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No penguins at Machu Picchu.

PERU | Saturday, 26 May 2012 | Views [648] | Comments [2]

So I left Bolivia last month after seven months there. I finshed my volunteer work in Cochabamba which was a shame. I would have stayed longer if possible but my visa finishing was a problem. The last two months there really took off for me and I was really enjoying myself.

I said my farewells to my friends and students at Manuela Gandarillas (the centre for the blind), goodbye to the staff at Projects Abroad. I had some farewell drinks at a rock bar with my Bolivian friends and had a special lunch with my host family.

After seven months my family and I had been through a lot together. In February not only did we have carnival but we had six birthdays and a death in the family. I taught them different Austraian slang including what an Australian kiss is referring to. There favorite though was 'cool bananas' and so I ordered some tshirts from the States that had a monkey on it with a banana and the words 'cool bananas' across the front but the shirts never showed up. That's Bolivia post for you - a real lottery.

I collected quite abit of stuff over the months and decided to leave my guitar behind with my family. Mainly because I couldn't carry it as well as my two bags, and partly as an excuse to go back to Cochabamba one day.

I also said goodbye to Gina, my dentist, of the last few months. I originally went to get a tooth reconstruction but because the price was so cheap I got everything sorted out. Gina and I became good friends and for once in my life I enjoyed going to the dentist, The main reason being that Gina had her laptop hooked up to a screen and so I was able to watch DVD's whilst she was working on my teeth. It was very difficult not to laugh during 'Meet the Fokkerrs' but mainly I watched music dvds, live concerts. It was just like being at the cinema except you couldn't eat popcorn. I think I went about 12 times in three months. That 's after going to the dentist only three times in the 17 years previous to being in Bolivia. 

I spent a weekend in Santa Cruz and went to a cool eco farm and saw some cool birds and butterflies and saw two turtles having sex.

I went to La Paz which is a pretty cool city. I booked a bicycle tour for the Death Road, maybe you've heard of it. I didn't end up going because of a dodgy stomach from some nachos I¡d eaten. So that was $60 lost.

I managed to cross the border from Boliva to Peru without much trouble. I had overstayed my visa by ten days but the penalty is a fine of Bs20 for every day over so I paid a fine of Bs200 (about $28 at the time). 

I was pretty happy with how the border crossing went. I did try to get out of the fine. The date stamped in my passport said 10 Jan but it wasn't clear so I tried to pass it off as 19 Jan and therefore I would have been within 90 days. The immigration officer wasn't really buying it but couldn't prove it . That is until he went searching through my passport and saw an exit sramp from Brasil quite clearly saying the 10th. So I had to stop the facade and accept the fine.

So once in Peru I chilled out a bit visiting friends in Puno and Cusco before going to Lima to meet up with my good friend Julia from Germany. Julia joined me for a month and we travelled around Peru together checking out all the well known tourist spots. We hit a bit of a hurdle the first day when Julia was robbed and lost her passport, wallet and Iphone. However, things worked in our favour after that. It turned out the German embassy was just two blocks away from our hostel. Also, we had good luck at the Police station. We were told the application for a police report would take all day but we didn't have all day, we needed to get to the Embassy before it closed for the day at lunch time. One of the officer's overheard our story and for a small fee he did our application then and there. The form required four different people to sign it but this guy did all four sgnatures, each one different. So Julia was able to get a temporary passport and we then headed south. We checked the wildlife on the pretty Islas Ballestas, the famous lines at Nasca and the Colca Canyon outside of Arequipa.

I had a good day for my birthday on the 3rd in a small town on the coast and we went on a boat tour to some of the nearby islands and saw some penguins, Woohoo. A shit load of birds and sealions. It was pretty awesome. The sea was quite choppy around the small islands and my guts felt a bit crook from it but I managaed to survive without throwing up.
The next morning was pretty cool. I went on a sand buggy tour in the desert. It was a bit like a roller coaster driving up the large dunes and then going down the steep decline on the other side. It was a bit scary sometimes but alot of fun. The suspense was when going up the sand dune and not knowing what was on the other side until you got there. Maybe it was a steep drop or maybe just a plateu so you always held your breath when you got to the top. I was sitting at the front as well which made it more exciting.
Also we did some sandboarding down the dunes. We lay on the boards and slid down the dunes for 50 metres or more. The first one had a bump at the bottom and I bumped my nose on the board pretty fcken hard and had a bleeding nose for a short while. But the boarding was good fun , too.
After two weeks we arrived in Cusco in readiness for our five day Machu Picchu trek. Julia became ill and didn't end up doing it , instead joining us on the last night before our visit to the Inca City the next day. The trek was amazing and we treked around Salkantay Mountain, over 6000 metres high, and then down in to the jungle. We experienced freezing conditions, snow, rain, and the searing heat. I normally wouldn't have chosen to do a trek , it was Julia's idea, but I was really grateful for having done it. The scenary was amazing.
So we woke at 3:45am and went to Machu Picchu, my second time. This time round there was a lot of fog in the morning which made the site very eerie and mystic. It was amazing. The fog later lifted and we had a very fine day. I was lucky to have a ticket to climb Wayna Picchu, the mountain behind the ruins with a great view over the valley. Unlike last time , we had a late train back to Cusco so we were able to stay the whole day at the site. It was very relaxing in the afternoon just chilling out with the resident lamas as most of the tourists leave around lunch time. I was hoping to see some penguins again but no luck, just the lamas.
So Julia has returned home and I'm in Cusco for a few more days before travelling via Chile to Buenos Aires in Argentina where I plan to immerse myself in the culture there for three months. Can't wait to see what becomes of it.
So I've added some more photos from the last few months for you to check out too. I hope you've enjoyed this short update of what I've been up to lately. Not everyone enjoys reading about what I get upto as my old neighbour from the London days let me know in no uncertain terms.
ciao for now.
"With all the misery I am seeing affecting animals Europe wide...& all the hell that innocent people & animals have to endure daily worldwide...my only response to your moronic ("like what intelligent human being would care about your self-absorbed ravings"), crass e-mails is : GROW-UP YOU FUCKING IDIOT!!!!!!!!! Like who gives a damn about what an obviously feckless piece of  shit like you is doing?????????"



Thanks mate for providing your Cochabamba travel experience also it is relevant with your volunteer work. Whatever we found here some of focus information those are helpful and attractive for making a trip to Cochabamba due to its beauty. Thanks!

  micale May 26, 2012 3:33 PM


Awesome Space... as for the trolls that read your 'moronic self absorbed' rantings and then ask 'who cares what you're doing'... well that's kind of like stating the obvious!

The world of the interweb is full of tall poppy douceh-bags unsatisfied with their own lives...


  bryce May 27, 2012 12:33 PM

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