A Travellerspoint blog

Leigh our human lightbulb......

sunny 28 °C

Today we got to meet some of the locals - so to speak, as our mornings excursion consisted of a visit to the Chauchilla cemetery! On first impression this might appear a little odd..i mean visiting a graveyard isn´t everyones cup of tea especially after reading a Stephen King book, but this cemetery dated back some 1000 years and is in essence to the Peruvians what the ´valley of the dead´ is to the Egyptians! Unfortunately like the valley of the dead´´, this one too had been pillaged over the years and with the lack of investment, restoration work is still very much at the initial stage. Nonetheless the visit was quite informative and insightful into the lifes of the local community.

Today´s topic of discussion is South American electrics! Ever since Benjamin Franklin flew the kite it´s got to be said that mankind has come a long way in harnessing the power of electricity to aide us in our everyday lifes. Having said that, funnily enough here in South America we´ve experience nothing but electric shocks, curly hair and short circuits during our journey! It´s even got to that stage now that we´re playing ´rock, scissors and stone´ just to find a ´volunteer´ to turn on the lights in the evening! I´m convinced Leigh is constantly buzzing when she walks past me!

Until next time..Adios!

Posted by Rosscopico 13:26 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Round, round, get around....

sunny 27 °C

With the beach boys tune buzzing through my head we headed for the beach...did i say beach i actually meant dune as the nearest beach is some 60Km away! Following a hair raising ride in a couple of beach buggies across the dunes we were now ready to partake in a spot of sand boarding! Now i love my snow sports and having skied and boarded quite a bit i thought to myself´how hard can this be´? 5 minutes later and coated in enough sand to fill a kids play pit I´m happy to say it´s not as easy as it looks! Unfortunately for me those action moments were captured in beautiful detail by our ever present wildlife photographer Leigh...naturally enough my attempts to point of that i was deliberately playing up to the camera fell on deaf ears as i was later subjected to a slow motion replay over dinner!

For hundreds of years the famous Nasca lines located in the bleak desert have baffled the worlds greatest scientists..where did they come from, who made them and what do they represent? I´m happy to say that following our earlier visit to the Pisco brewery we all suddenly had some very plausible and creative theories as to the origins of the lines. That said, Leighs suggestion of ´a giants finger painting´surprisingly got the most votes must to the astonishment of our guide!

Posted by Rosscopico 13:15 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

I need a new passport!

sunny 28 °C

Greetings from Lima in Peru! According to our guide Peru is officially the 2nd poorest country in South America but also the biggest exporter of Cocaine..this fact went down well with a few of the younger members of our tour! Apparently they eat everything but dog here...surprisingly enough i´m no longer surprised by the things that go on....just as long as they decide not to make room for me on the menu! After our early morning briefing the group set off on the bus south down the Pan American Highway to a fishing town called Pisco located by Paracus Bay! Despite being in Peru the bustling sea town wouldn´t have looked much out of place in Africa!

It´s offical..I´m Peruvian! Apparently if you drink enough Pisco Sour (the local delicious alcoholic brew) and eat Guinea Pig you´re one of the gang! However before going any further, and for the sake of not being disowned by my dear mother, I must point out that as the owner of 2 cats I could never take it upon myself to east a small bundle of fur...for starters there´s hardly any meat on them and secondly you´ve got to catch the little critters which are darn quick! So naturally enough I settled for one out of two! Anyway having shown my drinking prowess to the locals (thank god for Irish Blood) I then spent the next unsteady 2 hours playing my heart out for the local team and showed skills which woudl surely have earned me a spot on the Irish Football team as their ehh.... waterboy! I may haved been blssed with my fathers good looks but i certainly did not inherit his football skills! Adios!

Posted by Rosscopico 13:02 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Ahhh the delights of travel...

sunny 27 °C

Ahh the delights of a 5am wakeup call! Today saw us journey from Isabella (Galapogos) to Lima via Guayaguil Airport (Ecuador)...which might i add is one of the nicest airports we have ever visited in the world! As usual we were prepared fro the unexpected and we weren´t disappointed for long. "No, no, your names aren´t down and we´re full" he mumbled! Turning to Leigh I explained that she´d better break out the water wings as we were facing a long swim to Santa Cruz as our ferry booking had magically vanished. As our tour guide shrugged his shoulders, Leigh turned and gave him the ´Stare´! Now those of you with other halves should be familiar with this..it´s the sort of look that melts icebergs and makes you wish you were somewhere else..safe! 2 minutes later our seats were ready and we were off! You gotta love that girl!

