A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: ScottK

The Inner Journey Begins

Trips over. Processing Time

My trip is now finished. Now the processing begins.

I had planned this trip to help discover myself, more than to discover Peru. I did discover a bit of both, and over the next few months I will have lots of thinking about what I learned on this journey.

I have been sitting here for the past few days getting caught up entering these travel blogs. Some of them take up to 2 hrs. to upload. There has to be a faster way to do this. (Now that I am all done, I just found out that there is a bulk up-loader option!) A person needs to take a small computer with them, so when they are on the bus or lacking something to do, they can do all the typing and edit the photos they are going to use, down to a smaller file size for uploading. Internet is slower in Peru, than in Canada.

I missed lots of good photos, being that I only brought along a little Pentax W90 waterproof camera that I always carry with me. A full size, high-speed SLR, with at least a couple of zoom lenses would have been much better. My camera was just too slow. The lens quality is so so. And the focal length of the lens was not always what I needed.

I also brought my camcorder and am going to have allot of video to edit.

I wish I had read some books on Travel Writing before I left. With a bit more knowledge on how to write for Travel and a better camera I could have had a much more interesting blog. But being this is my first attempt, I won't punish myself too much for all the short comings I now see in this blog.

What would I have done different on this trip if I did it again? Only spend 5 days in the jungle and not 3 weeks (would have missed lots though). Spend more time at each location, so I could have relaxed more and made new friends. Found better restaurants!

It would really have been nice to have learned some Spanish. One can get by on none, but it can be quite hard to communicate, and even harder to make friends. I brough a small Kwick-Point translater, which is a picture book along with me. It came in handy a few times. A good Spanish to English/English to Spanish dictionary is a must. And a phrase book is good for having conversations.

The two most important Spanish words I learned on my trip where 'Bano' and 'Sin-Gas'. Bano means bathroom and Sin-Gas means no gas. They sell lots of carbonated water in Peru. You learn what Sin-Gas means quite soon in your journey after you open up a bottle of water and it bubbles out all over the place.

The first thing you should do when you arrive in a city is to check out the iPeru tourist centre. They are very friendly and helpful, and you can even store your luggage with them until you find a place to stay. Go and check out all the tour operators or hostels you want and then come back to iPeru who will tell you if there has been any problems reported about the companies in question.

The Trip Advisor web-site and the Lonely Planet web-site are good places to go for getting information on lodging and tour information. There are lots of reviews by their members. If there are lots of bad reviews, check the dates on them, because sometimes the said businesses do make changes and all the newer reviews will show up as positive.

Make sure you bring some of that nice Canadian toilet paper with you. The toilet paper in Peru feels like a cheap paper-towel. I found that you can buy genuine Kleenex there, and a couple of sheets of it, beats any toilet paper they have.

I think I would make a few changes in what I brought with me. You can check out what I brought at this amazon link. Travel Light, With One Bag If you have any questions on that stuff, feel free to ask. The people in Peru dress no differently than the people in North America.

The best food on my trip was in Iquitos. I am not sure if it was because my Guides took me to good places, or from some of the info I got off this great blog Captians Blog that is written by a Texan. I do know that the worst meal of my trip was at the Saskatoon airport, at "Crossroads Grill". I had a burger there that tasted like Spork that was deep fried in a salt brine. I only managed one bite of it, and the rest went in the garbage. Totally disgusting.

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I seen a German couple that were touring Peru on their motor-bikes. I am curious to what the advantages and disadvantages to that would be. If anyone wants to comment on this, send me an e-mail please.

I figured out my costs for this trip. I used my Aeroplan miles for the airplane ticket so all I paid was the tax. I think a normal return ticket is $1,300.00 . Everything comes to approximately $4,350.00, for 5 weeks. I could have saved $300.00 by not using my rental phone for long distance. I didn't get a phone card because I don't understand Spanish. I would get one next time and let someone else place the call for me. I could have saved $50.00 by not using my credit card in payphones. Don't ever do this. They automatically bill you $10.00. I could have saved $100.00 by using cheaper buses, but I wouldn't recommend that. I could have eaten at more back alley restaurants and saved at least $200.00, and probably have stayed healthier. I did stay in the jungle for 20 days, at $60 per day. That price would have been a bit cheaper without the included medicine. I always stayed in private rooms at the hostels so could have saved $200 over the two weeks out of the jungle. Another $200 for souvenirs could also be subtracted. (I had to update the above paragraph (Mar.28), being that I found new charges. Always write it down in a notebook each time you make a ABM withdrawal, and make sure you keep your receipts.)

