My Ticket to Chaos

I quit my job and bought a ticket to Peru. Some call it a quarter-life crisis, I call it living.

Name:
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Home Sweet Home

Home safe and sound after a day of flying. Our last day in Peru was spent in Lima. We had taken an overnight bus ride from Trujillo in first class (we splurged and spent $19 each). I slept for the entire ride but was awoken with a loud bang and a jolt. We had been rear ended by a garbage truck. 20 minutes later and three runs trips to the bus bathroom, a second bus came to the rescue. True, it was already full of people and we had to sit on laps but we got there safe and sound. We dropped our bags in a hostal and walked around all day, shopping last minute for gifts and souvenirs. We ate like pigs, choking down chocolate cake and McDonald's, ice cream and fruit juices. We caught a cab at midnight and headed for the airport. Derek and I flew out on the same plane at 2:25 am, while Josh stayed in the airport for another 8 hours until his flight into Chile departed. When I got home, I unpacked, showered, made some phone calls and hit the sack. It felt amazing to crawl into my bed and fall asleep to silence. Actually, I found it hard to fall asleep right away because of the silence, but eventually I was out like a light.
I think 6 weeks was just enough time in South America for me. I was starting to get pretty sick and tired of being tired and sick. Hopefully a few days of normal food and water will clean me out and bring me back to proper health. I'll tell you one thing, if you want to learn to appreciate what you have, leave it behind and put yourself in a situation that completely removes you from the familiar.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Day at the Beach

Yesterday we spent 50 soles each (approx. $25) to take a day trip with a local surfer to Chicama. This beach reportedly has the longest left breaking wave in the world. You can ride it on a board for 20 minutes straight or something crazy. We arrived and it was beautiful. The beach was huge and sandy, and best of all empty. The sun was shining bright. It was the first time we have seen the sun since our day trip to Chiclayo. We left our bags in the taxi so our hired driver could watch them all day for us then headed down the beach. We ended up walking about half an hour to this small, secluded and well sheltered beach. Here we spent the day surfing, boogie boarding, and tanning. There were albatrosses everywhere and lizards all over the rocks on the beach. Not a soul was there but us. We had a few accidents in which the girl who came with us, as well as Josh, crashed into some rocks while attempting to surf and fight the current. Everyone is fine and survived with no injury... Josh's board got the brunt of the damage. We had left our sunscreen and hats at the car, as well as cameras, so we all ended up burning to crisp. I can't quite walk today as it hurts too much to put pressure on my thighs. We ended the day with a big party at a local pub. It was a great day...besides the skin cancer, and worth every sole. Today is a day of recovery. We will need to make a trip into Trujillo to withdraw some money as I am out yet again. Curses.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Am I Having Fun?

The answer is...sometimes. The annoyances of the country and its culture are quickly starting to grade on me. Every day at 5:30 am a guy rides around the block honking his bicycle horn NON-STOP. He honks it all day to advertise his bread for sale. I haven't been sleeping well because of it...well, him and the guy who rides his fruit cart bike around the block all morning yelling out the names of EVERY SINGLE FRUIT in his cart using a megaphone. We have been in surf towns now for the last 9 days or so and since I'm not very keen on surfing I find it difficult to enjoy myself as much as the others. Why not take off and do something else you ask? Well, not knowing the language causes its own problems, but I am also uncomfortable with the constant hooting and hollering and staring that comes with being a single white girl on the street. I have also run out of money. So while the weather is great and I'm still counting my blessings for being in this amazing country, there are times I am not having fun. I'm trying to make the best of it, but knowing that there are only a few more days before I'm back in my comfy, quiet bedroom and flushing poopy toilet paper down the toilet instead of smelling it for 4 days in the bathroom garbage can makes it difficult to stay in the proper headspace.

I also miss the inland. There is no real culture here on the coast besides the typical surf culture, which isn't exactly my scene so it's hard for me to fit in. There are no old ladies carrying children on their backs, or llamas walking around the streets. I miss that stuff.

With all this said, don't worry about me. I'm making the best of it and enjoying as much as I can. Home in 5 days!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Have I got a story for you

So here's my story about the biggest waste of time and money on this entire trip.

