A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

Argentina

Salta

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Young Luke's lightsaber has been stolen from his wallet, leaving him stranded in the clutches of the evil Lord Vader, with only 60 credits.

And‏ ‏‎now, let's be serious. My credit card was stolen on the 22nd of February. I spoke to the bank right away to cancel it, and see if any transactions have been made. Nothing was gone, so I could relax a little, but I was still stuck with no card. On friday, the 25th, I left Puerto Iguazu for Salta, in northern Argentina. After an excrutiating 23-hour bus ride (with Jennifer Lopez romance movies, and an Argentinian folk Idol) I arrived. A woman was sent for us, by Lior and Ma'ayan, to pick Dima, Sivan and I, to their hostel. The hostel is one of the best ones I've been to since I got South America. Here we found many Israelis and we immediatly became real good friends with most of them. I spoke to the bank, back home, and ordered myself a new card. The man on the other end said it would take between 5-8 business days to arrive. Unfortunately for me, it was Saturday by the time we spoke, and a business day doesn't include Saturday, Friday AND Sunday, which means this could take a while. In the meantime, I have to keep myself busy. So, on our first night here, we all went to a party together. Then, on the next day, we went to this really beautiful spot over the city. On the way, we encountered a giant statue of one of the Argentinian hero-gods. The man was sitting on his horse, high enough to look over the entire city. Very meaningful.

Most of the time I didn't do much, other than sit around and talk with some friends. It also gave me alot of time to brush up on my ping-pong skillz.

Sometime during the week, Me and ten others from the hostel, all went to a paintball ground. There, my training kicked in, and my team won, leaving me one of the only ones who weren't "killed". Eventaully only Emanuel and Myself were left, and we went at it, Wild Wild West style. We stood back to back, and counted ten paces, but like in every cheesy western, the bad guy cheats, and after nine paces I was shot in the back. What a world! But I didn't give up, and my foe was still at large. I placed some cover fire, and while he was in his cover, safe from harm, I charged, thus declaring me the victor. The nurse at the hospital was so nice, that she massaged my wound back to health.

The next couple of days were full of meat, more freinds and go-karts.

On Thursday morning, I went with some people I met to a town called Cafayate (pronounced Ca-fa-ja-te). We rented a car and drove nearly 200 km. The way was absolutely incredible. The terrain was deserty, with beautiful mountains, canyons and french people, though they weren't exactly the highlight of the day. We stopped at every possible place to take pictures. All the way, while I was driving, and when I wasn't, I kept looking out the window, and couldn't stop thinking of my days in basic training. The desert reminded me too much of the Bik'ah, where I was first located, when I joined the army. Only one difference, this desert was red-ish. When we arrived at the town, we walked around, looking for everything, and nothing. Just enjoying the day. After a few hours there, we finaly had to head back, so I drove all the way, for over 3 hours. Fun. Not a teriffick experience, this driving in Argentina.

My next destination, once my card arrives, is Chile (once again!). I met a girl (once again), in Iguazu, and decided we want to go to San Pedro together. San Pedro de Atacama, is in the north of Chile, west of Salta, beyond the border (da!). San Pedro is also very close to Bolivia, which is due north from there. From San Pedro, through the Salar salt-desert and into Bolivia. Today the Salar is flooded, and most of the treks in the area are still closed, so we want to drag as much time as we can, for as little money as we can, before crossing the border.

The next couple of days were very insigtful. I was left alone in my room, because all the people that were with me here at the hostel, all left. Every day new people came and went. On friday morning, I woke up to alot of noise in my room, seeing that two girls are being bunked with me in my room. One of them needed a doctor, and I offerd her my list of doctors in Argentina that I got from my insurance company. I looked for it in my money belt, emptying it from it's contents. I didn't find my list, though I did find something else. My "stolen" card. The second I saw it, it all came back to me. When I was in Puerto Iguazu, we went to Paraguay for a day, and I left everything of value at the hostel, hidden deep in my muchila. I completely forgot about it, so I immediately declared it stolen. Now I know that this passed week or so, was avoidable, but I don't regret a second of it. On Friday night, after Kidush with everybody from the hostel, I looked at my card's status, and saw that I missed an attempt to deliver it. I was out of the hostel, and it completely ruined my evening. The next morning I found the lost card, and became even more upset, but despite all that, I regret nothing. Well maybe the fact the hostel lost my lucky boxers in the laundry. I think I would like to have them back.

