A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: wthesenga

Last to Leave Lima

Headed for Island time....

sunny 87 °F

Leaving Peru tonight - I´m done with Lima. I spent about 4 days too long here. I´ve seen all the churches, catacombs, museums and shops that I want to see. Peru was definitely easier to travel in than Bolivia. Susanna and I chose to fly instead of taking long distance buses like in Bolivia. There is something to be said about a long distance bus trip though. Makes you appreciate your personal space, air-conditioning and smooth roads.
My family was here for just 2 weeks - they are all back in the States, healing bruises and sore knees as they go back to work. Susanna has probably been to New Seasons, taken a long bubble bath, put on clothes that don´t scream ¨traveler¨and had a really good nights sleep on her 600 count sheets. (I´m just a little jealous!)
So I am the last to leave Lima - feels strange being here without anyone - it takes a bit to adjust to being a solo traveler again.
I´ll remember Peru for the fantastic scenery I saw, in the towns, markets and most of all on the trek to Choquequirao. It was a very strenuous 4 day trek up, up, up to the Inca ruins. No one told me I´d have to trek 20km on my first day! The second was incredibly vertical. My brother and Matthew did the whole 42km on foot - my mom and I opted to ride horses on the steepest parts. I have rarely been so physically tired in every part of my being- but in the end it was a celebration of my brother´s 40th birthday and it will certainly be remembered and talked about for years to come.
Next on the itinerary is Easter Island - the most remote, populated island in the world. The highest point on the island is about 500 feet - so hiking around the island to check out the moai should be very easy!

Posted by wthesenga 10:38 Archived in Peru Tagged events Comments (0)

High in La Paz

sunny 56 °F

Landing in La Paz is surreal. Everywhere you look there are little red brick houses hugging the rolling hills. The airport is appropriately named El Alto. It is seriously high up at 4000m. A taxi drove me down a large, wide curvy road into the of the traveller barrio centered around Sagarnaga street. My hotel, on the fringes of the area, is more of a local Bolivain business travellers hotel than a International travellers hotel. Nice for a number of reasons; none of the nasty dreadlocked, dirty, rude Israli travellers would think to stay here, the people who work here speak very little English, which makes me work harder at my Spanish, the price is fair - not marked up for rich tourists, and it has everything I need for $10.00 a night.
My first day in town I wandered around and got my bearings. Practiced my numbers by asking what things cost to different store owners. Bought a large 2 liter of water that I MUST drink tonight to stave off this high altitude headache I feel coming on, and a small school kids pair of scissors that I use when I clip and trim stuff to put in my journal.
I had a delicious cold, fresh, salad of cabbage, radish and onions, papas fritas (french fries) and some chicken soup for lunch. I picked a spot where I happened to be the only foreign looking person eating and so I got a lot of attention from staff and fellow diners. I think I saw some appreciative stares that I was eating the same things they were all eating.
Back to my hotel room to read and rest up. I´m a bit breathless when walking around and can really feel my heart beating faster when Im at rest. But so far all that was expected due to the altitude. By the way the altimeter on my watch reads 13429ft in my hotel room.
The plan for the next few days is to find a way to either Sucre (fly), or Salar de Uyuni (train and bus). There´s a transportation protest going on so I´m not sure how I´m going to get to where I want to go to next...........

Posted by wthesenga 07:58 Archived in Bolivia Tagged lodging Comments (0)

Delays, more delays, headaches and displaced baggage.

snow 28 °F

It all started out so promising; a comfortable flight from Portland to Atlanta, a quiet seatmate, good snacks and two great movies I wanted to watch ('Precious' and 'Up In The Air'). And then came the announcement on my iPhone from my Trip Case app. - in big bold red letters: FLIGHT CANCELLED. I needed to make a connecting flight from Atlanta to Miami where I was to get on my 2300 flight to La Paz, Bolivia. It wasn't going to happen. A few snow flurries and cold weather had thrown Atlanta into a tail spin and literally 3/4 of the departing flights were cancelled. Not delayed, but cancelled. To make matters worse - I commited the cardinal sin of budget backpacker travellers - I seperated myself from my pack. I thought "why not check my pack, then I won't have to carry it around on my layovers". Bad idea. I can count on one hand how many times I have checked my favorite travel pack and everytime something seems to happen. True this time also. I was marrooned in Atlanta and my bag went on without me. Sometime after I had already checked into the Airport Ramada with my "sorry you're stranded overnight kit" supplied by Delta Airlines and paid for by a discounted voucher also given to me by Delta, my bag flew on an after midnight flight to Miami. I had already rebooked myself to leave for Miami and Bolivia on the 3rd, and as I tried to sleep I had visions of someone lifting my pack off the baggage claim turnstile after seeing it go past 30 or so times. But my friends and family consoled me and said they had confidence that my pack would be safe in Miami at the Delta Baggage Claim Office. But it was only after I arrived in Miami this morning and saw my pack safely stacked with all the other misplaced baggage that I felt ok. Yes, my pack, intact, is now with me again. Whew! The next obstacle was getting checked in for my international flight. The women at the ticket counter acted like she was in the Bolivian Mafia. I stated where I was going and she said "Do you have your passport? (of course), Do you have an additional passport photo? (yes), Do you have your proof of Yellow Fever Vaccination, (Thank you Suzanne, yes!), and Do you have your Bolivian Visa paperwork? (uhhhh, no, I thought I got it on arrival in La Paz.... ) No, you have to have it before you leave. (Uh oh). After waiting and waiting, I was given a copy of the Visa paperwork to fill out and issued my Boarding Pass. Quickly through security and onwards to the Admiral's Club where I have been enjoying sitting at the bar using my free drink vouchers and listening to the very busy bartender greet and serve all his customers, switching effortlessly between flawless English and Spanish. I hope my next blog entry finds me writing from La Paz. But the way this trip is evolving, don't be too surprised by more unexpected events!

Posted by wthesenga 14:36 Archived in USA Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

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