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Phalex gone wild

Cuzco Cuzco Cuzco!

PERU | Wednesday, 19 August 2009 | Views [1070] | Comments [7]

Hello faithful readers! Are there any of you left after our dreadful blog drought? We send huge apologies for the lack of updates but have just been having too much fun. Since our last blog from Paris, we have been in and out of Barcelona, and arrived in Cuzco on Friday. But I´ll start with Barca...

So, bit of a disaster to start with as shitty Iberia airlines lost our luggage - who does that?? so we suffered the first two days of barcelona heat with one t shirt each - it was ugly. Also problematic was Alex´s cold which then got passed onto Phil - unlucky. we did end up going shopping and can claim from iberia eventually, but given their crap`tastic customer service, i dont like our chances of getting that money back in the next year!! our hostel, nest, was really nice tho and had a great kitchen which was much appreciated, plus nice communal areas and air con. very good.

when our bags did eventually arrive, we got our act together and had our fuirst proper day out - we went to a really excellent market in the city centre and bought delicious picnic food, then ate it up on a mountain park called montjuic. really nice and amazing views - especially from the municipal pool that we sfound late in the day and accidently snuck into for free... no one assssked us for money... but yeah, incredible to be able to swim around and see the whole of barcelona below us! I think it was the pool that they used for the 1992 barca olympic diving. incredible!

that night we went on the pub crawl which was quite and we got to see lots of barcelona that we hadnt seen yet. it is a full on party town - the crawl didnt start till 11 and we left EARLY at 4am... crazy. and there were loads of people out and about at that time which was weird but nice. spent the next day hanging about basically waiting for phil´s cold to improve, and also moved to our new hostel - a university residence out of town. bit of a disaster getting their public transport wise but it was worth it for the roof-top pool and unlimited free ping pong and huge breakfast buffets every morning. from here we went and saw sagrada familia - the big ass gaudi church that was started in early 1900s and won´t be finished till 2030 - which was pretty incredible. also went to the beach and swam in the med - very nice - and did a gaudi walking tour later in the week. in the course of the week, phil´s wallet got stolen.. boo.. but that was just another unfortunate event in our barcelona series. on our last night we went and had another picnic with market food in the really lovely city park - which was actually swarming with theives, two of which tried to double team us but alas, we THWARTED them as phil was sitting on his bag and noticed when the asshole tried to take it from under our noses (while his buddie distracted us)! little did they know we are actually undergrad crime fighters - we went and warned another couple who the asshole was sitting near, then saw him trying on other people so we went and told the police who then sent out a team to look for him- yay!! thwart thwart.

on our final day we went to the lovely park guell - another extravagant gaudi place with yet more nice barcelona views. that night we headed to the airport for our overnight flight to lima - yet another shitty public transport journey which we totally stuffed up, but still made it in good time. and the nice iberia guy managed to check on our bags all the way to cuzco, which meant that in our 8 hours transit time in lima, we were free to explore the city.

the flight was fine - the long leg from madrid to lima was operated by LAN who were much better than iberia and we got nice food. arrived in south america (still kicking ourselves to believe we´re actually here!) at about 6am and made our way into miraflores (not central lima, but a suburb nearby) to go to the brazilian embassy re visas. I ate a yummy peruvian breakfast consisting of mashed corn and pork - yay, corn! and we both had delicious fresh juice which they do so well here. and you know what the best bit is? it is SO CHEAP!!! hoooraaaayyyyy.

no luck at the embassy as they said its impossible to do visas via post, so we will need to do that at our next stop in la paz, bolivia. we spent the rest of the day in the city centre after a hilarious bus ride - they havent got any concept of lanes here, so it is craaazzy. theres not really bus stops either, so you just flag a bus down when you see it (according to whats written on the side) and jump on. besides the driver, there is also a helper person who hangs out the door yelling out the bus destinations and takes payment - as i said, its full on! and no one has any suspension... bump bump.

lima city was pretty uninspiring - very dirty etc, but im glad we got to see it anyway. our flight up to cuzco in the afternoon was amazing - practically empty plane as they go like every half hour, and incredible views over the andes! we flew into mountains, it was super coooool. phil took loads of plane window pictures so when we get a chance to upload them, you can all see what we mean!

