27 Feb 2012

°Off Topic. Kiss in the rain in Casablanca°

There are several ways to loose your mind. To run away. To miss the spot. To be taken away. Sometimes you can be what you want to be. Some time does give you such a privilege.

-How do you say goodbye to someone you know you will most probably never see again and you know that your step was a little too strong and now your footprints are leaving the blood behind?

Apparently You can be somebody’s Prozac. And just like that I was your Prozac. Did not hurt before I realized. Next time I’m asking for your doctor’s prescription. Or a payment. This has got to stop.

-Normally I would have ran away. This time, just like a butterfly, I went straight for the flame.

 -Just like a Little Prince, I always feel responsible for the ones I touch. And just like him, I was getting happier and happier as the hour of the meeting was getting closer. And no, I am not afraid to admit my own mistake. I kind of do like it.

He loved and he drove – like a mad man.


I did not fall. But I fell.

There was a footprint left on the heart. And for everyone’s sake there is only a little hope that there was not any other remarkable mark left as well. Just think about it – if he managed to erase the impossible, what other super powers does he have?

I’ve done it. I kept my word. I kept my promise. I took a risk and I enjoyed the moment. Could not feel happier? Consequences?  Just like a hunger or thirst it will come. Probably joined with agony, physical and mental pain, but hey, at least I lived the day.

Why mean? I never thought to ask.

If you walk on a thin ice, you might as well dance. I walked on a thin ice. I played with fire. I played with fire on a thin ice. It’s just like going back to the same old casino at the end of the world. You know there is no way out and the risk involved is more than you could handle. But you still trust yourself. You still trust you luck. And sometimes – it does not neglect you.


For all I know we just switched the roles. Now I am enjoying and you are getting involved. Yes, it is once again just like playing with fire on a thin ice. But I am not afraid to crack. I am afraid of getting out alive.

Once again, I found myself in a crossroad. What do I do? Where do I go? Which turn do I take? Where do I close my eyes and open my hands? My heart?

We all make mistakes. At least mine ones are different. And you are getting stuck in the same ones.


I should have ran away, but I stayed. I should have gotten angry or at least sad, but I just smiled. I should have been older and wiser, but ended up just older.

For some reason he trusted me. Liked me in a way I guess. And I felt very much attracted. Not in a physical kind of the way. There was something about him that kept me staying.. on a blade.

Did I want to be Prozac?

He opened up and told me more than to any other average person. Definitely he told me more than he should have. My guess is – he just needed a friend. A real friend. And somehow I always end up being a friend. I should just change my occupation. Being a therapist might be just the very same thing, but at least they pay you big bucks for that.

`Do one thing that scares you everyday`. I guess he was mine for the day.

Walking the blade.

26 Feb 2012

°LDU. ODSA. ACGS. Part 3°

Day No 73

Another day in Huanchaco started easily. We decided to go to Huaca del Sol y huaca de la luna. Some ruins, really old and impressing apparently. I went there with the Irish guys I met in the hostel. We first went to the market, bought some fruits and water and caught a mini bus to those ruins.

Well, actually we took that mini bus till Trujillo, but the different place where we expected. So we ended up walking around, asking millions of people for the directions and finally got into a mini bus that goes to the ruins. Well, turned out it does not go to the ruins, but it goes close to it. An older guy showed us to the `motor taxi` place and we took one of those things to finally get to the ruins.

We got in, bought the tickets and waited for the guide. Apparently you cannot go in if you do not have a guide. But it is included in the price, so why not, right? Our guide was a nice girl who knew the whole story. It took us around half an hour with all of the explanations and walking around. It is interesting. If you like ruins I’d suggest you to go to these ones.

We got back to Trujillo, then back to Huanchaco. Irish guys were leaving that night already, so all we did was just hang out in the beach, where is was killingly hot, read a book, had a dinner, said goodbyes and I stayed in reading a book.

Day No 74

I have decided that it is going to be my last day in Huanchaco. And in the beginning I thought I will just stay in the beach, but after some considerations and rational thinking that I probably could not be less of a lets-stay-in-the-beach-all-day-doing-nothing person, I decided to visit Chan Chan. Some old ruins, 700 years older than the ones I visited a day ago, but very big and impressive, or at least that is what people told me.

It is fairly easy to get there. You just flag a bus, ask `Chan chan`, if they nod or say something like `si`, it means they will take you there. So this is exactly what I did. They drop you off on the road and show you which direction to go. That is not so necessary even, because the road is marked with white stones. So I went there, it took me about ten minutes and I was in the place. A very interested in me security guy showed me where to buy the tickets, then a guide offered his services for 30 Soles and I went there on my own. I mean – there is a lot I can buy for 30 Soles, I can live without a guide. And there – a surprise. I tried to take a picture and all I got was a blurry nothing. Damn, I thought, don’t tell me my second and last camera will refuse to function. So I walked around, not taking pictures and just observing. It is a big piece of ruins and it is interesting, especially if you are interested in these kind of things. I have to say though, that I liked the other one better. That really depends on a taste I guess.

After a walk around it all I went back, and, well, of course, just my luck, my camera started working again. Better later than never, I thought, already happy.

Once back in Huanchaco, I still had some time on my hands, so I read my book, walked along the beach and did nothing. Well, couple of hours of nothing I can handle more or less anyways. After some time I took my stuff, flagged a bus, asked if it is going to the place I need, he said yes and we moved towards Trujillo.

There – another surprise. The guy from the bus told me I have to get off at one corner and that I should go to the left. Basically he dropped me off in the middle of nowhere. I went to the direction that was pointed and still could not see any bus terminal. After asking several people for the direction I managed to find it [not close to the place I left the bus that’s for sure], but then again, they told me that bus is fully booked. And Trujillo is definitely not the place to be or spend the night in.

Ok, some more walking along the street, trying every possible and impossible bus company finally came to the promising end – I got the ticket to one of the buses and just stayed there and read a book. I was going to Mancora. Still cannot explain why, but something tells me, I did the right thing.

Day No 75

Funny enough I woke up in the morning in the bus when we were crossing some city without stopping at it. I started reading a book and wondering when we will arrive to Mancora. Once I saw a road sign that said – Tumbes 45 km. I knew I was already leaving Mancora behind. The bus boy was very `chilled`. Oh yes, Mancora is already there he told me. I asked him to drop me off some place, so he said `if you want to`. What do you mean, if I want to. Of course I want to. This is why I bought a damn ticket to Mancora and not anywhere else.

Ok, so he drops me off in a little tiny village with several houses and one main street. I stay there, waiting for a bus that goes to Mancora. No luck. Nobody stops even if I ask if they go to Mancora. Some dog is staying with me, protecting me, I am guessing and people are staring and me and my bag as if we just escaped the zoo.

After maybe one hour of waiting I finally get the bus. It takes me 1.5 hours to go back on the same road but at least I am back in Mancora. I make a mistake and ask them to drop me off in the center. On the other hand – how was I supposed to know that the place I booked is in the different location than on map.google.com?

I ask for direction, people tell me it’s far and I need to take taxi, but also shows me direction. Me, the brave soldier of the wonderland, decide to walk. If that is not enough, I decide to take a `shortcut`, because I know my place is on the beach. Shortcut brought me to the middle of the pond [I was just lucky it was only up my knees]. Finally, already with soaking wet shoes, I decide to keep on going and cross that pond. Once I end up in the beach, there is not big problem to find the place. Hostel The point. I can definitely recommend this place to anyone. GOOD place to be and hang out and meet people and enjoy Mancora. REALLY.

I get in, walk to the reception and here comes my big fear. Me, as a complete blond person from the inside, made a mistake in the dates for the booking. I tried to correct my mistake, but still have no idea if that worked. Fortunately it did. The girl registered me and told me to wait for the room. I waited next to the pool while reading my book. Once my room was ready I took it, went to the market to buy some fruits and paltas [avocado] and got back. I went for a swim in the pool, read a book, had a little walk, watched the amazing sunset, got back to the hostel.

I decided to reward myself with a beer after a long night and day. I sat at the bar, next to this British guy and we started talking. The talk was going very easy, so we stayed there longer, ordering some cocktails [or just mixes better] and talking some more. Some more people joined, another British guy came to work in the bar. We kept on talking. I had an amazing time there. The guy also showed us some magic cards tricks and promised to explain me how he did it later.

After the bar closed we went to the beach where two Argentinian brother played guitar, some drum-box kind of thing and sang some Spanish songs. We had a great time, but I was really tired, so at some point I just left and went to my bed.

Day No 76

The next day was supposed to be more or less the same. Mancora is a good place for surfing, beach or pool time and not much else. I went to the market for some fruits once again, went to the beach, spent some time there, did some swimming in the pool [you can do it in the beach as well, but waves are really strong and after almost drowning twice in the waves you start being a little scared, plus, it smells like seafood in there] and read my book.

Later we went to see the sunset, which was not great, because of the clouds and talked to the people around. There were two Canadian sisters in the hostel, so after the sunset and all we decided to go for dinner in the center. We went to this very nice and with great food Thai place. I had no idea about the places and they spent in Mancora about a month, so I trusted their taste and did not get disappointed. We talked and I learned how crazy they are. I mean seriously, people think I am crazy, but when I meet people, and especially on this trip, it is amazing what people sometimes do and how they live. Still a lot to learn. Or a lot to understand. Well, you have to travel to get that in one piece.

We went into another hostel to listen to the same brothers playing where I met the same Irish guys, went back to the hostel, where I took a beer and enjoyed some nice conversations at the bar. Apart from that, I tried to look for how to get to Ecuador, because the closest border was not available. There was some blockade on the road due to some protests and no buses were going there.

Day No 77

Me and two German girls were very positive about this – whatever happens, we are going to Ecuador today. But first – we had to find out how. We started by checking out and making fun that in case -  we will just come back and check in again. We went to the center, asked in several places, all of them said we cannot cross the border in Tumbes, but we can take a but up to the protest and cross the border. I was kind of up for it, but after reading about people actually dying there, fighting with stones and gas bombs or something, I decided that I actually want to go to Ecuador and not to die on the way.

Another solution was offered for us to take another border. That would mean a little longer trip but what the hell. After long consideration, flipping the coin and other things we decided we are not staying for doing nothing, we are actually leaving. So we went back to the hostel for the last little piece of doing nothing, had lunch, took our stuff and got back to the center. A little trip to the market for the food for the road and we took a bus.

First bus took us 3 hours and took us to Sullana in Peru. A VERY dangerous city where you do not want to spend the night. We waited there couple of hours, got the bus to go to Loja in Ecuador [overnight one] and started our trip. We were very excited about going to Ecuador, so nothing could stop us now. Or so we thought.

Just before the midnight we crossed a very silent and easy border and there we were -  Ecuador baby!!

Of course, our excitement could not last for two long because just before I managed to fall asleep we got stuck on the road. I drifted to my dreams hoping it is going to be a short time.

Day No 78

The short time ended up being a long time. We were there the whole night and little bit of the morning. Before us there was a slide of stones and the truck was stuck in there. So we had to wait for the security saving department or something to move it and keep on going.

So in the late morning we started moving. In the afternoon we finally reached Loja, but staying there is not the best option, so we went to Vilcabamba right away. There we just followed the first and cheapest hostel in Lonely Planet and went in. There was Andreas, the Swedish guy I met before. We hugged for hellos and then I saw German girls doing the same thing. `where do you know him from?` `where do you?` were asked and once again, we proved the theory, that the world is small and the people you meet on the road are the same.

So we got the room, went for a little walk around that small village, had some dinner and before we knew it – it was already evening and we were tired from the night in the bus. So some beers, since we had to celebrate Ecuador and we went to sleep.

Day No 79

I woke up, just as always, earlier than all of the rest, so I just wondered around, waiting for my German girls to wake up. Once they were up, we had some breakfast, but since there was cloudy and we needed some proper internet time, our day started very easy and without much of the excitement.

Once we were done with whatever we needed to do we left Manu in the hostel [poor girl got sick] and with Nat went for some lunch and for a walk in some Natural Reserve kind of thing. We made it a very nice 2-3 hours walk up the hills where you can see the panoramic view of the whole surroundings and down the hill. Of course, due to some rains all around the area there were some slides of the ground and some very steep parts of the `trek`. Still, it was great to walk there, see the highest San Pedro cactus in the Valley.

Once back in the hostel we enjoyed some VERY very good curry and other things that some people made for dinner, some beers, some music coming from different people. There were harmonica, guitar, some strange big snaky looking thing, flute and so on. We had a lot of fun, especially with Manu, since we were talking and laughing till the tears showed up.

Day No 80

We had to wake up early in the morning which we did. We had breakfast. We said goodbye to Andreas with `probably we will meet somewhere on the way again` and left Vilcabamba. Once in Loja, we took another bus and went to Cuenca.

In Cuenca we took a taxi from the terminal, got into recommended hostel `Turista del mundo`. I have to say – the owner – unbelievably nice lady. Very friendly, just like those guys told us. She gave us a room and we, after a little rest, went for a walk around.

We visited it all – churches, plazas, markets, little tiny streets. It is very beautiful city. Highly recommended. Old town with old Spanish style houses and small streets. A lot of lights at night. Really very beautiful. We also visited a very tiny but cozy bar and had a beer [of course, how without a beer]

We bought some stuff in the market, made ourselves some tasty dinner and got seriously involved in searching for the next destination or how to get to the national park tomorrow. Once that was settled, it was already late enough, so girls went to sleep and I settled for updating my blog.

Off Topic

First wave of rush, confusion and anger – is it possible? And then the second – why is it always the same? Is it me? Or is it just a coincidence? I can hold your hand, but why am I always ending up holding that hand, if finally it just slips out. Strange world.

