Thursday, April 30, 2009

Omm Govenda Ommmm.

We just got back from our Yoga retreat. Wow, what an amazing experience that was.

We got there Sunday night, and started right into a yoga philosopy class. We learned about the begining of yoga. We had our first yoga class that night. That night was really just spent relaxing and getting our yoga on.

We started our next day and everyday after that, with a session of meditation, then went right into our yoga. The mornings were always nice there. It was a very interesting week, we put our bodies to the test of how well could we all really bend. I got laughed at a bit by Jenn, for my non felixble body. We all laughed alot at some of the postions, ¨ ok now everybody, sexy cat.¨ But there were some great partner yoga postions, some of mastered some crazy headstands.

During the morning after breakfast we would do daily ¨selva¨which is service of making things beautiful and doing things that are beautiful. We would work in the kitchen, sweep, and water plants. After our morning selva, we would have a different class, 2 of the days we learned about Chakras, we all learned how to read Chakras as well! So be prepared parents, we will tell you what ones of your Chakras are blocked and the things you need to work on to un-block them! ;) At night we would do more yoga, and just relax before a great vegitarian meal. We were veggies all week, and boy was this food great.

Before we came back yesterday, we did a great ceremony. We all burned things that we wanted to leave at the Yoga center. We all went around and said a quote or a mantra that we wanted to leave as a legacy. It was amazing.

This week was one of the more relaxing weeks we have had, a great way to go into MAchu Picchu tomorrow. We leave around 6am, tomorrow to head off to our trek to find the lost city.

We will write when we get back from our trek.

Ciao, Onyx and Jenn.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu - Update from Carpe Diem HQ

The following is a post recently made to our FAQ page that we wanted to include to all of you who might be reading this blog.

Swine flu has recently been confirmed throughout Mexico and parts of the US. A few other countries have also reported possible infections. While we're in touch with the CDC and monitoring all of the international news we can put our hands on, we also feel we are uniquely placed to handle the situation given that all of our field staff are trained in Wilderness Medicine; two of our office staff are currently Emergency Room nurses; and the other is a Wilderness EMT. We also have contact with a variety of local doctors (including a few with advanced training in international and tropical medicines) that should needs require we can reach out to.

Our spring & fall 2009 programs will continue to run as scheduled although we plan on requiring flu shots for our fall programs as they have been proven (with Avian Flu for instance) to much reduce any severity of infection. We may also choose to outfit our medical kits with extra supplies such as extra hand sanitizer and the like.

Swine Flu is an offshoot of the 1918-19 flu: just as every flu since then has been. In that strain of flu as well as most that have followed including Swine, Pneumonia has been the actual concern and the one we're most on guard for. The good news is that once recognized there are very good treatments for Pneumonia and we are very familiar with good doctors in the areas our students travel. Of course we plan on continuing to take the proactive approach and deal with any medical potentialities quickly and professionally. Since that initial pandemic in 1918, the subsequent strains have historically been more and more benign. The Swine Flu is presenting thankfully as a low-mortality flu (currently, in the US as an example, there have been 50 suspected cases and only one took an overnight in the hospital before being discharged in good health). So, while this particular flu strain is stronger than the typical seasonal flu, we are hopeful that it will continue to be as easily treatable as it has been.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

