Saturday, 27 November 2010


RIP small brown dog with no name belonging to Estancia Los Cuartos in Tafi del Valle.

We tried to send it home but it followed us along the highway.

Damn the man in the truck who couldn´t be arsed to stop.

Thank nature for making it quick...

Bolivia – Cheap as papas, speed of Africa

BEST LOCAL INCITE – Miguel from Copacabana educating us about Morales
ILL FITTING HATS – Biggest collections witnessed so far, accessorised with superb gold dentistry
INEVITABILTY – first and only place thus far that Tash has had something (a potato) thrown at her for taking photos
LOCAL VEHICLE – Dodge buses from decades ago
TELECOMMUNICATIONS – 80´s style landlines on the street connected to an old lady´s candy and crisps stall. Go figure
LIES – claims of technology connectings anywhere including the capital
MOST BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE – Rurrenebaque, best looking South Americans so far
OBLIVIOUSNESS TO – any kind of common courtesy, greeting or apology
BEST TRAVELLERS – Philip and Mia the Jermans from the Jungle. Finest moment: Picture 3 or 4 hours in midday sun in a canoe in 38 degree jungle. Mosquitoes and Caymans circling. Philip calmly asks our guide: “Alec, can we get the secret motor out now? Can we go over there. To the shade.” Legend.
BEST CATCH – (also first ever). Tash proves she´s more of a man by catching her first (cat)fish ever. Mike caught several interesting branches. Mixed feeling ensued on hearing the knife through brain squeals of the fish. Vegetarians who eat fish may wish to reconsider. By the way the branches caught by Mike are just fine now and were re-released into their natural habitat in quicktime.
WHY? – tax for leaving bus stations
BESTEST – Mike´s closest relationship to a boy / monkey. Cacao we love you!
DISSAPOINTMENT – Titicaca and the Islas del Sol
BEST MEAL – Japanese lunch in La Paz
TRANSPORT – 15 seater plane from La Paz to Rurrenebaque. Mike could, and considered, tap the pilot on the shoulder
BEST ICE CREAM – Iced coffee with ice cream opposite Madidi travel in Rurre
WORST ROAD – Challapata to Uyuni night bus
BEST ROAD – La Paz to Coroico, pass at 4750 down to almost sea level in 70km
SUNRISE – 3rd morning Uyuni trip near Chilean border... near Mars we´re told
HIGHEST POINT REACHED – 4920m near geysers in South West Bolivia
ODDEST MARKET PRODUCT – Dried Ostrich foetuses for witchcraft (and tourism)
GRINGO SPOT MISSED – Sucre. Yeah yeah probably another Unesco World Heritage Site. Yawn.
NEAR DEATH – 1) Baby tarantula in flipflop in jungle. 2) Baby scorpian on bed in Sende Verde
BLESSING – Not meeting grown adults. See above

Peru – Papas fritas Y arroz

BEST TRAVELLERS – Salkantay posse (Bacci, Kate, Flic and Mark)
WORST TRAVELLERS – Anon. North Londoners in Colca Canyon seemingly similar yet soooooo different
BEST ACCOMODATION and VIEW – Llanganuco Lodge, Yungay with views of Huascaran
INTERESTING WEATHER PHENOMENON – Circular rainbow caused by ice crystals in Huaraz (see Flickr)
WESTERN FOOD – Chilli heaven curry in Huaraz
PERUVIANish FOOD – Trio of meats in Zig Zag, Arequipa (complete with bibs and flags marking the cow, ostrich and alpaca...
INSPIRING MOMENT – views of Machu Picchu from Llactapacta
LEAST INSPIRING MOMENT – sharing Machu Picchu with the hoards
FINEST GUIDE – Pre-incan Antonio on Salkantay
REASON FOR PROBABILITY – Mike discovers he shouldn´t eat gluten and hence can´t drink beer
BEST ICE CREAM – Dolcetta chocolate and not lacuma flavour
WORST BUS – combi from Huaraz to Caraz
BEST BUS – surreal desert Cruz del Sur from Trujillo to Lima
NO. PRIZES CLAIMED – None because they´re always returns to where you came from. Doh.
DISSAPPOINTMENT – Caraz near the Cordillera mountains.
BEST HIKE – Salkantay to Machu Picchu
ANNOYING CULTURAL PECULIARITY – 1) no drinking or buying alcohol (no, no theme here) before elections for 4 days. 2) Never getting a drink first before ordering food in a restaurant
REGRET – not spending more time in Huaraz and around
MUSIC – 80´s British pop power ballads esp. Roxette
ODDEST MARKET PRODUCT – bread decorated with baby heads for the Day of the Dead... go figure
GRINGO SPOT MISSED – Whole Peruvian coastline...


