Friday, March 28, 2008

Tariy Update

I´ve had very little time recently to get to an internet cafe and put up entries. To make things worse when I do get to one it´s usually a slow connection in a little town in the Andes. So being that I will be home this Thursday, I have decided that I will continue with the blog when I get back. I will have a new post each day for you all and will feature more videos and photos.

So tune back next week when I will continue where I left off. As of right now I am waiting for a bus to Puno, right off the shore of Lake Titicaca, I´ll make sure to take plenty of videos and photos for you.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tariy, Days 4 & 5: The Turtle and Trujillo

Hi everyone! I´m currently in Lima in a super hot internet bodega across the street from my house. Today is day 9 of my travels and it´s my birthday!! I hear there is a surprise party planned for me, not much of a surprise anymore I guess, but regardless it should be a ton of fun. I will continue where I left off last, in Casma visiting the ancient ruins of Sechin.

Thursday March 13th (cont´d)

Although Sechin is small compared to most archaeological sites in Peru it still holds a wealth of artifacts to look at. The small museum next to the ruins exhibits a mummy with its mouth gaping wide open and it also contains many drawings and works of art taken from the ruins.


Here are a couple of pictures so you get a better idea of what the exterior of the compound looks like.


Maycol and I have become pretty effective at flagging down vehicles by now. I have to say that our best technique, although I don´t really recommend it, is to just lie in the middle of the road and wait for a car to stop.

From Sechin we headed out to a beach about half an hour away from Casma on the western coast of Peru called La Playa de la Tortugas or Turtle Beach in English. The beach was pretty empty being that it was a weekday and also the evening. We walked around and admired the beautiful setting, the beach being wedged between two large mountains. The beach itself is small and looks like a turtle hence its name. We strolled the peaceful beach and sat down to drink some Brahman at a small restaurant while we waited for some transportation to bring us back to Casma.

That night was our last in Casma and we celebrated it by going out with my cousins to a discoteca. We toasted the night away with 12 jars of beer and danced the night away. I was surprised how many people were out considering it was a weekday. But if Peru is known for one thing it is its love of partying.

In the morning we caught a small collectivo to Chimbote, a town about two hours away from Casma and a transportation hub. From there we took a larger bus to the city of Trujillo, arriving in the afternoon.


I´ll leave it at here for now, I´m leaving for Huacachina, Pisco and Ica tomorrow. I´ll try to post some birthday pictures and continue from Trujillo over the weekend, Chau!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Tariy, Days 3 & 4: The Heat of Casma

Wednesday March 12th

Woke up to another scorcher of a day. Heading over to the shared washroom in the small courtyard of our hostal I realized that my face was burning. I shouldn´t have been surprised looking into the mirror and finding my face the color of a Coca Cola bottle. When I come to Peru I usually don´t use sunblock and just let myself tan into my normal brown, those times hadn´t brought me to Caral though which worked it´s magic on me.

Maycol and I spent about 3 hours waiting for a ride in the Plaza de Armas of Supe where we would then head to Casma. Sitting around in the sun without any sunblock was smart on my part, not that I cared much, when it got uncomftorable we´d head over to a little shop and buy some Inka Cola and some Ice Cream, then we´d head back out in the plaza and hang out under a tree and chat up the locals.


Slowly but surely our skill of flagging down cars by showing some skin worked. We headed off towards Casma that afternoon passing the lively town of Barranca where we should have stayed the night. The town has a great beach where you can camp out, call it an opportunity missed and experience gained.

We reached Casma in the late afternoon and it remains the hottest town we´ve visited. Even though it´s dry out I´m sure it was a good 95 degrees farenheit. We stayed at my cousin Olgas house that night which is under constrution and had the whole place to ourselves even though there was no electricity.

Bathroom by candlelight, how romantic...

