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It was amazing to look these over a week later. What a place that was!

Several Ausangate pics. )
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The best pic of me and Dianyla, except we're going all Lara Croft on the camera instead of smiling.

I'm going to post a bunch of pics from Flickr. It wants to post them all separately, but I'm trying to figure out how to put all the Ausangate pics in one post. I may have some dinking around to do here.

I probably made a hash of the word "mosqueteras," but Victor named us that. I'm thinking this looks like "little flies," but hopefully I have it right.

More pics

Sep. 13th, 2006 09:34 pm
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A few here, a few there. Beats posting 300 pics in one night, I suppose.

Five more shots of Maccu Picchu )

A few pics

Sep. 13th, 2006 05:26 am
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I have so many pics and not much patience to load them up. Here are a few, from the start of our first trek.

Cusco and the Inca Trail, a few pics. )
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I've been going through my pictures at home, but am still too tired at night to work out a good picture post. Hopefully tonight.

I'm also still coughing out my lungs, which are full of Peruvian trail dust. I feel like I have pneumonia, but of course it's just a couple of ounces of illegally transported South American soil embedded in my air sacs. I'll be stopping off after work to find a good expectorant. It'll be nice to breathe again. In a way, it's ironic. There's plenty of oxygen in these here parts, but Peru is still interfering with my respiration.

I'm wearing my street vendor alpaca sweater today and have received several compliments on it. I am SO color coordinated with Peru! It's wonderfully easy to find the burnt oranges and other deep earth tones there. My sweater is a rich rust tone, with dark brown embroidery around the cuffs and neck. Between that and all the orange jewelry I picked up, I'm set for a while.

Work is slow this week. I'm rather glad for that, as I'm still struggling under a fair amount of sleep dep and clogged lungs.


Sep. 11th, 2006 04:26 am
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I'm falling into bed in about two seconds. But here's one of my favorite pics--a hair shot, of course.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
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And so we leave the mountains with all the memories of the beautiful vistas, hotsprings, chinchillas, alpacas, cactus and trailfuckers.

Day 6: A birdie for goodbye )

I am now in the Lima airport and can´t wait to come back to South America. As I have not yet left it, this says a lot.
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Okay, chinchillas are yesterday´s news. What do our heroines do when they run out of air and are seriously asked by their young punk of a guide why they´re so slow? Well, they don´t cook him up like a cuy; they merely threaten to fit him with lead weights and an anti-oxygen mask.

Day 4: Diane, have you seen my lungs? )
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And what do our hapless heroines do when it starts to snow? And really, do chinchillas even exist?

Day 3: Altitude and attitude poisoning )
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And the adventure continues! Do they see chinchillas? Do they find an arriero? What is UP with those three people, anyway?

Day 2: You forgot the WHAT? )
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...before my brain turns off due to too much oxygen. Oh my godz, I can breathe again. I´m killing time in the Lima airport and can breathe.

So, what did I do on my Peruvian holiday after limpingly conquering the Inca Trail?

Day 1: Not stinky in Tinqui! )
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The bulk of this post is going to have to wait until I´m not shivering in a little open-air internet cafe in a tiny village close to Tinqui. Suffice to say that Ausengate was absolutely gorgeous and probably the hardest hike I´ve ever done. It didn´t help that we had an 18 year old guide with Peruvian lungs and no comprehension about sea-level senoritas. At the top of the KILLER third day pass (a mere 17,000 feet), he sat at the top with his faithful mountain pony, Paloma, wondering why we were so slow.

Two 15,000 (or more) passes the previous day.

Two nights at hot springs. SCORE!

Five days avoiding the only other group on the trail (barring a couple of Canadians we glimpsed twice but never were close enough to speak to). My memories of Ausengate will be forever entwined with three people who are the biggest entitlement whores in history.

You have no idea.

I called them the "Trailfuckers" and offended them every day by my very presence and by wishing them a cheerful good morning whenever they passed by. This whole trip is gonna take some writing, from incredible vistas, to nonstop panting to get air, to naked hotspringing with people who hate me for the language I speak. Not kidding. We got a lot of mileage out of those bozos and luckily didn´t see them often.