18 Feb 2012

°LDU. ODSA. ACGS. Part 2°

Day No 65

My last day in the Paradise Pariwana hostel started early. I just could not sleep. So I went out, checked my e-mail and went for breakfast. I was there just on time to see Hans and Garrett and the girls before they left for their Inca Jungle trail thing to Machu Picchu. We exchanged hugs and kisses and they left.

I still had a lot of time on my hands and not so much things to do. So I went for a little walk around the city, went to the market, had a lovely lunch for one dollar. I bought some things for me for the long 15 hours trip in a bus to Nazca, went back to the hostel, read my book and waited for my bus.

I grabbed a cab for one Euro to the bus terminal and there I met Andreas – the same guy we bought the tickets the day after. I have to tell you in advance – if you think you ever met a crazy person or you are one – you may wanna hear this guy’s story and probably change your mind. He is Swedish, but he does not look Swedish. Dangerous is what he looks like: well build, shaved head, strong look. If I met him in the street alone and in the dark – I would be scared. But we met in the bus station and it was fine.

We got to the bus and started our journey to Nazca. We talked a little, I read a little. On our way the was a sharp sound and then the bus stopped? Blown tire was my first guess. Some dog – was the second. Turns out, it was the tire. And very well blown I may add. It took them almost two hours to repair it in the middle of the road in the dark.

All the rest of the night I kind of slept. Kind of, because after the last night bus and my camera gone missing I could not sleep normally. I was picturing someone taking something else from bag as well.

Day No 66

We arrived in Nazca and got a wave of heat. Comparing to Cuzco it was hell on earth in that city. There is nothing much to do there so first things first – we got a hostel, got a room and decided to take a flight over Nazca lines. It was supposed to cost me 40 dollars. Damn, that’s a lot I thought, but, it’s a one time in a lifetime kind of a thing, so I figured – let’s do this. My excitement faded fast enough when a guy said `no no, 80 is for one person, not for two`. Ok, so I am not going, I declared, but Andreas still wanted to do it, so he went for the plane and I went for the mirador. A place where you can get a glimpse of the Nazca lines and see two, three if you are lucky, pictures of those lines.

It cost me 3 Soles to get there, 2 soles to climb up the tiny mirador tower and 2 soles back to the Nazca. Honestly, I found nothing special in there. Some people say aliens drew those things and I just don’t buy it. So anyways – if you are into this kind of stuff – do it and take a plane. If you are more like me – mirador and those two pictures are more than enough.

Once back in a hostel we met again, went for lunch, went for tourist information, got loads of information of where to go and what to do [although it was pretty pricey since you had to take cabs everywhere]. We decided to skip most of it and just go to some old cemetery.

Half an hour cab drive to the place and back cost us 50 Soles [for both]. It was a little, not so big place with maybe 12 graves and bones with mummified bodies and clothes in there. It was interesting, not `worth dying for` interesting, but it was nice. I would not go to Nazca just for that, but once you are already there, you may as well do it.

Once back to the city we went for a little shopping [for him, not for me], ended up buying some beers and drinking them as we enjoyed the terrace in the hostel. There was an American guy there, we talked with him for a while. Then he left, we stayed just the two of us. Then one of the workers from the hostel joined up. A little but very nice gay guy. He even called some shaman, because Andreas was interested in those to meet up with us in Ica [it was midnight] and stayed with us till the end.

Once we finished the beers, we finished the night as well. Another day was about to come again.

Day No 67

We woke up pretty early in the morning, got some breakfast, packed our stuff and took a bus to Ica. He, of course, slept all the way to Ica and I was just reading a book.

We went to the museum in Ica. I wasn’t that interested in there, but Andreas was obsessed with `there is a head of alien in there`. So we went to see the skull of alien apparently. It was creepy alright, you can google `peru alien skull` and see it yourself. All the rest of the museum was just a very small and nothing special. The guy who worked there started hitting on me though. `oh you are very beautiful` and similar things he told me while keeping an eye on my possible `boyfriend` who has a dangerous look, since in these countries if you travel together, it means you are a couple.

From Ica we got a taxi, that was driven by a woman and took us to the small village 5 kilometers away. I do not remember the name of it, but it is in the middle of the dunes. We got in to the hotel [price was the same as in hostels] with a pool in it and registered ourselves for sand buggie and sand boarding that same day.

We still had some time on our hands, so we rest a little bit and went for lunch. I ordered pasta with pesto and I was hoping for a good old pesto taste. It was different. Still green, but different taste. Anyways.

We got back to our hotel – Casa de Arena and soon enough it was 5p.m. and it was time for our adventure with a sand buggie. We got on it and rode up to the dunes. The driver took as there pretty fast, so the ride was bumpy but real fun. It was like riding a roller-coaster except that you had this amazing view of sand dunes everywhere.

Once we stopped we took the boards, got a little explanation of how to do a sand-boarding and started. First dune I went down on my belly. It was fun. For the second one I wanted to try doing it on the feet. I was a little afraid it will go just like my first skiing experience – way too fast and landing on my butt, but I knew I wanted to try. It was just like I predicted. I landed on my ass after maybe 3 meters but it was still fun. The third dune went a little smoother, but I still could not make it without falling down.

The last part was three more dunes, but bigger ones. So the first two I tried to concur on my feet but once I saw the last one – it was no way I can do THAT big of a dune on my feet. So instead I went on my belly again. Fun times.

After the sand boarding was over we still had some roller coaster drive in the buggie, that ended up in the panoramic view of the village and we got back to the place.

I had sand literally everywhere. My pockets were full of it too. So I took a long decent shower and got out of the room. Andreas was there already with Canadian girl that we met in the buggie, so we just sat at the pool and having a beer. Some drunk Columbian came to us and tried making friends. He was so annoying that I just wanted to throw him in the pool. After Andreas had `a talk` with him, he went out and never came back. It was a relief.

After a little while Andreas went out with a Canadian girl and I stayed in with a local guy. We had fun talking and ended up going out as well. We played some games in one of the bars, walked a little around the lake and finally I was in my bed, sleeping.

Day No 68

I woke up in the morning and found that Andreas was not in the room. He wasn’t even sleeping in the room. I got worried. I don’t know where exactly he went last night and I could only hope he was ok.

At around 9 a.m. he got back. Turned out, he was hanging out in the other hotel and slept in one of the beach chairs next to the pool. We went for breakfast, said goodbyes to Canadian girl and we had the day of doing nothing in our hands.

Andreas wanted to do `San Pedro cactus`. Before you get all suspicious and that, it is legal thing in here and it is not considered to be a drug, but a medicine as well. Shamans are using that here in Peru all the time. He offered me to try that too, and I wasn’t sure what to do. I was tempted to try, but a little afraid as well. Finally I gave in.

He gave me the powder that you are supposed to mix with water and drink it. I did what he said. It was awfully looking green stuff that tasted like dirty socks. I am not kidding. But, since I was on it already, I drank it. It is supposed to give you an affect of a brighter colours and nice feeling that’s all. It gave me nausea and I just wanted to sleep. So I stayed in my room and waited for it to become better. However, after some time my stomach decided not to hurt itself anymore, so the whole green thing came out of me. Andreas told me before that it is completely normal especially for the first time to throw it all up, and I started to feel much better after I did.

So then I got out of the room, took my book and went to sit at the pool. It was finally that nice day of doing nothing. I did not feel any effect of that San Pedro and I am not trying it ever again [one time is more than enough to me] but I was kind of happy about it. I just wanted to enjoy reading my book.

In the evening we stayed at the hotel, because there was a barbeque with `all included` offered for 20 Soles which is a really good price for that. We had that and we kept on talking to a very strange [in a good way] German guy. I learned so much about him and especially about Andreas that I am not going to reveal in here, but oh my, you would not think it is possible until you experience that.

After German guy went to sleep, we joined 3 Swedish guys, talked a little bit to them, went out to the night club, which was half empty, stayed there for a little. Once Swedish guys went to sleep, Andreas found some new friends, local 18 years old kids, we spent some time with them. Finally, I gave in. We had to wake up around 6a.m. the next day and I really needed my sleep.

Day No 69

I woke up for the shower and learned that Andreas once again wasn’t in the room or slept there either. I got worried again, but when I looked from the window I saw him talking to some girl near the pool, so that was a relief.

We got ready and went out looking for our pick-up. We went to the Ballestas islands. The bus took us to the port, from there we took a boat and went for it. It was something similar like islands in the Chile, with a lot of birds, some penguins, sea lions and rocky islands. Except that this one smelled really really bad. You had to breath carefully if you did not want to vomit.

I have to say, if you have seen it before – the sea lions and penguins and stuff, you might not want to go to these islands, because it is just the same. And it takes only two hours and.. well, do it and see for yourself.

Once back in Paracas we tried to find a bus to Lima, but it was only expensive one, so instead Andreas found a friend, we took a taxi who took us to another city, we caught the bus to Lima and went there. Andreas was sleeping and I was reading a book.

Once in Lima he called his friend, I called mine and then we separated – I went to look for a yellow bus No 48 and he stayed waiting for his friend.

I got out of the bus station and got a lot of offers `taxi, taxi`. One taxi driver showed me my direction and I went for it. Yellow bus came almost right away, I got in and started my trip through Lima. Unfortunately the driver told me the wrong bus stop I had to get off, so I got off and waited for my friend from CS. He was nowhere around, but some woman came to me telling me how pretty I am and asking me where I was from, what I am doing there and so on. I asked her about my bus stop and she told me it is the next one. So I went there.

There Ulises, my new found friend from CS was already. He took me to his house that was still `under the construction`. That day we just talked, went for the market, bought some food, went back to the house again, had a dinner, talked a little more and turned on `Avatar` to watch it. I did not even realize that I fell asleep at some point, but my guess is that at the point in the first part of the movie. He woke me up and I just went to sleep. After 3 hours of sleep the last night I just could not keep my eyes open.

Day No 70

We woke up in the morning, had some breakfast and went on a tour around Lima on bikes. First we went to the coast and to the port. It was a nice area with old houses and all that. But at some point some policemen stopped us and told us that we don’t want to go to the direction we wanted to. `there is a was between drug gangs there` he said and since we did not sign up for dying that day, we decided to take a safer road a little around that area.

On the way back from the port we stopped at the market, had some lunch and went back to his place for a little rest. After that we took the bikes again and went to the city.

Here comes the traffic of Lima. All I could think about was – ok so if I did not die on the death road on the bike, I will definitely die in here. They are crazy and they drive unbelievable. No one cares about anyone and it is a miracle that they are all still alive, the ones that are on the road. There are no bike paths, so you have to go with a traffic and let me tell you – it is not easy. I think I used a lot of my luck points there in order not to get killed.

We went to the old town, watched the main square and cathedral, we went to some other squares. We biked to Miraflores – the most popular place for all the gringos, we went to the `park of Love` or something like that. We went to the area Baranco of the city and had a little walk there too.

Finally we went to his friend’s place to take another bike but that was broken, so we just went home and to see some pyramids on the way. At the end we were back around 11p.m. so I basically biked 8-9 hours that day. Fun. Here went my cardio for the day.

We ended up on the roof with a beer and some stars. And then the day was over again.

Day No 71

Lima is one of the cities that has nothing much to offer – honestly. So I woke up, had my time with breakfast and all that and finally, since Ulises did not feel so well, I went to the city by myself. I first went to the market, bought some fruits and rolls and took a minibus to the center. I got off a little too early, but I still managed to find the coast line and a park. I went there and it was so foggy that you could not see more than 5 meters away. So I sat down for reading a book.

I went for a walk a little later, took my turns and found myself in the same Love park kind of thing. I met a Danish guy there, gave him all of the information about Cuzco that I had, went for another walk around and finally got back to the market and then Ulises’s place.

Some German CS was already there, but we did not spend so much time together, since I packed and left.

I got onto the bus to Fiori, which was supposed to be a bus station for the Northern destinations. And there he was – a guy who was working there. Looking just like Sascha, but a little more tan. He looked like him, smiled like him and reminded me a lot of him. Funny, I thought, how people sometimes are not that different after all.

He was very nice, he told me where to get off and where to go, since once you get off you cannot see the station very clearly. I went to the station, found a bus and a ticket for myself, purchased it and went to wait for the bus.

They were showing some movie in the bus, so I watched it and drifted to sleep. The day was long enough already.

Day No 72

Since the bus dropped me off in the middle of nowhere and there was no public transportation to see, I settled for a taxi. He took me to the place where I had to catch a little bus to go to Huanchaco, the little village on the beach. It was fairly easy, I stayed there couple of minutes and then it arrived. Once in the place, I searched for the hostel I found on internet, got in, got some roommates that were still asleep, so I went out to have some breakfast [I still had my fruits with me] and read a book.

Back to the room I learned that my roommates are Irish and we talk a little bit about this and that. Then they went for breakfast, I stayed for a shower. After that I went out, found a market, bought some fruits and went to the beach. I found my new Irish friends and joined them.

It was a day dedicated for doing nothing. I needed that day, so I just stayed there, read a book and enjoyed my time. After `a little too much of sun` I got in, had a little rest, waited for my friends to come back and then we went for the sunset. It was a nice, but very fast sunset. We made pictures, we talked and we had fun.

We went looking for a place to eat and I met Justine and Mat – the guys we separated in Cuzco. So we talked a little, but since they were staying in that town for a while, I figured I will probably see them again, so we went keep on looking for a place to eat. We ended up in a very nice vegetarian place with a very tasty food and good prices for it. We had the meal, we had couple of beers and finally we went to sleep. Being in the sun actually makes you tired more than you could maybe imagine.

10 Feb 2012

°LDU. ODSA. ACGS. Part 1°

Day No 59

I woke up early in the morning and learned that it was raining and raining pretty heavily. Everything was closed and I thought that my trip to the island of the sun was going to be either canceled or just shitty. Still, I went outside to the tour agency to leave my big bag. They told me that I should come at eight. And I did. I came at eight so I could see the doors closed, locked and no one around. I waited and waited and waited and still no one came. It was already almost time to leave with the boat to the island, so I had to move.

