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Thailand 2018: Day 01: March 16


Left Wednesday afternoon.

14~ hours to shanghai.

Shanghai for an hour.

5~ hours to Phuket.


Exchanged, got Sim.

Taxi to Airbnb at like 2am.

Airbnb is so nice, big, new.

Bee met us here.

Private waterfall pool.

Beach so close.

Slept for an hour.

Sunset at 6:30


7-11, spent so much.

Johnny arrives with Fabio.

Chill for a bit, play pool. Food.

Grab to big Buddha. Half an hour ride.

Driver stayed.

It’s big.

Lots of others built around as well.

Monkey stole bananas and chips.

Golden leaves with messages.

Donations, under construction.

To Karon Beach.

Water so warm.

Pikachu in the sky. Expensive.

Henna tattoos!

Planning for the next day.

Walking to a non existent night market.

Back to red chopsticks.

Drive home, oddly super long.


8am leave for island adventure!

South America 2016: Day 12 (Bolivia 02): Dec 03


One of our latest mornings, 10:30 to start our Uyuni tour. We were late. Oops. Get into the van, apparently we’re picking up 4 more people. 

After picking them up, we head out. Our first destination, the Train Cemetery. A weird collection of broken down trains and pieces. Makes for interesting photos. 20 minutes later, we’re off. 

A quick stop to pick up lunch and… they asked our shoe size. Not yet sure for what. 

Next stop, the salt factory. Where they manufacture some salt products, package raw salt for cooking, and sell a lot of random souvenirs to tourists. 

Half an hour later, we’re at a specific spot where there are small geysers that create pools of water with medicinal properties (supposedly). 

Next, our lunch spot. Stopping at a large DAKAR Bolivia and statue. And experiencing more of the flats. It’s kinda crazy how they know where to go with nothing to guide them aside from traveled car tracks. Maybe the distant mountains help them navigate. Meh, lunch, expensive banõ, still a nice place though. 

Next! Incahausi. Basically an island in the Salt flats covered in cacti. None of the group decided to pay for entry, so we spent an hour playing with the perspective shots. So sunny and hot out. And to get the better shots, you need to be lying on the ground. I was also trying out Rosanna’s GoPro Birdie, eh…. Difficult to use correctly, I think. By the time it turns over, it’s milliseconds from hitting the ground. And it hit the ground a lot, and violently. We shall see the outcome later. 

The next couple of stops, we really just stopped to take pictures 😛 Perspective shots with people jumping, kicked, eaten, etc. We also took a bunch of group shots, videos, jumping, it was a lot of fun. 

It seems like we were just wasting time until…. The sunset! We drove further, but actually closer to where we entered the flats, and not too far from where we were last night, to a wet area. A small small super shallow pond or something. An area surrounded by larger rocks to create a pool of water. The reflections we heard of are possible here. Pretty damn cool too! Putting on the boots he pulled out from the bag, we went and jumped around. Lots of pictures. The double sunset was beautiful and so fast. 

Then we had to go. Our flight leaves in about an hour, and we’ve gotta drive there… Easy and quick check in though, there aren’t many people or flights. Some weird airport tax of 11BOB each person. The X-ray machine wasn’t working though so the guy went in and searched it himself. Boarded, an hour flight, and a 50BOB taxi ride to our fancy hotel. 

Security guard at the door! Settled in and then went out for a late dinner. Everything actually closed fairly early. The only things left were pizza joints. So we had pizza 😛 pretty good too! 

10:40am flight out to Cusco. Then Cusco to Lima. Then home. Almost there. 

South America 2016: Day 11 (Bolivia 01): Dec 02


Early morning flight to La Paz.

We have a bunch of hours to kill before our flight to Uyuni, so we decide to go down into the core of downtown La Paz. Exit the plane, go through immigration and customs and stuff and… They didn’t ask for the yellow fever exemption thing we bought from the travel clinic. Oh well. We need to look for luggage storage. But the shop clerks don’t seem to understand what we’re asking. Enter Luis Aguilar Escobar, an airport worker, he shows us the way to the luggage storage out at gate 11.

We also follow him on to the mini bus from the airport. He pays for our fare, and we talk about what we’re planning to do, how he knows English, his kids, etc. The sketchy feeling wears off… He doesn’t seem to be leading us to our eventual deaths. Yay. 

