Sunday, December 11, 2011


El Calafate is a sweet town, positioned 65 miles east of the Perito Moreno glacier, right smack in the middle of gaucho territory. Calafate is the “Cheers” of Patagonia; where everyone knows your name, and your business, and your great aunt’s brother’s wife’s business too.

99% of the people I worked with were wonderful and I will remember them forever. I will also, unfortunately, remember the 1% as well. Let’s sum up my relationship with this individual with his last works spoken to me the night before I left: “SSSHHHH mother FUCKER.” Ahh, it really couldn’t have ended in a better way.

Living in El Calafate is slow paced and I soon found work politics filtering into my everyday life. You find your place pretty quickly in an isolated community. Soon I was forming relationships with the other volunteers, employees and owners; their story was becoming mine. But, in finding a place here I ended up realizing how distant the call was from the real world back in Oregon. The 9-5 world is not calling my name, or if it is I’m hightailing it in the opposite direction. My travel itch became more and more intense the longer i sat behind a desk answering questions and caring for traveling adults who act like helpless children.

We collectively cooked meals to share with the staff which, in turn, brought all of our different cultures to one dining room table. On Thanksgiving we went all out. I made sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie, apple pie and a load of homemade stuffing. We had 3 turkeys, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese and potato salad too. We invited the hostel guests and had an international Thanksgiving of 30 people from around the world. The night was filled with people who were thankful for a community so far from their own. As the wine bottles were drained musicians slowly surfaced and the evening was filled with music.

And just as suddenly as it all started, it was over. I was walking out the door into the great unknown, once again. I was panged with an unexpected sadness. I held it together saying goodbye to almost everyone, but when I got to the front door to find Silvina walking up the steps after not hearing from her for almost 2 weeks I almost lost it. I knew for sure I would be leaving El Calafate without saying goodbye to my first friend here. She and Natalia took me to the bus station and I grew sadder as Natalia instructed me to write to her and asked if I would ever come back. I hadn’t seen this coming, I knew I would be sad but I felt more like I was losing a bit of family that I may never see again. I took a moment to compose myeslf on the bus, and once i did, I thought about the open road ahead of me and the endless possibilities. I hope (and expect) to see the people i met in El Calafate again, but this girl has got to roam, and so off i go once more.

Also: penguins. Almost a million fuckin penguins. I love them. I could have done without the bizarre guide who, besides pouring 100 degree fucking water all over my lap, decided to open the morning with a conversation about a woman’s role as a mother and men instinctively not knowing how to parent or being expected to do so. Oh good. It was an interesting 2 hour car ride.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Buenos Aires, you crazy

After 3 days on a cargo ship and 4 days camping in a hammock in the jungle there was only one logical next step. I flew to Lima and hopped on the next bus…to Buenos Aires. It took 73 hours to get there but by calendar days it took 4. I left lima at 7pm on Saturday and arrived in Buenos Aires Argentina on Tuesday at 8pm. Up until this point my bus experiences had been rather luxurious. The chairs sometimes reclined to a full bed, they provided blankets and pillows and I got three meals a day. Oh, and they play bingo for free fuckin’ bus tickets. Four days of this would be a piece of cake. Then the bus pulled up. From the outside I could still lie to myself, repeating scenes of comfortable bus rides through my mind, telling myself the windows are too tinted to see what the inside REALLY looks like. I boarded. My chair reclined at a whopping 110 degree angle, thus leading to 3 nights of painful slumber with some small, dandruff ridden Peruvian teenager spooning me on my left hand side.