What saved my ass was that my ticket to the island was actually from the different company which was open, so I managed to leave my bag with them. I got on the boat and we started moving. Once we got off the boat we met our guide, which was supposed to be included in the price. Anyways, we went to the `museum` of gold, where was only one room and no gold. Pathetic kind of museum, but I entered only because I followed the guide and I would have had to pay the same amount on the other place anyways.

Here I started talking to one guy I met in Rurre and his friend. Turns out, they were Americans and were very friendly, so we kept on climbing a little up to the ruins of the beginning of Incas together and having a nice conversation. We went to the ruins, the place where everything started. Where the civilization of Incas started and where they believed the world started as well. Quite amazing, I have to tell you.

After that we moved with the American guys on the path that went from North side of the island to the South. It was supposed to be 2 hours easy walk and it was almost 3 hours hard quite fast walk. The views were amazing, but due to some reasons there will be no pictures. Sorry about that.

Once we were back to the Southern part of the island we caught our boat back and went back to the Copacabana. I took my bag from the agency, guys took their stuff from the hostel, we booked a hostel for ourselves in Cuzco and separated our ways. We were all going to Cuzco, but I bought my ticket in the other agency, so we decided to meet in the hostel the next day.

I was waiting for my minivan to go to the border and I saw another minivan together with American guys. I went, make a joke about their semi-cama bus and turned out – it was my pick up as well. So we were going to be on the same bus, not just route after all.

We went to the border, met a South African couple there, apparently they already knew them, crossed the border with no big troubles at all, caught a bigger bus and went to Puno. We only spend a little time in Puno, where we got the tickets and took an overnight bus to Cuzco. I was lucky enough to have a seat just for myself, so I put my bag under my feet and fell asleep.

Day No 60

Early in the morning we woke up in the bus, got out, packed our things and took a cab and went to the hostel. It was supposed to be a great hostel from the description on internet and it was. We got it, registered, took cold showers [for some reason it wasn’t working], left our bags in the storage room and went for some breakfast to the market.

On the way to the market I decided to take a picture of one of the squares and here it all began. I opened my bag, opened my bag for camera and found it open. I got a wave of heat in my veins. If only camera was missing, I might have left it in my big bag or something. But it was completely empty – lenses were gone too. I searched the whole bag and there is wasn’t. The ground started to slip underneath my feet.

I got up, the guys told me `hey, we were wondering where you are` and my shivering voice answered `I think I got my camera stolen`. I still was shaky and did not know what to say, what to do and how to act. They were very supportive. They went back with me to the hostel so I could check it in my big bag, even though I was sure it was not. On our way bag I couldn’t help but wonder where, when and how my camera had gone missing. The only possible place – the bus. But it seemed impossible. It was closed, it was under my feet. There is no way anybody could have taken it and still it was the only way.

Back in the hostel my camera of course wasn’t there in my big bag. It was official – I’ve been robbed for the first time in my life. And one of the most important things were taken from me – my baby, my camera. I asked the guy in the hostel where to go in case these kind of things happened, he told me I may check it with police station close to one of the squares and I left. On my way I kept on wondering how and the whole picture just did not came into one. This was insane. My camera was safe under me and I do not sleep that well in buses. How? Police told me to go back to the square and look for the police of tourism. I went back. I found a police of tourism car, I explained the guy what happened, he took me to the station.

There were two policemen in the car and on the way to the station they kept on talking to me about where I was from and so for. They actually started hitting on me and while answering to their questions I could only think  - please, this is the least I need right now – someone hitting on me. Could you just leave me alone? They were nice, really nice, but I was just so lost and sad.

Once we got off the car I asked one of the guys what are my chances. After asking if I want a truth for the answer he told me that my chances are not big. Well, of course not big, the fucker [and I am not even going to waste my time here to excuse my vocabulary] probably left the bus before we came to Cuzco and my camera was probably on sale already as I was entering the station.

I am not sure how much time I spent in the station, but it seemed ages. They asked me questions, then they were writing it all down, then they were explaining the thing to me. At points they were talking between themselves. It went something like that `so, the same model. The overnight bus from Puno to Cuzco. While sleeping, the camera got stolen from the bag`. I asked if that was not the first time and they said that unfortunately this happens quite often. They also told me that they will contact me if something comes up and let me go.

As I have been there, one guy came with all of his documents stolen, another guy with his pistol stolen and one more with, what I’m guessing was a more serious crime, because he seemed really lost in space and he spent more time there then the rest. So I guess I can give you the most practical tip in here. In South America, whatever you do, have ALL OF YOUR valuables not only with you in the bus [I think that if I left my camera in `registered` bag I would still have it], but also wrap your arms around it. You may look stupid, but trust me, you don’t want to be in my position.

I walked around the station looking for an ATM, since I had no idea where I was, I had no map and I needed to get back. I found a mini bus that was going to the center, got in, paid 0.70 Soles for the trip and finally was back in the hostel. I found guys in the hostel and they told me they left some eggs and fruit salads for me for breakfast in the fridge. Such a lovely thing to do. I was so happy I was with someone there. Because if not, I would have probably started crying like a baby.

So the rest of the day went like a foggy nightmare. I went through my bag and realized that the fucker was unbelievably skilled. Even though he missed my money in my bag, but he took the charger from another pocket of my bag. If that wasn’t enough, he also took my phone [crappy phone, but the principle is involved] and, on top of that, he also took my knife. My dad’s knife. I was so angry, I would have probably beaten him with the shoe if I only met him.

So I tried several phones to call to my telephone company, so I could block my phone. I went for a little walk around the city, but I just felt miserable and wanted nothing. Nothing seemed right. I felt as I have lost one of the most important things for me in the trip. How do I make pictures? And yes, I have my little tiny compact camera, but that is not the same. I don’t even know how to make pictures with it anymore.

I felt down. Very much down.

But it was a Super Bowl Sunday. And I was spending time with Americans. So we had an American style dinner [hotdogs with the delicious Peruvian cheese sauce], some rom and coke, some beers and a game I do not completely understand. But before game finished my emotional status, lack of sleep, tiredness and alcohol kicked in and I went to sleep.

Bed, by the way, in this hostel, was unbelievably nice. Very comfortable and clean and awesome in general. In general the hostel is so awesome, we fell in love with it right away. So, if you ever come to Cuzco, TAKE CARE of your stuff and stay in Pariwana hostel. You won’t regret. I give you my word.

Day No 61

I woke up in the morning more or less feeling better then the day before. I went for breakfast, found Garrett there. We talked a little, ate a little and I was waiting for the banks to open. I had to pay 3.6 Soles and go back to the police and get a copy of my report. I knew my insurance is not going to cover my loss, but in case I needed it, I might as well have it.

So after breakfast I left for the bank. I had to stand in the longest possible queue to pay and I kept on waiting. Once paid, I took a better map and decided to walk to the police station. It wasn’t that far away.

Once in the station, I once again, spent half of the day waiting. While I was waiting I saw some more people there. Some girl with her phone and cards stolen, a Russian guy with his ALL documents and money and cards stolen, another two guys with their passports stolen. I cannot say it made me feel better I am not the only one, but it’s good to know that it’s not just my `luck` that struck.

Once I was back in the city, I went to the train office, so I could find information about how to get to Machu Picchu. I met South African couple there, and we kept on talking that we are not sure which option to take and how to go there. It seemed hard. You can go by train, but it’s expensive and you have to catch the but first. You can go by bus, but you have to change 3 buses and in the end you have to walk 2 hours.

Once out of the office we were caught by some guy, who was offering `Machu Picchu by car, 2 days 1 night all included – 85$`. Seemed a little too good to be true, but we decided to take a look at it. It seemed normal – it was an office, seemed an ok office, the price was so low because there is no train involved, plus it was for students, so we booked it.

Since I was a little paranoid for understandable reasons and so were they, we checked online if maybe that is a scam. Since we found nothing, we went back, paid for it and hoped for the best. We went to the market, had a meal for 1EUR, got back to the hostel and relaxed.

In the evening I joined Americans with two more friends and we went out to look for a place to eat. We ended up in an Irish pub, where we met another American from our room with some friends. I ended up having a beer and talking to one very nice and interesting Canadian man [he as a daughter who is 15, so it’s hard for me to call him `guy`]. We talked about everything. About men and women, about civil engineering, food, travelling. I really enjoyed the conversation.

Once back in the hostel we joined South Africans in the bar, had a beer, played some table football [still don’t know how it is spelled correctly - foosball?] and once the bar was closed, I went to sleep.

Day No 62

I woke up in the morning, had a shower, woke up my companions, grabbed fast breakfast and we left for the office. We were there as informed – 7.30 in the morning. There were only people like me, no one in charge. I started panicking a little.

But about half an hour late the bus showed up, we got it and we started our trip to Aquas Calientes, the little town next to the Machu Picchu. Of course, the trip did not go well. After couple of hours of a ride we were forced to stop because a bridge over the river broke. Well, that must be fun, right. There is not other way to the place we needed. So we waited for workers to put some kind of the bridge for people to crossed, crossed the river, caught a but and went to Santa Teresa, where we had to have lunch and apparently another guide was supposed to take care of us. Well, that bus was going for about 1.5 hours, crossing some rivers and waterfalls and everything and then he stopped. There was a messy mud kind of the thing on the road that he couldn’t cross.

So we had to walk around 40 minutes to the Santa Teresa. Which was a nice walk, but it was raising the `ok, so what’s next` in everybody’s heads. We got lunch, but we couldn’t get a guide. Instead we got another van, who took us to the Hidroelectrica kind of a thing and we had to walk 2 hours till Aquas Calientes.

We were having a great time going there. We were talking and joking, and standing on the bridge while the train was passing. We were taking pictures of worms and insects for Justine’s brother. We had fun. But it was a rather long walk. Together it took us around 3 hours to get to the town and it was already dark once we were there.

We found the main square once we were there, we found others from our group, we waited some more and finally another guide showed up. He guided us to the hostel, explained us all about the trip, gave us the tickets and here – another surprise. We needed passports or other IDs in order to get train tickets back. I had mine, but my companions didn’t. so we decided to save 12USD and instead of taking that train to walk the same 2 hours walk.

We went to the market, bought some snacks for the next day, had supper and soon after that went to sleep. Our day was already long and tiring and even a longer one was waiting for us the next day.

Day No 63

My cruel alarm clock woke me up before 4 a.m., I woke up my companions, we got ready and went for breakfast. Breakfast turned out to be hot water, maybe some coffee or tee [we saw nothing of that] and some soup [we saw nothing of that either]. Tired of waiting, we just went to the store, bought some cereal bars and in the middle of the rainy dark morning went towards the Machu Picchu.

It took us 25 minutes to get from Aquas Calientes to the entrance of the mountain that leads you to Machu Picchu. It took us 50 hard minutes to climb up to the entrance of Machu Picchu. Honestly, as some points I thought I was going to die.

Once there we got in, waited for the guide and finally entered the miracle, better known as Machu Picchu, or `The old mountain`. I have to say – it is pretty exciting to be there and to see it. So if you have a chance – do it. It is expensive to enter [45$ for adults, 23$ for students], but it is worth it.

We had around 2 hours of guided tour to the main places and explanations about the whole place. It was still raining and it was still very cold. So at some point we decided to eat our chocolates that we bought the day before as a snack. I cannot explain you how, but it kind of saved us. Honestly is seemed as my eyes cleared up and the world got new colours in it. So another traveling tip for you – always have a bar of chocolate with you. It might save you at points.

Once the guided tour was over, we had our time to walk around. So we walked to the place called `Inca bridge`, we had some nice views of the mountains and all, we even got some sun and warmth and around 11a.m. we went down – we still had to make that 2 hours walk back and catch something and is better known as `hopefully just one bus back to Cuzco`.

Going down all of the 1824 steps was easier but still a little hard. Once at the bottom we made some sandwiches we ate on our way and started our journey back to Hidroelectrica.

We found a minivan down there and got it. We started moving and it all looked pretty promising. But of course, at the same broken bridge there was a traffic jam. If that wasn’t enough, they made us chance a bus. We were the lucky ones, because as least we got into the bus. While one couple from Israel, who were not in the list apparently, stayed outside.

After an hour or so we started moving and finally, after some long hours in the van trying to sleep, we got back to the Cuzco. We went to our hostel, checked in once again, went out for KFC [nothing else was open] for a quick dinner, had showers and went to sleep. The long and exciting day was finally over.

Day No 64

Once awaken, I went out for breakfast and waited for guys. We were supposed to go to some ruins around and I sounded promising so I decided to join. But the guys were partying the night before so they were still asleep. After some waiting, I just went for a walk. I walked around the city, finally decided to go to the bus terminal and buy the ticket for my next destination [still had no idea where I am going to go]. I decided to ask about Nazca, and met a guy who was going the same direction. So we went around, asked for the prices, found the cheapest possible option, booked the tickets and shared a cab back to the center.

Once back in the center, I went to the market had a delicious meal for a little more than one Euro, bought a nice [it is an important thing when you travel], bought some olives and cheese and bread for dinner and it started to rain. I went back to the hostel, talked to the guys and decided to join them for the massage.

For 13 Soles we got a one hour full body massage with hot stones. I can be honest here – it wasn’t so great as Thai massage, but it was awesome for the relaxation. I enjoyed it a lot. And those hot stones – they are good. Do it. If you ever get a chance.

Once back in the hostel, i met Mat and Justine who were leaving the very same day, so we chatted for the last time, said our goodbyes and I went on reading a book.

