Friday, August 31, 2007

Lots on my mind... but still just a (not quite) short note...

Hi again, this blog is going to be a bit deeper than some so read at your own peril...

This has been a really crazy week. I landed in a new city (still getting used to being in a new country) and within less than 24 hours I am sick as a dog... The point is that being as sick as I was in a strange place, on my own and not being able to speak the local language really shook things up quite bit (actually the doctor was concerned I may have picked up a parasite somewhere - but I didn't). It got me thinking about a number of things including where home is, friends and what on earth I am doing in this country? The detailed answer to the last question is somewhat deep and long winded, but lets just say that that thought process was also at risk this week. I remember thinking on Tuesday that I just wanted to be around familiar people/places and wanted to get out of this place... I was also missing Cape Town and you people there more than I have in a long time, but I guess the combo of illness and a new place can do that to you...


Enough of my yapping... The point is that I am going to stick this out for now (the fact that I am feeling much better helps in a big way) and I'm going to keep the worst-case-scenario in my mind (actually it's not that bad). If things don't pan out over here I may buy a ticket to Cape Town and regroup - but don't take that as me promising that I am going to be in SA any time soon, because I really don't know...

Okay, enough about me... There are a few things I want to tell you about this city before I leave it, but I'll add that later this afternoon or this evening. So, for now... Hasta luego!

Monday, August 27, 2007

... all part of the adventure, I guess.

So I went to see a doctor this morning as I was a bit concerned about getting dehydrated (no explanation required). And, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that it seems I don´t have and perhaps didn´t have altitude sickness. The bad news is that I probably got sick because of something I ate.

The reason I say it´s good news that it´s not altitude sickness is that if I did have it at this low altitude (about 2,300m) then my plans to visit other places at higher altitudes were not looking good. But, seeing as that is not the case there is a possibility that I may not have extreme reactions to the higher altitudes - although this is still a possibility. The bad news means that I can´t have any fruit, salads, alcohol, mayo and one or two other things. At least I manage to get some anti-biotics so hopefully it will clear up in the next day or so...


As far as the title of this blog goes that is the motto I am trying to work with at the moment. The crappy hostel in Lima, the illness here in Arequipa, meeting cool people from all over the world and whatever else happens is all part of the adventure... Oh, and speaking of people from all over the world I thought this was a bit random - I just met a group of South Korean travellers who were taught English by a South African named Larry here in Peru. Well, I thought that was kinda unexpected... Well, that´s enough from me for now.

PS: Thanks for the emails etc checking up on me...

¡Hasta luego!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

So what´s it really like?

I realised that most of my blogs lately have been about what I have been up to and not really about my surroundings - and I´ve received a few emails asking me what´s it´s really like over here. So...

On Monday I landed in Lima and I stayed in the touristy (is that a word?) area of Miraflores. Parts of it were okay, but as a whole there were just way too many cars, buses, taxis etc and at times the air pollution from all those vehicles was really bad (especially when walking into town). It felt as though everyone was in a hurry or they were rushing off to be somewhere. In addition to that I didn´t find there was really much to see. As I said in an earlier blog I spent a day in the centre of town, but that wasn´t enough to convince me to stick around.


Arequipa seems to be quite a different place, although I have exactly explored that much of the city. When Eline and I arrived here on Friday we both felt this was a better place to be. The first thing that struck me when I landed here was the fact that I could see some blue sky (there was permanent cloud and/fog in Lima) and the sun. The next thing that caught my attention were the mountains - El Misti and Chachani. Chachani is a bit further away from the city, whereas El Misti feels like it´s on my doorstep. With a summit at about 5,800m above sea-level it rises 3,500m above the city.

As far as the town goes it is planned like a traditional colonial town, centred on the Plaza de Armas - that´s a type of central square I guess and it seems most major towns have one. There are loads of restaurants surrounding the plaza and as you walk pass waiters approach you with an English menu (I guess we tourists really stand out) trying to get you to visit their establishment. I´d like to see a bit more of the city at some point, but for now I´m just trying to feel better. For now though I have at least one thing to look forward to and that´s my Spanish lessons that start tomorrow. I´ll keep my blog updated with any new developments and sights that I see etc, but for now I´m going to sign off...

¡Hasta luego!
-

Coca leaf tea and dry biscuits...

That is kinda what I am living on today - the reason is that I may have a bit of altitude sickness. You see the town I am in at the moment is about 2400m above see level and at this height (actually usually higher) the altitude can mess with you a bit. So I´ve had a bit of a headache and my stomach has been in a mess, so Jose (the father of the one I mentioned in an earlier blog) here at the hostel suggested that this will help. To be honest I am feeling so crappy that I will try it. The only problem is that this mate de coca (the tea) doesn´t taste that great, but I guess I gotta do what I gotta do...

Another development is that I start my Spanish lessons tomorrow. The younger Jose put me in touch with a language teacher and she is willing to come to the hostel so we can sit outside during our lessons. I´m really excited about this as I have always wanted to learn to speak Spanish and I think it´ll add a new dimension to being over here. I also think I may started looking for work sooner rather than later, after all that is the reason I came over here - kind of. So when I´m not taking lessons this week I hope to be searching for a job (and trying to find out what kind of red tape is involved in getting the necessary work permit etc).

That´s all from me for now... Thanks for all you emails etc...

¡Hasta luego!

Friday, August 24, 2007

By the way...