Back to Cusco on the 8:00 bus. We won´t pull into town for a while, so I probably won´t update until I hit the Lima airport.

Camino Inka

Sep. 3rd, 2006 10:55 am
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I have a little time, so I might as well start writing down some of my memories of the Inca Trail. It was a whole lifetime packed into four days, so it´s hard to know where to begin. Except at the beginning, of course. I´ll write a bit and then add on later.

A pretty barebones account of the trek. )
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They don´t necessarily run on time. [ profile] dianyla and I sturdily got up early, packed our big frame backpacks, stored all our nonessentials in our small backpacks, paid for another night at the Hostela Rojas in advance for a few days from now, had them store our extra gear, picked up our laundry, had breakfast and took a cab to the weird part of town that is theoretically where the bus to Tinqui was supposed to pull up at 10:00.

We congratulated each other on getting our shit together in good time for the long bus ride, and stood out in the sun for the bus to arrive. About then, another really nice Peruvian guy came up and explained at length that the bus wasn´t going to arrive at ten. It might arrive at 12, 1, or 3. It might be full when it arrives. It would not arrive at 10, regardless.

Damn. We asked for directions toward the nearest internet cafe and are now ensconced in it. Nice Peruvian guy said some stuff that I didn´t quite catch before he left and Diane said, "I think we have a date. He´s going to go home to shower and then walk us back to the bus to buy our tickets, and then go to lunch with us. The bus won´t leave for a couple of hours after it gets here." Oy.

We´ll get to Tinqui sooner or later. The nice cab driver said that the roads have been improved, so hopefully it won´t be as long and scary as we first thought.
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Finished up the Inca Trail today and went through Maccu Picchu. I´ll write about it later, because the internet cafe is closing in a few minutes and I´m pretty dead tired. Diane and I dropped off our laundry to be done overnight and are catching an early bus to the Ausengate area of Peru, to hike in supreme isolation in an area that will be a complete, high elevation paradise. Or so we´re told. The other gringos we´ve met have never heard of it, so that´s promising.

The bus ride is supposed to be nasty. Um. Pray for us, or something.

Wish I´d retained my Spanish. I understand a lot but can´t speak well, and that sucks when you have a transitory crush on a beautiful and funny Quechua man. Oh, well. Heh. Life still doesn´t suck, but I´m inspired by Diane´s easy fluency to start working on it hard again.

By the way, all the Quechuas are beautiful. It isn´t fair, but it sure is pretty.
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I just asked the Internet Cafe guy how to get the @ symbol on this odd keyboard. He said, "Oh, you click alt and then six and then four on the numberpad." That's so intuitive.

Anyway, [ profile] dianyla felt better upon arising today (and even better, upon awaking, she assured me that she remembered to bring HER electrical outlet adaptor, so I could recharge my camera), and so we headed out for the day. First stop, our trekking guides. Absolute sweethearts. A few other people from our group stopped in at the same time, so they insisted on giving us our hand-holding orientation. Dianyla and I kept getting shushed for talking in class, but hell, one of our group kept asking asinine things like, "So, it's only going to rain the second and third day, right?" and "So, we're not going to get to Macchu Piccu for sunrise?" in a whiny tone. Ok, what part of "Macchu Pichu is in a mountain valley" does he not understand? Poor Victor (our lovely and patient Quechua guide.) He didn't actually come out and moan about stupid gringos, but he did shush Diane and I when we started getting bored and planning our own plans in between teh stoopid.

We then stopped by the South American Hiking Club headquarters and discussed our next trek, done NOT in a group, thankyouverymuch. Diane had wanted to head to a set of mountains just beyond Maccu Picchu, but the charming Belgian who runs the place introduced another far more isolated shangri-la about seven hours from Cusco in the other direction. Oh My Gods, it looks like heaven. Or hikerporn, as D. keeps saying. We're going to probably hire a taxi to take us up there (not many options, there), find a guide hanging around a nearby village (don't wanna get lost) and be out for 4-5 days. Taxi back to Cusco just in time for our flight back to Lima. Well, hopefully, about a day early.