MOSTY TARDY - Summary blogs about Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia

Ecuador – the dumb man works, the smart man works off the dumb man.

LOCAL CAR – Datsun
HIGHEST POINT HIKED – 5080m, Chimborazo
MOST BEUATIFUL LANDSCAPE – Cotopaxi South face return from glacier
BEST HIKE – Quilotoa loop
BEST TRAVELLERS – Katie and Tanman, US
WORST TRAVELLERS – Mike and Albert (“where are you from?”... “we´re from the world, man”
BEST MEAL – Tiesto, Cuenca – Steak in sweet mora sauce
BEST BREAKFAST – Colonial house, Quito
TEMPORARY PET – Nina from Llulu Llama
BEST HOSTAL – Llulu Lllama, Isinlivi
BEER – Pilsner
BEST COFFEE – Err. I don´t think so
HIPPIEST MOMENT – Visiting the Magic Tree near Otovalo and participating in Shamanic cleansing ceremony with some... of course... californians. Highlight: Mike trying not to laugh as Shaman spits alcohol and lemon juice in his face through some stinging nettles
WORST HIPPY MOMENT – aforementioned Californians stating the the people here know no stress and that all farming is without chemicals and organic.
WORST ROAD – Latacunga to Isinlivi
BEST ROAD – Panamerican through the avenue of the volcanoes
ICE CREAM – mora flavour off market square in Otavalo
INCITE INTO LOCAL LIFE – Quetchua breakfast in Quilotoa complete with wasted family, being served by children and witnessing ´dad´ being pushed up a wooden step ladder to bed, teetering over the mattress carefully placed below in case of... mishaps
DISSAPOINTMENT – travelling bumpy roads to Ecuador´s Machu Picchu to find, yes, a series of small walls (Incapirca)
SURPRISE – guide to the series of small walls being a 10 year old
GRINGO SPOT ACCIDENTALLY (not a cunning plan from mike) MISSED – Mitad del Mundo
ANNOYANCE – 1) tranquil mountain town of Banos being overrun by kit cars for a rally weekend 2) no drinking on Sundays...
SUNSET – Vilcabamba from Ishkayluma restaurant
NEAR DEATH – Ridgeline hike from Vilcabamba including 50 degree straight down with oncoming storm and tarantula sighting...
NEAR MISS – crossing border to Peru two hours before it closed due to attempt on premier´s life

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Columbia Mas o Menus

+Best -Worst

COFFEE +Jesus Martin, Salento -Cafe Lunatico, Cartagena
BEER +Poker on the square, San Gil -Warm Poker in Bocia
MEAL +Filet Mignons at Casa De Felipe, Taganga -Mixed grill, walled city sq., Cartagena
AREPAS +San Gil -Paneria on sq., Popayan
FRUIT +Lulo juice, fresh pineapple on way to Turbo -Lulo ice cream, Popayan
UNEXPECTED COCTAIL +Mojiteria, Salento -Wine, walled city sq., Cartagena
TRANSPORT +Darien Gapster flat water speedboat 30knots -Turbo to Capurgana speedboat
"TRAVELLERS" +Aussies Luke n Laura (San Blas) and Brian and wife (Cartagena) the 50 somethings. Both couples for lack of pretension 
-Frenchman who's "not just on holiday you know" (Cartagena) and Alex the rocker in Pereira
ENGLISHMAN +Pete from Newcastle, Taganga, -Teen with roll-ups, Playa Blanca
TERRIFYING PLACE -Candelaria, Bogota
ACTUAL DANGER -Bus Popayan to Pasto
CLOSE CALLS -Bogota radio station bomb (~week), Pasto volcana (~days), Aires plane crash (~same day, same company, same storm)
ROAD +Popayan to Pasto -Popayan to Tierradentro landslides and breakdowns
BEACH +Isla Iguana, San Blas. Playa Blanca, Cartagena -Taganga beach
ARCHITECTURE +Cartagena -Pereira
SUNSETS +Nalu Nega, Kuna Yala, -Popayan disappointment
SMILE +Enrique and Louis at Ciudad de Segorbe hostal, Salento -Sylvia indigenous women

Colombia, FACT
1) time spent - 6 weeks
2) pot bellies - 22 million exposed (men) , ~10 million hidden (women)
3) unique stuff - Salento wax palms, Tierradentro tombs, Acaime hummingbirds
4) major impact - so green!, clean and hygienic 
5) oddness - rentaphone on street per minute, Renault 4... seriously?, where are all the cats?  

Monday, 9 August 2010