Friday, January 30, 2015

Arequipa, Peru

After spending some time in Nasca, checking out the lines, it was time to go to Peru´s second biggest city: Arequipa.  I showed up at the bus station and a group of Americans were heading to the Flying Dog Hostel.  I split a taxi with them and when we got to the hostel I took a room.  It was a very pretty hostel with a bar, pool table and rooftop terrace.  I asked to volunteer there but they didnt need me.  After two days I found a job volunteering at the Point Hostel.  I worked there for four days before the Flying Dog told me I could come back and work as bartender.  I quit my job at the Point, went and did Trash Hike, and when I returned I started as a bartender.

 Here I am with my fellow coworkers and volunteers.  On left Pedro from Puebla MExico.  In the middle Lalo from Buenos Aires Argentina.  IN front Misti the flying dog and mascot of the hostel.
 Map in my room with black outlining the route I have taken from Bogota up to the CAribbean and down to Southern Peru.
 Taking the Flying Dog Misti for a walk in the streets of Arequipa.  I dont know why they call her the flying dog.  She is lazy.  She lasts about ten minutes on walks before she runs out of energy.
 Beautiful street in Arequipa.  The architecture here is very similar to Europe and Spain, much more so than anywhere else in Peru, Ecuador or Colombia.
 A shot of the bar in the Flying dog hostel.  I worked here every night.  While I was here I started my own Pisco Sour tasting event on the weekends.  It got people in the bar to sample our pisco sours and then they bought other drinks.  It was a huge success and now the manager will continue with it.
 In the Plaza de Armas in the center of town in Arequipa.
 Me and Pedro walking around town in a little European style side street.
 So many churches and cathedrals in this city.  If thats what your into you should come here.
 Me and Pedro hard at work behind the bar ready to make some pisco sours.  Pisco sour involes the liquor Pisco.  It is an alchohol made of grapes around 40% alchohol.  with egg white, sugar and lime juice shaken over ice.  I experimented with many different ones during my time here including Mango sour, Maracuja sour, Watermelon Sour, and the crazy German guy even made a Garlic Sour which was suprisingly not very bad.
 Walking on the streets there is never a shortage of dogs.  My friend Jess from California petting this Massive Bull Mass Dog.  The picture doesnt do it justice, this dog was huge!!!  The dogs are so friendly which is great for me because I dont have a rabies shot....eeek!!!
 Flavala shot in Arequipa.  800,000 people live in this city.

All in all Areqipa was a great city.  I spent three weeks here which is more than any other city in my travels besides Buenos Aires.  The food kinda sucks.  One of the delicacies of the city is Guinea Pig... No thank you.  But I recomend you go here and you definitely have to check out the Flying Dog Hostel.  It is so beautiful, so friendly and so sociable.  Much better than the Point or the Wild Rover.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Peru: Trash Hike 2015

Misti Volcanoe is near the City of Arequipa in Peru.  It stands at 5800 m.  Remember the tallest Mountain in the Canadian Rockies isn't even 4000 m.  Late one morning, a German guy and I decided we would hike to Misti.

From the town of Arequipa we walked around the city trying to find a bus.  With no luck and being constantly set off in different directions when asking people for help, we eventually paid a taxi driver to drive us a bit.  He drove us through a Flavala and eventually dropped us off at the cemetery.  He pointed at four trees and told us to walk there.
The first part of the walk was through the city dump.  Enchanting nature and temperate desert climate dominate the ambience of this tranquil Peruvian landscape.  This hike had everything and the kitchen sink... literally, if you look closely enough.  We even found half of a metal police badge on the ground, but we had to leave it behind because it was too heavy to hike up the mountain.
Past the trash and on the road to the Volcanoe.  This part of the hike would have been nice to have paid someone with a four by four to drive us this road which took us four hours to walk.  To the left you can barely make out the four trees we had to walk to.
Finally arrive at the four trees just in time for Sunset.  The entire walk was just cactuses and then at a higher elevation there are these four trees.
Natural sunset ambience so beautiful you are sure you could be in Africa.
And what do you know?  Some sort of ruins hanging out nearby.  Who needs Machu Pichu when you have The Trash Hike Ruinas.
Off in the distance another range.  I believe this one to be called Chachani.
Near our camp crosses and litters of empty bottles.  We were the only people camping here this night, but with the amount of empty bottles, you could tell there had been many good times at this spot.
Sunset at last.
Shot of Misti at Sunset.
Shot of the town of Arequipa.  800,000 people live in this city, the second biggest in Peru.
The next morning, with no more water, and me having to start my job in the evening, we decided to turn back without summitting.  Another failed attempt at a volcanoe in South America for me.  But still a great one day camping trip.
And on the walk out, the luscious nature of trash hike overwhelms the senses.  My friend Stephane from Germany leading the way.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Nazca Lines

