About Me

I am in South America from October 3rd until December 17th! I am spending the month of October volunteering in a child care center in Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Then I have a month and a half to explore Ecuador and Peru!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I am HOME!!!!

I did it! 2 1/2 months in South America! And now I am HOME!!! Safely. And guess what? I did not get robbed! I am so thankful that I did not get robbed. If you let your guard down for a second your camera or phone or backpack will be stolen. And whoever stole it will resell it to buy food or gas for cooking or Christmas presents for their family. So I had to be careful all the time and it paid off. I am home safely.

It is so great to just relax. I still haven't unpacked my bags yet though. In all honesty I have spent the last day and a half sleeping. Either I have something or my stomach is having a hard time adjusting to American food. Either way, it is great to be home safely.

I spent most of Thursday (I had a 12 hour lay over) in the Atlanta, Georgia airport. There happens to be an Army boot camp and center there so I saw hundreds of Army people in the airport.

To put this in to perspective: I went from being surrounded by Latin men to being with hundreds of polite Army fellows. It was a shock in and of itself to not be whistled at every 5 seconds. I ended up eating lunch with a really nice Army guy from Aurora, CO who had just finished boot camp. He was so happy to eat pizza! And so was I. Just before we parted ways we said goodbye and hugged. Then I started walking away. I took about three steps then turned around and grabbed his arm and said, "Thank you for serving our country." And with tears in my eyes I walked away.

That night at about 7 I landed in the Denver airport. I was so relieved/overjoyed when I saw Mikala standing near my baggage claim! I yelled "Mikala!" and ran to her. Then my mom and Olivia appeared. :) (I don't have words for what I felt when I saw everyone after so long in South America).

I picked up Olivia and swung her around! And gave my mom a big hug. I cannot imagine what it was like for her to send her baby to South America. I know you prayed for me a lot while I was gone Mommia--thank you! It kept me safe.

After a nice dinner at Maccaroni Grill and a 4 hour drive back to North Platte I found Adam and Ivan asleep on the couches. I woke them up and said hello then crawled in to bed with my dad just before he had to go to work.

It is great to be back in America. I love this contry! And there is nothing that can enforce that better than leaving it for a while.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Deja Vu

Hello from Quito! Being back here in the city I spent the first month of my trip in feels like Deja Vu. I walk down the same streets I walked down before. I take the same busses I took. I take salsa classes at the same studio. I hang out with and see the same people. It feels like I never left. Like Peru was just a dream. But I have all these memories so I know I had to have gone. And when I walk down the streets of Quito I feel different. Somehow stronger? More relaxed? Happier? I am not sure if I could ever put my finger on it. But going to Peru sola, changed me somehow.

My whole 2 1/2 months went by quickly! All 75 days of it...

And here I am. On my last day in South America.

Today I stopped by the daycare for a visit. It was so great to see all of my kiddos! When they saw me they all started yelling "Tia! Tia!" and ran over to me to give me a hug.

And it was great to see the other teachers. My Spanish has improved during my month in Peru so now I could actually understand most of what they said and I could also communicate what was in my head. Spoon feeding the kids their lunches was such a familiar activity, it made me feel like I had not left. But then I talked with the teachers about Peru and what has gone on at the daycare and suddenly that month felt like years.

My flight leaves tonight (or should I say tomorrow morning) at 12:40. Half of me can hardly wait to get on that plane and head back HOME. The other half of me would like to skip the plane back and go back to Cusco.

But I know I am going to get on my plane. I am ready to go back home. I have had my dose of living out of a backpack and taking busses down dirt roads from town to town. I have had my fair share of illnesses as well as tastes of heaven. I have met so many amazing people from all over the world. I have experienced different cultures and seen people live happily in lives I couldn't have even imagined before. And now, my friends, I am ready to go home.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Uno mas aventura!!!

Uno mas aventura is my new slogan. I only have...2 more days here in South America and I keep finding myself thinking uno mas aventura! or one more adventure! I am ready to unpack my bags and just stay somewhere and relax for a while but...while I am in Evuador...uno mas aventura!

So what was my last adventure? To find la selva, the jungle.

I found the jungle alright.