There are currently three cable car lines, yellow, green, and blue. We didn’t figure out where they lead to, but there seems to be plans to build one near the airport! That’d be cool. 

Downtown now, we hop out of the bus and walk a little to a money exchange. $100USD to just under 700 boliviano. Not bad. We pay him back for the fare, 12BOB and we ask him to join us for lunch across the street. He tells us that when he was in Vegas, some kind stranger helped him out when he needed it and he was paying it forward. We’re the lucky recipients :). After some translating, we get our food and the servings are huuuuge. Gayaanan barely had any of his and was full. We had Sandia drink (watermelon!) and saw the news about the fallen plane in Columbia… Our complete lunch cost? 300. Ouch. 

We say our goodbyes and jump into a taxi to the Valle de la Luna, Moon Valley. Half an hour ride, here we are. 15BOB entry, ehh…. Kinda interesting, but it gets old fast. Essentially a bunch of cool tall mineral and rock formations. Meh. 

We have some more time but no other ideas of what to do, so we head to the airport early. Let’s get to Uyuni! 

Gayaanan got some good news. Noah found his wallet! Lucky, lucky… He arranged to pick it up from him in Cusco. 

Easy check in, there was no line. They made me check in my bag as well. We were sent downstairs which led to… Baggage claim. We were so lost. A Korean lady led the way as a bus pulled up and then we knew it was going to Uyuni. There were about 12 people on the bus. Which, obviously, resulted to about 12 passengers on the plane! Quick one hour flight. 

The airport in Uyuni is so small, only two airlines service it, and there’s no baggage thing, they just drop it off at the door. Got our ride from the tour company, to our Salt hotel within the city of Uyuni.

Still under construction, Hotel Casa Andina, but really nice design. Almost everything was made of salt! Bricks for the counter, the bedframes, chair frames, walls, pretty cool. We drop off our stuff and get ready for late night stargazing out in the salt flats. It’s gonna be cold! 

Driving out, grabbed some snacks and water. Start the drive out to the Salt flats, I’m not sure how long it took, I fell asleep. We arrived by same Salt hills and started setting up the tripod for star shots. Cold. Windy. City lights :@… Still kinda nice though, so many stars, and so clear.

Several hours later, done, done, it’s late, let’s go home. Zzz

South America 2016: Day 10 (Peru 10): Dec 01


Wake up… My headache is gone! Yay. But as always, tough to get up. Especially when you’re in a tent and it’s snowing outside… Lol

We’re woken with coca tea and given some time to get up and get breakfast. Oh so cold. Breakfast and go. We trek out at around 4:45am, aiming to be the first group at rainbow mountain. Even the alpacas were cold, all fluffy, they are huddled together on the ground, only getting up to avoid us and our horses, leaving behind alpaca shapes in the snow. 

We walk a little further then get on the horses. It’s fairly cold out so riding the horses makes it a little colder as we’re not using our muscles, but… I don’t wanna walk :P. If I didn’t mention it before, only Gayaanan and I got horses. Pat walked the whole way like a crazy person, with our guide. It’s still snowing. 

Trekking, on and off horses, we make it to a small lagoon where it looks warmer as there isn’t any snow. The sun is coming out now as well. Gayaanan sees something like a monkey and goes off the trail and into the rocks….. Chinchillas! Pat, Noah, and the horses are all resting by the lake while waiting for Gayaanan and leave as soon as he’s close, we don’t have much more time to waste. Back on the horses. 

We come to another lake and take some more pictures. We’re getting closer to our destination… But about 15 minutes later, as we’re taking a selfie with Noah, Gayaanan realizes something horrible. He’s lost his wallet. Dun dun dun… At this point, we have no idea when or where it could have been lost. In the tent? Sleeping bag? Along the made up trails? He was resigned to it. For now. Gotta keep going. 

We continue on. Up another steep hill, the horses gone off on another path, there it is. The Rainbow Mountain. All foggy and covered. But that’s okay, one of two minutes later, it’s clear. Such is the weather up in the Peruvian mountains. Winicunca, colorful hill, is a naked mountain made up of minerals. Iron, lead, sulfur, copper, layered over and over each other. The hill reveals each layer somehow and shows each color deposit – it’s obvious from a side view. The 360 view is amazing. 

Soon after, another group of three show up at the bottom of the hill (we’re still at the top, opposite the rainbow). We take more pictures, etc, and we start to head down as they come up. As soon as we get to the bottom, the sun starts to shine again. Oh well, I’m fine without. 