5 Feb 2012

°LDU. ODSA. Part 3°

Day No 21

I spend the whole day of sightseeing. I started by going to La Boca, a very interesting place, full of locals and tourists. I then moved on to the center or something with canals or just big artificial pieces of water next to the tall buildings. I went to this huge park, ecological area or how locals are calling it. Basically it is a huge area full of green things: grass, trees, bushes. And lots of people. I was maybe kind of surprised, but there were plenty of people – jogging, walking around, resting at the `beach`. I guess you could say  I wasn’t one who needed to get away, no matter what from – the noise of the city or the noise of your own thoughts.

Once back from the escape of the city, I realized that I could probably really live in Bs As. I liked the city. It was big, it was noisy enough, but not too much, it was modern, it had a mix of chaos and order. I kept myself on the path – walking through the central area, once again crossing some bridges, taking some pictures, arriving to the obelisk once again, walking along the main huge street. I ended up in the Recoletta area. I just wanted to see the cemetery in there. The one everybody talks about, you know. So yes, just my luck – once I got there, it was already closed. My guess is – they closed it just minutes, if not seconds before my arrival. Which maybe would not be that bad, but it was kind of my last possibility to see it. I walked around, optimistically hoping that maybe there is another entrance and I could still get it [who would think they would close anything in Bs As at 18 hours?]. No such luck. Well, at least the gates are transparent, so I got to see that it is actually a worth seeing thing. It’s not just cemetery as we are used to. This one actually has huge, enormous monuments. Oh well, another time maybe.

After Recoletta I went to Palermo once again, walked a little around the area and ended taking the metro. Do I need to mention I took the wrong one? Or better yet – I took the right one, just going to the opposite direction. No idea how my head or my feet worked this way – I do know how to use a damn metro. Either way – it took me a while to understand what happened, so at the end I just had to get out and get back in for the right direction.

I guess this all messing up thing worked out fine at the end for me, because once I got back, I did not find the guy who was hosting me at home, instead his friend at the stairs. I said hello and his first question was – so you are a friend of Tano’s? After my positive answer he told me Tano should be home soon. So we waited for him. He was home soon. Bringing some coal and meat and everything. Well, what do you know – the night I was leaving he was making asado, or better in English speaking world known as barbeque. While I was packing and just having last minutes in Tano’s place a lot of his friends came, they offered me some fernet and everything.

Finally, before the meat got even ready, I had to leave. So Tano guided me to the doors, we exchanged hugs and goodbyes, he also asked me if I would find metro and which street I should better take, so it is safer and I left.

I got on the metro once again, this time to the right direction, but the problem was – it was night, much less metros going and I already had this feeling I am going to be late. Sure, the girl who always gives others hard time about being late is actually going to do the exact same thing. Nice. Double standard expert.

So I was late. I could only hope that Ariel would still be there waiting for me, because if not, well, let’s just face it – I would have been screwed. But going up from the metro I saw him and I saw Lima, they were both smiling even, so I figured – my being late is not gonna cost me a fortune. Lima was all over me and I have to say, it was a little hard to balance between her and my bag.

So, since the meeting was already late, I was late, we had dinner, I do not recall actually, but not earlier than 00:30, followed by some wine and some beers, we ended up going to sleep pretty late. But we had to – I was making fun of him, that he is going to the photo-shoot, so he needs his beauty sleep.

Day No 22

We got up after only several hours of sleep and took some coffee. It was early. Not for me, but for the Argentinian standards. We went for the photo shoot. It was a kind of long ride to the place, we were kind of late, but still not the last people to come, so we had to wait. While waiting Ariel asked me if I could maybe do some `backstage` pictures. Oh well, what do you know, I was just to be used in there, I laughed. It was funny actually how he was trying to explain it was not like that.

Either way, we spend kind of half of the day in there. Him – being a model and making me smile and laugh sometimes, since he really looked like someone from those catalogues of clothes and me – walking around and taking some pictures. Well, a lot of pictures, to be exact.

After it was all done and over [and I was actually glad it was. It’s not that I did not enjoy it, but Argentinian speed is killing me with the slowness] we got back to Ariel’s place. He downloaded pictures from my camera. Turns out – I might be better than I actually thought. Pictures were actually not as bad as I thought and some of them I could probably even call good. That gave me some thought again. Yes, about that thing I am not saying out loud just yet.

So after I packed once again and figured it all out again, Ariel took me to the bus station – I had to catch my bus to Mendoza. Just once I was in the bus I realized how tired I was and so my day was practically over. I drizzled to sleep.

Off Topic

How do you say goodbye to someone you know you are not going to see again?

Day No 23

My day started in the bus again. On the way to Mendoza. The bus, not to my surprise anymore, was a little late, but I was kind of happy about that this time. Tetu told me he is going to be back only that morning and I definitely did not want to get there and wait in front of his house. So it was better to be late. I figured I am strong enough to walk to his place with my backpack, which is around 30 minutes walk from the bus terminal. Too bad I did not take into calculation the fact that Mendoza is a living hell this time of the year. Sun was killing everyone around and normally there are no people in the streets during the mid-day.

I got to the place all tired and hot, so you probably have no idea how happy I was when after pressing the buzz Tetu actually came to the doors and let me in. He was sleeping and I woke him up, which I was sorry to do, but he let me do my thing and went back to sleep. I took my time for some shower, some rest, some reading a book and doing whatever I needed and letting him sleep. I was thinking about going to the city but it was so hot outside and I did not have a key, so I decided to wait for him to waking up.

At around 7p.m. he had to go to the office, so I went for a little walk. There was not many things I haven’t seen in Mendoza already, but it was kind of nice to get back to the city I actually knew already. After a little walk I went to the supermarket, bought something to eat and waited for Tetu to get back. His `I will be back around 9` turned into 11, we had some dinner and some beers together with Yogi and then Tetu went to get ready [I figured we are going out] and he left me with guitar hero. For the first time in my life I tried that thing and I have to say – I loved it. At some point some of his friends came in, we were playing some more of guitar hero. It was already around 3a.m. when I thought that maybe we are not going anywhere after all. I was wrong. Well, Mendozians are late even for Argentinian standards, but 3a.m. for going out? Well, that is something I probably have never done before.

We went to one bar, then some kind of night club till it closed, than another club. I had my portion of dancing as Tetu was promising. And before I knew it, it was already 8a.m. and we were heading back to his place. Me, him and a friend of his. Yogi got back from somewhere as well. We started playing some more of guitar hero, but around 10a.m. I have decided I got enough. Since my little couch was in the living room, where people were kind of partying, I asked Tetu if I could maybe use his bed to lay my head down and after getting affirmative answer I finally went to sleep.

Day No 24

Day No 24 or better known as 31st of December started to me around 1p.m. when I woke up and realized that I am once again the only person awake in the house. So without wanting to wake someone up, I took my book, got back to Tetu’s room and kept on reading. Around 5p.m. the life in the house became alive again – a friend has left, Tetu woke up, we went to the shop, bought some champagne and Campari for the New Years night got back to his place, said goodbyes to Yogi, who already went for his New Years celebration and while waiting for his dad to come, we played some more of guitar hero.

Once in the place, we got to the dad’s car and went to the place of Tetu’s aunt, with a big family of his for the celebration. There were really a lot of people there – aunts and uncles, cousins and nephews. They were all very welcoming. One of them asked me if I was speaking Spanish and then kept on talking to me. I definitely was not a part of the family and I felt a little strange being there in the first place, but people were so nice that they did their best to make me feel as a part of it.

At around 11p.m. we sat at the table for the New Years dinner. There was literally everything you might want – chicken, meat, seafood, sandwiches etc. And it was all good food. I really enjoyed it all. Not long after the 12p.m. kicked in and then champagnes were open, hugs and kisses for the Happy New Year part started. The amazing thing was, to me at least – people were also hugging and kissing me and wishing me happy years, even though they knew me only for couple of hours at that time.

And then there was time for fireworks, which, they had a lot. Then some more drinks, some more talking, some more wondering around, some more of everything. At around 4.30a.m. Yogi came along and when me and Tetu said our goodbyes to everyone I honestly thought we are going home. Turns out – I could not be more wrong. We went to another party. There was some big fiesta party where Tetu disappeared with his friends soon enough and me and Yogi kept on dancing till the literal dawn. People started separating and leaving the place when the sun was already high up in the sky – I don’t recall the time, but my guess is – around 8-9a.m.

Once again, my going to sleep time was later than the time I was used to wake up and get up. I was living the nights in Mendoza.

Off topic

Once again, I found myself in a miserable situation. How do I manage to do that? And yes, at the end it wasn’t as bad as I expected, but I thought I lost it. Lost it I and I did not even had a runaway plan. Why? Honestly, while holding my hand at my heart I can say – I did not do anything to f*** it all up. I still don’t know how did it all happened or why for that matter. I just wanted my dance over the sun. I just wanted to be happy.

Day No 25

New Years day started earlier than you could expect with out life-style at that point. And only because we were going back to the aunt’s place for some more food, some more drinks and some pool+sun. We did not do much at home, just got up, got ready and then went right to the place.

It was kind of the same – big family together, having lunch, having drinks, conversations and then at points refreshing themselves in the pool. It was soooo refreshing to jump into that thing, you have no idea.

It was kind of the day of doing nothing, just enjoying, you know? I watched Tetu playing in the pool with his nieces, who are very much fond of him. They all were kind of seeking his attention. Made me remember me when I was their age and those older guys, who were actually giving you at least a tiny bit of attention, seemed like the best from the best.

At some point Yogi showed up again and since most of people were napping, sleeping, watching lotteries or other things, we spent most of the time chatting with him before we had to leave. Once again, I thought, once we were on the road, that we are going home. Turns out, I could not be more wrong. At least this time we did not go to another fiesta. We got to the place of Yogi’s relatives. So once again we had a little thing to drink, to eat, a little chat and then moved back to Yogi’s van. First time I got a chance to experience ride in the back of the van slash some kind of the bed, since he has matrasses in there. It was fun.

Once we got back to the place we said goodbyes to Yogi, who left for Bs As too early in the morning,  Tetu went to the office to work on something and I drifted to sleep. I woke up at some point just to see him coming back and drizzled my way back to my dreams and sleeps.

Day No 26

You can say that I haven’t done much once I was in Mendoza for the second time and you would be right. It was not about sightseeing or hardcore traveling. It was about people, about experience, about keeping the promises and doing one thing that scares me every day.

So my Day No 26 was not much of a difference. I woke up, kept being as silent as possible, so I would not wake up Tetu, but at some point I just got tired of waiting for him to wake up voluntarily, so I left a note to him and went out. Basically I had some things I need to do that day – I had to buy my ticket to Cordoba, my next destination, I had to check my e-mail and tell at least my mom that I was still alive. I had some things I had to figure out on my own. Well, that took me couple of hours and before it got way too hot I got back to Tetu’s place. I found him almost at the door, he was going to the office, so we kind of exchanged the hellos and I stayed in for couple of hours.

After recovering of the unbearable heat outside and fighting the monsters I left again. This time – for some sightseeing. The thing I missed the last time I was in Mendoza was Cerro de Gloria [Victory Hill] and I wasn’t about to leave Mendoza without seeing it. I took Tetu’s advise and took a bus to the place. I could not be happier I did that. It was freaking hot outside and walking to the place would have been a torture from the capital T. It still was some kind of a torture anyways, because I still had to climb to the hill. It wasn’t that bad, maybe 20-30 minutes walk, but it was exhausting. Once on the top of it I saw that it was possible to get there with a car or any other vehicle, but of course, the only vehicle I have in my trip is my feet, so..

There is nothing much to do on the hill, but I still recommend you to get there if you are around. It’s nice. There is a huge monument on top of it and if you do not find it interesting whatsoever, there is one interesting point to it – the same monument is on the banknote of 5 Argentinian pesos. So if anything – you can at least have a memorable picture.

Once down the hill I waited for the bus. I saw that the number was not the same I took on my way to the hill, but how can it go to the wrong side, right? Turns out – just this how. It was going straight the road [the only possible way at that time – such a surprise] and then, when I was expecting it to turn to the right, it went left. Well, at least it did not go out of my map I was holding in my hands.

So I got off the bus on the earliest possible stop and went back to the Tetu’s place. It took me not more or less, but about 45 minutes. I could say I was lucky so at least it wasn’t that damn hot anymore.

Once again, back in his house I was not even surprised not finding him there. Working probably, so I got to my business which was basically doing nothing. Once he got back, we had some sort of `movies night`. I guess we decided just to watch one of them, which was followed by another one, then another one and finally one more on the TV. Just like always in Mendoza, since we were living only the nights, we finally closed our eyes not earlier than 4a.m.

Day No 27

I woke up pretty early, but Tetu did not seem to do the same. So I waited. It was the last day for me there and I surely did not want to escape from the house while he was still sleeping and then come back while he was still working and end up missing him saying goodbye. This time for the last time [most probably, but still chances for us to meet are less than minor]. So I waited some more. I ate some breakfast and I waited. I read my book and I waited. Finally, tired of waiting, I left him a note, woke him just long enough to tell him I was leaving and I left. I was hoping that at least last time’s scenario will repeat itself and if not having a proper goodbye, we would still have a chance to catch each other before I left.

I walked in Mendoza for the last time [probably the very last time in my life]. I had to take my time there. I had to walk the same streets, I had to breathe in the same smells for the memories, I had to make a mental picture of the city. Something addictive is about this place and I needed to make it memorable. How do you say this… Maybe I haven’t fallen for Mendoza, but I definitely fell.

So before I knew it and before I managed to take every single smell in me it was time for me to come back. So I did. I found Tetu’s note telling he will come back at 9p.m. [sure, Argentinian nine, or so I thought], I had my last supper, I packed my stuff, I settled for waiting. To my surprise, he was even early. He got back home, called a cab for me [not sure if he was thinking it was dangerous or he did not want to see me walking the same distance with my bag on my back] and we went shopping.

