Guakas blogLife is too important to be taken seriously.Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category Previous EntriesBeyond Between ContinentsFriday, July 28th, 2006
I arrived on JFK, not even 24 hours ago. So many experiences. A whole newcontinent. Manhattan is amazing. The sheer size of the buildings isoverwhelming. Prices are definitely something else here. But well,Manhattan is the most expensive area of New York, so one of the mostcostly square miles of the United States and hence of this globe.People are so diverse here, from all over. Yet they appear familiar.Its like walking into a TV set. The New York accent is just great. Andthe number of people who rather speak Spanish both surprises me, andsatisfies my need for practicing my Spanish. Like at the photographer,who wasnt there at first. Her mom was. Two words of her accentedEnglish, and to her surprise I continued in her mother tongue. She wasfrom Jesus Maria in Lima, where I went to office for more than twomonths. Hasta la vista, America del Sur. It wasamazing, exciting, tiring, enticing, frustrating, refreshing andsatisfying. I didnt have a lot of expectations, and many of them werefulfilled. Hablo castellano ahora. I found an interesting job. I evengot paid. I met so many amazing people. Made a large number of friends,some of whom I will see again, somewhere, sometime. And some of them Iwont. The world is too large. Time is too small. Even made someenemies, but their number is small. I found love. A whole lotta. Though mostly coming from other continents. I kissed and said goodbye, till wherever whenever, quelque part quelque temps. I did not say, hasta otra vez, cualquier parte del mondo, mi amor. I did say, see you next month! Catholic culture, machismo and -ma werebigger than I imagined, in the Spanish speaking countries. Girls are sorestraint, living with their family. No offense intended, but my owneyes and many stories from unas gringas learntme that the behavior (let alone the thoughts) of many latinos rangesfrom silly to simply hilarious. Whole families, men and women, areextremely thickheaded in their insecure possessiveness. Jealousy is a warm gun. The late son of Carlos empleada.In Quito Sebastian, Carlos son, again told me the story. At a party inLima, a cop was talking with his girlfriend. A bit too interested. They got into a fight and the guy was shot dead. The cop has never beenseen again. Well, at least not by decent people. Full schedule, sort of. Thoughfortunately not like most Manhattan folks, who seem to be rushing ontheir run. Through Park, through Lexington. From 1st to hundredth orthousandth street. Take a stroll, and find yourself flow, rush, roll.Through the crowds. The stunning crowd. So outlandishly familiar. Its full of paranoia, mostly showingin the form of blueredwhite posters warning the public to call1-800-SAW-GUY-WITH-FUNNY-BEARD-NOW-IAM-SOSCARED. Give the people Bread and Games,but in the current, and probably last American Century, paranoia seemsto be just as important. My paranoia has dwindled the moment I checkedin at Quito Airport. Naturally I was completely freakingly stressed,though not more than that, naturally. Theres always some chance thatsomeone decides to use my bag for carrying illicit substances, or to use my planeto fly into some high building in one of the worlds most powerfulareas, or that it simply gives up and falls down into the sea, or thatsomeone decides to rob me inNYs Subway. But thats not very likely. Not compared to being robbedby a guy with a gun and a mask in South America. So no more paranoiafor me. No more diarrhea. Tap water. I didntreally know that theres a war going on until this week. But evenwithout knowing whats actually going on, or even caring so much toactually inform myself (though informing myself I would, in case I hada connection here and now, or there and then) (and caring I would incase I had informed myself (and furious I would be)). I dare to writethat its about what I just had in the next few moments, thus thefuture, somehow the present, and which is the past once you read it, Iexperienced a great taste, something that many of you havent learnedto appreciate to its fullest, yet. But maybe you will. Possiblydefinitely you will, in case you live long enough.
