were in the jail that got the worst of the mass murders. They were killed among the other 500. Because of this Karens sister went mad and told everyone she was going to kill that warden. She went into the jungle in search of the shining path, and wasnt heard for two weeks. When they next heard from her it was when she was all over the news. She was trained by the shining path, and one day followed the warden, pulled in front of his car at a stop light, shot him in the head and drove away. Nuts!

So I also learned about the protests that I witnessed in Aeroquepa. The one communist party that you can see in the picture with the doll of bush is patria roja. They are very dangerous, and when I showed Karen the picture her face went white. She thought I was crazy for being around them and taking their picture. They are a terrorist organization, and they wanted the government to know they are not happy. The second presidency of Alan Garcia has seen a deal made with Chile and the US to export Peruvian food. Previously all exports of agriculture have been of vegetables that are not used in Peruvian cuisine. With sucess here the president signed contracts to sell everything that the Peruvians use in their dishes. This has a whole lot of side effects, most noteably food shortages in Peru because they cant meet the demand, as well as a steep increase in cost of those vegetables.

Next day went to Macch Piccu, the lost city of the incas. Pretty sweet. Story here is that it was a city of the elite, and its heyday was during the reign of the 9th inca king around 1400. Basically the spanish came, and the incas were all murdered or killed by smallpox. On the way out they cut off any signs of civilizations, and nobody knew about macchu piccu till 1920s when a local farmer gave an ancient incan coin to an english explorer.

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Killin it, double dragon style. We also have Lion King, and Thursday night in Cuzco.

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Yeah, your seeing that right. Thats a llama taking a leak

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My new buddy

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They needed to sacrifice a virgin, so I was chosen because of how pure my actions are.

Got wasted in Cuzco that night. Had a really crazy night. Like really crazy. . Next day sobered up, and headed out to Lima the next day to fly to Argentina. For some reason that day I found my way to a female police barracks, and drove one of their police motorcycles. Pretty cool. In Lima I hit the old haunts (casino, my favorite bar in mira flores). At my bar I met up with the people I partied with two weeks earlier when I first got to Lima. Really fun. I showed these Irish guys the ropes when it comes to Lima, and hit the clubs in Barranco with these girls. Barranco is a barrio of Lima which is as beautiful as the touristy areas but is more for locals. The clubs there are electric.

Next day flew to Buenos Aires. Its hard to tell a tourist from a local, which is a lil weird. I cant get my bearings. I cant tell if I should speak spanish or english. I went around BA for a while, and went to the presidential palace where Eva Peron used to give her speeches to the masses. Also went to her grave. They really dig her here... (your supposed to laugh). The hostel I was at was all brazilians, who have near perfect english, and no spanish. Its hillarious, they struggle so much with spanish that I have to speak for them. They really took me to school on brazillian women, bush, and soccer. I told them about what Diogo did to that poor girl on the beach (maybe Mike T is pos the only one who knows this story), but they told me that Brazilians are nothing like this. They arent sex craved crazies. They are actually humble with an aire of cockyness because of their looks, but other than that are pretty normal people.

So my first night here we went to Palermo (barrio with good parties), and went to this place crobar. You may know the name because theres a sister club in NYC. That had to be the craziest party ive been to. Well to start, they dont go out here till 3 in the morning. Secondly the place I went to had to be packed with 4,000 people. Third the music was amazing. Robby Rivera (big time house DJ) was killing it. Fourth, the party goes till 11 in the morning. Fourth - no shit on the way out there were straight up fully naked hookers waiting to get picked up. Im not talking ragged junkies either, these were porn star status. The Brazillian girls were even shocked. I was raging, but the brazillian girls were beat so we blew that taco stand at 8 in the morning. Now I have done my fare share of partying, but I think Ive made it to see the sunrise under a dozen times in my life. That shit is a daily occurence here. Yesterday went to some bar slash dance club with the brazillians again, and learned to salsa (an ounce), and then talked politics and dirty socks with those girls till ten.

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Not crying for Argentina. Casa Roja is where Eva gave all her famous speeches.

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This is what happens when you think BA is going to be priced like Peru

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Their capital building is modeled after ours

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All this walking around made me tired, and I needed to take a nap...

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This man was painting with his feet. You cant deny him props for that

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Id imagine Id find more time to read the news if our newspapers were like this...

