Two days ago we returned home, beat up and weary from the last three months on the road. The next morning after arriving home in the middle of the night I was sitting on the couch, when my step dad, Mike, asked me; “This seemed to be your hardest trip yet, huh?”.
I sat there and thought about it for a moment and the memories of constant illness (between Felicia and I, one of us was in such bad shape we couldn’t leave our room for about a third of the trip), The horrible weather and constant rains we had in Ecuador, The bus ride with me vomiting out the window for 16 hours, the constant looking over our shoulder for someone who might be following us or waiting to “bump” into us and relieve us of our things, the stress of knowing that every meal you eat might ruin your day, and the constant pressures of trying to build a healthy and loving relationship in the midst of all this. The stress throughout this last trip was heavy and Mike might have been right when he called it my “hardest trip yet”…
Then I sat there for a moment longer, and let all the good experiences wash over me; seeing the sunrise over Colca Canyon with the girl I love beside me and condors flying over me, the local Chinese immigrant we found in a Chinese food restaurant in Rurrenbaque who sat and spoke with Felicia in Chinese for an hour about how he sees the local culture, riding horses through the sunscorched deserts of Tupiza with a 15-year old guide, climbing around the inside of the old Bolivar theater with a excited local telling about his efforts to have it restored after a fire swept through it, and hundreds of other perfect moment Felicia and I would never have experienced if we hadn’t put ourselves out there in the midst of all this strife to try and find tidbits of life and excitement.
I am happy to be at home right now, its relaxing and comforting to sleep in my own bed and have clean food in the fridge… but I don’t think it will be long before I start planning and scheming on how to get away again and put myself through untold misery, to find the passion that I live my life for.
Tomorrow I turn 29. I glance back and see that a year ago I celebrated in Tibet with a bottle of vodka and had know Felicia a week. A year later as I write this and she is peacefully sleeping in my bed 5 feet away, 8829 miles from her home and, although I can tell at times she is horribly homesick for Singaporean street food, I want to thank her here for putting up with me for the last year and coming to be with me. We are unsure what the future holds for us (we are both near broke at the moment), but we are holding each other as we plunge into life.
We are just two days away from being off back to California for the summer, and our travel exhaustion has fully set in. After months on the road, you get worn out and just want to see your bed again and return to something familiar, although I find this usually only lasts a week or two and I would be ready to take off (somewhere) again.
Today was spent with an above average amount of eating to regain my gut and watching a “midnight showing” (9:15pm for some reason) of the new Indiana Jones, which was very restoritive to my soul and the $4 price tag saved me $6 over watching it in a couple of days when I get home.
We also managed to hit up the Catacombs below some church (lots of “No photo” signs were up, but I didn’t really feel like that applied to me) and saw the changing of the guards outside of Peru’s palace, although I found it kind of boring because we couldn’t get past the other guards protecting the guards who were changing.
I am currently in the midst of an end-of-trip funk that is normally associated with me being back in the big city I will be flying out from. We have 3 more days before heading back to California for the summer.
A simple 4 hour bus ride into Lima? Sounds simple huh? For a second we forgot we were in South America and actually thought it would be that easy.
We were told that buses leave every 10 minutes to Lima, so after a long breakfast we all packed our bags and caught a taxi into town to find the bus into Lima. We strolled up to find that the reason that buses left every 10 minutes was because that wasn’t even enough to cover the demand for people who wanted to go north. Ed and I proceeded to split up into different lines, with Felicia scouting out ahead of us in our separate lines to figure out what was going on and reporting back. Shady people kept coming up to me and offering me private rides for cheaper than the buses then got mad when I ignored them.
After a little more than an hour we managed to get tickets, and with another 15 minutes of waiting/bathroom time we were actually on a bus. Ed and I passed the time watching Lara Croft (aka Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider) in Spanish, and Felicia just took a motion sickness pill and fell asleep to her Ipod.
The 4 hours turned to 5 and by the time we reached Lima it was dusk. A taxi ride got us to our hostel where only a sock smelling dorm was available, and soon we were off for some much needed food after we missed lunch earlier.
Today was Felicia’s birthday, so we jammed packed it with stuff to do.
We started at 6am and headed out to the”poor mans Galapagos” (aka Isla Balletas) and checked out the sea lions and birds for a few hours. We followed that up with a lazy lunch, a quick nap and then and evening of sandboarding (very un-extreme, by the way) /dune buggy riding for a few hours until the sun went down.
Wine and Pisco tasting today. You may have never heard of Peru’s illustrious wine making history, but that could be because it’s not quite as memorable as France, California, New Zealand, Argentina or Chile, instead it looked like a home brewing process and the Pisco (which originated here) burns like fire on its way down.
We checked out a couple of vineyards, which were rather dusty and rough, and eventually got car sick from our crazy cabbie and his overuse of the gas/brake combo, the good news though was that before we headed back to the desert oasis he took us over to a fancy chocolate shop which helped us recover from the driving/wine/pisco mix that had ruined our bellies.
We arrived today in the middle of the desert at an oasis named Huacachina. After visiting 4 places we found somewhere to stay and spent the remainder of the day enjoying the laziness that is required by a town of 200 people (with possibly another 400 tourists).
Today was a pretty standard day when we are planning a huge bus trip in the afternoon, essentially eating a few meals and some pointless wandering (aka Oreo Buying), before loading on our ultra high class VIP seats on a Cruz del Sur bus, think first class airline seats, for an ultra windy road which made us all sick. Ed looked like he was going to die for a short while.