Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by warpus, Aug 29, 2012.
What do they call that kind of architecture? Some form of baroque?
Central Lima - Part 2
Day 11 of trip - Wednesday May 16th
On our way to Plaza San Martin we ran into a television crew filming some sort of a day-time television show involving a woman (who might have been the host)
Her outfit didn't leave much to the imagination, as you can see. She was attempting to convince random women on the street to allow her to cut a part of their shirt off to reveal their midriff - I guess it was supposed to be some sort of a "Don't be ashamed of your midriff!" type thing. So she'd chase after random women and try to get them on TV.
I just looked up the show and it's not really a talk show.. I'm not really quite sure what it is, but.. it's pretty on par with what we could make of day-time Peruvian "reality" type tv. which is to say that we couldn't make heads or tails of it, except we understood that there would be many women wearing skimpy outfits, there might be blindfolds or goggles, it would all be very intense and hyped up, and random things would happen leading to even more random things and then eventually you'd go back to the babes and most of the time they had to perform activities which also often involved standing on a platform.
Here a victim is trying to get out of it.
Personally I don't think it looks that great
Can someone photoshop this guy out?
We arrived at Plaza San Martin. It is named after Jose de San Martin - An Argentinian, the guy who was declared "The protector of Peru" right before independence was proclaimed. Bolivar took over the liberation of the country after that, but San Martin has his place in history.
This photo came out well. Warning for minors: nipple
Canadian ideas about personal space did not apply here. Here you see a very mild example of what I'm talking about
We wandered off into side streets and walked past more reminders that not much is regulated in Peru and people just kind of do whatever they want, for the most part, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else.
We talked a bit about our plans for the remaining half of the trip.. Wanting to go to a beach was at the top of both of our lists. Lima is situated on the Pacific ocean, but it gets really foggy there for many months out of the year, including when we were there. Miraflores is *right* on the ocean, and the beaches are nice, but we wanted beaches AND sun.
So we decided to head north, to Mancora, which was supposed to have the best beaches in the country. It was a small town about 200km north of Piura, in the very northern end of the country's coastline, 4 degrees south of the equator. We decided that the best way to get there would be to take the bus and make stops at whichever places we wanted, and then fly back to Lima, instead of doing it the other way around. (Why? Because then after we fly back to Lima we can try to time it so that our flight to New York happens a couple hours after that. And that actually ended up working out perfectly)
We also decided on a couple stops. The first one would be Huascaran, the tallest mountain in Peru, and the 4th tallest mountain in the western hemisphere. On the map it's marked with a yellow triangle. After that, we wanted to go to Chiclayo (on the coast, towards Piura), and maybe Trujillo, but instead we ended up stopping in a small fishing village near Trujillo and staying there for a couple days instead.
Our other option was to head south towards Lake Titicaca, at the very southern part of Peru. It's a very popular tourist destination because the lake is advertised to be the world's highest navigable lake. There happen to be 2 navigable lakes in other parts of the world that are higher, but Lake Titicaca is much larger (it is the largest lake in South America by volume). It's also right beside Bolivia, which is also a very popular tourist destination, so a lot of people end up heading south, after leaving Machu Picchu (which you can find by looking to the south-east of Lima). The southern part of the country also has a canyon twice as deep as the grand canyon and the Nazca Lines.
We didn't care about the lines (they were cool, but we'd have to do a scenic flight to appreciate them, and seeing them from that high up might get boring fast anyway), the canyon was an interesting prospect, but we weren't up for any more hiking. My left foot hurt and I was trying to rest it as much as possible, and Steve was having his own problems (with his stomach as well as a bit of a flu I think). There were ruins from other cultures in the north, beaches, and the tallest mountain in the country. North it was.
We found an internet cafe close to Plaza San Martin and I bought cheap plane tickets from Piura to Lima, with the landing being exactly 3 hours and 15 minutes before our flight to New York. Ideally we'd have preferred a 4 hour cushion, cause.. you never know. a bunch of our flights had already been delayed, one of them for over an hour. Either way we decided to go with that flight, which meant that we had about 10 days to make our way to the northern end of the country in order to catch the chain of flights home.
Steve like I said was feeling sick, so when we got back to the hostel he went to bed. I was starving so I went back to the same restaurant we went to the day before - the one with the English menu & English-speaking waitress. I ate a ton of food, watched some soccer, while sipping on beer. It was already dark, so maybe 8pm or so.. which by the way is the time when Peruvians usually eat dinner. Seems late, but I got used to it.
