picture bolivia

looking down over la paz, boliviatrying the local beer, pacena. tastes like natty light. bleh.
visiting the train cemetary. 100+ years old!
more old train action:checking out tons of salt in uyuni
leaping in salar de uyuni! kilometer after kilometer of salt.
isla incahuasi: coral and cacti
night one we stayed in a salt hotel! salt beds:
lots of ice in laguna colorada. brrr.
arbol de piedra: (rock tree)
rocks in animal shapes! what more could one want?
our group at laguna verde. teresa, laura, cristina, esteban, edu & amaia
not like the sky is blue here or anything.dr. seuss plants!ferry ride lake sparkle heaven.lago titicaca:isla del sol in lago titicaca:

attractive outfits to go mining in potosi:miners in the mines of potosi:

besos y abrazos!


you know you're in bolivia when...

Before I go on about the detailed trip, here is a snapshot into Bolivia living...

You know you're in Bolivia when:

1. A man blows his nose in his hands and wipes it along the building he is walking by.

2. A girl pulls down her pants in the middle of the plaza with tons of cars and people around and starts going to the bathroom in front of everyone, and her mom doesn't stop her, but merely shrugs.

3. A dog that is supposed to be guarding the store front of a refreshment place pees on the 2L bottles of pop it's supposed to be protecting. The owners see it and don't flinch.

4. Your guide just never shows up on the island she is supposed to be showing you around, and when she finally finds you the next day, she apologizes by giving you an assortment of yogurt/flavored milk in bags.

5. When on a bus ride, 10+ people that didn't by tickets are picked up in tiny towns along the way and squished in the aisle.

6. When on a bus ride, a women breastfeeds her child on your lap.

7. When on a bus ride, a man's knife falls from the overhead compartment, almost slicing your leg open, and he doesn't even acknowledge it.

8. When on a bus ride, a woman asks you to open your window to throw her bag of puke out it, dripping said contents on you.

9. Items 5-8 all happened on the SAME bus ride.

10. You order a restaurants "homemade cream of corn soup" and it comes out 3 minutes later, nothing more than just instant, packet made broth soup.

11. When #10 happens more than once, in different restaurants.

More later,

Besos y Abrazos



Being back in Minnesota is so wonderful I have had trouble trying to bring myself to post about Bolivia.

Now that I'm home I've gotten to share all the stories I couldn't tell my family about for fear my mother would have a heart attack...like:

1. Masked gunmen outside our house in "safe" Jesus Maria
2. Getting robbed at night during Semana Santa in Ayacucho.
3. Roomates and I Getting attacked by a gang of young guys in Lima Centro.

You know, the usual stuff.

No, in all reality, there was plenty of scary stuff that went on in Peru, and although my blog has focused on the beauties of the country, there definitely is an uglier side.

I promise to do Bolivia posts soon (mainly for you, Uncle B!)

B y A


Spirit Airlines: Fail.

I am currently in the Ft. Laud airport, getting Bolivia pictures together to put up here.
It has been an eventful (did I say eventful? I meant frustrating.) day thus far.

July 29:
Arrive to Lima airport at 8:10 pm
2 hours of waiting to check bags & customs in Lima.
I am told flight will be late. They won't tell me how late, or why. Just late.
Flight is supposed to leave at 10:54 pm.
Flight actually leaves at 11:50 pm.
During my time waiting for the flight, the entire crew; pilots, flight attendants and all were right behind me, gossiping. They were talking about their co-workers, along with making incredibly crude sex comments...while people were all around them...even small kids.
A few good lines include:

Pilot: Did you hear about the pilot for Spirit Air from Detroit Mike so-so? He's a registered sex offender.
(*wow. comforting.)
Flight attendant: Honey you should have come out with us last night. We drank so much. But this guy (points to co-pilot) left early to get a hooker. Again.
(*they all laugh. really!?)
Co-Pilot: Did you hear about so-and-so? She has slept with that pilot like three times
Flight att: Yeah, but who DOESN'T she sleep with?

July 30th:
Flight from Lima. No water/snack for 6 hr flight. Oh! But if you want you can BUY water for a nice $5. Cool.
Get into Ft Laud at around 7 am Florida time.
Hour in line for customs.
Go to do the "easy" rechecking of luggage for connecting flight, but no one from Spirit Air is there.
We are all directed upstairs. Those who missed flights because of delay are send to rebook.
I go to check my bags once again.

Spirit Robot Lady (in minnie mouse voice): Oh, you can't check your bags yet.
Me: But..I was supposed to recheck, but no one from your airline is down there.
Spirit Robot Lady: Your flight is not until 3:30 pm, so you cannot check your bags yet.
Me: When can I check them?
Spirit Robot Lady: 3 hours prior to flight.
Me: So...until then I can't enter the gates/restaurants...and have to lug my bags around?
Spirit Robot Lady: Yes. Or you can pay to store them.

Sigh. Of course. Paying more money is just what I want to do now, especially after paying 30 bucks for an extra bag, and then being told I'm not allowed to have another bag. Even though it was already paid for. Cooool.

