A Travellerspoint blog

Paraty

Home to Pirates and plunderes

sunny 28 °C
View Honeymoon on jhetland's travel map.

Paraty is an old pirate and trade hub. In the past, the pirates here used to roam the 7 seas, and bring their loot back here, now, they just stay at home making a living in the tourist industry.

Paraty has a nice beach feel to it, and that is also their distinction. 300 beaches in the vicinity they claim! We only went to Sono beach, a 1 hours walk through the rain forest, before arriving at a very idyllic little beach with only a few fishing families living there.

SANY5452.jpg SANY5469.jpg

SANY5470.jpg SANY5484.jpg

On our way to the bus station, we where befriended by 2 of the many stray dogs, that roam South America- and they would not leave! The first was a wierd cross between a german shepherd, and a daschund. It thought it was very though. His friend was a tad paranoid, and would bark viscoulsy at random people, and every pushbike and moped. When we finally thought we had gotten rid of them, we found them again sitting waiting in the only shade that could be procured at the bus stop.

Last night we tried something new to us, palm hearts. We think it has something to do with the trunk of the palm, and they strip it and make nice dishes out of it. We had palm heart lasagna and it tasted delicious! Got to try and grow some palm now!

SANY5497.jpg SANY5498.jpg

Well, with that, Ill conclude this short update here in São Paulo, as I dont really have that much more to say about Paraty.

Posted by jhetland 03:46 Archived in Brazil Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Ilha Grande

Another day in paradise...

sunny 29 °C
View Honeymoon on jhetland's travel map.

So, we arrived from Rio through a series of bungled transportation options, with 2 other British girls. To top it of, one of them got promoted to captain on the little fishing boat bringing us across to the island!

Ilha Grande is an old prison and lepper island, and thus not too popoular with the Brazilian tourist crowd, and this was low season, so at times, it felt like we had the place to our selves! The whole island does not have any cars, or paved roads. everything in Abraão, which is the biggest city, is within strolling distance along the beach. We had a hostel up the eastern end of the beach, overlooking town and the bay. Very nice and cruizy!

Our first day, we felt like some excersie, so we walked to a beach called Lopes Mendes. It is said to be one of Brazils most beatuiful beaches. It was ok, but Oz has better....

SANY5360.jpg SANY5386.jpg

It was a nice walk through virgin rain forest, 2 hours each way, so by the end of it, we where pretty knackered. We contemplated catching a boat back, but persevered and walked back instead. We could feel the hills in our legs the next day!

And because of that, we spent the next day relaxing in town, strolling along the beach, dipping in the ocean every now and then, and eating ice cream. They got this brilliant concept here, where you have self serve ice cream parlours. So, you pay per the gram, and the price is not cheap, and you tell yourself that you will only have small scoops. Then you try and decide what you want to eat, and forget everything about the price, until you stand in front of the register with a 300g cone with only 2 scoops! And then you cant take it back of course. Twice we fell in this trap, although its hard to argue that we fell in it. I think we let ourselves be tricked... Of course, the street cake stalls have been very sweet to us too.

Anyways, I had wanted to go scuba diving, and I had heard about the helicopter being an interesting thing from the Lonely Planet. Turns out the helicopter is pretty boring, and the diving agencies where kind enough to tell me that visibility was not all that good. Max 4 meteres currently. So I passed. For future reference, 2 dives with all gear included was quoted as 150R. There is a wreck though, that looked quite interesting, and not too deep!

Instead, we signed up for a speed boat trip for snorkling, that included the helicopter. Hence Im not too upset, as I could see it wouldnt be all that. I think Sara was pleased as well, as she wasnt too keen on reading any more trashy novels while I was diving.

The snorkel trip included our very own celebrity travel reporter, who gave us some very helpful tips on São Paulo! She of course got the trip for free, while us normal humans had to pay....

Video of Sea Monster

Crazy puffer fish

The day was nice, although with had some overcast so it wasnt all that warm at times. However, the Island is great, and we could easily have spent another day there! Today, we have travelled to Parati, still getting closer to our deaprture for Norway.

Posted by jhetland 15:21 Archived in Brazil Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Rio de Janeiro

Rain, sun and g-strings

all seasons in one day 26 °C
View Honeymoon on jhetland's travel map.

