One of the best things about working on a cruise ship are all the excursions that you can go on for practically free. As I already mentioned I went on an excursion kayaking that would have normally cost $109 for passengers, and I did it for free. Then the next day I took a train ride that would normally be $180 for passengers, and it cost me $5. It was a train ride through the mountains in Scagway and I got some beautiful photographs that are now posted in my photo gallery. Today I will be going on the Glacier Point Wilderness Safari in Haines, which would be $199 for passengers, and I get it for free. I’ll be going on many excursions while I can.
Well the crew officers decided that I wasn’t going to be able to keep that room to myself so I have now moved in with one of the other photographers. It worked out pretty well because his fiancé just left as her contract is over, which means she won’t always be in the room. The room is much smaller than the one I just left, but it is in a much better location of the ship. I am very near the elevators and the OB (Officers Bar, it’s the place everyone hangs out after work) and I also don’t have to walk down this long corridor that stinks really bad. Ah yes…and since George’s fiancé has left, he is very sad and now instead of her in the room all the time, it will be me.
ms RYNDAM – Ian Kee – 77538 – Image Creator
CRUISE LINE AGENCIES – KETCHIKAN
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I have just uploaded photos from this trip. Please see the photo gallery link on the right side of the blog. You’ll be able to find 175 photos of Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. Enjoy!
Well that was a most refreshing trip. I really can’t think of a better way to have spent a month of the worst weather in Indiana. I’m thoroughly tired as I haven’t really slept in the last 40 hours. I’ll be working on photos tomorrow and the next few days – expect them to be loaded on here later this week. This trip was rich with experiences of all kinds. I tasted new foods, saw new places, met new people and had an all around good time. And now I’m going to have a good time by sleeping. Goodnight.
Well Potosi started out as a very drab city in which I didn´t want to be in. This is mainly due to the fact that the day before when we left La Paz it rained and so I was wearing my only dry pair of shorts since my jeans were wet, and the weather was very cold there. My boots were wet too. Poor Ian. But I bought myself a new pair of shoes for cheap and we got some our of clothes dry cleaned. So that cleared up all my woes and Josh and I decided to take a tour of the mines. The lonely planet described it as a place that was scary but it turned out to be pretty cool. It´s still an active mine and they mine zinc and silver. The workers who work there only make 50 Bolivianos a day, equivalent of $7. So we brought them a few gifts to give them while on our tour of the place.
Then yesterday morning Jeff, Josh and I all went up to the hot springs that are about a 30 minute bus drive away from Potosi. The hot springs was definitely a fun place to be and it was nice to swim, and in really warm steaming water! On the way down however, some crazy man stumbled off the mountain onto the path on which we were walking. We thought he was just being a little crazy so we tried to pass, and as we did, he wacked Jeff pretty hard on the shoulder. We chose to ignore that and kept walking, but as we turned around he was bending down to pick up rocks to throw at us. So we started running and he starting chasing us, throwing rocks. Apparently it´s pretty easy to outrun a crazy man though. After a couple turns in the road down the mountain we escaped him, or so we thought. A couple more turns however and we could hear him screaming at us from some cliff up above that looked down over the road. He proceeded to throw football sized rocks down at us, so again we ran as carefully as possible out of his reach. So crazy. As we took a taxi later that day to the bus station, the driver said he knew about that guy and he´s always there harrassing white tourists.
This wasn´t the first time we´ve been assualted though! The very first day I landed in Buenos Aires some guy who was high on crack or something came running at us demanding money. I thought that´s all he was doing but I didn´t understand the Spanish. Apparently he was yelling at Josh telling him he´d cut his throat if we didn´t give him money. At that point Josh pushed the guy away and we ran off. Luckily this guy didn´t follow us. He had his hand concealed behind his back as if he was holding a knife, but who knows if he really had one.
Well anyways that´s the excitement recently and also from a while ago. We´re now back in Jujuy at Josh´s house and I only have two more days of this trip remaining. We´ll be going down to Salta tomorrow from where I will catch a flight back to Buenos Aires the day after tomorrow, and then back to the States.
Cuz I’ve been detained by two of them! On our way to Machu Picchu there was a giant landslide that had us waiting for a little more than an hour while a CAT cleared it up. That wasn’t so bad. But then on the way back, there was an even gianter landslide. This time it was a gushing rushing fussing river that took away half the mountain. So there were two giant machines trying to clear the road of debris. Of course they couldn’t stop the river from flowing, so they just had to get rid of most of the rocks and dirt and then the cars and trucks just drove through the river. It was kinda exciting. That was a 4 hour delay. We left Machu Picchu around noon and were supposed to get to Cusco around 10, but we didn’t make it till a little after 1 am. It’s all good. Tonight we’re gonna take a bus back to La Paz.