I am also having some SYMBOL OF SWEET RELANONS (sic!) 100% NATURAL – CASHEWNUT CAKE. Passedon to me in my rush through Forty-something Street. Guy standing stillwith a things in his hand, looking like some gift and/or food, saying I dont want this. Hmm, just give it to me. Ok. Thanks sir. And some smiles of my fellow rushers. Fat, skin, ear, leg. White, black,brown. Ecuadorian markets exhibit dead pig. I got sick. I think. Fromthe food at the dead pig stand. Too much pig in my mashed potatoes.Later that day, the annoying street kids, overwhelming me with paranoiaand memories of all the people who told me to be extremely cautious inQuito drove us strolling to Govinda, a vegetarian restaurant. Ohm. Weentered, walked on into the large room filled with flowers, fruit andpeople, sitting on chairs and on the floor. Joined their mantra. Hare Krishna. Ate some free fruit. Talked. Ate some free food. Hare. Two of the best plates I had in a long while. It seems Annaelle felt the same. Maybe shell even join La Revolucion de la Cucharra. Shanti shanti, Annaelle. Je suiscontent de tavoir fait connatre cette bouffe gniale de lInde. Ilserait juste trop cool sil y aurait aussi des gens qui deviennentvegetarienne. Pour restorer le balance. Tous ces gens, qui abandonnentce principe de ne pas manger des tres tus, juste parce quil leurparait trop difficile, insultant ” Nest-il plutt un insulte de mangerun animal mort ” Mme dy rigoler ” Je laccepte, jexplode pas. Commedes fois, je le fais, et bien fort, comme le savent les gens qui meconnaissent. Mme des gens qui me connaissent pas. En reflechissant,oui, lune de mes explosion taient a cause de a. Le sens et la vue delorgie de lanimal battu partout autour de moi, le visage bloqu etperdu dune femme quil fallait abandonner non pas apres 10 mois, non,pas apres 3 ans, comme je lai fait, mais 2 mois. Tout va bien ici! Annaelle, ik ben niets zonder jou. Nederpop. De laatste nacht in Zuid-Amerika. In Cafecito,zo maar Doe Maar, Dit Is De Laatste Keer, t is voorbij t was nietmeer. De eerste keer in al die tijd in t buitenland. Drie keer zelfs.Daarna electrorans voor een verrukkelijke liefdesdans. Buitenland.Binnenland, de laatste keer in januari, voor zegge en spreke drie dage.Mis je t niet” Wat” Ja, wat” ch Hb gein idee. Nuth” Nijmegen” Den Haag” Parijs” Oh nee, dat is al buitenland. Papa en mama, de poezen. Squattie. So many (more) Dutch friends with(more) kids. I like kids. I really do. Most of the time. But kids pinyou down, and you cant go back to the store, and change a kid foranother one. Kids cost money, a lot of money. It takes two, toprocreate. Which is too many. Too many obligations to the new humanbeing. Too many for me, at least. Since a long long time I dont want kids. A wish solidifying over time. Probably realized during the next years. Loneliness is a cold hotel room. Imglad I dont have to endure that. Tuesday I will see some familiarfaces. Itll be good to be on a geeky conference again. Last one hasbeen a while. I will also have my own laptop again. Wonder how thatllfeel. On my lap a laptop. Hence this braindump. Too bad I missed thefreegan one. This area is just excellent to live in an empty place. Inone day I saw an amazing number of things to bring home, even withoutlooking. No internet here though. Many wireless networks, but allprotected. Instead I made some pasta. Start with frying garlicsunflower seeds until they have a nice color, add mushrooms, add freshtomatoes, some Italian spices, add white cheesy stuff and some olivescut in small pieces. And spaghetti. While Chana was trying to getconnected, communicating to some Verizon phone slave for over 2 hours. Now my brain is dumped. I will lay mybody to rest. Together they had a great time at the gym. The firsttime. Sauna, semiyoga at steam bath, pool, riding through Big Applesblack and yellow cabs. Ohm, Shiva.
Black water in Agua blancaTuesday, July 18th, 2006
InMontanitas met Valerie and Gustavo again. But besides that, it wascrowded with tourists. And me and Annaelle only stayed one night. Wewalked to the next village, Olon, which was sort of abandoned. partfrom some cabanitas. We had our bags guarded inside one of those, andslept on the beach. With many mosquitos. So we continued to PuertoLopez, spent 2, 3 hours in town, when someone told us about Aguablanca, some kind of community with a laguna.
We arrived a bit late, and weretired, so we didnt rush straight to the laguna. When it was dark theguy who rented us a cabanita came to invite us to some party.With 3meter high speakers and, as usual, shitty music. Still fun. We drankcanelazo, superstrong, warm alcohol that was sold for 1 buck the bottle.