Well, not too many g-strings I'm afraid!

We arrived in Rio with blood shot eyes after a longer than usual bus ride, and went through the now almost too familiar ritual of finding a taxi and negotiating our fare, before signing into the hostel, and dumping our load.

For our first 4 days, we had pretty shonky weather. The city was gloomy, the beaches where deserted, it felt like it was only us trudging along in our poncho's and thongs. A charming sight, but not quite what I had in mind when we headed for Rio.

We spent the days wandering, mingling with the rich and the very beautiful in their shopping malls, exploring food (juice bars on every corner, with juices made from all kinds of weird fruits, cocktails that just kept on coming, and buffets where you paid per the kilo), and we even went to watch another movie (I think Sara was expecting the Sex and the City movie to be showing, but it hadn't opened yet and after watching the only thing on offer, I'm not sure if I'm glad or not).

Yesterday afternoon, we went on the city tour, only just got to squeeze in Christ the Redeemer one of the hills overlooking Rio, before the clouds closed in around him. It was a gamble, as we didn't know if the weather would improve, but we made it the whole way through without any rain! The Cathedral was a definite highlight, so was the Sugar loaf.

R0016317.jpg R0016334.jpg

The Cathedral is the most modern I have ever seen, and it was a colossus building with a very nice feel to it! The natural light was streaming in from thousands of little windows all around. We also passed by the massive soccer stadium "Maracana" (that was apparently built at massive expense in the 50s for the World Cup -to the publics disdain- in which unfortunately Brazil lost..), the main street of Carnival and Santa Theresa (a suburb of massive old mansions which was where the rich used to live... until the favelas decided they also wanted in on the area. As they built their massive, ramshackled communities up, the rich trickled out of town)!! Finally we made it to the Sugar Loaf, which looked a lot more daunting from the bottom, however, the ride up was a breeze, and the view was spectacular! It was excellent seeing Rio in the sunset and by night!

R0016341.jpg R0016351.jpg

R0016395.jpg R0016412.jpg

R0016409.jpg

Today was our first break, we have had sun all day, cruised the Ipanema and the Copacobana beaches. I have been keeping my eye out for the famous g-strings, but unfortunately, the hot bodied must also be employed, because all I saw was sour wedgies and cellulite... Sara didn't do too much better, and only got the previous generation of stud muffins (50+ bracket, which is also where I was looking).

R0016456.jpg R0016451.jpg

R0016450.jpg R0016436.jpg

With a cruizy day like that, we decided that tomorrow we head to Ilha Grande so we can hang by the pool, and hopefully get some dives in.

Before I sign off, I just wanted to comment on Rio in general. It is by far the most expensive place we have been too in SA! But it is beautiful! And the food is awesome! We are eating so much nice fruit and food, the likes which we haven't seen for quite a while! And with that, we only have 9 more days left here in South America. With any luck, we will post again before we leave here, but we are not promising!

Posted by jhetland 15:29 Archived in Brazil Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Puerto Iguazu

Soo much water...

all seasons in one day
View Honeymoon on jhetland's travel map.

Don't you just love it when everything goes to plan?!

We arrived on the bus early in the morning, walked to the hostel, dumped our bags, and got changed into walking clothes, back to the bus terminal, and we went to the water falls. Everything went so smoothly!

Anyways, Iguazu falls are spectacular, we went out to the Diablo spot, which is right on the edge of where the water runs over the edge in a massive fall! There where some derelict ruins of the old walkway next to it, which illustrated the power of the water here, and there is a lot of it! Next we walked down to the bottom, to get the other angle. Spectacular! Im trying to remember what Niagra falls where like, and I think these where bigger.

SANY5283.jpg SANY5285.jpg

SANY5293.jpg SANY5323.jpg

SANY5327.jpg SANY5346.jpg

We spent the day there, before heading back into town to chill, and organize our trip to Rio. We had planned to spend the next day still strolling, as it was so nice, sunny and warm. However, the next day it started raining, and didn't really stop, so we relaxed, a lot.

Thursday, we got back onto the bus, headed for Rio.

Ill end this here, with an anti recommendation. The movie Shoot em up is not recommended. Its crap, and should not be shown on a bus! Don't attempt it unless feeling a bit deranged!