On Saturday afternoon, the girl that I was supposed to travel to Chile with, Inbal, decided she couldn't wait any longer here in Salta. I couldn't blame her for not wanting to stay here, so we said goodby, and she left that night for a town north of here, called Tilcara. Tilcara is 3-4 hours away from here, on the way to the Bolivian border. There is a big Carnaval contest there that's supposed to be very cool to see.

All the while I spoke to my friends that I came here with, Swarly and Oran, and learned that they were in Buenos Aires. Oran unfortunately, isn't happy here and wants to return home earlier than he planned. He booked a bus ride straight to Bolivia, and from there to Sao Paulo, Brasil, and then home on the 20th.
Swarly went to Rosario, the same city that I've been to, a couple of weeks ago. From there, he went to Puerto Iguazu and bathed in the falls. His first plan was to cross the border to Brasil, but soon gave that up, and decided to come here to Salta to meet me.

Sunday, Monday and Thursday were a holliday here. Apparently, the carnaval is a big deal all over the continent, not just in Rio. After I found out that I missed the delivery attempt on friday, the next one was only to be made AFTER the holliday, which meant it would arrive the soonest on Wednsday, if nothing went wrong. In the meantime I tried to keep myself as busy as possible. We found a real chinese restaurant. The people there spoke no english and no spanish, so it was very challenging to comunicate with them.

Finaly, on Wednsday, I spoke to the bank again, then UPS israel, then UPS Argentina, then a small, private, local delivary company, who had my card. I didn't want to wait any longer, doing nothing, so I asked for the adress and went to their office, to pick it up myself. Update: I RECIEVED MY CARD.

Wednsday was a very happy day for me. After getting my card, I could finally leave Salta behind, but not yet. I had to wait for Swarly one more day. He's supposed to arrive here the next morning, on Thursday. I waited for him all morning, and he arrived finaly at noon. We were very happy to see each other, and we talked for a while about our next stop. I sugested we go to Tilcara, in the north, spend the weekend there, and from there, take a bus to Bolivia. We agreed, so today was done, and we had to pass the time. We went to a bike renting company, just around the corner from the hostel, and rented a bike for the rest of the day. After so long here in Salta, I knew my way around here pretty well. I showed him the city, taking him to the view point on the mountain, looking over the city, spent the afternoon there in the shade. Then we studied the map we had, and drove 20 km, to the nearest town, called San Lorenzo. There, we spent the rest of the day, looking at the countryside, and went back to return the bikes.

On Friday morning, March 11, I finaly left Salta.

All's well, ends well.

Posted by Son_of_Axe 22:13 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Bolivia

The Salar Desert

rain 14 °C

Hello everybody!

I greet you this time, for the last time, from Argentina. I finaly left Salta, after two weeks. Swarly came on Thursday afternoon,‏ ‏on the 10th, and we both took a bus the next morning to a small, out of the way town, called Tilcara. This town looks alot like a town from a Robert Rodriguez movie. The town is in the north of Argentina, three and half hours away from the Bolivian border. Most of the people there are more Bolivian than Argentinian. We found a shithole of a hostel (pardon my french), and started to scour the town for things to do. We found out that this weekend, was the last weekend of the carnaval, so we asked around to know where it takes place. People told us that we couldn't miss it, because the town is so small, and the carnaval goes around town and they make alot of noise. Just follow the noise. In the end, they settled just beyond a low wall from our room at the hostel, and indeed, made alot of noise. The thing itself was proportunate to the size of the town. Very small, but very festive (festivus anyone?), plenty of colors, colorful outfits and foam. Much, much foam.