At 11 I was woken up, and told I had to get out of the hostel beacuse I didnt have a reservation. I packed up and being really hungover and in need of sleep, posted up and got some sleep on the street. Theres a lesson to be learned here. Next time you see someone face down in the street dead asleep treat them with respect because you never know if they are a bum or a professional engineer.

Another funny note. I tell cabbies im an engineer, and like almost 20% of the time they tell me they are too, and they ask for my card so I can get them a job. Ridic.

Oh yeah, what they say about Argentina having steak everywhere for cheap, this is 100% true. Whole cows sit on barbeques ready to dish it out. In the food courts of malls almost every restaurant has a full steak menu (as opposed to sbarros, you get a huge ribeye). BA is more western than anywhere I have been. The drinks are cold, theres heat in the buildings, hot water (wait, just having water all the time is a big step), and a public transport system that makes sense. The people here are a bit cocky, their spanish is totally different to the rest of south america, and they look more european than south american. There also is a total lack of indigenous people. Its interesting, and I like it. Prices have gone way up recently (last 1.5 years), so its definately no match for the bargains you can find in Peru. Gotta watch the wallet and not carried away.

Tonight I take a bus to Iguazu Falls. The seat folds flat like a bed which is nice considering its a 22 hour ride. To compare it to others, its much bigger than Niagra with 275 falls, and wider (although not as tall) as Victoria Falls in Africa. Victoria is 100 meters tall, and Iguazu is 82 (good enough for me).

Posted by bejuan99 12:53 Archived in Argentina Comments (1)

Mas Peru!

Ok, so where was I... Aeroquepa was really nice. It reminded me of spain more than south america. I spent a day there with Christian who Ive been travelling with for a lil over a week now. Hes an aussie, so of course I had to tell him how much I dislike Casey Stoner. We did some stuff in Aeroquepa, and then headed to Colka Canyon. One interesting fact about Aeroquepa - the population is 100,000 but one third of this is taxi drivers, most of whom live and sleep in their taxis. I had one of my best meals on the trip so far there, which was a mix of things all that are typical Peruvian.

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Colka Canyon is I think the worlds second deepest canyon (more than twice the grand canyon), and is nuts. You cant even see the bottom from the top. There were lots of tours that all left in the morning, but in the spirit of boozin we decided to go on our own in the afternoon. We took the 6 hour bus to Cabanaconde which is a small village (I think 1500 people) and stayed at this dump of a hostel for 7.5 soles. This is an all time new record of which I am very proud of. 7.5 Soles converts to $2.50 which is amazingly awesome. The place was basically a mud hut with some beds, and there was every animal imaginable right outside. The whole night, donkeys were humping, chickens laying eggs (or whatever it is they do at night), cows were pissing, etc. The place was ridic. This town I was in was like that town I heard about where there is 10,000 people and 30,000 bears, except change bears with sheep. So in all this animal madness, I felt the bed moving and I thought there was a dog underneath so when I tried to chase it away I realized it wasnt really a dog, but was an earthquake (a really cool first for me). I found out later that a 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit southern Peru, killing one 93 year old man. Its always the old ones that go first. It seems like anytime there is anything like a power outage, rainstorm, snowfall that some ninety-something just decides that its their time to go. Funny how that works out.

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Colka Canyon from nearly 3/4 of the way down!

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At the top

The next morning we trekked the 3 hours down to the bottom of this canyon, and hung out at this oasis. The trail was carved out of the side of this mountain, and was pretty awful to walk on cause it was all rocky and every step would cause you to loose your footing and nearly launch you off this mountain. The oasis had a swimming pool which was nice, and after a couple hours we headed back up.

Well the three hours down turns into 4 going up, and man was that tough. We didnt bring enough water, and it was blistering hot. We were so desheviled when we got to the top, and looked like total dung. Im sure we looked like we came from war or a concentration camp by the time we got to the top. The funny thing is that these 89 year old locals were billygoating their ass up the hill no problems, and I was dragging serious anchor. We made it out of there, and another guy told us there was a bus strike and not wanting to get stuck in one of these small towns for a couple days we headed back to Aeroquepa.

The next day there was a ridiculous protest in the middle of town, and they were burning shit. There was representation from the communist party, the corn party, and the farmer party amgonst all others. Apparently they want to send their president to jail because hes not doing his job. Sound familiar?

