Thursday, June 26, 2008

Peruvian Food

Many of you have been asking me about the food here in Peru. So here goes.
Some of the food here is amazing, some not so amazing but has actually grown on me. But here is a list of my favorites...

Lomo Saltado: Chunks of beef grilled with onions served with papas fritas (french fries) and arroz (rice).

Ceviche: There is no shortage of it and its is amazing. Raw fish cooked with lime juice, cilantro, serrano peppers and red onions. For about 5 soles (less than 2.50 U.S dollars) you can get a small serving of ceviche, fried fish or shrimp, rice and a juice. These set price shops are hard to find so keep your eye out, its worth the search!

Beach sandwhiches: Not exactly sure what they are called but you should never turn down the lady on the beach with a basket of bread. For about 3.50 soles you have your choice of...
Cheese , tomato, and basil
Cheese, onion and olive
Cheese and Sausage
Cheese and Ham
These are warm and very filling. My favorite is the tomato and basil.

Fried Rice: for some reason Chinese food seems to be a hit here, more specifically fried rice. I had some in the Lima airport and had some the other day here in Mancora. Its really good.
The fruit here is amazing. very fresh and flavorful.
The typical breakfast seems to be bread, eggs, coffee and juice. But this morning i went to a place that served real American breakfast, pancakes! I dont really like them but it was nice to get a tast of home!

I am off to Equador tomorrow. So I will no longer be in Peru. Should I change the title of my blog to "ME in South America"?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Crazy thought...

I fall in love with making the impossible possible.
We all talk about our "possibilities". We contemplate them with "yes this can be done" or "I can see this happening". But how often do we look at the impossible? How often do we take a risk and go for something that may or may not work. How do you think one would feel when they succeed at something they went for that was possible? Now imagine how someone would feel if they accomplished the impossible?

gotta go its dark here now and the crickets are attacking me!

Monday, June 23, 2008

I am ALIVE!!!!!

I could go on and on about my feelings but I would rather tell you about what I have been doing and experiencing. Then you will be able to conclude that what i am feeling is more than words can describe...
since my amazing, partially life changing experience at Machu Picchu, I traveled by bus for 20 hours to Lima. there we experienced the night life, escaped danger by crossing a busy highway by foot, bowled and watched one of the greatest movies of the summer, "the happening". Then we traveled another 8 hours to a beach town just north of Trujillo. There we relaxed on the beach for a day and decided to head up to Mancora which was another 9 hour bus ride. This is where I am now. They call this town "the endless summer". This is a huge surf destination for surfers around the world and being here i now know why. It is gorgeous here! Some of the friends that i have been traveling with have left to go to Equador. I plan to stay here for about another week and then I may head up there as well.
traveling alone is great! I can do what I want, when I want and it feels good.

Yesterday I was stung by a wasp!! The pain was dreadful! One of the workers at the hostel had to squeeze the venom out which was worse than the sting. I am doing better now.
I want to take note and share with you the fact that I am beginning to relize that who I am is actually pretty amazing. The experiences that I have chosen for good and bad, have molded me into someone that I am actually proud to be. There is noone in this world that can define you, not even your parents. What you choose to do in life on your own is who you are. Sometimes those choices are not the best, but in the end you learn from them and from there you can only get better!
I dont have too many regrets in life. I think the feeling of regret is a choice and a mechanism that keeps us from moving forward.
So, get over yourself and find solutions! Find your path to your own adveture and make it happen.
I need to go now. A board,ocean,sun and sand awaits me! Adios mi amigos!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Inca Trail, MachuPicchu

To say, "if I could finish the Inca Trail anybody can" would be an insult to the most amazing adventure that I just experienced this weekend. There is nothing easy about the Inca Trail. Even the down hill was rough (over 5,000 steps downhill is more than rough). I will try to recount as much as possible. First I want to say that Machu Picchu is sinking. They are not sure as to why but it is rumored that in the next 10 to 15 years Machu Picchu will be viewed only from afar, so the fact that I had the honor of walking about the ruins is something that I am grateful for.

2 guides, 2 cooks, 19 porters and 14 trekers. That was our group.
Day 1:This is supposed to be the easy day.
(Tip one... HIRE A PERSONAL PORTER!!!! There were advid trekers that ended up getting a porter the next day. It would be worth the money.)

