Peru Q&A

Forest: How’s the weather?
Me (in Cuzco, Peru): Quite nice. We’re at altitdude, so it’s chilly at night. Feels like March in Seattle, actually. Everywhere else we’ve been (at sea level) it’s about 80 degrees all the time. it’s hot during the day here, though.

Forest: What was Lake Titicaca like?
Me: nice. no boobs or poop.

Forest: How are you connecting right now? You have someplace to install an IM client?
Me: in every internet cafe (in Cuzco, there’s four on each block) has Windows 98 (at least) and MSN messenger installed. I just install putty wherever I go and SSH home to check email and stuff.
Me: connectivity is NOT a problem in any city > 50k people in South America.

Forest: Did you ever get to the sandboarding?
Me: no sandboarding yet… probably won’t have time
Forest: Yah, it sounds like you guys are keeping busy.

Forest: I’ve been thinking it would be nice to bring the idea of “siesta” into north american culture…
Me: I feel the same!

Forest: What’s your best bargain so far?
Me: hmmm… best bargain?
Me: that’s a good question.
Forest: Haggling, I mean.
Me: We’re staying in a five-star hotel for US$9 a night right now… (talked him down probably 20%)
Forest: Oh yah? That’s pretty good right there.
Me: heh, yup
Me: food is dang cheap.
Me: We just ate a gourmet 3 course meal for about US$2 each.
Me: complete with coca tea
Me: I guess I’ll test positive for cocaine when I return home.
Forest: Yes, when you pee in the cup at work.
Me: heh. And they thought it was COFFEE!

(Editor’s note: We started haggling a ton since Northern Chile. Whenever prices aren’t posted, let the haggling begin! Even when prices are posted, we can still haggle a little)

Forest: How’s Eva as a traveling companion?
Me: Hmm. What’s good about Eva? Her stamina, strength, courage, knowledge, openness to try anything, light heart, kind spirit, her humor, and her cuteness!!

Forest: I wonder how that trade agreement will end up affecting the Chilean culture.
Me: yeah, they were talking about that a lot down here…
Me: they’re excited actually,
Forest: I don’t want just one monoculture, the world over, though…
Forest: The Canadians have their “mosaic” which is pretty cool. I think it’s more beautiful than a melting pot.
Me: give it more opportunities like Puerto Rico. but yeah, I agree on the melting pot dealie.
Forest: Melting pots end up all brownish and formless.
Me: you just described the drinking water here.
Forest: And squoogy.
Forest: Yum!
Forest: Do you use a filter or something? Or what do you drink instead?
Me: buy bottled, everywhere.
Me: it’s about $0.30 a liter
Forest: Oh, cheap.

Forest: Isn’t the air kind of polluted everywhere you go?
Me: just by cars/buses circling like bees
Me: I’m breathing so much CO I don’t know who I am anymore! Who am I?
Forest: You’re Julio Iglesias, a famous singer.
Forest: You’re on an incognito tour for an American game show.
Me: dude, sweet!
Forest: You can work on the slang later.


Sliwa: hows the surf there? it was great in costa rica from my towel on the beach.
Me: heh, it was okay
Me: we went out in Iquique, Chile
Me: warm water, decent waves
Me: but the only board in town was a 6’5″ shorty with a duct-taped split in the middle and a broken nose. Ugh.
Me: kitesurfing looked fun, but we couldn’t find anyone to pay to teach us, suprisingly.

Sliwa: a lot of drug use down there?
Me: a little bit of people smoking marijuana on the streets, etc.

Peru Snippets

Peru is three hours ahead of Seattle (right now). Chile is five hours ahead. Keep that in mind when crossing into Peru… you’ll spend an extra tour hours in not-so-fun Tacna waiting for that bus to Puno (near Lake Titicaca)!

Communication is much easier in Peru, in general. They enunciate all syllables and speak slower.

Theives are everywhere. We’re always on guard, and it’s exhausting!

Eva and I leave for Machu Picchu Sunday morning.

Prices are WAY cheap, especially if you eat from street vendors and get the special of the day (Menu El Dia) in restaurants. Some examples:

  • 3 bananas, Corn on the cob, loaf of cheesy bread — US$.90
  • Large pizza, coke, hot cocoa — US$8.00 ($4.00 each)
  • Garlic bread, chicken soup, fettucini, coca tea — US$2.00
  • etc.

