A Travellerspoint blog

Argentina

sunny

Feels kind of weird that in 2 days ill be in Buenos Aires. The time has gone so quick, but it really has been one fantastic trip and I have seen and done so much in the time that I have been away.

There is not really a great deal for me to write about in this email in all honesty. The last time I wrote, we had just arrived in Argentina but I spent the entire email talking about Bolivia. It really is a funny thing that, I was nervous about Bolivia but in all honesty, it has been the favorite country that I have visited. I mean we did things that bought a tear to my eye, like the orphanage in Sucre and seeing all the homeless and beggars, it was a pretty sad place but its history is intense and for a country who has lost 4 civil wars with its neighbours, I found overall that the Bolivian people are friendly and kind hearted.

Anyway this email is about Argentina. As I said previously, we spent all night on a train to get to Villazon on the border and then had to get an all day bus to get to Tilcara. We spent the afternoon in Tilcara walking around the local market and then went out for a group dinner. I had a BBQ meal which was consisted of Pork, Beef, sausages and Llama. YEP I have also now had Llama, and really, its very similar to beef, lamb and alpaca. We also went through 4 bottles of wine for dinner between 3 of us and then moved on to a pub. I had one more drink at the pub then decided I wanted to call home. Sorry mum, I was kinda a little tipsy when I called you which unfortunately was at like 11.30pm here. Argentina is very European like. A typical day starts at 9am, it then goes to 1pm of which then everyone has a siesta. The shops are like a ghost town between 1pm and 5pm. Only thing open is a few restaurants and pubs. and then at 5pm everything opens again until 9pm. So of course dinner does not get fitted into the picture until after 9pm.

Anyway as we are eating late, it really throws your sleeping patterns out the window and it does take a bit of getting used to. So because we had just finished diner, it was late by the time I called home so the only phone was at a service station out of town. It was like a half an hour walk down the main road that leads out of town and i actually had to walk past the welcome to Tilcara sign to get to this place.

On the way there I did get kind of nervous because there was a group of blokes hanging around and they followed me for a bit up to the service station but luckily they were gone when I went back towards the motel.

Walking back after the call I ran into Craig and he told me he was just walking around seeing what was happening so I ended up following him and we found this party out in the middle of no where. We didnt have the guts to go in so was hanging around out the front when we got approached by 8 guys. After telling them we were Aussies and not Americans they sat down with us and shared their wine with us, it was terrible but I wasnt going to offend them. Funny thing is that one of the guys had a broken wrist and when we asked what happened, his mate told me he couldnt throw a punch properly and broke it on a guys face. NICE. So up jumps Craig and decided to teach this guy how to throw a punch. This went of for about 5 minutes and then they are sparring. His mate who I was talking to asked if I wanted to spare so I said yeah why not and here we are sparring with the locals and they were really pretty terrible. I had to teach this guy to space his hands out and stop moving front on and to keep his elbows down. I also decided to show him a few things I learned in Karate buy getting out of holds etc and we soon had new best friends.

At 2.30am Craig and i decided it was time to go back to the motel and it was then that we got invited to the leaders house to visit his family the following day. We tried to explain we couldnt but then he got a little annoyed so we assured him we would be back at the same spot at 10am and he let us go happily waving. Lucky for us we were on a 9am bus and well on our way to Salta by the time they realised we were not turning up.

The next day took us to some local towns but I have a thing with red wine where if I have to much, im no good all the next day so I pretty much spent the whole time sleeping and before I knew it, I was in lovely Salta.

We didnt get in until late so we went to our rooms, had a shower and met up at 9pm for dinner and a show. Dinner consisted of the best darn steak I have ever eaten, this thing made the grill room seem pretty lousy. I absolutely love Argentinean steak, its better than they say it is seriously. The show was a northern Argentinean dance and it was pretty interesting, funny thing is most of you know how much I love to dance NOT!!!!!!!!!!!! and what happens, they pick 2 people from the crowd to dance, lucky me hey, i guess at least it was the hottest little dancer on the floor, she really was stunning. It was actually a bit of fun, i cant dance but id had a few bourbons so had dutch courage on my side. After the dinner and show, we all went to a nite club and it was a huge night. Didnt get home until 6.30am.