Surprisingly again the cab came earlier than expected and from that moment till the moment I realized I am actually moving in the car everything seems very blurry. It was too fast, too rapid and nothing like you would want. Saying goodbye to someone special to you for the last time is never easy. Saying goodbye to someone like Tetu [to me], who possibly have changed my life and turned it a little upside-down [still not loosing my idea and just taking my time to maybe implement my turn] was somewhat ripping me from the inside. And there it was – this fast hugs, getting out, last `Buena suerte en tú viaje`, last kisses and before I knew it, I was waving him from the moving car. The new years were officially over and I could only hope that it is true that your years will be just like you celebrated them.

Off Topic

Funny or sad that is, I need you to hold my hand. Again. Strong. Please.

Day No 28

I did not have much time in the bus, since I spent most of the night sleeping in it and then worrying that the bus is AGAIN late and that Ariel is waiting for me in Cordoba and that probably he is already cursing me off [is that the expression?]. The good part was – I arrived to Cordoba in one piece, but the bad part – Ariel seemed really nervous. And I wanted to explain him that `sorry, I do not drive the damn bus, it was not my fault`. Turns out, he was told that my bus came on time so he was just worrying we actually miss-met [that’s probably not even an expression. So it’s going to be my expression].

After we met, we went to take his Unita [the Car, the Baby, the True love] and started with some coffee for breakfast. I managed with no big trouble to make him change at least a little and instead of heading to his route, to make a little round and go to Alta Gracia. The small city where Che Guevara grew up. I mean, since I was so close to it, I could not just not go there right? So we hit the road.

Not long before we went we were stopped by the police. Nothing serious, just kind of a regular check. Well, kind of regular anyways. They asked where we are from, what is our relationship [why would police be interested in that in the first place?] and then they wanted to see my passport. They also checked some numbers of the engine and his papers, but since everything was in order, we were allowed to continue.

After a little drive we got to Alta Gracia, found a tourist information, collected information and went to the museum of Che. Or better yet, the house where he lived and grew up which now was turned into a little museum. I have to say, I learned some more about Che once again. It made me think.

After the museum we went for a park, which turned out to be some kind of the mess and then we tried the hills. It was once again – a weird thing. We were following the road on the map, then we got outside the map, followed just a sense, but we only got to the private areas and nowhere good and nice to look and see.

After some time we gave up and decided to move to another little town – Mina Clavero, if I recall correctly. Once we got there, we collected information at the information center from a very nice and helpful girl and since it was a little late already – we went looking for the place to stay. It was a nightmare. Everywhere we went were fully booked and there was no options, at least for that night. After some time we gave up and went to the even smaller town, Nono [which, by the way means `boobs` because of two hills next to it that look just like boobies]. We had a lot of trouble to find a place to stay there too, but finally we booked it for the next nights and for that night [it was already after 8p.m.] we took places in the very basic some sort of the hostel. Which was good, because a couple working there were unbelievably nice and helpful.

We went for dinner [we only had easy breakfast that day so we were starving], some beers and we went back to the hostel. The day was officially over.

Day No 29

The next morning we packed once again, got into the car, went to the `beach` sort of the thing next to the river where you can take a picture of the boobies, then went to the new place we were staying and finally, after getting all of the directions from the guy in the hostel, we went for some sightseeing.

After a not so long ride in the car we came to the river, where people were doing basically nothing – laying in the sun, swimming in a knee-length river. We decided not to do that. We wanted to see something, so we went along the river, hopefully towards some waterfalls or something nice. We were doing some easy rock climbing, going up and down. It was not easy, but it was good. And there were no people at all. We took a little rest in a little lagoon kind of a thing after we passed a little tiny waterfall and then went back.

While I was taking pictures, Ariel was posing [yeah, could have guessed that before, since I knew he was a part-time model], jumping from the rock to the rock and letting me make fun of him. Once we got back, it was already time for dinner, so we got into the shop, bought what we needed and went back to the place.

I was complimented on my `rice with vegetables` thing [yes, a real rocket science to make it, but still, it was nice to hear] and we ended up going to another city for some `good beer`.

It was a challenge alright. First of all, we took a short-cut [which was shown in the map, not that we created it], which was a pain in one place, because it was awful road and I guess it took us more to go there then to go on the longer one. If that wasn’t enough once we got to this `beer garden` we learned that it was closed [who closes places in Argentina before 11p.m.??] and we ended up with no good beer whatsoever.

So the night was going the following – shop, some beers, getting back to the place and watching some IT crowd.

Day No 30

Now you will probably call me an idiot, but I do not remember the place we visited next. I forgot the name completely. If I saw a map, I might be able to remember it, but whatever. So we went there with a car, since it was a little long way there. It wasn’t Cordoba anymore, it was San Luis [I guess though], but the place looked promising. We were going up and up, very high up the hills.

The views were absolutely priceless. Green hills, sun shining on them was creating this unbelievable colour. I was literally happy. Just like that. And taking pictures. One too many pictures.

Once on the top of the hills we took one turn and went for some place which sounded promising from the tourist information office. It was around 45 minutes drive on a bad, some times terrible roads that led us nowhere. After some time we got tired, gave up, took some pictures `in the middle of nowhere` and went back. We stopped at some point, did some trekking, found a little river [normally I would not even call that little water thing a river] and went back.

Down there at the hill there was a little kind of the ecological park, so we entered. The river was bloody cold, so I decided against swimming in it, but Ariel did. Soon enough though the sun hid and it was becoming pretty cold so we packed and went back.

We had a meal in a small tea house. Very cozy and very nice but extremely slow place. I, once again, do not remember the name, but I had the best Italian style little sandwiches there. Especially the ones with dried tomatoes and olives were unbelievably tasty. After that we went for another beer garden which was open and got the Artesenal beer. My companion was so happy about it.

We got out of the town pretty late and it was still a long way back to the place we were staying. I am not sure when exactly did we come back, but it was late and still we took our time for some beer and IT crowd. Yes, it can become seriously addictive.

Day No 31

The next day we basically just tried to find a nice place not too far away. So we started and ended up close to another little river. We were once again, walking around, climbing a rock up and a rock down, jumping here and there, crossing water again and again. After we got tired we reached some little bar just next to it with a fabulous view to the landscapes, so we settled for a little rest and some beer called `Cordoba`. I was not surprised I have never seen it, but Argentinian, who have been to Cordoba a lot of times never seen it – well that was a little of the surprise.

Anyways, we stayed there a little bit, but not too long. We had to go back, because for the last night and since in the place we were staying there was a possibility to make barbeque, we decided to do exactly that. On our way back we took some hitchhikers, went to the shop and finally – got back to prepare the dinner.

It was one of the best barbeques I have ever had. It involved an incredibly tasty sweet pepper [paprika – how do you call it in English exactly?] and some very tasty meet, plus a good company. After a little while we decided to make it an easy night and not to go out to look for another beer garden or anything – the long day was ahead of us and for some or us – even a long night.

Day No 32

So the beginning of the day was almost as always – packing and leaving. I got so much used to packing and unpacking that I think I can seriously put it on my CV as a additional skill.

We were heading back towards the Cordoba, but we did stop for a little trek and kind of last nature thing around the area. We did not find a waterfall or anything, but we found a river and a shade next to it where we could stretch our legs and just stay there. Unfortunately soon enough more and more people were coming in with families and kids and it became a little too crowded, so we moved on to the road.

We made another stop and some 100meters waterfall which is the birth of a little river. It was a little walk down the hill, marked one but we still managed to get lost. After going too steep down and seeing the waterfall somewhat we decided to go back. On our way back we found the actual way toward the `view point`, so we went to look at the waterfall one more time and finally – we got back up.

Before we got to Cordoba we visited a very nice little town [no name I’m afraid], but since all of the places [and I am not exaggerating] for eating were closed or not preparing meals for the time being we had to leave it. We decided to have a lunch on the road, since I already proved my skills of feeding people while they are driving and have my experience back from trips in Lithuania or Europe. We got some salami, some cheese, some bread and went back to Cordoba.

I literally missed Cordoba as a city itself, since all I’ve seen there was a bus terminal. But people I met before told me the city is nothing much to see or do, except for partying and dancing, so I wasn’t crying my eyes out for that.

It was once again, strange and weird, since I was saying goodbye to someone I will most probably never ever see again. I still have not managed to answer the question how do you actually say goodbye in these tough situations. Although Ariel waited with me for the bus and waver me goodbye.

I finished my day in the bus. Next destination – Salta.

Day No 33

I have to say – after getting used to travelling with a car for several days it was a little weird of getting out of the bus, going to the information office, getting a map and walking, actually walking my way to some hostel which I was only hoping will not be fully booked.

I was lucky that the first one I entered actually had some place. Just not right then, I had to come back a little later. So I left my things and with a much lighter bag went for a walk. My first stop – tourist information where I got a more decent map, some more information [but mostly about museums that I was not that much interested in], walked around the main square and back to the hostel. I got the bed, I took a shower I tried checking tickets and other things on internet, but oh, just my luck – the internet went down, so instead of waiting for it to wake up, I went for another walk. There is a San Bernardo hill in Salta and you can get up to it with a little lifting balls [can’t remember the name] or by the stairs. Me, the strong girl – of course I can do the stairs right? 1070 steps. And I am not joking. It is written like this at the bottom.

So in the beginning it was an easy walk. You do not count the steps, you are just walking. After some time, when it gets hard, you start thinking – why the hell you did not count those steps, now you would at least have an idea how far more you need to go more. And the funny thing was – I almost only met people going downstairs. Well, so I am just the only freak there, going up, I thought.

But that wasn’t true, actually. After some point, I started seeing more and more people. They were not just going up, they were actually using that as an exercise. So probably they were doing it more or less every single or every second day.

Once on the top, I took some time to relax and get my breath back. It was a very small place, with nothing much to see or to do, except for some sports and a view of the city. Which was nice, I give you that, but nothing `oh my god` nice, you know?

The rest of the night I spent in. Having some dinner, reading some book, talking to some people. Over.

Day No 34

I have decided not to waste any more time and do the important things first. I went to the bus terminal to buy my ticket to Atacama. And here I got the damn surprise. The earliest I could book the ticket was after 7 or 8 days. Oh wow, I really could not stay in Salta for that long. But since internet in my hostel [after I learned that not just in my hostel, but in most of the city] was down, I went looking for an internet café. My first trial was a mess, I ordered some coffee and only then learned that internet was down there too. Second trial – a little place with a lot of computer was promising. At least they had internet. Too bad though, they did not have the tickets I needed. I kept on looking and searching and looking some more and doing some more research and at the end I have decided to skip Atacama and go to Bolivia. At least for going to Bolivia there is no such thing as all of the tickets booked.

I got some rain just after I finished and since I was not interested in museums, I only had to wait for it to end. After that I had a little more walking around the city, booked two tours for the next two days [since Salta itself is nothing special, but the places around are spectacular] and ended up easily in the hostel with some internet and some reading of the book.

Day No 35

I had to wake up unbelievably early in order to catch my tour bus and go to Cafayate. Once at the agency I met my guide for the day, got into the bus and started my trip.

First two hours were totally nothing special – just driving forwards. After those two hours the magnificent views started appearing. Huge hills, very red or very coloured were getting taller and taller and more spectacular. We stopped at several places, like `Amphitheater` and `Devil’s something` to take some pictures on the way. Too bad the absolutely best spots for making pictures and astonishing places to see, something like a Grand Canyon in US were visible to me only from the window of the bus. Still, I can tell you honestly – if you get a chance – go there and see it. Absolutely amazing. Those hills and canyons have different colours and not just to say it, they are actually green, red, yellow or white. Those are breathtaking landscapes and those who know me know better than that – it is not that easy to take my breath away.

Just before we got into the Cafayate, we visited a vinery. Which could have been nice if we only took our time there. But since we were on a schedule all we did there was taste vine and get out. Not that bad, to be honest, the vine was good, just a little too little time. We also went to the very touristy market where I, of course, did not buy a thing and then – lunch. I decided I can give it to myself – to go there and feel a normal human being, having a decent lunch for a change.

I took a seat next to a American women. I cannot tell you exactly how old she was, but since one of her kids are my age, we can guess she is more or less my mom’s age. And she is traveling. For several months. Backpacking. Just like me. She told me her family thought she was crazy. I have to admit, if I wasn’t just like her, I would probably think the same – the woman not in her twenties, sold her house, quit her job and went travelling. For as long as she has money. We talked a bit and I learned a lot about her. At some point in her life she figured out that she want to do something `in return` for the world, so she established a little NGO and doing good things for the ones who have less. They built some houses in Guatemala and next year they are planning on building a library in Cambodia. I almost asked her if I could join. I would kill for the activity like that. And going back to Southeast Asia.. Well, that would be one of the dreams to come true. Which, lets face it, I still have millions and billions.

So after the lunch we still had around 40 minutes, so we decided to take a little walk around the city, where basically there is nothing to see. Honestly. We visited a silver shop, main square, cathedral and other places around it. Once we got into the bus, we had a little ride and we got off at another vinery. Finally, I thought I will take a decent walk around it. Well, once again, as almost always in my life, I could not be more wrong. With the coming rain we had to rush, so instead of skipping tasting of the vine, we skipped the tour in the vinery plus a little museum of vine. Oh well.

Once on the road, we did not get any rain, but we did stop for some `lets feed lamas` kind of the thing. Very touristy, but I had to try. It was strange seeing lamas who are not afraid of you. Usually they run as fast as they can from you. Well, that or that fact that they were actually hanged.

All the rest of the trip back to Salta was as usual, people were sleeping and I was reading a book. Although once we got close to the Salta, we faced the first difficulty – even if we skipped the rain on the road, Salta did not and it was huge apparently. Some roads were closed, we had to go all around and at some points it seemed as if we literally crossing rivers.