And got lost in it.

Let me start this story from the beginning...on Sunday I got on a bus to Tena which is a town that is surrounded by jungle. On the 6 hour ride I sat next to a 19 year old native named Jonathan. He suggested that I go to Musuahili to find the jungle and offered to go with me the next day.

So after staying the night in Tena and waking up to find ANTS (harmless right?) in my bed I met up with Jonathan and we got on a 1 hour bus to go to Musuahili. Musuahili is unique because it has jungle and beach! Two rivers connect and there is a nice area with sand banks where people and monkeys alike hang out and fight playfully.

Jonathan and I went to the beach. Just as we were getting in to the river the sky opened up and poured rain. But the air was so warm it was all comfortable! Jonathan had to leave early but I stayed and hung out at the beach for a while and watched monkeys stealing food from unsuspecting families and children.

Last night I met a bunch of Australians hanging out at a hostel. They are doing a volunteer project in a nearby village and all stay at this one hostel. I got to talking with them and somehow it came up that I was in Musuahili in search of the jungle. The guy who is in charge of the volunteer project (and has lived here for years) suggested that I go find Carlos and set up a tour with him. So I found Carlos. And set up a tour for today. A family of four were thinking about joining the tour but ended up not.

So this morning Carlos and I hopped in to the back of a pickup truck and went for a ride to a nice place away from towns in the jungle. The pickup truck ride was one of my favorite parts of the day. I saw so much jungle and what can beat standing up in the bed of a truck and ducking out of the way of branches?

Anyways, we arrived at our little entrance and entered the jungle. Just like that. One second we were on the road. One step later I was in the jungle. Carlos explained that we were going to walk around for a while in the Primary Forest (forest in a state of equilibrium with tall trees, medium plants and small young ones) and possibly encounter Secondary Forest (where a tree has fallen and suddenly the plants on the forest floor grow rapidly because of all the sun).

Oh did I mention we did not have a trail?

So we walked for a while and saw big trees and trees called Walking Palms. These ones are really cool, the roots are half way above ground and they can actually move as much as 15 centimeters per year to get to soil with more nutrients. We also heard cool birds and saw colorful butterflies.

A couple hours later we came upon a trail and decided to follow it. We came out of the selva at another road. We had a snack and Carlos said he would prefer to cut straight through the forest to the other road instead of walking in the sun to the other road. Ok, I thought. He knows what hes doing.

So we sat down and had a little snack of bread, water and bananas. A guy walked by and Carlos asked him if the trail we were on went straight through to the road. The guy said he had no idea. This is when I wondered how well Carlos knew the forest. My Australian friend had recommmended Carlos to me as a guide. And in talking with Carlos I found out he had been guiding for 25 years. I had felt secure going in to the jungle with him.

Then we went back in and followed the trail for a while then lost it. Then we turned to the right. I thought, That is funny, I thought the road was the other direction...but my sense of direction is always bad, I will just follow Carlos, he knows where he is going.

About 15 minutes and lots of crazy turns later Carlos turned around and said, ¨Somos perdidos.¨ which literally translates to ¨We are lost.¨

That is when a giant boa constrictor dropped from the tree right in front of our faces. Luckily Carlos had his machetti and he chopped its head off with one swing. Then a pack of monkeys ambushed us. They pulled our hair looking for flead and stole my rubber boots. Sunndenly they stopped the ambush and took off swinging in one direction. Carlos and I turned around to see none other than a giant black panther. It looked us in the eyes, gave one snarl and then-

You dont believe that do you? Really, that is when I pulled out my handy dandy compass. On my last trip to the store before I came my mom bought me a cute little compass that also doubles as a whistle and thremometer and magnifying glass. I hooked it on my backpact and never have actually had to use it until today. Carlos and I found the beautiful direction West and headed in that direction. We walked and walked. I wondered what it would be like to sleep in the forest and wished I had thought to bring my head lamp.