The oldest woman I’ve ever seen in my entire life was on that bus. Thank God I was sitting in the back and she in the front because she had completely lost control of her bladder and spent the next 4 days peeing on herself. Even after the explicit warning given to us by the bus driver to NOT under ANY circumstances take a dump in the bus bathroom, she managed to make a massive mess of it on the FIRST night. I woke up at 6am to a blaring speaker above my head repeating disappointedly in Spanish, “well, unfortunately last night somebody violated the bathroom… we would like to remind you that if you need us to make a special stop, just let us know.” The bathroom was a feat within itself. It was in the back of the bus so if you could manage to keep your balance even just standing in the bathroom, you were one of the lucky few. The toilet seat was heavily spring loaded so to maneuver this contraption I would stand on the seat, cover it in toilet paper, turn around with one of my feet still perched on the seat and simultaneously sit down and pull my foot out from under me. Getting off the toilet also required some ingenuity that consisted of standing up faster than the toilet seat flung back onto its place on the wall as to not get hit on the ass by a nasty plastic donut.

We arrived at the first border crossing late on the second night. Hours before, while one of the bus drivers was walking past me down the aisle he laughed and pointed at me and a Colombian couple saying, “now YOU guys are definitely going to have problems crossing the border.” He told us that we may have to bribe the border officers to let us into Chile. We were both prime drug trafficking targets, I guess. Triple checking my information card I got out of the bus and was herded into an outdoor, caged in area with metal tables. There were about 15 of us in the barred area and 150 standing at the regular border control entrance. All the bags from under the bus were piled on the sidewalk except one, my lone backpack was personally escorted into the cage and put on a table. We lined up outside a door and when it was my turn I was escorted into a room alone with an officer. The series of rapid-fire questioning went from intimidating to bizarre.
“where are you from?”
“united states”
“how long were you in Peru?”
“a month and a half.”
“How old are you?”
“4..i mean 24.” (Thanks Spanish minor.)
“why were you in peru?”
“what did you do there?”
“I went to Lima, Cusco, Mancora and Iquitos mainly.”
“do you have a boyfriend?”
“what? Uh, no?”
“why doesn’t a pretty girl like you have a boyfriend?”
“uh....I’m too young and free spirited to have a boyfriend?”
he seemed satisfied with my ridiculous answer and, bewildered, I left the room only to be shuffled off to another line, and then pushed into another small room with 2 other girls. We were in a bathroom now, this time with a woman officer. I thought of all the logical reasons I would be standing in a bathroom at border control with a female officer wearing rubber gloves; none of them were appealing. She put my purse on the toilet and sifted through it, she asked me a question that I didn’t understand to which I replied “yes. Wait, WHAT?” realizing this was not a good time to fake my way through a conversation. She asked the rest of the questions in English and let me leave. Is this all for show? What was the point of barricading me in that bathroom? Is this all just to provoke fear? I followed orders to wait in the next line, when I got up to the counter the woman behind the desk held her hand out for my passport and papers. She got out a pen and paper and did some simple math, turned the paper towards me and said, “you’re visa here ran out 7 days ago. You were supposed to leave last week.” I feigned for a second that I didn’t know until I realized she wasn’t going to give me any easy answers. So I cut the bullshit and just said, “soo…I can pay you? “ she agreed and off again I went, corralled back into the caged area outside. This time another male officer unloaded the same series of questions on me as the first, including the part about the boyfriend. But, he also added that I should just stay in Peru to find a nice man to marry. I told him my visa was expired. He took apart my entire backpack, put it all back together, I got back on the bus and off we went.

The Argentinian border crossing was a longer, slower line but there were no private rooms and the man behind the counter didn’t say a word to me. The downfall of this border crossing was that the previously noted, oldest-woman-in-the-world got in line behind me and had NO personal space boundaries. She fully pressed every part of her body against mine. She smelled like piss. I inched toward the person in front of me in hopes to sneak away from her, this was to no avail. My movement forward was her queue to push into me harder, I started moving a little to the left and forward until she had completely pushed me out of line! Then, without missing a beat, she pushed up against the next person.

We lost 4 people at the Argentinian border. For one reason or another they were not allowed in and we left them curbside as we bumbled off into the Argentine distance.
On our way into Argentina one of the bus drivers took time out of his day to walk down the aisles handing out pills…he didn’t tell anyone what they were for until he was asked. They were pills for altitude sickness, he said. I am so sure you cannot just take one altitude sickness pill it is ridiculous.

