A Travellerspoint blog

back from the (brink of) ruin (09/05/07)

Well hello again. Bored out of my mind at the moment. Actually feeling very rough as i´ve been out on the piss the past 2 days and my body is not best pleased with me. Got into my bed at the hostel at about 8am this morning. Finally got up about 4pm after having what can only be described as a half assed excuse for sleep. Had a pounding headache, mouth was like a badgers arse since my nose was blocked and i had been breathing thru my mouth all night. Was a good night though. Met some really nice people, especially an American girl called Siyal. Spent the previous night dancing around like headcases and just generally having a great time. Don´t know why but people keep trying to teach me to salsa. This would be difficult enough sober but blind drunk it is an invitation to a broken ankle and a pleasant evening in the emergency room.

Anyway i went to Macchu Picchu at the weekend. 5 o´clock in the bastard morning i had to get out of bed - 2 days in a row! Wouldn´t have been so bad if the train to Agua Caliente (the little shanty town near the ruins) was in any way comfortable. Instead what you have is about 18 inches of space between your seat and the one facing you. Trying to get comfortable is like an elaborate game of twister, trying find a space for your legs in between the two people facing you. Meanwhile the train sways and rocks like a one legged, blind drunken hippy chasing a bottle of cider down a hill. Needless to say by the time i got to the aforementioned town i was tired, fed up and my back was fucking killing me. Not good, especially when you consider that the next day i was to wander round a ruin at the top of a mountain over 8000ft up. Admittedly i was getting the bus up but that only takes you to the entrance. You still have endless amounts of steep steps and inclines to haul yourself up.

Luckily i think the exercise helped a little. Got to the ruin about 6.30am and spent about 2 hours taking a guided tour around the ruins. Now when i say a guided tour that is slightly misleading. Instead of a guide what we got was like a cross between Manuel from Faulty Towers and a character from a Monty Python sketch. He didn´t know how high up it was and even if he got that right he couldn´t convert metres and feet. Add to that the fact that he spent the 2 hours rushing everyone around, every now and again his English would lapse into pure comedy (hence the Manuel comparison) and he had some horrible growth/wart type thing at the back of his head. It wouldn´t have been so bad but remember this is a guided tour so we had 2 hours of looking at the back of his wretched head. But i´m not one to complain....

Apart from that the ruins were very impressive, although its not suprising their empire fell - i mean they must have been fucking knackered running up and down mountains all bastard day. Even more impressive was all the little trails they built along the sides of the mountains to link these towns. Went a wee walk along one to the Inca Bridge and fuck me the Incas must have had a head for heights. The trail is no more than 4ft wide and on one side the is a massive drop down the side of the mountain into the cloud forest. I couldn´t help thinking as i was walking along, shuffling closer to the edge to let fat Americans and massive, gaggling groups of Japanese people past, that if you were to fall off know one would ever find you. More importantly no one would have the balls to look.

As for fat Americans (now at this point i should explain i have nothing against Americans or fat people - it just so happens there were quite a few of them around on this particular day) why do so many of think " do you know what i would like to do - climb around a 600 year old ruin at altitude"! I mean for fuck sake most of them get pushed around in wheelchairs shovelling meat down their throats cos they can´t be arsed walking but climbing around a ruin with their walking sticks at 8,000ft is a great idea?!?! I mean good luck to them and everything but i just don´t get the logic and, i must confess, getting stuck behind a couple of them on a massive staircase is not my idea of fun. Not a pleasant view and i couldn´t help but think that if one of them had a heart attack and came rolling back down the stairs i was fucked.