The next day I slept until 2.30pm and missed the city tour, didnt really worry me because I went exploring on my own and found a hairdresser where I got a number 1 all over and a number 2 on the moustache. I was starting to get some pretty serious hat hair so really needed the trim. Afterwards I found a nice little place that served really good coffee and toasted sandwiches so sat and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. At 9pm we all met up again and went for dinner. I had this really lovely chicken in a mustard cream sauce with rice that kind of resembled risotto. I to date still have not had a bad meal here. No wonder they all need to sleep the afternoon away. Anyway, yesterday was a spare day so I got up late and went looking around town again, found an Irish bar and met up with an Irish bloke watching the soccer. We saw Liverpool win 8 nil so it really was a good afternoon.

We met up at 8pm last night for an overnight bus and now here we are in Cordoba. This place really shocked me because tomorrow we are seeing the Jesuit missionary's so I thought it would be a small town but its kind of like a Melbourne, it has a population of 4,000,000 and is the same size. Oh, and its about 35 degrees here so its hot !!!!!!!

Anyway, im going for a siesta, as they say when in Rome. my next email will either be from home in a week or from Iguazu so thanks for reading guys and to those of you who replied to my emails, I really enjoyed reading them, sometimes travelling on you own can be hard and it always brings a smile to your face when you hear from those you love and also from your friends.

Cheers again

Glen

Posted by gasheppard 11:16 Archived in Argentina Comments (1)

Mines, Salt Plains and Emotional Goodbyes to New Amigos

sunny

Well I left you last in Potosi and was about to go on a mine tour. Let me just say that it absolutely rocked. Raph told me not to tell anyone because he could get in trouble but we bought some dynamite, You can buy it at the miners market with no permit or anything. Anyway we all got on a bus and were driven to this place that looked more like a house where we ditched our clothes and put on miners clothes, pretty basic affair really, it consisted of tracksuit pants, a jacket and a helmet. Once we got to the mines we were given a battery and light that clipped into the helmet. The mine was nothing like I expected, I was thinking we would be walking through waist deep water and having to crawl in certain places but that was not the case. Armed with gumboots, we slogged through the entrance and with a group of 16 it was pretty busy and not so dark with so many lights. Anyway we stumbled into 2 miners about 20 minutes into the mine and gave them some soft drinks and they told us that they were preparing charges to be set off in 20 minutes. Time to move on our tour guide thought.

So onwards we travelled and found that the mine was virtually empty, thing is that with a public holiday coming up in 2 days, most of the miners had taken off for long weekends. LAZY...... Well then again maybe not. It gave us time and space to move around freely.

Anyway as we were walking back we hear BANG, BANG, BANG. 10 times all up, I was in hysterics because a few of the girls started freaking out but for some reason, I was loving it and having a ball. They were talking about cave in´s and I was wanting to explore more.

Anyway, all good things must come to an end so we exited the mine and moved on up the mountain, but, this is where the fun really began. Raph and the mine tour leader prepared the dynamite with some other stuff and with quick silver and a wick and then Mike the crazy brit decided he wanted to light it. Here we are (the rest of the group) about 40 metres away from them and im videoing it on my camera, and I see Mike light the wick and bolt. Anyway it took 35 seconds to go off and the wait was pretty intense because I was curious as to if this would just be like a penny bunger that we used to use as kids of if this would be a huge explosion. Anyway turns out, it would have been enough to blow a couple of cars up and I absolutely SHAT myself, I fell back and although I managed to capture the explosion, the camera flys upwards about half a second later.

After our little bit of fun we all went back to the hotel and then had showers and got ready for dinner. The group for once actually split up and had dinner in 2 different places, one group wanted to go to the same cafe we went to for lunch and the rest of us went to a nice place that did quite good steaks.

The next day we went to the mint and saw how they process all of the silver into coins. It was quite an interesting contrast to initially see the mine and then see what it produces.

At around lunch time we had to get on a bus for Uyuni which all up should be a 5 hours trip. Let me say that before this instance we had been fairly lucky and had a good run with Bolivian buses. Not to be the case this time however and about 5 minutes after we had taken off the driver decided to let on about 45 extra people and charge them an additional 4 bolivianos to stand up and crowd the isles. What made this trip even more difficult is that Potosi to Uyuni is only like 200 kms away but its all dirt and unmade road so to overload a bus was quite silly and irresponsible of the driver.

