Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Passport OCD....

This is a serious condition and is worth mentioning...
Have you ever thought after customs, "Man... I should have told them where to stamp"?
Well my friend, you may have a slight case of POCD also known as Passport Obsession Compulsive Disorder.

Here are some symptoms...
1. You hate coming in and out of a country more than twice because it fills up your passport to fast.
2. You travel just to fill up your passport before the 10 year expiration date.
3. You don't show your passport to anyone because the guy at the 1 hour photo shop took the photo right as blinked and/or for some reason stretched the photo.
4. You say to yourself as you flip through your passport, "why don't they use regular stamps, why does is have to be electronic?"
5. You wish that your passport had "more character"... IE. different color than what you have.

Fortunately there is no cure, if you did not possess any of these symptoms, you would not be living your dream and that is a disorder worth living with!

A Map for Saturday....

I am glad that I heard about this movie after my trip because I can completely relate!
I heard about it though Nomadic Matt, a fellow blogger who makes travel his life and loves to write about it.
In the mean time, check out the trailer of "A Map for Saturday"

A map for Saturday

Saturday, July 26, 2008


I am at the airport in Lima getting ready to fly home and I am feeling my heart break. I had the most amazing time of my life. My spanish has highly improved and I hope that I can conitinue speeking spanish. I have been talking with several folks and they say my spanish is very good.
Four countries and 17 new friends later I am feeling not like a whole new person but my whole self again. I am sad to leave but ready to do what I need to do to make sure that I can get back to South America and plan a different route!! Before I left someone told me that "you will love it or you will get hooked". Well you can see where I fall!!!
I will be posting more things on this blog such as travel tips around certain areas and my Amazon will love my Amazon story!! I just need to get my pictures on a disk so I post the photos.
As I layed in my hammock on the boat through the Amazon, I was studying my spanish. Mainly because I was the only person who spoke english and I really wanted to talk to people. I came up with a spanish phrase that I felt has defined the end of my adventure...
"Tengo venir en conocimiento a mi" -Domina Stamas
"I have come to know myself"

Friday, July 18, 2008

Valley of Cocora

Well I made it across the border of Ecuador and Colombia just fine. I spent a few days in Cali, Colombia and we decided to head into the country. We stayed in a town called Solento. Here is where you can take about a horse ride or walk into the cloud forest. The horse ride cost $15 per person and $15 for the guide. The more in your group the better it is because you can cost-share on the guide.
This was by far the most beautiful and enchanting experience I have ever had. The vegitation was so green and trees stood with charisma. I could not keep my eyes off of this beautiful land. The ground was very muddy. If you decide to walk, make sure you rent the wellies at your hostel. The cost is about $3. 
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That is I on the horse.
You cross over rivers and try to avoid low lying branches. We passed up many farms where horses and cattle stared at us as though they were unimpressed with our presence.
When you get to the top there is a hacienda where there are folks that live there. I am not exactly sure what they do there, however, they seem to take care of the hummingbirds in the area. The hummingbirds were amazing. They were brighter and bigger than the ones back home.
On our way back it statred to rain. When we were in the actual forest, the canopy filtered out most of the rain. but as we stepped out into the field, we definately got wet. My horse and I left my friend and the guide behind to avoid getting so wet.
I had a blast and would definatly recommend doing this while you are in Colombia.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Oswaldo Guayasamin was an man that grew up as a misfit and was told that he would not amount to anything. As he grew older he began to use art as a way to portray the people he knew, the culture he lived and the pain he felt towards war and oppression.
Painting on cardboard, plywood and hemp bags, left a unique impression on me. Sketches with chalk, oil and acyclic paintings displayed Picasso like images that moved me. There was one painting that was thick with texure made from oil and different colored dirt. He liked to paint mothers with their sons and men that were tortured in wars and demonstrations.
My favorite collection was the Hand Collection. Guayasamin believed that you can tell a lot by a mans hands. The photo here is my favorite. This is called "Manos De La Ternura" (Hands of Tenderness).
Guayasamin passes away in 1999 but his paintings still represent not only Ecuador but South America as well.

The other photo is of the equator here in Quito. We played about for 2 hours here. There was a lot more here to do than I had thought. There was a planetarium, small displays of other countries in the world and a museum of the native people of Ecuador.
I leave for Colombia tomorrow. I will let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Peruvian- Ecuadorian Border Crossing

First, I just want to tell you that for some reason I have had problems loading pictures into my blog. But that will change as of today and I should have some up soon!
Last Friday I ventured into Ecuador, by myself. The border of Ecuador is about 3 hours from Mancora. I sat in the back of the bus and the local man whom i had bought my ticket from sat next to me.
Before you hit the border of Ecuador, you check out of Peru. There you can get snacks and change your Soles(Peruvian currency) into Dollars(oddly enough, Ecuadorian currency). As I got off of the bus, I soon realized that the man I had bought my ticket from was actually escorting me to the border. He walked me to Peruvian customs and back to the bus. Here is where it got scary and I soon began to think "what the hell am i doing?"
The bus pulls into this city that reminded me of an extremely large flea market crowed with people. There were venders selling clothing, toys, raw meats, tvs, vegetables and fruits. There were people cooking on the side of the road. There was chicken bbq'ing, potatoes being fried and drinks on display.
I had my window still open and people started to wave at me. As i waved back, my escort stops me and says "keep your hands in the bus. they will still your glasses right off of your face if they wanted" that is when the peace inside was replace with absolute fear.
The bus came up to Ecuador's customs station where I got off and got my passport stamped. My escort then tells me to hurry as he grabs my backpack. We rushed to a taxi where he gets in with me. We start to head back to the flea market looking area.
On the way there, I saw a man standing on the side of the road with blood literally pouring out of his forehead. At this point I was numb to the madness.
Mr. Escort takes me to another bus stop, hands me my ticket to Quito and says "the bus leaves in an hour, good luck" and he left me there.
During the 12 hour bus ride, we stopped 3 times by the police to have our persons and bags searched. I was the only American on the bus and was scared that something bad would happen to me but they were actually less stringent on my search.
The only horrible thing that happened to me on my 17 hour bus ride was that I got food poisoning and was ill for two days.
I went to the equator yesterday and will be going to see some archaeological museums. After, a few days here my next stop will be Colombia, which is a far more dangerous journey. Wish me luck!!