Single Status Update
The following is an account of my adventures traveling through Peru during the summer of 2001 (second half of June through all of July) with long time friend Solomon Shinerock. The journal entry picks up a week after we arrived in Lima, Peru, our main base, if you will, where the people we were staying with in Peru for our six week tenure were putting us up. The first week was spent acclimating ourselves to our new environment. The journal kicks off right before we arrive at our first location we visited on our then tentative itinerary and is for the most part transcribed here verbatim.
...winding bus ride to an isolated mountain town in Peru...
Conintuing from where the Timberland journal left off. (I am not sure where the Timberland journal is :() 10 minutes after -- hmm, let me back up a bit. Every once in awhile, I see a hidden stream trickle down the mountain. I then noticed the baggage compartment was open. Umm... that's not good. The bus driver eventually stopped and closed it and no baggage was lost. 10 minutes after I ran out of speace to write in the Timberland journal, we emerged on the plateu, and before us not too far we could see snow capped mountains. They were at the same height as us, or so they seemed. Yet there were still green shrubbery and trees with green leaves. Dusk quickly settled upon the mountains, and I looked back down where we came up. It was very beautiful with sloping crevices in the mountains like folds in a blanket. The last glow of light casting enough light to illuminate the sloping mounatins. Blah... Ooh, but the white capped peaks glowed in the dark. Was very tranquil and peaceful.
We soon started to descend. Not too long we suddenly entered the suburbs of Huaras and then we were in Huaras - a real city, just like Lima, but much smaller. It is odd to see a city after being in nomad's, or noman's land. We got off the bus and checked into a fancy Hostel for less than US$5 each for the night. Then we got some grub at a restaurant. All the tables were full, though, but two young people... 24 I'd wager, heralded us over to eat with them. One was from the Galapagos islands and the other Swiss. I am liking all these nice people we meet. They both spoke english which was nice. They told us where we could get various supplies if we needed, and a good vegetarian restaurant, so that we wouldn't get more diarreah. Soon afer they left, the guy that we met waiting for the bus came into the restaurant. We invited him over and ordered more food. I had rice with a cheese egg, only thing which was very yummy but made me run to the loo just now to dump and dump and dump and dump... and I am still not fully emptied. Guess I still got to watch what I eat. There was no toilet seat either, to make matters worse. Just a toilet rim.
We got to talking about hiking and managed to go hiking together. We said we'd email him tomorrow.
June 27th, 7:00pm
"Now I feel like I am really in the 3rd world". Solomon's sentiment this morning. At least our shower is in our room and we don't need to share it.
The power goes out from time to time here. Something to do with the remote location and altitude of this town. There is no heating, so it is pretty cold in our room. We are now waiting for the heater to get hot; assuming it does get hot for the shower.
It was nice to wake up this monring to bright, blue sky. To the far right when I look out my window I can see white cappeed... and I mean white capped like someone, God maybe, went to a foreign land and got the runs; but dumped snow instead of the brown stuff onto unsuspecting, jagged peaks.
Don't even get the runs in a 3rd World country. You never know what sorta inadequacies the only available bathroom might have.
Last night, no toilet seat. While at Tao's, the toilet paper was no better than a paper towel. Solomon had these words to say: "Let's just say I need to stop wiping my ass-hole for 24 hours before I do any serious walking." How to not get the runs? Don't get drunk 3 days after being in the enw country. Don't eat dair and meat for a week after arriving. Cook vegetables, avoid fruit as wel. Raw foods in general are not the greatest. Sol and I did not abide by any of this. We ate whatever we fancied, and that included chicken, setak, egg oily thing I had last night. Now we are watching what we eat more, or at least Sol is, he got sicker than me.
After waiting 40 minutes for the hot water, Sol tested it and it was hot. So he braved the shower despite the cold and the 1' x 2' towel he was supplied with in the Hostel. 30 seconds after he jumps in, I hear yelling: "Oh no! And I'm all soaped up!" Yes, the water had gone cold in less than a minute. Quickly rinsed off, jumped out of the shower, jumped on the bed to get off the cold floor, rapidly dried himself with the towelette and jumped into his sleeping bag. I guess I won't be taking a shower.
The air here is so crisp and so fresh and so... ahhh... words cannot describe. On the bus last night, I opened teh window, stuck my head out and immediately felt better. Never breathed such fresh air. Never breathed such fresh air. Well, it's pushing 8:00am, and Sol is anxious to see the town.
It's warmer outside than inside. Man is it beautiful out.