I think a person could live as low as $20 a day there, plus transportation costs and also whatever the costs are for tours you may take.

If your interested in using the same Jungle Guide I did, his name is Wilder(will-der) Palla Flores. 051-065-765841 jungleguide1@hotmail.com . His business partner and cousin is Gerson Pizango. You can look at his web-site at Amazon Jungle Guide for contact details, or call him at 051-065-965-013225 amazonguideservices@gmail.com. Gerson also knows French and German.

I did actually get diarrhea one more time after arriving back home. I should have been a little more careful in my eating habits down there. It is so nice now to once again to not be scared of farting!

And as I promised everyone in the jungle, the first thing I did when I got home, was to get into my bathing suit and go for a roll in the snow!

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Happy Travels.

P.S. I will be updating this last page in the future when something new comes to mind.

October 28, 2011
- I am attempting to put this Blog into a picture book format. It would have helped if I kept dates with my notes *sigh* I did keep all my receipts so I think I have them all figured out now. I have no idea where I got the dates from on this blog!
- While going through my receipts looking for dates, I think I got charged for a days worth of Cell phone use from Peru Rent a Cell. Another good reason to keep track of dates.

Posted by ScottK 12:05 Archived in Peru Tagged spanish blog blogging iperu slr pentax_w90 sin_gas bano dawn_of_the_amazon Comments (0)

Back to Lima

And then home sweet home.

I arrived late at Lima and stayed at The Angel's Inn Backpackers Hostel, which was the same Hostel I stayed at the other 2 times I was in Lima. It's a bit on the old side, but it is fairly quiet and the lady managing it is the best hostel manager I met on the whole trip. She and her husband would do anything to help you out. And that can be priceless at times.

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I decided to check out the Larco Museum in the Pueblo Libre district of Lima. It had quite a bit of interesting artifacts and history of Peru, and I figured it was worth while seeing.

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I then wandered around trying to find an art gallery. After a couple of hours I only found one, which was the "arte XXI galeria" at Av. La Paz 678, Miraflores district. An iperu brochure said the Barranco district had lots of galleries, but after a couple of hours of wandering around it, I found nothing. If I understand correctly, on Sundays the local artists all come out to display their work at a plaza in Miraflores.

That evening, due to mechanical problems my flight leaving to Huston was 5 hrs. late. Earlier, out of curiosity, I had decided to eat at Bembos, the Peruvian equivalent of McDonalds, for my last meal in Peru. Bad idea. Bembos defines the definition of mystery meat. I was only able to eat half of my burger. I ended up with the worst upset stomach of my whole trip. I was able to finally eat by 6:00 am the next morning though.

My next flight from Huston to Calgary was extremely hot. My thermometer said 28 Celsius! My next flight on a small plane from Calgary to Saskatoon wasn't the greatest either. It smelled like something had crawled in and died in the planes over-head venting system. I finally made it to Saskatoon at 12:30 am., only 6 hrs. behind schedule. The cool crisp air feels and smells so good. It's good to be home. Sort of...

Posted by ScottK 11:08 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Paracas

An hour to relax.

Upon arriving in the small ocean town of Paracas I checked in at my Hostal, and then walked around the whole tourist area which only took 15 minutes. I even got to sit on the beach for a whole hour today. One hour of relaxation in five weeks of traveling! I seen some people juggling on the beach so photographed them, and wondered about the tents they where living in.

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Latter on while eating supper a lady approached me trying to sell me some jewelry. She being very friendly and attractive I struck up a conversation with her. She explained to me that she was a Hippie and was one of the people living in the tents on the beach. She said they traveled with their bikes and would average about 60km a day when riding. She invited me over to their camp, so curious as I was, off I went.

There was only about 10 of them staying there. Her boyfriend I think was from Columbia, and the others I think where from Peru and Ecuador. They made their money with a little circus act where they would juggle and such, and then hope for donations. While sitting around the camp-fire talking I told the lady that I could not find any real art in Peru. That everything looked the same and was just made for tourists and not from the heart. She then said she was also an artist and showed me her work. Even though it had allot of Picasso influence to it, it was still from her heart so I bought a small drawing from her.

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Another group joined us a bit latter. They where a group of 4 musicians. The one girl in this group was form Norway and she played the violin. It was her second year she had come to Peru to do this. They would go around to places where people where eating and play a song and then ask for donations. My new friends had a djembe drum that they had been playing and this group also had one, along with a small guitar and flute. They played a couple of songs around the camp-fire and then left. It was getting late and I was pretty tired from all my busy days so I also called it a night.

