Sunday, November 25, 2007

My Bolivian (mis)adventure…

Recently, I spent a week on the road travelling through Puno to Bolivia. It was quite an adventure, especially the incidents at the border crossings. Firstly, when I went into Bolivia I was searched by the police (supposedly they were looking for drugs) and then the immigration guy gave me a hard time because I couldn’t give him a photocopy of my Bolivian visa. On my way back into Peru one of the immigration guys tried to tell me that they can’t let me into Peru and that I should perhaps come back in a few days. He used a number of excuses, one being that some people from other parts of Africa use fake South African passports to travel around and courier drugs. The truth came out a few minutes later when I asked if there’s anyone I can speak to about the situation or if there’s anything I could do. His response included the fact that while he won’t take any money one of his supervisors may need about $100 in order for the problem to be solved and for me to get back into Peru. In any case, I’m back in Peru and the time between the two border crossings was great. One thing that was on my mind is that I prayed about the whole border crossing situation after the first one and while there were people who seemed adamant that they were going to make the process difficult for me I still got through it all…

While the main reason for my going was related to my visa situation I also did some research for some travel books that we will be publishing at the club. I spent some time in Puno (Peru) where I had been a few months ago and then I went to Bolivia. I spent some time in a town called Copacabana (no, this is not the town Barry Manilow sings about) and from there I spent a night on La Isla Del Sol (the Island of the Sun). It is somewhere I would like to visit again some time. During the 3 hours hike from the north end to the south of the island all I could hear was the sounds of my breathing, the crunching of the dirt under my feet and the wind blowing across the island. It was quite a change from the taxis, dogs and other noise in Cusco.

While I am enjoying my time in Cusco the trip was an eye opener to other places, possibilities and so on. The way things stand at the moment I’m planning on being in Cusco for at least the next 6 months, but I don’t have a clue what is going to happen after that. Time will tell I guess…

You can see some pics from this trip using the link below:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=30075&l=e1074&id=513421322

Monday, November 5, 2007

Really settling in…

I have been in Peru for nearly two-and-a-half months now and for most of that time I have been in Cusco. From my first day in this town it felt right being here and as time has passed I have felt more at home, although there are definitely still things about being here that feel strange to me at times. I have now found some means to be able to stay here and when that happened I had a strange feeling when I realised that I was actually going to be here for a few months and that it was more than just the idea it was when I was back in London. Some have asked what I’m doing here and how long I intend on being here so let me say this much…

There is an organisation called South American Explorers (SAE) that started about 30 years ago and provides travel info and, in some cities, a clubhouse for people travelling independently on the continent – take a look at
www.saexplorers.org for more on the club. I became a member at the clubhouse in Lima because I didn’t know anyone in Peru when I got here and when I arrived in Cusco I sought out the clubhouse here. I’ve spent quite a bit of time at the clubhouse just using the free internet and hanging out with people. Fortunately I mentioned to the manager that I was looking for a job so I could stay in Cusco, because she had been looking for an assistant manager for the past few months. So I’m going to be working at the clubhouse and the job entails a number of things including some sales, accounting, marketing, general admin and whatever is required to ensure the running of the club. I’ve never done anything like this before so I guess it’s going to be quite an experience. I don’t know how long I’m going to be here and I don’t know what’ll come next. This is still where I know I need to be and I want to make the most of whatever time I have here. Okay, so financially it’s going to be a bit challenging but I think the experience as a whole and the new skills will be worth quite a bit.

So that’s the gist of what I’m going to be doing with my time while I’m here, at least for now. Who knows where it’s going to lead, after all just a few months ago I couldn’t have imagined this kind of opportunity falling into my lap. Okay, so that’s all from me for now. I hope you’re doing well, wherever you are…

¡Hasta luego!