At dinner, we talked it over, and agreed that other than this carnaval, there isn't much esle to do here, and decided that we want to go on to Bolivia.
We took a bus the next morning (it was only an hour late!), to the border town, La Quiqa (pronounced Kaika). There, we dissmounted, and walked to Bolivia. The border was very messy. Very similiar to that border town in Paraguay, only smaller, with a flee market to greet us into the promissed land. We call it the promissed land, because of Bolivia's redicoulusly low prices. Bolivia is a third world country. Very poor and dissorganized. Once we crossed the border we found the bus terminal, and booked a bus ride to Tupiza. Tupiza is in the south-west of the country, close to Chile and Peru.
The bus ride was quite terrifying. Most of the way was unpaved, and due to rain, there were many puddles on the road. More than once I spoke to people that took busses in Bolivia, and said that they got stuck for hours in the mud. We were lucky, and after two hours we arrived at the small city of Tupiza.

Our next objective, once we found a place to sleep, was to find people to go on a jeep trip with us, in the Salar. Upon walking around the city the next morning, we met friends from our hostel in Salta, and asked if they want to come with us, because the more people, the cheaper the activity is. They said that they already booked a trip for the next day with some other people, and hurt, but still hopefull, we kept searching. Israelis are easy enough to find in this small city, and companions we found. We booked a trip with six others, taking two jeeps, for less than 800 bolivian. The currancy here is very cheap: 1 bolivian is close to 0.5 NIS. So, all in all, it was quite cheap. On Monday the 14th, we go.

The next morning we woke up, packed our stuff, and went to meet our companions. At 9 AM we set out by two jeeps for the desert. We drove for hours in breathtaking scenery. We stopped in two villages along the way, with houses that are built of mud. On the way we saw hundreds of Llamas. The Llamas here are used for their wool and meat, and are very comon in Bolivia. We finaly reached a small village, at the ass-end of nowhere, and there we camped for the night.

The next morning we woke up at half past four AM. We quickly packed up our stuff and headed out again. We drove for hours until we reached our first destination, which was a small village, with natural hot springs. There we had our lunch, and after everything was sqeeky clean, we jumped in. Due to our extreme hight, breathing was difficult, and the winds were very strong, and cold, so the high temperature of the spring was a welcome change. We relaxed in the water for a while, caught some well-needed sun, and continued on our way. Tupiza is very high above sea level, and our whole trip through the Bolivian desert is also very high. Today, most of the time we were above 4000 meters high. The scenery mostly stays the same, with brown-yellowy mountains, some of them are capped with snow in the distance. Our driver took us to many beautiful places along the way. Lagoons ritch with minerals that make the water seem green, with strong winds that froze our private parts. At some point, our driver also took us to a place with many holes in the ground that spew steam at very high temeratures, and boiling mud. The smell of brimstone and sulfur was very strong (smells like rotten eggs). We took snapshots of as much as we could endure outside of the jeep, due to strong, cold winds, and went on. At the end of the day, we reached another campsite to make our night there.
The whole day we saw Llamas.many, many Llamas.

On our third day, we woke up early in the morning for a change, and set out. Most of the scenery, again, was brown and yellow mountains. Llamas were walking aimlessly, and we reached our first stop. We came to a small lagoon packed with thousands of flamingo. It was still early morning, and the sun hasn't come over the mountains yet, and the view was incredible. We took plenty of pictures of the early morning, and carried on.
The rest of the day was very similar. Mountains, lagoons, Llamas, flamingo, breakfast, lunch. our final destination for today, was a small city, right at the edge of the Salar, called Uyuni. There we found a place to sleep, bought a ticket for the next day to La Paz, and called it a day, after walking about in the city a bit, seeing the flee market.

The next morning, we woke up before sunrise, in order to get to the Salar just as the sun comes up. The Salar desert is 25 km from Uyuni, and is 12000 square kilometers big. When we got there, it was flooded. There was a fine sheet of water covering the entire thing. Looking to the distance, with the suns´ light, the reflection of everything was perfect. It looked like a giant mirror. We spent a few hours there taking silly pictures, taking advantage of the huge area for proportions. Because everything is so flat, you can take pictures as if your head is sticking out of a Pringle's tube, running away from a toy dinosaur and more. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera at the hostel, so I didn't take any pictures there. Take my word though, it was beautiful.
On thursday evening, March 17, we leave for La Paz by bus.

Until next, may the force be with you.