Posted by jhetland 08:31 Archived in Argentina Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Buenos Aires

Real nice!

all seasons in one day 20 °C
View Honeymoon on jhetland's travel map.

We came to Buenos Aires with a flight from Lima. We had heard lots of how great Buenos Aires was, and how much we would love it! It was nice, and we spent a relaxing 7 nights here. We had meant to only spend 5, but that wouldn't have been fair on the city!

R0016106.jpg

On a friends recommendation, we had booked into Hotel Brisas Del Mar, in the San Telmo district. Not sure what has happened to the place since, but we only stayed there 1 night. A run down place with plastic mattresses and the most unfriendly hostess we have yet to encounter. This pretty much set the agenda for the rest of the day, explore San Telmo, and find somewhere nicer to live! We did, and stayed another 6 nights at Puerto Limon Hostel.

San Telmo has a very nice feel to it, with lots of old buildings, nice shops, and lots of places to eat and drink. We also found that Buenos Aires has the best tourist information available as of yet! If we had known in advance, we could have downloaded audio guides, walking tours, and all sorts of other stuff! The information kiosks were also conveniently located, and helped us several times. Although with conflicting advice at times...

Anyways, Sara devised a thorough plan for how we could best absorb the sights of the city. We had arrived on a heat wave, which was indeed very nice! It was receding though, so we went from nice and hot gradually towards cooler and rain, but the weather lasted pretty much the whole time we where there!

First step of the plan, was to look around the city centre, and San Telmo. We found some nice walking streets and parks, and generally just cruised, hung out at the bakeries, and drank coffee. After the first day, and realising that Argentina was about to celebrate their national day, we decided to extend our stay, and fit that in as well. Hence the extra nights.

R0016273.jpg R0016126.jpg

Wednesday, we decided to walk to Recoleta. That was a walk which turned out to be a lot longer than we had pictured, but eventually we got there, and we again enjoyed some nice food, before venturing into the renowned cemetery. We found Evita Peron's grave, but much more interesting was the other graves. The whole place was in varying conditions, with some very elaborate sites, and some very anonymous. Some derelict, and some well maintained. But it had a nice feel to it, and we enjoyed it. Then we walked back, shopped around for a bus fare to Iguazu, went shopping at a Supermercado. Now, on that note, Sara has been vigorously seeking them them out. The Chileans we didn't explore in too much detail, the Argentinians have all been disappointing. The Bolivians don't seem to have them, all business is conducted on the street. The Peruvians have the best so far! The bigger and grander supermarket next to the bus station was not what it promised, so we could safely resume shopping at our local place. Much to my relief!

R0016140.jpg R0016158.jpg R0016159.jpg

Then we had a look at Abasto, and the heart of Tango. Another neighbourhood, that was nice, but some of the charm had left it. We figured we try Kosher McDonald's, they didn't have fries, but we tried anyways, and it was crap. Nothing like the burgers you can buy anywhere else here! Then, the highlight of the day, was Indiana Jones 4, with Spanish subtitles. We figured the dubbed one wouldn't do us much good...

R0016172.jpg

Friday we headed for the money, Palermo. We didn't really see it, but they had a lot of restaurants and designer shops up there, although I think I like them better in San Telmo. Looking at all the things they are creating, designing and doing here, are giving us a lot of ideas for projects to come!

Saturday we checked out La Boca, an old workers neighbour hood. It felt a bit like heading into Port Kembla, with only one nice spot in it, which was very developed. We had plenty of Tango shows under our sleeve after La Boca, and lots of friendly chickos wanted to dance with us, or have their photo taken with us in varying poses... At night we went into town, where they had blocked one of the main streets, to organise Gran Milonga de Mayo, which is a "come and dance" event. This was in preparation for the national day the next day of course.

R0016202.jpg R0016236.jpg

It turned out nothing much happens in Argentina on their national day, the president, CFK, was away in Salta, so all the action was up there. There was some parade in Palermo, but that was too far away. Instead we found that the typical San Telmo market had extended itself some 13 blocks, with lots of impromptu street shows and stalls and whatever else. It was indeed a nice and relaxing day for us!

R0016271.jpg R0016279.jpg R0016284.jpg

Next day, Monday, we caught the early bus to Iguazu and settled in for the next 18 hours.