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I stayed in a real nice/dumpy hostel, called Mar Azul Hostal. It looked like it had recently been rebuilt, but the toilet seat was missing, and the curtains wouldn't close. I had my earplugs in at night, and when I took them out at 6:00 am there was real loud music and people shouting right across the street. I think it was from the local bar. One defiantly should do a bit of research on the Trip Adviser web-site before booking a Hostel here.

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I finally got out of bed and by 8:00 pm I was taking a day tour of the Paracas National Park. The first part of it was a boat ride in the ocean to some island that hand thousands of sea-lions and 10's of thousands of birds on it. They mine the Guana from these islands every 6 years. When they first started doing it a hundred years ago, it was up to 10M thick in places. I guess it makes good fertilizer.

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After the ocean part of the tour we drove through the park in an old tour bus and checked out the dunes, beaches, and ate at an over priced ocean restaurant before we headed back to Paracas.

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The Hippies had left for Ica and I was heading the other direction to Lima. I guess I missed my chance of joining them! Very nice people, and I do hope I meet them again.

The bus ride was interesting being that I had a front row seat on the second level. The bus was constantly having to pass slow moving vehicles and there would be headlights coming towards the bus, but it would always seem to be able to swerve back into it's own lane at the last second.

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Posted by ScottK 10:18 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Nazca

Can I Keep my Supper down?

I arrived at Nazca bright and early in the morning, feeling a bit ill from the trip. I went straight to the airport and booked a flight over the Nazca lines. I probably paid too much (S/350) but was in no mood to shop around or barter.

The flight only lasted 40 minutes and I figured I could keep last nights supper down for that long. One of the girls on my flight couldn't and another lady just about didn't make it either.

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After seeing all the photos of these lines in the desert I expected them to be a bit bigger from the air, but I guess the elevation we where flying at made some of them look a little small to me. Anyhow, been there, done that. Time to land the plane. Fast please.

Diarrhea hits again, and I pay a couple of visits to the airports bathroom before heading back to town. A tour operator grabs everyone up he can and gives them a free ride back to town. Parking in front of their office of course. In town I leave my bag at the tour operators and went and ate a so called "American Breakfast". I then walked back to the tour operator and booked a hostel and tour at my next destination. He then walked me down the block to the Cruz del Sur bus terminal and off I went to Paracas, which was only a couple of hours away.

Posted by ScottK 08:22 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Arequipa

I ended up staying at the Solar Hostel in Arequipa, which wasn't as close to everything as I would have liked, but they did have a good breakfast and the rooms where quiet.

Today I did a bus tour of the city, Arequipa is a fairly large city, surrounded by inactive volcanoes. We stopped at an old Spanish mansion, and also at an old water wheel that ground grain.

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After the tour I wandered around for a bit, and booked a 1 day tour of the Colca Canyon for the next day. I ended the day with another useless $12 massage.

The tour started at 3:00 am, so I was up at 2:00 am. We got in a 14 passenger van, covered up with some blankets and tried to sleep. It was so hot and stuffy in the van that I just about got sick to my stomach. At the first stop it was freezing out, but I got out with just my shirt on to try and cool off. Everyone else was all bundled up. The Colca Canyon is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon and I think it is either the 2nd or 3rd deepest canyon in the world. The Canyon is know for it's Condors, and there is a lookout point where you can watch these huge birds soar by. I had a real nice Buffet dinner and then after-wards soaked in some hot-springs before returning to Arequipa. On the way back it started snowing, and everyone had to run out and get their photo taken. I think that was the highlight of the trip for them. I just sat in the bus and laughed.

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I met a Brazilian, American, Canadian, and another Brazilian on this tour. I wish I would have had more time to visit with them, but I have to keep moving. I now realize that part of the fun of traveling is meeting new people and making new friends. This cannot be done at the speed I am going right now, but my departure date is fast approaching.

Upon returning to Arequipa, I hopped on an all night bus to Nazca. I won't have to pay for a hostel if I sleep on the bus, and there isn't much to see along the way anyhow. I figured that paying a bit extra for the Luxury Seats on the Cruz del Sur buses would be more relaxing, but they don't have enough leg room, so I never got overly much sleep on the way. If your over 5'6" stick with the second level of these buses.

*YAWN*

Posted by ScottK 08:14 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

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