luckily neither of us felt the altitude too badly, except for being a little short of breath. our host family is really nice - two retired locals, maria luisa and eduardo, plus 4 other volunteers. so its kind of like a big family hostel bed and breakfast set up - its really nice. and maria is such a good cook and eduardo is a mean cleaner - there is a strange parallel with my parents at home haha! except for the background story, which is quite exciting; turns out eduardo used to work high up in the department of justice for peru under one of many corrupt govts, and at one point he became responsible for signing off on some aid documents. Western countries had donated millions to buy computers etc for development, and eduardo had to sign off... without seeing the goods. So he said no, then got pressured and still said no, and eventually was unceremoniously dumped from his position. at the time, maria had a restaurant and two chicken shops, so they were doing very well, but in the next few months, her permits and licenses were curiously denied - so they lost both income sources, thanks to a corrupt govt. how about that! so now, their source of income is the money from us volunteers, and seeing as their kids have all moved out, it works really well because we are like surrogate children!

we just spent the weekend hanging out and resting to avoid altitude sickness, but did venture out to the ´bohemian´district on sunday morning - very nice, but everything was closed. but we saw our first alpacas! accompanied by ladies in traditional wear! very cool. for those playing at home, we know they are alpacas because their ears pointed back rather than up; llamas have all right angles with really upright ears. on sunday we also stumbled accross a huge military parade in the city centre, which was strange.

despite out best efforts at resting, on sunday night phil got very sick, and on monday morning alex followed suit... bummer. we got thru our orientation on mon morning but spent the rest of the day in bed, and now (tuesday afternoon) we´re both feeling mostly better, except with not much appetite. turns out a bakery we went to on sunday afternoon is known to be a bit dodgy - oops - and that combined with altitude made us yukky. sad! but it could have been much worse - I didnt even throw up, which made me very pleased!

today we started our volunteering after a 40 min bus ride out into the sticks of cuzco to the school we´re working at. the kids are really cute and we´re both actually quite glad to be working with rural kids rather than those better off closer into town. we felt a bit ´thrown in the deep end´ but it will only get better as we learn more spanish... and the kids love us because a) phil helped them climb on the climbing frame and b) i have curly blond hair (like some sort of alien). its nice, and there is a big mama pig with piglets who lives outside the school - don´t know why, but ive never seen piglets before so its quite exciting!

i think that brings us pretty much up to date - jesus, im exhausted. serves us right for not communicating sooner! we hope you´re all very well and happy in sydney - i think we´ve got pretty similar weather here (beautiful and clear and warm during the days, with amazing stars at night) so we´re not too jealous. so, until next time... hasta luego!

Tags: alpaca, barcelona, cuzco, gaudi, lima, luggage, montjuic, sick, volunteering



Wow - what an adventure you two are having - having bags lost etc a bit of a bummer but all in the experience of world travel! Peru sounds amazing - looking forward to see some photos - hope you are both well now and enjoy your teaching and the piglets Alex! Take care,


Sandra xx

  Sandra Peters Aug 19, 2009 10:36 AM


PIGLETS!!!! And small rural children. You have the best lives right now.

Stay safe, and learn enough spanish to ask if places are dodgy.

  Megan Aug 19, 2009 11:45 AM


Sooo Cool!!!! Have fun!!!

  Aunty Sal Aug 19, 2009 2:16 PM


Best update ever.

It sounds so amazing I'm jealous! I was unaware you were doing volunteer work but you guys should have so much fun with the little munchkins.

I'm disappointed that they were alpacas and not llamas.

I reckon you'd make a pretty convincing alien alex, what with your different language and hairness.

can't wait for pictures.

  Shoey Aug 19, 2009 6:34 PM


So the gap in posts was all worth it when you are rewarded with an update like that! fantastico and just the one lesson to learn - altogether now
beware peruvian pastries!

  ClaireJim Aug 19, 2009 8:17 PM



I am still traveling vicariously though you so please keep updating! You guys sound like you are having the best time ever :) Have fun and keep safe! (aka try to stay away from dodgy food sources) xoxoxoxoxo lux

  Lux town Aug 19, 2009 9:54 PM


I saw a little bit of your blog before when you were in Europe and thought "interesting". But now you are in Bolivia volunteering to teach English and living in a homestay and learning Spanish, I am thinking "very interesting!". Because that is what Nicky and I are doing right now! except in Costa Rica! we{re here for another month, and then will travel more around Central America until January.

and, of course, we have a blog too: www.nickyowen.org

hope you are both recovered after the stomach bugs. ¡y diganos como el espanol va!

  Owen Aug 20, 2009 10:21 AM

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