Lazy as sunday mor-nin on Macchu Picchu Wednesday, Apr 22 2009 

Oh man! I have been ON the RUN and have not been able to record all of my cool adventures lately. So I´m paying for it now! I´ll start with the best journey of all, the great adventure to Macchu Picchu on Easter weekend.

So- I was staying at this great place in a tiny little village in the middle of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It´s called Harin, and you can walk from one side of town to the other along the main road in about 3 minutes. There´s only one road besides the main road. [By the way, did I MENTION how ridiculous the drivers here are? They drive literally 90mph through these tiny towns, blaring their horns constantly with the hope of warning all of the dogs and kids and pigs and cows that, for some reason, love napping right smack-dab in the middle of the main strip. It´s really scary!]

Anways, I didn´t want  to leave this great place. There really is nothing like the smell of walking through the woods on the side of a mountain, nothing like the sweet and cold water that one can find in idyllic little streams in this utopian landscape. It is so beautiful there, so much better than Cusco that I wonder why anyone goes to Cusco at all. The people in the Andes have beautiful faces. They have these round, prominent cheekbones and big brown eyes shaped like sideways teardrops. There faces tell stories; especially the children, who look like they´ve lived for 35 years when they reach the age of 8.

The night before we left, we stayed up for hours listening to our artisan friends rehearse for a jazz/spoken-word poetry gig they had at this posh bar in Cusco. It was really great, a cello and an alto sax, and the booming voice of this Argentinian man with a beard, beatniks all, playing off of the emotion of the really poignant words of this dude. The guys told us about how to sneak in to Macchu Picchu. They had done it by night during August the year before, and had the whole place to themselves under the full moon. I couldn´t pass up this opportunity for adventure! It was the full moon on Thursday before Easter

So FINALLY, we gathered the guts to leave. We had to be on our way. I guess that´s how it works with traveling- once you fall in love with the place you´re at, and the people you´re with, you have to leave and make it happen all over again. We lazily woke up at 10 o´clock instead of the advised dawn.

–time passes in bus–

We get to a town called Ollantaytambo (spelling definitely incorrect). It is the sight of one of the biggest Inca victories against the Spanish conquistadors. There is a little cafe owned by a Brit where I had the BEST HOT CHOCOLATE OF MY ENTIRE LIFE. It was not hot chocolate- it was a revolution. I don´t know how they made it, but BY GOD, I will recreate it somehow. For Peru it was outrageously expensive, but all of the profits go directly to pay for OB/Gyn doctors for the ladies who are full of all sorts of diseases because their men sleep around.

After eating delicious food (we always find some sort of fake excuse to spend money on delicious food) we waited and waited for the bus to Santa Maria, the next stop on our journey. We took an open top cargo truck, or camión, instead. This was the BEST! One of the greatest things that I´ve ever done in my life. We sat in a hole among the thousands of pounds of farm goods that were being transported to markets all over the andean hillsides. The whole time we cuddled under giant blankets with a tiny indigenous  grandmother, her unmarried son, and her really intelligent eight-year-old grandaughter. The little girl tried to marry off her uncle to us the entire time.  We paid 3 dollars for the long, scary 8 hour journey through the andes. The whole time I sand Beatles songs at the top of my lungs, learning Quechua and talking about family with these loving Andean people. It was really great, besides the hours we had to stop off and unload incredible amounts of potatoes and lettuce and alfalfa. 


*BY THE WAY-In the andes, all the girls call each other mamí or mamícita, and the men are all papí or papícita. How good is that? It translates to babe and dude, roughly.*


We got off in Santa Maria, and stayed in a hostel because it was the middle of the night! The next morning we left for Aguas Calientes, the valley town below Macchu Picchu. We got there after driving through three raging waterfalls and a mudslide that left the road almost unnavigable. Somehow our driver got us there safely, go him!

From Santa Teresa, we walked along the train tracks for 3.5 hours to Aguas Calientes. The walk was beautiful. (I hesitate to go into details because this message is ALREADY so long!)

bullet points:¨:

-we get to Aguas Calientes, way overpriced, more tourists than South Americans

-we find a hostel

-we enjoy a couple pisco sours, DELICIOUS, happy hour, good deal

-we eat at the market, delicious juice, rice

-sleepy time, need to wake up at 4 AM!