We did actually pass a checkpoint about 50 minutes into the trip and a policeman got on shouting in Spanish for everyone to get off. Raphael was furious with the bus driver because of the risk he put on us by overloading a bus and talked to the policeman but the people wouldnt move and there was no way that a single policeman was going to be able to remove 45 people so after a fine we were back on our way, still overloaded.

Our 5 hour bus trip turned into 6 and a half hours because of the weight so we arrived in Uyuni at about 7.30pm instead of at the scheduled 6pm. The motel was actually a bit of a dive but lucky for us they had a good restaurant run by New Zealanders that made the best pizza in South America, well so Raph said. Turns out he was right, for any of you that know Godfathers, this ran circles around it, I cant describe how nice this pizza was. It cost 55 bolivianos for a small which is actually quite expensive for bolivian food but well worth it because I was absolutely fanging for a decent pizza. Afterwards I was pretty much in heaven, I had had a bad trot with being sick and getting some pretty ordinary meals and within a day and a half, id had a toasted sandwich and pizza all of good quality.

We decided after dinner that we would play a game of poker. 10 boliviano buy in so pretty cheap really but after 3 hours this game looked like it was never going to end. It was 11.30pm and the owner told us we had to leave and go to our rooms, anyway we decided to hang around still playing out in the common room of where our rooms were and at 12 we had this old bloke come out and yell at us to keep the noise down. BAH, well we are not totally disrespectful so we kept playing but whispered instead of talking normally. Anyway this old guy was just one of those people that gets off on complaining about life so at 1am he walked out stared at us and went and put in a complaint. We knew what was coming so we quickly packed up the game and all moved into my room, Myself, Mikaela, Adrian, Mike and Craig who by this stage was smashed off a bottle of Black Jack whiskey.

Five minutes into the game and there is a knock on my door, Craig who is the closest gets up, turns the light off and in his drunken state decided to pretend he was asleep and say Yeah whats wrong, the guy says Habla usted Espanol, Craig says nah mate I dont speak Spanish so then the guy goes on a tangent for like 2 minutes with Craig saying Si, Si, Comprendo, Si, Hasta Luego and then shutting the door. Mike who speaks fluesnt Spanish asked Craig then if he knew what he just agreed to and Craig said, wouldnt have a bludy clue mate and Mike replies, you just agreed to pay an extra nights rent because that old guy is refusing to pay now due to all the noise. Im thinking to myself, Great we are in my room, ahh well, ill sort it out in the morning. So we continued to play until 2.30 in the morning.

The next day we were up at 8am, got a sleep in for once !!!!! but I was tired from the night before and then I ran into Raph so told him about the incident the night before. Lucky for us Raph got us out of forking out more money, dont know how, the guy pulls off miracles.

At 9am 3 four wheel drives pull up and we set off for the Salt plains after a quick stop at the market to buy some water and snacks. After about 45 minutes of driving we arrive at this island in the middle of the salt plains and it was an amazing site. He is all this white salt as far as the eye can see, and let me tell you, you can see a long way on the salt plains, all the way to the mountain range bordering with Chile. This island was where we were to have lunch and we had an hour to explore around it. Up we hiked to the highest peak and got some really great shots of the salt plains from up high and also of the island itself which was covered in stone and cactus's that are like 4 times as big as a human body, hence hundreds of years old.

After lunch we got back into the four wheel drives and kept driving out for about half an hour. It was here we got out and did our silly photos. You know the ones, where one person stands 20 metres down and looks like they are 15 times smaller than the person near the camera. I got a couple of good shots, one of me standing on a wine bottle doing the crane from Karate Kid and another of me riding this toy llama. That one turned at really good and I kind of look like one of those soldiers in The Empire Strikes back riding those woolly mammoths at Hoth. Some of you may know what im going on about there.

After out photo session we drove back and visited a hotel made completely out of salt, it was very interesting but by this time most of us needed the toilet and the cheeky hotel owner thought it would be a good idea to charge us each 4 bolivianos for the toilets use. Bugger that, we just holded and headed back to the hotel.

Once we got back from our day on the salt plains we all headed to a pub where we had a few drinks, I had 2 local beers and they went down fantastic because I had not had a drink since La Paz, very good of me I thought. Just as we wear about to go for dinner Jaz and Will a couple from Sydney decided to try this shot called a llama sperm so I thought what the heck, ill try it too, whats gross about this is when it came out it looked like it had sperm in it, turns out it was cream but it looked kind of um how do I say this, politically incorrect. After downing the drinks we all went for dinner.