Posted by jhetland 12:02 Archived in Argentina Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Lima

Garûa city

overcast 24 °C
View Honeymoon on jhetland's travel map.

"Lima´s climate also echoes it´s contrasting faces: from April to December, a melancholy coastal fog (garûa) blankets the city´s skyline, but during the coastal summer the sun breaks through and the high-spirited limeños (people from Lima) make a break for the nearby beaches". Lonley Plant.

SANY5245.jpg SANY5231.jpg

Unfortunately Jo and I managed to travel in the melancholic fog... but none-the-less, Lima was a nice, easy city. It has all the perks of any western city. We stayed in a suburb called Miraflores which was apparently the tourist friendly part which may have helped! We also managed to time our trip so as we were there at the end of APEC (a major meeting between South American governments and the European Union, not the Apec we had in Oz last year) and for the Potato Festival (there are more than 2000 kinds in Peru!)! So we managed to sneak in another street fiesta! Unfortunately, we didn't have a programme for the event and were at the mercy of the crowds... we weren't sure where the main events were and had to follow the main crowds to the different events... the bigger the crowd we figured the more interesting the event! Wasn't quite as interesting as the fiesta in Copacobana and a lot less alcohol around also! Though someone must have been on the booze when they made the giant potato that was wheeled through the streets!

The owner of our hostel was apparently a "prominent businessman" and involved in the APEC meeting, He was also friends with the Estonian President (a fact that he managed to slip into every conversation). We almost got to rub shoulders with him as we were offered (though an empty offer) a lift on the bus they were taking into Lima Central... lets just say we were stood up...

Lima Central is a seedier part of town and where most of the museums are. There is a lot of old architecture and plazas. We went to the Monasterio de Santa Francisco and the Museo del Tribunal de la Santa Inquisiciön. The Monastery contained underground catacombs which we went down to see. They contained the bones (the top layers of which were nicely arranged into patterns to make it more attractive...) of an estimated 70 000 people. Interesting if not a little claustrophobic. The Inquisition Museum was built on the foundations of the buildings used in the Spanish Inquisition and we got to see some of the chambers where people were tortured... spelt out in life-size wax figures!! Yes, it was a ghoulish trip to the city!

SANY5258.jpg SANY5252.jpg

To lighten things up a bit, we also went for a walk along the beach suburbs, though you couldn't be sure there was beach out there as the fog was so thick. We went to a swanky mall where the rich play (and watched/window shopped in our worn out clothes :( oh how i miss my other clothes...). Actually we did make one purchase.. Jo had to purchase a new pair of jeans as his old ones literally disintegrated. Poor thing tried to stitch them up but this let to further fraying. It was also getting pretty inappropriate as one of the holes was in the crutch.... That was how we spent 17 may, Norway's Constitution day, as no other Norwegians could be sourced... Well, we had icecream and drinks as well...

SANY5238.jpg

We were also to witness another accident (luckily not part of one this time). We were wandering the streets when one car hit another at an intersection. This caused one of them to continue on to plough into a side walk cafe (they are crazy drivers over here). Just honking doesn't make up for not stopping at the stop signs! Anyways, luckily it didn't appear that anyone was injured. The cars were pretty smashed up though.

Apart from wandering around the city, we also had a health scare...we developed a growing number of itchy red bites that seemed to flare up/multiply at night. It became obvious that these weren't mozzie bites and investigated on the internet... this left us with two options.. scabies or body lice (Dr Jo was able to rule out bed bugs and fleas, though the latter I felt was more likely given the number of animals living at the hostel in Cuzco that i blame for the whole thing). The treatment being to clean everything and for scabies, apply a cream to every inch of your body (a tip given: you may need to buy a spatula to apply the cream to you butt crack) and leave it on for 24 hours... The unappealing nature of the treatments meant that instead we chose to shower twice daily and change our clothes every day (yes, shameful as it is to admit, we have been double dipping). We also buried our head in the sand and all these measures seem to have worked and we now are proud to say that there are no more of these mysterious bites developing.... to our knowledge. We still don't know what they were. I have noticed a few other backpackers with lot of bites but its not really something you can broach with a stranger...
Well, after 3 nights in Lima, we left at the crack of dawn for Buenos Aires....

to be continued....