At some point I bought postcards, so I went back to the hostel after eating, and wrote all of them in the bar. Then it was time to sleep!
At 6am I was woken up by a bunch of loud jerks right outside of our (open) window. I was too tired to care at first, but they kept talking and talking.. Getting out of bed was a chore at that point - because of my foot - just moving the thing around could hurt, and I was on top top bed in a bunkbed.. Getting down was a pain but eventually I did, because... I had enough. I was MAD. I opened the door and stepped out wearing only my european-style underwear (intimidation was a part of my plan, plus really, I did not give a crap), and I must apologize to everyone reading this for putting that image in your head, but with a very annoyed tone I said: "Do you guys MIND?", paused, looked a bunch of them right in the eyes, trying to look as menacing as possible, and after nobody responded I went back inside, and slammed the door shut.
5 minutes later they were gone.
So here's the thing. In my mind the plan hinged on this being true: "You never mess with an annoyed half-naked Russian-looking guy who doesn't seem to give a crap." Why Russian? Have you seen their youtube videos? The more annoyed and more naked, the crazier they are. And not to boast but my upper body is built well and I sort of have a bit of that physique you might imagine if you're trying to imagine "angry Russian guy". It's a gamble, especially when you're confronting 6+ drunks, but you just can't flinch. You get out there, you do your part, and you get back to bed. Then if in 5 minutes they are still there, you'll have to go to plan B.
I have no idea what plan B would have been, but one stupid idea going through my mind at the time was filling up the garbage bin full of cold water, opening the door, and splashing all the people out there with it, while screaming obscenities. Obviously it sounds a bit extreme, but at the time it seemed sensible enough. I'm never really very confrontational either, and I wasn't even drunk or anything.. just really annoyed.
Okay, so to change the subject, here's a video of a small portion of the changing of the guard ceremony
Link to video.
Yeah, I think that's what it is. And I really have no idea what I'm talking about, but it seems to be an example of "Churrigueresque spatial decoration"
A lot of your descriptions reminds me so much of Venezuela. (Like the Buses in Lima, the lack of personal space, people doing whatever they please etc.)
It's probably Spanish Baroque. Fits geographically and chronologically, far as I can tell, and the spiralled columns and vaguely Moorish embellishments are are pretty characteristic of the style in its more colourful moments. (/ex-architecture major trying to show off)
Saying goodbye to Lima & Miraflores
Day 12 of trip - Thursday May 17th
This would be our last day in Miraflores. Steve was very sick, my left foot hurt a lot, and we were both still fairly tired. The last dozen days or so were very hectic, and while we got some rest in the capital, we didn't really have much energy to go sightseeing. Truthfully there isn't really much else in Lima to see, so we weren't sad to leave the place after only 2 and a half days. There were museums we wanted to see, but we didn't really feel like cabbing halfway across the city just for that. Instead we settled on a relaxing day in Miraflores for our last day there.
I woke up at 10am - Steve at noon. This was the first night on the whole trip so far where we slept that long. We booked our bus to Huaraz, the administrative and "adventure" capital of the region in Peru with the highest mountains; a fairly small town of about 120,000. It was just before tourist season was about to begin, so we weren't expecting it to be very busy. Our original plans called us to head to this place - so that we could do the Santa Cruz Trek through nearby mountains. Obviously that was not happening anymore, but there were more things you could see in the region, including the tallest mountain in Peru, so off we went.
I'm still a bit bummed out over not being able to do the Santa Cruz Trek. The pictures of it look amazing and I sort of want to return to Peru at some point so I can walk it. It probably won't happen for at least 5 years, but I guess we'll see
Either way, we had breakfast, and at some point before Steve woke up I went for a stroll around the neighbourhood and ran into .. the Canadian embassy, which I knew was nearby, but I didn't know that it was so close.
I got in trouble for taking this picture.. A guard started whistling at me (Yeah, with a whistle. That was a thing in Peru - if you were doing something you weren't supposed to, you'd get whistled at). I got the hell out of there asap without attempting to look suspicious. I really had no idea what sort of things could happen to my camera.. Probably nothing, but I figured the guard wouldn't leave his post, so I just left. He probably didn't care about my pictures, but you never know. The look on his face was very.. "WTF dude, you can't do that"
There was also a very Canadian-looking Scotiabank right around the corner. I have never seen Scotiabanks anywhere outside of Canada, so it caught me by surprise. I'd post a photo, but I didn't waste my time taking pictures of a bank.
