Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cuzco and the new year

Our Crazy New Years Garb.

We´ll leave it for Caitlin to explain, but unfortunately it is just the three of us (Gracie, Tegan & Charlotte) travelling now. There´s a big blank gap in the blog that´s going to be hard to fill in because time has become lethargic and our sense of place is incredibly distorted.

Only thing to say about Arequipa is that we met the seediest santa in history. He was uninterested in children, but whenever he`d see an attractive woman he`d call out hola and ask them to sit on his knee.


Now we are in Cusco!!! its an incredible city.....Cusco always on your mind!!! We rocked in after a sleepless night in a double decker bus, fanging around cliff faces at top happy to still be alive!! We stayed in a hostel for one night and then got kicked out (luckily) coz we met two amazing brothers from Quebec who are living here. So we are now living with them too....the three of us piled into one bed, like sardines!!! They are really good musos...which is perfect because we have just bought a charango (ukulele thing) and a mandolin (and grace has a guitar) we are going to learn to play and start a band....however the police have been known to bash buskers in this town! ah!

Our highlight of this amazing city was new years eve.....we began at the house, dressing up crazy, painting faces, drinking gato (south american goon), playing music and causing a regular raucus! After a bit of a spew in a plastic bag we thought we should probably go we headed on to the plaza for THE BEST NIGHT OF OUR LIVES!!!!! It was a firework frenzy!!!! we had a bag of fireworks as did every fucker......unlike Australia there was no official fireworks display, everyone just chucks them where ever they want. So the plaza was packed with people, but there was a big empty space in the middle where most of the fireworks landed, it was a loud, colourful, extravaganza.......but probably a third of them (and there were millions) landed in the crowds causing chaos and people jumping all over the place to avoid a firework to the leg! It sounded like a war zone, explosions everywhere, people screaming, running, and laughing so much!! Charlotte and I (tegan) went mental running around and throwing fireworks at crowds of people and running through no mans land, dodging heaps of fireworks!! Grace was freaking out!!!
Then we got onto the koka leaf....everyone chews it here to help with the altitude and get a little high!! so we shoved a big pile of the leaves into the side of our gobs, with a bit of the black paste and, man what a tasted like shit.....and burnt our mouths leaving us without taste buds and with ulsers and abrasions instead!! Ouch!!!

We then left with the masses to find a club to do some salsa and crazy shit. As New Years often does we spent hours in lines, in the end without even getting in as we are poor gringas who cant afford a 30US dollar entrance fee!! Luckily we had Charlotte to entertain us.... In moments of stress charlotte was blocking the door to the club macking on with who knows who... Lets say by the end of the night Charlotte had made out with half the population of Cuzco and Argentina!!
We did eventually made it to a club, with Charlotte complaining the whole night `I just wanna dance to Beyonce...
By this stage we were well and truely drunk, dancing to a crap reggae DJ and chatting to many a peoples.. We walked home to a beautiful sunrise. I will let Charlotte fill in the rest as she has no recolection of the night, BUT she can tell you about the memorable hang over....

Now Tegan has this prophecy that what you do on the first day of the year is a mazzive indication of how the rest of your year will pan out. I hope for christs sake that she is wrong, Because if she`s right, we will most certainly be spending our whole year squished into one small bed.....Our new years day consisted of splitting hangovers, lying flat on our backs in a little cuddly bunch, laughing our brains out about the preceeding evening. Tegan and grace filling in the gaps of my memory. At around 2pm we attempted to get some food from down the road. As if standing up wansn`t hard enough, as soon as we braved the outdoors the hail started. We found ourselves in the interior of a cosy restaurant. But sitting up was a little too much for me to handle, so I grabbed me sprite and staggered off back to bed, leaving grace and tegan in hysterics.

So today (2nd day of the year), we stared altitude sickness in the face and went up the highest mountain we could see. After we got to the top of the biggest staircase on the planet, we luckily got picked up by some people in a ute! Hell yeah!!! so we piled in the back of the ute and got out at the top of the mountian. We spent the whole day exploring old Inca ruins, climbing up and down mountains, hiding in a puma`s lair and watching llamas mate! And we sang songs to life, coz life is a sick bitch!!!! Life will you be my wife!!

Charlotte and I (tegan) are addicted to burgers.....we have changed from eating empanadas (equivalent of a meat pie) three times a eating burgers with seven types of sauces, three times a day. hahahaha.