Posted by jhetland 06:30 Archived in Peru Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Machu Picchu

The Lost City of the Incas

sunny 17 °C
View Honeymoon on jhetland's travel map.

This was going to be on of the highlights of our trip, and it was! We had been concerned about the weather, as it turned just before we left (apparently this was related to the full moon) and luckily all cleared before we arrived.

On the way to Aguas Calientes, we travelled to the Sacred Vally with Ollaytantambo, as it was on the way. This is a site that was never completed due to the Spanish invasion.

R0015822.jpg R0015755.jpg R0015736.jpg R0015724.jpg

We got to Aguas Calientes the night before, only to be put up in mini sized beds (literally, maybe they want you to air your feet out?!) that was part of our package. Next morning, we arose at 4:30, with at 5am breakfast and 5:30 meeting. This preliminary headcount dragged on for 30 minutes, until another member of our group (which had grown to almost 50 people) cracked the shits and demanded that we get moving. She actually did that twice, but only the second time had enough fire in it! Our expected english speaking guide, had not yet turned up, so we tried to follow the crowd, and hoped that included us too. This saw us onto the bus, up to the top.

SANY5177.jpg R0015864.jpg R0015880.jpg R0015982.jpg SANY5146.jpg

There seems to be no roads leading into this village, only the train. So only the tour buses get to use the 1 street, and they ride it hard!

Once up, we got ushered through, after the second half of our group had arrived. We were still following the spanish speaking guide for some reason, and it was not until we got inside that we got placed with the english guide. He took us around the site, and showed us the main spots. This went on from about 6:15 until 7:45 or so, when Sara and I split, and decided that we should climb Waynapicchu, the mountain you see in the background of most postcards. It is a lot steeper than we gave it credit for and pretty slippery too. Sooo many steps, but we made it to the summit and it was a fantastic view.

R0015929.jpg R0015921.jpg SANY5153.jpg SANY5161.jpg SANY5169.jpg

We also went to the Inka Drawbridge (luckily for Sara, we couldnt cross it). The drawbridge is a path carved into the face of a massively steep mountain cliff face (no photos we took seemed to be able to convey just how steep and tall this area is). It was also very impressive. Unfortunately, we nearly had a disagreement with an alpaca on the way back from the drawbridge. The path there was quite narrow and the alpaca didnt want to budge to let us past. Luckily neither party was injured and an amicable overtaking agreement was reached.

R0015961.jpg R0015949.jpg

After having to purchase some very expensive water to sustain us, we decided to head back down to Aguas Calientes for some slightly cheaper lunch.

After burning some time, we caught our train home at 7pm. We were lucky enough to be treated to a fashion show en route... after serving our snack, the waiter and waitress went out back and got changed into various alpaca outfits which of course we could purchase if we wanted.

SANY5202.jpg

Posted by jhetland 19:05 Archived in Peru Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Cuzco

Where the mighty green back rules

overcast 17 °C
View Honeymoon on jhetland's travel map.

We have spent a few days in Cuzco now, getting here before we set off to the Amazon and back again before and after Machu Picchu . Both were great, but in this town, everything is priced in US dollars. Bit of a pain when you are accustomed to thinking in the local currency but now have to account for a third currency. This also causes price inflation of course, and breeds a new spieces of very aggressive hawkers. Today, a lady tried to make Sara take and pay for a picture of herself (in traditrional clothes) with her Llama..... while she was breast feeding. We thought it a bit over the top....

Anyways, Cuzco. We have stayed at some nice hostels, and some not so nice hostels. Our last was in the latter category, but we couldnt be stuffed changing, so we are just putting up with the dirt (you dont throw toilet paper in the toilet here, you put it in the bin next to the toilet and ours aint been cleared out for a while).

While here, we have submersed ourselves in the local ruins, cuisine and parks. Its a nice city, but I think that you get the feeling you dont want to stay for too long or your money will be gone too. Coming here from further south really highlights how mainstream Cuzco has become as a staging point for Machu Picchu. We havent seen such a concentration of other tourists yet in Peru.

R0016011.jpg R0016066.jpg

Cuzco prides itself as the cultural capital of Peru, and is also the old Inka capital. Many of the spanish churches here have been built on the bases of Inka palaces and temples. We have been to the Sacred Vally with Ollaytantambo and Sacsayhuaman (pronounced sexy-woman) just outside Cuzco. However, this all pales when compared to Machu Picchu. Therefore, Ill keep this post short, and rather put the rest in the Machu Picchu post, which we will put together ishortly.