This is something that was hanging in the lounge/bar at our hostel.
Obviously by that point the game on the 9th of May had already passed, but.. Whoever drew those logos obviously didn't want them erased.
The Champions League Final in Munich was 2 days away! As a Chelsea fan I was excited beyond belief.. This was only the second time in history that my team had made the final.
I didn't think we would win it (had a bit of a crazy & bit lucky run up until that point, beating the best team in the world in the process, etc.), but I was eagerly anticipating the game. We would watch it somewhere in Huaraz.
We checked out of the hostel by 1pm and left our bags there for storage. Decided to spend 7 hours exploring Miraflores and just screwing around, and then taking a cab to the bus terminal. It turned out that one of the girls who was staying in our room (Bjanca from Switzerland) was also taking that very same bus to Huaraz, so we agreed to meet up at the hostel just before 9pm.
First we stopped by a bookstore I noticed the day before - I wanted to buy some reading material for all the bus rides we were about to take, not to mention for the beach, the flights, and whatever else. I always have a novel with me when I travel. I did have one with me this time, but I had finished reading it. It was Iain M. Banks' - The State of the Art. Either way I ended up buying an overpriced copy of Farenheit 451, as I've never read it before, and I couldn't find anything else I wanted that wasn't horribly pricy (yes, by north american standards, all their English books were horribly expensive)
Then we headed towards the ocean to find a place to eat! We were told that the oceanfront had restaurants, so we went looking. Turns our the directions we were given were slightly incorrect - there *were* restaurants by the ocean, just not in the spot that was pointed out to us. The Miraflores oceanside is very well maintained though - there are a lot of parks, walkways, statues, etc. It's all very clean and pleasant and upkept to standards we didn't run into in Peru until then. So we spent some time exploring and it was actually quite nice.
Where Lima meets the ocean there's often a cliff, which was true for Miraflores too. It was the perfect setting for a lazy day, really. That is a statue of a couple making out. You can imagine this park stretching in both directions with a cliff leading downwards toward a beach.
We spotted what was probably a bunch of restaurants down below, but we didn't see an obvious way down yet.. Didn't really feel like climbing downhill either.. Plus a place right on the ocean like that? On a fancy dock? That could get expensive, even in Peru.. especially in Miraflores.
As you can also tell, it was foggy. That fog was there every day in Lima for about half the year IIRC.
Concrete football pitches down below
Eventually we reached a place with restaurants - a large and very modern and fancy looking mall (Larcomar Mall) that was built just at the edge of the cliff. It was the most western/Canadian looking thing that we had ever seen in Peru.
I don't think 95% of the population of Peru had the money to enjoy a place like this, and the number was probably much higher than that..
The restaurants in the mall were things we've never seen in Peru until then: TGI Friday's, Tony Roma's, etc.. We ended up picking a Tony Roma's for lunch and were going to try one of the fancy Peruvian places for dinner. Tony Roma's (and most of the other restaurants, really) had nice ocean/cliff-side patios.
Why Tony Roma's? I've never eaten there until that point, but Steve was rather familiar with the menu. It also felt like home, so.. we decided to eat burgers & ribs. A break away from the Peruvian and a little taste of home
After lunch we checked out some stores, didn't buy anything because it was all overpriced, and ended up finding a movie theatre (in the mall)... and we saw.. Battleship. Yeah, we just wanted a relaxing activity to pass the time with - there were hours to go until our bus ride to Huaraz and we didn't want to head out anywhere far for sightseeing purposes.. So Battleship it was! We went with it because it was the only movie in English, with Spanish subtitles, that was starting at a time that worked for us. We figured it would suck, but it was actually pretty decent, as far as mindless action movies go.
After the movie was done, the sun was already down.
We went to a place @ the mall called Mango's for snacks, beers, and milkshakes. It was supposed to be a place that served fancy Peruvian dishes for a reasonable (to us) price. Here's the smoked salmon/avocado appetizer I ordered. It was really good.. I'm *really* going to miss Peruvian avocados.. The stuff you can buy in Canada just doesn't taste anything like it..
