Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Trip North

Well all i can say is that its been an experience.
We left Santiago on a bus which took us directly to Arica in the north of Chile, about 28 hours, we had salon cama, which is somthing like buisness class on a plane.
Once you get about 500km's north of Santiago, things turn very bleak, nothing around but sand, more sand and....even more sand.

At the base of the Morro de Arica, this lump of rock was an important strategic position in the war of the pacific between Chile and Peru in 1880.
but its still it's just a big rock.

Driving around the valleys of Arica, we hired (I Hired) a ute shown and we went for a little play. couldn't do very much because the 4x4 was playing up, bugger. at leased we got if for half price.

Heading up the side of a valley where the green stuff stops.

On top of the Morro de Arica. I think they knew I was coming.

After a few days, we left Arica and crossed the border into Peru. We arrived in Tanca on the other side to arrange a bus to Cusco, Cruz del sur which is the best company didn't have any seats so we let ourselves get hijacked be these 2 touts who took us to another bus depot. They were full of promises about same good service, direct route, bla bla bla. It turned out that we were on a Hillbilly bus, the bloddy thing stopped at every place that had more than 2 houses, and sometimes just on the side of the road for fun. The trip to Cusco lasted 20 hours, I thought the next stop was going to be Rio.

This is what you look like after you've been on a bus with the entire population of Peru, no sleep for 20 hours and having to suck on coco plant sweets to combat the altitude.

Finally we arrive in Cusco.
After finding our Hotel, cleaned up and went to get something to eat.

The hats cost about $1.50 from a street vendor, of which there are shitloads.

You can't move on the streets of Cusco without someone coming up to you trying to sell you a tour, food, trinkets, hats. Apart from the police, there are guards who blow whistles to stop the vendors from hassling people too much, fat lot of good that does.
Bad news.
The Inka trail is fully booked up, no places til mid april. so we are just going to have to take the train. hopefully I'll get to climb the peak behind machu pichu thats alway in the photos,.
Ok. Time to go. hope you are all well.
bye for now- til the next post.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Chilean Life

Well we made it after what felt like a 3 day flight, it was only 12 hours from Auckland but felt longer that the flight to uk. This photo is the view from the plane heading in to land.

After we landed, we were met by what seamed like half of the Chilean population, they hired a minibus to come and pick us up.On arrival at Lili's house (Lili is Maggie's twin sister), we quickly sat down to lunch Chilean style, which means "Enpanadas" (enpanadas are basically Chilean pies), followed by lots of drinking into the night.

The next day we went walking around Santiago, this photo is from the top of Cerro Santa Lucia, which is like a little tower on top of a knoll in the middle of the city. you can see all around Santiago from here. Santiago is in the bottom of a very large basin and its very flat except for a few of these Cerros, The basin gives Santiago its very own micro climate which is made worse from all the smog which cannot escape.

This is the centre square, Plaza de Armas, on sundays it's full of Peruanos who come here to sell or just hang around in the numerous cafes.

At the Palacio de Monedas, which is the presidents palace when she is in office.

The norm for a country town is to sell half kilo enpanadas, I'm sure Tom and Rachel would like it here.

On our way to Valparadiso on the coast, the is what happens to most of the clouds when the hit the mountains around Santiago, just under the cloud line there we went through a 5km tunnel and popped out on the other side with thick cloud.

This is the house that we stayed in, it's a bit run down but still an amazing house, built sometime in the 1800's, very spooky inside.

Maggie's sister Lili in Valparadiso, Valpo' is a strange place, so many people wanting to live ontop of each other, driving around the place is a nightmare, most people tend to walk up these stairways or take the lifts.

We went out for a drink in Valpo' at a bar called Margarita, there Margarita had 2 margaritas, the size in the photo, well needless to say, someone wasn't feeling to well later on or the next morning.

Just yesterday, Jano (maggie's son) & myself went to the outskirts of Santiago to climb up one of the mountains, practice for Machu Picchu, and to burn of some of the beer and food that we have been consuming since we got here. One thing about the Chileans, they love to eat, maybe we will get stung for excess weight on our return flight.

Ok, well that will have to do for now. Tonight is the birthday party for Maggie & Lili, sowe'll see how well we all pull up in the morning. On Monday we will be setting off on our journey north, I{ll try to blog somewhere along the trip.
Ok, bye for now, hope all is well in you different timezones.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

South America Here We Come

Well folks, the time has come.
Tomorrow we will head off on the big iron bird and fly out for a 6 week trip
to visit the in-laws in Santiago, Chile. Then it's off on adventures through the north of Chile, then Peru, and finally Bolivia if we have time.
I'll try to update the blog as much as possible, but I'm not promising anything.
So adios Amigos, Its time to fly.