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

caroline

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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-

http://www.elcomercio.com.pe/noticia/258629/desborde-rio-gera-deja-aislado-al-distrito-moyobamba

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.

C

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

 

caroline

 

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

caroline

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

12:28 in dee DAM mow-ning Tuesday, Mar 10 2009 

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so, for all those who want to know:

I take off at 8:00 in the morning on Thursday March 12th from the airport in NYC, and I get in to Lima at 4:35pm, whereUPON I shall bike home from the airport with my huge backpack with this really nice dude named Ulises from couchsurfing.com.“Couch surfing” is a really interesting project that my trusty friend Hurwit told me about.

I’m still not ready for this trip, and I leave IN TWO DAYS. I guess I thought I was being real cool when I nonchalantly planned to be on another continent for three months, and now I’m coming to terms with what that MEANS! Sorry to my dad who is probably reading this and shaking his head at me right now.

I’m kind of pissed that I’ll be in the jungle for rainy season and I won’t be able to take insect repellent, which is poisonous to some of the animals I’ll be working with. I guess it will be a good experience.

I have nothing of substance to say! Sorry to all those who find themselves closer to death after reading this. I have just stolen some precious moments.

ps. to my family this blog is ~*aLl 4 u*~ because it’s the easiest way to keep you all in the loop!