Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Beach Baby

So there was a trip to Machu Pichu, which despite being inundated by thousands and thousands of tourists, was very impressive. (Angkor Wat may have ruined the cities of every other ancient civilization for me to be quite honest, but it was cloud-covered, green, and crazy to imagine a city up so high on the hills.) Then a final short morning in Cusco, a last minutes dash to the airport, of course only to find that our flight was delayed. There are thousands of bus companies with buses that run up to the beaches near the Ecuadorian border, our final stop on our trip, but they all have separate bus terminals all over Lima, a notoriously large and dangerous city. As the afternoon wore on, it became clear that we were going to miss the one bus we knew about, which we were told had big comfortable sleeping beds, key to a 16 hour bus ride. We got a list of other companies from the tourist info desk in the airport and sucked up the $13 dollar cab ride to the one that seemed the most likely to have evening buses going vaguely in the direction we wanted to go. We got to see some of the slums of Lima, and its true that Lima has some very poor sectors, but we also got to see some of the center of Lima and some of the 19th century architecture. Stuck in traffic in front of a different bus terminal, I looked in at the board showing departures and we realized that this company had a bus going directly to Mancora, our planned destination in only an hour. We hopped out of the cab and were soon on our way.

Today we spent all day on the beach and I got sunburned on the back of my legs. I was thinking how I´ll need to be draped in my sarong all day tomorrow, which reminded me of beach trips from days past. My travel partner Lindsay got a big kick out my memories of the time at the beach with my parents when I got sunburned and I had to wear a white turtleneck under my little red bathing suit. I really did look like a geek. Somewhere there are photos.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


OK, so BEFORE I made the mistake of checking my email, and finding out that everything fell apart the minute I went on vacation, I want to report that I did a four day hike to Choquequirao an Incan ruin far far away from anything convenient. I have not done any real hiking (meaning more than a few hours) since college, so I was a bit apprehensive, but the whole thing went off pretty well. We did it in four days and three nights, cooked on a camp stove, slept in a tent. We did not backpack, though. We hired mules and and a kid to take them along. I think I might have fallen off the mountain if I had had to carry anything more than a water bottle, a camera, and a jar of Nutella.

Machu Pichu tomorrow.

The L Word

You know, I should know better than to check my email on vacation. And its too long a story to explain fully in a blog post, having to do with a large well known gay organization from a large coastal city in Ecuador, coming to Cuenca and doing a song and dance about organizational strengthening for the GLBT community but really just wanting to fill their numbers for their funder in their project on HIV prevention. So when we send mixed group of leaders to their seminar they say, oh no, its only for men, because its a project for prevention with gay men. But if they want to strengthen gay, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender communities, being as GLBT is the operative acronym in wide use, um, everwhere, you need to pay attention to the Lesbians, at the very least. I mean at least let us include a lesbian in our strategic planning weekend. Jeez.

Folks, never take the feminist movement for granted. You do not know how much you will miss it, till you start working with people who have no freaking clue what you are talking about. People who believe an appropriate intervention in homofobia is to educate women so they can raise their sons to be less homofobic.

And no I am not making this up.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Cuenca to Cuzco

Listening to Duran Duran in the the backpacker hostel in Cusco, and thinking about how nice places like this can be, with free internet and big pots of free coffee all day. I left on vacation with my friend Lindsay yesterday and we travelled for 24 to get here. A three hour bus ride to Machala, another two hour bus ride to Huaquillas on the Ecuador Peru border, then a walk across the border in which some policeman picked us up and told us it was dangerous to cross the border on foot, and left us in front of Peru immigration where I almost transformed into a crazy gringa because we got directed into the wrong line by some sketchy guy selling currency, but the immigration guy was nice to us and took us to the front of the line.

Then we argued with some guys that tried to cheat us with a taxi ride to the airport in Tumbes (Five dollars!) while we were waiting for a colectivo, the guy offered to give me his cell phone if we could get a colectivo ride to the airport for 1 sole, the peruvian currency. And we did get it for 1.50, but I didn{t try to take his celular. And all this time I had a horrible head cold and brutal cough, so when we got to the airport in Tumbes, I fell asleep for several hours in the chair and only woke up to check my luggage and get on the plane. In Lima, we stayed in the hotel belonging to perhaps the nicest man I have ever met and I found that supermarkets in Lima make Supermaxi in Cuenca look like 7/11. I bought some cough syrup and Lindsay made me take it in the airport, while I savored my Dunkin Donuts coffee. The woman swore the the cough syrup would not make me sleepy, but did not mention it make you super loopy. So as we were getting off the plane, I felt like I was completely stoned and I proceeded to enter Cuzco, another lovely south american city beginning with a c, feeling no pain.

Off to find an ATM and organize our hike and see the sites.