Then we stumbled upon a trail that Carlos said he remembered using more or less 4 years ago. So we followed that. And I was thirsty but did not want to drink any of my water because I wanted to conserve it for later when I might need it more. We walked at while more and I thought about what food I had: an orange, a granadilla, altoid ginger mints and vitamins. Enough to live on for a while right? Then Carlos said 15 minutes to the road and sure enough, about 15 minutes later we came out of the jungle and on to the road. Just like that. One second we were in the jungle and one step later we were on the road. I have never been so grateful to see a dirt road before!

Luckily just then a truck drove by and we hopped in the back and rode to a nice little river where we swam for a while. While we were swimming Carlos said something to the extent of ¨You thought we were lost in there for a while. But we werent lost. We are here in the river now.¨ Ha! Really??? Do you want to rewind an hour and tell me this?

Currently I am at my hostel. It is really cute, one of my favorite hostels on my whole trip. I have a nice big bed with stark white sheets and a floral mosquito net over it. I also have a private bathroom with surprisingly warm water.

Friday, December 11, 2009

**** airports ***

I am back in Quito, Ecuador now! When I bought my original ticket to South America I bought it in to and out of Quito. I later bought tickets from Quito to Lima and then from Cusco back to Quito. And now here I am, again, in Quito.

I am happy to be back. It feels like another home. But the airport this morning was a nightmare!!!!!!

My plane left at 7:40 this morning. Last night I went to my favorite bar, Km 0, where my favorite local Peruvian band was playing. And I decided to stay up all night and just sleep in the airport and on the plane the next morning, no big deal.

After a night of dancing I got to my hostel at about 3:30 this morning. I thought about sleeping but I knew that if I slept I would miss my plane. So I decided to take a shower.

It was a little over zealous of me to think there would be hot water at 3:30 in the morning.

So at around 4 I was sitting on my be in my hostel with nothing to do so I decided to just go to the airport and sleep at my gate so I would not miss my plane.

I got to the airport before it even opened and ended up having to sit outside the gate and wait with two teachers from Peru who were also very early.

Finally the airport opened at 5 but I ended up having to wait until 6 to begin to check in. Checking in was a trip.

1) I bought a didgeriedoo yesterday. It is a long instrument that makes a vibrating noise. I was planning on carrying it on the plane with me since it is fragile but the woman said I could not. She suggested I wrap it in plastic for protection. Ha! I busted out my sleeping bag and wrapped my instrument in it then plastic wrapped it.

2) My bag got searched. Inside and out. I had to take everything out of my carefully packed and stuffed backpack and let the man go through everything from my stuffed animal that Olivia sent with me to my vitamins. My clean clothes and even my dirty ones. It was a great experience. The whole time I was on the edge of laughing and crying. But just laughter came out as the airport attendant went through all the crazy things I had in my bag. haha. Having someone inspect everything you have in your bag really makes you think about what you packed.

So that was just the check-in.

One positive: I met a guy from California named Will in Cusco and we hung out togeher at Km 0 one night. We were both surprised to see eachother at the airport! He got his bag searched too. We went through the nightmare together, but his experience wasnt as bad as mine.

Next I had to go through security with my carry on bag. I got through alright. But the airport attendant scanned my bag, looked at the image and said, "There is something sharp in your bag." ****. My pocket knife. I had forgotten to put it in my bag to be checked in. ****. Before I came to South America I bought a nice little Swiss Army Knife. It was one of the best things I brought with me. I use it almost daily to cut avocado, mangos or whatever else needs cutting.

I opened my bag, took out my knife. Said (in Spanish) "This costed me $25. Do you want it? It is nice. You can have it." And with tears in my eyes I handed over my knife.

Then I found Will and he let me cry to him about losing my knife. Then I bought an Almond Joy and had a moment of peace.

Will and I were lucky enough that the seat next to him on the plane was empty so I sat there instead of my assigned number. We talked a little. Then I turned on my iPod and slept.

When the plane landed I had about half an hour until my next plane took off. And I had to go through customs because it was and international flight from Lima in Peru to Quito in Ecuador.

I got through customs alright. But the lady scanned my bag, then rescanned it. Then said there was something pokey and a man searched my bag. He took out my metal Reflexology tool that is used to stimulate reflexes with precision. It looks like a needle with a ball on the end. It really looks worse than it is. Long story short I was not allowed to have it. There was a large transparent plastic case containing all of the dangerous items that had been confiscated. The airport people were nice enough to let me throw the tool in there myself. :). So with tears in my eyes I dropped it in the case.