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They had this large fake bush that had a dick that was about 2.5 inches. At least they have a hell of a sense of humor...

By the way this place is ridiculous. They have had a new president every 1.5 years. The one they consider the best had a ten percent approval rating, but despite this they keep him in high regard because after he was thrown out they didnt want to send him to jail. All the others were exiled or they wanted to send them to jail.

That night me and christian headed out to our favorite swedish bar there in Aeroquepa, and partied it up with Sinobia, this chick we met on the street. After slamming a couple of orgazmos (her pick) I headed out to Puno.

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Only after coppin some tailfeather...

Puno is the port town on Lake Titicaca, which is the highest navigatable lake in the world at something like 13,000 feet, and its cold as hell at night. Now I have seen some pretty bad and shady business guys in my life, but man the taxi driver I got from Puno bus station to the hostel was the worst. This guy at 3:30 in the morning followed me into the hostel, and tried to take care of everything for me. I told him to pound salt, but then I realized what he was after. He tried to sell me a tour and wouldnt let me get to sleep untill I did. I told him to really get lost, and that I had to meet some friends that day and make some plans. Since I was still hungover from partying the night before I hit the sack untill at around 9ish I thought I heard the cops outside. Turns out this son of a bitch taxi driver came back to wake me up 6 hours after I rejected him to try and sell me the damn tour. Then when I tell him that Im not going to buy anything he told me his fee for his services is 20 soles. I didnt even use his services so I slammed the door in his face and went back to bed, but only after telling him that he by far the worst business man in the history of the earth. If Mike T was there I think we would have made a YTMND about it.

Other than that taxi driver guy Puno was awesome. I went to these tombs at Sullistani which were used by the incas and pre-incas to bury the kings of the area. They mummified them in the fetal position, and stuck them in these special cone shaped burial tombs.

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Me contemplating the whether I prefer to be remembered by the spirit of the condor, or the puma

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Awawaweewa, look at me - king in the castle. I have a chair. Everone look at me...

The next day I headed out to the floating islands of the Uros people, and to Taquile island. A couple centuries ago there were these really badass dudes called the Kolla, and they kicked some serious mideivel butt. Because of that these other dudes were really afraid, so they moved to the middle of lake titicaca. They live on these floating islands, of which there are thirty or so of them. The islands are manmade, and they are basically this root system they get from across the lake. They take those root chunks which float, tie them together, and put about a meter of reeds on it and then stack a couple of houses on top of that. They have really cool boats which they use to get around which are made entirely of the reeds. Taquile island (kind of like taquile, but switch the a and the e) is this place which has a real spanish influence. This spanish guy bought the island in 1680 and since its isolated (a 2.5 hour boat ride from Puno) the spanish style stayed. The men dress like catalan bullfighters, and are really proud of their knitting. They are in fact so proud of their knitting that they get boozed up and have competitions as to who is the better knitter. This aint your daddy´s knitting competition however - they pour a beer into their hats, and whoevers leaks the fastest is the loser and is destined to a life of pain and torture... (well, maybe minus the pain and torture).

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I fought my way to the inside of this fish, but it didnt like me so it let me go out of the top of it!

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Thinking about how slow the beer is about to flow from their hat...

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After I kicked it with a pretty good crowd over a few dozen drinks at one of the watering holes in Puno, the next day I headed to Cuzco. One of those dudes was a british indian guy named Sega. How cool of a name is that. Cuzco is the oldest city that is still used in North and South America. It was the center of the Incan empire, and is really sweet. I met back up with Christian there (he didnt go to Puno), and after checking into the crazy party hostel (Loki) we proceeded to trash that dump. We went to this crazy ass club with all locals, and were getting busy on the dancefloor. It was pretty good. Today we are in this town, im not sure of the name but its pretty cool here, and tomorrow we head off to Macchu Piccu.