So here I am, sitting in a chair next to construction area waiting for 12:30 to arrive. My food options are donuts and pizza.

I think I'll just fast.

Besos y Abrazos.


time to be sappy

...aaaaaaaaand here is the sappy emo post that you will all roll your eyes at most likely, but hey, oh well. I can't see you do it, thus I don't care.

I leave for the airport in 3 HOURS (bah!) and I thought I would do a quick post to say a huge huge HUGE thank you to all of you that have kept in touch during my time here. As was evident by my blog, and to those who I spoke to, there were definitely times here I was pretty bummed, and getting emails, letters, and packages from all of you completely kept me going. I've learned a lot here, not only about Peru and the culture, but also a lot about all of you back at home. A lot of you surprised me with your thought and kindness in sending packages and letters, and emails commenting about this here blog.

Quick special thanks to the people who took the time out of their days to send me my favorite thing (next to raspberries and cheese popcorn): REAL MAIL! There were many that promised they would send stuff and didn't, but the following people followed through!!
Mom, Daddy, Lou, Ann&Brooks(cough cough rubber chicken), Kari, Eric, Patrick, Sam, and Bri. I know it wasn't always cheap and took some time out of your busy days, but I can't express how much I appreciated it all.

My next few days include:
6-7 hour flight
10 hour layover
3 hour flight
4 hour layover
1 1/2 flight


During this time I'll be posting about Bolivia, so stay tuned.

Besos y Abrazos



i'm back from bolivia.

in one piece, believe it or not.

posts to come!

b y a


Cusco Trip POST #4

And now, finally,

Day 3: Machu Picchu/ Huayna Picchu

I could talk about this day for hours.

I have not been this moved or impressed by scenery in my life, even when I was at Masada in Israel.

I know some have gone to Machu Picchu and loved it for the fact that it is a cool hike to accomplish, or because it is one of the amazing 7 wonders of the world.

There are others, like myself, who are total nerds when it comes to MP, and are absolutely fascinated by the history. Just thinking about my time there gives me chills. MP is often called the Lost City of the Incas, because it was never found by the Spaniards. When the Incas in the city heard of Spanish invasion, they fled for the jungle, thinking it would be a safer place to situate themselves. Well, as we know, the Spanish conquerors ended up finding these people, but never this city on top of the mountain, which historians have called Machu Picchu (Old Mountain). The first person from outside of Peru to find the ruins was Hiram Bingham from Yale University, led by a small local boy.
The city itself is supposedly about 80% finished, and after 135 years of building it, it could not be finished because of the invaders coming their way.

We started our hike at about 4:00 am, leaving early in hopes to get one of the 400 tickets to go to the tall mountain next to MP, Huayna Picchu. We hiked up the 2000 steps in the rain and fog to reach the top, got our tickets for Huayna Picchu, and walked amongst the ruins with our guide, Ali. It was unreal to see all of the temples, the sundials, the sacred stones still completely intact, untouched by Spanish hands. Unlike most Inca cities that were found and either destroyed or converted into Christian towns with churches, MP is just as it was left.

At around 10 am we all hiked up the slippery rocks and through tight caves to get to the top of Huayna Picchu (young mountain). From this point, MP looks like a center for ants. (zoolander, anyone?) The girls and I sat with a few members of the group on a huge rock at the edge, dangling our legs over thousands of feet of mountain. Little by little we hiked down, enjoying the ruins that were on this mountain as well, drinking a little wine, and pouring some on the ground to salute Pachamama (mother earth). After a few hours we made our slightly scary trek down back to MP, where we took more pictures and hung out with some llamas. (only in peru..)

A train took us back to Ollantaytambo (after an hour delay because it evidently "slightly broke and derailed"...according to one of the train workers), where we met a bus bringing us back to Cusco. The girls and I got back to the hostel where we had a room reserved, only to find the night guard confused other girls for us, and had given it away. We spent the night allll squished together in two beds pushed together, that equalled the size of about a ping pong table. We were all so tired, you could have put us on a bed of nails and we wouldn't have cared.

I left the girls the next day to fly back to Lima, and my kind, young taxi driver home from the airport gave me his number and asked me to go salsa dancing with him. Sigh. You know you're in Peru when your TAXI DRIVER asks you out.

Here are only a few of the hundreds of photos taken (there are also a couple tiny ones to the top right of this page):

We made it to the top! Please note the long line to get Huayna Picchu tickets. And the intense fog.
Foggy ruins
Poles for hanging sacrifices on in a temple
Reflecting pools to see/read the starsAt the top of Huayna Picchu, looking over the edge.
Machu Picchu ruins, from the famous National Geograpic angle. the big mountain behind the ruins is Huayna Picchu, the other mountain we climbed that day.
Llama party '09
I will hopefully post more pictures later, but as of right now I am about to head to the airport to go backpack through Bolivia for the next 10 days!
Besos y Abrazos!