Now on to obnoxious Americans. I don´t want to seem like i am picking on Americans because most of the ones i have met travelling have been great. Again it just so happens that on this day i happened to experience the dickhead side of America. On the way back down the mountain on the bus what happens is that a little Peruvian boy, in Native clothes and in bare feet, about 7 or 8 years old runs down the Inca steps on the side of the mountain ahead of the bus. The bus has to wind down the mountain but it is still no less impressive, when evertime the bus comes round a bend, you are greeted with the sight of the same little guy shouting and waving at the bus. As i mentioned these steps are very steep and, as i neglected to mention, it had just started pissing down with rain. Once you get to the bottom the little head case runs along in front of the bus then the driver lets him on, he sings and shouts things i couldn´t understand, he goes round everyone and we give him change. Nice little racket but the crazy wee bastards deserve it - at least they are actually doing something instead of begging. This is where the aforementioned arsehole Americans come into the story. There was a group of middle aged, bitter old hags on the bus. Well all but one as she had already argued with the ticket lady because she was adamant she had paid for a return ticket but had apparently lost the return part. Being an arrogant, miserable, menopausal old pig she just expected the rest of the world to bend to her every whim. So she got left behind - altogether now - HIP HIP HOORAY! Now on to old hags who had unfortunately managed to hold on to their tickets. When the little guy came round with his change purse we all put in but not these miserable old boots (i would use other words to describe them but my niece might read this). After she had refused she went on about how he has a nice little racket and probably makes more money than the bus driver and that the bus driver must take them back to the top. She then said "I´m not giving him anything cos its just a racket. Now if he ran back UP the mountain that would be impressive"! Fucking miserable cow- The only exercise she probably gets is shovelling HRT pills down her ugly throat to try and fend off the hairy pelt that was forming on her back. This little guy, as i mentioned, had run down a steep, soaking wet staircase faster than the bus could get down. Thats worth 50 cents of anyones money, especially when you consider that the day before one of these little nutters had fallen of the stairs onto his face in front of the bus. It must have fucking hurt and scared the little guy since the bus nearly ran over him but he got up, smiled, waved and ran down the rest of the mountain. Class, but you would think by the way these hags were talking that it was all done with smoke and mirrors. Idiots. Anyway you´ll be glad to hear i´m finished ranting now. Can´t remember what else has been happening at the moment but as soon as i do i will be back (i can feel the baited breath from here). Love ya x.

Posted by george1979 17:54 Comments (0)

Soaring Like an Eagle Just Makes You Sick (28/04/07)

Well i´ve managed to get the hell out of Lima, thank fuck - spent 3 days trying to find a decent bar with no luck. Also had to deal with psychotic American gun freak Nazis and crazy Peruvian hookers who still didn´t back off even after a told them i was gay!

Arrived in Cuzco yesterday on a short, but midly terrifying, one hour plane journey. Now i am by no means afraid of flying or turbulence etc. I´m not really even afraid of crashing because there not a lot i can do about it if it happens.

This flight was i little different though. I had a slight inkling that it wasn´t going to be all smooth sailing when i sat down next to a native Peruvian woman who started some sort of prayer ritual before take off. Fine, i thought, she is just a little afraid of flying and this comforts her. No problems then. Then we had another prayer upon the plane taking off which was intensified when she felt the jets kick in.

Again i thought "ahhh thats a shame for her". My pity was probably misplaced as i soon discovered she probably knew a lot more about flying over the Andes than i did. Now on the flight over from Madrid there was a bit of turbulence around this area but me being clever clogs knew this was likely due to the air currents coming in off the Pacific and so on. What i had not taken account of was that i was on a rather large jet on that flight. This one however was quite a bit smaller...

Thirty minutes or so after take of we had the first warning when the plane dipped rather violently and shuddered like a dog drying itself. Although only slightly alarming for me this set off another prayer ritual and was obviously scaring the shit out of the poor woman next to me. I tried to talk to her in my piss poor Spanish to calm her down. This worked for a short time before we had another pants wetting episode. By this time the captain, being the consumate professional that he thinks he is, proceeded to advise us that we were in a turbulence area and to sit down and buckle up.