We spent the time enjoying the view, food, drinks, etc.. This was our patio, overlooking the ocean. Can't really see much at this point, but being on a raised patio high above the ocean was very enjoyable, no matter what you could see. It was a very good way to celebrate what we had accomplished up until that point and cap off our stay in Lima & Miraflores.
We met up with Bjanca and took a cab to the bus terminal, where we waited for our bus to arrive. Me and Steve had bought the most luxurious seats on the bus you could. Buses in Peru have at least 2 sections - one is usually for "commoners", and one is a bit more luxurious, behind a door, usually on a different level of the bus (Most of them were 2-story buses)
We did it for safety reasons, mostly. Our seats were behind a door, there was a burly looking guard outside, etc. It was twice as expensive IIRC too, but to us still very cheap. We ended up getting giant seats that you could turn into beds with a 180 degree sleeping surface. Picturing how that might work might not be easy (after all, there was someone sitting behind me), but I am totally not kidding you guys - 180 degree beds were had. The stewardess (yeah, they had a stewardess type person on board) gave out blankets, pillows, snacks, headphones, etc. It was far more luxurious than anything I've ever experienced at Greyhound, which in comparison seems like a bus company with 3rd world standards. It's a bit embarassing really, to compare the Peruvian city-to-city bus service to what we have in Canada. The only downside really was the "each company has their bus terminal somewhere else" thing, which was very annoying.
I mentioned a big burly guard. Right before the bus got on its way, he showed up in our cabin with a camcorder.. He walked up to me and Steve and put the camcorder in my face and reorded for a couple seconds, then did the same to Steve.. then went on to do everyone in our first class cabin (16 people or so I think).. We looked at eachother... What the hell? It was bizarre but we figured it was for safety reasons.. on one hand it made us feel safer, but on the other.. we were a bit uneasy.. and in totally alien circumstances.. that, and we didn't speak the language at all. We felt like fish out of water and everything around us felt very adventurous. We very much so shared "what's going to happen next??" feelings throughout the trip, but especially during weird encounters like that.
It felt weird but it was a very good bus ride. I slept through most of it, but the road to Huaraz is uphill, so the bus was often very shakey and I'd wake up. I didn't dare to look out my window (it was covered with blinds) as I didn't really want to see the steep drops. Huaraz is at an altitude of 3,000m (Lima is right at sea level basically), so I could only imagine what sort of roads we were traversing.
At about 8am we would arrive in Huaraz.
If you are curious about what sort of pictures might be left (cause you only like pictures of mountains or whatever and don't want to look at a bunch of ruins or buildings or whatever your preference might be)
There's mountains, lakes, a desert, beaches, surfers, a clay pot being made, fishing boats, a giant Jesus statue, birds, crabs, graffiti, dogs on a roof, a pier, an ancient smiley face, a giant temple, a sacrifice zone, a destroyed bus, sunsets, pre-Incain ruins, flowers, a guinea pig on a plate, and much more.
I looked at all the pictures. Tourism by proxy.
Ditto. Can we have a 'Live vicariously through Warpus' thread and give you suggestions for your next vacation? How do you feel about cold and snow??
He's Canadian, dude.
Any objections to Svalbard?
I might be Canadian and grew up in even colder Poland, but I actually kind of hate snow these days.. The only reason I don't mind living here in the winter is that it's a great excuse to stay indoors and play video games. Nobody bugs you about being antisocial in the winter.
I'll always welcome ideas for trips though, even if it involves snow. I'm not sure when I'm going to be able to go next, and I already have a list of places I'd maybe want to go.. but there's always room for more
I have been thinking about a trip to Norway recently actually.. It's been sitting near the top of my list but what's keeping me back a bit is the cost of staying in the country for a significant amount of time.. My next big trip might very well be that or southeast Asia though.. or if not that, maybe someplace else in Europe.
Svalbard in particular wasn't on my radar, but now I'm going to have to add it to my list
It is a really sad state of affairs when you can no longer take a photo of your own embassy in a foreign country.
Lago Llanganuco Day Trip - Part 1
Day 13 of trip - Friday May 18th
We arrived in central Huaraz at 8am, which is a relatively small mountain town (but not *that* small, it is the region's capital after all - population 120,000 or so)
We were dropped off just at the main square. It wasn't anything too special so there aren't many photos... This was taken right outside of our hostel, in the town centre
See those things sticking out into the air from almost every building? Yeah, that was very popular (throughout Peru). It basically allows them to easily add another story, if they ever want to.
