Monday, March 17, 2008

More pics from the Self-Portrait Tour

These pictures are in reverse order:

Me, Katie, and the man in the middle, was our guide around the city of Cuzco. He was cool.

Katie and my self-portrait in Manchu Picchu.

In Ollantaytambo...ancient irrigation system.

Me in of our first stops in Cuzco.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

All About the Vacation Photos

Here are the long awaited photos from Katie's and my trip to Cuzco and Machu Picchu:

Katie and me at one of the other less-famous archelogical sites in Cuzco. Ollantaytambo
Here's me resting in the walls at Machu Picchu...I don't think I was supposed to sit there.
The postcard view of Machu Picchu.
Katie and I on top of Waynapicchu. This is where you get the best view of Machu Picchu.
This place was called Pukapukara, and with a view like that and a name like that how could I not include it on this blog.

Finally, here's Katie and I at the Plaza de Armas in Arequipa. The White City.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Self-Portrait Tour

Sorry about the delay in updating. A lot has happened, but it's hard to put it into words.

Katie and I had a great time in Cuzco and Arequipa. We spent a couple of days at Colca Canyon - one of the deepest in the world. We spent a little time in some thermal hotsprings, called baths in Peru. And we at the best Alpaca empanadas (called Sartenas, I believe). We got to meet up with my friend Angie very briefly as she had to return to site, but it's always so nice spending time with your Peace Corps friends, and when you're on vacation they can tell you the best places to go and how to avoid the not so great places. All in all, we had a great time in both departments of Cuzco and Arequipa. We even spent a few relaxing hours in Arequipa, the city, just chilling and walking around. We bought a ton of little souvenirs. But mostly, it's just be nice to have Katie here. We've been chatting and getting all caught up on our lives.

Right now we're in Cajamarca. We'll head back to site tonight. I'm excited for Katie to get to meet my friends in Catilluc and for her to try cuy! She leaves Tuesday. And then I go on another vacation. Semana Santa where I'll get to hang out with morevolunteers that I haven't sen in awhile. I can't wait! Sorry, pictures still to come.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

On Vacation

So, I'm finally getting a little down time. If it can be called that. I am spending a few days with my good friend Katie in Southern Peru. We are visiting the provinces of Cuzco and Arequipa. Two places with a lot of very cool things to do, and Arequipa has some of the coolest volunteers in all of Peru (okay, I would say that about any department).

Yesterday was the big day...MACHU PICCHU. I'll hopefully be able to post pictures in the next few days, but right now all those images are trapped on my camera without a cable or a computer (like my computer) to link them to. So pictures to come.

Our day started at 6:00am which was incredibly early considering that this is a vacation. But we rolled out of bed and got dressed and even managed to have half a cup of coffee before our bus came and we had to load up. We rode for an hour and a half to a place called Urubamba to catch the train. There, we had another, oh so important, cup of coffee. We rode on the train for another hour and forty minutes when we reached the town of Aguas Calientes (hot waters) which is at the base of Machu Picchu, which is actually the Quechua name for the mountain not the town that is there. We had a few minutes to ourselves. So Katie and I went to these cute little Artisan market and bought a couple of wall hangings. We ran back to our guide just in time to catch the bus up to the archaeological site. The bus ride was another 30 minutes on switchbacks. When we first got a glimpse of the beautiful ancient site. We did manage to get an English speaking guide, so I wouldn't have to translate for Katie the entire time. And he gave us the background on the ancient site...which there are still a lot of questions surrounding. No one is really sure what the purpose is, though they think it had to do with agriculture and religion. Which weren't necessarily exclusive to one another to the Incas. We only spent a few minutes with out guides before we were giving the go ahead to climb Wanapicchu which is the larger mountain to the right of Machu Picchu in all the up close pictures. In the aerial pictures, that's probably where they are taking those pictures from. It's an hour climb up a lot of rocky stairs. When we finally reached the look out it was pretty foggy over Machu Picchu, so we waited and took as many pictures as we could when the clouds cleared. Then we hiked back down, Katie overcoming her fear of heights.

When we got back down to Machu Picchu (the mountain and the site) we took a quick look around and the rains started to pour. So we headed back to the buses to return to Aguas Calientes. We found a nice little pizza place and grabbed a table next the adobe pizza oven. We made some friends with five Europeans hiking the famous Inca Trail while we were watching soccer. I believe it was Real Madrid against some team I've never heard of (surprise, surprise). When we finished we went back to bartering and shopping. I've been trying to find little gifts that maybe I can send in the mail, although I have some fears of them being stolen, seeing as that is what happened last time. I did buy a few of the red and black seed bracelets. The seeds are native to Peru and signify good luck. And Katie bought a few gifts for the people back home. We finished all of our shopping and returned to the train station just in time to board the train for the return trip. We got back to our hostel at around 10:00pm. A full and long, but beautiful day. Machu Picchu really is one of the seven new wonders of the world.

Pictures to come.