We had already smelled the laguna while walking to the party. BAD. But funny, to swim in water with sulphur smell.
After 3 nights, we left today. Onlyone exit, hardly any traffic, buses, cabs. The mototaxi was 5 US$,gringopriced. So we started walking and put up our thumb for the firstnon-full car that came by. Bingo! and not even in the bus, like in theoverpriced Peruvian Cruz del Sur (yes, besides 3 shitty movie, shittymusic and shitty commercials they also did a shitty bingo on the trip,which I was glad to boycot).
Well, Carlos gave me an agenda, apen and we invited him for lunch. Were in Jipijapa, and will betravelling northeast, towards Quito
Oh, and unfortunately not so much fun. But anyways, good to be on the road again!
Between continentsThursday, July 13th, 2006
OnMonday I left Lima. For a long while. To go to Mancora. I met up withAnnaelle again, and had some crazy experiences. Its great to be in thesun again. And fortunately, only my feet got burnt. Yesterday wecrossed the border with Ecuador, and now Im sitting in a Cyber inGuayaquil. This afternoon well head on to Montanitas, to enjoy morebeaches, and to probably find Valerie and Gustavo somewhere. Two moreweeks in South America.
I definitely feel excited aboutNorth America. It will be busy, and it will be great! Arriving in theBig Apple, stay a couple of days. Somehow find a way to Wikimania inBoston, where Ill be hanging out at MIT and presenting stuff at Harvard.I think I already have a bus ticket from Boston to Montreal (need onefor the visa waiver program), where I will probably try to help outwith things at the CouchSurfing Collective.
But, not for too long. For thebeginning of September I arranged a ride from West Coast to SanFrancisco, with Amy, the American girl I met my last weekend in Lima!All the way through the country, with a girl who knows a lot of greatplaces and people all along the way.
Here in Ecuador I can practice abit. The country definitely has a more American atmosphere than Peru,and you even pay everything with dollars.
And now for some more sun and fun!
I hope you will have the same, wherever you are!
AdSick, and other softwareWednesday, May 3rd, 2006
Nah,not really ad sick, but there was just one big ad too many on my screenjust 2 minutes ago. And I decided to get the Adblock plugin forFirefox. Looking for plugins I saw the Adblock Filterset.G Updater. Looks interesting,I thought. And it works. Like a charm. Installed it, shut down Firefox,and suddenly all ads were gone. Even the download Firefox + Googletoolbar on my own blog (with which I already made 50 cents or so). Nice.
Another good thing to check out is Democracy, which allows you to easily fetch new online videos.
My MaemoDict is advancing nicely.
xlite, which I tried as a SIP client for this Fedora thing Im using, works, sort of, but its user interface is shite. But its non-free software anyway.
And for CEPES here in Huaral Im now trying to configure an OpenLDAP server
No Stranger in a Strange House!Friday, April 14th, 2006
Yesterday Erika, my host, asked me to go with her to see some churches at 17:00h or so. Churches” I thought. Well, I sort of said yes, but thought, well, I can always sneak out if I dont like it.
In the meanwhile I got really addicted to Heinleins Stranger in a Strange Land.Its a very inspiring book, definitely worth reading. Guess I willfinish it in a couple of days. (And it reminds me that I should get intouch with the author of FBReader, the software I use on my Nokia toread SiSL and so many other books.)
Well, at 19:00 or so her Russianfriend Helena had come over and, I was happy to see, that they weredrinking beer. So I helped them finish the beers and we went off tosome other part of Lima. Walking around (fortunately no churches ) and – despite the hurd of annoying tipos at the entrance – entering a bar. After a bunch of jarras de cervezathe brains became a bit looser and I got to know Erika better! A lotbetter! Which I feel really good about, because its a bit awkward,feeling a Stranger in a Strange House – which sometimes happens whenyoure enjoying the fruits of hospitality exchange all the time.