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My new haircut - Peru remix. I need to have hair like this to 1) rock out like its 1983, and 2) to keep me warm at night

Before I forget, I should go over the highlights of the last weeks news in the MotoGP world. Interestingly enough Marco Melandri, who has had a disasterous season this year after switching for 2008 to Ducati has had discussions about dropping his bike manufacturer midseason. In Sachsenring Casey Stoner won, Rossi second, Vermeulen third. I think we all expected Chris Vermuelen to be on the podium. His wet weather experience clearly rose to the occasion to bring him to his first podium of the season. Dany Pedrosa crashed out unfortunately, but brought Rossi back up to be the points leader. Jorge Lorenzo, the shining star who everyone thought would smash the competition this year has had yet more problems, crashing out but keeping him in fourth in the points. Four days from now is the Red Bull Grand Prix at Laguna Seca. I was at that race last year when Stoner destroyed all the circuit records and went on for the win. I love that circuit, and believe that it is one of the coolest on the whole calendar. I am really looking forward to watching that race. You should check it out. I believe its on Speedvision on sundays, the usual hour being around 4 or 6 PM.

Posted by bejuan99 10:04 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

PERU IS AWESOME!!!!

I think I left off in Baños, Ecuador.

The last day I was there I took what they called a steam bath at the hotel. I dont know how they came up with that name, but that isnt how I would describe it. First of all you sat in this box thing that looked more like a whodini contraption more than anything else. Only your head stuck out. You would go in there and steam and eucalyptis would go all over your body sans head for four minutes at a time for four times total. At the end, a guy would tell you what to do and it was different ever time. Sometimes you would wipe a cold towel on your legs, another time I sat in a cold bath for my stomach, and he rubbed it in a circular motion, another time he firehosed my body with cold water, only in the armpits though (wtf???). Nonetheless, somebody came up with this crazy regimen through thousands of years of tribulations, soI wasnt going to say anything. That day went back to Quito to tackle Cotopaxi this time for real.

We took a jeep to Volcan Cotopaxi, which is the second highest in Ecuador but is more pretty than its bigger brother Chimbarozu. We was these two British girls I knew from the hostel in Quito I convinced to go the night before and an Israeli guy. We parked on the side of it at 3,500 meters, and climbed to 4,800 meters to the refuge where we got some hot cocoa before trotting on. Our guide Louis told us that chocolate was good for the high altitude because of the cocao. Even starting at 3,500 meters it is very difficult to breathe. Every step takes concentration, and it is way too easy to overexert yourself. Nonetheless I took it as a test for when i make my way to everest base camp, so I was pushing it. I billygoated my ass up that mountain faster than the rest, and Louis was impressed as was the Israeli. The two british girls were dragging anchor, so we took qiute a bit longer than expected. When we left the refuge the plan was to go only another 200 meters (which takes sooo long because its so hard to walk) to the glacier to see glacial ice (supposedly very blue and unique). I had no problems, but the weather turned and with the pace of the girls we had to turn back. After a quick lunch at the refuge we went back to the jeep to get our bikes. We then mountain biked down the volcano about 6km to this beautiful lake, and then headed back to Quito.

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When we got back to Quito the girls and the Israeli guy were wore out, and headed to their hostels but I saw a shitload of people in the street and decided to follow. I didnt realize till about ten minutes later it was for the copa de libertadores (soccer championship). It was the finals with Quito vs. Fuminense (Brazillian team). The game was the most important in all of south america, and it was game two (of two). In game one Quito spanked them 4 to 2, and the town was going nuts. I had a lot of stuff on me, and it was a rowdy crowd so I hung out for the first half, had a couple of beers and then headed back to pack for my flight the next morning. I found out the next morning that Quito won. Hell Yeah! At the end of the game the score was Quito 1 vs Fuminense 3 (for a total of 5 points each for the two teams), so they went to double overtime. Intense!

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Bye Bye Quito & Ecuador!

I then flew to Lima. When I got out of the airport I tried to go cheap and use an unofficial taxi. Big mistake. At first I thought the guy would be cool, but within two minutes he was trying to sell me nose candy and take me to a brothel. He then told me that it was 35 dollars, not 35 soles like we agreed at the airport (3 soles per dollar - its the peruvian currency). I told him I was going to slit his throat and to let me out, but it was too late he took me to the worst part of town and when I told him i still wanted to get out he caved. When he gave me the change for my 50 sole note he gave me a counterfeit bill. What a piece of shit. Counterfeit money is really popular here, and sometimes when you buy something they look and feel the money for 5 minutes to make sure.