As dinner took like an hour and a half to eat, we all had to quickly go back to the motel and get our bags and then walk to the train station for our over night train which was due to leave at 9.45pm. After boarding I decided to have 2 sleeping tablets that Suzanne kindly gave me, they were herbal but did the job and I got a decent nights sleep. We woke around 6.30am and at 7am was in Villazon which is on the Bolivian side of the border so after saying good by to Raph we were introduced to our new tour guide who is to take us through Argentina. It was a pretty emotional time because we had all gotten on so well with Raph. I especially got chummy with him and will always be in debtted to him for his hospitality while in Bolivia and for also helping me go to a doc and get myself better from my infection.

We were actually talking the night before and he told me on the quite that Geckos had offered him the job of Manager for Geckos Bolivia, I told him he should look at taking it because he is away so much and is due to get married next September. I hope he takes my advise because he would be the right man for the job. Anyway, we swapped emails and I promised to send him my web page once I have this diary up with all the photos.

Anyway here I am now in a town called Tilcara with wind burn and wind rash, dirty and tired so I am going to end this here and go have a shower, change my clothes and have a nap ON A REAL BED. After a 10 hour train trip and a 6 hour bus ride, im pretty tired.

Till next time guys.

Glen

Posted by gasheppard 11:59 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

Beautiful Bolivia

sunny

Well the birthday dinner turned into one huge night. I was drinking a coctail called Welcome to the Jungle and let me tell you, it was strong. It was a real good night and everyone in the group had plenty to drink and eat. I somehow managed to lean in chocolate cake so in the morning when I woke up relised that I couldnt wear my pants. Feel sorry for the person who did our laundry in Sucre.

Our second day in La Paz saw us eat at a japanese restaraunt, I was a little skepticle since I dont eat sea food but I ended up getting a noodle and chicken dish which was quite nice. After lunch we went to the markets again and then had to pack and be ready to leave for the 6pm overnight bus. In some ways, staying out till 3am the night before was a sensible thing because the 12 hour bus ride flew and before I knew it I was in Sucre.

Sucre to date has been my favorite city. Its quite smaller than La Paz or Lima, around the same size as Cusco but with a better atmosphere. It was a real cruisy place and you felt safe where ever you walked. As our group was so tired from constant travel Raphael our guide decided a quite day was in order and booked us into this resort for the day. It was fantastic. It was done up really nice and was only about a 30 min drive from Sucre but felt all remote and peaceful. We had a BBQ lunch which consisted of sausages, steaks and salads. I however am on a salad free diet here after being sick in Cusco from eating lettuce and tomato. Still didnt help me as I got sick in the afternoon in Sucre.

Anyway getting back on track, after lunch some of us swam, some rested in hammocks and some of us played a local Bolivian game which is kind of like Botchi where you throw 12 coins at this bench like thing that has a frog in the middle. If you can get the coin into the frogs mouth you get 50 points. None of us managed to do that and even Raphael our tour guide has only managed that 3 times in his life time. Must be kinda like a hole in one in golf. I got totally addicted to the game and was playing it for like 4 hours.

At around 5.30pm we all got back on the bus and headed back to our hotel in Sucre. Now talk about nice hotels, this place we were staying in was the best to date. It was like a spanish mansion and the rooms were awesome. It was good to be back in a single room again of which I have been lucky most of the trip. I have only really shared one night in Lima, 1 for the homestay and the 2 nights in La Paz.


By the time I got back to the motel I was really starting to feel sick and had been to the toilet 9 times that day. Not really going to go into much detail about that but I didnt eat dinner and just had a relaxing night watching cable tv. The next day I was still really bad (yesterday) and after our day tour of Sucre, Raphael took me to the doc and I got prescribed anti biotics for an infection. I was struggling yesterday but still fought on because the afternoon was one of the things I was really looking forward to on this trip.

After visiting a few museums we had lunch, I didnt, wasnt hungry and then went to the market where we bought 300 bolivianos worth of food. Chocolate powder, milk, fruit, pastas etc and then Raphael took us to an orphanage in Sucre. This place really put a tear in my eye. Here is 60 kids who have been dumped at the orphanage because their parents are either addicted to drugs or alcohol. Some of them will have a chance to get adopted but they have to move on at 6 and some of these kids, at least half were bordering on being 6. They dont really have much hope in this world where they will probably have to go back to drug addicted parents or worse, out on the streets.