Later we went to another bar, withlive Peruvian music. Heidi came to join us. Despite her name andcurrent home town shes 100% Peruvian – whatever that means in thiscontinent where excusez-le-mot racial mixing has been goingon for 5 centuries, and where just about everyone is at least a littlebit mestizo, mulatto, criollo or mameluco
Well, Robin, I agree that its notfree, 12 euros (or 10 when I created an account for Erika) for 3months. But at least Im calling as much as I want. So send me thenumber of your land line and I call you. Also, I just found out thatthey also support SIP, so as soon as my N770 is running some SIPpysoftware I will be able to use it instead of my mobile. Well, at leastin places that have some reasonable penetration of unprotected Wifihotspots. Damn, it even becomes interesting to actually payto use Wifi this way. And of course, it would be much better to set upsome network for sharing SIP and landlines. Maybe some interestingpoint for the CouchSurfing collective” Combine hospitality exchangewith landline and wifi hotspot exchange. As it is becoming free to callfrom fixed to fixed landline in many countries itd would be make thepost-scarcity economy a tiny bit more real.
Today the plan was to go to somebeach, with Erika and Heidi, but Erika bought some more beer on the wayhome I hope shes awake by now. Ill go check it out
Makes sense, AdSense”Wednesday, April 12th, 2006
Imgonna try AdSense. If you are a member of Hospitality Club thisshouldnt really upset you. Well, Im just interested to know find outhow much money you can make with this stuff I dont even know how manyhits this site has, but I will find that out later.Yesterday went to the doctor, for some small thingy I have on my wrist. Appears to be a ganglion cyst. Nothing special. Now I have some cream to put on it and a white thing around my hand that causes everyone to ask: Que paso”
Lima is vast. It takes a lot of timeto go anywhere. And my sense of orientation is only slowly improving.Which is helped by the huge amount of combis. They also havea peculiar way of going around. Sometimes waiting for new passenger ifthe minivan is not full enough. And the driving style is simply mad.Though maybe its the same as the small vans in Mali. Though there theenvironment looks appropriately. Here only in some parts of Lima, likeComas, where I was staying before.
Yesterday went to visit Claudio.Friendly guy. Like on Sunday, I drank too much beer. Which is not a lotactually. But it doesnt feel very good the day after. Guess Im gonnaswitch to juice next time, after 2, 3 beers.
Pejus now in the way from Santiago de Chile to Buenos Aires, and I just helped her starting her blog.
Lima!Saturday, April 8th, 2006
InArequipa me and Peju went different ways. Before getting on the bus toLima I did some GlobalFreeLoading. And found out that the guy whowanted to come and pick me up from the bus terminal tried to extortmoney from a previous guest. GFL doesnt really have profiles. You canjust leave references about people, but there are no easy links. Andcontact is going directly over email. Maybe a bit too much privacy.Well, anyway. I quickly sent out a lot of messages on CouchSurfing andsome on Hospitality Club.I arrived in Lima at 5:00am. In La Victoria. It was still dark. Didntknow where to go. And looked around. Hmm, better stay where I am.When it was light I went to an internet cafe and found out I had somecouch offers! For the messages on Hospitality Club it took 5 days to bechecked for spam, and the get to the people it was sent to (check thesend copy thing and find out when someone actually received themessage).
At 9 I took a cab, got a policeescort, didnt pay too much (14 soles, 1 sol tip), and arrived at mycouch place! Was received by Raquels mother, who is really friendly- I am teaching her some English now and then, by pretending not tounderstand Spanish.
Thursday I went to visit CEPES, anNGO here in Lima. And yesterday I went to visit their project inHuaral. I will stay for a month or so to work on help out on someprojects. And well try to find some money to set up a specializedTelecentre distribution. So that people can set up a cybercafe based onfree software, without too much knowledge about computers – an ideathat started to come up after seeing how much trouble the netcafes havedealing with Windows and the shitty proprietary software they use tomanage the cafe. Hope we find some grants. It will be useful in manymore countries than just Peru
Oh, and in the meanwhile I calledsome people with VoipDiscount, which lets me call for free to abouthalf the countries of the world. Send me your fixed phone number andIll call you (if you live in a country thats free to call).