Posted by Son_of_Axe 07:57 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

Bolivia

La Paz - Rourre Nabaka

rain 25 °C

I want to tell you the story of the scariest bus ride in the world. Bolivia doesn't have proper roads, with asphault, or even narrow, one way dirt roads. All that it has is mountanous trails, with sheer cliffs on either side. On the right is a jungle, and on the left, over 200 meters of free fall straight into the river. The trail has many, many curves, and is very narrow. Like the Death Road that I took the bike ride in, about a week ago, only this one is longer and has more cars in it. We went on Tuesday morning to the bus station in La Paz, and took a bus that supposedly was a 10 hour ride to a small town called Guanay. We never got there. That 10 hour bus ride turned out to be more than 30 hours on the road. We got stuck at night at a small village with two and half buildings, because the way ahead of us was too dangerous. There were mud slides from the mountain above us and the bus driver didn't want to take a chance. At some point, we nearly tipped over when a truck came ahead of us. The next morning, we had to wait for construction machinery to rescue another truck that got stuck in the mud, wheel deep. Eventually, after more hours on the road, our guides happened to pass us by in their car, on the way to look for us. We dissembarked, and went with our guides to the river, and built our raft. This is our second day. Today, we were supposed to start our sail down the river. It took us such a long time to build the thing, that night time came, and the guide said it was too late already, and we'll set out in the morning. So, we set up camp, and sat down to have dinner.

The next morning we "set sail" on the Amazon river, for four days on a raft that we built with our bare hands. Not the greatest of ideas, but certainly, one of the craziest, and most fun. Our first day, was mostly high currents, and alot of mosquitos. We got bit hundreds of times each. We floated until evening, when we arrived at a small town on the riverbed, and set up camp right there, on the bank.

The next day was alot smoother, more relaxed, but still plenty of man-eating mosquitos. The river was so calm, the sun so strong that our guides let swim around the raft the whole day. Most of the day we just caught some sun and relaxed. When the day came to an end, we parked our car at the side of river, and climbed a few meters of sand cliffs to find a marked path. It's like they knew it was there. We trode the path for a few minutes finding a small, abandoned miners village with banana trees, coconut trees, and papayas. We camped there for the night, and said our Shabat blessings. We couldn't drink their goy wine, so we drank whiskey instead.

The next morning we woke up to a great breakfast, made by our guides, and then we went into the jungle for a few hours, to look for clean water. On the way we saw giant spiders, drank out of trees and had a generally humid time.
When we came back, we had lunch and continued on our way to Rurrenabaka. Once the sun set, we found yet another place to set up camp, and there we celebrated our last night on the raft, with whiskey and wine.

That night it started to rain, and didn't stop for most of the next day. We waited for the rain to stop, which only happened at noon, so we continued quite late that day. Our guide said we'd get to Rurrenabaka very late, after dark, so we convinced a man to take us by boat the rest of the way.

Rurrenabaka is a small tourist town on the Amazon river. There are plenty of options here, and once we get settled, we'll see what's next.

Posted by Son_of_Axe 10:17 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

Bolivia

Cochabamba - Waka trek

semi-overcast 23 °C

Well, I havn't written in quite a while, because frankly, there wasn't much to write about. After the six days that we spent on the river, we arrived in Rurre Nabaka. There we stayed for a few days, and took a taxi back to La Paz. There we met friends in our hostel, and most of the time we just sat around, played pool and drank. We spent our Seder at the restaurant in the hostel; a very short, to the point one. Later that week, we spoke to the guy that runs the restaurant at the top floor of our hostel, and apparently he has his own treking agency. We spoke to him for a while, and eight of us decided to go to his own, personally planned trek. Six days, where we have jeeps, rock climbing, paragliding, and more. On the 21st of April we left La Paz for a city called Cochabamba, where we begin our trek.

We took a night bus to Cochabamba, where it was so cold at night and the toilet was broken, that I couldn't sleep at all. Fortunately the bus ride was very quick, and we arrived very early in the morning. We went to his house, where his friends made breakfast for all of us and we prepared for departure. Later in the morning we went in the jeeps into the mountains, and drove for hours until we reached a cabin in the middle of the jungle, near a small river, where we set up camp. That day, we called it an early night because the next day we go rock climbing.