On a final note, we just want to mention how many look alikes of people we know we have found in south america. Just to mention a few we have met, Peruvian Jules, Peruvian Buff tom from kempsey, French Canadian Lewis, Black Locci, Argentinian Zoe, Mexican Matt riley, Chilean Ishka/Wah Wah and JONOTHAN MOYLAN´S EVERYWHERE!!!

Adios for nowwwww amigosssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Yesterday we whispered amongst the shadows of the moon.

Valle De La Luna and the Inca ruins of the Atacama


Valle de la Luna is one of the most stunning spectacles I have ever laid my eyeballs on.

And its true when they say that the Atacama desert if the best place to see the stars in the world.

After a night time cave walk
Moon Valley

San Pedro

Inca ruins

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Soulmate


Holy crackerdink...I have met my soul mate....he is another version of me....I love him! He was juggling and performing with his friends on the street....I thought they looked fun and suggested we go and talk to them (little did I know what we were in for)....the universe of the night expanded and our gang and their gang became one...we dominated an empty bar and we danced all night....Ricardo and I took dancing to another level as we performed ridiculous stunt after ridiculous stunt...until we had our selves and the rest of the bar in hysterics!!!
We spent only three days together but fell crazily in Love!!!

So now I'm embarassingly love sick...spending a lot of time writing really lame, crappy, love poetry with no poetic flare...and searching for a face in the distance!

So now for some totes lamo love poetry.... just to make u all laugh...

I found my soul mate in Valparaiso
I found you juggling in the street

I spin in your arms
My blood - absorbing the kaleidoscopic colours of this city
My heart flings out of control

Lost in a maze of graffitied alleys
scrambling through scrub and piles of rubbish
At last I can see your little blue house
My heart hiccups - Are you home?
What will happen if you're not?
All thoughts contract; silence.

In the window
it's You
Electric kisses
urgent love, dreadlocks entwined
Naked, we dance
wearing only our socks and hats

Broken languages,
acting and mime,
massive smiles,
wet willies,
a cacophony of laughter,
sleepless nights.
We fell open to unhesitant love
on a pile of dirty clothes.

The bus departs Valparaiso
carrying one of two hearts

Rainbow droplets
fall from open veins
onto the bus floor

When I return
we will have little

I sit in a bus, surrounded by strangers and friends
I am alone
I miss you. In my dreams I missed this bus.

I read about the power and control of North America
Talons grasp
I eat an avocado and cheese sandwich
My chest
I try to decipher the Spanish subtitles on a movie
I can't breathe
the eagle wrenches my heart upward
my body dangles, my head
Weary, restless murmurs from the seats below
not a soul notices my struggle
limbs flinging above their heads

You look up at the stars, and nod.

I remember
the bar
your grin as wide as the ocean
jumping up and down, eyes squinted in fits of laughter
I remember your green jumper
bodies arched back against the fridge, until we fell to the ground
All I can see is your eyes. I see myself.
We laugh and laugh on the bar room floor

I remember
you kissed me for the first time,
soft lips; followed by a 'wet willy' in the ear
a romantic performance of mime and comedy continued

I remember
our last day
greedy kisses interrupting words
passion overpowering any concept of time or responsibility
running, skipping to the bus station, hand in hand

One, two, three, ten, nineteen, twenty-four goodbye kisses...
one more...
just one more...
the space between us widens
but there are magnets in our lips.

Alone in the Atacama
laying in the dirt
spirits of the earth crackle in the rocks surrounding me
La Madre Tierra nurtures my wounds
her fingers tickle my back
Mesmerised by the twinkles saturating the dark, desert sky
my heart wanders, searching

You look up at the stars, and nod.

I could probably keep going for a few hundred years so I'll spare you all and stop! hahahaha
Life is so funny!!!

Changes are afoot...

The ex-prison turned community/cultural centre

¨Truth and Justice¨

My wonderful fellow travellers...

Very very exciting news. I have changed my plans pretty massively. I´m so excited right now I can´t even write in a remotely lyrical way.
This morning we bought our bus tickets to Bolivia. Half an hour later we decided to go to Peru first instead. I have also decided not to go to Brazil just yet. Perhaps if I have enough money I will do so on the way back but who knows.