Machu Picchu was awesome though! Josh, Dan and I stayed up till about midnight hanging out with a couple people we met on the bus up, and then we had to get up at 3 to hike up the mountain. Jeff was smart and went to bed. I gotta say though, Pisco Sour is pretty darn good. Anyways, after 3 hours of sleep and no breakfast, we started hiking an hour and a half up a mountain. It was just steep steps all the way up. It was a killer. I really can’t believe how hard it was. Just think for a minute about hiking up stairs at 3 in the morning for an hour and a half, oh yeah, and it’s raining. It’s dark too and between the 4 of us we only had one flashlight. Luckily there were a billion other people climbing that had lights so that wasn’t too bad. I really can’t begin to describe to you how hard this was though. Anyways we got to the top around 5:30 in the morning and had to wait till 6 when Machu Picchu opened. Then we got to climb just a little bit further and boy, the view was amazing. It was extremely foggy though so we had to wait to get a clear view. We had a tour guide give an explanation for everything in English, so that was nice. I didn’t hear half of what he said though cuz I was too busy taking photos. We got to walk down into the old Inca ruins, it was really spectacular.
We stayed two nights there cuz we didn’t wanna worry about climbing around Machu Picchu and then having to immediately catch a bus back to Cusco. So instead we just hung around and got caught in the landslide last night. Well I guess that was the pinnacle of our trip. Now it’s back to La Paz for a day or two, in which we are supposedly going to watch the Bolivian version of WWF. It’s ethnic women wrestling apparently. Very odd and it seems very culturally unacceptable to me, but hey, I’ll go watch! Then to another city in Bolivia on the way back to Argentina and then I’ll be going home in about a week.
Well we have made it to Peru! After Jeff fell and broke his wrist we weren’t sure if it was going to be feasible either with time or money, but we have made it work. Also, Dan Saldi was able to come with us since his parents decided to finance him. So we’re having a blast here in Cuzco together. We took a 10 hour bus ride from La Paz to get here. At the border of Peru and Bolivia there are these guys who have bicycle taxis, and Josh told me to go up to one of them and ask them “Cuanto cuesta hasta Lima?” So I did and the guy asked me, “Lima??” haha. I just laughed. It was pretty funny. Y despues encontré cinco pesos. A term I learned from my friend Elicia. haha.
Anyways, because the bus ride was only 10 hours, and we left La Paz around 5pm, we got in to Cuzco this morning at about 3:45 since there is a time difference. Well we took a cab to a hostel that Josh and Diego had looked up, but it was so early in the morning that there was no room yet since people hadn’t checked out. So we sat in their lounge and half slept and half watched Kingdom of Heaven. They had a pretty sad collection of DVDs but that one was actually ok. So around 7 or so we got up and left our bags in the office and walked around town for a bit. We got breakfast and found a tour guide place that will take us to Machu Picchu tomorrow. It’s a two day trip and it cost us $140 US. That’s not bad because if we were to go on our own without a tour guide apparently the train there, just one way, would cost $45 and that doesn’t include food or anything. So tomorrow morning they are gonna come pick us up from our hostel at 6:30 and we’ll be on our way for the next couple days getting a guided tour around Machu Picchu.
After getting that settled Dan and I hung out at the hostel and Jeff and Josh went to get Jeff’s stitches cleaned. Apparently he got really ripped off and the guy did nothing that we couldn’t have done but charged Jeff like $45. They came back and we checked into our hostel room finally after the guy who owns the place moved people around so that we can have a 4 person private room all to ourselves. It’s by far the nicest hostel we’ve stayed in and it’s only $10 a night. No complaints here. Oh yeah and I’m on their free internet right now. =D
Then we went out for lunch today and I ate Alpaca meat. Yum. Jeff and Josh wasted their time by going to a couple history musuems while Dan and I went and climbed a mountain! There was a statue of Jesus on top with his arms held out, kinda like that famous one you think of in Rio De Janeiro. It was a really long climb up, lots of stairs at first then we just had to climb strait up the mountain. At the top we realized there was a road up to it that we could have taken, but we didn’t know about it. So we took it back down instead of killing ourselves going over the mountain again. We got some cool photos of the statue as well as some random ethnic group girls fighting with each other trying to get our attention. Well I guess it worked. Also we saw Alpacas and big rocks.
Well that was a long explanation of the days events for today. I suppose dinner will be soon and then I’m sure Josh will want to go partying. hahaha. It was a good day. I like Cuzco.
Well today was the day for the Death Road. It was extremely rainy and cloudy and very hard to steer and see and stuff. Jeff fell off his bike less than 2 minutes into it and broke his wrist. He is ok and is in the hospital. It was really unfortunate and it sucks, but I´m just really thankful that he fell onto the road and not off the cliff. He said there wasn´t much pain and it was just really numb. So we can praise God for that and for the fact that he´s still with us. He´s spending the night in the hospital and hopefully we´ll be on our way to our next destination the day after tomorrow.
