Thanks for checking out my blog. I will work to keep it current, with photos and posts. YOU CAN FIND THE PHOTOS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE. ¡gracias!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

never never land

Well I ended up spending 8 days at the farm known as never never land. It was in the south of Ecuador, in the mountains. Which is the coffee growing region of ecuador, where all of those fancy "ecuadorian coffee's" that you can find in Starbucks are from. Along with fruit, potatoes, corn, herbs, chickens and cows we also grew coffee, so everyday we would grind it up and drink the best coffee of my life. I had an amazing time. It really was pretty magical like the name suggests. The setting was stunning, the woman who ran it was slightly crazy but in the best way, the other volunteers where so friendly and fun, and the work was hard but gratifying. We got a taste of what it is like to be an ecuadorian housewives because on several of the days when the workers from the town would come in, there was no one to make them lunch, and since they are useless in the kitchen it was left to us to cook and clean for 5 to 15 people! It turned out to be really fun, we all had a sense of humor about it, so it was much better than it could have been.

It was so nice to work hard for a bit. And we didnt work THAT hard, but at the end of the day when everything was cleaned and put away and we would sit around and drink coffee and eat fresh baked cookies it just felt so good. I know all you "working people" out there are laughing right now, but also something about working on a farm and with the land is just the best. There is also no money to be made, especially on an organic farm. But I´m way too young and naive to think about that.

I´m now in Quito. Which is so beautiful! The downtown "centro" area is the most impressive that I have seen so far. And it is set high up in the andes surrounded by beautiful mountains and volcanoes. I have just been exploring, and shopping a bit. I went to what they call "South America´s Largest Market" and it was kind of a let down. the stuff was mostly crap. BUT there were a lot of indigenous women in extravagant dress adorned with gold. So I followed them and bought stuff that they did. It is so fun to see how the dress of the indigenous changes as I move north. For a while it was all these big skirts with petticoats (is that what they call the things that make skirts look really big?), made out of velvet and adorned with silk and embroidery, with leggings or tights, loafers, colorful sweaters, fancy shawls, and the HATS! oh the hats. I want to come back just to document indigenous use of western hats. Every city and little town has their own hat of choice, some are bowler, some top hats, some straw hats, some that look like a towel folded and resting on top of the head. In this area the indigenous dress looks almost indian (dot not feather),  with long black skirts, (wraparounds mom and dad) with fancy fancy frilly shirts, and shawls, with LOTS of gold jewlery and again the top hat of the area. If I had less self respect I would have been taking pictures of these women in each town. But I feel so weird doing that. So I try to do it without them noticing.

Last thing. So upset about the world cup. This is the most intersted in sports I think I have ever been. We should have won. they played dirty. fake injuries and all that. ugh. well speaking of which, England v Germany is on so I got to go. GO ENGLAND!

Monday, June 14, 2010

how much is the empanada? 1 DOLLAR???

Ecuador. Land of the Galapagos, which wont pertain to me because I wont be shelling out the grand to get there. BUT, I made it. It has been about six hours, but long enough to know that I am going to love this country. Or maybe I was just sick of Peru.  Either way there are bus terminals, toilet seats, public transit, very little piles of rubble on the streets, taxis arent constantly honking there horns, there are a lot of attractive people that smile at you, and they use Dollars! Hello Ecuador. We are going to get along just great.

It's not that I didn't like Peru. And I think it is good for a spoiled gringo like myself to see how most of the world lives. but god its good to move on. My cousin asked me a while ago, if traveling made me love our country, and at the time I actually felt the opposite, but traveling through Peru (which is no uganda) I understood what he meant. The problems we face in our country, Peru has not even begun to look at because there is so much fundamentally wrong with their government. Ecuador is not exactly the shining beacon of stability but they seem to have the groundlevel stuff figured out. or maybe I'm just in a good town.

Since Trujillo, I hit up another highlands city, Cajamarca, famous for being the place where Pizarro captured the Inca Emporer, Atahualpa. It was pretty, kind of like Cuzco minus tourists. But I was kind of over it and a bit lonely. So I headed into Ecuador, and stopped in the beach party town of Mancora, Peru. Where I watched our team play, and I happened to be with 30 angry Brits as well. It felt good to tie. Even if we really shouldn't have. I say everyone ties and then we will ALL be happy! this is why gays dont do sports.