THEN, I talked D. into a training hike. We went up endless flights of stairs until they ended, and bushwhacked on local trails up to the huge screaming Jesus statue that overlooks the town. It started raining halfway up and we were treated to evening light over the entire town, with a rainbow. Great pic!

Back down via the old sexy woman trail, a hot shower, then off for food. We found a French restaurant and ordered the Peruvian special. Don't read this, Francie, but D. ate guinea pig. It's called cuy here and still has the little paw on. Since D. didn't bring her camera, she hacked off the paw and it's currently in her pocket. She's going to photograph it and then toss it out on the street for a stray dog to dispose of. I had trout.

Anyway, tired now. Off to bed soon. We're getting up early to go horseback riding through the ruins. The next day, our trek to Macchu Piccu begins!

Oh, yes...not many cats here. After some serious looking, I finally saw a little gatito at an open market. A nearby man said most of the cats live on the roofs.


Aug. 27th, 2006 06:53 pm
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It´s been a full day in Cusco and I can tell I need to take my altitude meds again. The coca tea may or may not help, but I´m pushing 12 hours on the Diamox and can tell.

Diane´s down for the count. She was fine for the early part of the day but has been flat on her back in bed for hours, either due to exhaustion, bad water or altitude. It´s so hard to tell which, but the minimal sleep for days on end couldn´t´ve helped. I went to the little cafe we had breakfast at this morning and the adorable waitress (who gave us mop-lay syrup, from mop-lay trees) insisted on sending up more mate. I left it by her bed, so we´ll see. The stuff smells kind of strong, so even if it helps with nausea, that can´t be idea.

I went hiking this afternoon alone, against all acclimatization advice. Went up to a place that sounds EXACTLY like "sexy woman" spoken in a Texas drawl. It´s spelled "Sacsayhuaman." I roamed around the amazing ruins, climbed up to the Inca´s throne and avoided all the cute kids towing llamas around. "Take my photo, señorita! Now PAY us!" Little turkeys. I´m having more people hit me up for shit than I ever have before. I gave a beggar screaming that she was dying of hunger my Mojo bar just to quiet her down (and maybe help, sigh). She was sprawled out right next to the cash machine, so it was kind of awkward.

I hung out for about an hour with a lovely, Bohemian guy from north of London. James, I think his name was. He on month 9 of travelling around and will be heading home in a bit. He was a delight, especially when he innocently commented that he hadn´t meant to come to the ruins, he just looked up and found himself at a sexy woman. While I choked, he kind of cocked his head and said, "Oh, yes. I´m not speaking Spanish. That sounds kind of funny." Gave me a parting birthday kiss on the cheek, which was terribly sweet. Not many people could get away with that on short notice, but his was chock full o´bohemian sweetness.

I need to eat. I was going to go to dinner with Diane, but that´s been shelved. I should eat something, then take my pill. Here´s to hoping we both feel well tomorrow. Diane wants to rides horses around some of the ruins. I hope we´re up for it.


Aug. 27th, 2006 01:15 am
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Landed in Lima at 11:00, whereupon [ profile] dianyla and I spent an hour getting through immigration and customs (woo! new passport stamp) and are now established in an all-night internet cafe, screwing around online before getting some sleep in the airport hallways. It's been an awesome start to the trip! A wonderful flight, preceded by running out of the secured area in the George Bush airport in Houston to meet up with a lady known as DancingBareFoot at the Marriott Hotel. She and Diane both beat me there and I blew in, asked the waitress to show me the two longhaired women, and settled down for a good 45 minutes of silliness. Diane and I then went through security again and hopped on our plane for Peru.

Whoops. A young man the next computer down just mentioned mournfully that his luggage didn´t show up. The soonest it can come is the same morning he´s leaving for HIS Inca Trail hike. I just lent him my Cusco book with its sections on equipment rental and suggested he go that route. I´d rather see luggage stored and picked up later than a hike messed up.

Glad my luggage is here though safely.

Just looked up and realized it´s my birthday. Yay me, I guess.

I think I´m going to have to find a corner to curl up in soon. I´m getting hazy-headed.


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Jen Kleis

November 2014



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