Friday, February 22, 2008

Ha! I DO take pictures!

Hi everyone,
Sorry I haven´t updated in forever. I was up on a mountain for two weeks and then I decided to cross into Peru via a rather remote border (Zumba) that turned into two days of travel with like a gazillion and a half different inefficient legs involving buses, minivans, mototricycles and taxis. I´ve ended up in Chachopoyas, Peru, traveling with two very nice german girls with very large backpacks. We´re about to head out on a four day trek through the jungle (the third day involves horseback riding. Ponies in the jungle! Yay!) and some nice canyons.

I´m going to just post some random pictures in no particular order.
Here´s a picture of one of the various things I ended up traveling in to cross into Peru:

Taxi drivers really like to pimp their rides. Lots of the little mototricycles have LED´s and EL wire on them, so at night they drive around covered in flashing lights while blasting loud music. It actually really reminded me of being on the playa at night at Burning Man.

And here is a picture of Canoa at sunset:
The weight bench is made of bamboo, and the weight bar is a metal rod with chunks o´concrete on the ends. Such things are standard fare along the Ecuadorian coast.

The farm in Vilcabamba ended up being one of the oddest (and loveliest) places I´ve ever been. It was less of a farm and more an experimental permaculture community run by a former Canadian anarchist named Yves. The farm is wayyyy up on a mountain above the cloud line, which is both awesome because it means you get to live in the clouds (and chase them if you feel like it), but also pretty cold. At least relatively speaking. Here´s a view from the main building on the farm:

All the buildings are made of cob and adobe, mostly through the efforts of Yves alone, plus any unsuspecting volunteers who happened to show up at the wrong time. Here´s a picture of the cob kitchen during meal time:

And since that picture doesn´t really show its cuteness, here´s the kitchen from another angle:

Having a kitchen for two weeks was so wonderful! It had all the spices one could ever want, and there was always an entire hammock full of tropical fruits at my disposal. I learned how to make some pretty awesome chocolate mango banana empanadas. And I also learned how to make granola and chai, and how to make cob, and how to milk goats, and a multitude of other fun things. Oh and SHATTERED my previous record for longest period of time without a shower. I think it had previously been 5 days while at burning man, but... heh... 14 days. The hippies are right: you do reach a point where the texture of your hair and skin changes and you don´t get any more dirty, but it is a lie that you stop smelling. Such a lie. I smelled horrible until yesterday when I finally showered.

Volunteers on the farm pick projects that fit their time frame, so I made a cob planter box with sculptures of all the farm animals on it (which I neglected to take a picture of because it was still drying and really didn´t look very pretty yet), and then laid flagstones for a week. I got super sick while up there and ended up unable to eat for about three days, and boy let me tell you-- if you ever want to lose weight in a hurry, get yourself some sort of week long food poisoning that renders you incapable of eating, and then run up and down a mountain hunting for large rocks to lug back to your flagstone project.

On a related note, I had far and away the best valentine´s day of my life: I hadn´t been able to eat for the three days leading up to it, and then, on valentine´s day, I ate a mango. I almost cried it was so good. I think I might still have some sort of stomach parasites because it seems like any time I revert to a normalish diet, my body will have none of it. So I´ve sort of been eating actual meals every other day, with rice in between. It´s really annoying, especially because I can´t drink, and drinking is useful both as a means to meet more people to travel with, and to practice my spanish with reckless abandon. Language pratice, like haircutting and large scale painting, is an endeavor greatly aided by a few beers.
Here´s a picture of me soaking wet and covered in foam during carnaval:

I went on a nice hike to some ruins today. Here are some kids with their doggie and a see saw.

And here´s the view of the canyon. I don´t know if you can see all the waterfalls and what not in the background, there were about 8 of them.

Ok, I´m getting super tired of writing and waiting for these pictures to load. I´ll post more stuff eventually. Love,


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