FYI -
I´m staying at La Posada del Cacique...
It seems like a nice enough place and the guy who works here, Jose, seems to be a genuine guy...

Is this what the doctor ordered?

Me again...

I am now in Arequipa (a smaller city in the south of Peru). I left Lima because it felt a bit too chaotic and busy and kinda polluted. Also, the fact that I didn´t like the hostel didn´t help how I felt about being there. I was planning on coming to Arequipa all along but I moved up the schedule by two days. On Wednesday I met Eline from Amsterdam at the hostel I was staying at and she mentioned she was coming to Arequipa, so we decided to travel together. It has been good having someone to hang out with for the past two days and I know I´ll miss her when she moves on (she´s not going to be here as long as I plan on being). Anyway, another good thing about my time in Lima was meeting Betsy (an American student studying and working in Lima for a few months).

That´s enough of that though. The plan for now is to perhaps take some Spanish lessons here in Arequipa for a while and take it from there... Although I´m not sure which school to go to (is there really much of a difference?)... Anyway, like I said in this morning´s blog I want to slow down and chill for a bit and I think that Arequipa could be just that... at least for now...

Something different... slower...

Hi,

This is just a short note to let you know I'm leaving Lima today. I kinda knew I wouldn't stick around here, so I'm flying south to Arequipa this afternoon. I met some interesting people here in Lima, but it's too chaotic and it's a huge city. Arequipa on the other hand sounds like an interesting place and it have a slower pace (something that appeals to me at the moment). I hope to take some Spanish lessons while I'm down there and try to figure out what else I plan on doing...

Like I said, this is a short note... Hasta luego!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

So far, so good...

A few people have asked me what it is like over here and what I have been up to, so here goes...

I am staying at the Hospedaje Jose Luis in Miraflores (a very touristy part of Lima). It's a simple place, but comfortable enough. It's a really busy area with loads of people around and where any tourist (me too I'm guessing) stands out like a sore thumb. There are loads of banks, shops, internet cafe, retaurants etc around. And there is an interesting shopping mall called LarcoMar (picture the V+A Waterfront in Cape Town on the edge of a cliff, but just a bit smaller). I had lunch there yesterday and will probably be back there tomorrow having lunch with someone I met over here...

I've been to a few museums, checked out the catacombs a monastery in town (approx 25,000 people were buried there and the bones are stacked and clearly visible) and walked around central Lima for a bit. One of the squares in the centre of town, Plaza de Armas, reminds me of Trafalgar Square (in London) and the surrounding areas. It's a place where people simply seem to congregate, there are loads of pigeons flying around, there are tourists taking pictures and talking, and all this is surrounding by some great architecture. There are even a few artists doing portraits not too far from the square.

There is loads more I could say, but I'm going to sign off for now. One more thing I can say is that repeating that phrase 'solo hablo Ingles' is a great motivation to learn some Spanish as soon as possible...

Okay, I gotta go so... Hasta Luego (seeya later!)...

A very familliar question...

I have been experiencing a sense of deja vu lately and it has been in the form of a question that has been on my mind. The question I am referring to is 'What am I doing here?'

Over the past couple of days I have been in a state of sensory overload - new sights, sounds, places, tastes etc etc... And as I did about 17 months ago (when I was still new to London) I have been wondering what on earth I am doing here. Don't get me wrong, I don't regret coming here it's just that this is one huge step and I'm only starting to realise that. That said I know that this whole South American adventure I am on is beyond just me. What I mean is that this was not my idea, this trip to Peru was an answer to a prayer a few months back. And, in the same way that my time in London was significant in that it was like me being at the Jabbok River (that was the place where Jacob wrestled with the Angel from God) I know this time is going to have significance - not that I know what that is right now...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A whole new world...

Beunos dias (it´still morning over here)...

This is going to be short note, but I hope to be back online later today or tomorrow. So the flight was good and I have come to the conclusion that I prefer travelling my day (then when I get to my destination I can sleep somewhere comfy). The guy from the B&B picked me up at the airport and the way he drove I felt like I was in a taxi going to ´Mowbray-Kaap´... The room is simple, but comfy enough and I had a good sleep...

At the moment I´m at an Internet cafe and hope to do some window (and actual) shopping a bit later. I guess the funniest thing so far is the number of people who mistake me for a local or at the very least seem surprised when I say ´solo hablo Ingles´ (I only speak English)... Anyway, this adventure has begun and it really feel like a whole new world (please forgive that bit of Disney-fication)...

I gotta get out of here, but I will stay in touch...

PS: Thanks for all the messages and the notes on my Facebook wall!!

-

A quick update...

Originally written on 20-Aug-07...

hi... so i'm writing from Madrid at the moment. unfortunately, i won't be seeing the city but just get to spend a couple of hours at the airport...so... in about 90min time i'll be boarding my flight to Lima... the flight from London was sort and uneventful, but the next flight is going to be really long (about 12 hours), but at least there aren't any more stops on the journey...that's all for now... thanks for the messages etc...

facing reality...

Originally written on 30-July-07...

i have been in London for nearly 18 months now and it has become a comfortable, albeit sometimes chaotic place to live - not to mention the fact that i have made some good friends over here...so i am counting the days until i leave and i think the idea of relocating my life to a different continent for the second time in 18 months is starting to become reality... i bought a "lonely planet" book earlier and i'm starting to realise what i'm getting myself into (but i guess it'll hit me when i get there)...anyway, enough of my waffling... hasta luego...