Now Im gonna see if I can still help Raquel and Tobias, who are preparing some food
Pejus diarySunday, April 2nd, 2006
Sunday 19th March 2006, Cochabamba, Bolivia
In a bad mood today. Kasper pissedme off. Went to find brunch – delicious Indian vegetarian buffet. Afterice cream and a quick walk in the square, Kasper wanted to do Jesus. Iwasnt keen. Waste of time! Building that monument, when the moneycould have gone towards building schools! Met two people fromCouchSurfing for dinner: Don Juan Carlos and Angela. Delicious berinjela and cibolla pizza.I`m glad were leaving tomorrow. I dont like it here. Its like adeserted ghost town. But the people are very tranquil. And donthassle. My mood got better this evening. We enjoeyed good company.
Monday 28th of March, La Paz, Bolivia, Capital.
After an eight hour bus ride we madeit from Cahcabamba. The hotel is nice but very cold. La Paz is worsethan Cochabamba. Its dirty, noisy and polluted. Everything is hillyand its impossibleto cross the streeet, due to no traffic lights.Kasper and I talked. I think we should do seperate things tomorrow. Buthes not so keen. Im a big girl, can take care of myself Had a falafelsandwich in an Arab restuarant that cheered me up. We checked ouremails then went to bed. This altitude is something else!
Tuesday 21st of March
First day of spring! Feeling a lotbetter as Kasper and I have communicated. We fouind a pizzeria, whichserved delicious breakfast. We met later with two people from HC; Daisyand Marcello. Overall a very good day.
Wednesday 22nd of March
Met another HC member, Nathaniel. Heshowed us around the city. Later Kasper and I went for lunch and toMercado Negro. Overall I like La Paz better than Cochabamba. But itscold and I dont like the altitude. Tomorrow we leav for Lake Titikaka,the worlds highest lake.
Thursday 23rd of March, Lake Titiakaka, Bolivia.
After a five hour bus ride we madeit and befriended a Canadian, Nate. The hotel is nice, expensive, butat least we get breakfast and free coca tea. We went on an island tourto Isla del Sol. We met strange Canadian with weird laugh. And Dutchguy, on the boat. Also got talking to a French and German couple, onthe island. Nice island but not worth all the hype. Funny situationwith a little girl next to a donkey [lama]. I took a picture and shecame over, outstrechted her hand, resting it on my leg, saying: DosBolivianos, Seorita. I looked at her as if to say, get your grubbyhands off me!. She, Dos Bolivianos. I gave her some quick change andoff she went. Kasper and I laughning. Also funny moment when Kaspervideod me taking a wee in the bush. Film ended with me saying to him:You tramp! [as usual]
In the evening went to recommended trout restaurant with some people of the boat. Fish good, vegetables and potatoes bland. Later for drinks.
Overall impression: I like it here alot more than Santa Cruz, Cochabambaand La Paz. Maybe be cause plentyof options of nice things to eat. And close to the water. Tomorrow wehead for Peru.
Friday 24th of Marhc, Cuzco Peru
Its always cool to border-hop andget new stamps. [Especially if youre British.] But really didnt likethe bus ride here. Ten hours with annoying salesmen preaching, tryingto sell tooth products, then little boy singing horrible songs withhorrible instrument. Made me feel bad to drive through really poorareas, which by European standards are unacceptable. And the little boywith dirty feet and worn out sandals.
When we arrived we were bombardedwith touts. Nothing new there. Got to hostel. Peju wasnt happy.Barking dog in the courtyard and no bathroom privado. The room isfreezing and to top it all off, no water in the bathroom after 4 PM,you have to go downstairs! Talk about inconvenience! [Or jetsetters!]
Saturday 25th of March
Kasper and I ate a lot today.Delicious breakfast in restaurant owned by Swiss guy. Then lunch twoand half hours later. Then in the evening trouts at the Swiss place.Walked around after, with Nate. Overall I like it here. I like thecolonial square, I like that the food is cheap and that there is a lotof choice. Actually very happy but its impossible to stay at thisaltitude without feeling dizzy, out of breath and without takinglaxatives! Ill be happy to be back at sea level.
Sunday 26th of March
Miserable morning of diarrhea forthe two of us. Went for muesli breakfast, but slow service and bad hotchocolate pissed me off. Well give Machu Picchu a miss. We went tofind ruins at Pisac, no luck, but bought nice things at market.Tomorrow we head for Arequipa, south Peru. Hopefully there is sun andnice beaches. Ive had enough of cold nights in hotels, breathing andstomach problems. The time will soon come when we say goodbye and goour seperate ways.