We decide to continue exploring and go around the rainbow mountain to look behind it. There is a trail, so it’s not totally crazy. But damn, uphills are tough, going my own slow pace. It’s cool to pass along the side of the mountain and watch the rocks underfoot, each couple meters there’s a new color. Eventually getting to the pass, it’s mostly a red and green view and just as nice, with only the four of us. We spot a couple of picunas and take pictures of everything. To the right, there’s a red mountain that looks like it has green stripes, a waterfall of minerals, we have dubbed it “Zebra Mountain”. Took some time to just sit and enjoy. 

Making our way back, collecting rocks along the way, we notice the influx of tourists on the hill. We’re lucky that we had the opportunity to be the first group there that morning. We trekked through the snow for it! 

After a small break at Rainbow mountain with the groups of tourists, we head on down the way they came. The ground is much more traveled and harder on our feet. Jump on our horses and off we go. A long stretch that the horses were not led, where we could ride them on our own as long as we didn’t go too fast and scare the guides :P… After a while of flats, some rocks, we make it back to our starting point. Lunchtime. 

Got into the van, checked the sleeping bags, no luck, no wallet. Three hours to our hotel back in Cusco. 

We are beat. We settle back in and then we look through our photos, to help pinpoint the time and location in which he lost his wallet, there’s a chance… I found a last seen picture at a certain lake, and Patrick found a picture in which Gayaanan noticed it was missing. Only about a 30 minute window. He sends that off to our tour guide, who then says he will go out there tomorrow, on his 26th birthday, to take a look! 

Birthdays were a quick and interesting topic. In Peru, you are born at 0 years then on New Years, you gain 1 year. Similar to Koreans? I’m confused. 

Anyways. We’re so tired. Since this hotel is basically a lodge with a kitchen, and they provided us with “breakfast”, Gayaanan made us eggs and whatever else he could find, for dinner. Yay.

Flying out tomorrow to La Paz. 5:30 taxi. 

South America 2016: Day 09 (Peru 09): Nov 30


Of course, we’re a bit slow to pack up and go. We leave around 4:20 instead for the 3hr drive to the starting point. Nap. 

Just the 3 of us for this 2d1n trek, so we have a lot of freedom and leeway as to where we could go and where we could spend our time. 

Unlike the 1 day tour, we go around to see the glacier and ice covered mountain summit, back down to a camp, then a trek that approaches the Rainbow mountain from the front before traveling back. The 1 day goes mainly uphill and approaches from the side. 

As we get to our breakfast spot, the first thing we notice… ALPACAS! So fluffy. All over the place. And so much alpaca poo. After breakfast, we drive up another 5 minutes or so and meet our horses! I didn’t want to get them at first, but I was convinced and luckily so after that challenging Inca Trail and the higher altitude. 

The altitude starts higher than Dead Woman’s Pass of the Inca Trail. It definitely affected my breathing and pace. Riding the horses whenever we can, the altitude still hits me on any part that we had to get off the horse due to steepness or water or just to give them a break. I took my sweet time going uphill.

Since it was just the three of us, we strayed off the path a bit to the peak of some other red hills. After some photoshoots and rests, we make our way up. I’m going slowly. We leave our horses behind to graze. Up up up. Our horse guides accompany us up as well, arriving much earlier than we do, of course.

At a rest point, Ovaldina, one of our horse guides, signals to us, and we look up at the hill. A small herd of Picuna! They are rarer to see, and afraid of everything, so we were told to keep quiet. They traveled the peak and off into that distance. 

As I crawl up to reach the first peak, the view sneaks up on me. Amazing. The snow, ice, lagoons, so white, but like everything, slowly melting. 5150m altitude, oh man. I can feel it. Taking it in, taking a lot pictures, and exploring just a little bit, it’s time to go downhill! The fun part. 

We tighten our boots and we go! Sliding, running, zigzagging, downhill is so fast and so much sand got into our boots. We make our way back to the horses and continue on to our campsite. 

The small village of Anata. Looks like a lot of Alpaca farming. Flashpacker Connect actually employs a lot of locals, so Ovaldina actually lived close by. When they aren’t farming or shepparding, they would also be horse guides, etc. Our tents were setup and we settled in a bit and napped after lunch. We introduced ourselves and we met our crew. Our chef, from Ollantaytambo, I forgot his name. Edison, 19, one of our horse guides. Victorio, 20, our porter. Ovaldina, 36, also a horse guide. 