Thursday March 13th

The next day we headed out for the ruins of Sechin. New discoveries in the last few months have put Sechin on the map for Archeologists. A new temple at the complex has been carbon dated to be 5,500 years old, thats older then the pyramids of Giza, and although Sechin is not a complex city like Caral it is no less significant. On the way to the ruins which is only about 10 minutes from Casma we passed some huge sand dunes which made me very excited about the thought of the massive dunes we will be sandboarding next week in Huacachina.

video

Sechin is another one of the many archeological sites throughout Peru that gets very little attention due to the cyclopean Machu Picchu where all the tourists flock. We once again had these ruins to ourselves and had a look around. Unfortunatley the temple that had made the news a couple weeks ago remains closed to the public and is actually being reburied in order to preserve it. They do this to avoid the fate of another work of ancient Peruvian art that was found near Sechin, the heads below are replicas the originals were destroyed by earthquakes and rain.



The main complex itself is huge and its outer walls are covered in art dating back to 3,000 BC.


video


My time is almost up here at a small internet cafe in Chiclayo, I catch my bus back to Lima in about 2 hours, it´s a 14 hour bus ride in, so I´m going to get some Arroz Chaufa and head out. I leave you with this video of the climb up yet another mountain to get a better view of Casma. I´ll try to finish up days 3 and 4 before Friday, oh and Happy belated St. Patricks Day!!


video

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tariy, Day 2: Caral

Tuesday March 11th (cont´d)
So to begin where I left off, heading up the trail to the ruins of Caral my cousin Maycol and I came across a pair of mean dogs, we threw some rocks at them and that settled things pretty quickly. Yes I know that some of you may take offense to our actions but some advice for anyone traveling in the country is that a rock is your best friend against dogs who are far from tamed and are territorial. The "smell my hand" trick just does not cut it when it comes to such circumstances. If you travel in large groups then it´s a non issue but if your going at it alone, take my advice.

After slaying the beasts (c´mon lighten up!) we continued on the trail that eventually led us to a small river with a very dainty bridge. Looking downstream I couldn't help but scratch my head as I could see more sturdy looking bridge in the distance. We took the dainty bridge over, because you know.... that´s just a heck of a lot more fun.

video

It took us another fifteen minutes from the bridge to reach the archaeological site of Caral. As a student of history and archeology it was a sight to behold. There in front of me lay 6 ancient pyramids dating back to 3000 BC. These megaliths have yet to be completely unearthed, and according to one of the archaeologists it will take another 15 years before the site is fully excavated. After we had a look around the place we hiked up the side of a mountain for a better look.

video

When backpacking to place to place there is never really any reliable transportation. There are no schedules, no worries and unfortunately very little to do while waiting for that elusive collectivo.

video

We eventually flagged down a super crowded collectivo with about 10 people inside. Being that I was hitchhiking I didn't have a problem with it. Getting to know Caral was great I will definitely make it a stop for future programs. With Karikuy however you won´t have to wait on the side of the road, all transportation is planned out of course.

The night was spent in Supe, a nearby town and although it was a pleasant place, it was very quiet. The town was dead by 11 and there was no nightlife, it didn't help that it was Tuesday either. What do you do in such circumstances? Well you break out the radio, drink some beer and talk about life and all of it´s surprises. Including the nasty surprise that I was very badly sunburnt.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Tariy, Days 1 & 2: Home from Home

Hey everyone I´m writing to you from Trujillo, I arrived on Monday night to a great reception of family and friends, so far me and my cousin have been having a blast trekking the country, here´s as short a recap I can write for the last five days, theres just too much to tell and well we´re gonna go hit the clubs after I finish typing this up.

Monday March 10th

I was able to get a great fare of 480$ for round trip tickets to Peru using Taca Air. I have no complaints, the stopover in El Salvador was fun and short although I was absolutely surrounded by 3 and 4 year olds on the first leg of the trip, who needs sleep anyways? I had a row to myself on the second leg to Lima and was able to stretch out and got to sleep on a much quieter ride, however it is hard to sleep when your flying over such a beautiful continent as South America.

video

Customs at Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima took about 20 minutes, why so short? well it´s all about who gets to the line first. The airport is small compared to most and everyone goes through the same customs line. I suggest that when you first arrive you make a mad sprint to customs to avoid long lines that could take over an hour and could be rather uncomftorable due to the heat. Wool hats and winter jackets should be removed on the plane.

