10.26.2007 - 11.02.2007 60 °F
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My bus-foot-bus-rickshaw-foot-collectivo-collectivo ride from Ecuador to Peru was sadly quite uneventful. Lots English speaking scam artists tried to relieve me of a bit of my of money, but I am far too hardened a traveler to fall for border scams. I eventually made it to the beach town of Mancora where I had my first experience with Peruvian hospitality. I sat down by myself for a beer at the beach to celebrate being in Peru and a Chinese guy started talking to me in Spanish, which was a bit strange at first, but it turns out there are Chinese immigrants all over Peru. Anyway, a group of four Peruvians vacationing from Lima liked me so much that they bought me dinner and drinks for the rest of the night. All I had to do was speak my Spanish and throw out a few dirty words here and there that I learned from Gus and Jorge back in 7th grade. Unfortunately I didn´t want to lose my built-up altitude acclimatization by hanging out at sea level too long, so I made a three bus, twenty hour journey the next night to Huaraz.
There is a road that leads to the mountain town of Huaraz that famously runs along a dirt road and through 43 unlit tunnels. Many travelers manipulate their schedule to make sure they travel this road, but I somehow just ended up on it, as I had no idea it even existed. The sounds of chirping chicks and squealing guinea pigs from the cages beside me provided an apt soundtrack for the long, dirty journey.
Anyone ever tried ice climbing at over 16,500 feet? There is about half the oxygen as sea level which makes even the smallest task, like walking around the corner of the glacier to make yellow snow, difficult. Of course it doesn´t help that I tend to swing the ice axe like a Neanderthal.
Finally, I took a two day trek with Scottish Ross and Welsh Annalli around one of the most beautiful, but mostly fog covered, parks on earth. We bumped into a crazy guy from Colorado who was packed with ice axes and crampons and set to climb solo up a peak that our guide said was not possible to climb (much more about Shaun in the next update.) I don´t think he made it the whole way. Oh, and drinking wine at high altitude gets you drunk very quickly.
So with all the adventure activities I have been doing lately, surely I am going to hurt myself sooner or later. It happened as I stepped out of the shower: a quick slip and fall and my left wrist was put out of commission for a week. Apparently, x-rays only cost three dollars out here and my expertise with viewing them over the years tells me that nothing is broken, but I am open to more educated opinions.
Lima sucks, so I didn´t stay there long.
Sometimes you just end up on a rickshaw
Sweet name for a restaurant in Mancora, Peru
A day at the beach
Having a heart-to-heart with my new amigo Isreal
This bus protected by Rambo
One of 43 tunnels on the road to Huaraz
Roadside fruit stalls
High in the Andes near Huaraz
Glaciers and lakes in thin air
Breaking the ice at 16,500 feet
Bad tasting mineral water bubbling to the surface
Orange chair and its shadow
First view of Huascaran National Park
Lakeside in Huascaran
The Cordillera Blanca mountain range
Sleeping is not so easy in the thin air at 4680 meters
At the refugio with Annalli, Felix, Shuan and Ross
One of the 30 some-odd over 6000 meter peaks
The damn clouds finally clear a bit for a view of El Huascaran
Lago 69 is perhaps the most beautiful lake on earth
The glacial melt water was just too damn inviting
Some old building on the path
Polylepis or Arbol de Papel is the highest growing tree in the world
No broken scaphoid makes me very happy
View of Huaraz from Cafe Andino
Mountain sunset from the hostel
You can even find Hello Kitty in Lima