Sunday, May 16, 2010

Our journey comes to a close... except for Claire.

Holy Salt!

We boarded a night bus bound for Uyuni listo para nuestro horah final. 7pm to 1am was ok, we slept somewhat. However, come one o´clock the lights burst on, blinding us out of our slumbers, for the bus had stopped for a bathroom break. The toilets were worse than usual.... One in particular had a sloaping ceiling that forced Jandro to pee in the upward dog position, while standing. Were talking 45 degree angle... Impressive no? Thank god for the yoga practice. Anyway, emerging victorious we hopped back on the bus, expecting more of the same smooth sailing. We were wrong.... What had been our nice road turned into a hobbling road from hell. It certainly helped that the bus lacked shocks.... We arrived at 6am to a freezing, desolate town apparently called Uyuni, our tour guide nowhere in sight. We wandered, cold and confused for some time. But then, by some miracle, an angel descended down from the heavens and offered her guidance.. ¨Esmeralda tours?¨We are found!!! By 10am we were in our jeep bound for the TRAIN GRAVEYARD, our first stop of the tour. We were joined by three European folk. One Frenchman (living in Mexico?), and two Belgians. It turned out to be quite the group. The TRAIN GRAVEYARD turned into a train playground for Jordi and his fascination with sepia photos (TRAINS!!!!). Alejandro drew, we dont know what Claire was doing. It was glorious.

On we went. The salt flats slowly emerged, like a mirage in the desert. But no, they were real! Claire could not contain herself, excited beyond all recognition, as we pulled up to the first salt mountains, measuring a breath taking 2000 mm. Jordi, the mountain man, was the first ascent. Despite the high altitude, we eventually all summited neighboring mountains, happy to be on top of the world... Delving deeper, the albus sea slowly surrounded us on all sides, as well as the other plethera of gringoes seeking the same wacky photos suitable for facebook.

As amazing and astounding as it was, it was, unfortunately, short lived, as we snapped our last photos and zoomed off into the impending desert. The back seat of the jeep (occupied by Claire and Jordi) was about 2 times worse than our previous bus ride, though this time, it would last for three days straight. Our stomachs felt it. We ended the day running with llamas, and taking llama pictures, and doing llama things. Jordi deftly avoided being spit upon, and resisted the urge to take revenge. Then we fell asleep. It was cold.

DAY 2!!!!! It was cold, it was windy, we saw lots of strange colored lagunas, a 7 colored mountain, and some flamingoes? Questionable....

DAY 3!!! Did not go as planned. We woke up at 5:00am, as we were told, only to find our guide and our jeep MIA. No problem? BIG PROBLEM. 7:00am, still no signs. WTF? We found small comfort in the fact that another group had lost their guide as well. How curious. Then, emerging out of the rising sun, a trail of dust. We are saved! Our rescuers have arrived! Our heroes! They parked, and stumbled out of the car, and headed straight for the bathrooms without a word¨(one of them may have peed his pants). The ones foolish enough to face our questions were like meat on a rotisary, grilled by questions. Glassy eyed, a little unstable, smelling curiously of beer and coca leaves, they gave us their excuse and rolled out a flat tire out of the back seat. We didnt buy it. Our guide offered us a rather astounding deal, he would give us our money back, cancelling our tour, leaving us to die a cold death in the middle of the desert. Or continue on, happy, and not tell the tour agency. We were in a bit of a pickle. He wouldnt let anyone else drive, so we made the only decision we could, and let him drive with all of us watching him like hawks. Our concerns ran wild, missing our bus, missing our plane home, and also just dying a cold death. To all of our surprise, he drove surprisingly well, drifting on snow patches, and dodging geizers. We eventually arrived at our breakfast spot, dropping off the Belgians who were escaping to Chile, leaving us with just the Frenchman, and Franz, our tipsy driver. With the luck of Azlan (ask Claire) on our side, we made it back to Uyuni in one piece with plenty of time to spare. We grabbed some eats, watched Final Destination, and boarded the bus, looking forward to our road of death back to La Paz. As before, we were woke at 1:00am, and after that, we were smooth sailing once again......... Alejandro enjoyed the ride immensly, sleeping with an Australian girl...... to his left. He didnt even say goodbye...

And that takes us to today, a free day in La Paz. We bought some stuff, ate some stuff, and enjoyed some hot showers, except for Claire, who demanded being first, and suffered the cold consequences.

And now we look ahead, the flight, arriving home, remembering it all. As Amanda said, the challenge starts here, upon our return, travelling was the easy part. What a long, strange journey it has been.
Gobble gobble bitch.

Over and out,
your faithful bloggers,
Claire, Alejandro, y Jordi.
-Long live SAM 2010-

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Stragglers Brigade

And the journey continues... across borders. BOLIVIA!!

But first, we had to attend to our patient, Diegito, a sick young pup. Left pale and skeletal in the airport, the Diego missed his flight with the rest of the group on their departure to the Estatos. It was not a pretty sight, the tears that put Niagra Falls to shame, left us wandering the streets of Cusco like blinded dogs, lost and broken. However after a cookie, we broke out the beers!! Just kidding, but seriously, it was forced down our throats by Amanda. Bitter sweet freedom. Our party continued alongside Diegito´s hospital bed. He had amoebas, and we cheersed to that! Alas, that night was time to say goodbye forrealsies, as we hugged his lifeless corpse one last time. For now. (He´s good btw, no worries).