We drove for hours, maybe an entire day through Argentina without seeing anything except vast expanses of desert. When we did reach a town we were immediately pulled over by the Argentinian police. They helped themselves to the baggage area under the bus and began opening things. We all crowded around the windows to call out descriptions of the bags they were searching: “who has the Winnie the pooh bag?! They’re opening a Winnie The Pooh bag!” they tossed the contents onto the dirty edge of the highway as the owner looked on helplessly. Everyone on the bus looked concerned, even my new 4 year old best friend Angie kept squishing her face up against the window saying “la policia hacen cosas malas. Estan muy malas.” (“the police do bad things. They are very bad”). The Peruvian stance on police is clear, they are not to be trusted. But it was when they required everyone to leave the bus when I saw faces really drop. We stood outside the bus for a while waiting to be allowed back on. One man was making a deal with the officers while they filtered through his luggage. They were separating his things under the blind assumption that he was going to Argentina to sell them. In the end he got to keep half of his things, the police loaded up the other half into their car. When we finally were allowed back on everybody ran to their things, unpacking objects and counting money. Several people called to me, “check to make sure nothing is missing! Check all of your stuff!” I guess a common tactic is to empty the bus and steal the passenger’s valuables. Checking to make sure all my things were still in my bag Angie strode by shaking a snack box where she had hidden her altitude sickness pill, sing-songing about all of her new bus friends and how bad the police were.

By the time I got off the bus in Buenos Aires my entire bag and its contents were soaked in somebody’s spilled bottle of juice, my feet were swollen twice their normal size and I was ready for anything Buenos Aires could throw at me.

Buenos Aires:

I stroke of massive good luck must have put us all at the same place at the same time. At the America Del Sur hostel in one of the oldest neighborhoods of Buenos Aires I met an incredible group of people. The group gained and lost awesome people over the two weeks I spent there and each person I met contributed to an amazing experience. We ate too much meat, we drank too much liquor and it was faaabulous. We staked out the local places to eat: Hugo made us incredible empanadas, Jose made us fantastic ravioli and some guy down the street made the biggest meatballs I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Think: grapefruit.
I became accustomed to buying my liter of “vodka” for $3 at the local supermarket. I say “vodka” because I was informed later by our friendly receptionist Nacho (while he poured himself an entire glass of it), “how can you DRINK this stuff? Its not even vodka! Its just watered down rubbing alcohol!” That was around the same time that he found a bottle of rubbing alcohol, and we shared a small glass of that as well.

My timing for being in Buenos Aires was perfect. We were in the Plaza Del Mayo on the night of the presidential election for Cristina Fern├índez de Kirchner’s inaugural speech. The night was pure latin American chaos and exuberance. The parades of people with M80 mortars, fireworks and drums blocked streets from all sides of the Plaza. We walked down the middle of a main avenue as people dressed in costumes paraded around celebrating the election. Her speech was positively received by the people with a great passion, booing and cheering at appropriate times. Every once in a while they would begin chanting “Hijo de puta! Hijo de puta!” although I missed who they were referring to… When the Argentinian people feel passionate enough about something to form large groups it gets intense. The celebration looks like a mix between the most ridiculous party you’ve ever seen and Armageddon.

We were also present in Buenos Aires for the conviction of Alfredo Astiz, also known as the “blond angel of death”. He was a lieutenant at the torture center where so many innocent lives were imprisoned and executed. After 30 years this is a small amount of justice for the families of “los desaparecidos” (‘the disappeared’), but a justice none the less. We went to the Plaza de Mayo for the first gathering of the Madres de los desaparecidos (mothers of ‘The Disappeared’) after he was convicted and sentenced, it was an emotional site to see all the families gathered with picket signs of photos of their lost children. They gather and march there every Thursday, but this Thursday had even more significance. Alfredo Astiz and 17 other men had been punished for their crimes, this Thursday was their moment to celebrate this small justice that had been served.