We left Pilcopata after our almuerzo(lunch), loaded up the 4x4 that would take all of our food to the community, and headed out on foot to Huancaria. Our jungle stroll took us about two hours, hiking on rough muddy roads with just our water bottles. We met our Jeep in the main plaza of the town, picked up all our supplies and walked another ten minutes to the raised and covered platform constructed for visitors of the village. Everybody pitched tents and then was ready to jump in the river.
All the little kids came to our campsite, curious to see us and what things we were bringing with us. The niños found us very funny, playing with Onyx´s hair, saying that it was sheep´s hair and naming me Small Mouth. At the same time we were all suprised to see little girls with nose piercings. The next morning we were woken up by our first rain forest rain. We headed over to the center of town, where the soccer field and the school houses are. We met with the head teacher, a woman from a nearby village named Veronica. We immediately set out cleaning the dirtiest and oldest of the three school buildings, taking out all the desks and school supplies, and giving it all a good scrubbing. Once finished cleaning it was time to paint, a fresh layer of red and yellow. We spent that afternoon playing volleyball with the children befote heading back to camp for the night. Our evenings were spent learning from our guide Andreas about the Machiganga and Machipaya people that inhabitat this community, hearing myths and legends of the native peoples, and hearing incredible stories from our contact Hugo Pepper ranging from the lost city of Paytiti to his time at Woodstock.
The next day we continued our painting of the schools and finished work on the second building. At this point we still had only had contact with the children of the village, who were constantly hanging around and in school during the day. The men of the village had been busy investigating the news that people were in their territory cutting down trees, and so were out protecting the village. That afternoon we spent time making bracelets and necklaces with Nora, the wife of Alberto the world traveling medicine man. We worked with her and her children and then had fun shooting a bow and arrow.
We spent the next day working with men and women from the village out in the fields. We split into two groups, half of us going with Guillermo to clear a field for planting and learned about the village as we talked and waiting for all the wood to burn. Land is communally owned in the village; if you want to work on a certain plot of land you do, and you are the owner of the crops you produce. It is only when you want to cut down trees that you talk with the community to make sure it is ok. The other half of the group worked on a hillside clearin land with machetes. That afternoon we got to meet with Alberto and take a tour of his medicinal plant garden - he laughs like a mad man and knows how the uses of every plant in the jungle.
The following day we left the jungle at 7 in the morning, traveling back to Cusco in one day. We had to hike back to Pilcopata, jump in our bus and ride the bumpy dirty roads of the jungle, and cloud forest, traveling from sea level to 3326m, reaching Cusco at 7pm. Food, and sleeping in beds and no more bug bites! Our jungle expedition came to a close.


Welcome to the Jungle.

Hi all! Sorry its been so long- we have just been so so busy!
So last week, after a lovely couple of days in the beautiful city of Cusco, the group set off onto a ten day expedition... to the jungle. It took us a few days to get out there being that it was so far away and we made a few pit stops. We left Cusco on Tuesday, spending Tuesday night, Wednesday and Wednesday night at a beautiful 300 year old hacienda just outside the town of Paucartambo. The house was a big, gorgeous ranch with a big old fireplace to warm up with at night. During the day we worked to clear a field on the farm there that will be used to grow corn.
Thursday morning we hit the road bright and early and drove to a spot on the Madre de Dios river where we hopped in a boat and headed to a tiny lodge in the cloudforest called Atalaya. We spent one night there, and took some really nice hikes in the afternoon to explore the jungle. The next morning we woke up incredibly early to boat down the river to see macaws flying along the river banks. Totally incredible sight. Later that morning we continued on our way, braving landslides and some serious mud along the road, to the town of Pillcopata inside of the Manu National Reserve. We stayed one night in this little, dusty town at the Paradise hotel and finally the next morning we took off for the jungle community we would stay and work in for the next few days... Paul will take it from here to tell you all about the jungle!

xoxo Ciao!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Triviaaa whaaaaaa.

Well I didn´t have this weeks trivia on my lost post, so here it is guys!

Peru is one of the leading exporters for paprika, and asparagus. As well as gold, and they have some of the best silver you will ever find!

As a lack of education in Peru, they arent able to really get into the exprting as other countries are. So they sit on the moto of ¨Poor man sitting on a golden chair.¨

Well thats this week trivia for you guys, we are heading out to Cusco in a little bit.

Hope all is well at home.

- Jenn

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Jugo de Rana.

Well tomorrow we have our last day in Spanish school. These last 2 weeks have been filled with learning and new experiences.

Today at school a few of us travel to the market, where some of us saw things we didn´t really want to see. Parts of animals that should never be shown. I know my teachers were trying to make me try Frog Juice....Ehhhhhh, no thanks! :-/ It definantly would have been a crazy ride for the stomach. They would take the live frogs just right out of this container they had in the open,and just blend them on in. I don´t think the poor guys knew what they have coming. The market is filled with so much diversity, from seafood to all the jugos you can imagine. On the 3rd level is the animals. They had the cutest bunnies you will ever see, and the BIGGEST turkies you can imagine. And of course they had cuy, I wish they were pets like they were in the state, the poor little guyswell accutally they aren´t small at all. They are huge here.

Tomorrow is our last day of class, which is definantly sad. I know I have had some awesome teachers, and have learned a lot since Viva Verde in Quito. It was nice to have a refresher on mi español. Today we received cerfificates of completion and had some really dulce postres. Mmmm mmmm good. We head out to Cusco tomorrow, on an allllllllll nighter bus everybody. Please pray for us that it is comfortable. Then we are headed on our way to meet our new contact for the rest of the trip,get this name Jugo Pepper. What an awesome name. We will shop for supplies for the jungle where we will be starting Tuesday, for 10 days.