Just as fucking well he told us cos i was ready for doing cartwheels up the aisle, idiot. I mean you have a woman praying for us all on one side, children crying on the other and few other who managed to cover themselves in whatever beverage they were enjoying when the last bit of turbulence hit. Trust me - not one person needed to be told to sit down and buckle up.

Anyway, we finally managed to get out of that and the praying woman seems to have calmed down but we still had the landing to go... This brought on more praying (shock horror) and her clutching onto the seat in front. Naturally i had to do the decent thing and put her out of her misery...

Just kidding i took her hand and didn't let go till all the wheels were on terra firma. Kudos for me.

On to the hostel. Was picked up by agent who i am going to Macchu Picchu with. By the time we got there i was shattered after being out in Lima the night before and having to get up 3 hours later for the knightmare flight. The 12,000ft altitude probably wasn´t helping either. Had some coca leaf tea, completed the forms and got to my hostel as quickly as possible. Got to hostel, more forms, tour of hostel then to my room. Dumped my stuff and went to hostel bar for a beer. Had one beer, spoke to the Scottish guy working there and decided i really needed some sleep.

Three hours or so later the American girls who were also in the room arrived and invited me to go for something to eat. As i was starving, having only had a McDs at Lima airport, i said yes and off we went. All was well for a while, we went down to the square to get money, the girls looking around in the shops at rings and necklaces and such.

It was around the time we were in the fourth shop that i sensed all was not well. I had begun to feel really tired, slightly nauseous and really warm - despite the fact it was freezing. Sat down on the pavement and the girls started to notice something was up. "are you OK" , "yeah i´m just tired", "OK we need to get you something to eat".

SO off we went in search of a restaraunt that everyone would be happy with. This one doesn´t have good stuff for veggies, that one just has a shit menu altogether and so on. Then came the elephant that broke the camels back. They wanted to look at one that was up a flight of stairs...

Since by this point i was slightly delirious i went up with them. Now it was only about fifteen steps but fuck me it felt like 500. Needless to say that one was too expensive and down the stairs we went. You would have thought going down stairs would be no problem but, since the altitude sickness was taking hold, not a chance. A short, painful walk along the road and we were checking other menus. By this time by brave attempts not to look sick were no longer doing any good. I couldn't even hold myself up, having to lean against the wall, shaking and sweating. It was then that the girls decided "fuck it- we need to get him a seat and some coca tea". I managed to make it to the table without passing out and sprawled myself across the table. By the time the food came the coca tea had done me no good at all and the waiter noticed i wasn´t eating. After explaining he said he thought as huch and came back with a bottle of indusrial alchohol. After a few sniffs of this i was back in the land of the living and able to eat, albeit tentatively. I was even able to walk back to the hostel.

Anyway the moral of the story is when you at altitude, on your first night and you feel fine: For the Love of Fuck do Not get out of Bed!

Posted by george1979 17:53 Comments (0)

The Search for Paddington Bear (26/04/07)

Well i've arrived in Lima, Peru without any dramas or problems. Only exception would be the Spanish airline. honest to god what is it with the Spanish mentality of "it will get done when it gets done". First they move the check in time forward 20 minutes so we (myeslf and the other passengers) all dutifully arrived at the gate at the alloted time. 30 mins later we still have seen no movement and no explanation as to why. Only when i asked them if the flight was still going to take off on time did they, grudgingly,start letting us all on to the plane!

Anyway we arrived more or less on time in Lima and the Hostel (Kusillu's) is very good. Nice and modern,clean and friendly. Lima itself is a strange one.

For a city of 8 million people there doesn't seem to be a wealth of great bars. Haven't, and won't, venture out of miraflores on the advice of most people due to it being unsafe in other areas at night. Had a few drinks in The Olde Pub (don't ask) as it was the onlyone which was showing the Chamions League football. It was OK for that but generally pretty shit. Full of old European and American guys working here and lerring at the young bar girls.

