Hoping for a cloud inversion at dawn (photography fans) we are lying in the roof tent listening to the drizzle in the dark. It is cold and dank at 4,200m and yet there remains a dog roaming the hillside barking to remind me why I dislike dogs.*
Given this blog is mainly for our future selves I make scant apology if much of the following makes little sense to someone who doesn’t ride a mountain bike…
We left La Paz behind us on a Friday afternoon, heading north to Copacabana on the shores of LakeTiticaca. Driving out of the city we were greeted by the usual traffic, crazy driving and hordes of people walking up and down dusty streets. Once again, we talked about how much La Paz reminds us of Mumbai, with slightly fewer people.
It is an unmarked door in a low grade neighbourhood. Inside a man has a bucket grain alcohol, a ladle and two square meters of straw matting. He is here to die. Continue reading “La Paz – female pantomime wrestling and grim reality”
Time flies. In 6 weeks we will be back in London. Before we left, we noted down a list of things we’d want to do and achieve on this trip. Not just places we’d want to see but things we’d want to:
- learn (e.g. improve our surfing),
- experience (e.g. Spending 6 months together in a van and meeting people we don’t usually come across in our London life) and,
- do (e.g. Spend more time reading books, meditating etc)
But with 8 weeks to go we realised we had to make some choices as to where we’d go, how much time we’d spend there etc. Cusco or the Bolivian salt flats? The Amazon or Easter Island? More surfing or more trekking?
This has led us to create a list of things that we have had to skip. On this trip. Here’s where we got to and where we’d probably start next time we are thinking of taking a holiday.
- Antarctica. Would have blown our budget and seen us return to the UK 4 months too soon but it’s definitely on the list
- Galapagos. Again, expensive and something we keep telling ourselves we can easily do when older
- Amazon. Up until yesterday the plan was to go to Iquitos and spend a week on a river boat in the Amazon. Unfortunately, Iquitos flooded and the other option in Peru, Manu, was as expensive as the Galapagos (but a bargain compared to Antarctica)
- Bolivian Salt Flats. This was skipped in favour of Cusco though we might, might, be able to visit the salt flats as we drive south to Santiago
- Equador, Colombia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil. There’s clearly a need for a northern Latin America tour
- Fly fishing. Andy’s finally come to terms with the fact that he did not get to try this out
- Carnival. I had this vision of us spending carnival at a remote village somewhere but we spent Carnival on different continents
This is by no means a list of complaints. We have seen, done and experienced a whole host of different, surprising, exciting, disappointing, hilarious things. But there’s only so much we can squeeze into 6 months.
We are in Cusco and we are alive. We have not updated the site in a while because internet in Bolivia (yes we were there) was crap and then when we crossed into Peru I managed to give Andy “Deli Belly” (με αλλά λόγια γαστρεντερίτιδα).
We have spent the last week in Cusco. Andy went mountain biking in the jungle, I went up to Machu Picchu. Most of our free time has been spent debating what we will do with our last 6 weeks in the continent in light of the floods in northern Peru. 2 pisco sours in (each) its looking like there’s a lot more surfing in our future – but who knows.
There are more blogs and updates of our shenanigans coming up over the next week or so to catch you up with our adventures.
Rest assured we are safe, not in imminent flood danger and, 5 months in, still talking to each other.
Love you all
Pisco sour #3 is waiting for us.
There’s not much to say about Arica. A town of about 200,000 people perched at the northern point of Atacama and a stone’s throw from the border with Peru the town is dusty, heaving with backpackers and trucks moving north or south. The one amazing thing about Arica however is the surfing.
When Daphne’s passport came through, I was happy, relieved and on the wrong side of the Atacama desert. I’d been here because it is a world famous astrophotography location with spectacularly clear and dark skies. Except when it rains.
Before I left for Athens we agreed that it’d make sense to meet in Arica, a town on the boarder with Peru famed for its surf. We also agreed that till I got a passport in my hands it made little sense to plan further, book tickets etc. So whilst we were apart Andy was slowly making his way through Salta and I was enjoying all the modern day luxuries in Athens (decaf skinny lattes, Zara, haircut…).
When you pick up a hitch hiker you have a very,very short period of time for you both to figure out if either of you are a serial killer.
As I rolled past, he put his cigarette out on the heel of his Vans and put the butt in his pocket. Serial killer he may be, but a considerate one at least. I stopped, rolled back, window down and asked where he was going. Atacama. Jump in amigo.