R0016009.jpg R0016060.jpg R0016030.jpg R0016040.jpg

PS: There seems to be some issues with Feedburner, so the emails havent gotten out. They are seemingly fixing it, but I havent seen anything to that effect yet. If you missed the last 2 posts (Puno and Amazon), you can find them at http://jhetland.travellerspoint.com

Posted by jhetland 18:50 Archived in Peru Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Puno

Frigid and with Typhoid

sunny 14 °C
View Honeymoon on jhetland's travel map.

We had decided to cut our stay in Copacobana short so that we could be sure to watch the Floating Islands, and organise onwards transport to Cuzco. En route, we learnt (via traveller gossip) that Puno was currently hosting typhoid, and really wasnt worth much more than 1 night. Fair enough, with these bleak expectations, we didnt have our hopes raised too high.

All accounts turned out to be correct, and Puno is the most frigid city so far (or maybe just the coldest hostel ever)! We got in, shopped around for a tour and transport to Cuzco, we got both in not to long, and with that, there wasnt much more to do in Puno city. The tour we got with a discount thanks to some Aussie "amigos" we stumbled upon, but we reckon she made up for it by punishing us with the bus ticket instead.

While waiting for nightfall, so that we could eat (again), we used the internet for a good couple of hours, then I had my first Llama meal. The meat was very nice! Definatly something to try again!

The next day, we headed out towards the Floating Islands. It turned out to be a long day.... We got the slowest boat, we had an 8 year old "captain", literally, and a toilet that was full and did not flush (despite some heavy advertising re baño being on board). We got to the Floating Islands in only 20 minutes, then listened to our guides presentation, before I got tricked into an old mans cottage to buy handicarafts made by he and his wife. Sara followed suit, and in not very long at all, we had bought what seemed like a reasonable rug, or wall hanging. Then we got pestered to buy other stuff once outside again, and then the cold shoulder for declining to go on a very expensive paddle across to another floating island. We caught our own boat instead, and to our great delight, found an almost identical rug on the other island as well.

SANY4953__Large_.jpg SANY4955__Large_.jpg SANY4957__Large_.jpg SANY4958__Large_.jpg

Enough about that, the islands themselves are interesting, 2m deep, floating ontop of 20m of water. They are anchored (so as not to float to Bolivian waters), and continously renewed or extended. Each Island is home to about 7 families, and there are about 2000 people living out there. It was very commercialiced, and geared for the tourist. After no one seemed to care to shop anymore, we where ushered back onto the boat, to go to Isla Taquile. This turned out to be a slow ride (2.5hrs). With the 8 other tourist boats along side ours, it was not hard to tell who was going to get there last, us. It didnt help that we at most times had an 8 year old (man-child) and very distracted skipper.

Isla Taquile was very picteruesque (a self-sustaining farmimg communities), although a lot of hard work for some who could not handle the altitude and walking up the hill. Again, we enjoyed the tourist show, but not the tourist toilets. Who decided that it was a good idea to install european toilets in a place with no sewerage and no running water, instead turning it into a very expensive potty? I dont know, but it seems like a poor idea to me.

SANY4969__Large_.jpg

We bought some more handicraft, before getting back onto our boat. We also got an Inca Kola. It may surprise you, but Inka Kola and Julebrus, seems to be the same drink, exept for different colours (Inka Kola being fluorescent yellow). The boat ride back took another while, again beeing the last boat to port, and again with an underage captain.

Puno invited us back in with her freezing arms, we ate some more, then went to bed, again. I apologise for the negative tones throughout this, but Puno didnt show us her best side, and if she did, it wasnt much to brag about.

Next morning, we got onto our FirstClass bus. It was quite a confusing rigmaroll getting there (we werent clear on where the bus left from... wasnt from the bus station..), and this also repeated itself when we got to Cuzco. Anyways, this is the cultural express to Cuzco, it stops at a few good, and a few not so good sites (we can only presume that they were actually just tourist focused market places..) along the way. The lunch buffet put something in my stomach, that I were to carry with me the next 5 days... Gastrolyte and Immodium to the rescue. Sara on the other hand, is so far fine.

