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South America Bossa Nova, the Amazon rain forest, Machu-Pichu, Incas, Grazie Jiu-Jitsu, salsa dancing, exotic women...

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Old 10-02-2005, 09:24 AM   #1
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Well, been a while since i last updated, i have been flat out ever since i got here. So here is whats been going on the the last couple of weeks.

Flew into Lima, Peru, on the 15th of September at 11pm. I had heard a lot of bad things about Lima from people i had met during my travels so i decided to only stay there one night and carry on my merry way to Pisco. The reason for my visit to Pisco was to go on the Ballestas Islands tour and visit the Paracas National Park.

The Ballestas Islands, or poor mans Galapagos, were awsome. I got a boat out to them with a tour group and we drove around them for a few hours. The islands have been used for years for collection of guano, so as you can imagine there were 1000s and 1000s of birds flying around, it was insane. But, i didnt go out to the islands just to look at the guano. The islands also have big populations of wild sea lions, seals, and penguins. The penguins wre pretty damn funny, they looked really out of place just waddling along on the rocks with the sea lions. That was a pretty cool experience.

Next i went to the Paracus nation park, which is a desert along the coast line of Peru. I had never seen desert before so it was pretty cool to be there. We stopped at various places along the coast to take photos of the massive cliffs leading down to the water. Then out of nowhere as we were driving around the sand dunes with no sign of life around at all a couple of sea food resturants appeared. So, we all got out and sampled some of the local sea food, i had some Peruvian Sea Bass, it was pretty nice indeed. After that we went to see some wild flamingoes.

After Pisco i went to Nazca to see the Nazca Lines, this was always going to be one of the highlights of this trip. For those of you who dont know, the Nazca Lines are massive geoglyphs in the desert that were made by the Nazca people some rediculously long time ago. I paid my $45 USD and went on a 30 minute flight over them. I saw the spider, whale, astronaut, condor, humming bird, tree, and a couple of others, it was abolutely amasing.

After Nazca i went to Araquipa to see the condors at the Calca canyon. I ended up meeting some people that were doing a 3 day trek through the Calca Canyon so i decided to tag along and get some high altitude hiking practice in for the Inca Trail. The trek was awsome, on day one we hiked down the canyon to a little village and stayed there the night in some cabanas, it was excellent. Next day we were up at 6am to hike along the bottom of the canyon to what they called the oasis, which was a couple a swimming pools that we could use to cool down. After swimming for an hour or two we then had to climb back to the top of the canyon, this was a very tough 4 hrs. The altitude went from 2100 metres at the oasis to 3300 at the top, and it was all zig zagging goat trails, i thought i was going to die, i slept very well that night after a few beers with some chicas and our tour guides. The next day we were up at 5am to catch a bus to the part of the canyon the the condors fly through. Condors are some big bloody birds, they have a 3 metre wing span, so seeing them up close was pretty damn cool.

After Araquipa it was off to Cusco for the Inca trail and Machu Picchu. The trek was 4 days long and quite tough at times. However, it turns out i am a lot fitter than i thoguht because i was the 3rd person to the top of the big pass of 4100 metres, thats not bad considering there were another 250 tourists doing the trek. The views during the trek were unbelievable, there were snow capped mountains all along the horizon. We stopped at a few ruins along the way which were pretty cool, not as good as Machu Picchu of course, but still not too bad at all. On the last day we got to the sun gate at 6 30am for the sun rise....it was a spectacular site of nothing but fog!!! Oh well, you cant win them all. We arrived at Machu Picchu at about 7 30am when the weather had started to clear, it was a magical site, Machu Picchu, still slightly shrouded with fog, and empty of all tourists, it was a very special experience. The site is amasing, the ruins a nearly perfect still, the stone work is incredible. I climbed WaynaPicchu (sp??), its a mountain that is right behind the ruins, the view of the Inca city from up there was absolutely awsome. I cant believe those crazy incas managed to build in that location, they had to drag all the stones from a quarry 100s of metres below the city, i have no idea how that was possible, they were some clever people.

I have just been hanging out in Cusco for the 4 days since the Inca trail. I have been partying a bit and just hanging out at the excellent hostel that i am in. Tonight i am off to Copacabana, which is on the Bolivia side of Lake Titicaca, it should be great.

Better get going, there is a line up for the internet.

Seeyas

Nick
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Old 10-02-2005, 10:29 AM   #2
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is it true that you have to pay for those 4 day treks to Machu Picchu? I mean i have been to sites that said you would have to pay about 250-400USD.
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Old 10-02-2005, 11:04 AM   #3
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yeah mate, you have to pay, it cost me $260USD. They used to let people do it on their own but they changed the rules to try and cut the number of people visiting Machu Picchu and also to protect tourists because a lot of them were getting robbed. So now you have to do the trek with a guide or not at all.
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Old 10-02-2005, 11:32 AM   #4
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sucks about the tour thing. But looks like youre having a lot of fun! Don't forget to post pics as soon as you can! Sounds like youre having an awesome time!
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Old 10-02-2005, 02:23 PM   #5
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dude, we need pics!
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Old 10-02-2005, 05:05 PM   #6
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soooooooooooooo jealous you have no idea! I wanted to get to Bolivia when I was in S. America this past summer but it didn't work out and had to settle for Chile instead. Not that there is anything wrong with that; Chile is great....but still.....saw so many amazing pictures from Bolivia; can't wait to get there (and Peru too of course)

Have a blast!
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Old 10-02-2005, 05:26 PM   #7
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Good to hear from you, man! Your trip sounds incredible. PLEASE post pics when you can!!
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Old 10-02-2005, 05:31 PM   #8
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yeah, sorry guys, i have been so damn slack with posting photos, i will get some up soon.
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Old 10-02-2005, 07:36 PM   #9
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Wow you have covered a lot of ground. I am planning my S. America trip right and and those are some good numbers to work off of. I too would like to see some pics when you get a chance. I am sure you have a ton since you have been traveling for sooooo long. I must also restate my jealousy!

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Old 10-03-2005, 03:29 AM   #10
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Freakin' sweet, man!!
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Old 10-03-2005, 04:06 AM   #11
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Awwwwwwwwwwwww, man!

Macchu Picchu! I've been wanting to go there for ages...
Damn, sounds sweet! You convinced me to wait till I have time to hike the Inca Trail. No quick in and out trip -- I want the experience.

Any more details would be great. Keep us posted...you're having an amazing journey!!!

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Old 10-04-2005, 10:47 AM   #12
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!! Man I was so excited to read that! Though I must admit I was jealous. That is so very high on my "to do" lists of things. I've read stories on the Inca Trail and the porters sound like gods. Carrying all the gear and such. Dayam I hope they get tips!

Anyways can't wait to see your pics!
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