Thursday, March 24, 2011
We love you Elle and miss you so much!
Tyrone & Lydia
We spent our first day sleeping off the horribly long bus ride and adjusting to the altitude, but on our second morning, we were able to venture on one of the many trails mapped out around the hostel. We followed a trail along an open aqueduct up and over towards a glacier-fed river. Below you can see the aqueduct to the right and the glacier poking up between the two mountains off in the distance.
We were absolutely surrounded by the most breath-taking sights wherever we walked!
And then on the second evening, we had a beautiful sunset.
So beautiful, this was taken with our simple little point and shoot camera by Tyrone!
This is the side of our hostel on the same night. It is surrounded by a moat-like pond that harbours trout, which are then caught and fed to hungry travellers in the restaurant. We tried it once and it was actually pretty tasty! The volunteer staff was expected to cook for guests, but according to them they ¨didn't want people to pay for rubbish¨, so they hired a local chef in to cook gourmet meals every lunch and dinner! We had some of the best soups we had ever tasted.
On our third or fourth day in Huaraz, it was pretty cold and rainy, so it was found out by the volunteer staff that I am pretty good with a mixing bowl and oven. Entonces, I ended up making not one, but TWO batches of cookies because they were so good! I spent about 4 hours baking over 100 chocolate oatmeal raisin cookies for everyone at the hostel to share.
We finally got out that afternoon for a walk before I was asked to make a third batch of cookies! It must have been stick-bug mating season up in the Peruvian mountains, because we litterally stumbled upon hundreds of them. This group of bugs were just trying to keep each other warm... I swear...
There were two different kinds of stick bugs - the little one below looking most like a stick.
There were quite a few traditional thatch-roof homes in the area... I hope there is a chimney on the other side, as it gets quite cold at night in the mountains!
Tyrone couldn't resist climbing pretty much everything... but luckily, this made a great shot!
On our second to last day in Huaraz, we decided to take the long trail up and around one of the mountains to a little glacier lake. It was a beautiful and warm day, and along the way we ran into many locals, including these two cattle herders, below.
These two little boys and their puppy were in charge of herding the baby cattle!
We took another path that was somewhat simpler, but much longer, to the other side of the snow-capped mountain, below.
About 2/3 the way up to the lake, we stopped and had a snack in front of the waterfall.
After about 4 hours of climbing (including a very steep section requiring us to pull ourselves up with ropes) and 800 m added to our altitude, we finally made it to the glacier lake on the other side of the mountain!!!
We had packed a picnic lunch and ate it whilst admiring the ice-blue lake below and glaciers above.
Huaraz is one of the most beautiful places we have both ever been! Also, one of the mountains in the area is apparently the ¨Paramount Pictures¨ mountain that you see during the opening credits of their movies!! It was hard to leave, but we had a new friend offer us a free ride with him to Lima, so we left paradise and headed off to the largest city in Peru!
Friday, March 4, 2011
What started as a 3 day beach fix turned into 3 weeks of ´chilling´ in the Peruvian town of Huanchaco (just outside of Trujillo, Peru). The beach bum life consisting of: food, yoga, chilling, more food, more chilling, surfing, sleeping, and repeating ended up being our routine in Huanchaco. This lifestyle became too difficult to give up, so we just kept staying and staying and staying!
Hostel view 2.
Another reason why it was so easy for us to stay in Huanchaco was that we gained another addition to our traveling family. His name is Licky Skittles. He´s a blue dinosaur that I managed to win in an animal crane in Huanchaco. Licky decided to join us for the rest of our trip, so you might catch him in some of our photographs. This one is of Lydia and Licky enjoying the beach together.
The beaches of Huanchaco were fairly nice. There was fine white sand and continuously crashing waves that were great for viewing and surfing; however, on the downside, Huanchaco´s beaches were filled with trash from the countless unscrupulous visitors to the beach. It is such a frustrating issue, due to the fact that it could be so easily solved with an education campaign coupled with the enforcement of fines, but instead, ignorance leaves the beaches much less desirable than they should be.
Contributing to the garbage problem in Huanchaco are the beachside snack vendors, who are present in astonishing numbers. With such numbers, they fight for a competitive advantage in selling their tasty treats. Some use bubbles, some use kazoos, and some (pictured below) take a more creative approach to selling candy:
Amongst all the warring tribes, a woman in silver paint would romp around striking various poses.
This festival came by our hotel window one night. I believe it was for one of their sacred virgens, as they carted a virgen statue around with them wherever they went, then put on various demonstrations of offerings for her.
This picture is of Licky Skittles enjoying our final sunset in Huanchaco. After our time at the beach was through, we headed straight up into the Andies and the beautiful town of Huaraz.
Our first stop in Peru was a city called Chiclayo (and Lambayeque which is a bordering region). The city itself isn´t too special, but it does have some nice cathedrals and a massive market, which is where we spent most of our time. Probably the best thing about Chiclayo is that its people rarely see foreigners, so one gets a lot of interesting reactions from the locals when walking down the streets. Funny enough, because the people don´t see many outsiders, they can´t really distinguish between people from other parts of the world, so they just call all `strange´ looking people ´chino` (Chinese), which couldn´t be further from the truth in our case. The reaction from the locals seemed to be amplified in our case because I (Tyrone) am about a foot and a half taller than every living soul in South America, and both Lydia and I are very blond!
Two stories come to mind on this point. First, when walking through the industrial section of the market (where there are auto parts, tools, etc. for sale), about 50 people spontaneously and simultaneously started doing the whoop whooo whistle for Lydia. It was as if a naked playmate had fallen from the sky and landed in a construction workers conference in the Bronx. Not to be out done, when we then decided to check out the shoe section of the market for Lydia (an area of the market ran by the women of Chiclayo), there, a line of about 15 girls started smiling, staring, clapping, waving, and making rather forward comments about my eyes and such. There may have even been a couple of proposals! On top of the come-ons, we also managed to scare quite a few children, due to our giant `gringo-ness` (I may have helped by making stomping gestures towards them). A trip to the Chiclayo market is definitely a good time if you are in need of attention or an ego-boost!
Another interesting thing about the Chiclayo market was that they had a section for Brujas (witches)! There you could fill your boots with various types of dried animal parts, voodoo dolls, and my favorite, the San Pedro cactus (a hallucinogenic with the ´minor´ side effects of uncontrollable diarrhea and projectile vomiting - we decided to pass). Unfortunately, we did not get any pictures of the market, as we didn´t want to chance offending a witch doctor (we´ve all seen Beetlejuice):
In the outer regions of Chiclayo, there are also a good number of museums and the first round of ancient Peruvian ruins, including the Sipan museum ruins and pictured below:
The Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipan (it took all my strength to not try to run up the side of the building).
A ceremonial mask found inside the museo Bruning.
Pictured above, the Gene Simmons of the Chimu empire.
After touring the Museo Bruning, a mock-chief put on a little show for us and allowed for us to take a picture with him.
A nice pair of hooters outside of the Sipan ruins.
The Sipan ruins themselves were a little disappointing, as we were only allowed to tour a small section (and were eaten alive by mosquitoes whilst doing so).
Still, there were some beautifully crafted sand carvings in the walls of the excavated ruins.
In all, Chiclayo is a great way to break up the LOOOOOOOOOOONG drag of road from Ecuador into Peru!