By this time, I had a pretty bad headache. From the altitude most likely, and we were hoping a nap would help. And by the time it was time for dinner… Nope. 

Dinnertime. We were joined by a local kid, 12. I took a pill to help, as well as a couple of minutes of pure oxygen from a tank and mask. I think it helped..? Then we all played UNO, after Noah taught them all how to play. Lots of fun. The group of them stayed up a bit later to play a couple more games. 5am wakeup. 

South America 2016: Day 08 (Peru 08): Nov 29


Really good breakfast at the Panorama B&B. Taking the morning 6am bus to Machu Picchu. 

Time for our 7am trek up Machu Picchu mountain, the first group. Whee. Gayaanan decided to stay back and explore the ruins and find a place to nap. Everyone to meet up at 11:30.

Signed in as #14, but as the easier of the two mountains… This one was steps all the way. All the damn way up. We (Karen, Chi and I) took our time and took many breaks. Our legs still in pain from the Inca Trail. It was cloudy all the way up until Karen, Chi, and I finally made it up. Clear 🙂 it got really sunny too… I got burnt on my shoulders and chest. Ow. 

Up at the top, we took a bunch of group photos and then I try to covertly help Chi with some secret plans. As Ronan, Sofie, and Rosanna start to head down, I stop Rosanna and ask her to stay. Reluctantly and begrudgingly, she does. I still haven’t told her why. Chi makes some hand signals, which I apparently misinterpret and then I catch up to Ronan and Sofie to stay for a bit as well. They caught on instantly, and that’s when Rosanna did as well. Karen is clueless. We take some more group pictures, hang around, until Chi shoos us away, except Rosanna. Down we go. 

Downhill is much easier, but the narrow trails don’t get any wider. And by this time, there are people coming up as well. Definitely kills the momentum coming up if you have to step aside for someone coming down. As we get down, we decide to visit the Inca Bridge, and by that time, Rosanna caught up. The plan was a success! 

We took some steps down and across to Inca Bridge, I start hopping up the stairs for no reason and then I hear Karen and Chi. I peek up, Chi sees me. I wait at the corner and surprise Karen. CONGRATS! *hug*. They took a shortcut and got there so quickly. 

Apparently Inca Bridge wasn’t worth it, so we took some pictures and tried to feed a Llama some apple. The Ranger said no. The proposal story told over and over, but that’s not mine to tell. 

We casually walk around and then it’s time to leave to meet up with Gayaanan. Banõ and bus down. Sofie and Ronan went on ahead. 

Quick lunch at a restaurant by the Central plaza, grab our stuff from the hotel, and head to the train station. 

PeruRail, VistaDome. Fancy train, spacious, drinks, snack, comfy chairs for an hour back to Ollantaytambo for another 2 hour shuttle ride to Cusco. The only bad thing about PeruRail? It’s privately owned. It’s not Peruvian. The porters for the Inca Trail are only allowed to board the earliest 4am train while the rest are for tourists. If they miss this train, they would need to wait for another day or walk along the train tracks to their destination. 

We arrive at Ollantaytambo and get through a barrage of taxi drivers to our Alpaca Expeditions shuttle. Karen, Chi, and Rosanna were dropped at the airport where they will hit up Lima and Panama. Ronan and Sofie dropped off at their 5-star hotel for a couple more days in Peru. Patrick, Gayaanan, and I dropped off at our hotel as we continue our trip in Peru and to Bolivia. We were dropped off and led to the wrong hotel -_-… But luckily the correct one was 3 minutes away, down some stairs. Oh well.

We check-in, settle down, and get online to connect with Ronan to meet up for dinner. But only after our Rainbow Mountain trek briefing.

Our tour guide arrives after 7 and explains to us the plan. Young-looking guy, Noah. We ask our questions, get another duffle to pack, and go. 

We rush out to the ATM to grab some soles for the couple of days we have left in Peru, bumping into Sofie and Ronan on the way. When we find them again, the restaurant they chose was closed, so we walk for 5 more minutes to another Peruvian Kitchen that they’ve been to before, Morena. 

The food is good, the fruit smoothies are really good. Great time hearing about their life stories and sharing details about our lives. Wonderful people.