Then I went to Will and once again he let me cry.

Then I realized I had 8 minutes until my plane left so I ran to my terminal only to find out the flight was delayed one hour. Thank you. So I went and bought some chocolate. Chocolate. What could be better in that situation? I found a seat at my gate and ate my chocolate and let the musical expertice of James Brown and Rusted Root revive my soul.

Then I got on my plane and slept the whole way to Quito.

And now here I am. In the South American Explorers Club. Tonight I am going to find Truman (remember my travelling companion from the beginning of my journey?) and we are going to catch up before he leaves for home tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

MachuPicchu! WynaPicchu!

This is the view of Machu Picchu from the top of Wyna Picchu. In the native language Machu Picchu means "old peak" while Wyna Picchu means "young peak." They are two mountains on either side of the "Lost City of the Incas" AKA Machu Picchu. The Incas began to build it around 1430 AD but abandoned it less than 100 years later when the inhabitants were killed by small pox. The city remained a secret to the majority of the world until its "scientific exploration" in 1911 by Hiram Bingham. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983.

When the Spaniards invaded and destroyed they did not find Machu Picchu. As a result much of the city is still in tact. Its original beauty and majesty has survived centuries!

Last time I wrote was on Thanksgiving...after that special holiday I stayed another 3 nights in Puno with CA 1, 2, and 3 and Frenchie (Caty). Our group really didnt do much in Puno. Puno is high in altitude and subconsciously I believe when I am high in altitude I do not feel like doing much. Luckily, our hostel had a sufficient kitchen and we were right next to the Central Market! For the next 3 nights we cooked big breakfasts and dinners. Grilled cheese and tomato soup, pasta with creamy garlic sauce, breakfast smooties, quinoa pudding...we celebrated Thanksgiving for three days afterward to make up for the lack of turkey and cranberries! haha.

After Puno I headed straight to Cusco. And it is this city that I have fallen in love with. The city and the people.

On the way to Cusco my California boys got off the bus a few hours in to the trip to hike in to some tiny town in the jungle in search of a man of 125 years. Caty and I headed to Cusco. Our first night here we met a Canadian man and we all went to a bar Km 0 to eat dinner and get a few drinks. Serendipitously a local band was playing. They play indiginous music with djembays, didgeriedoos, flutes and all kinds of native instruments. About 10 guys packed on to a little stage and filled the bar with music and love. I bought one of their CD's and I hope I can share it with you...

After the concerto I met some of the guys and Caty and I ended up going dancing with some of them at a local discoteca. And thus had been my life here in Cusco--I hang out at Km 0 for live music, go dancing, and explore the city and lives of the people. My style of tourism has developed and changed over the past few months. In the beginning of my trip I went to all the museums and churches that tourists were supposed to go to.

Now I have been in Cusco for almost 2 weeks and have not set foot in a single museum or church. But I have gotten to know the people here better than any other city on my trip. I met a guy, Omar, making jewelery and selling it and ended up playing music with him for an entire afternoon and buying a beautiful set of tourquise earings to go with a necklace. I am good friends with Enrique, the drummer from the band at Km 0. He also drums at Roots, a local discoteca, which makes for an interesting mix of a new age DJ and tribal music that is fun to dance to. I met another guy and we went for a hike to the Temple of the Moon and Temple of the Monkeys above Cusco. The Temple of the Moon is significant because on equinoxes the moon shines brightly into the temple through a hole in the ceiling. After hanging out in the temple we went an set up a slackline between two trees and walked across it. I have slacklined with friends in Boulder but had no idea South Americans knew about it. It was such a surprise and pleasant reminder of home to be slacklining.

Cusco has been great and I am sure I could have stayed in the city for the remainder of my time in Peru and been happy BUT! I had to make it to Machu Picchu! So on Sunday I got on a bus to Urubamba, and another bus to Ollantantambo where I waited for four hours for a train to Aguas Calientes where I stayed the night before getting up at the crack of dawn to go to Machu Picchu.

