Wednesday, May 11, 2011

We're Baaack!

And missing all of you.

It was a long few flights back home with Jefe and Sarita and then we said our goodbyes, and then there were 2. We are back in Portland now going through photos and budget (it never ennnnnddds...) and can't believe that its all over.

So many good memories, laughs, long meetings, card championships, oreos, band practice, rice, headstands, bread, and looooove.
Thank you all for an unforgettable 3 months. Can't wait for the reunion, if anyone ever plans it. For those of you who are still down in SAM land, hope you're not getting into too much trouble. Send our love to Pachamama.

Long live SAM.I.AM.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Week 12: The Last Hoorah of Sam I Am

Hey everyone,

It's a little weird for me to write this blog now, considering that I'm now securely back in Colorado, EEUU. This is my first chance to catch up on blogging since our final, busy week ended! I have been totally overwhelmed in the last day by the abundance of cereal varieties in my family's pantry and the large quantities of free toilet paper. What is this strange foreign land?

After we got back from the jungle, we had almost 3 full days in Cusco to "acclimatize" to the altitude. This time was spent relaxing, eating out (some of us discovered a couple really cheap and delicious vegetarian restaurants that we visited more than a few times!) taking long hot showers, doing some last minute shopping for friends and family, watching the NBA playoffs, etc.

Last Friday morning we were painfully dragged out of bed at 2:55 a.m. for a 3 hour car ride to begin our Maccu Picchu trek! We had an early morning breakfast, and by around 8 we began our hike! The first day was definitely the hardest. We started at an elevation of 3800m, climbed to a maximum height of 4600m (difficult to breath up there for sure) and then descended back down again to the place we camped. The scenery was beautiful and ever-changing as the miles went on. We reached camp around nightfall where horses were waiting with our things and our guides made us popcorn, hot chocolate, and eventually dinner. By the time we got to go to bed most of us could barely keep our eyes open!

The next morning we were kindly woken up by our guides at 5:30 to eat breakfast and begin another day of trekking. This day's walking was through the "eyebrow of the jungle," though I don't think any of us ever quite figured out what that meant. It was another beautiful walk. The place we stayed that night was pretty bizarre- there was 80's workout music blasting, strange white chickens with Afros running around everywhere, and a cow being slaughtered right next door.

Our third day we opted to go ziplining in the morning. It was awesome... one of the best ways to see good views that I've done! That afternoon, after an excessively large lunch, we walked about 3 hours along some railroad tracks to arrive in the touristy town of Aguas Calientes. We spent the night in a lodge there and woke up at 4:30 a.m. to catch the bus up to the ancient Incan ruins of Maccu Picchu. They were incredible and it was easy to spend hours exploring. We had a guided tour first, although our guide, Saulo, wasn't the most accurately informed person I've ever met. (Ex: he told us bananas come from Europe...) After that some of us went on a hike to get some good views and photos, while others continued to wander around and expore. When we went back into Aguas calientes that afternoon for lunch and hanging out, I couldn't help but imagining that in 600 or so years, tourists might just flock in large numbers to see the ancient ruins of a strange town called Aguas Calientes!

That night we took a train then a bus to return back to Cusco. The following day was our last day of the trip. It's crazy to think that it's over, but when I think back to all the incredible and different things that we did, I realize that it has been 3 months after all! Thanks to everyone who made this trip possible for us- it was an amazing and unique experience. I will miss all of you... Simone, Ari, Miguel, Joseph, Campos, Nick, Erin and Daniella. Thanks for making this trip great and being a part of my life for the last 3 months.

Miguel, Simone, Ari and I had a long but smooth day of traveling back to LAX... and everyone else stayed back in Cusco to continue their travels. Good luck everyone- it's going to be a blast.

Well, that's all for now. It's been quite the three months!

Carpe Diem,