Buenos Aires is a beautiful city, but as all big cities are, it is not without its faults. Two guys I met, on separate occasions, were lulled into a bar with the promise of free admission later only to be trapped inside and robbed. Another friend was standing outside the hostel and blindsided by some random guy who, out of nowhere, decked him a couple of times in the face. Having no forewarning, and with his hands in his pockets, there was nothing he could have done. They guy ran off, stealing nothing, and left my friend with two different sized pupils for a week.

Now, I’ve moved south to a small town called El Calafate, a few hundred miles from the southernmost tip of South America. As soon as I stepped off the plane I felt like I was breathing for the first time in my life. The air is crisp and clean and the scenery is beautiful. We are very close to a few glaciers, one of which I got to visit. Amazing, beautiful, incredible, unlike anything I’ve ever seen..
I’m working here in El Calafate for a month as a receptionist / arts and crafts extraordinaire at a hostel owned by a woman named Natalia who is wonderful, accommodating in every way and absolutely hilarious! It’s gonna be a good month.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Jungle Fever

The jungle is insane, its beautiful, amazing, fucked up and dangerous; but its not the big scary monsters in it that will get you (although there are plenty), it’s the small stuff. It’s the tiny stuff, or the things you can’t even see that will really fuck your world up. It’s the millions of bugs, it’s the parasites, it’s the heat and humidity. It’s the bacteria in the river water that he’s cleaning the dishes with, it’s the tarantula hanging above my head on the boat ride, it’s the lethal milk leaking from the trunk of the “death tree”. It’s the blood Nancy is shitting or the massive amounts of fluid I’m losing. Its her fever, its my fever, it’s the “jungle doctor” that will get you in the end. It was midnight on the second day of jungle camping that I said, “this is bad, should we go? I think we need to get out of the jungle. Are we going to be ok?” Nancy had a fever and I was burning up too. We were both shitting our brains out and couldn’t eat a full meal. Our cook, Jose, besides being in love with me, was obviously insulted that we weren’t eating more.

Jungle, day 1: Nancy and I left Nauta at 10 am for the jungle with our cook Jose and our guide Miguel. Miguel was fascinated by tourists and jungle lodges and never missed an opportunity to point them out. As we’d pass a boat of tourists he would turn and shout back at us, “look, tourists!! Tourists!!” Ah, yes the elusive white person and his strange and fascinating habitat! It is the ONLY reason I came to the jungle. 1.5 hours down the river we hung a left onto a smaller, denser branch of the jungle. The noises of the animals were louder here and the insects were nothing less than violating my personal space boundaries.

Now, I’m not claustrophobic but I will admit the first time we got out of the boat and went into the jungle I got seriously light headed and a little anxious. Maybe it was the giardia or maybe it was the fact that the forest was closing in around me and the bugs were ravaging my white jungle-virgin skin. On that note, I have giardia. I’m pretty sure it came from the “treated” water they were pouring down our throats but I could have been from the fact that I watched him fill up an entire raw chicken with river water, swish it around, and pour it back out. But this, my friends, is another story… Back in the jungle my tunnel vision was creeping in and I was trying to get as close to the ground as possible without actually touching it because it was teaming with things I was sure would kill me, meanwhile Miguel is cutting down a tree for food. Day one of the jungle: I hate it here.

Jungle, day 2: our campsite is set up but Nancy and I are only getting sicker. Jose is upset that were not eating more of his food and Miguel is pacing with his machete ready to find some crazy shit in the jungle. We eat breakfast and leave early for a hike. By the time we got back I was drenched in sweat, completely dehydrated, trying not to shit my pants. After lunch we went piranha fishing, which I am pretty ridiculously good at, and which also made me temporarily forget how sick i felt. The fishing poles were nothing more than long sticks with fishing line tied to them. We’d load up our hook with piranha meat, stir up the water a little bit and plunk the end of the line in the water. Immediately they start ravaging the end and, at this point, since there is no reel or any mechanical aspect to the fishing pole, you start yanking the line out of the water. Note: This is now my weapon of choice if I were ever in an epic battle. I was flinging fucking piranha EVERYWHERE. Nancy was dodging them for her life, Miguel was cracking up and I was hooking piranha’s left and right and literally launching them 20 feet behind me into the jungle.