The following morning we had our Kingly breakfast, made by our guides, and drove for about an hour in the jungle, until we reached the most beautiful chain of waterfalls I have ever seen in my life. We all went into the jungle, just off the stream, and climbed for hours on the trees, rocks and thick vegetation using ropes where we needed to. This place is deffinately the most amazing place I have seen on my trip. The water was running from the top of the mountain, and you could see every small waterfall along it's way down. It was amazing. Eventually, we reached a big rock plate, with natural pools, where we rested and took some silly pictures. Like I said before, what goes up, has to go down, so before the sun set, we began our race against time, to get out of the jungle in one peace before dark.
Once we got back to the campsite it hit me again. I haven't mentioned this before, but I got very ill this past week. Since last Tuesday I've been a bit weak. The first day on the trek I felt like I couldn't go on, so at night I rested, and by the next morning I felt slightly better, and couldn't miss out on that rock climbing oportunity. Unfortunately my body couldn't agree less with me, and when we got back, my knees hurt like hell, and my stomach gave me plenty of trouble, with a general weakness all over my body.

The next day was one of the worst experiences I've had. I woke up feeling so weak, I asked our guide to take me to a local hospital. He said there's one less than an hour away, and everybody wanted to come with me, because it was raining so hard anyway, they couldn't go do what was planned for that day, and also to be with me. We drove to the nearest town, and I saw a nurse that doesn't speak english, so I had to use one of my friends as translator for her. She gave me a shot of antibiotics where the sun don't shine, and then I couldn't even sit to relax. After that, everything went to hell and just froze. She gave me some antibiotic pills to take every few hours.
We all sat outside to eat lunch, when I felt so bad I went to the jeep. I felt so cold that I started to sweat. So hot that I was shaking uncontrolably. We went back after that to the campsite, where I lay in bed. The keeper of the cabin covered me up with blankets, that made me sweat cold sweat and soak my clothes through. My friends later came in and said I was pale as a ghost, took my shirt off, and I asked them to get me my sleeping bag. That was a good choice, because it was the first time that day that I felt comfortable, not too hot, not too cold. Finaly I fell asleep, tossing and turning, fighting away the illness, until when morning came, the sun dawned and I prevailed.

I felt alot better the next morning, after the shot, that I was able to go along with everybody to the Inca ruins.‏‎ Our guide, Alex, took us to a place called Incallajcta, there we toured around the remains of and Incan city, with temples and everything. Later that day we went to a hidden waterfall. Alex, our guide knows the area so well he discovered a single, tall, hidden waterfall in an opening in the mountain. We walked for less than 200 meters until we right underneath it. It was majestic, with it's size and power. It was so strong, that standing 50 meters away got you completely wet.
After everything was seen and done we went back to Cochabamba, finding a hotel for eveybody, and then we all went out to a restaurant together.

Early the next morning, we all woke up, had a quick breakfast, and were picked up by Alex to go to an open area just outside of town, to go Paragliding. We were eight people, and every turn takes more than half an hour. We had to wait at the "landing" area, while each in turn was taken by jeep to the top of the mountain, to a cliff, where we jumped off of. We had only one guide, so he had to do it over and over and over, taking a very long time between jumps. While up there though, it was so relaxing and quiet, you can't not enjoy it. One after the other we jumped, until there was no-one left to jump. We cleared away from there and headed over to the Spa.
Now, at first, the idea sounded good, but once we got there, we realized it wasn't quite so. When you think of a spa, you luxury, hansom men, beautiful women, and healthy stuff. This place was full of old, fat Bolivian men and women. There was one guy with a Hitler moustache, a guy that looks like Mousolini, and a woman that looks like Golda Meir, all sitting next to each other. Very ironic. Anyway, we entered the sauna, swam in the sub-zero pool, and received a massage from a very violent woman. It wasn't a pretty sight, and while on the "Death Bed" I couldn't help but pray for it to be over.
Once out of there, we took a abus at night back to La Paz, and from there we go to Peru.

May the force be with you.

Posted by Son_of_Axe 15:01 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

Peru

Cusco - Machu Picchu

sunny 23 °C

This is my last post before going to the US.