Say our goodbyes, safe travels, and we part ways. Rainbow Mountain 2d1n.

South America 2016: Day 07 (Peru 07): Nov 28


3am! I didn’t actually make it down until 3:25ish, but there wasn’t anyone after our group yet anyways. We were the fourth or fifth group, we heard that the first group camped out there at 1am. It was only a minute or two down to the checkpoint, so a couple of people came back up to get their thrown away ponchos to sit on during the wait. And it got cold…. Not all of us were prepared for how cold it would get but somehow managed. 

I think I’ve avoided the topic, but it seems like the water wasn’t up to par for a lot of us and many got a stomach bug that led us all to the washroom. Not feeling so good. More than 50% of us were affected at different times of the trek. So we took all the banõs breaks that we could. 

Finally after waiting for 2 hours, and seeing the line grow and grow, the ranger came and the gate was opened! Group by group, we were released onto the trail. Nothing too crazy on the trail… It started out really cold and then the sun came out so so bright. Every one of us had to stop for a wardrobe change, haha, to remove a layer or two.

After several ups and downs and taking in the scenery, the worst climb, the “Gringo Killer” steep and narrow uphill steps. Oh man. A couple minutes after that, the sun gate! This whole part took about 1.5-2hrs. We spend some time taking pictures here and there with Machu Picchu in the not so distant background, we keep going. Our destination was about 30-45 minutes away. Go go go! We could already see some tourists walking around.

Finally reaching Machu Picchu, it’s definitely a sight to see. A lot of the original buildings and some restored. I could only imagine what it could look like if it was finished. We took some quick “postcard” pictures as a group and etc then we were led to the exit. At the exit, we got our passports stamped with the Machu Picchu stamp and we could finally visit a real porcelain banõs. Hahah. 

Then… Back into Machu Picchu for a guided tour from our Alpaca Expedition guides. There was so much information, I couldn’t begin to remember all of it. But, Mr Hiram Bingham was given credit for the discovery even though he was led there by locals and there were a few families living there. He definitely led a team to discover more about this lost city. 

We walked into several areas of machu picchu, the steep steps were painful after those 4 days. The Sun Temple, the guard house, the several terraces, some more temples… Full of history. José also showed us how they would split large rocks in order for them to place them as part of the walls. Chisel, wood, water. Chisel to make the gap, wood to fill it in, and water to expand the wood to split the rock. There was a quarry nearby that had a rock showing that exact example. 

Finishing up our first quick pass, a number of our group actually had another climb today! Huayna Picchu, a steep 45min up and 30 down. It even has ladders. I was going to do this one as well, but reviews called it very dangerous as some people had died while doing it… Anyways, the rest of us had free time to wander and then meet the group down in the Agua Caliente city around 1:30.

With the one entry ticket, you are allowed to enter 3 times. Mostly because any type of food and banõ are not allowed inside the site. It’s actually very easy to get trapped into a one way route to the exit. Which is how my second entry went. Boo. Went back in to visit the guard house and take in that view and then headed to the city. 

We all met at a certain restaurant that stored our duffle bags, had a bite, said our goodbyes, and some even made plans to travel again in the future. 

Checked into our hotel, a nice shower, a nice bed, oh so good. The 8 of us barely did anything aside from shower, rest, lay around. But we did go to dinner at 8, where we all shared the worst, best, funniest parts of the trek. A number of us agreed it was the downhill after the 4hr uphill, and then after the second uphill, seeing how far we had actually traveled by looking back at Dead Woman’s Pass from one of the ruins. What a sight. The worst? The diarrhea. Funniest for me, was when i got stuck cuddling a Llama. Haha. 

Great trek, great people, we did it! Waking up around 5:30 to go up there again once more, Machu Picchu Mountain. Whee. 

South America 2016: Day 06 (Peru 06): Nov 27


Woke up at 5:30, clouds cleared, beautiful. Today is the “easy” day. After some breakfast (jello!) and snacks, we head out and up around 7.

We were introduced and we introduced ourselves to the porters. They ranged from 20 years old to 47, several of them from Lares. While the majority of us are around 30 years old. Big group photo.