So, my new itinerary is such; Two weeks in Peru with the girls, two weeks travelling in Bolivia with girls before meeting my sister for another two weeks in Bolivia. THEN (this is the new and extremely exciting part) go solo to Ecuador, Colombia then across to Panama and up through Central America and the rest is yet to be seen. Who knows, these plans may change again but this what I foresee at this point and I´m practically jumping out of my skin.
Talking to some other travellers last night I got a tonne of advice too, its great when you can feed off one another´s energy and share stories and knowledge. Fuck I love travelling.

Okay now I´ll take a breath.

Right now we are in San Pedro de Atacama, dusty desert town through which we´re able to access the most amazing sights of the Atacama desert. As Charlotte has already said, the landscape here is otherworldly. In its brutal bleakness and dry, rolling mountains there is a certain harsh beauty. You can see clearly the folds in the under layers of the earth, the way the astronomical force of the underground has shaped the land. This is mother nature at her most raw, like a body stripped bare of its skin and only dried out, undulating textured layers of muscle exposed to the air. Its a landscape that makes you feel as if you might be swallowed whole.

Valparaiso was incredible. There was a certain energy simmering under the surface of this town, most driven by the youth, or that was the impression we got...

On Cerro Concepción there was an ex-jail, closed down in 1990, that is now used as a cultural centre where they put music, theatre and visual art gigs. It was used to house many political prisoners in the Pinochet era and the man who showed us around was himself an ex-prisoner, who was incarcerated for being a communist. He showed us through the area and told us what each part used to be and the goings on within the prison. I´m not sure what to say about how it felt to be walking through such a place, just looking, where so much horror and brutality has taken place. Its virtually impossible to put into words, but I´m glad I did it.

I´m going to make this a short one because I have more photos than words for this part of the trip..
Until next time, all my love to everyone.

Valparaiso and onwards...


´Valparaiso´- This city has a poignant breath. A vibrancy that makes your bones tingle. Streets paved with the magic of vendors and their metal stalls, coloured with patterns and pricelists. The hot splashes of oil as empanadas, springrolls & churros are cooked right in front of your eyes. Markets adorn the shady boulevards of the plazas. The electric shouts of Spanish, as stall holders catch your attention with their mastery. Christmas lights hang from the street lamps, crisscrossing above our heads & the faces of election candidates grin down from placcards. The usual throng of Perros (dogs) roaming amonst the crowds.

We spend hours exploring the suburbs - houses built haphazardly into the side of the hillside, noses staring out over the glistening port, navy ships, our home an entire ocean away. The walls and rooftops blink with colour. The carelessly brilliant brushstrokes of grafitti, political slogans, outward manifestations of life in this town. We slide into the doors of dingey cafes and enjoy coffee, ensalada de frutas, the soft tingle of samba. From the flowerlaced windows we watch the streets. Men absorbed in newspapers, niños playing marbles in the dirt, the gentle unloading of crates from beer trucks. There is energy transmitted in the simpleness of a smile, the fleeting glimpses of contact with other beings.

Night brings new impenetrable feelings. The hill radiant with the flickering ash of lights. The streets full to capacity with bodies drinking in doorways, mingling on corners. The circular patterns of capoeira, as crowds gather to watch the agile dances acted out in the centre. Jugglers tossing inanimate objects for the simple thrills of audience reaction. The nimble hands of jewellery makers in their piles of coloured cloth. The darkness is alive with celebration, drunken shouts of Colo Colo. A sea of bodies reclaiming the calles, with their flags and their laughter: the local soccer team has won their match.

Going north to the desert and patience is tested by 25 hours in a bus. Through a broken, feverish sleep i become aware of the elongated faces of mountains. The roughness of their texture illuminated by the crying moon. The slient path the roads weaves through their consciousness. The beauty unravels my heartstrings and i foget about dehydration, numb limbs. It is like we have descended upon the face of jupiter. Expanses of tye-died sand, moulded into billowing pillows. Odd deities and shrines constructed from rock, rubbish, tinsle. And the wide mouth of the ocean comes into view, sipping at the cracked skin of the desert, thirsty as all hell. The incongruency of watching boats bob next to a sullen bed of dust.

As the bus rocks in the night once again, we see the lights of San Pedro, hovering like a mirage. We find ourselves in the dusty streets of another pueblo, camping between the clay walls of a courtyard, with a bunch of mismatched characters. I can´t help but wander what new suprises America Latina has in store for us.