We decided we couldn´t see Macchu Picchu by night because it was really, really rainy, which would make the climb of the mountain really miserable and dangerous in the dark. We left at 4 am the next morning. There is an old Incan staircase that is over 1000 steps to the top of the mountain. WHAT A WORKOUT. I haven´t worked my body harder than sitting and walking since almost two years ago. Damn! I´m out of shape! The altitude killed our lungs, and it was exhausting, but it was all worth it when we got to the top after a few hours.

There is a secret path, used only by farmers, that leads to Macchue Picchu. We had to climb over the roof of a small cabin, and swim through the WAY overgrown path of wet rainforest for about 20 minutes. By now, it was sunny out, and there were tourists streaming in the front door of Macchu Picchu. I can´t believe how easy it was to sneak in. At the end of the farmer´s path, you land yourself right in the lower middle part of the ruins. There are no guards there! It was so great, we got in for free instead of paying hundreds of dollars! What a good place to spend Easter morning.

too bad it takes so long to upload pics or else i would have more up here! dang

too bad it takes so long to upload pics or else i would have more up here! dang

Macchu Picchu was incredible, but not for the reasons I expected. It was aesthetically beautiful, but more impressive was the amazing organization of the society. Just looking at what is left of this sacred place tells me that we have so much to learn from ancient cultures. Everyone here had the same standard of living, working for the improvement of the community, striving for perfection in all parts of their lives. I learned a lot! Sacrifice was only of girls aged 13 to 17 (I guess I´m out of my prime sacrificial age by now) and only black animals.

Coming from traveling through run-down cities with no infrastructure, no sense of organization at all, I couldn´t believe how good the Incans had it. Minus the sacrifice! That would suck, huh. Apparently the Inca people abandoned Macchu Picchu because they didn´t want the Spanish to find it. It was too special to be conquered!


I KNOW WHATCHOO thinkin Sunday, Apr 12 2009 

So right now I am in Cusco, Peru. Sorry that i have not been faithfully updating this account of my trip. It´s so hard to keep in touch with the interwebs when i´m on the run fom place to place.

After a 23 hour bus ride lima through ideal andean mountain towns with utopian streams and forests and old incan walls, we arrived in cusco. We decided to go to the funniest, partying-est hostel in cusco, the loki hostel which is an impossibly steep climb from the center of town (or so it seemed, since there is no oxygen for my poor muscles).

The place is full of young monkeys who want to drink and mate with other young monkeys from around the world.  it´s really bizarre. It feels like going back to middle school. BUT, the view of cusco is incredible. and that makes up for the silly demographic.

We only spent a couple days in central cusco. It´s a beautiful city, but it´s full of tourists (FULL) who walk around decked out in the local garb pretending not to see one another. Its really funny to watch all of the tourists with shifty eyes pretending that they´re the only ones there, that somehow this place is authentic at all.

It feels bad to be in cusco at times, despite its colonial beauty,  because it is a city DEDICATED to tourism. It´s full of white kids. It´s kind of  like when you´re full after dinner on thanksgiving, but you really push yourself to eat a lot of  pie that you know will be delicious, but at the same time feels like poison to your poor suffering body! that´s the best way i can put it.

On the boat from Santa Rosa to Iquitos we heard from a Polish dude that there was an open house near cusco in the sacred valley of the incas that took in travelers from across the world. So instead of staying longer in this city, we went out in search of this mysterious house of artists and musicians. It turns out that it´s a really great place. It used to be a circus building, and then it was sold to the artists of the circus and now it is a cheap hostel, 1 dollar a night, in the middle of the andes mountains in a tiny andean village. the people here are so good, so real, and so different from the people in cusco who are so spoiled by the tourism that they don´t seem to be real peruvians. I wake up every morning to that sweet smell of pine and grass that is unique to being in the middle of the mountains. Everywhere huge piles of cow poop roast in the hot sun and children run around playing in the huge grass fields. it´s so great! I love the mountains!