SANY4970__Large_.jpg SANY4971__Large_.jpg SANY4975__Large_.jpg

What turned out to be a dragged out version of the previous day, eventually saw us to Cuzco!

Posted by jhetland 10:31 Archived in Peru Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Cannibal Holocaust

Man is omnipotent; nothing is impossible for him. What seemed like unthinkable undertakings yesterday are history today. Yet man seems to ignore the fact that on this very planet there are still people living in the stone age...

overcast 30 °C
View Honeymoon on jhetland's travel map.

So, we didnt know too much about the Amazon, except that we were going to what was described to us as a frontier town of the Peruvian Amazon; Puerto Maldonado. A few months earlier, I had watched "Cannibal Holocaust", and those were the impressions freshest in my mind...

It of course turned out to be nothing like it! The above is more for dramatic effect... We only carried DEET to protect ourselves.

We had decided to go to the Amazon when we first bought our tickets, without knowing what we would do there. Monday was spent pestering various tour agencies organising a spot for us, and choosing activities. We figured the Mystic Adventure offered by Explorers Inn sounded like a good thing. I was at the same time in the early stages of travellers diarrhoea, something which I kept with me for a good few days. This might have had an impact on my ability ot make rational decissions under pressure....

Anyways, we left on Tuesday with Sara clutching my knee again as we took of and landed only 40 minutes later. The usual pickup process and getting to know thy fellow guest rituals followed, and a 1hr bus ride and a 1.5hr boat ride later, we were at the lodge.

Exploreres Inn on Google Maps

Explorers Inn was very nice, and we settled in to some nice warm days, 30 degrees and sunny every day (something we have been missing)! We even got a bit of rain in the rain forrest!

Halfway through the second day, was when the first alarm bells appeared. We were walking back along a trail, and we were casualy told, that "this is what you will be drinking with the Shaman". Ok, we will be drinking? What do you mean? "For the Ayahuasca session, stupid!". Ok, but what do you mean???

At this stage, we were starting to wonder, and inquired a bit further and after the penny dropped, we explained to our guide what we were expecting... something like sitting around a camp fire and observing a magic ritual. What it turned out to be, what we had signed up for, was a hallucinating inner spiritual cleansing process... Not quite what we had on mind... We bailed out! It would start at 9pm on the last night (not quite sure why it had to be the last night...) and last between 3-5hrs in room 7D... It would be co-ordinated by a spanish speaking (and no, unfortunately, we still arent too good on the old spanish) Shaman and our 21 year old guide translating. Not our cup of tea at that stage! Note also the vomitting and diarhoea that might come from this!

Anyway, aside from the drama of the defunct mystic tour, we managed to do a lot of rainforest walks and relaxing. The rainforest was really nice and most days started at 5am with the howler monkeys and all of the birds in the forest. Our footwear was strictly gumboots (surprisingly comfortable despite the odd 10km walk we did) and as it was coming out of the rainy season, there were stretches of slippery mud. We saw a lot of cool plants, many of which had medicinal properties for the locals. We tried a few of these, like one stem that we were told to chew on and after a while we realised that it had anaesthetic properties!. There were lots of cool relationships in the rainforest too, like the tree that was living with soldier ants; the soldier ants kept the area around the tree clear of any other growth (about almost a meter radius) so the tree would not have to fight for nutrients and the ants survived on food from the middle of the tree. Another one that sticks in my mind is the tree whose bark looks like a particular snake and within its root is the antidote to the bite from the snake for the locals!

We also went to a fruit farm across the river and got to eat the flesh of the chocolate bean. Very nice, but no, it didnt taste like chocolate...

We decided to stick to the nature stuff, of which I have a few pictures below:

SANY5040__Large_.jpg SANY5034__Large_.jpg SANY5023__Large_.jpg SANY5018__Large_.jpg SANY5017__Large_.jpg SANY5052__Large_.jpg SANY5094__Large_.jpg SANY5081__Large_.jpg SANY5069__Large_.jpg

I also included another video, of a crazy ant trail, they was very impressive! The Amazon is definately something we would do again!

Posted by jhetland 10:31 Archived in Peru Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

(Entries 11 - 20 of 33) « Page 1 [2] 3 4 »