And with another day free in Cusco, we had to pamper ourselves, just a bit. Full body massage. Nuff said. Complete with oil and naked bodies, kindof. Jordi and Jandro, a room to themselves. Sweet Jesus Levy. Still somehow Jordi managed to injure himself during the massage, he doesn´t want to talk about it. Damn knee. And as Amandita, the wonderful, darling person that we love, promised, we went out for a fine supper at the dopest, sickest, most adorable, cuddly restaurant we had ever seen. Hannah would have loved it. Seriously, there were fairytails on our menu and stuffed animals as our seat companions. Our only complaint was that the chefs cut too many onions, as we were not expecting such a sneak attack, sitting amoungst the rafters in a stuffy room. And so our third bought of tears ensued. At least we could pretend we were crying for the group, right? We miss you guys. We´re more group sick than home sick right now. CARPE CARPE Ca r p.....

BOLIVIA!!!! A goodbye to Amanda and a hello to a 14 hour bus ride straight through the night. Alejandro was cold. The bus provided blankets to everyone except him. They were necessary for survival. It was only a bit colder than when Eli almost froze to death in the waterfall in Bosque Nublados.. And then, the crossing....... There are legends of travellers not making... THE CROSSING, never to be seen or heard from again. We went in with our swords drawn and our stomachs in or throats, the real AMERICAN way for, THE CROSSING. There was a bridge and there was a man with ginourmous earlobes beckoning us into a dark room, we feared the worst. But $135 later, a few smiles, and a few laughs we prevailed, as it really wasnt bad at all. Like at all. A two year old could have done it.... For us, it was back on the bus with our visas secured (just stupid stickers), making the home stretch to LA PAZ.

Upon our arrival, Jordi was not doing so hot, slowly fading into Diego´s shadow. We lay him in bed (hostal Austria, beds suck) equipped with his sleeping bag and some Cipro and hoped for the best... Long story short, Jordi could walk in the morning (progress) as we ventured out into the streets of La Paz, trying to figure out what we were going to do with our time here. No Amazon trip (shitty) , but we looked forward to the Salt flats. Instead, we returned back to Lago Tits (thanks Jordan and Zoe), taking a two day trip out to the cozy, yet gringo infested town of Copacabana. We ate some food (Alejandro´s efforts would make Patricio and Andres proud), climbed some rocks (sketchy), speed dated La Isla del Sol (seriously for 1.5 hours, but still way cool), and found ourselves back in La Paz, where we are now. We spent the night last night enjoying German cuisine, and slept bellies up. Today, we are checking out La Paz before catching another night bus to Uyuni at 7 tonight. SALT FLATS HERE WE COME! Oh yea, Claire is having a good time too.

Miss you guys mucho!

-The Three Muskateers
(Claire, Alejandro, y Jordi)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ultimito Dia (We still dont know how to spell in Spanish)

Over the past two weeks we have partaken in many activities. We spent three days at a wonderful yoga retreat eating gourmet vegetarian food, and learning to bend our bodies in questionable ways. We also learned about making energy balls through Reiki, about crazy things called chakras, and Vedic Astrology (your star signs are not what you think they are). Last but not least we spent 5 grueling days hiking through the heart of the Sacred Valley, ending at the Eyebrow of the Jungle (it was not blonde like Elis eyebrow after a battle with peroxide), MACHU PICCHU DUN DUN DUN!!!!!!!!! The food was great, the hiking wasn't too bad, and our asses all look fresh to death. We would tell you a lot more about it, but we figured we wouldn't have enough to talk about with family and friends once we get home (48 hours countdown).You will have to wait for all the crazy Pichu stories. So because we suck at writing and want to spend our final day in the fantastic ciudad of Cusco buying a bunch of swill for the amigos back home, we will let everyones Haikus do the emotional talking (Si we wrote Haikus). Guess whose is whoms (questionable grammar.... we are just really emotional cough Ms J Hollywood cough Ms J Hollywood) So HERRRRRREEEEE WE GOOOO!!!!!

jump for Joy we say
life is a dance, you dancer
thank you for the beat

we subir mountains
we can hablar espanol
we Carpe Diem

I once was afraid
ahora that is not true
Confident I stand

haiku battles end
mos def will cry tomorrow
we are Samtastic

this sucks balls and I
don't want to go back because
changing is a bitch

we eat lots of tasty
yum yum yum yum yum yum yum

yeah, Pachu Mama!
your spirit grooves us alive,
warm alpaca hug

Sam te extrano
disfrutamos todo juntos
amar, Suerte, Paz

put your thumb out now
lets hitchhike across amer.
life is beautiful

A journey afar
new amigos new ventures
what a life we live

what a long strange trip
wait I'm definitely not
Jerry Garcia

This has been an amazing journey. We couldn't have asked for a better group or better times. Thank you universe we have no complaints whatsoever. Take care thanks for reading!

Love your ultimito bloggers,
Andres y Elisio

P.S. There will be updates from those continuing on in South America sans group. (Jordi, Claire, Alejandro)