Swarly and I left La Paz a day after we came back from Cochabamba. We took a bus, with a few other friends to Cusco, Peru, stopping on the way in Copacabana (it might be the same, famous town from the song, but I didn't really take the time to find out), there, we took a guided tour in the highest, and one of the biggest lakes in south America, called lake Titikaka. I know, great name.
Anyway, there, apparently still lives a tribe of Native Peruvian-Indians, on floating islands. They build the islands themselves, and receive many tourists there, and try to sell almost anything they have and make on their own. It's a very special place, unique only to that lake, because of the material they use to build and maintain the islands exists only there.
After the guided tour, later that day, we took a night bus and arrived at 6 AM in Cusco.
When we arrived, we looked for hours for a proper place to stay, with enough space for everybody, us being ten people. When we finally found a hostel, we quickly went out to scour the city. Cusco is a beautiful city, with large churches and cathedrals in the main plazas. Very modern, clean and tidy. Although, they still have no road rules while driving. Because we have such a short time left here in south America, Swarly and I didn't wait, and immediately went out to look for an agency that can take us to Machu Picchu mountain. We spoke to several agencies, until we found a cheap enough deal, and then told everybody about it. They all wanted to go also to Inca city, so they all went to the same agency and booked a deal for everybody to go together.

Early the next morning we were picked up by a van, that would take us to a town close to Agua Calientes (means "Hot Water" in Spanish), but is also nicknamed "Machu Picchu town". The ride was a horrible one, because we were eleven people; five males, five females and a french guy that joined our group. The van was very cramped and everybody became very cranky at one point or another. It took us over six hours to get to the drop-zone. From the DZ we had to walk for two and half hours, along a train-rail until we got to Machu Picchu town. There, we had a hostel waiting for us and dinner. The next morning we climb to Inca City, atop the Machu Picchu mountain.