Monday 27th of March
Slept very badly last night. Thehotel is so cold. After breakfast we checked emails, went to Incamuseum, chilled at hotel. Went back to Swiss place, then got bus toArequipa.
Tuesday 28th of March, Arequipa, Peru
Was good to get night bus. Wearrived at around 6:30 AM. Finally we get a room with our own bathroom.Even though its outside, at least its ours. First impression so far,doesnt look like theres much going on. Im just eager to hit thebeach. My water element is calling! The main square is nice, therestaurant touts are off-putting. So are the staring men. I think oneday here is enough. Im ready for Caman. Kasper fell asleep around 8PM, so I went for a walk and a hot chocolate.
Wednesday 29th of March
We went for a nice Cuban breakfastthis morning. We spend such a long time at the internet caf we decidedto stay another day rather than rush to Caman. In the evening we metClaudio from CS, for crepes and her friend Marlene too.
Thursday 30th of March, Caman, Peru
Kasper and his tactless masculinity!We made it to a barren beach resort more like ghost town. Its grayand barren. And the sand is black. But the water is refreshing. Wereheading back to Arequipa! This evening we went to kiosk to buy snacksbut ended up drinking beers with the people who run it and with acouple from Arequipa. They invited us to go fishing tomorrow morning at7 AM. Well see
Friday 31st of March, Arequipa
Its good to be back in Arequipa.And Ive got to waving at these friendly people who are always staringat me. Were eating a lot, nothing new there. We had delicious cake ina chocolateria.
Bolivia and bit of PeruMonday, March 27th, 2006
Survivedthe Death Train. In Curumba me, Peju and Mikael arrived by bus. We weretold a lot of BS at the bus terminal there, as we found out later.Then the cab driver tried to get a bit too much cash (30 reais) fromus. So we chose the adventurous option, to go by motor taxi (for 5reais each), to the Bolivian border.From there we took a cab to the town. At the train station we found outwe made a good choice by not buying the overpriced tickets in Curumba.
An hour later we started ourjourney. Well, with the airco and the shitty movie playing it was byfar not as adventurous as the 2nd class trains in India. Although themovements of the train were the worst I ever experienced. And it seemedit would be faster to go by bicycle.
In the morning we arrived in SantaCruz. Mikael said goodbye and continued to Peru. We decided to crash ina hotel close to the terminal. With a raunchy environment. And plentyof restaurants, with plenty of meaty food. And waiters seemingly unableto provide us some simple salad with potatoes.
Next day we did find some veggyrestaurants though, where we went with Mariangela, a lovely girl we metthrough CouchSurfing. But, it appeared that veggy restaurants inBolivia have a really weird way of serving their customers. You arelucky if they are open, and then you need some more luck to get somefood at all.
We also did some small vehicle driving. Dont know what the things are called. But it was great fun. And dirt cheap, in Bolivia.
From Santa Cruz to Cochabamba. Thebus ride there was an experience on itself. And it was very funny withPeju, or maybe thats not the right word. She lived in Nigeria fromuntil she was 6 years old, but her stay in Bolivia was the first timein her adulthood to see poverty. And though Bolivia is definitely a lotricher than Mali, theres a lot of it.In Cochabamba we found out we just missed Manu Chao. But later on weheard from some Frenchies that the entry fee was a hefty 60 Bolivianos.The minimum wage is 440 Bolivianos, which is less than 50 euros. ThoughI read in the paper that Evo Morales, Bolivias left-wing presidentwants to raise that to 880 Bs. Exit Manu and his lefty lyrics.
Cochabamba doesnt have so much tooffer, except for the good food and the biggest Jesus in the world.Some meters higher than the one in Rio, which I didnt visit (and whichwas really expensive to visit). You can walk to the one in Cochabamba,or take a cable thingy for 3 Bs one-way. 1 Bs to get into Jesushimself. There are holes in the statue, which allow for a really niceview. Peju was having a hard time with the altitude (3km abovesea-level) and didnt actually get into Jesus.
La Paz, colder than Cochabamba. Nicehostel. 3 Slovenian girls in the hotel telling that they had beenstolen. Well. Too bad. We stayed anyway.