Once back in the hostel, since it was pretty late already I did nothing much. I met a British couple, who decided to hitchhike to Atacama, since there are no bus tickets available went to sleep. My day was, once again, officially over.

Day No 36

If I had to wake up early the day after, I had to wake up even earlier this day. My tour was starting at 6:30a.m. and I was going to Cachi. Now to those who might be interested – it is definitely a nice place, but not much to do, so instead of booking a tour to Cachi, you might wanna consider booking one for some other place, which I do not remember the name, but it is going up, close to Jujuy and apparently has much more things to see.

Anyways, I took some breakfast and went to the office. There I met my guide, a young good looking French guy, who made me sit in the front with him. He explained that if I sit just behind him he will be talking and spitting and I do not want a saliva rain in my face. I agreed. Since I was the only one taken from the office we talked a little bit what is he doing in Salta and what I am doing in my life in general.

Once we collected all of the people the trip started. The scenery there is different from the Cafayate, but amazing really. Red and green colours in the rocks and mountains, serpentine roads through those hills and mountains I could probably say up to more than 3000 meters altitude was really spectacular. There I did one new thing for the day – I tried coca leaves. For the concerned ones – it is not a drug or illegal stuff. It is actually legal in Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia and probably some more countries. So I did not do anything bad. Besides, with the altitude – coca leaves are saving your ass. Trust my word on it – I experienced it in Bolivia. Anyways, the thing works like this – you take several leaves of coca, and put it between your teeth and cheek. And you leave it there for half an hour, one hour, how much you like. No some kind of `high` effect, but apparently to overcome the effect of altitude – it is a great deal. We were going up and down the hill with several stops to making some pictures, which, once again, were kind of a breath taking.

We also stopped in one out of two parks of cactuses in the world, where we were able to see cactuses of 200-300 years old. Tall as well. I know I am tall for this part of the world, but they were even taller. Once in Cachi, we went to east some typical food of the region. And then – a little walk around the town, which is basically three streets, little plaza and that is it. After that – we headed back.

Once I thought it was over, it became interesting. We were the entering the cloud. No kidding. We were up high, so that is not such a surprising thing. And I know, I have been in the cloud before. I lived in the cloud in Turkey that one first time of mine there in my life, but this was different. The views from the window were absolutely priceless, unfortunately impossible to take pictures off. Those green huge hills and clouds below looked so unreal, just like from the fairy tale, you know? Ok, maybe I will take my word away afterwards – the guide said that it is almost every single day in Cachi like this, so maybe you should go there after all. It is amazing view. The only tip I have – do not fall asleep then in your ride back – you might miss it.

Once I got back to the hostel, I packed my stuff, got some very surprising looks at me and my bag and I went to the bus terminal to wait for my bus. I had a new book, so that was not a problem, the waiting I mean. The funny thing is though, that at some point I closed my eyes just for the second and once I opened them, it was 30 minutes later. But at least I did not overslept the bus. Once in the bus, it wasn’t that hard to fall asleep again – I had a long day, I will probably be having even a longer one, so sleep was official. My last night in Argentina. Somewhat it felt strange. I experienced too much in it. I saw too much. I got too involved and I left too much. when you think about it, I was really close to just skipping it. And now, I could not believe I was actually leaving it.

The country that changed me. The country that changed my life. The country were you can only love and hate honestly. The country that taught me several lessons of life. The country where I will have to come back. One way or another.

Off Topic

Once again, I entered the panic zone. This time – quite reasonable. It wasn’t just a simple paranoid looking fear. It was real. And yes, you may say that I am stupid enough walking on a thin ice and dancing or playing with fire there. And yes, I would agree with you. And it would probably be a lie if I told you I will never do that again. I still do not have an answer why I am sometimes acting THAT stupid. Maybe I just trust my luck too much. and I know this is a bad excuse, but I do not have a better one. Not for now at least.

On the Day No 36 I did not know that yet, I could only have hoped, but I entered a panic zone but I did not have to do that. Once again, my luck was stronger than anything and it kind of literally saved my butt. Again. I should probably stop doing this. But.. How can you taste a life without dancing on a thin ice? Yes, it is a bad excuse. It is not even an adrenaline rush. Simple stupidity. I’m almost 27. I should be smarter. I should know better.

Can I be honest? I hope I will. I’m afraid I won’t.

Day No 37

My day started very early and not so comfortable. I had to leave a bus which, to my surprise, was not late, at around 7a.m. and take my bag from very mean `bus boys`. They were not expecting for the tips to give you your bag [which is nonsense to me if you care for my opinion], but they are requesting it as if `give me money or I will piss on your bag`. Such a lovely attitude. After that another surprise. I mean I know I am at the border city, but the queue for the toilets were unbelievable. I figured out it is not the most important thing in the world. I tried to moved on.

Another thing was – I did not have a map of the town, it was too early in the morning for the tourist kiosk to be open and I had no idea where is that border. I looked around and saw a gringo looking not Gringo [European and Dutch were my guesses], most probably looking for the same thing as I did. So I went to him asked if he was looking for the border as well, he responded positively and seconds later we were already in the cab going towards the border.

Turns out it was a good thing that the bus was not late and that we arrived early. Crossing that border is a pain in one place. Especially if you come in the afternoon. Consider this a traveling tip – if you ever get to Villazon [from Bolivia part] to cross the border – DO IT in the very early morning. Just to save you some time and nerve cells. We joined the queue and waited.

It wasn’t that bad once the border opened and the queue started moving slowely. I learned that gringo looking guy was Swiss and going the same route at least for Bolivian part. And so, after maybe 1.5 hours we were in Villazon. Benvienidos a Bolivia.

We stayed in Villazon just long enough to find an ATM, get into the bus station and catch a bus to Tupiza. There is nothing to do in Villazon. It was around 2.5 hours on a crappy bus, but the views from the window were unbelievable. Bolivian landscape is awesome from the very beginning. Once in Tupiza we found a hostel, put our stuff in it and went out. We went to the market, grabbed a creap lunch, walked a little around and ended up on the little hill, where you can see a panoramic view of the place. Very nice. It’s hot and very hot there, but nice as well.

Since my new found friend wanted to take a tour to Uyuni from Tupiza, we went to look for a agency for him. Once in one of them, since the lady was so nice and had a lot of information, I asked her about possibilities [in general, not just in that agency] about going to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile and since it is complicated, long time and much more expensive, I decided to join Swiss guy and take the tour in there. We booked it for the next day and with some information about where to go around Tupiza, we left.

We took a little hike, but hard, because it was so insanely hot to the landscapes. It is hard to explain the things you see, because it is mostly rocks and mountains and hills and desert, which are unbelievable pretty but hard to describe. If you want to see it, you have to go there. We were going to some rock called `the doors of devil` and we missed it, somehow. Well, just my luck. We found it on our way back though, so you can consider us not that awful of the tourists.

Once back in the city I rushed for the post office, we had a little rest and went out for the dinner and some beers. Not too much, since we had to start a tour the next day and it was supposed to be a long and hard trip up to more than 4000 meters above the sea level. I did not know that at that precise moment, but it was a REAL killer to me.

Day No 38

We had breakfast in the hostel and left for the tour agency. To my surprise the lady from the hostel found us and told us we had to pay for breakfast [I honestly thought it was included in the price, but probably, I was wrong]. It was only 1EUR, so it wasn’t that bad, but still crazy. How did she manage to find us?

Anyways, we met a Belgium guy and an Argentinian guy who were going on the same tour with the same company in the same jeep. But as we watched all of the rest of the cars to leave, we were still waiting for ours. I was starting to get nervous and worried. Well, just like always, right?

Once the jeep was there, we packed and went on the road. We had a very lovely guide/driver and very lovely cook Maria with us. The day No 1 in the tour was mostly the amazing landscapes, which, once again, you have to see to appreciate and going up and up and up the sea level. That kicked me. I got a headache. And I thought I will manage to overcome it buy some sleep, it did not help. On our way there we stopped at a plain place with millions of lamas and had lunch. I ate some lunch but the headache was still with me. And it was getting worse and worse.

Once as we stopped in somewhat nice, but tiny and deserted town I asked for some medications. Too bad they only had paracetamol, but I guessed it’s better than nothing. I took it and went to sleep. Landscapes were still awesome but after a while is seems quite the same.

Sleep and pill worked and once we stopped for the night I hardly felt anything. I was happy. And we were two jeeps in there. Ours and another one, with four Argentinians. We settled in a tiny little town in the altitude of 4200 meters with amazing views of mountains around. The guys found a ball and we went for play football.

After two minutes and my headache coming back I decided I am better at taking pictures than playing so I just watched. And the guys were very out of breathe in the second. Well, altitude. After football we went for the walk, met some local kids, played with them, played some guitar with them, finally, got back in for the dinner.

After dinner we stayed with the guys from another jeep till quite late, playing a game which is similar to Mafia. You know – the town goes to sleep, the killer wakes up, chooses his/her victim and so on. It was fun and it was great, but it was getting freakishly cold [altitude again] and we went to sleep. For the long 4 hours, we slept.

Day No 39

The day better known as `the best things I have ever seen in my entire life` started VERY early in the morning. We left and the sun was not even out yet.

We stopped at a ghost town, very deserted `once there’s been people` kind of the place and then landscapes landscapes landscapes.

I really cannot explain you how beautiful those places are but once there you cannot hold it in. you want to scream and shout and cry of joy. We stopped at some lake. I same some kind of lake, because it has so many minerals in it, that it is weird walking next to it and the colours.. well, they just do not look like water at all: white, orange, red, purple, pink and so on. I took maybe a million pictures there. I could not help it.

We moved on and stopped at another place, not sure how to call it – some sandy valley maybe. Unbelievable views. I took millions of pictures there as well. Then we stopped at the white lake, full of zinc and looks very unusual.

We stopped at a hot bath sort of the thing next to another incredible lake for the lunch. While the guys were enjoying that hot water, I enjoyed staying next and taking pictures. Once again, the views were priceless.

Once after the lunch we went for another lake, or lakes for that matter – the green once and the white one [another one]. They do look like they are named – truly. The green was is totally green and the white one is definitely white. No kidding. And it’s all thanks to the minerals.

After the lakes we changed the view a little, we went for the geysers [or how do you spell this word?]. well, it was another first thing in my life once again. Interesting to see all the smokes coming out of the ground and see the mud being spit out of the holes in it. I might agree that geysers are probably much more exciting in Iceland for example, but for the time being, these were enough to me.

And then, for the ending of the very long and spectacular day we went for the `Laguna Colorada`, which basically means coloured lake. It was coloured alright. Red and orange and white were the main coloures. If you did not know, you would probably guess that somebody put paints in it. And it was full of pink birds [flamingos]. And so close to the shore that pictures are actually pretty amazing [will come to the blog eventually]. It was breathtaking, the views.

Once that over, we settled for a tiny not even a town for the night. It was awfully cold, so we stayed in, had a supper, had a wine, had some more of the same Mafia game with the same Argentinian guys and went to sleep. Still freezing. And my headache, plus stomach ache was coming back. I was starting to feel as if I was getting worse and worse.

Day No 40

We started a little later that day, packed our things once again and went on the road. First stop – a rock tree. Basically in the middle of the desert there are a lot of huge rocks you can take pictures, climb on and so on. And this is exactly what we did, for a 20 minutes at least, anyways.

Once after that we had a little drive and I was starting to feel worse and worse every minute. My head was double the size and I was almost sure my stomach decided to stop working. Once we stopped at the black lake, I managed to get out of the car and walk a little towards it, but that was it. I was feeling pretty bad. I could not even look at the side of the lunch, instead I took medications, some coke with me and I was hoping for my stomach to work – one way or another, because it, together with a headache was killing me.

We played some elderly people’s game, I was still feeling like `mierda` and we moved on. We stopped at several more places, still magnificent, but not as magnificent as the ones before, took some pictures and finally arrived to Uyuni. My trial to get some water with gas [mineral water] failed, since it does not exist in Uyuni, so instead I drank my coal and went to sleep. I was hoping for a better feeling. That did not completely came. I went for dinner, and guys forced me to eat something, but I actually would have preffered nothing instead. I went to sleep a little more after dinner again.

Once in the evening I started to feel at least a little better, so I joined the other guys for some hanging out. At the end my headache started to kick in again, so at the end I left them and went to sleep. An early start was waiting for us the day after.

Day No 41

We had to wake up way before the sun did. I was ok, since I slept half of the day before, but my guys were pretty tired. We took the same jeep and went to the Uyuni, salt desert and went to the salt hotel. It was still dark in there so we patiently waited for the sunrise. Finally the sun came and we were taking pictures. Me, as usual, I took more than necessary, but it was impossible not to take them. Such a beautiful thing. You do not see those everyday.

Once sun was up, we had breakfast in salt hotel. It is called salt hotel because everything in there is made of salt. If you don’t believe it, you can taste it and realize it for yourself. We had pancakes and even though I wasn’t so sure about my stomach, I did not care about it anymore. I may die that day later, but I could not possibly refuse pancakes. Seemed that my stomach enjoyed them.

Once settled we drove a little more further and took our time to make, what our guide and cook called `fotos locas`, which basically means `crazy pictures`. One day, in a blue moon, those appear on the blog. Consider that a promise.

After that I was the only one who wanted to go to the cemetery of the trains, but the guys were positive about it, so we went. Too bad I only had a little time there, because some of the angles for the pictures are priceless there. I took pictures as much as I could, I climbed some of the trains and we had to get back for lunch.

After lunch we went to the bus station, said goodbyes to our guide and cook [they were really lovely people, so if you ever do a Uyuni tour from Tupiza, please let me know and I will tell you where to find them. Or just head for Torre Tours].

We took the same bus that 4 Argentinians, who were always with us during the Uyuni tour and left for Potosi. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to Potosi, but I was sick and everything, so when guys offered to buy ticket for me I was very positive – I will go anywhere as long as I do not need to decide anything.