Well thats our last week, and the rest of our weekend folks.

Hope all is bueno, up a la norte.

Ciao, Jenn.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Colca Canyon.

Well this weekend, we hiked to the bottom of the 2nd deepest canyon in the WORLD! And there is only a couple 100 meter difference between the first and second.

Sheese it was a crazy weekend, we woke up on Saturday morning around 3:30 am, and got on to a bus and tried to sleep since we knew we had a long day ahead of our selfs.

We arrived to the Condor Park around 9:30 or so, we watched the condors for over an hour just fly throughout this beautiful canyon, some were big and some were small but good god they were a sight to see. They would fly directly over your head, and almost were praising your presence for a good photo to be taken.
From there we took another crazy bus ride for about 15 mins, to the begining of our deep desent into this goregous, almost deepest canyon. In total to get to the bottom, and to our arriving point of the ¨Oasis¨, catchy name huh? It took us about 6 hours, with an hour or so break for lunch as well in the bottom of the canyon. We arrived there in perfect timing before dark. That night we spent steripenning water for a good hour or so. We were all so tired, sore that walked down definantly kicked our ass, and we all knew that we still had to walk up the next day. We had a very enjoyable dinner, of pasta with tomatoes. It was sure nice to get a big meal. That night we stood out in front of our little adobe house and looked at the goregous moon and stars. Boy oh boy were they bright. Good thing though, we needed them at 4 in the morning.

We all woke up again, that next morning and started our ascent up this canyon around 430. Amanda and I were not feeling so well that next morning and road mules all the way up. I cannot speak of how hard it was, yet I can hear stories. Perhaps somebody who walked up will help me post a blog this week to talk about their expereince. I know that we definantly have our worked cut out for Machu Pichu, everybody. Good thing we end with that. Ha! But yeah it was a goregous sunrise that morning heading up the canyon. A bit cold but we came prepared. Everybody arrived to the top of the canyon around 8 am, nothin like a good ol´4 hour hike to start your day! :)

We arrived to this little town, and had breakfast in a hostal. After breakfast we all headed to the main part to wait for our bus. It was a funny sight to see all of us alseep in this park on the grounds the benchs any where we could get comfy. We headed out to Chivay after that, and went to the hot springs. Boy were they nice and HOT! It was so nice to soak your sore body from head to toe, it was relaxing. We ate lunch at this little sandwich shop in Chivay as well. After lunch we headed back to Arequpia, where most of us were definantly looking forward to our beds, and a nice shower.

That was our weekend, it was a crazy & beautiful weekend.

This week we are continuing a nother week of Spanish school. Hopefully on our way to fluency! Haha, probably not but we can always HOPE.

I will post more this week.

Ciao from all of us here in the Southern Hemi.
Hope all is well at home!

- Jenn

Friday, April 3, 2009


Hello Lima, wait, no, hello Arequipa!

We only took a pit stop in the Lima airport to use our first Soles, and taste some fantastic gelatto.

And now here we are, settled in with our families, getting used to the groove of Spanish school, and spending our afternoons walking around the Plaza de Armas under the hottest sun in the world, so says Jenn's homestay Dad Freddy. But Freddy also told us El Misti is waiting to explode (I checked to make sure, it's actually dormant) phew. El Misti, what a fantastic sight, overlooking all of Arequipa at a tall 5,822 M, thats over 19,000 feet!. But not only does Arequipa have El Misti but two more volcanos on either side! Chachani and Pichu Pichu, also very high, but smaller, and with more peaks. Snow tops all of them, which feeds Rio Chile, Chile is actually a Quichua word that means cold. Similar to chilly, don't ya think?

On the flip side of this valley, some five hours away, past the towering earth, is a canyon twice as deep as the grand canyon. It's the grand grand canyon! Also known as Colca, or "wake up early" canyon. Not that Colca means wake up early, but we're leaving at 330 in the morning tomorrow. What a muy temprano time of day.

It will be nice to take a journey out of this city, and glimpse a bit more of Peru, and its birds. Flying Andean Condors will be the focus of our first stop on the long hike, lasting two days in and up, up, up out of the canyon. It will be the highlight of Arequipa, besides maybe the delicious pastries, or the cheap magnificent chinese food, or the churches made out of volcanic rock. I've got to say, Arequipa has it all.

Chao Chao!
amanda and the group

did you know?
Alan Perez is the presidente of Peru.
(thank you Onyx. Let's hear it for Trivia master!!!!)