I got stuck in some dump of a hostel called stop and drop because the good one was all filled (ive never made a reservation on this trip and have never been rejected from a room). At stop and drop I slept in the dorm, which had three levels of bunk beds, and i was on the top. I was suspended like 15 feet in the air. Not good if your wasted...

At this point I was on the verge of licking the envelope that contained a letter to George Bush requesting for a full scale military attack on Lima, but then it got realy good.

Later that night I went to the casino, and won a bunch of money on the slots. They gave me a whole lot of booze, sandwiches, cigarettes, and free chips for the roulette tables. I was feelin good, and wanted to paint the town red. After grabbing some dinner I went to a touristy bar and met some old ass british guy who was moving in with his 20 year old chickita in Lima. He bought me a bunch of drinks, before he left. Then I made friends with this crazy native Arthur and we proceeded to get wasted. I picked up a couple of girls, and then a group of us went to a german bar for a couple of afterhours drinks. This really attractive older peruvian woman who lived in the states drove. We all got bombed, and the girl I was with had a good time and told me she wanted to be my girlfriend - mad funny. The girls in Peru love guys who have such stunning looks like myself, and little did I know at the time that if you go out you can have a similar experience any night of the week. They are all super attractive, and for some reason their Peruvian ex boyfriends cheated on them all.

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Me & one of my peruvian chicas

The next day I nursed my hangover by going paragliding. This is not the thing when you get towed behind a boat. Its the one where the parachute is used to fly around. My pilot an ex air force captain was an expert, and was the champion in Peru for the past two years. He told me one day he went up and flew for 6 hours before he had to come down to piss. He had really good control, and could go up or down very easily. The winds were good, and it was a really beutiful day in Lima. It isnt like skydiving, and is more tranquilo, except when we came so close to the Marriott I thought we were going to crash into someones suite but the pilot knew what he was doing. We flew to 1,000 feet at one point, did some steep dives, and did a low pass over this outdoor mall. Definately add it to the list of cool things ive done.

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That day left for Ica. Ica is this small town that is nothing special, but next to it about 5km away is Huachachina (pronounced wackacheena) which is paradise. Its an oasis, in the middle of a desert. The town is nothing more than a little lake with about 5 shops and a couple of hostels, but the main attraction is these HUGE sand dunes there which we went on with a dune buggy and sandboards. Sandboarding is a lot of fun, although their equipment was less than perfect. Its nothing like snowboarding. The best way to cruize down is by goign straight, no carving, and you can really pick up some speed. Its awesome.

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If you notice my stance is funny its because I biffed on the previous sand dune, and my hip was hurt up a lil bit

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After Huacachina I headed out with this aussie who ive been traveling for the past couple of days with to Aeroquepa. We wanted to catch the 9:00 bus, but it was full so we bought tickets for the 1:45 bus, and with a couple of hours to kill looked for a bar. We walked into the seediest strip club ive ever seen. Def wouldnt have had any kidneys if we drank there, so we went to this other bar and these cute waitresses told us to go to the karaoke portion where we did and drank a bunch of beers. For some reason the spirit of Jeff K. (from bing) entered my soul, so trying to pass the time, I gathered all the waitresses I could find and made them sing a lil Dust in the Wind. I got a small round of applause afterward, and we headed off for the 12 hour bus to Aeroquepa.

Aeroquepa is very nice. Its a mideivel kind of a city and is very clean. It reminds me more of Spain than South America. Alot has happened since ive been here, but I have to split so it will all have to wait for next time.

Before I go though I want to talk a lil about traveling alone. In the few phone calls ive made since I started this trip everyone wants to know if I like traveling alone. I really think its the only way to go. You have noone to accomodate to, and you go wherever you want. You pick up travel partners along the way, and it all works out in the end. I havent really been alone for a single day since I started (except for the food poisoning days), and I love every minute of it. I dont get lonely at all, as a matter of fact id say if I could have more personal time it would be better, but theres so much to do, so much to see, and so many people to meet. I couldnt imagine doing this kind of travel with a chicka because it gets hectic sometimes, and to have someone complaining wouldnt be all that cool. Maybe in another time, but not for this first world tour. Who knows, maybe some day in the future there will be a sequel to this madness, and it will costar some cutie. Only time will tell my friends...

End of transmission - B

Posted by bejuan99 10:52 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

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