Sunday, 30 June 2013


The blog that follows is my personal documentation of my travels cross Brazil, Bolivia and Peru over a four month period funded by the Royal Geographical Society.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Arghhh me hearties :D

Since I last bloged myself and john have made our way east via river boat down the amazon. We are currently in the capital of the amazons: Manaus. The time we spent in rio Branco was uneventful, we explored the city and markets, the docklands area and that was about it. We swiftly purchased our boat tickets from the boat down at the dock, this was good because it meant we were able to see the boat before we committed to the ticket but seeing as no other boat was selling tickets I don't think we had much choice.

So the time came to leave, we packed up and went in search of some where to eat breakfast as the boat was at 9. We found a nice breakfast buffet, filled up hen off down the docks to board the boat. By now it looked very different, the whole of the bottom deck had since been loaded with cargo and the hill filled with hundreds of water melons. The 2nd deck where we were meant to be sleeping was full with swinging hammocks, bags, and children running around! So we swiftly strung up out newly purchased hammocks (next to the kitchen, result) and settled into our relaxing 3 day ride. The trip included 3 meals a day, bread and coffee in the morning (at 6) beef, rice, noodles and lentils for lunch and the same for diner except with chicken and water melon for afters. Needles to say I had a good fill, I'm shore All the lauding about in hammocks, sunbathing and swimming was good for my weight, doubt any progress there tho! So as mentions all there was to do on the boat was sunbathe on the upper deck, sleep and read. Swing ad I finished my book o. The 1st day I did a lot of sleeping and sunbathing. The views from the boat were beautiful, throughout the trip lush amazon jungle lined both sides of the river. With the breakfast  being so early I was luckily up and awake (thanks to the coffee) I. I'm to see the amazon sun rise,  I'll attract a picture because I can't really describe t other than amazing, orange globe rising from behind he jungle casting colours across the ripples in the water caused by the boat. In the Night time equally as beautiful was the sun set changing the sky from blue to purple, pink and then pitch black with millions of stars.

Arrival in Manaus was smoth, offloaded, map out on a mission to track down the hostel. We got lost because do think we got off at the wrong port in the city but never the less after about 30 minets of walking we arrived. To early to check in we unloaded our baggage and went for abit of exploring, 1st things 1st where's the supermarket! Drinks and snacks purchased we killed some time chilling in a park eating and chatting about games, nerdy hour.

Our activities so far here in Manaus has been to explore the city, which it is, very big and developed nothing like the towns we have been passing through since Cuzco. The city had s many nice looking revamped old buildings including the cities opera house, a large pink mansion with a vividly colourfully dome at the top that is visible for miles around.

One of the highlights of Manaus has been the visit to the park of science. This is a 130km square area of preserved jungle with a range of amazon plants, trees and animals. We sore otters, manatees, alligators, snakes, frogs, piraƱa and turtles! It was great to see the animals, especially the turtles (a bit of an obsession). We spent the day walking through the dense jungle viewing the animals and taking pictures. A thoroughly enjoyable day. Now this all sounds great but he effort it took to get there is ridiculous! This was our 2nd day in a row attempting to get in. Day 1 we decided to walk to the distance goths park, by he map in our hostel his did t look very far. 3 hours later we arrived, heat exhausted and sore footed only to find out the place was closed! So we decided to get the bus back Into town. Day 2. We left the hostel early in search of the bus stop that wIll take us there, hour and a half later were still wandering from bus stop to bust stop searching for one that had our bus. Finally success. We arrive an the park is amazing. Now to get home, we get on a bus and little do we know it's taking us to the centre of the local university campus moths centre of town. Darn the bloody language difficulties. So standing there like muppets we try to will ourselves to get on another bus and hope t takes us into town, it did eventually but that was a shoving bus ride constantly trying to work out if we were heading in the right direction.

2nd boat ticket purchased, Belem here we come!

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Army training ground? Ops.

One of my revelations on his trip has been my realisation that I have an urge to play sports, competitively and the raw physical side of things. This has spurred on my drive to get fitter and so myself and John have been trying to get as much exercise in as possible in our free time. Jogging has become a morning event, the 1st jog I have done in quite a wile killed me, i was shattered. The reason I'm gouge on about this is the other day myself an john came across a playing field and outside gym in the centre of town, so swig as it looking like it was for public use we, well use it publicly. 20 minuets into our session, myself jogging and sprinting around a football pitch and John lifting weights we are approached by an armed soldier. Only then does it become evident this is an army training ground, the army base across the road should have been a sign. And so we were told to leave the training area, back onto the streets for jogging in future think!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

So puerto veloh.