Later that night after we ate, Miguel and Jose told us the story of the jungle demon. This devil takes on the form of someone familiar to you and calls your name at night in the jungle. You follow him but every time you get close he runs further away, still calling your name. He basically leads you way the fuck out into the middle of the jungle where you die because…you’re in the jungle. The only way to tell that this demon is not really who he appears to be is because he has one tiny deformed foot or claw or something that he can’t change. So I guess if your friend is ever calling you into the depths of the jungle…tackle him and take his shoes off?

The other thing they really enjoy talking about is the way all the tourists have died in the jungle. You would think this would be the last thing they would want to tell you late at night when you have a fever and nothing but a hammock and a mosquito net to keep you safe but ooooh no. One guy hit his head on a rock in the water, one guy got heat stroke, then there are the electric eels in the water. On and on and on and on.

*“tomorrow we have chicken for lunch” Jose says before going to bed. It wasn’t until the next day when I went to investigate the commotion on the boat that I realized why we didn’t need a refrigerator to keep the raw meat cold; the raw meat was flapping around the boat trying to hide under the bench seats.*

Safely in my hammock, Nancy had just run at lightning speed in only her underwear and giant black rubber boots to use the jungle bathroom. I hear a voice say, “Lindsay, I love you. Stay here in Nauta with me.” Oh. My. God. It was Jose. This has to be a joke, I start to laugh nervously and say “nnno. I’m leaving, I have lots of places to go.” I thought that would nip this little problem in the bud; I was wrong. He started BEGGING me to stay. Where is this coming from?! I told him he wasn’t in love with me. He told me I was the most beautiful girl in the jungle. I couldn’t stop laughing. Where the FUCK was Nancy?! This is bizarre. I’m telling you Jose, begging a girl to stay in the jungle AFTER she says no is never going to work. Sorry buddy. After this night we had a couple other weird encounters even though I tried to steer clear of him. After a hike that left me absolutely soaked and feeling like I was going to barf he told me I look like I sweat honey. What? I wish you all could have seen me that day. Even Nancy started laughing at that. I was 3 days into a jungle camping trip and 6 days from the last real shower I’d taken. There is NO way it was a good look on me. I said nothing, I’m pretty sure I was having heat stroke, I was in no mood to cater to stupid fucking comments like “your sweat is like honey”. All I could do was roll my eyes and suck down as much nasty “treated” giardia water as I could handle.

Day 3: I found 3 tarantulas on our night hike. Now I’m really afraid to use the jungle bathroom. Also, a giant rain storm starts and the thunder constantly rumbles for hours. A BIRD SIZED MOTH ATTACKS MY HAMMOCK. I’m not kidding, it was the biggest moth I’ve ever seen. Out of nowhere this giant, red eyed moth starts attacking my mosquito net trying desperately to maul my headlamp. I’m screaming, Nancy’s scream-laughing yelling “TURN OFF YOUR HEADLAMP”, eventually after flailing around helplessly in my hammock for a while yelling terrible things I flip off my headlamp and the devil-moth leaves immediately.