Pass through some tunnels and along mountain cliffs and some steep downhill steps. Got foggy that covered the views sometimes. Finally getting to the summit after 2 hours, with a nice view of the ruins below. It took about 15 minutes to reach them after a small break and then we were told about the Sacred river, the Milky way, the sacred animals, and more about how knowledge was passed from city to city, from watchtower to farmers, through the runners. The ruins was possibly a watch tower and had a tower in the middle for science. From here we could see our next destination of terraces. 

Another two hours or so to actually reach the next ruins of terraces with an amazing view of the river and mountain valley. Perfect for jumping shots. Super dangerous. 

After that, we walked down to the ruins, apparently the long way around while our guides were already sitting down at our destination. It is time for Llama selfies! This group of llamas were very docile and friendly. I squatted down beside one and rubbed it’s neck and it slowly pushed me down and laid its neck along my body. Haha. I’m stuck! Ahhh. Lots of fun.

About half an hour more to our campsite, cool layout but not a very nice view. Oh well. Lunch, we had the choice to have a cold shower……. Nope. The last ruins before machu picchu, literally 5-10 minutes from our tents. More terraces, that could’ve been a hospital. The dream was to convert all of the mountain sides to terraces but it was never fully realized because of the difficulty and the conquerors. Looked pretty cool in some renderings. And there are possibly more of these terraces still undiscovered under the dense vegetation. José also spoke about the last Incas and the civil war between brothers that weakened the ketchua nation that allowed for conquistadors to come in and take over and murder. An interesting history. Their culture damaged forever. 

As he was talking, it started to rain hard. We stayed a while longer then headed back for a siesta in our tents before dinner at 6.

Dinner, as always, was amazing. Chicken, pizza, stuffed peppers, rice, even a cake! We then had a small ceremony where we showed our gratitude to our porters and chefs with tips. We had originally planned on giving 105 to the porters but their work and service was so impressive we went with the recommended 180 soles per person. It’s scary to think about how much they carry, how fast they run through the trek, and the dangerous lives they live.

3am wake up for a 3:15 departure to wait at the checkpoint that opens at 5:30 to get to the sungate as one of the first groups. Sleep! 

South America 2016: Day 05 (Peru 05): Nov 26


Sleep was okay… Started cold then got fairly warm inside the sleeping bag with sweatpants and hoodie. Haha. Woke up a couple of times but I overall, not bad. 

Woken up with coca tea at 4:40, we had 30 minutes to get up, pack our stuff, and start breakfast. Trek to start at 6… Which I think got delayed to around 6:30. Estimated 4 hours to the top! All uphill, steep. Ughhhh. Pretty tough, I hate steps.

I was one of the slowest in our group but made it to the middle point in 1:30hrs where we could buy drinks, use the banõs, take in the view, etc. After half an hour break, at continue up up up to dead woman’s pass. Named by the rock formations, the highest summit of our trek. Another estimated 1:30-2:30hrs.

Hooooooly. I was resting every couple of minutes, out of breathe and thirsty. Steps. Evil. About halfway up, we could see the profile of dead woman’s pass, face pronounced by the nose, the boob and nipple, clasped hands and legs lifted slightly up. Got there right at 10. Yay! We did it! Welcomed with claps. Panting. The summit had a lot of space and a small trek marker that we took a group picture at. Pictures, pictures, my walking sticks got taken by someone else, so I was given another pair… Oh well. 

Next, 2hrs downhill. Which sounds kind of nice, but yikes my knees… I feel so old. The clouds came in and we were walking into a cloud of rain and wind, down steps. Fairly steep steps, seemed steeper than the ones we were walking up. Nothing much to see on the way down, so we headed straight for our lunch spot in between the two passes. 

Lunch, so good, hoping to have a siesta, but it rained. Again. Got our water refills, and after a couple minutes of down, up up up for 2 more hours. Ugh. We could see the trail from our camp, so many many steps. 

Several times, we asked why we were doing this to ourselves. Should’ve just taken the train, haha. About halfway up, we end up some ruins, not too big, but an amazing, amazing view. Pictures do not justify. The fog moved in and out quickly as well. While I was taking pictures, José and Ronaldo explained that it was a watch tower and possibly a religious building. They also showed us how the created ropes and bridges from long grass, very cool. 

Aaaaand keep on going up. Some amazing views. We saw that the ruins we just left had a circular structure and we were able to see dead woman’s pass, it was so damn far. Unbelievable how far we trekked. Breathtaking views with treks that leave you breathless.