They picked us up from our hostle in Cuzco at about 5:30 am and then took a 2 hour bus ride to Ollantaytambo. From there that is where the hiking started. We treked 7.5 miles slightly elevated. Our camp was in Wayllabamba which is 9,000 feet about sea level (Lake Tahoe is about 6,200 ft). This part of the treck is not the Inca trail. It is a trail that leads to the original trail.
There are actually 3 main trails that the Incas used to get to Machu Picchu. One was for the messengers, the second for the traders, and the third for as sacred route. We took the sacred route.
Day 2: The Hardest Day
This was the hardest day and I hired a porter to carry my pack. We treked 3,300 feet all up hill to Dead Womans Pass, which is about 13,000 ft above sea level.Here is where the Inca trail begins.
I must tell you that there are women that sell bottled water, gatorade, candy and toilet paper along the way. Interesting, I know.
The food that the tour group provided was AMAZING. Three course meals with nice flat ware and dishes. We all felt like royalty.
Day 3: This was the longest day and the most beautiful day.
We hiked about 9 miles through ruins and steps built by the Incas. It was still physically challenging but the scenery was amazing. I would stop and look out into the Andes. It was so green and the sounds of the forest were soothing. The Trail itself was beautiful and dangerous. You had to make sure to stay to the mountain side of the trail because porters would fly past you and there were no railings to stop you from going over the edge of the mountain. There were some points where the steps were so steep you had to climb with your hands!!!
There was this one section that meandered through trees and moss that climbed the sides of the mountain. You can hear the streams running through as you continue your walk. There were also some amazing orchids. I am not into flowers so much but they were pretty amazing.
Day 4: The hike into Machu Picchu
We woke up at 4 am and hiked about 3 miles in the dark so we could see the sun rise over her. This was the most intense part of the trek. There were about 20 treking companies at our campsite and all wanted to see the sunrise over her. As you pass through the first Sungate, people fly past you racing to reach the second Sungate. There was this part of the Inca Trail called "Monkey Steps". They call it that because you climb them with your hands like a monkey. But as soon as you reach the top, there is the valley in which Machu Picchu lays.
When we arrived it was still dawn and there were clouds covering the ruins so we could not yet see her. We sat and watched as the clouds slowly began to reveal what we all haved be waiting for. Soon there she was, tucked in the valley waiting for all of us to explore her. We walked further down the mountain to get closer to her and to sit and watch the sun rise over her. This was something that I have been looking forward to for so long. She was beautiful. As we finally made it to the ruins, we spent a few hours walking and learing more about her. At about 1 pm we had to make our way back to Cuzco. As I sat on the bus leaving her, I felt the most emotional feelings come over me. I wept. I wept because I was leaving something that I had put so much emotional and physical energy into and I had to leave her. She was beautiful and brilliant and her home was just as breath taking. I had my back to her,returning to my world. Soon I will have to face all that I need to take care of. THIS is and will be the most amazing experiance of my life.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

not doing o good...

I am not having such a great time right now. I broke my camera last night, a day before i am to see an amazing place. I have a sore throat and I sprained my ankle. I am getting a little nervous that i did not plan so well for this trip. I am even beginning to think that all of this was not a good idea. I woke up in a sort of panic today. all I can do is just know that this is how i opperate and tomorrow when I am on the trek to Machu Picchu, I will feel better... I just wished that my camera did not break.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

You... Adventure!!!

So, I quit my job and decided to travel a South American Country for 2 months. This act, of a 31 year old single mother, is something that is unimaginabale. When I made the decsion back in January, I was unsure as to how it would work, but I somehow knew that it would. I need to preface this entire blog by saying that all I am going through has/is/will be difficult. I have never experienced such bipolar emotions in my life. Every hour I struggle over questions like "AM I DOING THE RIGHT THING?" to "WHY DID I NOT ACT ON THIS A LONG TIME AGO?" I am not only doing this for myself but I want to be able to show everyone that its possible. This post will guide you to your own adventure. Your adventure may not be to travel to another country but it can be used as just that, a guide.
Before jumping to the obvious questions on how to overcome certain obsticles, you need to discover your soul. This does not mean self- discovery in an hour, it may be as simple as acknowledging that your current position is not where you need be. This is a very scary step to take. Scary because you may be admitting to a lie that you yourself have created and where would one go after a self-lie is revealed? Here is a wild answer for you... ANYWHERE!!! Once you have acknowledged that you have fallen into the daily grind of getting the job, buying the house, maintaining a materialistic image, possibilites are endless. Depression may set in because the unknown and trapped feeling can get to you, so you have to trust that breaking free can only lead you to personal development. Stay tuned to my lovely list of questions that one would ask once they realize that they need more.

Monday, June 2, 2008

altitidude sickness

I have not been well. i arrived ,after 36 hours of travel, in cuzco. i spent all day and nigh in bed and felt like i was going to die. i got out of bed twice. once to shower (this one of the few places in the whole country that has hot water)and to eat. my symptoms are similar to a massive hangover. horredous headache,nausea and dizzieness. altitude sickness is when the blood to your lungs gets limited to due to lack of oxygen. (i think). you can take measures to prevent it but one of my roommates said he had done so but still got sick so it really comes down to the individual.
i can definitley fell the air is thinner. i am weezing and just walking down the hall is exhausting. this, fortunately, does not define my athletic ability, for major athetes need to get acclimated as well. there is no real cure for it, but lucky for me i am in peru where this there one thing that cures the symptoms of altitude sickness, coca tea!(not as in chocolate)
i am still having breathing problems but feel so much better! in fact, i feel like i can take on the world.
my plan this week is to just hang out and learn more about the people of cuzco and get acclimated for my trek. two of my roommates are in my group so i plan hanging with those guys.
i have to get back to my tea!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

starbucks in peru

Yes it is true. but this blog will not be about coffe. as I scramble to place my thoughts into an intranet that is costing me by the minute, i will give you a brief synopsis. of my trip thus far... i am still at the airport. I have been travleing since Friday night and getting to wrap up an 8 hour lay over in Lima. I have been jotting my thoughts in my journal and i will transfer some of those at a later date, anyhow, I am tired and stinky but having a BLAST already. All i have done the past 8 hours is post on a black leather sofa at the Starbucks here and have met a ton of amazing poeple! they just stop by to grab a cup of joe before their travels we sit for about 45 mins they leave just in time for the next round of folks for me to encounter. Let me introduce you...
Justin- lives in San Jose but moving to Sac with his girlfriend. Purpose of visit. Hike into machu picchu ( not the inca trail)
Some 17 year old from Denver who was on his way north of lima to help his uncle. He has been to over 15 countries.
Gordon- Vancouver. works 365 days a year to take a year off and travel the world. He does not go into the US because he has a warrent out for his arrest.
Effa- from Ireland. doing some humanitarian work in cusco. She was sweet.
that was just the first few hours.
Gotta run...