Now I am headed to my second farm. It is in lowlands forest junglish place (not really sure) called Vilcabamba. Should be nice. The farm is called Never Never Land. which after Michael Jackson, you cant be really sure whether it is creepy or kinda cool. We'll see! But I'm really looking forward to it. I need some manual labor in my life.

love you all!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Sometimes it sucks being a gringo. I will start this post off with saying im not in the best of moods so that will surely affect what I write. And I dont want to come off complaining about how unlucky I am to be traveling the world. I try to be grateful everyday. But sucks. Im starting to feel like they purposefully put diahrrea inducing bacteria into their food, because I've got the (sorry mom) shits for the second time here. And after being robbed with my parents, then again with friends in Lima, I had to muster all the "pity them dont get angry I could". THEN today two guys tried to swindle me by claiming they needed help with their english. Not sure exactly what they wanted or what they were going to do, but thanks to a lady who tipped me off, I wasn't with them long enough to find out. Sometimes I just feel like a tall, blonde money sign. And that can suck when you are trying to be open and friendly and not judge and assume, but the sad truth is, you just can't let your guard down. I want to trust the guy I meet in the street, and sometimes maybe I can, but I have to be cautious. I don't think this is a problem of the peruvian culture of course. It seems this is a result of poverty, and other social factors that force people to do desperate things. So I have to walk that line between being open and ready for new things, but also careful and guarded. And after reading about the Spanish conquest, they had it much worse than we do now, talk about people taking advantage of people...

Not sure why I wanted to post that. Maybe just needed to write that down somewhere, and I again want to clariry that it has not greatly affected my trip, just a sad fact. And it is a sad reality of the world that we all come to realize: that not everyone has your best interest in mind.

That being said I have also run into a lot of beautiful people, that were so giving and generous and very trustworthy, both people that live here and fellow travelers. I guess all we can do is like my father's mother said, try not to get angry but have pitty on those who choose to prey on others. And maybe it is our responsibility to also look for the conditions that allow these things to happen.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Middle

In the Middle of the Peru, in the middle of the Ancient Inca Empire and in the middle of the longest mountain range in the world, I am now in the middle of my trip. It has been almost exactly four months to the day. So much has happened. In a way I feel as though I have had many distinct trips, each part of my travels being so uniquely its own. There was the Santiago/earthquake part, the Patagonian adventure, the race north, the transition into Peru, and the wonderful two weeks I spent with my parents. Now I am starting another new adventure, as I make my way north into Ecuador.

After saying goodbye to my parents I spent almost 10 days in Lima, a city I planned to spend a few nights in. In fact I threatened myself to leave on more than one occasion, feeling the draw to move northward, but Lima and the wonderful people I met there kept holding me back. I laughed more in those 10 days than I have in my whole trip, well, me and my parents laughed quite a bit too, so maybe more in the past 3 weeks. By luck or the fates of traveling I happened to meet really excellent top notch people. In Lima we went to see two plays, went to countless musuems, swam a handful of times in the cold ocean, ate AMAZING food, and probably 5 or 6 mcflurries (not proud), went to a casino, walked around this park of waterfountains that was way more impressive than you would think, traveled in countless micros so packed I was unsure whether it was even possible to exit, danced at a few clubs, met a handful of really great LimeƱos, went to a ballet class, and had many other small adventures.

Now I am high up in the andes in a place called Huaraz (the trekking capital of Peru), just came down from the mountains and now I am headed to a small beach town near Trujillo.

Needless to say I am quite content and have a very positive outlook for the next four months, even though I know there will be more lonely times, and earthquakes, and stolen ipods, and times where I miss all of you terribly. I am not sure why I have my heart set on spending as much time as I can down here. Maybe ego, maybe postponing the innevitable decisions that I need to make, maybe just a bit of wanderlust. Whatever it is I feel like I am growing in new ways and pushing myself to get out and see things, some fascinating, some inspiring, some disheartening, but all real, and different from the reality we all experience back home.

love you all!