Apparently someone saw a monkey on the opposite mountain side, but we couldn’t spot it afterwards. Continuing up! Not too far to this summit, but it got cold fast. 

Down. Hour or so until the next archeological site. Down is so much easier, I’m so grateful that there’s a down. Arriving at the ruins…. 106 steps up, alongside a mountain face. Damnit. 

Temple with a kitchen. Sacrifices. Human volunteers. Hallucinogenics. Highest volcano in Argentina found 3 mummies of children. It was an honor for them… Back down. 

About 30 minutes to the campsite! Mostly Inca flat with some steps down but we eventually reach the site with maybe one rest. Yay! Very cool campsite. So foggy that we can only see the tents and stuff… Little did we know that just beyond was a beautiful landscape of mountains once the fog cleared. Amazing. The stars came out too! Cold. So cold. Jose told us that an older couple actually couldn’t finish and four workers had to go and get them. They take turns piggy backing them back to camp. Luckily they were only half an hour away at the ruins… They talked about the first day being the Inca test. If you are too slow or too tired during the moderate day, how would you ever finish the second? They’ve sent people back before for the safety of everyone, or have sent them hours ahead so that people finish all around the same time… We all actually had a decent pace 😛

Stars. Sleep. Wake up at 5:30, finish the day at 1:30! 

South America 2016: Day 04 (Peru 04): Nov 25


Wake up call at 6! To meet Alpaca Expeditions at 7. Final packing, etc. Our guides come find us and we’re out the door of Kampala Guesthouse. Carrying our bags and leading us to the bus.

After a ride, we end up at the first checkpoint. All of the Inca treks start here. The porters need to make it through first, and once we have the okay, we’re good to go. Last second insect repellent, 30 soles. And a hat.

After a quick breakfast of bread and fruit, we are ready to… Go! Nervous. We take a team photo of the 14 of us and then go and line up to show our entry tickets and passports. Then immediately, start the hike! Obviously, a lot of breaks. Fairly level, but a bunch of ups and downs. Beautiful. Breathtaking views. 

The first ruins were seen from across the river, by the commercial train tracks. Just some house ruins, from… Who knows when. Built in the rustic style, apparently by the way the walls are built. This was discovered by a westerner on an expedition to find the lost city. Hiram..? 

Moving on, steps and steep hills. The last view of the sacred valley where we stop and take pictures.

We end up within some ruins and take a break while our tour guide, José, tells us a little about his life and the history of the Inca and Kechuas..? I don’t remember much, but the Inca are actually the leaders, 12 of them, and the culture is Kechua. And they’ve only existed for ~200 years while other civilisations for thousands before that all eventually became Kechua. Rain. Wind. Cold. 

Keep going. Still a couple of hours until lunch. We pass an Inca bar, marked by a stick with a red bag at the end. They’ve got Chicha beer! 

We finally make it to our lunch spot, welcomed with clapping and congratulations from our porters who have probably been there for an hour or so already. Haha. Wash up a little and rest, and lunch is served. Start with a stuffed tomato, followed by soup…….. We were told that would be it, while the chef walks in with ceviche, rice, roasted corn, guacamole, and stuffed trout. Wow. Impressive and really good. We are stuuuuuffed. Muna tea, which can apparently sterilize a woman if they drink it everyday for 15 years. Otherwise, good for digestion. Rest for a bit longer and refill our water. 

We slowly head out again and oh man, so heavy with all this food. Two more hours until we get to our campsite. And half an hour of that is supposed to be “easy” to the second checkpoint. Yea, no. The next part, steep. Steep. Steps and steep. Although, there a lot of level areas as well. But steps hurt. We were to go our own pace this time and not follow anyone, the tour guides would stay behind and start later in case anyone needs help. Some parts, your heart just gets pumping. Beating out of your chest. Drink lots of water. 

Finally make it to camp. Claps again! 🙂 Our tents are setup, our bags laid out, we rest, clean up, and meet up for happy hour, before dinner, for tea and snacks. Popcorn and biscuits. An hour later, 7pm, it’s pitch black outside and dinner  is served. Rice, stuffed potato, chicken curry, some pea thing. And a surprise. Banana flombe. So cool. Sleeeeeep. Wake up call at 4:40 for our most challenging and longest day. Wish me luck. I hope there’s a followup post. Although, you won’t see this one if I don’t make it through anyways. Goodnight!