I forget how exactly this happened, but we ended up at a hostel named Aldo's, with Bjanca. Either somebody pointed us towards it, we had looked it up in advance, or.. heck, I can't really remember. It's right in the centre of town and the people working there spoke decent enough English... that and we got a discounted rate.. so we went with it. It ended up being one of the best hostels we stayed at, even though the toilet seat was broken.
Once we checked in me and Steve had some decisions to make. How long were we going to stay here? and what were we going to do while in Huaraz anyway? We had one activity to plan around: May 19th was the Champions League final that I so religiously wanted to watch.. and that was the next day. And we couldn't really afford to stay in Huaraz longer than 3 days.. So it made sense to make good use of this day in particular.. Except that Steve was feeling like crap and didn't feel like going anywhere. I really wanted to though and had a short list of potential day trips in my mind.. There were pretty lakes in the region, glaciers, trails, and mountains. Hiking was def. out of the question. I ended up talking quite a bit with the guy who ran the hostel (he had a lot of pamphlets, day trip info, and, most important of all he was willing to book whatever we wanted for us) and decided to go on a day long trip to one of the emerald lakes high up in the mountains, right beside the tallest mountain in Peru, while Steve rested and recovered..
The bus actually ends up taking you partway where we would have walked had we done the Santa Cruz Trek. So in the end we got to see some of the hike.. and it turns out that the trail was closed at the half-way point anyway.. more on that later
Steve decided to come anyway. And we pretty much had to go right there and then - we really only had about an hour and a half after getting off the bus from Lima. So we were sort of expecting a lazy day in town.. but.. next thing you know we're going on a day trip high up into the mountains. It turned into a fairly long day trip - we got back to the hostel at around 10pm.
It was a fairly long ride up the mountainside, but for the first couple hours we were in *descent*, as we followed the valley down to a spot where we could turn north and start heading towards the lake. So while in this valley we stopped at several towns, markets, souvenir traps, etc..
Here's a map of the region. Huaraz is in the bottom-right corner and at a higher altitude than all the towns to the west. Our bus took us to Yungay, which is in the bottom-left corner of the map. Then we followed the road up into the mountains, right beside Huascaran.
You might see "Cordillera Blanca" written across some of the white.. That is the name of the mountain range. It is the tallest part of the Andes within Peru and the country's top destination for skiing, and maybe even hiking (I'm not sure if the Cuzco region beats it or not)
In some pamphlets it is advertised as the tallest mountain range in South America, but.. there are taller mountains elsewhere, so I'm not sure how accurate that is.
This was our first stop.. some little town. We didn't stay very long.
This form of transportation seemed to be very popular in the area: As you can tell this one's fully personalized.
This was our first decently long stop. In the background you can sort of see Huascaran, the tallest mountain in Peru. It was real cloudy that day, which is a shame, but we were REALLY lucky up until that point weather-wise, so there wasn't really much to complain about.. Clear skies are nice, but they won't follow you around everywhere.
The second woman from the right spoke English. She and her husband lived in New York, but had Peruvian citizenship. The thing about the tour was that the guide didn't speak any English.. there were no English tours available at this time of the year (right before tourist season started - planned it like this on purpose). She translated as much as possible for us.. and I don't even remember her name! I should, she was great. She seemed very eager to tell us about her country and all that.
We made our way to a large cemetery / memorial
In 1970 an earthquake created a giant avalanche (it was actually a part of Huascaran breaking off IIRC), which killed 20,000 people in the area. The entire town, which used to be in the area, was buried, and 20,000 people were killed. A further 20,000 people died in Huaraz. In total over 60,000 people died as a result of the avalanche.
IIRC the cemetery existed before the earthquake & avalanche, and parts of it survived because it was a bit on a hill, compared to the rest of the valley. I seem to remember the guide (via the girl from NY) telling us that it was rebuilt to be more.. spectacular, but I can't remember any details.
After exploring the memorial/cemetery we walked through the area, which still had many marks of the disaster. We would meet our bus further up the hill and continue our voyage uphill there.
The remnants of a bus, which was destroyed in the avalanche, was there as a reminder of what happened.
A part of the cathedral or church that was destroyed
The area was rather nice, in terms of landscape. A large part of it was turned into a bit of a park. Huascaran looms in the background. I wish those clouds weren't there!