It´s really too bad that i have to leave soon! I´m just realizing now that I have a lot less time in South America than I had originally thought. Before I left, three months seemed like a black hole of time to be away from my homeland, but now I find myself feeling rushed to get back to the northern coast of colombia, which is where I end my trip. I have to leave peru really soon in order to have enough time in bolivia, and it´s making me feel like i´m missing out on so much in peru! But i guess that´s the way it goes. I go to macchu picchu soon, and after that, I go to lake titicaca (ha,ha,ha) and la paz, bolivia. Too bad I´m american! Only americans have to pay $140 for a visa to bolivia. pinkos stealin mah precious penny! just kidding, I am really psyched about the political situation in bolivia. indigenous president, etc. cool. GOTTA GO


OH mah lowdy lord i have so much to say, but I don´t have the time to write it all down! Wednesday, Mar 25 2009 

So, since I last updated everybody a lot has happened.

In Iquitos, after using the internet cafe, Johanna and I went to an animal rescue place in the middle of an island in the Amazon River. It was started by an Austrain woman who really liked butterflies and wanted to protect them. There I got to see a lot of the butterflies that make the Amazon famous– but that’s not the cool part of this story. The funny thing is that we always had to watch our backs because SNEAKY monkeys were always trying to rob us.

The monkeys had been raised by street children to rob everybody they see. A monkey named Toni stole a 5 soles coin from me and put it in his mouth. he also took my dads old lens cover, but thankfully he didnt think that it was that cool. I also saw a jaguar named Pedro, kept in a cage way too little for him. They said that they would release him to the wild soon.

BUT, my favorite of all was lucas the Tapir.

Lucas the Tapir getting a belly rub

Lucas the Tapir getting a belly rub!

After a long day of seeing all sorts of cute animals, Johanna and I boarded the boat to Santa Rosa.

The boat was really cheap, and we were able to give our hammock to an old man who was going to sleep on the floor, which felt really good.


SO: We arrived in Santa Rosa, and the first step i took out of the boat i fell knee deep in to mud, to the great excitement of all the locals. It was really funny trying to get out of the mud, and that made me happy. We had a couple of really huge, cold beers to celebrate our arrival. Theres nothing better than a cold beer when your slowly traveling through the amazon, which has not one cold thing about it. We took a boat to Tabatinga, Brazil, and, as it was too dark to find the shamans house, we stayed in a hostel. The hostel owners taught us how to make traditional amazon drink with cachaza (fermented sugar cane) and lots of lemons.We played cards with them all night and dominated the competition.

The next day, after finding out that the owners of the hostel had paid for johannas share of the room (people here LOVE here blue eyes) we set out to find the shaman. After a hazardous 20 minute ride on a motorcycle, we arrived at a small gate. Turning around, I saw an old man carrying 20 fish and a lot of groceries smile and give me a thumbs up.

It turns out that he is the shaman, Seu Pancho. He speaks a little Spanish, but mostly Portuguese. Most of the time we understand each other by smiling (I cant help smiling when I see him!) and giving each other thumbs up, of which he is so fond. I found out that He is 99 years old, which I could NOT believe. He walks hours every day to the market to buy food for his family, and chops and carries wood all day long without effort! I congratulated his strength and health, and shook his hand after I found out that he has over 80 grandchildren, all of which he loves and spends a lot of time with. He is a hero all around town, and it seems like he gives a nod, a smile and a thumbs up to every other person he sees.

He met his wife when she was 13 and he was 19 (according to him) or 25 (according to her) and they got married within months. Theyve been married for 70 years now. The math of their stories is hazy, but its all the same.

All around their property are fallen fruits and little animals. There is a tiny baby pig who runs around adventuring with tiny baby kittens. There are a couple of really cocky rooters.ha. and a couple of hens/vigilantes with their little baby chicks. Its really a paradise, minus the MOSQUITO OVERLOAD! But thats alright with me, it builds character. I dont have any mosquito repellent but I dont really think it makes a difference.