So Puerto Maldonado was interesting, it was a pretty small town with not much to do, myself and John attempted to find the zoo but couldn't seem to find an address for it anywhere and lonely planet was no help what so ever! We visited the Plaza De Armas which was like most other plazas in Peru, shrubbery with benches and a focal point in the middle, in this case it was a clock tower, usually it has been a old fountain. Another tourist site we visited was the obelisk, a large glass tower in the middle of the town that you were allowed to go up for a few soles. From here we were able to see over the whole town and view the river and newly opened bridge completing the long awaited pan continental highway connecting the Peruvian coast with the Brazilian coast. The day of Arrival was the grand opening of the newly built bridge and the whole town and surrounding towns people had gathered, queuing  up waiting for the arrival of the former president of Peru. Myself and John were going to enter but the cue was immense so instead we killed the time getting breakfast in a small pastry shop, after we were able to see the former president from beyond the barrier. We watched as hundreds of Peruvians crossed the bridge on foot all being filmed by regional new crews, which was aired in the evening. Surprisingly having only been there for a few days it was quite easy for me and john to settle in. we found somewhere for breakfast, lunch and dinner, all different places and all at reasonable prices. Also to mention is somewhere me and John named the "old ladies" just like the one in Cuzco but this place sold refrescos, or super chilled pint size fruit juices for 25p! We had at least 2-3 a day they were that refreshing in this heat, I went for apple and John decided to work his way through them all.

So the time came for us to leave, we had exhausted all tourist attractions, explored the town and it's markets. We left for the bus station only to find we couldn't purchase our ticket from there and by the time we got to the ticket office the bus for that day had left, so we waited an extra night.   *insert drama* so here's where it gets interesting, having missed the bus the previous day we were determined not to miss this one, so we left for the bus station an hour early, but we realised we didn't know where we were meant to meet the bus! Schoolboy boy error I know. So instead of going to the terminal I went with my gut instinct and went straight to the ticket office, by this time we were running low on Peruvian cash as we have been using it over the past couple days so sexist have to exchange it at the boarder. So upon arrival at the office we get told there is another location for the buses heading into Brazil. On the other side of the river! so our taxi takes us to the river; by know cutting it pretty close to departure time, myself and John panicking. We get loaded onto a tiny motor powers boat and have to sit here as it agonisingly snails it's way across the river, the last of our cash to pay the boat man and we were across. Luckily we didn't need another taxi, if we had then we would have missed our 2nd bus in two days! Pure relief when we eventually sore the bus at the end of the dusty road.
Currently in Rio Branco Brazil, Amazon territory, nice and hot! Time to work on this tan that seems to refuse to develop. One negative note......Portuguese, I hate it!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Good bye to the point family.

Inti raymi AKA
inkan sun god
Happy 4th of July.

 Today marks the end of my time at the point. its been an amazing month, I've met so many awesome people. i think i know know what it must have felt like living in that traveler community in "the beach"living with so many different people from all over the world, everybody with a different accents and outlooks on life.. its been great and I've made some amazing friends during my time there, i was truly sad to leave my second family of travellers, but never the less the amazon is calling. I've loved the month of events in Cuzco, waking daily to fireworks (yes even in the day time), dancing in the streets, religious idles being carried through the streets to drumming, trumpets and flutes. i feel like i became a part of Cuzco standing in the streets amongst its people enjoying the celebrations of their culture, inti raymi, corpus Cristi and 100 years anniversary of Manchu Pichuas well as enjoying bonfires, firework displays and BBQ's for our American and french friends day of independence, the 4th and 14th of july

Local markets, yes thats a big guiny pig!
currently sitting on the bus from a Cuzco to a small amazon town called Puerto Maldenado, the rain is pouring and its very hot at 3am, welcome to the jungle I'd say! john doesn't seem to be adjusting to the heat as well or the prospects of all the humidity and mosquitoes. its great to be back on the road again, i had forgotten how much i loved sitting on a bus watching the scenery and climate outside change so dramatically as well as the scenic landscapes (must be the nerdy physical geographer inside me). the bus is currently winding through the jungle, passing previous land slides and small shack villages, before these shack cookeries would worry me but now all i wanna do is go and see what there cooking, is it more strangeness like Guinea pig  ?.
 i cant wait to get to Puerto Maldenado and explore a little bit of the amazon i can see outside my window, similarly there are many things i want to see in Puerto Maldenado, one being a zoo with a collection of amazon flora, fauna and animals. i suppose i should try get some sleep. that's all for now until I've done something interesting to tell. 

Going to miss them all!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Point.

So as mentioned before I have successfully become a bar man at the point in Peru. This has been a great experience so far as I am thoroughly enjoying my time there. The staff are great and I've gotten the hang of the drinks. Every night is never boring, there is something always going on; weather it be game nights, fancy dress nights or ladies night. All 3 I have had the pleasure of working during. So for the game night, poker and beer pong was on the agenda, being staff I was obliged to play. For the fancy dress night it was a super hero theme and luckily they had a spider man costume, a very very small one. However being the smallest and in need of a costume, I claimed this. It was quite funny to see everyone dressed up, john as an Inca and some of the other staff as Rambo, cat woman, super woman and a cowboy. Now, the interesting part. Ladies night, now this wasn't the usual kind of ladies night, the catch was it was that the men had to dress as women. So bra, blouse and make up on I had to serve customers, which was fine for the ones that knew it was ladies night. This lead to many strange looks from guests for the whole night. The whole of Cuzco during both the day and night have been alive with music, dancing, parades, floats, live music. It has been great out in the city every day with something different always there, as i write this I can hear the flutes playing from the band currently performing in the Plaza De Armas. Last night there were hundreds of people dressed as Incan's with burning torches and carrying a man dressed as a leader up on a hand held float. It was great to watch this from a window on the second floor balcony on the plaza. I plan to enjoy the rest Cuzco has to offer ad the week of festivities continues.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Cuzco far.