This was likely built after the avalance, but it just .. stood out. I have no idea what it was for.
Lago Llanganuco Day Trip - Part 2
Day 13 of trip - Friday May 18th
There were also horse rides! I did not participate.
This is how infrastructure projects get accomplished in Peru: People show up and just sort of do what's required.. Regulation? Standards? Who needs 'em?
Funky looking flowers
The bus ride was very very shaky and we continued going uphill. It wasn't pleasant at all, mostly because we were really tired.
Finally we arrived in a small village, where we had lunch. It was not included in the price and it was relatively expensive, but still very cheap to us rich Canadians.
Here's what I had for lunch: (yep, guinea pig)
From left to right that's corn and cheese (this was very popular in Peru - you could buy it at hot-dog like stands.. but I didn't really like it, except for the cheese), guinea pig (prepared traditionally, whatever that means) on potatoes, with rice and salad. A very bare-bones meal - most Peruvian food we ate seemed to be a mixture of various ingredients.. several types of potatoes, spices, etc.. This was all rather bare.. but good nevertheless.
The guinea pig was good. The skin was REALLY good (it was really crunchy and chewy) but the meat was not as good as chicken.. imo.
In the background you can see a small plate of corn - it was a type of corn that didn't pop when you heated it. A very good snack, I liked it! You would get such a plate in many parts of Peru if you sat down at a restaurant and ordered.
Here's how the restaurant dealt with the fact that there was no running water. This is how we washed our hands after eating.
Afterwards the bus continued uphill. I cannot emphasize how shaky and annoying it all was.
But finally we arrived.
It really is a shame that you can't see the snow-capped peaks around this lake.. especially Huascaran. There was plenty of stuff there to take pictures of though
You could rent a boat and take it out onto the lake. We chose not to partake in that activity - instead decided to take in the area & sights on foot.. yeah, even though my foot hurt. It wasn't really *that* bad when I walked, if I was careful and made sure it didn't twist all that much. If it was stiff or mostly stiff, it was fine..
The best view of Huascaran's glaciers you could hope for on a cloudy day like this..
I think we had just over an hour to do whatever we wanted up there. We made good use of our time
The lakes in the region are known for their emerald-like water. This comes out well in some photos, but not others
A certain type of tree that grows in the area provides for a photo-worthy contrast with the colour of the water.
Aaaand it was time to go back to Huaraz. Here's us looking down from where we came from initially. Yep, it's a loooong way down.
After we were finished with the lake, the bus took an almost direct route back to Huaraz.. which took many hours. We did stop at 2 places on the way back, which greatly annoyed us.. cause we were BEAT... Seriously.. as interesting as the stops were, we just wanted to go to sleep.
Here's a guy making a clay pot. It was interesting, but Steve stayed behind on the bus. I don't blame him..
After we pulled into Huaraz and were dropped off by our hostel, Steve went to sleep. I was exhausted but hungry, so I went looking for food. There was a nice looking restaurant right beside our hostel, so I ate there.. and man oh man, was it ever good! I had tamales as well as some sort of a trout + avocato + tomato creation.. I also had beer, of course.
After I ate I tried talking to the waitress about watching the Chelsea / Bayern Champions League Final at the restaurant the next day. I noticed that they had a big TV so I figured that they probably were going to be showing it.. but.. I didn't speak any Spanish and the waitress didn't speak any English. So for 5-10 minutes we stood there trying to communicate.. I wrote down the names of the teams and managed to get across the idea that I wanted to watch a soccer game there tomorrow.. but she kept saying "manana" over and over and I was like "Lady, I have no idea what manana means, but I want to watch the champions league final tomorrow"
The next day I learned what manana means - tomorrow.
I went to sleep not not knowing what the hell it meant and not sure where I would watch the game..
Here's a video of us still going uphill, to the lake. We get awfully close to the edge of the cliff...
I was kind of used to such craziness by then though. It's funny that only a week before this my reaction to something like that would have been "OMG THIS IS CRAZY" but now I was just sort of amused and not really scared anymore.
Link to video.
In the background you can hear our guide.. who went on and on and on and never really shut up. He had a lot to say and we didn't understand any of it.
Low how do you spend two weeks in Peru and not learn what manana means?
Hmm, I saw these kinds of things all over the side of roads in Venezuela. They usually are built by loved ones to mark the spot where someone died in a car accident. I'm not sure if there were any roads nearby though.
But I did learn what it means, and only after 13 days in the country Not so bad for someone who doesn't speak any Spanish at all..
Okay, so "Any Spanish" is a bit of a lie.. I knew *some* words: cerveza, pollo, carne, bano, amigo, hola, uhh.. at one point me and Steve learned how to say "cheque, please", and only because we continued returning to the same restaurant in Huanchaco and the waitress taught us.. but we forgot the next day. We kinda suck.
But yeah, my Spanish is probably as good as your Hungarian.
Must have marked the death of someone (or maybe a whole family?) who died as a result of the avalanche.
I wanted to clarify something
I don't want people to think that I was a bit of a jerk in this situation.. I'm not one of those people who will speak SLOWER AND LOUDER when somebody doesn't understand me because they don't speak my language.
Nah, both of us (me and the waitress) were just doing our best to communicate.. with hand gestures or what have you. The whole exchange was amusing to both us.
If anything I felt a bit bad.. Here I am in her country and I can't even speak her language - I didn't expect her to speak mine at all, even though it is the world's de facto lingua franca...
The thing was that, even though I spoke virtually no Spanish at all, I was the one doing all the talking on the trip. Sometimes I'd get lucky and get someone who spoke a bit of English (or even fluently), but 60/70% of the time the person I spoke to didn't speak any English at all. I got a strange spider sense after interaction after interaction like that .. Even though I didn't understand 99% of the words they were using, I could feel the gist of what they were saying.. based on their body language, the WAY they were saying what they were saying, and.. heck, I don't know. I just sometimes could figure out what they were saying.
So this is what I was trying to do here.. attempt to communicate until eventually a lightbulb would go on in one of our heads. It didn't happen, but the waitress was nice about it. I ended up giving her a big tip.
But yeah, let me reiterate what adventure this was in terms of language. I was like a blind man trying to feel my way through a labyrinth, really. I learned a couple words when I was in Chile & Argentina 4 years ago, but my travelling buddy spoke fluent Spanish, so I didn't have to interact at all. I learn by interacting, so I learned crap, aside from 5 or 6 words.
I have 60 MP3-based Spanish lessons on my computer and I went through 4 of those before the trip. It taught me a bit, such as the sentence structure of very simple structures, how to say "I'm fine" , "Adios", and simple things like that. It didn't really help. I do plan on completing the 60 lessons at some point and learning Spanish, but I'm just not sure when I'm going to find the time.
I also went through a "Learn basic spanish" interactive lesson thing on the flight that they had on the entertainment system everyone had access to.. I went through that too, but it was very very basic as well and didn't help too much on the trip.
The Champions League Final
Day 14 of trip - Saturday May 19th
This was a very chill day where I slept in, ate a hamburger with a fried egg on it for breakfast (sunny side up, you can't get over easy eggs in Peru), sent out 50 soles (about $20US) worth of postcards, and kinda lounged around a bit.
There are really no pictures for this day, but I might as well post one or two. My camera sorts photos by putting each day's photos in a different folder, which is convenient for the purposes of this thread. and this day? There's really nothing.. 0 pictures of anything happening outdoors and nothing that interesting or numerous otherwise.
It was a big day for me - the team I had been supporting since the mid 90s (Chelsea) was playing in the Champions League final for the first time ever. For those of you not familiar with european soccer, the Champions league is where the best club teams in Europe get together each season, and fight it out for the right to be called "The best club team in Europe". There is a group stage, best of 16, qfs, etc. It is considered to be a competition with a higher quality of football than what's display at the World Cup and the last final was the most watched sporting event worldwide that year (178.7 million viewers).. So it's sort of a big deal!
Chelsea are in a bit of a transition stage right now.. Our star striker (Drogba) was likely on his way out after the final and close to retirement, and our captain (Terry) and legendary central midfielder (Lampard) are nearing retirement age themselves.. Those 3 have formed the spiritual and on-the-pitch core of the team for years and yeah.. the team had been going through a bit of a rough patch trying to get new players in - with a focus on youth and a fancier/more exciting style of play.
We barely got through the group stage, had a huge comeback from 3-1 down in the first elimination round match, our manager was FIRED, after which we somehow beat the best team in the world in the semi-final .. even after our captain was sent off for a stupid challenge, the best player in the world missed a penalty against us hitting the crossbar, and Torres, our then flop of a signing (and british transfer record) scored a goal against them too. A very unlikely culmination of events..
So there we were in the final, which by a fluke ended up being in Munich.. the team we were facing? Bayern Munich.. Usually the final is held at a neutral venue, but it is determined ahead of time. This time though Bayern made it to the final and got to play at home. a huge advantage!
So the odds were stacked against us and I was not expecting a win at all.. I mean, I had hope, I'm a fan, and I knew the team could win and just might. . but I gave us only a 20-25% chance to win, really. It could be done but it would be very hard. But then again remembering what happened in those other crazy games.. anything was possible. It was going to be intense and emotional no matter what happened.
It is also worth mentioning that our owner (a rich Russian dude) has always wanted the Champions League trophy and made it our #1 priority..
So that's basically the emotional setup for the game.
We found a place that was showing the pre-game, it was the restaurant just to the right of our hostel. It was very dirty in there and run down.. the kitchen didn't have any walls and there was a lot of smoke and steam and crap flying around... Plus it was LOUD and personal space was at a premium.
So we went to the much fancier restaurant on the left... but they weren't showing the preview. And the waitress from the previous night was nowhere to be seen. We sat down anyway, took the best seats in the house (place was empty), and I went over to the bartender to try to figure out how to ask him if he could change the channel to the Chelsea game.. Should be easy, right? South America is football crazy and this is one of the biggest football finals in the world. Just saying "Champions League" and pointing at the TV should work.
It did, but he didn't know what channel it was on. I tried telling him that the other restaurant was showing the game and that their TV was set to the right station, but I didn't know how to ask him to go over and check what channel that was on.. or how to ask what channel it's on there and come back and tell him. Anyway, I ended up just going over and looking at the restaurant name, and telling him that.. and.. heck, I forget. I made it work. I don't mind looking like a fool when the champions league final is involved. There was no way I was going to miss this crap.
So the pregame stuff is on TV, we have the best seats in the house in front of a big screen tv, order some (large) beers, we get comfortable.. and the game starts!
Bayern dominate the first half and have a lot of chances.. By the 80th minute (a football match is 90 minutes long, plus usually 3-5 minutes of "stoppage" time) there is still no score.. and then in the 83rd minute the Germans score and it's 1-0 Bayern.. GODDAMIT.. and the German couple which took up a table behind/to the left of us starts cheering. Not good...
But then somehow in the 88th minute Drogba scores and ties up the game. and it goes to overtime.. My brain took 2-3 seconds to process the information and that's when I stood up, put up my hands, and screamed.. It was a very delayed reaction and I just couldn't believe it.. The German couple was laughing! I didn't care! They joined us at our table to enjoy the rest of the match
The Germans were St. Pauli fans (A team from Hamburg IIRC) and were cheering for Bayern, but only because they were a German team.. They weren't *that* invested in them winning and in the end agreed that Chelsea were worthy victors.
In extra time Drogba takes a dude out in the penalty area.. and there's a penalty for Bayern in extra time. And our goalie SAVES it.. Holy crap..
Penalty shootout time.. I'm on my third beer.. German teams are usually really good at penalty kicks so I don't have much hope.. but I have faith!... Somehow two German dudes miss in a row. Including Schweinsteiger!.. He NEVER misses.. what the hell is going on
Our goalie has gone the right way for every single penalty in the entire game.
This is destiny! I need another large beer. This is the situation: If Drogba scores, Chelsea will win.
Drogba scores. Chelsea win. History is made.. Drogba's last kick of his Chelsea career wins it for us! I am speechless and can't really believe it..
Afterwards we spent 1-2 hours talking with the Germans.. Oh yeah, Bjanca (Swiss girl we met in Cusco) joined us at some point during the 2nd half.
It was a glorious and eventually drunken day. The next day wasn't important.. yet.. we'd figure it out when we woke up.
This is a picture of me right after the win. Yeah, like I said, there aren't really any good pictures from this day.. It came out rather neat though, I think, and I've got to again say that it captures my state of mind at the time rather well
I also took a picture of the TV when our captain (England's Brave John Terry) was about to lift the trophy for documentary purposes but also because I'm lame.
edit: I just re-read this and the last part sounds more and more disjointed as you read it.. (was rushing writing that part, somebody was waiting for me downstairs) but that sort of captures the moment well.. there are also tense changes that shouldn't be there, but that captures the beer consumption in a way as well, so I'm leaving it all the way it is
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