The art of queuing is most certainly a dark art! Having lived in the UK for almost 14 years, 10 of which was spent queuing, I´ve learnt a few things and that is that the British do it so darn well! Faced by a check-in queue longer than ´lost baggage´ at terminal 5 which hadn´t moved an inch in 30 minutes we finally came to the conclusion that a miracle was in order if we were to ever make our connecting flight to Lima. This my friends came in the form of a solitary self service check in desk...better known as the ´magic sinorita´ - as Leigh puts it! Entering our details using our best Spanglish the computer spewed out our ´golden tickets´ and like Charlie we felt lie we were in heaven! Two minutes later we found ourselves in the Executive Club queue and our bags were loaded. Can i just add that the glare we received from our fellow American passengers, who´d opted for the queue option, was priceless and enough to toast marshmellows....ahhhh!

Flying in South America is definately an experience like no other! First of all it´s not uncommon for the flights to be rescheduled at short notice, those that aren´t may then be cancelled last minute but even if you are fortunate enough to scramble on board and grab a seat then come the dreaded ´count´. Now i don´t know about you but i´d like to think that my arithmetic (Maths) is pretty ok but for the next 30 minutes we were subjected to no less that 30 head counts as we sat in our seats..apparently we had a stowaway amongst us! As the minutes slowly ticked away you could almost cut the athmosphere with a knife as we each eyed each other with increasing suspicion...could the old lady in 22A be our culprit? Then with not so much as a by your leave, the door closed! Mystery solved..there was no extra passenger..it was more a case of 10 crew members being unable to count to 90!

What then followed was a case of put the pedal to the metal as Captain speedy gonzales broke all known records in getting us to our destination, arriving so early that we´d only managed to get halfway through the scheduled in-flight movie.....time travel is possible! Once again in true form our fellow passengers attempted to disembark before we´d even touched down causing complete bedlam..this comedy moment was turned up a few notches when the pilot decided to turn off all the power leaving us in pitch black to disembark...i can only assume that someone had forgetten to feed the meter!

Posted by Rosscopico 12:40 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

..now for some advice from your friendly tour guide!

sunny 28 °C

The Galapagos archipelago is without a doubt a living museum of evolutionary change. The islands appeared from lava eruptions that came from the bottom of the ocean and can rise to as much as 2,600ft. The lava, from more than 2,000 craters, has continuously altered the landscape and currently the archipelago consist of 13 large islands, 6 minor ones and 40 islets. It’s amazing to think that Darwin only spent 22 days of his 5 year voyage here, yet those few days helped lay the foundations of modern day evolution...... awe-inspiring! Therefore it comes as no surprise that UNESCO declared the Islands a World National Heritage (1978) and a Natural Biosphere site (1985).

And so for those world travellers amongst us, a few things to bear in mind should you decide to visit...
All air transport to the islands operates from Guayaquil or Quito on the mainland. Based on accounts from our fellow travellers, I’d recommend that you transit through and continue out to the islands rather than spend time in either city....as well cities are just cities as far as I’m concerned. So unless you’ve travelled all this way with a desire to shake that booty and go clubbing down town...keep heading west!
Then there is a USD $10 visitor control card charge payable at the airport followed by a USD $100 national park entrance charge for international visitors payable upon arrival. Be sure the dollars you have are acceptable as some older series notes ($20, 50 and 100 denominations) may be refused due to counterfeit issues.

Weather wise, December to May is sunny and warm with the rainy season beginning in January. June to November is colder and drier! Did i say colder...what I meant to say was a few degrees cooler! Whilst a rain jacket is advisable for a trip to the highlands (craters) adding a fleece to your suitcase would be sheer madness!

Go local! In the past we’ve been guilty of using mainstream travel service providers but despite the convenience and savings, the benefits aren’t often shared with the local community. So this time we decided to use a small local travel company (Galapagos Alternatives). It’s a small operation which was set up by a local (Javier) and his now wife Jill - who is from USA. She was a visitor to the islands many years ago and fell in love with the place and also with Javier. Galapagos Alternative uses local guides and the service has been impeccable! Without a doubt we’ve managed to see everything and get a real taste of the islands this way! We have seen other tourists sent off with their boxed packed lunches each day but we have been treated to lunches on local farms and Ceviche (a local delicacy) on the beach. Big thumbs up!

Anyway the time of plenty boobies is almost over! With us departing for Lima tomorrow odds are that internet access will be sketchy for a while. So unless you receive a ransom demand from a red headed woolly monkey with an Irish accent please assume all is well. Until next time, Adios Amigos!

Posted by Rosscopico 10:04 Archived in Ecuador Comments (1)

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