My rather large but normal Peruvian sized family greeted me at the Airport exit with loud kisses and hugs, it´s hard to describe a Peruvian style welcome at the airport, you just have to go there and see for yourself I suppose.

Wow this is taking forever to write! ok speeding it up a little, I gave out all I had collected in donations and things I had bought to my family and the poor neighborhood I´m originally from.

video

I saved as much of the smaller toys and candies so I can hand them out for the rest of the trip. The rest of that night consisted of nothing other then amazing food and heavy drinking. I bought about 2 cases (24 bottles) of Cristal for the family and they provided the wine as well as the biggest bucket of Chicha de Jora that I´ve ever seen. Good Times!!

Tuesday March 11th

The neighbors woke me up to loud reggaeton at about 7 am in the morning, about the time Lima wakes up to go to work during the week. Being hungover never feels so good, especially after 3 hours of sleep and stepping inside a frigid shower. I packed the last of my things that morning and opened the big windows in my living room. I had found some baby pictures of me in the house my parents built and I sat down and thought about my expectations, not just on the trip but about my own projects and what I would be building with Karikuy.

Time to hit the road! My uncle Freddy takes my cousin Michael and I to the local bus station to take a Collectivo to Supe, a town near the ruins of Caral. On Route the bus fails to make an inspection before heading on the Pasomayo route of the Pan-american Highway. Pasamayo is a very steep desert coast overlooking the ocean, I left my camera in my bag, however Maycol took some great pics that I will post later. A three hour bus ride in the end took us 6 hours and we arrived in Supe at night unable to get a ride to Caral and set up Camp. Thats what happens when you backpack though, we could of taken a tourist class bus and had comfy seats and a movie, but whats the fun in that? We stayed in a hostal in Supe had some Cristal and chaufa for dinner and explored the small and uneventful town.

Early the next day we made our way to Caral, The ride out from Supe was about an hour and the taxi cab dropped us off on the side of the road, we had to hike to get to the ruin in the distance, the scenery was absolutely beautiful, the ancient citizens of Caral, one of the oldest cities on earth dating back to 3000 BC, could not have chosen a better place to build their warless society.

video

So my internet time is up and I´m starving and ready to hit the nightlife I´ll finish up my day at Caral later, bye for now!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Tariy 2008: Preparations

For the next month I will be backpacking throughout Peru, the strenuous hike over the Andes and sweaty trek through the desert will be chronicled on this blog for my customers and friends.

My journey begins this Monday and I find myself overwhelmed by preparations ranging from the complex to the mundane. By far the easiest part has been planning my route which you can view below. First I will head north through the coastal Sechura desert and make my way up to The Ruins of Kuelap near Chachapoyas, then return to Cajamarca to take a flight back to Lima to celebrate my Birthday on the 19th. From there I begin the long roundabout trek through southern Peru and the majestic Andes mountains.

The North of the country is currently under a state of emergency because of severe flooding due to La Niña. This is the complex part of the planning, sure many would say just avoid the area, however I plan to go see if any help is needed and also to see the damage for myself. This is not a vacation for me but a learning experience.

Besides my humanitarian and charity work which I will explain in a second, I also plan to shoot a short film for Karikuy so you have a chance to know more about this organization and me as well. Also while going from city to city I will be hooking up with hotel and tourism agencies to get updated pricing and information to better help you decide on your next trip in Peru.

Throughout my travels I will be handing out gifts and sweets to the poor rural areas of Peru. I can only try to put a smile on a child's face with such a small offering in a country that is still developing, and so my supplies being limited I ask anyone who wishes to donate a gift or candy to let me know and I will try to squeeze it into my luggage. you can email me at jctello@karikuy.org or give me a call to pick up supplies at 631.371.6239 you can even send me donations through paypal using the address jct83@optonline.net. Donations are great as they allow me to purchase goods inside Peru for distribution and will let me avoid customs and baggage weight restrictions as well as relieving you of a deadline of Monday, March 10th to donate.


So I have to get back to planning and preparing my luggage for the trip, you can check the blog every week for the next month, I will try to post at least twice a week. I also look forward to the company of those who are thinking about joining me for Amikuy this May. You can check out all the information regarding that trip at www.karikuy.org