On the plus side i leave tomorrow for Cusco and i've heard that is a great town so i'm looking forward to that.

Posted by george1979 17:51 Comments (0)

Still in Madrid, Still Drunk (22/04/07)

Well i thought it was about time i started writing some stuff down before i forget what i have been doing. So the story of my travels so far are as follows.

Had 3 days in London with my friend Jenny and her lovely housemates who were kind enough to put up with us for the weekend. Went to a warehouse party and got slightly merry. Spent the rest of that weekend recovering.

Then on to Madrid with Liam who was in London as well. What a laugh we had here, constantly meeting new folk and basically getting drunk with them. It began with an Irish bar (i´m reasonably sure i´m not the first person to utter that phrase)....

First up were a group of nice Americans (yes there is such a thing) who were on a school trip of all things! They were here with the father of 2 of the kids and their teacher, who also used to be a priest. Spent the night bar hopping, drinking Tequila (with 15/16 year olds, needless to say they loved Europe) and talking nonsense. Had a great night with these guys, photos posted.

After this this were Irish sex shop owners, American virgins (still don´t believe those girls are virgins), The usual, endless supply of Aussie lunatics and even more Aussies who were not lunatics (both are great fun though). Liam and myself also went to Gula Gula which is a drag cafe of all things and of course i had to have left my camera back at the hostel for that one. You haven´t lived until you can have dinner whilst watching a 6ft 3in black guy in drag miming to a spanish disco song. Funny as fuck.

Our hostel in Madrid is also, it seems, smack bang in the middle of the red light zone. There are hookers everywhere outside but there are also a lot of police. Apparently it is a grey area here where the law is concerned.

Liam also managed to get pick pocketed by one of them! Two of them grabbed us by the balls but i managed to push my one away only to turn and be greeted by the sight of Liam backed up against a wall trying to undo a 4ft troll´s vice like grip on his crotch! Luckily he only lost 15 euros....could have been worse, he could have lost a ball!

I can´t really talk i suppose cos after Liam went home on the 17th i went out again with some aussies and managed to lose my wallet with 100 euros and my fucking bank card in it. Didn´t really care at the time cos i went home with one of the aussie guys but now i´m thinking it would have been cheaper buying it!

After that night i also had to get up at 10am to change rooms in the hostel. That was not a very pleasant morning. Went down to reception to change rooms, said goodbye to the Aussie guy (don´t wanna give names on this, not very polite) and all seemed to be going smoothly, apart from the lack of sleep and a hangover, obviously. So i got my new room number and trudged up the stairs to my room, said hello to my new room mates who were thankfully just leaving as i wanted to sink into my bed forever more.

The Mexican band outside had other ideas though....

No sooner had my weary face caressed the amry surplus hostel pillow than these bastards started right ouside my fuckng window! So i tossed and turned and cursed and looked for something to throw out of the window. But then my idea of killing the trumpet murdering fools with my bed and sleeping on the floor was scuppered by the Madrid motorists. Some kind person was thoughtless enough to have crashed or something, causing the rest to be help up by a few minutes. Of course, they chose to demonstrate their dispeasure in the subtle Madrileño art of honking their horns in time with the aforementioned Mariachi band.

It was at this point where i thought about rigging up a crude noose with my bedsheet and ending it all. Just as i was looking for a good place to rig it up it dawned on me......

Earplugs!!! I forgot i had them so i furiously raked though my carefully packed rucksack, found the earplugs, popped them in and got the best 8 hours i´ve had in a long time...

Posted by george1979 17:49 Comments (0)

Ola Madrid!

semi-overcast 16 °C

Just arrived in Madrid today at the hostel metropol. So far so good, the metro system was so much better (and cleaner than London´s). Hostel looks good with a nice little bar and relaxed atmosphere. Clean room as well which is a bonus.
Not much else to report, just about to go exploring so will check in again later....

Posted by george1979 15:58 Archived in Spain Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

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