The next..... Can't really call morning, because there were nights I haven't even thought of going to sleep at that time. Let's call it four hours later. We woke up at 3 AM, and started our way to the gates at the bottom of the stairs. Machu Picchu mountain has over 1600 steps. People wake up very early to get to the gates before they open. The reason for that is the Wyna Picchu. Wyna Picchu is another mountain-top, and only the first 400 people to get to the entrance of Machu Picchu, receive a stamp on their ticket, allowing them to be among those who get to climb this opposing top, overlooking the entire valley on one side, and Inca City on the other. Only 400 a day, so this makes the climb in the morning quite a race. Despite being in the back at the beginning, at the gates, I came among the first 50 people to the hut where they stamp the ticket. GO ME!
Anyway, that day was also Holocaust Day. We entered Inca City, and there we met our guide that would give us the tour in the city. After the first section, we told him we have something very important to do. He carried on, we stayed behind and stood for a minute of silence, on top of the Machu Picchu, remembering all of those we have lost. It was a very moving moment for everybody. Like always the Holocaust day is very hard, for everyone, but this time, with no official ceremony, no horn all over the country and no one else but us, it was a different experience all together.
After our small, private ceremony, we joined the group again and continued the tour in Inca city. When we were finally done, we went to climb the Wyna Picchu. Another climb of more steps, this time in daylight, and a shorter one as-well. The view from across the valley, at the city, was absolutely amazing. We could see the entire ridge, the river below us and the whole city spanning before us. It was incredible. When it was finally time to go down, I decided that instead of taking the bus down, like everybody else, I wanted to make it a full round trip, descending the same steps that I took earlier in the morning. So, Noam, my friend, the French guy and me, practically ran the whole way down, reaching the bottom before everybody else that took the bus down. We had enough time to catch our breaths before they came down, and once they did, we all began our march to meet the van that would take us back to Cusco. After about an hour's walk, one of the girls noticed that her camera isn't with her. This is where the problems started. We all talked it over, and someone had to go back with her to look for it. They all voted for someone who can make it back to town the quickest, by running, and by that he had to be the fittest among us. Guess who got picked; yours truly. I left my things with Swarly and began my journey back to town. We looked for the camera everywhere, beginning where she got off the bus, asked bus drivers to communicate among them to see if anybody found anything and we actually went up the mountain again (twice in one day!), only this time by bus. Eventually our efforts were futile, and if anybody found the camera, they probably took it. After more than two hours of searching, we started to walk back to the rail, where we began earlier. By the time I got to the meeting area, it was four and half hours late of the specified hour by our driver. He has a very tight schedule and couldn't wait for us, so he insisted on leaving without us. Our friends could only delay him that much, and so we missed them by no more than half an hour. We were stuck and didn't know what to do, because I gave everything I had to Swarly, including all my money and everything, so I could run better. The girl that I was with nearly ran our of money, because she spent it on looking for the camera, going up and down the mountain. We were perplexed, having not enough money to go by taxi all the way to Cusco, and having no idea where our friends were. All of a sudden a guy came up to us and asked us our names. He said our friends sent him and arranged a taxi for us to the nearest town, where our friends were waiting for us. When we arrived in the next town, we found our friends there and re-grouped. After we had our dinner, we set out again on our 6-7 hours drive back to Cusco, although it was already night time. The way back is very dangerous, it has many curves along the way, with sheer drops on one side and a cliff on the other. The first few hours out of that small town are dirt roads, before it becomes safer. Forty five minutes after we left, we hit trouble (and trouble doesn't like to get hit, so it hit back). We arrived at an odd scene, seeing many cars not moving, and people standing outside. Our driver went to check what was wrong and came back, saying there are rock slides up ahead. Now, at first we all said lets just drive through as quickly as possible and pass the slides' area of affect. Then came to us a group asking for help, saying one of their own was hit by a rock from the slides. It was an American guy, that was in our group in the morning, in the Machu Picchu tour. A rock actually fell on him, while he left his car, to look at the rock slide. He had a deep cut on his shoulder and kept bleeding. Swarly, being the army medic that he was, took care of his wound, and I had to sacrifice my shirt for the American's sake, so Swarly could stop the bleeding. RIP red shirt. Seeing the rock slides myself, how big and unexpected the rocks that were falling, I didn't want to take a chance. After a long time waiting for an answer on what we are going to do, our driver told us it was too late to continue that night, that we have to head back. We argued, we fought, but eventually we agreed to go back to the town we left earlier.
After a short but bumpy and grumpy ride, we found a cheap hostel for all of us. The next morning, we try our luck again with that road.

We woke up and took off. Six or seven hours later we reached Cusco. The ride was, again, terrible. No room in the back where I ended up, we were all (except for the french guy, because no-one understood him) cranky the whole way, the music was terrible and so was the smell. After we arrived back in our hostel, we went out for dinner, finding a great Irish pub, at the main square. We drank heartily and went to bed, for tomorrow, we do something stupid.

Swarly and I have been waiting for this the whole trip. We've been talking about it since we were still at home, months ago. Today we go Bungee Jumping. We found an agency and bought two tickets for one of the highest bungee jumps in the world. 122 meters above ground, jumping from an elevator, suspended in the air, connected by thick cables to the mountains on both sides of the valley. I jumped first, and decided to do it on my own terms; I took off my clothes, leaving only my boxers on and I wanted to jump facing backwards. I must say that this is the craziest thing I've ever done. The feeling you get just before the jump, the adrenalin pumping through me, hearing my heard race like few times before, and then the rush of wind, silence, seeing the elevator become smaller and smaller within seconds. And then the pull. The cable reaching it's full length and then going back up again. Three times the cable tightened and pulled me back up, until I remained hanging upside down, from my ankles, looking at the world the wrong way. After we both jumped, we went back to Cusco, and drank to Man United's victory in the pub again and were invited for a drink by two American doctors that happened to be there also. That night we bought tickets for our final stop of our trip, right before the flight. We go to Lima, Peru. A 20 something hour bus ride in a horrible bus, that kept swaying like a boat all through the night, kept us from falling asleep for most of it. At six in the morning the driver put on Peruvian music for everyone to hear, with no way of turning it off. A great way to wake up.
When we arrived in Lima we found a place To spend the week, and started to make do with what was left of our time.

Until my flight,
Hasta la Vista, Baby.

Posted by Son_of_Axe 09:26 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

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