So Josh and I continued down the Death Road without him. Dan Saldi was our tour guide and there were 10 other people on the tour with us. Josh and I would have gone to the hospital with Jeff but the bus took him and didn´t wait for us. So we just had to keep going. Later the bus came back and followed our group for the rest of the trip like it was supposed to. We started our descent at around 4800 meters and descended all the way to about 1200 meters. The trip was 64 km long. At the start it was raining and extremely frigid. We were all soaked to the bone. There were so many clouds that we really couldn´t take many photos. I decided to leave my big camera on the bus so I didn´t have that. I had my little point and shoot though and it got completely drenched. Amazingly it just kept on running and I got photos from it all day long. I didn´t really get too many cuz that road is dangerous enough without holding a camera, so I had to stop every now and then to get a shot. It is now all dried out and doesn´t seem to be any worse for the wear.
After about 2 hours of descending the rain let up and it got really nice and comfortable. We were completely dry by the end of the trip. We did go under a couple waterfalls which renewed our state of being soaked, and we also forged a couple rivers. All this of course on a 10 foot wide gravel road with hundreds or thousands of feet drop. It was great.
At the end of the trip we went to this hotel for lunch and a shower. There was also a pool that we could have swam in but it looked kinda yucky so I passed on that. All in all it was a good trip and it was great to have Dan as our guide. In case you don´t know Dan is currently a Junior at Taylor and he´s an MK who grew up here in Bolivia. Never hurts to have friends all around the world!
We have arrived in La Paz Bolivia. That was the longest bus ride of me vida. We took one Argentine bus to the Argentina/Bolivia border where we had to do customs. They didn´t even care about our documents really, they just wanted the money. That is where we then got onto the 22 hour bus ride. Wow, enough said about that.
Dan Saldi, a good friend from Taylor who is here on Christmas break met us at the bus stop and brought us home with him. It´s so nice to have a shower and place to sleep for the first time in a couple days! It´s also a little funny and weird to see someone from Taylor not at Taylor but on a different continent completely! It´s great to have friends all over the world.
Well like I said we´re acclimating ourselves to the high altitude, about 3600 meters I think, so today we´re just taking it easy. Dan works for a bike company as a tour guide and so we´re gonna use his company for our tour on Death Road, which we will go on the day after tomorrow. That´ll be fun for him to be our guide.
La Paz is a giant city. When we came in on the bus this morning we came over the mountains and we got a great view of the entire city. It´s in a valley and the houses and buildings go clear up the sides of the mountains and all around in the bowl of the valley. It´s giant. Dan said the population of Bolivia is about 10 million and La Paz itself is about 2 million. So that´s 20% of the population in this one city.
I am now in Jujuy with Jeff and Josh at Josh’s house. Jeff got in on the 7th and we spent a couple days going around Buenos Aires showing him the spots. I got my yellow fever shot taken the day before he came in and we took him to get his taken the day he got in. We need a yellow fever vacination in order to get in to Bolivia, which we will be visiting in 2 days. We’ll spend quite a few days there before going to Peru.
I still have a pretty good headache from my flight from Indianapolis to Houston. Yesterday we were in Salta and we decided to go to a private hospital to get me checked out. The public ones are free but they take a long time because of this. We didn’t want to wait around all day so I spent 191 pesos for a check up, xray, a shot, and two pill medications. That’s the equivalent to about $50. Not bad I don’t think. The evaluation is that my sinuses are stopped up and so they gave me a shot to do something, don’t remember what, and two pills to help clear it up as well as fight against allergies I guess. I take one pill of each every day. One of the pills are only 3, the other has 10. So tomorrow I’ll finish up the one pill. The day before yesterday also when we were walking around Salta I get super sunburned. So I got some medicated lotion for that. It’s been kinda crazy how much medication related stuff I’ve already gotten. Hopefully that’ll be all for the rest of the trip. Even with all that I’m still trucking and having a great time!
I’ve met a lot of great people on the trip already. We went to Tigre once near the beginning of the trip and met a bunch of cool people, and then hung out there again another day later. Also in Buenos Aires we met another one of Josh’s friends and hung out for several days, and also stayed in her landlord’s apartment for a night. Also in the last hostel that we stayed in we met this guy from Toronto who just got done teaching English in Korea for the last 6 years. It was really interesting to talk with him about all that he’s done. It seems like I’ve met a lot of people in BA who travel all around the world for a long time doing odd jobs and just exploring. I would love to do that kind of thing.
Well Jeff and Josh are napping now and I think we’re gonna go out and explore the town a little bit when they get up. Maybe I’ll go see if I can rouse them….