I will never take hot water for granted again.

Tacna, Peru

It’s apparent that Peru is quite different than Chile, we get a lot more stares and security is a bigger concern. Still, we’ve run in to many kind, helpful people in our first few hours here. The taxi driver helped us spot someone who might have been trying to steal our bags, the bus ticket seller had a secure place to keep our luggage during our long layover here, the restaurant owner seemed quite interested in speaking English and hung out with us a bit.

Only a few people seem like they want to steal all our stuff. Eva and I have booked a night train to Puno to see lake Titicaca. Can’t wait!

Food is cheap and the chicken here is superb. We just watched “Planet of the Apes” with Spanish subtitles in a nice place with a kind owner. The cafe had a replica of the cafe owner’s house: when your food was ready the cook pushed a plate out through the mini doors.

I want to emphasise again how different South America is from Mexico. The only similarity seems to be the language (which is also quite different). Peruvians seems a scosh easier to understand, but it’s still quite a challenge for me to communicate.

More soon.

50km from the Peruvian Border

Greetings from Arica, Chile!

More eighty-degree weather, great food, and kind people. There are no North Americans in Arica that we’ve met, but we’ve seend a handful of gringos (non-South Americans). The food is great, and seems a bit less expensive than the rest of Chile.

Eva and I are experimenting with bargaining more since fewer places here have posted prices. Bad news for gringos (the price doubles immediately), but we’re able to talk down the vendors quite a bit sometimes.

We surfed yesterday on the only surfboard available for rent in Arica. It was $8.50 for a half-day on the 6’5″ severly injured skinny fish. We had a great time surfing and watching kitesurfers and windsurfers. We couldn’t find anyone to teach us how to kite surf, but we might be able to do sandboarding here, we’ll see.

Tomorrow we’re off to Peru!

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Iquique was much fun, we went to the beach (I’m a teensy bit sunburned still), paragliding (yeah, got a little burnt from this too), and saw some crazy Carnivalesque parades. Oh yeah, and got hit by crazy Carnivalesque water balloons.

Eva and I are in the Chilean desert: San Pedro de Atacama. It’s a gringo hotspot with great food and nice places to stay.

The desert is amazing. We’ve seen ruins, gone mountainbiking, spelunking, hiking, hot-springing, geysering. Next is sandboarding, which is supposed to be like snowboarding in a hot sandy powder avalanche. Hmm.

I miss you all!

Oh yes, check out Eva’s blog to get her side of our adventures thus far.

Carmela, Uruguay

Eva and I are headed to Carmela, Uruguay tomorrow since it’s a nice day trip and only costs US$20.

Today is probably the last of Buenos Aires, Argentina since we’ll be gone tomorrow and we connect to Iquique, Chile tomorrow through Santiago (after a minor eight hour layover). Everything is fairly inexpensive here compared to home: beer is about sixty cents a liter. Water costs more, actually.

Few people speak (or want to speak) English, so I’m scraping by with choppy two- and three-word sentences. Thank goodness Eva is great at Spanish!

Tonight we have tickets for “Tanguera”, a musical about the Tango. Should kick butt.

Email me, I’m checking it every now and then. I’m 5 hours ahead of Seattle time right now.

I will have a slide show when I return to the states, let me know if you’re interested. I promise lots of funny slides of strange uses of English words and phrases.

De Buenos Aires

Eva and I are in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Today I learned how to say “Yo demando a ver un embajador de Estados Unidos.” Which of course means, “I demand to see an ambassador of the United States.”

We dropped by the United States Embassy. It was well-guarded and a bit scary from the outside. No photos were allowed–we had to leave cameras, cell phones, and electronic equipment behind. There was free Internet in the library, along with a handful of books on the U.S. government. I didn’t feel like saying my new phrase once I got inside.

Buenos Aires is a HUGE city, biggest I’ve ever visited, probably. I really like it. Pizza everywhere, and calzone-like items called “empanadas”. Both are delicious. Tonight is steak night, and I think Argentinean steak is supposed to be pretty good.

No sign of Carnival-like activities, which is quite fine by me. Just a normal, huge city, I guess.

Voy a Carnival

One side effect of heading to Buenos Aires right now is that we’ll arrive during Carnival. YIKES. Should be interesting! We head to the airport in about an hour.