I am staying in a grass hut on the edge of their property in a hammock. In this grass hut is a 41 year old, really really nice and quiet black guy from the northern coast of brazil. Hes been travelling endlessly for the past 25 years of his life, working a little in every town to pay for his food and his other expenses. He is SO TALENTED. It made me smile to jam with him as he was playing (masterfully, which is really hard to achieve!) the Berimbau . It was the best music I have heard in a LONG time, and it really fed my soul. He is a capoeira master, even though he cant walk on one leg because of a soccer accident when he was little. He also has perfect pitch and can mimic all the sounds of each rainforest animal at night.

Speaking of music, every night here I make myself fall asleep by picking out all the different sounds of the rainforest! There are so many different things to be heard: differences between males and females, mammals, insects, etc.

i only have 2 minutes left on my computer


Here in Iquitos Friday, Mar 20 2009 

Hey everyone I just got off of the three day river boat from Miraguas to Iquitos, Peru. I spent most of my time sleeping in a hammock, which is really comfortable, and looking out the window at the jungle. Looking at the jungle can get old after a while, because it´s only on the horizon and looks the same pretty much all the time.

There are lots of tiny villages of grass huts that cluster together every now and then on the river side. These are the most interesting to look at, because sometimes I can see little kids paddling a hollowed out tree down the river or running around the green, green grass together.

On the boat we were packed in like sardines- I was surrounded on both sides by mothers who nonchalantly whipped out their boobies and nursed their babies a couple of inches away from my face. So many boobs in one place!

There are these cute little kids who I play with, and I felt I should give them my hotwheels car that I had brought with me to give as a gift to the ‘chosen children,’ whoever they might be.  So I gave the car to a shy and humble and nice little boy who reminded me of myself. But (I should have remembered this!) His brutish older brother tore it from his hands and said he would sell it for 5 soles ($1.50) when he got home. This kid was the oldest child and spent most of his time kicking his 5 year old sister and wagging the hotwheels car in their faces to make them cry of despair. After a thourough dose of the evil eye and my stern demand to ´compartir,´he gave in.

I became famous among the children on the boat for teaching how to make paper airplanes. I was really surprised that they didn´t know about paper airplanes! Unfortunately all of the paper airplanes loop-d-looped through the boat, landing on the faces of sleeping adults, to the delight of the little kids.

Today my watch was stolen, probably by that little boy who would not share the hotwheels car with his siblings. It was really really cheap, and I didn´t ask himto give it back because with the money he sells that for he will probably be able to indulge himself with an hour of playing playstation at a playstation café, and I thought that that was a fair trade-off, since I got to play playstation for free when I was little.

It seems like Johanna and I are the only ones who haven´t seen any pink dolphins! what a shame- I´m sure we´ll see some on our way back. I did, however, see a 6 foot long black snake sprinting across the road before, and also have had two beetles that look like tanks jump on to my body. They are huge! About 4 and a half inches long.

I am so surprised every night by how dark it gets here. There is no light pollution, so I can see all of the stars!

ALSO! To my disdain everybody here seems to think that the Amazon River is a great place to put all of your trash. The trash cans on board are an arbitrary thing to satisfy the law that there can be no dumping in to the river- but the workers on board just dump all of the contents in to the river anyways. I really hate this.

I was thinking about buying a baby duck for a pet, because they are so cute and only would cost me 30 us cents! And kittens and puppies around here are practically free, they are just running around everywhere for the taking. Against my better judgement, I will resist the temptation.

Today I leave for the border  (Triple-frontera),which will take me 2 days on a boat. I wont be able to communicate for much time until then! After this, I´m flying back to Lima and heading to Ica and Arequipa and then  Cuzco for Easter weekend.

By the way- apparently the rains in Peru have been really really strong. 30 people have died or something. Here you will find pictures of the broken bridge that was holding us up for a couple of days-

also- sorry, no pictures yet! Last time I tried but I have been having a lot of trouble on these computers. I cant figure out how to save the pictures to my memory card in the spanish-language program. I promise I will put pictures up at my next convenience.


wow, i can´t believe this is actually happening Saturday, Mar 14 2009 

So I am leaving for the amazon rainforest today, which is in the complete opposite direction from where I was planning on going. I’m psyched to be floating on a boat down the amazon for six days, and just in case, Johanna and I stole a ton of toilet paper from the local McDonalds (there are SO MANY MCDONALDS HERE).