It really was a humbling experience and I have pics of me piggy backing these kids and throwing them up in the air so they could touch the roof. The smiles I received from this is more than anything I could want.

The place is run by 3 nuns, one from Columbia and two from Argentina and they do a fantastic job. They also have helpers who volunteer their time there and the place is clean and safe and they have toys etc. The kids seem happy but its just such a shame that they have to move out at 6 years of age.

That night we went out for dinner and I had a plain steak and boiled spuds, man it was bland but because im sick I couldnt have anything else. I used a heap of salt and pepper to give it flavor but hey, at least I could eat as I hadnt eaten since La Paz as I started to get the infection on the overnight bus. Am thinking that it was probably from ice that would have been in the cocktails I was drinking in La Paz.

Oh before I forget, just before we left La Paz Raphael gave us all a gift. The indigenous people of Bolivia and Peru are really superstitious and at the witches market you can buy all sorts of weird amulets etc. They even buy Llama fetuses and bury them under their house for protection and long life. WEIRD!!!!

One of the things all Bolivian people believe in is Pacha Muma, probably have not spelt that right but it means Mother Earth. They sell stone amulets at the witches market and it was one of these that Raphael presented us all with. I have been carrying mine in my pocket for protection and safe passage. But I thought the gift was such a nice thing for him to do.

Anyway after dinner last night I got an early night and what is kind of good is that im starting to feel better today. I am going to make sure that I finish my prescription because maybe it has come back and was related to my illness in Cusco ??? who knows.

This morning we had a wake up call at 5.30am and we all got on a bus and headed for Potosi which is where we are now. This morning we walked around SLOWLY Potosi is 4100 metres above sea level and one of if not the highest city in the world. It is even higher than Lhasa in Tibet.

For lunch we went to this coffee place were I actually got a toasted ham and cheese sandwich, it was marvelous, I have ordered about 5 of them here and this is the first place that has bread, they all sell sandwiches as rolls here so a simple Ham and cheese toastie was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Anyway better leave this one here, its 2.34 and at 3 we are all meeting up and doing a silver mine tour. It should be great and afterwards we are all chipping in and buying some dynamite and Raphael is going to blow something up for us, hehehehehe im like a little kid again. Luckily he has done it several times and has assured us its going to be totally safe.

Until next time.

Cya

Glen

Posted by gasheppard 10:39 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

Puno, Lake Titicaca and La Paz

overcast

Well in the last 4 days I have seen so much that I thought I needed to type out another E Mail.

My last night in Cusco saw most of our group go out for dinner at an Irish Pub of which the meals were really good. After dinner we had a few drinks and then moved on to a disco kind of place. We were getting vodka and lemonade's for 2 for 8 soles which is like under 2 bucks each so we all had quite a few of them. One of the girls in the Group Jane had her mobile phone stolen so we ended up at the police station lodging a report at like 3am. They told us to come back the next day so as we were leaving at 8 we had to wait until we got to Puno.

As we all didnt get back to the hotel until 4am, I was quite sore and sorry for myself at the 7am wake up call and slept pretty much the whole way to Puno. We got in around lunch time and I had the best room with a double bed and cable tv, 90 odd channels so I again spent most of the afternoon and night asleep and watching TV. Big nights are no good hehehehe. Some people would disagree with my but I found Puno to be a CRAP hole of a joint. Jane was telling me when she went to the policewith out guide Mario to lodge the report, there was an American woman there also lodging a report that she had been chloroformed and had her money stolen.

Anyway, seen as though we had a massive night the night before I just took it easy and caught up on sleep.

The next morning we were up at 8am and on a boat to look around Lake Titicaca. As the weather was not the best, we didnt stop at the Uros Islands which are the ones you may be familiar with as reed islands with reed huts etc. Instead we stayed on the boat for 3 hours and made our way to where we would be home staying that night which was on Isla Amantani.

