Friday, February 22, 2013

Buenos Aires and cruise down the coast of Argentina

This wasn't our first trip to Buenos Aires, and it won't be the last, most likely. The last time we were here, it was my birthday and Doug and I went out to a tango show, which was then cut short because Carter got violently ill back at the hotel and we had to return. And then Doug caught whatever bug he had and was miserably sick for days. Doug wasn't all that enthusiastic to return after that experience, but the timing of the cruise meant we had nearly a week to hang out in the city.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cuzco and Machu Picchu

We arrived in Cuzco about a week ago, expecting a contrast from the Iquitos area. And wow, the areas are so different that it's stunning. The amount of cultural and geographic diversity in a country as small as Peru is simply amazing.

When you arrive in Cuzco, the first thing that hits you is the altitude. The city is at around 12,000 feet, and at first the simple act of walking around takes your breath away. It's completely bizarre to walk up a very slight incline and find yourself panting like you've just sprinted that distance instead. The locals have traditionally drunk mate de coca (tea made from coca leaves) or chewed the coca leaves to alleviate altitude sickness, and this remedy is definitely encouraged for visitors. It's a bit like caffeine in its effect when you drink the tea, though chewing the leaves will leave the side of your mouth feeling a little numb. Whether it actually helps with the altitude or not, I can't say. I drank a lot of it and Doug didn't, and I'm not sure if our experience was any different!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Vlog #1: Santiago

My first attempt at editing together a vlog! Future vlogs will be much more interesting, I promise. ;-)

The Amazon, part 2

We're riding in a small boat down a creek off of the Napo River, one of the tributaries of the Amazon. The sun is hot and the humidity stifling, and the movement of air over us as the boat motors upstream is a relief. We're looking for a good spot for catching piranha, says our guide, Ricardo.  Doug and I attempted to fish for them on our visit 18 years prior, with no luck. I don't expect it to be different today; they're hard little buggers to catch. We pass houses, small platforms with thatched roofs and almost no furnishings. Small children swimming at the water's edge pause to wave as we pass. They're used to seeing tourists, but the sight of a child as young as Carter seems to surprise them.