Day 4: Today is the last day. There are monkeys in the trees above us as we leave on our last hike. Its warm and muggy but this hike is beautiful and I fill my camera’s card full of photos, I might even go as far as to say I was feeling GOOD on this hike. That was until we got to the death tree. Miguel told us to step back away from this massive, thorned beast as he held his machete up to ready to slice the tree open. “Why?” I asked Nancy, why do we need to stay back? Miguel said, “one drop of the sap of this tree will kill you instantly.” WHACK. He hit the tree hard, water hit my face. “Que?!” Milk poured from the wound in the tree and he explained that if it touched your body you will form blisters that contain the toxic poison that, if ingested, will kill you immediately. It was at this point that the hike began going downhill for me. My heart sank and it was all I could do to convince myself the water that hit my face came from the tree above and not the stupid death tree. For the next hour I repeatedly asked Nancy if there were blisters on my face. Finally we reached the swamp we had to cross to see the Victoria Regia water lily that is so large a small child can sit on one without it sinking. It was only one misstep that ultimately was the fall of my afternoon in the jungle. One wrong step inches away from solid ground, one tiny mistake in a small swamp with a large margin of error that led me to put too much weight on a foot that had no solid ground underneath it. My foot disappeared into the thick, rancid smelling mud. Next my boot disappeared, then the sludge slipped into my boot, my knee began disappearing when Miguel turned to Nancy and said simply, “yea. She’s not gonna make it.” Not going to MAKE it?! Really?! After 4 fucking days out here, this smelly patch of shitty mud isn’t going to suck me into the jungle abyss. I yanked my leg out, almost lost my boot in the process. I stood up on a tree branch, VAMOS. ‘Not gonna make it..’ Let me tell you, I SAW those damn water lilies, took a terrible picture of them too! Also, fyi I have no blisters on my face and I’m not dead, so that’s a bonus too. Another bonus is that I’m out of the jungle, thank you God.

On the boat ride back to civilization we stopped at a beach where we were told we could bath, but not in water deeper than our ankles because of the piranhas. Ok.. getting ready to take my “bath” I turn to ask Nancy something when I see it: Jose has stripped down to nothing but his tighty whiteys (which are actually neon green and blue) and is hauling ass down the beach flailing his arms around frantically screaming something none of us can understand. I think for a second to ask him if everything is ok, that feeling instantly passes and all I can do is die laughing with Nancy on the bank of the amazon river as flocks of birds frantically take flight to avoid Jose’s bizarre afternoon “jog”.

If I told you I would do it all over again, would you believe me?

I wouldn’t change a thing.

Miguel telling amazing jungle stories

MONKEY MONTAGE (and one butterfly):

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I´m in an internet cafe that smells like piss in th middle of an impressive thunder storm in a small jungle village called Nauta. the internet connection is so slow i could scream but i thought i should give a quick update considering i´ve been too busy/ without internet for weeks. so for the those of you who are still with me:

Today I arrived in Nauta. I hung my hammock in a corner of a cargo ship for 3 days to get here. I am now staying with a family in their typical jungle home. Palm roof, dirt floor, no running water or bathoom. Today I took a bath in the river while simulataneously doing my laundry. this is a humbling experience. Tomorrow we head out for 4 days of rustic camping deep in the amazon jungle. we will go in search of adventure. nothing more and nothing less.

the first night on the cargo ship i experienced the biggest storm of my life. the lightning was cracking directly over the boat and the monsoon was so thick the visibility was down to nothing. my hammock swung as we coasted through the tropical storm, i prayed furiously that we were still on route and wouldn´t crash. the engine screamed through the night and the the thunder shook the entire cargo ship. the cows on the first floor must have been shitting themselves. Finally, i got out of my hammock and left the safety of the covered area where i ¨slept¨. we were stopped up against the bank of dense jungle, the headlights blasting the foliage. the rain pounded the river, pounded the boat, pounded the jungle, i stuck my face out so it hit me too. i watch the lightning and thunder and waited while the rain softened. i went back to bed. i slept until morning to and old man shaking me yelling ¨COME! DESAYUNO. EAT. EAT. NANCY. LISA. LINDSAY. COME¨. fuck. i put one foot down, a giant beetle clumsily stomped around on my foot. i´m in the jungle now.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I have sand in my Colca Canyon...

Since we last spoke I have left Lima and am now in Cusco, where every day is Saturday! Leaving Lima was hard because Christian and Kelly are such phenomenal hosts. If anyone is ever going to stay in Lima don’t hesitate to stay at their place, I HIGHLY recommend it! My time in Lima I spent exploring the city, I did some photography for a bar, some photography for a graffiti artist and a lot of drinking and dancing. On that note, I am terrible at the salsa. But a word to all Latin men: saying, “just follow me” while trying to get me to salsa means NOTHING to a person who has only ever had salsa with chips.. Another note to all Latin men: saying, “I love you I love you! I’m so in love with you!” and then barfing all over the ground in front of you will NOT make me sleep with you.