Once on the island we hiked up to where the village was and were introduced to our host family. Let me say that most of us were surprised because we all had assumed that we would be staying on a reed island but Amantani is a solid island with the Adobe mud brick homes. Still it was such an interesting experience and right up there in my highlights of the trip to date. I ended up staying with an elderly couple and there was three of us staying there. Amrick a bloke who lives on Sassas Avenue which is like one street away from mine in Bayswater and Adrian who lives in Vermont. Its kind of funny because there is like 8 of us from Vic in the group.

Anyway we had arrived at lunch time so our host family cooked us up a quite nice lunch of soup and a kind of stew. All vegetarian, they mostly only eat vegetarian and chicken on special occasions. I would have thought that they would eat a lot of fish but apparently the fish is not the best in the Lake ??????? Not sure how true that is but I know that the one time we were offered fish it was tuna from a can.

After lunch we played a game of soccer,I mainly was lazy and took photos but our guys had their butts cained by another Geckos group who were mainly english football nuts. One guy got like 5 goals and he played 85% of the time in defence. I could just imagine how we would have gone if he decided to go crazy and bag 10 goals by staying up forward.

By dinner time I was not really hungry after such a big lunch so just stuck to the soup while Amrick and Adrian ate the chicken as well. After dinner the family's hosting the 3 geckos groups on the island put a party on for us where we all dressed in traditional robes and beanies. The woman had to go the whole hog and wear the dresses,bands and funny tops but it looked fantastic. My host mum made me dance for like 15 mins, I was buggered by the end of it as the altitude here really knocks you about so it was quite embarrassing sitting down out of breath while she then moved on to Amrick for a dance. The part ended at 9pm and we were all in bed early.

The next morning saw us up at 7am where we had pancakes for breaky, I was in heaven and ate 2. Probably not the best idea though because then I had to go to the toilet and I had already done that the night before. Let me say people, I will never again take for granted a toilet or running water. Having to getup atlike1am to go and then have to get water to pour in the top to then flush and then get another bowl worth to wash your hands in freezing water is not the best experience I have had to encounter in my trip but still, it makes you appreciate those things of which we all simply take for granted.

After breakfast we all made our way onto the boat for our trip back to Puno. Lucky for us the weather this morning was fantastic so about 2 and a half hours into the trip back we stopped at 2 of the Uros Islands and got to look at the reed huts and how the Uros Indian people live. It was nothing like I expected. I thougt it would be bundles of reeds woven together but they just wack them down anywhere and in no order its like a gigantic game of pick up sticks and your walking right on it.

What was really fun about this is that they let us take one of their boats out to a different island and we all had a go at rowing. Let me say that these boats are totally awesome. Just to think, it take them about 3 weeks to gather enough reeds and then 2 to 3 weeks to build, so all up its over a month of preparation and then they only last 8 months.

One really nice thing is that the Peruvian prime minister gave each Uros house hold a single solar panel, so there they are living so remote and each hut has like a working light and also a real small tv. I thought that was kind of funny.

After our visit to the Uros Islands we made our way back to Puno. Craig, Sally, Jane and me spent a bit of time shopping and trying to find a small screw for Sally´s camera, ends up its stuffed so I said ill burn them disks of all my pics from Lake Titicaca to Buenos Aires.

We all went out for dinner that night as it was our last night in Peru and also a farewell to our guide Mario. It was a good meal and afterwards I had an early night and watched Mr and Mrs Smith on Cable TV. Some of the guys went out but I have already been through a long bus trip hungover and it aint a pleasant experience.

We were up at 7am the next day and were on a bus to cross into Bolivia. Immigration was hassle free because I had filled out my papers correct. One kind of funny thing did happen though, a girl from the other geckos tour was in line in front of me and overheard one of the immigration guys say ¨GEE they sure make the woman nice in Australia and then his mate replied, YEAH they have nice tits. He then looked up and asked her if she spoke Spanish of which she lied and said No. Just goes to show, watch what you say in front of a tourist, some times they can understand you.Its kind of like when we went out for dinner last night here in La Paz, Mike and over heard a local say to his mate, ITS LIKE GRINGO CITY HERE THESE DAYS. We both thought it was kind of funny.