Since My last post myself and john have been getting to know Cuzco, an awesome city filled with beautiful buildings and a lot of history. The longest inhabited city in the whole of Peru it was initially used by the Incas until the invasion of the Spanish. Last week I truly put on my tourist shoe in Peru, myself and john visited several museums providing history of the Incas and the history of Cuzco. They were interesting, with mummy displays, scale models of Inca sites including Machupichu and saqusaywaman and the usual collection of metalwork’s and textiles.

The mentioned Saquasaywoman is an Incan fortress located on the outskirts of Cuzco. This provided a great day out with a walk through the city and then up its slopes to the site and then the day spent exploring the routines. It was quite strange to see such a large site so close to the city after the 4 days it took to get to the remote machupichu, however I wasn’t complaining as the fortress being on top of a hill there was great views of the city and several nice view points on the route around the site. The routines called saquasywoman, or as the gringos know it "sexywoman" was great to walk around as the weather was nice and having visited the Inca museum the previous day I was able to appreciate the history attached with the fortress.

Another site overlooking the city that I visited was "christo" like Christ the redeemer looking over rio but smaller. I have wanted to go up and see it since arrival to Cuzco as at night time it is fully illuminated up on the hill top looking over Cuzco. It was quite a climb up to the Jesus taking us through caves that me being an adrenaline junky was tempted to do abit of free style rock climbing, quite fun, especially when the caves were pitch black. My good deed for the day was when myself and john were climbing the hill we came across a n elderly man in need of help, he was trying to push his drink stall up the hill. He explained he had broken his legs when he was younger and so needed our help. We pushed it up, getting to the top of Christ completely satterd. The views from Christ was amazing, to the back of us we can see saquasywoman o our front Cuzco, Viva el Peru in the distance carved into the hill side.

As mentioned the opportunity to get a job working as bar staff arise, this is the perfect opportunity to try and balance out my budget deficit arising from the overpriced nature of south amerce so far, as well as being valuable experience. The bar we were supposed to be working in strung us along for a weekend only to tell us he had given away the jobs, Great guy. Never the less barmen are sought after all over the city and so I have secured a position at a hostel called "the point", starting tomorrow. The job doesn’t provide a wage however free accommodation, dinner and discount on anything else in the hostel is the norm. so starting tomorrow ile have the days to explore more of Cuzco and some of the evenings making drinks, should be interesting as the bar manger seems like a cool guy.

The splitting up of the Gvi group was sad as myself and john made some great friends so it was great to be able to meet back up with some of the other volunteers, Claire returning from nazca and Colca. I hope to also meet back up with Sandeep who is also in Cuzco at the moment on returning from machupichu. Similarly the other day when exploring the city with john it was great to spot 2 familiar faces, Olivia and Emma from the teaching group of gvi volunteers on their way to their next gvi project. it always amazes me when I run into people I have met along my travels. The food in Cuzco has been great, with a range of different restaurants from local small eateries to large restaurants. One place ive been meaning to mention is un nammed however it has been a great regular eating hole for myself and john during our time in Cuzco. A tiny restaurant with about 4 tables’s serving traditional Peruvian food every day of the week for a very reasonable price of 5 soles for a soup, main dish (consisting of meat cooked in various ways, rice and veg) as well as a drink. Now this in relation to other restaurants is about a quarter of the price in any other place we have eaten and so a great find. The woman cooking our food has come to know me and john as the "amigos” a thoroughly lovely woman, I shall give her a good tip the last time we leave as i don’t understand how she is providing such good food so cheaply! Other places to mention would be the restaurant called Kormasutra, an Indian restaurant with great interior, music and amazing food. Considering that Claire was only back in Cuzco for the weekend we decided to check out a cafe called jacks, the food was pretty western however it was a nice treat after cooking for myself for the past week. Apple and cinnamon porridge, chunky chips and 2 mojitos at 9.30 in the evening, the waitress must have thought I was a right weirdo. For the evening relaxing on beanbags enjoying happy hour was pretty chilled.
Now for the past few days there has been a large festival going on in Cuzco, Hundreds of children from 6 to 18 dressed in traditional clothing dancing in formation with sticks for the boys and feather things for the girls, this lasted 3 days and nights. This was great to watch in both the daytime and evening as the colors of their uniforms was great in the sun and the misty lighting of the main square at night gave the dancing an eerie feel to it. This has been great however the dancing starts from 5 everyday, constant drumming has become my wake up call.

I am excited to be starting as a barman tomorrow and hope to enjoy more that Cuzco has to offer in the coming week.