Copacabana in Bolivia was nice.Titikaka. Famous from Beavis and Butthead. Nice lake, but quite a lotof tourists. Was a good way to prepare for Cuzco. Where we are now.Filled with tourists. And touts. Really annoying. Visiting Machu Picchucosts at least 90US$, and requires getting up at 5:00am. Thanks toPerurail, the French/Chilean company extorting money from tourists.Theres a cheap, alternative way I found at Wikitravel.But well, it does include 4 hours walking in relatively high altitudeso we decided we saw enough modern day Peruvian ruins already. Also,both of our stomachs are dealing with some kinda problem
Tonight well catch a night bus to Arequipa
Scheisse toutMonday, March 13th, 2006
Justarrived in Campo Grande, after 13 hours of bus travel from So Paulo.We had contacted Mikael yesterday evening, and he was coming to pick usup from the bus terminal. We arrived on schedule, 10:00am. But noMikael. So we sit down.After a couple of minutes, first tout.As usual I try to ignore the guy. Tout leaves. Another tout. Do youspeak English” I say, Je parle pas anglais. He says, Ah, tu esfranais”
Me, not expecting him to speak French: Scheisse.Me chuckling. Tout walking away saying something including Scheisse. Itreminded me that many of those annoying folks are polyglots.
Twenty minutes later. Still no Mikael. Weird. The Swedish are usually very punctual.
So I suggested we have a drink and awee at the place on the opposite side of the street. The Campo GrandeYouth Hostel. With a big flag saying Ecological Trekking. Well, atleast theres some shadow behind it.
I walk into the hostel. Looking fora toilet. Someone asking me What are you looking for” in a ratherunpleasant way. Looking for the toilet, I say.There is no toilet. Thats a bit strange for a restaurant and a hostel, isnt it” And I recognize the Scheisse tout, a tall Asian looking guy with cropped brown hair, who is actually called Isral Cappello, as I later find out.
So I ask someone else. Who actuallypoints me to the toilet. While Isral is saying its 2 reais to go tothe toilet. Im a customer, so Im not gonna pay for the toilet. Iwalk to the toilet and suddenly feel a punch. I push him back and he starts kicking. I dont really take that shit from anyone, unless hes two feet taller (highly unlikely) or works out in the gym regularly. So I become a bit physical as well. Until Im holding his head under my arm.
Then a guy obviously working at thehostel comes over. Im expecting him to take this guy to some otherplace. But instead he starts being aggressive to me as well, thoughonly verbally. Well, I still needed to go to the toilet. So thats whatI did. When I get out after a while Im surprised to see the Scheissetout is still around. Peju later tells me this guy was actually thefirst tout who came to bother us.I ask what he is still doing there. Im a guest., he responds, which seemed highly unlikely to me.I just want us to get our stuff and leave, but hes very close andstarts being aggressive again. Though only verbally this time. Onleaving the hostel, or should I say, hostile, Copello is followingme, telling me to go away and punching me, AGAIN in the back.
I then walk back in, and ask a more neutral member of staff at the receptionist desk for the hostels business card.
We go to sit in the restaurant nextto the hostel, since were still unclear about Mikaels whereabouts.Then I figure, our clock being close to 11, hmm, maybe were in adifferent time zone”, I say jokingly. Which obviously happened to bethe case. So Pejus off to the terminal where Mikael is just about toarrive.
In the restaurant I notice that oneof the 2 still wearable shirts (Carnaval was too much for my red shirt)has now a huge opening in the arm. Well, ok, Im going to buy new stuffin Bolivia anyway. I guess.
Were sitting there for a while, andtalk about the stupid situation, when suddenly Mr. Scheisse Tout comespeaking at the entrance. And starts asking about his card. After a while I give it to him, since it wouldnt be too hard to find out some more information about the hostel anyway.
We get to our hosts home. I check Wikitravel on Campo Grande and see that the touts are indeed working for this hostel,and that they built up quite a bad reputation. I made the wordings abit stronger though Now I have to write something on World66.com, sendthis story to Lonely Planet, and possibly print it and deliver it tothe local police.
Surprisingly, the hostel is carrythe Hostelling International logo. So I just sent them a comment aboutthis hostel. I hope they will kick them out of the organisation
still in progress
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Posted from UK:
posted Monday April 2007