Speaking of which, I am really surprised and overwhelmed by the depth and meaninglessness of the consumption here. It seems like that buying and selling impractical, shiny and brightly colored things is great fun for the locals. I am really excited to leave this place and go into the jungle, because I am really stressed by the radical and chaotic pulse of this town! Although it is very interesting to observe, I´d just rather be elsewhere.

Know what else sucks?! I still haven´t eaten any ceviche, and that is the only thing I really wanted to do in Lima. I guess I’ll get some on the way back from the jungle. There are casinos everywhere here, and the horns are comically pitched. They sound like the panpipes that are played on the buses everywhere. South park did a really accurate impression of Peruvian panpipe players. If you´ve seen that South Park episode, you´ve got a pretty accurate impression.

Music is everywhere on the streets, but most of the time it´s Queen (last night they were blasting that song about honesty) or Mariah Carey. Luckily I saw a live salsa band playing in the streets of lima! But I didn´t have time to stay and dance because Ulises was rushing me along. I saw a ton of prostitutes yesterday! Mostly really dirty and scantily clad women standing with their vag´s out to the world or transexuals with ambiguous man-boobs wearing makeup.

Drivers are agressive and not very talented! Johanna said that in Germany it is really hard to get a drivers license because it is the best place to drive in the world. ¡She failed her drivers test, which cost her 2,000 euro!


alright everybody, please send me all of your good luck because i will need it! I´ll tell you about the jungle as soon as I can. Also, you can look forward to a riveting account of local shamanistic medicinal practices! Somehow that sounds too clinical.

love love love




ps. hello to my siblings, if you are actually reading this right now! I love and miss you guys

oh babay Saturday, Mar 14 2009 

Hey everybody!

I know what you guys are thinking- where the F are the pictures!? Well, that’s too bad you’re just going to have to suck it up until I have some. I haven’t been carrying around my camera because Ulises tells me people are robbed all the time in exactly the places that I always happen to be, so I decided I should leave my camera home for the meantime. I started my day playing chess with ulises- i think we were pretty evenly matched. We then took a bus for 20 minutes to the center of lima which cost only 30 cents in usa money. Me and this german chick Johanna just decided spontaneously that instead of leaving for Ica and Huacachina tomorrow, as I had planned, we are going to take a 6 day trip into the rainforest. (6 days covers the commute there). Its a 24 hour bus ride, and then 6 days living on a rickety old boat floating down the amazon river. When we arrive at our destination, a tiny town on the border of brazil and colombia, we will live with a shaman named sao pancho for a couple of days, and then we will return to civilization.

basically, I probably won’t have access to internet for a while, though i will try to keep as in-touch as possible. If you’re sad because I wont be around to write, just think about all of the SWEET amazon rainforest pics I’m going to send home!

keep the faith


ps. what does keep the faith even mean? for some reason i felt like writing that

hungry! Friday, Mar 13 2009 

Hello everyone. I arrived safely in Lima today earlier than expected. It is really humid, but not that hot. I spent the entire day biking around with a German woman who is in her seventh month of traveling the world and a man named Ulises who is from Lima. The digs are in an interesting* part of Lima but the company is good. Ulises´mom is really a lovely woman. I have been biking all day long in a men’s bathing suit with a mesh case inside where your balls go, which actually feels like knives on my buttcheeks  for all of these hours of biking! Ulises is currently carrying two switchblades that look pretty sharp just in case we run in to any trouble. Also, I haven´t eaten ALL DAY! I am HUNGRY! Plus I dont have any peruvian flores yet, so i´´m out of luck. i guess i´lleat tomorrow because it´s too much of a pain in the ass to figure out the logistics of eating

all right

i gotta go, i´m at an internet cafe

love to you