Saturday, May 26, 2012

My Dream of Riding an Alpaca, Sadly Didn`t Come True

    And so, the Peru Cru is close to heading home, after shoving everything back into my suitcase and praying that all the alpaca sweaters would fit, I´m ready to flyyyyy. First though we`re headed to Adriana´s aunt´s house for a yummy lunch! Then to the airport to depart on our long journey back to the states, well to the states then to Canada (eh).
   To wrap things up, I have been asked by Mark to share my favorite part of the trip. Hmm, that`s a tough question. Everything was so fun and definitely worth the cold showers at Kaminu. Although the Vecunia was THE cutest creature in the world (I mean... just look at that wittle face), I would have to say driving the boat yesterday in the ocean was so much fun. I don´t know why, but I´m so much more comfortable on water than i am on land; as Nora said yesterday, and I quote "you can´t trip in water!" Going over the waves at high speed was so much fun, it was truly then did I realize... boats were not made to fly, but having the pit of your stomach drop to the soaking wet plastic floor of the tour boat was still exciting.
   Overall, I am both sad and excited to go home. I am sad to go, because to be honest, Peru is so much more fun than Vermont and we have done so many awesome things and met so many amazing people on the way. Might I add that we do not have Vecunias or Alpacas and Llamas in my town (which DEFINITELY needs to change). But I am happy to go home and share all of the stories, jokes, and new knowledge I have gained about the world outside of little ol` Vermont. I feel as though I have grown and matured as a person from this trip. All of the sites we went to and the experience we all shared has made me realized that there is an amazing world outside of the U.S, all you have to do is open your eyes and look. 

Leaving soon...

Sadly our trip is coming to an end... Most of our crew have left to the beach for a surf boarding class... It is cold but our kids are tough and still wanted to do it... After that, we are heading to my aunt's house where we will have a Peruvian Party and will enjoy our last Peruvian dishes and Inca Kola (surprisingly it has been the most popular drink amongst our crew). ... Around 8 p.m. the bus will come to pick us up to go to the airport and catch our flight to Montreal. Our flight is confirmed so we anticipate no problems leaving on time from Lima...

Friday, May 25, 2012


     It seems an epidemic has hit the legendary Peru Cru! Almost everyone in our group has gotten sick in the past couple of days from altitude sickness, stomach bugs, or sun exhaustion! The trip is coming to a close and what a trip it´s been. I personally got THE worst sunburn on the back of my legs after I regretfully decided to nap in the sun on our boat ride to Amantani Island, but WE HAVE SURVIVED and are still having a blast.
     Today, after a sweet roller coaster ride of a boating trip into the Pacific Ocean, we saw penguins, various other birds, and the cutest creature known to man (other than Vecunias)... Sea Lions. I still have Feist`s song Sea Lion stuck in my head. It gets better, not only did we see the Sea Lions, we got to swim with them! After wrestling with wetsuits that were either three sizes too big or too small, we leaped off the boat into the ice cold water and swam close to the kingdom of the sassy and fabulous Sea Lions with their chins high in the air. Many were curious and swam close to us, but after a few dope slaps to Mark`s face, we retreated back to the boat only to find some serious jelly fish colonies floating not far from us. Now when I say jellyfish, I don´t mean the jellyfish from spongebob; these jellyfish were HUGE and varied in color. Some had tentacles as long as my arm span, this small town Vermonter was slightly terrified.
    Next we had a yummy lunch at the naval club in Lima. We had fish soup with egg, potato, and some sort of spice for our first course. Then we had a Peruvian style beef curry with rice and another potato. When I get back to the states, I am not eating potatoes for a while, it´s been a potato overload. To finish the meal off there was some sort of cake with a lemony filling. Sadly, there was no daily dose of Inca Kola today.
  To wrap things up, WE ARE STILL ALIVE, and we are feeling great. Now we´re headed to a fancy dinner and Lex says she loves everyone.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Elixir of the Sun God