Anyway about an hour past Immigration, we arrived in Copacabana and had lunch there with our new tour guide Raphael and let me say he is the bomb, Mario would disappear for like half a day at a time and on free days just leave you to fend for yourself but I have only known Raphael for a day and a half now and he has gone over and above what id expect of my tour guide. Anyway getting back on track, we had lunch in Copacabana of which I had a ham and cheese roll and then walked around town for about 45 mins and then got onto the next bus which took us onwards towards La Paz. About 2 hours into this trip we had to cross a river in this boat and they had barge like boats for the bus. It was kind of a weird crossing but all exciting because we were all now in a new country with plenty more adventures ahead. On the other side of the river there was this massive festival on so we looked at this for a bit then got back on the bus once it had crossed the river. I think the festival had something to do with it being the weekend coinciding with Day of the Dead which in South Americans a day the people get together and celebrate the lives of their lost loved ones.

At 6.30pm we finally arrived in La Paz and then we all went out for dinner and a couple of quite drinks. We were in bed early then I got up at 6.30am and Raphael took me to a place where I could call home for like 75c´s a min which is like 5 cents or something. It was good because I had not spoken to anyone from home since my 1st day in Lima so I got to speak to my mum and dad for a bit.

Anyway about 3 quarters of our group did the death ride today and the rest of us went out and looked at the Witches market and the Black market and went to the Coca museum, Raphael went out of his way to show us around. I bought a Swiss watch for like 70 Bolivianos which is like 10 bucks back home, stoked, I can now tell the time.

Anyway after that we had lunch and then bought a cake for one of the girls as its her birthday today so we are all going to wear these party hats and celebrate tonight with drinks.

Anyway this is longer than my year 12 cat for English so im leaving it here for now. Tomorrow is a La Paz city tour then at 7pm we are on an overnight bus to Sucre.

Cya guys, reply and say hi if your bored.

Glen

Posted by gasheppard 14:54 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

Cusco to Machu Picchu

sunny

This will not be as long as the other entrys I just wanted to let you know that im back from Machu Picchu.

Anyway, while the guys were off treking, I had 2 spare days in Cusco to do as I pleased. I spent the 1st day looking around and getting adjusted to the altitude of which now, im fully accustomed. I tried alpaca at lunchtime on the 1st free day and its quite a nice but tough meat. It tastes kind of like lamb but looks more like a beef. It was not rich or gamy which really surprised me. Anyway for dinner on the 1st free night I decided to eat a hamburger, wanted something non Peruvian as I needed a change on food types. BIG MISTAKE let me tell you. 2 hours after getting home I started getting really sick and started throwing up. So I went to bed hoping it would go away. Anyway, there I was up at 2am again and throwing up continuously. Lucky for me I bought the gastric kit before I left so I read the instructions which pretty much say for this take this and for that take that so I spent the next full day and night in bed sick as a dog with a real bad case of food poisoning.

The following morning after the food poisoning incident i had to be up and out of the hotel by 6.30am for the train trip to Machu Picchu. The trip was really nice with some great scenery and four hours later I was in Aques Callientes which is the stop over town for Machu Picchu. There Lisa and I (Lisa is a girl from another tour who I got to know through the guys on my tour) found an internet cafe that served warm beer and watched the rugby grand final. She was in her element being South African and them winning.

Anyway turns out that our group finished the trek in 3 days instead of 4 days so we all caught up and had dinner that night. One of the guys Craig who I have become good friends with got real bad blisters on the 1st day of the trek so did the last 2 days in thongs. Not only did he do it 1 day early, but in thongs. He is getting a tshirt made up at home hahaha.

The next day we were up at 5am to get the bus up to Machu Picchu. No photos can give this place the credit it deserves or to really take in its full beauty. It is out of this world. Oh and its so big, a lot bigger than you would think and being so high up, you are always out of breath walking around it but I did take 200 pictures and some video footage of it. IT IS A MUST SEE.

We got back from Machu Picchu around 2pm and then got some lunch and got the 5pm train back. Was really good to be back in Cusco where I could get a hot shower and a good bed. Today is a free day so I have spent the day walking around with Craig and his partner Sally. They are from Melbourne as well. Craig actually works repairing air conditioning and is often near our work because he works on 2 buildings near St Kilda Road so we are going to catch up for lunch when we get back. The funny thing is that his company used to have the contract for our work but it got dropped at Christmas Time. I did tell him they were having dramas around that time.

Anyway guys thats it for now. Tomorrow we are off to Puno then Lago Titicaca so until I get to another Internet site. Its goodbye from me.

Posted by gasheppard 12:12 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

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