Tired of the scenery in the small beach town of Huanchaco, we decided to head off to Chiclayo this morning. Chiclayo is a larger, more modern city where we had hoped to find some more surfing. We caught the 3 hour bus this morning at about 7:30 for $4.00. When we arrives, we set off in search of a hostal. We found one for about $18 each a night. We dumped our gear, roamed the city's downtown shopping core, and caught a minibus out to the beach. Here, we found an adorable little town with an even sweeter hostal. Unfortunately there was no place to rent boards, although you could ask someone to borrow theirs for the day. Back onto the minibus and into the city. We then found me a bikini and made the decision to return to Huanchaco this evening and continue to surf where we had been for the past 3 days. Onto the bus again for $5, after supper at a Chinese restaurant called Chifa Jackie Chan, with a huge picture of Jackie above the door. So now we are back in Huanchaco, same hostal as before ready to surf again. What a waste of money and time.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Surf the Wave

8 hours on an overnight bus got us to Huanchaco (Trujillo). We arrived early in the morning and found a place to stay. It only took a few hours before the surfboards and wetsuits were rented. Into the ocean they went. I choose not to go because I am a wimp. The water beats me up way too much and I tend to get scared when I'm being tossed about helplessly for 30 seconds in the crashing waves. Instead, I sit on the beach and take pictures. Laddy-da. We then indulged in some ceviche, which is raw fich that has been marinated in lemon juice and spices until it is 'cooked'. Delicious really. So the last couple days have been surfing (I started body boarding) and eating. Nothing too exciting or different. We head out tomorrow morning to Chiclayo, another beach town for...you guessed it, more surfing.

Friday, December 08, 2006

So It's Been a While...

We caught the 8 hour bus ride back to Lima from Huaraz where we climbed for 5 days and met some great people and contacts. I took no pictures for this entire stretch of trip...nothing you haven't seen before (eg. mountains with snow). On the bus ride we played Bingo and I won. Yay! We arrived in Lima, grabbed a cab to some random bus stop off the side of the highway and jumped on a minibus to Punta Hermosa where we would be dropped off on a dark, lonely corner in the middle of a dead town at night. Some man walked by and took us to our hostal, a place known as 'Pico Alto International Surf Camp'. We arrived to find a couple of staff members and one other man who was staying there, an older gentlemen from California. Turns out the owner, Oscar, had died the day before. He had suffered a heart attack while surfing. So we've showed up in the middle of a 'transition' period where nobody is quite sure what is happening. The next morning we meet the rest of the staff/surf guides and head out that afternoon for a lesson or two in surfing. Basically, since my guide did not speak English and visa versa, the lesson consisted of ¨here is how you lie on the board, here is how you get up. Let's go.¨ Umm, okay. So off I went into the big sea. It hurt paddling out there to those giant waves, and when I got there I started feeling motion sick. My guide pushed me in front of a fews waves, but after about 3 tries I needed to throw up. I gave up quickly and paddled back in after getting tossed about in the waves for 10 minutes. I guess surfing isn't for me. I'm quite happy just to watch and take pictures. So we will stay here for another day or two then move on up the coast to warmer waters and more sun. The gang here is great, and the meals are marvelous, but I want to see some different beach.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Huaraz

We caught a plane to Lima and bought our bus tickets to Huaraz the minute we arrived, around 6 pm. We had three hours to kill, and were told by the security guard to spend it across the street at METRO. Basically, it was a giant Walmart surrounded by carnival rides and dance competitions. We walked around, sat in the food court, and watched some chick in tight, white pants lead a group of people on the street through dance moves. I also had McDonalds fries for the first time. I have never seen a McDonalds before in this country. They were gloriously familiar. We caught our bus and had an 8 hour overnight busride to Huaraz. I slept for most of it but when I woke up in Huaraz, I immediately had to run to the bathroom and throw up from motion sickness. Note to self...do not book seats on the top floor of the giant bus. I we spent the first few hours shopping for a hostel before taking one simply out of exhaustion form looking. We soon regretted it and later found a new place with a kitchen. I am happy for $7.50 a night. We spent the rest of the day shopping for groceries in the market to make our meals from scratch. Josh collected a bunch of climbing information and entered in a bouldering competition for tomorrow. Something to do I suppose!

Strange things I have seen in the last few days...

1. An old man laying in a produce cart on the sidewalk, covered in a blanket. I think his wife drags him into town each morning to keep her company while she sells her potatoes.

2. A bum with no hands begging for money, and no hat to put change in. Where do I put the money sir? Where?

3. METRO...a Walmart combined with Klondike days.

4. New car celebrations. In Copa, whenever somebone bought a new car they would park it in the town square, cover it with gladiolas, have it blessed, spray beer on it and set off fireworks in front of it on the ground. Then everyone sits in the car and gets drunk. Hey, congratulations on your new baby Toyota.

5. An old lady with a Llama waiting to get pictures taken. Okay, that is not wierd, in fact I see it everywhere. The wierd part was the giant stuffed lion on her right side.

6. Women selling raw meat on street corners, spread out on tarps.