(this was supposed to be posted two nights ago, but the internet went funky on us)

What a day!  We rolled out of bed at 6am and headed back to the international airport to catch a plane to Puno, high in the Andes - 12,500 feet! - along the shore of Lake Titicaca.  We knew that the altitude would hit us hard, but I don't think any of us was quite ready for how we would feel without enough oxygen (and without enough sleep since many of the students stayed up late last night . . . ).  We rested for a long time, drinking tea and concentrating on breathing.  We ate a light lunch (mostly broth and our new favorite drink Inca Cola - our Elixir of the Sun God!) and then those of us who were feeling up to it hopped on a bus for a 40 minute drive to an Inca burial site ruin.  Let's just say the history teacher in me got pretty excited to finally experience one of the cultures that I've been teaching about in Global Studies I (10th grade) for years.  And we got to pet a baby vicuna - possibly the cutest animal on the planet.

what a whirlwind it´s been since i last posted from lima!  we hopped a two hour flight on sunday morning that took us up to lake titikaka, 12,500 feet above sea level.  i don´t think any of us were mentally prepared for how the high altitude would affect us.  getting off the plane, many of us immediately felt light headed and short of breath.  headaches and some nausea set in.  at the hotel (which is really nice) we drank lots of tea and took it easy.  eventually, about 2/3 of us felt good enough to go on an adventure to an ancient inca ruin - which was awesome!  that night we tasted some local cuisine, including cuy (guinea pig) which was absolutely delicious, and alpaca tenderloin!  the cuy tasted like very rich dark meat from chicken, and the alpaca tasted a bit like pork.

the last two days we´ve been out on some islands on the lake, doing a homestay with indigenous families.  we visited a school, played soccer, and did a bunch more treking around.  somehow we still haven´t fully acclimated and every walk up a hill is slow and painful - but the views have been . . . unbelievable.  i think those islands, and this lake high in the andes are the most beautiful place i have ever seen.  we have hundreds of photos to share when we get home, if they even do it justice.  

needless to say, i´ve been nursing a handful of students with belly, chest, throat and head pains (including my own headaches).  thankfully we´re all back in Puno now, which is still up high, but we´re taking the afternoon to relax.  everyone is feeling much better than a day ago.  tomorrow morning we fly back to lima for more adventures.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Today we arrived in Puno. Unlike most places it is hot in the morning and cold in the afternoon. After acclaimating to the altitude and waiting two hours to get a snack from the hotel kitchen, we set off to the rural town of Sillustani to see the ancient Inca burial towers. We saw tons of alpacas, llamas, and vecunas (really small alpaca-like creatures). After returning to Puno we went to get dinner in a traditional restaurant where I tried delicacies such as alpaca meat and fried Guinea pig. The Guinea pig is known as Cuy, and although it was a bit difficult to stomach at first, it was good. Tomorrow morning we will be heading out to the islands in Lake Titicaca.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Estamos aqui!

Hola de Lima Peru!  After a LONG day of travel that began at 3:30am, we arrived in Lima at midnight and fell into our bunks in the Hostal Kaminu.  I have to say that, even under the stress of all the hurry-to-wait, hurry-to-wait madness of airplane travel, this group of students was nothing but cheerful and helpful and bonded over extensive games of Hearts and Bananagrams.  This morning we slept in and woke up fresh and ready to explore!  After an incredibly delicious lunch that introduced us to many different Peruvian dishes, we headed into the heart of the city on a bus.  I`ll let the students post about their favorite things they saw (I know Eliot`s was the catacombs full of skeletons!) - but for me it was probably the Plaza de Armas, the main square in town, overflowing with thousands of LimeƱos watching a football game on a massive screen.  What a scene!
  Tomorrow morning we hop on a plane to Puno, high in the Andes on the shores of Lake Titicaca to explore a very different side of Peru.