I took a bus on to a city called Ica and a taxi to a smaller town called Huacachina which is a tiny oasis surrounded by massive sand dunes. At about midnight and after a few pisco sours with the front desk guy we scrambled up some sand dunes to a place where we could overlook the entire city under a full moon. After more pisco we scrambled/slid/fell back down. As he said, I now have sand in my Colca Canyon…
The next day I went sandboarding and dune buggying. Sandboarding was sick and I only thought I was going to die twice. We went down some HUGE sand dunes. Wow. Dune Buggying was a different story, I saw my life flash before my eyes every few minutes. It was a 12 person buggy that he was taking full speed off dunes that, I swear to God, HAD to be vertical drops. Ok, I admit, I screamed more than once; and therefore, I also got sand in my teeth…. And my ears, and my nose…I think it would actually be harder to find a place where I didn’t get sand.

You know you’re in Cusco when the cars don’t have enough oxygen to start and neither do you. And maybe your lips turn a bit purple. But at least it’s beautiful. Oh Cusco, you are quaint but the bus ride to get me to you was anything but. We took off at 7:30pm and it wasn’t 10 minutes into the ride that I realized the death trap I was belted into. The thing about it was the bus itself was fabulous, it was a double decker and I had front row seats to the 16 hour shit show that was about to happen before my eyes. In the upper-deck-front-row-seat you’ve got nothing but a floor to ceiling picture window 2 feet in front of you. My first thought was “OOOOOOH HELL YES!” 20 minutes later, I realized I didn’t want to know what it would take to get us to Cusco. It was 16 hours of hair pin curves, and not just a couple. It was turn after turn after turn…after turn, at lightning speed….in the left hand lane. In the LEFT HAND LANE. Every fuckin time in the left lane. I realize that in a 2 story, 50 foot hazardous tin can you have to make some sacrifices, maybe safety around tight turns is one of them. I kept telling myself, “Oh Lindsay, this is PERFECTLY normal for buses to do this! Don’t worry!” That was until the Peruvian guy next to me started stomping his feet at an impressive pace with a noteworthy strength yelling (in spanish), “YOURE FUCKING CRAZY. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!” It was at this moment that I popped a couple Dramamine and out I went. My favorite part was that they had a digital display of his speed on a monitor at the front of the bus and a “this bus can only reach 90kmh” sign on the back. Ha. Ha. Ha.

So I obviously survived the bus ride, one of many to come I am sure. And now I am in Cusco and it’s kind of hard to breath, every once in a while I get the feeling that I’m going to puke. On the bright side, I constantly feel like I’m running a marathon which makes me feel kind of accomplished.

I got in another fight with a taxi driver tonight. Can fighting in Spanish be a favorite pastime? it always sounds so heated and it makes me laugh on the inside. Fuckin guy says 5 soles, I get in the car and he says 7! Oh no. no no no. that’s not how this works. In retrospect I think he may have had some….problems. Every time we stopped at a light he would get really close to his steering wheel, studying the little stickers he had put there. He asked me if I was going to do some site seeing and then pointed to a GIANT plastic eagle he had hanging from his rear view mirror. He turned around and said “we have eagles here” with a big toothy grin, then he pointed to a furry lion on his dash and with the same toothy grin just said, “lioonnnnn.” Oh god. He ended up taking me to the wrong hostel, but no matter how many times I pointed at the life-size cardboard cutouts of half naked women and said “I'm not going to stay here and THAT’S NOT THE NAME OF THE HOSTEL” he insisted I go in and ask if it was the right one. It wasn’t. I’m not trying to pay by the hour. When we finally did get to the right hostel I asked how much for him to wait a second and then take me back to the same place he picked me up, he almost tripled the price so I laughed and said no. he yelled after me, “don’t worry! It’ll be easy to find a taxi back! Don’t pay more than 4 soles!” dick.

More photos to come, in the meantime I will leave you with a photo of a REALLY ugly Peruvian dog...