August 5-7, 2011
Right after I wrote the last entry, Molly and I heard some shouting outside our room. We kind of gathered that we weren’t really at a hostel, we were at some guy’s house and the woman who rented us the room wasn’t the owner. He was mad because she charged us so little and let us use a lock. I thought it was probably time to just get the heck out of there. We headed into town for breakfast, and found a place that charged us $2 for two eggs, a fried plantain, lots of rice, and a soda. Nice. We went to an internet café for a while where it was fast enough to make Skype calls! I called my sister, Jeff, and Maggie. It was so nice to talk to people at home. We then headed up to meet the group.
The group is staying and working in Catapalla. That afternoon the job was to paint a large room used as a kind of theater, and fix up some chairs for the classrooms. The school is so nice, Rustic students have been working on it for several years. They actually could really use a projector, so I might see what I can do, I think GHHS has a few extra laying around gathering dust. I got to know a few of the kids and ended up sanding a few chairs. It was really weird not being a guide and not getting to know everyone right away. It is hard to turn off. The accommodations are definitely way better than in the Sacred Valley. Each room has electricity, a TV, bathroom/shower, beds, and the food is really good. They are living the life of luxury.
Saturday morning we went on a hike to visit some pre-Incan ruins. I haven’t seen any like this yet, and they were pretty interesting. I could see some things that the Incas stole from the previous civilizations to help create their amazing structures. After lunch we headed back to the school for more painting. The kids from the town were everywhere and wanted to play games with everyone. We had a lot of fun. In the evening, the parents from the town prepared a huge dinner for everyone and there was a talent show. Pepe asked a famous local singer and his son to come. The girls did a few dances, then the father/son team sang some classic Peruvian songs. It was amazing. After that, Dylan borrowed the guitar from the back-up musician and played a song. Then Monica and I did a few songs as well (One Semester of Spanish Love Song, I’m Yours, and Skinny Love). Alex got up and did a comedy song with a local woman, he was definitely entertaining. Dinner was great and exhausted we headed back to the bungalows.
Sunday is rafting and zip line day. I decided to skip out on those and catch up on some work for next week. I had to get some more information to my shipping agent, buy a little extra medical insurance, return emails, etc. I did manage to talk to my parents for a long time as well. This was long overdue, and I am so jealous my mom gets to watch Verlander wreak havoc all over the American League.
I did spend time the last few nights making several slideshows containing a bunch of pictures. I know everyone has been asking (yes Jay, I hear you…) and I can’t wait to put them up on YouTube for people to see. However, even the fastest internet yet this summer said I needed to wait 148 minutes for the smallest one to load. I guess I will have to wait until I am in a place with wireless and just let it load overnight.
On the way home from town was another classic mini-traveling story. I really like living on a strict budget, I think it will be the reason for many of my favorite stories throughout the trip. Instead of a hotel, couchsurfing with Chase and Amanda was one of my favorite moments on the way down. Today, instead of spending $1.80 on a cab, I piled into another Corolla hatchback as the 11th person. Yes, 11 people in a five passenger vehicle. I curled up in the back with two other people, and the ride only cost $0.35. Heck yes.