We are at a nice restaurant. Seating up stairs on a balcony terrace overhang - right over the main street. The sun is beating hot on my back. It's like summer sun in a winter climate. The sky is 100% blue again, except for a white fluff hugging a mountain peak. Breakfast was a continental breakfast - 8 slices of light toast, a bowl of papaya and coffee. The marmelade was very yummy. I also ordered a bowl of muesli that just arrived. Hot damn, looks amazing. I can see yogurt with orange, banana and grape on top with strawberries tucked in and syrup splashed about.
The town Huaras is dominated by Toyota Corona wagons. At any given time you can see between 10-25, and maybe 5 other cars.
The muesli was excellent - it looked like birdfeed; but had a sorta burnt taste; very yummy. Ahh, the sun is so warm and nice beating down on me. It was honey, not maple syrup.
After breakfast, sol brought his laundry to the laundromat where he's now picking it up. I am back in teh Hostel. Huaras is a nice little town, like its own closed system. Surrounded by mountains on all sides. We got some great views of the mountains with their snow capped peaks. The mountains are very jagged and new looking.
We spent some time shopping around for guides for hiking. We found a good deal: $60 for 4 days if we are 3 people so we need to get another person. The guy we met at the restaurant last night. We went to an internet cafè and emailed him. I was going to check my mail and the power went off -- all the computers went down.
We later caught up with Phil by chance - found his name and he agreed to join us. So now we can get this good deal. So tomorrow morning we hike.
It got pretty hot today. Prolly around 60 degrees. But the sun is very warm.
Yea, maybe even 70 degrees, was hot. Way warmer than Lima. Last minute decision to brave the mountains alone. One mountaineering fellow whose vocation we could not discern, recommended -- err... said that we did not need a guide and that it was easy going. Plus Phil didn't want to spend money and also he has a water filter and stove. So we all agreed that it would be more fun and much much cheaper, of course, to go by ourselves. So we leave tomorrow at 8:00am or so. We bought more than enough food for 4 days.
The sun just set, so I had to close the windows. Temp will be dropping fast now, make no mistake.
We bought some sweaters today for less than $10 a piece. Damn nice sweaters, too.
I got a good view of the mountains today. Quite amamzing to think we will be hiking through them. Not to the tops though. Hells bells, way too much snow. We will travel through mountain passes.
Spent much of the day looking for a loo with a toilet seat. Found one in the restaurant we had breakfast in, thank God. Also bought some muesli I had for breakfast to cook into cream of bird feed on the mountain.
And the air, I didn't mention how fresh, so fresh, crisp clear yummy freash air. Ahhh... hmm... I remember commenting on the air now.
Huaras looks like it was made in a box, then teh bottom of the box fell open and teh town landed in the middle of nowhere among mountains. It's just mountains, then suddenly dense city, then mountians. one wonders how it got here, so high in the hills.
A man on the bus ride up to Huaras suddenly started smiling really big at me for reasons I cannot discern. He kept smiling a very big grin at me. I was just like... riiiiiiiiiiight. This face was not familiar to me... how ironic.
You have to understand everywhere in Peru people are asking you to buy their candy, pen, calculators seem to be big, shoe shining, fruit, bus ride, taxi ride, you move and they'll try to push it on you. Often they are just children and while I don't want my shoes shined, sometiems I feel like just giving them the money for nothing.
We bought a small tub of honey for less than $1.50. A girl had a honey comb thing right there with honey bees on it -- can't get fresher than that. Can't wait to have cream of ... chicken feed - sorry, I don't know what grains it is, but it really does look like chicken feed.
Phil's a cool guy. It will be fun to be hiking with a fellow tourist. One that doesn't speak Spanish and native tongue is English, at that. Judging on his email address, I'm guessing he is also 21.
Writing gets me excited about our plans. There are rivers that start in Huaras and go all the way to the mouth of the Amazon. How phat is that. I think we may have too many warm clothes and not enough wool ones. I was told the coldest it gets in the hiking routes we will be doing is just flirting with freezing.
We might try to see if it's possible to boat all the way from these snow capped peaks to the jungle, the mouth of the Amazon.
I bought a watch today and some more batteries. It is so nice to have a watch. Cost me 10 soles for 4 AA batteries and a digital, basic watch. 3.50 soles = 1 dollar.
It made me a little sad to see this place in poverty. Sometimes I try to think of ways to improve the way of life. The economy here is mucho whacko. 98% of the people make a living by selling goods in their own little booth or on the streets solicitating, making it impossible for legitimate buisnesses to exist.
Last night we saw a restaurant that served lasange -- tonight we eat there.
Dinner didn't upset my stomach at all. Couldn't believe it -- cheese lasagne -- yummy - little too cheesy - coulda had more sauce and some vegetables.
We haven't had power in this Hostel all day - very lame. Candle is our only light.
Here ends Part 1. Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow.