sarahblack: (Bertie Wooster)
Right now I'm in Baltimore! How weird is that? I'm staying with my friend Flo, and she's been showing me around. I'll be in DC tomorrow, and then in New York for the rest of the week.

I really want to write a little bit about the Amazon before I forget all about it.

It was amazing. Amazing! I stayed for two nights in a reserve called Tambopata, and there were parrots at the reserve, and humming birds, and animals that I don't even know the names of! We went for a night walk on the first evening, and we saw loads of crickets, moths, ants (carrying those little pieces of leaves - just like in the movies) and a chicken spider! The chicken spider was probably bigger than my hand. Apparently they grow to be the size of dinner plates. They kind of look like tarantulas, but they live in holes and pounce on little sticks that annoying tour guides poke inside their homes.

The morning after was spent exploring the jungle, checking out enormous trees and feeding the piranha fish. (Don't worry, we just gave them crackers. No humans were harmed.) Also, we saw some monkeys and partridges from far away. I really liked the trees. They were truly amazing. Especially one tree that had originally climbed up a different tree, and eventually killed it in order to survive. The old dead tree then disappeared, leaving the new tree kind of empty on the inside, so that tourists can walk in there and pretend to be prisoners in a natural wooden cage.

In the afternoon we visited a farm that grows pineapple, papaya, avocado, all sorts of citrus fruit, peppers, bananas, star fruit and... cheese fruit. Cheese fruit smells horrible. It might help cure cancer, though. We got to taste some of the fruit, and I am so in love with papaya. It is utter yum!

The second evening included a night boat ride. We saw caimans (little crocodiles), baby caimans and giant hamsters! Mostly I just liked being on the river in the dark. It was exciting, and you could really listen to the sounds of the jungle.

Sadly, we did not spot any anacondas. Oh, well. Next time!

I had a bungalow to myself to sleep in. It was really beautiful, but had no glass in the windows! Just mesh netting. There was also a mosquito net over my bed. On the verandah there was a hammock! I spent hours in the hammock just chilling with a book. It was fairly awesome.

I didn't get sunburnt, and I didn't get completely devoured by mosquitos. Probably because it was "cold" and cloudy. I didn't need a jacket, so I didn't think it was cold. But clearly the mosquitos thought it was. Hah!

The flight to New York from Peru was uneventful, and the train ride from New York to Baltimore went well too. I found Flo's place, and we spent yesterday afternoon/evening exploring the inner harbour and eating at the Cheesecake factory. (Mmmmm. I'm so happy I was able to go there again!)

Today she showed me the campus of her University (she goes to Johns Hopkins because she is a genius) and I got a T-shirt! We also checked out the fair in town - Artscape. I tasted a corn dog, funnel cake and fresh squeezed lemonade. I think my arteries may never recover, but it was delicious!

Anyway, I think I have deprived the lovely Flo of her computer for long enough.

P.S. I'll be in Iceland next weekend! That is so bizarre.
sarahblack: (Yatta says Hiro)
I got back to Cuzco last night after spending four days hiking the Inca Trail.

It was really really really difficult. I can not stress this enough. However, we were incredibly lucky with the weather, the food was ridiculously good, and the company was pleasant. The guides, the cooks and the porters were amazing - a credit to G-adventures and to Peru.

My Inca Trail Adventures )

Today I'm just going to relax and run some errands. Tomorrow my Amazon adventure begins. I'm ridiculously excited about that. ♥
sarahblack: (Meg in love)
Peru! That is where I am right now. How weird is that?

So far I've spent an evening and a day in Lima and a day in Cuzco. I stayed in Miraflores while I was in Lima. (It is a very beautiful, tourist-friendly part of Lima.) I didn't have to worry about walking around by myself - although I didn't venture out on my own in the evening for anything more than a quick trip to the store around the corner from my gorgeous colonial hotel - and the Peruvians that I interacted with where all amazingly friendly. I would have worried that I was being scammed, except they never tried to sell me anything or take me anywhere. They just seemed genuinely interested in chatting!

I ended up spending my free day in Lima walking around Miraflores, staying close to the ocean for the most part. The waves were beautiful! And there was a cool shopping centre in the cliffs overhanging the ocean. I ended up going back there for dinner later in the day with a couple of Norwegian girls who are on the same tour as me. It was nice to get to know them a little bit. They both had soup, and I went with some fish of the day special. It was hilarious when the waiter brought them their soups - I have never seen such generous proportions! The one with the seafood soup pretty much got what I would consider to be a full pot!

This morning we flew to Cuzco. It's about an hour away from Lima, so it wasn't a big deal. The view of the mountains from the plane was amazing! Snow-capped peaks and deep valleys... Just gorgeous. ♥

The afternoon was spent getting ourselves situated at the hotel, going on a walking tour of the city, and receiving information about the coming days.

1. The hotel is nice and I love my roomate. (She is just like me! We both finished grad school, both studied Immunology, are both travelling around the world for about the same length of time, and have really similar opinions on all sorts of subjects.)

2. The walking tour was a lot of fun. We went to a local market - sort of like Kolaportid in Iceland. Local people had stands with everything from clothes made from llama wool to whole entire pigs, or even live frogs! But mainly it was flowers, fruit, herbs, nuts, and other run of the mill food items. We also went to see the main square. There was a beautiful colonial cathedral, and a very impressive fountain. Also, since the Peruvian independence day is in July (the 28th, I believe) there were Peruvian flags everywhere. (And I thought the people in the USA were patriotic!) It looked really festive and beautiful. We stopped at a little juice shop for lunch, and I got the most amazing fresh Papaya juice along with a chicken sandwich. Yummy!

3. I'm terrified of the coming days. The Inca Trail sounds like it will be hell on earth - but with amazing catering. (Three course breakfast, lunch and dinner on the hiking days!) The first day will be 10 kilometers. The next day will be the same length, but steeper uphill and also steeper downhill. The third day will be 16 kilometers, but apparently it is supposed to be very beautiful. On the fourth day we will wake up at four AM for a two hour trek to Machu Picchu. In the dark. But I think we're supposed to be arriving at Machu Picchu around sunrise for the grand effect. Oh, and there will be no electricity while we are on the hike.

I am so scared! But also kind of excited to see if I will be able to handle this. If I do this I will have major bragging rights. And you will all have to put up with endless 'When I was at Machu Picchu' stories. (Hopefully I won't chunder everywhere, though.)

Tonight I'm staying at a hotel. Tomorrow I'm going to the Sacred Valley and staying at a hotel again, but the day after tomorrow (11th of July?) will be the first hiking day. I should be back to civilisation on the 14th-ish.

Hopefully I will be able to post something then. I'm not sure what the computer situation will be. But as always, no news is good news!

I just got back from eating way too much pizza with the Norwegian girls, my roomate and an Australian girl who joined forces with us. I really like all of them, but only my roomate and one of the Norwegian girls will be joining me for the Inca Trail hike. The Australian is doing a different hike, and the other Norwegian girl is taking the train. (I'm so jealous of her.)

Anyway, I'm going to go pack now. I can only bring the bare essentials for the hike and I need to decide what to leave behind at the hotel. Our porters will carry 6 kilograms for us, and half of that is the sleeping bag and the mattress... I'm going to have to think very carefully about this. I really don't want to have to carry a lot myself. It'll be hard enough to hike with just my body to lug around!
sarahblack: (Belle Airhead)
I'm in a gorgeous hotel in Peru! Also, I went to the store and did not get robbed or kidnapped or anything!


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Sarah Black

March 2015

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