It was around 5-6 hours bus ride with the spectacular landscapes. Once again – Bolivia is so rich of those that it is absolutely impossible not to enjoy them. Once in Potosi I was feeling a little better, but we had to walk to the center which was a bit of a walk and with bags plus the altitude it was a challenge alright. Once in the center we settled for just sitting and keeping an eye on the bags, while the others went to search for the hostel. They found one. Very cheap and not the perfect, but good enough.  We settled.

I wasn’t feeling perfect, even though not terrible, so all we did was to go out to the market and get some food, got back to the hostel and the guys just disappeared. I guess for some drinking party. I drifted to sleep though. Altitude was giving me tiredness all of the time.

Day No 42

The next day we spend very easily, just walking around the city. We started in the market with some breakfast. It is amazing, I tell you. You go to the market, you order bread with cheese, bread with butter and some coffee or tea and you pay for that in total a little less than one dollar.

Once we all ate, we went through the little streets of the Potosi, went to the main square and finally decided to go on a little hill for the panoramic view. It was a short walk up, but with an altitude and lack of oxygen it was a bit of a work out. Once up, I decided to take some pictures from the other side of the hill and was almost attacked by a dog. Warning – there are a lot of dogs in South America in the streets in general, but so far only in Bolivia I managed to meet angry ones who are going after my feet or hands or some other parts of my body.

The guys decided to go up the restaurant on the same hill and I, with no clear view of what I wanted to do, joined. Once up, we met the same Argentinians guys. It seemed like a destiny for us to keep on bumping in each others. We had a drink, then another one, then another one and finally went back to the hostel to rest a little. After that we went for the dinner and hopefully some fun, but hostel told us there is a limit until what time we can be out, so we ended up just going for the dinner, a beer and got back to the hostel. Altitude was still giving us effect after all.

Day No 43

Once again, we started the day in the market with cheap and quite tasty breakfast and then went to a little tour of the mines. Every tour agency in Potosi offers you that and it is one of the little things you can do once you are there. Basically they take you, dress you almost as a miner, make you buy gifts [but cheap ones, like coca leaves, cookies and etc.] for the miners and take you to the mine where people are actually working. So sometimes you have to move to let them go and so on.

We spend about two hours in the mine, where our guide explained it all to us – about the mine, people working there, minerals that can be found and so on and so forth. It was really interesting, especially being around those workers and I can only imagine how hard it must be to work there. It was already hard just to be there.

After the mines we got back to the center, had lunch and went to some place that Gilles said is spectacular because there is a hot kind of pool on the top of the volcano and you can see the whole city from there. Well, that sounds exciting, doesn’t it? I thought so too, until I got there. Turned out it was just a hot or better yet warm kind of little lake on a little hill and all you can see from there is three houses. Not a panoramic view of the city – for sure. Anyways, guys decided to go for a swim so we stayed there for a little.

Once back in the hostel Argentinians were already gone for Sucre, but we found other Argentinians and ended up playing the same Mafia kind of a game. Till 4.30 in the morning.

Day No 44

After a short sleep we packed and left the hostel, because it was our time now to go to Sucre.

We found a cab in the street and the drive had a little kid with him. He wanted to put the kid on our bags in the trunk [well, open trunk I give you that] and we offered to take him on our laps. He cheerfully nodded and finally went on driving with the kid on his laps. I was seriously afraid that if we crash that kid was the first one to die.

Once we got to the terminal I was pleasantly surprised – it was quite new, very modern according to Bolivian standards. We bought tickets and went for breakfast. Guys told me that the bus was leaving 11.30, so I was taking it easy. Besides, everything in Bolivia is always chaotic and late, so why rush, right? In the middle of our breakfast some guy came to us, asked if we bought tickets to Sucre and that the bus was already waiting for us and was ready to leave. So we rushed for it and got to the bus.

Once in Sucre we spend a lot of time searching for the hostel. Once we found one it was already late afternoon. The guys were still preparing themselves with bags or something and I was out reading the map when the same 4 Argentinians came in. Apparently we chose the exact same place to stay. It was incredible really. So after a little chat we went for lunch and some sightseeing in the city. The city itself is not very much spectacular, but those little narrow old fashioned streets are nice.

Once back in the hostel we took our time – had showers, had some rest. Later at night we were trying to find a place for the night. For dinner and possibly some partying, maybe dancing. We found a place completely for gringos, but we entered. We ate tacos and had some beers and afterwards everyone felt tired enough so we decided to put all the dancing and partying for another day. We just got back to the hostel and went to sleep.

Day No 45

Since there is nothing much to do in Sucre, we left the hostel in the late morning, wondered a little in the streets of it and decided to go to the park where apparently you can find footprints of dinosaurs. It was a fairly easy ride up the hill in the mini-van, but the park itself was a disappointment. It was very small, only had several dinosaurs dolls and some sort of rocky wall where there were some things on them and they call that footprints of dinosaurs. Well, maybe, I cannot really discuss that a lot. Could be.

Me and Simon though, took our time in a playground. As always, it turned out to be the most exciting part of the museum. We ended up playing chess kind of the thing.

Once back in the city we separated the ways. Guys wanted to visit museums and I wasn’t interested so instead I decided to go to the panoramic view point. It was a hard walk due to altitude and lack of oxygen, but the view was nice enough for me to stay there a little longer. The guys joined me there a little later and we ended up having a drink there and enjoying the view plus the silence.

In the evening we went for a meal and then guys wanted to go partying. Ok I thought, I can go partying, although I wasn’t very much into it. Our partying ended up being no party whatsoever. Going from one street to another, looking for a place, asking locals where to go, going those directions, finding nothing and moving around without clear purpose started to piss me off. So I said I was going back to the hostel and they can go partying till the morning. Not sure if they were tired of wandering around as well or if they did not want to let me go alone, they joined me and we went to sleep. I was definitely happy with such an ending of the day.

Day No 46

I was woken up in the early morning by Gilles knock on the doors and something like `let’s go` and he went straight for the shower. Once he was out of the shower it was 7:50 and he told me `we are leaving for the market town at 8`. Seriously, I wanted to tell him some not so nice things. I mean yes, we decided from the day before we were going to that very touristy city with big market, but we did not decide on the our and giving me 10 minutes to get ready plus to make my bag ready was a little bit too much. so I told Luis, who was my roommate at that time, that I am going to take a shower and there is no way I am going to be ready in 10 minutes, so they can go to that town and I will do something else. I was that angry.

I took my time in the shower and then I was packing my bag – slowly. Not on purpose, but in general – I did not want to go to that town in the first place very much, plus, I wanted to make my things in order. Luis and Simon was coming to me asking how much more time I need and that maybe I could hurry, because the last bus to that town is at 9 and we have to try to make it. I was telling them all of the time that they can go and I won’t go, but they were still waiting.

Finally, around 8:30 I was ready, still pissed, but ready and we went to look for the mini van to the place from where we can take a minibus to that town. Gilles, as always `I know everything and everything` without consulting or talking was going to one side of the road, then another and so on. That was only pissing me off more and I was ready to play my bitchy side and act like one. Good at least that Luis and Simon were not like me, but I guess they had hard time trying to balance between me and Gilles. At the end we took a cab and came to the place.

The minibus came early enough and of course, Gilles was one of the first ones to get it and take a seat. Right, I don’t care about myself, but sure, that is a very manly thing to do – when you have a lot of women different age in the minibus who, by the same, some of them, have to stand because there are no seats.

Anyways, we started moving. And if I thought that this place is close, I could not be more wrong. It was around 2.5 hours away. And once we got there, I realized that is VERY very touristy. Those places are tiring me very fast. And, if that wasn’t enough, we got a huge rain, so we had to find a roof and wait for it to finish or at least slow down.

The day was strange and we did not do much. First we waited for the rain to slow down, then we took a little walk, but it was freakishly cold, so we ended up going to some place for coffee or tea. Then we went to another place, some kind of the restaurant with traditional dances. Ok, I give you that – it was a nice place, where we could sit down, have something to eat, watch some traditional Bolivian dances and play some games. So guys were playing chess and I was playing with cards.

Once the time came, we left, found a minibus to go back to Sucre, got back, said our goodbyes to the Argentinians who we were bumping into all of the time, probably for the last time and went to the bus station. We had to get to Cochabamba and our bus was leaving in the evening. We spent night in the bus, trying to sleep or just pretending to sleep.

Day No 47

Cochabamba welcomed us very early in the morning and with some rain. Looking for the hostel wasn’t going that well, because all or most of the places were still closed for the night. We ended up finding a market and having a breakfast. Then I volunteered for going and looking for the place. 20 minutes later I had a place already and went back to the market. Guys were already having a second kind of breakfast.

We went to the hostel and before I knew it, both of them were asleep. I was tired as well, so I thought I am just going to lay down and close my eyes for just a second. Second was long.

Once awake, we went for a walk. Once again, just like most cities in Bolivia, people are living by buying and selling. There is nothing else happening, but markets and street shops are all around the place. We walked to the main square, we did a little tour around the churches. At the end we went to the hill with Jesus on top of it. And in the beginning we were thinking about climbing to it, it is something like 1300 steps, but once there and since taking that cabin that brings you there costs only a little less than a dollar we decided to take it and walk stairs down.

After waiting in the queue for a while we got into the cabin and flew up. From the top of it you can see a nice view of the city and the hills that surround it. But apart from that – there is nothing much to do up there. Guys went up inside Jesus also and I just stayed watching the view.

Going down the stairs was pretty fast and easy, even though the sun and heat was killing us. Once down we went searching for the market of witches. We found some, but at the end Simon did not go for it and did not ask anything about his future, so we returned to the hostel.

In the evening, since it was supposed to be a last night of the three of us, we went out. Amazing thing was that in one bar we order a jar of Caipirinha drink [two glasses each] for 3.5 EUR. Tell me that is not crazy. So we stayed there, talking and laughing. After that we went out, looked for another place, which did not work. We tried to find a place to eat and we were not that successful also. We ended up eating burgers from the street stand [they were good, though] and going back to the hostel. It was already after midnight and at least Luis had to wake up early. I still had to make up my mind if I should stay there longer or leave for La Paz.

Day No 48

When I woke up and saw it is raining and does not seem to be a short rain, I decided to go to La Paz. I mean, what can you do in the city or around it when you are soaked with rain? Simon, after seeing the weather, decided the same thing, so we went to the market for some breakfast, back to the hostel, packed our things and went to the bus terminal.

We were lucky to find a but that left 20 minutes later, so we bought the tickets, paid bus terminal tax and went for the bus. It was supposed to be 7 hours of bus ride, but with the traffic, especially in crazy La Paz, it took as longer and we got of in La Paz not earlier than 7p.m. We still did not have a place to stay or a plan, so we went out and started searching for the hostel.

The first one we entered was promising. It cost 30 Bolivianos per person [3 EUR] in double rooms and was available. Not sure if we were just that tired, but we took it. The guy working there was a bit bizarre, but who cares right?

Once settled we once again went out for a meal in the market. The amazing thing about Bolivia is that you go to the market and you get the whole meal [sometimes soup and second] for more or less 1 EUR. We also went to several travel agencies and got information that going to the Jungles is dangerous and maybe even impossible with the bus due to the rains and conditions of the roads. That made me and Simon think, because we were thinking about catching the bus the next morning. So instead of making a rapid decision we went for a meal. We found a place, very nice with very nice atmosphere and service [I do not recall the name, but I remember where it is, so if you need – I can tell you the directions] and had a decent meal for 2.5 EUR, including salad, soup and second which to me was trout and it was delicious.

We ended the day deciding to stay in La Paz for one more day and clearing our minds about where to head next and how.

Day No 49

We got up and La Paz congratulated us with a rain. Just our luck. So we went for breakfast in the market, San Fernando square and cathedral and then separated our ways. Luis wanted to go to the museums, I needed tourist information, information about how to get to jungle and post office and Simon wanted to see the Coca museum.

We met after couple of hours and since the rain had stopped, we decided not to waste too much time and go to the Valley of the Moon. Something extraordinary and worth seeing apparently.

It took us some time and some of my nerves to get to the spot where we could take a mini van to the place, but once we succeeded it was a 30 minutes drive through the crazy streets of La Paz to the Valley. The valley turned out to be not valley, but it is really worth visiting. It looks a little like sand castle, just a huge one and you can walk around it inside. Plus next to it there are a lot of red [but really red] hills or mountains, so we enjoyed the walk and taking the pictures.

Once again, it was the last night for the three of us so after some negotiations with the hostel we got approved to go out and be as late as 1a.m. and we went. It wasn’t so easy to find a place, but we ended up finding one. Very strange, very not noticeable, but very nice. Some sort of underground pub, where at least I felt like at home.

Day No 50

We woke up in the morning, packed our stuff once again, said goodbyes to Luis who was going to Copacabana and went to another bus terminal with Simon to catch a bus to Rurrenabaque. At the end we decided to give it a try. How bad can it be? If bus are going, we can go too. It was supposed to be 18 hours of a bus ride.

Taxi dropped us off in the middle of the street and claimed that this is the `bus terminal`. Well, he was right, but it did not look like a terminal at all. Just a simple street with a lot of street shops and some agencies who kept on shouting the destinations. We bought the tickets in one of the places, still had an hour or so to kill, so we went for breakfast [a big cup of coffee and bread with butter and jam cost 0.3 EUR] and then buying something to eat for the road.

Once in the bus, we started moving. It was an experience alright. The road was awful in the sense of condition, not paved, drenched with rain and very narrow. It was like a death road for the buses. While passing with another bus was an adventure all the time, because you could see the cliffs just centimeters away from the bus. All I could think was – if the bus can do it, I can do it too. Meaning – I was going more and more ready for the death road on a bike once back in La Paz.