The Nazca lines were recently made famous through Greenpeace Activism.  The town of Nazca really does not have anything to offer besides these lines.  I somehow got stuck here for three days though recovering from low energy caused by too many bus rides.  Of course i made it out to the lines.  But rather than paying the Seventy dollars to fly over the lines in planes,  I paid about three dollars to take a public bus to the Mirador and the entrance to the Mirador Itself.
 This line I am not entirely sure what it is but is definitely beauitful.
 Another line, who knows?
 Heres me in front of the lines.  When you pay to take the plane you see about ten lines.  But from the Mirador you only see two.  But its the truest original gypsy way to see the lines

 Here is a shot of the Mirador that you climb to see the lines.  It costs one dollar to get in.

 This poster explains why I have decided to become a Vegetarian.  I think it was just a poorly designed poster, but it really helps showcase the problems that vegetarians have eating in Peru.

All in all, you really only need one day max to see Nazca.  Some bus companies offer so that you do not even have to stop in Nazca.  You can just stop at the Mirador and carry on your bus to Lima or Arequipa.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Cordillera Blanca

Near Huaraz is the Cordillera Blanca Range of Mountains.  It is famous for being the range second in height to the Himalayas.  The mountains themselves are some of the tallest in the Americas and absolutely astounding to look at.  I loaded up my camping gear and caught a bus at 6am in the morning.

One of the astounding views on the bus ride there.  You don't even need to go hiking to have your breath taken away.
Me with mountains in the background.  Reminding me of the good old time working on the Finca in Ecuador.
Sheer faces of some of the walls still on the way up.
The crystal blue of the water reminds me of my time in the Caribbean.

Alright, time to start the hike.  In the first few steps I coud have sworn I was in a scene from Lord of the Rings.
My best impression of Big Yellow Riding Hood.  Even though its not the warmest the sun will still catch you with some good burns if you are not careful.
Further down the road a scene that reminds me of the movie Big Fish.
This is where it started to get difficult.  Lots of uphil climbing, plus I had a tent to carry in my backpack. The rest of my group stormed on as I was left behind.  They had no gear because they were taking the bus home that night.
Almost near the top, another beheamoth mountain in the background.
Finally I made it, to another crystalline blue Glacier Fed Lake.  This one called Laguna 69 is a popular one for tourists staying in Huaraz.

Time for a Polar bear swim seeing as its near New Years Eve.
The Water was cold but crisply refreshing.
Koreans and Peruvians wondering why the Canadian was crazy enough to go into the water.  These guys were the stragglers at the back of the pack going very slow that I joined up with.  At times we were very close to giving up, but in the end we made it.
This mountain clearly visible all day is apparently the symbol for Paramount Pictures.  Did they make Big Fish and Lord of the Rings near here?
My house for the night.  The only other people camping up here were one Italian and one German and a handful of cows.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Huaraz, Peru for Christmas

I made it to the mountains for Christmas.  This way I could have a typical Canadian Christmas.  Huaraz, is a beautiful mountain town in the heart of Peru.  The family at my hostel had me for dinner with their family.  It was a great dinner with turkey, stuffing, apple sauce and mashed potatoes.
Huaraz had many alleyways and plazas tucked away behind restaurants and cafes with beautiful walls, art and brick walkways.

Christmas Eve in Peru is the big day of the Holidays, not Christmas Day.  Here are tonnes of vendors and people in anticipation of the big night.  At midnight,the most glorious display of fireworks I have ever seen went off around the city and we watched from our hostel terrace.
Kid and dog ride bike.
On Xmas Day I got to the top of this hill on a bicycle.  Half took a bus the other half walked and rode.  After that it was all downhill.  Its just too bad it started to rain.  Its rainy season right now in Huaraz and without doubt it would rain everyday, usually in the late afternoon.

How cheap is the fruit in Peru?  2 soles which is 66 cents gets you one kilogram of mangoes.  
This guy on the left stole my sunglasses.  In all honesty though they were broken.  I am not sure what he is doing with them.  He is probably looking like a goof wearing my broken sunglasses.