I don’t have a clue where all the time went! I’m at my LAST new travel stop before making my way back south to Santiago for my flight home. 2 more days here on the north coast of Peru in Mancora. The hostel is like a 5 star resort, best idea ever… don’t put money into the rooms, but prime location spot on the beach with a pool too! It was way out of the way to come up here but I wanted to get a little bit of sunshine and beach before heading back south since it is winter here in the southern hemisphere. I can’t go back to the states for the end of summer and have my last months only be in the mountains and cold!
The last few weeks have flown by, still traveling with some of the Irish friends I met in Bolivia. I think at my last update, we had finally left La Paz for the last time and were in Sucre, Bolivia. It was a pretty city and we tried to go to a cement site where the oldest dinosaur footprints are apparently found. Basically the tour tricked us into thinking it was 15 soles, and brought us to the door of the park where it was 30 soles more. So we just hung out outside of the park and saw what we could see from the balcony there. A little bit of culture attempt at least. On the way back from Sucre we got stopped in the middle of the night by a midnight strike or so it seems. Never know what will happen on the bus trips in Bolivia!
Next we went to the Yungas, in the hills of the jungle in Coroico. This small town is at the end of what they called the world’s deadliest road (that most people that come to Bolivia bike… I however have lost interest in biking so I skipped out on that one). Basically the entire old road and new road is on the edge of the mountainside… gorgeous views but careful driving is required! On the drive there, we were in a little mini-bus a.k.a. van which made for a cramped 3 hour ride hindered by yet another road block. Not a strike this time, but a rock slide on the road that workers had to clear away and then check to make sure everything else was secure. Coroico was gorgeous, we stayed at the hotel so that we could attempt to track the Celtics/Lakers game 7. Sad news in the end with that series. It was right before the weekend and room prices doubled so we had to leave the pool overlooking the mountains and condors flying around the valley and parted ways with Kate, one of the girls I had been with since Arequipa. The way back to La Paz was a first-hand experience on the crazy drivers. Festivals were happening all over the weekend as the winter solstice was getting closer and I’d say our driver was in questionable condition. Passing every other bus and car and truck we neared, we made the trip back in barely 2 hours. Scary ride yet I guess he has to know what he is doing…
Oisin, Colin and I headed to Copacabana, my 2nd time back there from crossing the Peru/Bolivia border earlier on. This time the winds weren’t as strong so the boats didn’t have big waves preventing them from traveling out to Isla del Sol, Island of the Sun. This is apparently the birthplace of the Inca Sun God, and we happened to make our trek out to the island on the day of the solstice. Beautiful views of Lake Titicaca, definitely worth the trip, maybe not the random self-invented taxes that the locals charge the tourists.
Next was the long journey back to Cusco for Inti Raymi. This is one of the biggest festivals in the world. I will write more on this soon. Not sure how we managed to do it, but we were in La Paz during one of their biggest festivals and parades, Isla del Sol for the winter solstice, and then Cusco for Inti Raymi. Timing can work out in magical ways sometimes haha. We spent a few days in Cusco for the festival and then made a one-night stop in dreary rainy big city Lima, and then another overnight bus to where I am now in Mancora near the border with Ecuador. I keep getting frustrated that I didn’t just stick to the plan of heading north not only because I would love to visit more places but also I have a lot of friends heading in that direction too. But I will be reminded of the reasoning once I get back to Chile, and my bank account will also be happier with me too haha.
Upcoming plans: 2 more days here, then back to Pisco to have a last week of earthquake relief volunteering, then back to Chile. I just got word that I can be a monitor at one of the English Winter Camps which is great news, I just have to be back to Chile earlier now around the 15th. I will coordinate English activities for a week in Taltal, a city south of Antofagasta and where I was teaching English originally. Should be fun to wrap my travels up with the same type of work as when I started! Bank account a little happier too. Then I’ll have a week to be in Mejillones for some birthdays of friends, and then down to Santiago for goodbyes to other volunteer friends living and working there. It will be a little over a year spent in South America but it feels more like a few weeks sometimes. Time flies.
Bolivia pictures are up, just not very organized or explained, but enjoy them if you can. I’ll fix them up better another time. Next updates probably won’t come while I’m in Pisco, but probably when I’m back in Chile.