Despite the extremity, the views from the bus window were absolutely unbelievable. All the hills, mountains, rocks and forest. It was like watching a live national geography. If you ever come to Bolivia – try going up north to the Rurrenabaque. It is worth it. Even if very long.

So we spent the whole day in the bus.

Day No 51

We were supposed to be in Rurrenabaque at around 6 in the morning, but that did not happen. Since we had to stop and stay on the road for the whole night, we spent the whole other day in the bus again.

After 31 hours of a bus ride we finally entered Rurrenabaque and were able to get off the bus. Well, once again, the same old story – you take your bag, you go to the center and you hope that some hostel will be available and price is not going to be too high.

We were lucky, I guess. The place we had in mind was open, was available and we got a room for two persons for 7 EUR. Once settled we went out to look for the tours to the jungles, since going there on your own basically would mean getting lost in the middle of nowhere.

Now choosing the travel agency is a crucial thing. Since everyone is offering you he same routes and the same thing, the quality differs highly. I am not sure if I want to recommend the one we used, but I am sure I want to offer one of our guides [he is working independently as well]. His name is Honorio and he is unbelievable. Knows a lot, has a lot of experience, cooks good food and all in all – really, just ask me and I will give you his directions.

So we booked a 3 days tour to the Jungle, went for a meal and got back to the hostel. It was 27th of January and in a few moments I was supposed to get older. Hopefully wiser as well. While in the hostel we joined some Chileans and kept on talking to them. They were very young, but very nice. they even talked slower so we could understand their Spanish. Once they learned that it was just about to be my birthday, they insisted on partying, but since we were going to the jungles the next day, we decided not to. Still they made me drink some strange kind of home made Bolivian ron once we had `the tomorrow`. It was a weird way to mention my birthday, but it’s always an experience.

Day No 52

We woke up early in the morning, packed for the tour and went to the agency. We were greeted by Ovidio – our guide and Honorio – our cook and went off. We took a boat and crossed the river. This reminded me of Southeast Asia so much that I can hardly find words. Same boats, same big rivers, similar looking people.

Once on the other side we took a jeep and went deeper into the nature. It took us two hours and we got to the place where we were supposed to spend the first day and night. We had a little walk around to take pictures and then had lunch. It was a very very tasty chicken. Once after the lunch we had our first trek to the Jungles. It wasn’t hard, but it was hot and it was uphill, so it took some energy from us. Ovidio was a good guide – he was telling us stories and explained a lot about animals, insects and plants in the jungles. We went up till the view point where you can see Amazon. And when I say Amazon, I mean the real, whole Amazon that lasts till the Atlantic Ocean. Of course you cannot see that far away, but still the view was priceless.

On our way back we stopped at some place and Ovidio started collecting grubs [larvas]. I thought he was kidding when he said we are going to eat them. Turns out, he wasn’t kidding. I was not about to even touch those ugly creatures, not talking about eating them, but I patiently waited till they were collecting them. So once we got back Honorio put them in the pan and started baking. Everybody was talking about how tasty and good for people they are and I started to feel interested in trying it. Once fried they did not look that ugly anymore. And so I tried it. It wasn’t bad at all. So even though I managed not to try them in China, I tried them in Bolivia. And I tried two. So trust my word – the taste is not so bad. I learned that if I ever get lost in the forests, at least I would know one way to keep myself away from hunger.

After that we had a little rest, then dinner with some wine and we ended up watching the stars, which are a lot in the jungles, because there are simply no lights of the cities.

Off Topic

Somehow I wanted this birthday to be special. It was special, but I wanted it to be special in a different way. Don’t know. Hard to explain, but it turned out into a little disaster. I still cannot understand how and why. I just realized that I became smart enough to stuck to my guns. I managed. Maybe I did become one year wiser as well.

Day No 53

Once we got up and had breakfast the clouds came so instead of going to the jungles, we stayed and waited for the rain to come and to pass. No one wanted to walk in the jungles in the middle of heavy rain. While waiting Ovidio and Honorio made rings for us from pits. One more amazing thing to learn about the nature. It was interesting how almost white pit became completely black. Also in one of the pits they found another grub and to my surprise Honorio ate it alive. Yeaaack.. it still grosses me out when I remember that.

Anyways, after the rain we went to the jungles. We walked up, then down, then up then down, then crossed the river, then crossed it again. We were trying out a new road, something even our guides haven’t tried again. It was an experience. And it was hard. I mean I liked it, but it was hard. Because it is very hot and humid and slippery and so on – jungles is not an easy walk, I tell you. So once we settled for the place we were going to spend the night – I was happy about it. Very happy.

Once there we had a little swim in the river, prepared the dinner, ate, sat, talked, heard some animals and try to find them but with not so much luck and finally went to sleep. We were all tired and once sun is out – there is not much things to do in the jungle. Or it is not that safe either.

Off Topic

It was a heavy rain. One of those rains that you dream about. Or better yet, one of those rains where you would love to be kissed. Yes, that kind of the rain. Too bad there was no one to kiss. Another time. Another jungles. Another experiences.

Day No 54

We spent the last day of the tour coming back to the same place we spend the first night. We made several stops, we drank coco milk, we ate some strange, but tasty fruits, we collected some avocados. Once back in the place we had a very big lunch, waited for the jeep and got back to the Rurrenabaque.

Once there we bought the tickets for the day after for the bus to La Paz [I was positive about it – even if it takes me 30 hours – the ride is worth it, besides, flying is much more expensive].

We ended our day with a beer and a sleep. A beer – because we thought we deserve it after the trek and sleep – because after sleeping in the jungles we lacked that as well.

Off Topic

He reminded me of you. A lot. Too much, to be exact. It made me remember and get sad again. I guess you can never completely get over, can you?

Day No 55

The day started usually, having breakfast and packing, once again. But an unpleasant surprise was waiting for us in the bus terminal. Ovidio, our guide. He was talking to someone on the phone, then he came to me and said `we have a problem`. What kind of the problem I asked and he told me we did not pay for the entrance of the park. F… that I thought. When we were booking the tour they clearly told us that entrance is included in the price. And I really wasn’t ready to pay additionally, especially after everything was already over.

He tried to play on us, telling that he will loose his job now because of us and that entrance is never included in the price. He even brought his kids, maybe to soften our hearts. Well, you know me, I have a calculator instead of my heart, so it is not that easy. I told him that this is agency’s fault then, if they gave us false information and that I was not going to pay any extra. And I moved to the shade while waiting for the bus. Simon was still trying to talk to Ovidio about what we knew and that is was really supposed to be in the price of the tour. I was watching them and thinking that I do not believe any of what our guide tells me. It seemed as a cheap scenario for getting additional money from us. I wasn’t ready to be scammed. I know it may be difficult to live with the money he earns, but I wasn’t about to pay additional for that.

Finally he said that he will loose his job because of us and left. I felt relieved and not bad. He definitely is not going to loose his job. I guess Bolivia is becoming more and more like Cambodia, where to people you are just a walking ATM. Too bad.

And then – the bus ride once again. Theoretically 18 hours. I was sleeping, listening to the music, reading a book, taking my time to think. I fell asleep once it was dark outside and the night came.

Day No 56

This time the bus did not get stuck on the road. Just as promised we arrived to La Paz at 6 a.m. I am not sure how long I slept in the bus, but it was short. Really short time. So I was tired.

We took a minibus, went to the center and went looking for a hostel. Once again, we shared the responsibilities. I stayed with the bags in one of the plaza’s and Simon went looking for a place. Once there, I experienced watching the rise of the flag. It’s funny, there were 20 guys dressed in a specific clothes in the procession.

After about an hour Simon got back with good news. He found a place, cheap enough and close to the center so we went for it. Once there we had to wait for the room to get ready and somehow he got involved into conversation with a strange Argentinian.

I can tell you honestly, I am sure he was on crack and not the good kind. He was talking as a mad man. `Oh, you are from Lithuania? So you were in Soviet Union? I like Soviet Union. I like Stalin. He was a good guy`. I mean, you just don’t  say these kind of nonsenses right? Or `I want to make something big. I want to make revolution. I don’t know where or what, but I want to`. And a lot of more crap like that. I was very glad when our room was finally ready and we could get away from him.

So, since in La Paz there are not so many things to do and it was cloudy, we decided to go and to look for an agency and actually do the road of death on bikes. I mean, I came to Bolivia kind of for that and somehow I was sure I will manage to survive that. Worst comes to worst – I needed my adrenaline dose and I did not want to get it from the same thing I had it last time. So – we were looking.

It is not that easy to find, because you want bikes to be really good so you don’t end up down the cliff definitely dead. After some walking around, asking and talking we decided to take Barro Biking tour. I can already recommend it to you. It was good. Bikes were great, all the other stuff they give you, like helmets were good as well and guides were nice and considerate.

So once settled that we went back to the hostel. Simon fell asleep and I kept myself busy with writing those lines. I was already way too behind and I needed some time, so why not La Paz, which has not so much to offer right?

We got out in the evening for a little walk, for a food and no beers, since it is better to get on the death road without too much of alcohol in your blood.

Day No 57

I can honestly tell you – I did not sleep that well that night. Fear was doing it’s business. I was afraid of going on `el camino del muerte`. I did not want end up dead. And even though I was kind of sure nothing bad will happen, my night was still a little stressful. So I was kind of happy when we had to wake up already.

Since market was closed that early hour of the day, we bought some empanadas and fresh juices for the breakfast. Then we went to the agency, waited for the rest of our group, got into vans and moved towards the death road.

After a little introduction and trying the bikes we went on the road. The first part of the road is kind of a piece of cake on the one hand – paved road, pretty wide and easy to handle. On the other hand – there is still traffic and there are a lot of buses, trucks and cars going next to you, so you still are risking your life. Also the weather conditions were unbelievable. First it was riding in the cloud, then in the fog, then it started raining, pretty heavily, then it stopped, then it was fog again. I could not decide if it was better for me to put my sunglasses on or take them off, since with the rain both ways are bad enough.

After the first part we got to vans once again, had a little snack, drove a little uphill and then came to the worse conditions, much more narrow and rocky road. Kind of the real road of death part. And yes, I do have experience on biking and enough, but not hardcore mountain biking. So it was a little scary, especially in the beginning. Although the views around were absolutely priceless. It was hard to see them, because you always had to look in front of you – one wrong turn, one a little too small turn and you end up down the cliff. Possibly dead. Adrenaline was rushing in my veins.

We were making several stops for some snacks, for taking pictures and so we had a chance to see it all. And we were going pretty fast. I was surprised that I actually can go on such a road so fast. It doesn’t feel that fast though.

Once we were at the end of the death road and guides greeted us that `you made it in one piece` I couldn’t help but thinking – I want to do it again. And if it wasn’t that expensive or if I had more time in La Paz I would have probably done it more. It is amazing. The views, the adrenaline – everything. Totally worth it. If you have a sense of security for yourself – definitely do it. It’s a lifetime experience.

After the ride we got to some hotel, had showers, had lunch, had a swim in the pool and went back to the city. Going back to the city took us almost 4 hours, since the traffic in La Paz is unbelievable. Seriously, absolutely unbelievable. I do not understand how people drive there and do not get killed. There are no rules, no nothing, just a lot of using of horn and driving one on another.

After such an adventurous day we went out with a Canadian guy who was also on the same tour. We went for a meal and a beer, then kept on looking for a good another place but without much luck we ended in very `for gringos` bar where I decided I can award myself with White Russian.

After that we went to sleep. I wanted to wake up early and let’s face it, el camino del muerte kind of took all of my energy that day.

Day No 58

I managed to wake up early enough and pack my things. I paid for the hostel, said goodbye to Simon and went to look for the minivan towards the cemetery from where I could catch a but to Copacabana. It was lake Titicaca time. I got minivan in a few moments and had a `ride to hell`. Seriously, several times I was sure we were going to crash or kill some pedestrian. It was that crazy.

I got to the cemetery around 8:40 in the morning, bought a ticket to the bus for 9 o’clock which gave me enough time for a breakfast coffee just next to the bus. The bus ride, just as always in Bolivia was very nice with the scenery, although getting out of La Paz was a pain in one place – very slow and with very crazy traffic.

After about 3 hours of ride we stopped at the lake Titicaca. We had to pay additional 1.5 Bolivianos for crossing it, got back on the bus and continued to go to the Copacabana. Once I got off of the bus I started looking for a hostel. For the first time in a while I had to do it on my own. But I got lucky. I went into one place and even though it is very basic, it cost for me alone 25 Bolivianos so I settled for it.

I went for a walk right away. I wanted to collect information about how to get to Peru and to the island of the sun and other things. So I went to the shore, took some pictures of the lake, got back to the city, exchanged some of leftovers of Chilean pesos and dollars, booked a tour for the island of the sun for the next day and bought a ticket to Cuzco in Peru.

In the end I was left with no more than 40 Bolivianos and I had still to survive kind of two days. Well that is a challenge right? We’ll see how it goes. I visited cathedral and Candle Chapel, both of plazas and market in Copacabana and basically I was done with the city. I also climbed to the main hill of the city and that was REALLY hard. It only takes around 40 minutes to get there, but with altitude and sun and everything – you can hardly catch your breath after 5 first minutes.

The view from the hill is totally worth it though. Very nice. you can see the hills, the lake, the whole Copacabana and even corrida in the main stadium of the city. Once back from the hill I felt like I deserve a nice meal, even if I was risking to spend all of the money I have left. I ordered trucha [trout] for 20 Bolivianos, which is 2 EUR and got the full place. Portions are huge in here. You get the whole fish, rice, French fries and salads. It was a very good meal.

I stayed in the beach a little longer for the sunset, but once sun disappeared in the clouds I moved back to the hostel. Altitude, lack of sleep and strange thoughts in my head were making me more than tired.