Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hi Again

Happy thanksgivin! The Sammers celebrated a little early by enjoying a huge feast and playing secret turkey for each other. We all are very well rested after a very amazing and spiritual stay at our yoga retreat. Sunday, a very sunny woman at that, shared her Hindu practices of meditation, astrology, and all the different yoga types and philosophies with us. The courses were intense, we sang, danced, meditated, and most of us are capable of doing headstands now. That is until Keegan farted and everyone had to kneel while he just laughed. The food was wonderful as well. Healthy and tasty. Plus since Sunday is from New Mexico we got a little taste of home in the US. Every part of the yoga retreat was inspiring, especially baby Mira Vie.

Now with full bellies, we are ready to take part in the very anticipated final part of the trip, a 5 day trek to Macchu Picchu. We are all very aware that this is our last week together and hope to make it the best one yet! But we can´t wait to see you soon! Love and kisses,

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Floating islands, a place none of us have ever expierenced before. The people create their land from condensed dirt and place piles of yellow reeds on top. The sun light reflects beautifully off of the islands as well as the lake, which creates a gorgeous contrast. Along with the reed monster boats that dock outside their homes. These islands literally float and in order for them to stay in place stakes need to be pressed down, and weights thrown over the side. The communities are very friendly though when in disaggrement, they have been known to pull stakes out of their neighbors part of the island to hopefully have them drift away. The islands that we visited were Uros and Taquiles. It was a very scenic boat ride to get to both islands, although our boat driver fell asleep on the way there time to time. We were graced by double halo rainbows which surrounded the sun throughout our trip. When we got the Taquiles we took a 20 minute walk to the top where we ate lunch. Jeff ended up dying along the way in our current game of lover. Then we returned to the boat with our happy tour guide since we were the happiest group and played chess and cards the whole way back to Puno.

Although Puno was relatively small, we were all able to do many activities in the town, such as the carnivals and coca museum. Alot of us hiked up to the look outs, one having a pointing statue of Manu Chipac, the first born Incan. The other look out had a giant Andean condor statue that provided a much larger and breath taking view of Puno, literally breath taking because of the altitude. One night after dinner, we stumbled upon a professional womens volleyball game, Puno vs. Juliyaca. We all had a roaring time as we acted like 12 year olds yelling ¨JULICACA!¨ although most of the time we thought Puno was playing Cuzco. Keegan also caught a volleyball that was thrown in the crowd during halftime. After having the ball for five minutes, a little sweet kid came to him and asked him for the ball very politely. Bugged eyed and mouth grinning, Keegan shouted ¨¡ES MIO!" and cackled, making the boy run to his mama. After all the insults we threw at JuliCACA, #6 Thunder Strike and #10 Big Mama, led Juliyaca to victory. We left with happy faces knowing we would be in Cuzco soon.

We got a welcome to Cuzco gift by getting some of our stuff robbed on the bus ride there. We put it behind us with all the fun things we did. After all the strenuous research we did at all of the many travel agencies here, we decided to go zip lining and horseback riding. We giddied up and rode em horsies all around the ruins. It was amazing to see the advanced engineering the Incas did to make these ruins, but mainly we were more excited just to ride our horses. Then we strapped into our harnesses and zipped and zipped and zipped. We had a blast riding the 3 zip lines the park provided, but had a crazy time repeling down a 100 meter rock. Kieran seemed like she had the most fun doing that. While Shelby wasnt so fond of taking other peoples advice while repelling. What is special about these zip lines are they are the highest in the world, but only above sea level. It was nice having amazing adventures in Cuzco before we left to volunteer at the House of Miracles.

Well we all crammed into a cozy little van and headed off to House of Miracles, an orphanage in the Sacred Valley. To get there we did the unmanagable and fit all ten of us and our bags into a wee little car. Its a colorful building full of love. The American couple, Marie and Allen, who manage and fund the place are so sweet and genuine. They welcomed us with coca tea and smiles. Charlie, Blue, Rover, and Sid all gave us barks of kindness. We spent most mornings weeding the drive way to help bring down the lease of the property. In the afternoons, we chilled with the homefries playing games and sharing jokes. Jose Luis was the name maker of the group. Will being Chubaka, Kieran being rat..but its only cause she taught them egyption rat screw, Keegan, Princess Leya, Dan as Squished Tomatoe, Jeff was Girrafe, and Andy was the sad clown. One of the days we took a 2 hour hike stright up the mountain an Incan Ruin. After exploring the girls and Milo sat in the wide opened feild and played the the dancing sparkles. We giggled and wondered why we were seeing these white specks and balls of black. At one point all four of us were waving our hands in the air, all with smiling faces. The rest of the boys kept walking and went to the Incan tower. On the last day at the orphanage, we had an indoor bon fire where we all laughed and feasted on smores. In the morning the kids gave us hugs goodbye and we went to Cuzco for just a night. Now we are all excited for the yoga retreat and are savoring the few days we have left.

Until later,
with love,
Kieran and Keegan

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lake Titicaca

Here we are - it´s free travel time! We are in the tourist haven of Puno right now, super fried after our two weeks of spanish classes in Arequipa.

Colca was incredible, as you could probably tell from the pics.

After a 6 hour bus ride in a double decker, flying on all sides of the ¨road¨ through the most picturesque landscapes of the Peruvian mountains we arrived here with mouth fulls of coca to ease our aching heads - Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world. It is beautiful here. This morning, Raul, a very different Shaman than ours from the Amazon, did a ceremony to the Pacchamamma (Mother Earth) with us. He taught us about the pre-Incans´ belief that the three most holy animals are the snake, which connects you to the underworld, your innerself and the knoweledge of the earth, the puma which connects you to the physical world and your drive and inner warrior spirit, and finally the condor which connects you to father sky and the cosmos. All of the Andean philosophies also believe in the concept of duality, creating a balance between opposing forces: the positive and negative, or the masculine and feminine energies in everyone and everything. On our journey to ¨the door of knowledge¨ we first sat at the rock of the puma where four cat foot prints lay embedded into an acient rock, then we traveled across the spine of the snake which was a long ridge leading to the nest of the condors, which was a series of natural rocks in the shape of condors overlooking a cliff. Along the way we participated in two rituals - one where Raul supported us as we leaned out with open arms over a cliff and released the negative parts of our past so that we can better face the future. The second was at the ´door of knowledge,´ where we became one with the earth, entering columns carved into the cliffs by either natural means or the ancestors of humans. We entered one column, felt its energy, and then entered the other, finally ending between the two, literally in the door, where we also felt the energy from the Pacchamamma.

After we all did this ritual, Raul and another Shaman prepared an offering to the Pacchamamma: sweets, coca leaves, wine, and the fetus of the llama. We all offered a handful of coca leaves, expressing our best thoughts for the universe, and then they burned the offering in a fire pit made of cow poo. The poo turned white as it burned, a sign that the Pacchamamma accepted the offering.

Tomorrow we head to the floating islands, and then Tuesday night we will be bound for Cuzco! WE GET TO RIDE A HOT AIR BALLOON OVER THE SACRED VALLEY HAH!

Peace out from Team SAM
Your bloggers, Maddie and Andy

Monday, November 2, 2009