When I figured out I had a 4 hour layover in Ollantantambo I wondered what I would do with myself for 4 hours. Then I looked at the mountain above me and saw an entire city of ruins! So I spent the next hour hiking up the ruins and played my flute as the sun set in the distance. Then it began to rain and I found a cute little restraunt where I spent the next 2 and a half hours eating pasta with pesto and writing in my journal. Then at 9 that night I got on the train to go to Machu Picchu.

On the train I sat next to a nice guy from Colombia and also 4 German guys and 4 Americans. When we got to Aguas Calientes we all went to the same hostel. I was so happy to get a private room and bathroom for 15 soles (about $6). The next morning we all woke up at about 5 to go to Machu Picchu. We ate breakfast, bought our tickets and got on the bus to visit the ruins.

Only 200 people are allowed to go hike Wyna Picchu each morning. I was determined to hike it to get a view of the entire city of Machu Picchu so I went straight to the beginning of the trail. En route I met 3 Americans and their guide who were in Peru on a mission trip. They adopted me in to their group and we ended up hiking Wyna Picchu together. On woman, Cheryl lives in Denver and is 65 years old! It was great to hike with this group of lively Americans. When I am 65 I sure hope I can do a 1 and a half hour hike as easily as she did. This is the wonderful group that I hiked Wyna Picchu with. Donna, Cheryl and Robert from the US.

Getting to the top and seeing Machu Picchu below us was breathtaking. Beyond words. We began the hike at about 7 in the morning and it was cool and cloudy for most of our hike. But just after we got to the top the sun came out and shined on the city.

Llamas in Machu Picchu. These beautiful animals ran free in the inner courtyard, eating their grass and living peacefully.

Ruins. There were so many stairs and terraces. The Incas used the terraces to grow food even on the steepest of mountain sides.

This wonderful stone has many different corners and edges. One corner points in each direction. And when the part in the middle casts a shadow over one special side it is the beginning of spring (the Spring Equinox).

Isnt it amazing how the Incas fit all the rocks together so perfectly? Every single stone was shaped and placed with love to fit like a puzzle with surrounding pieces.

Me, the city of Machu Picchu and Wyna Picchu behind us.

I spent a good portion of the day enjoying the city and ruins. Then I hiked an hour back down to Aguas Calientes and ate lunch in a cute pizzeria. My pizza was made in a wood fire oven. The woman who cooked it was 8 months pregnant!!! The pizza was delicious. Delicious! One of the best pizzas I have ever eaten.Here she is with my pizza in the oven and a little bun in her own oven!

The next day I spent 12 hours getting back to Cusco. 12 hours. This included a 3 hour hike along railroad tracks, a one hour cab ride and then a 6 hour ride in a mini van. We drove on what would not be classified as roads in the US. We actually drove through through rivers that went right over the roads. I set off on this journey alone but met a group of 2 French, 2 Germans and one Argentinian. They adopted me into their group for the day and we found our way back to Cusco together.

I set off on my journey to Machu Picchu alone but met so many people along the way. This is how my whole trip has been. I always meet people and form groups and travel together. But when I want to do something different from the group or I need time to myself I have complete freedom to do it. Independence...ahhh.

When I got back in to town it was great to see all of my friends I have made here. I ate some smashing potatoes at a cute restraunt where I went to eat alone. By the end of my meal I was sitting at a table with 2 Canadians and a French man. When I was leaving the restraunt I met a guy from Arkansas and ended up letting him buy me a glass of wine to stay and talk to him. haha. I always meet people!

One of the most interesting things about meeting foreigners is to find out their ancestry. We commonly think of America as the the Great Melting Pot. But nope! The entire world is a melting pot! Germans with Polish and Dutch heritage. South Americans who have native, Italian, African and French blood. I cannot say I have met a 'pureblood' person yet.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanks and Giving.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! It is usually spent surrounded by friends and family eating, talking and just realaxing together.

This Thanksgiving was a little different.

I spent 6 hours of it on a bus. Then I arrived with CA 1, CA 2, CA 3 and Frenchie in Puno, found a hostel and went out in search of a Thanksvinging dinner. We found a cute little restraunt with some live music and a lively atmosphere. We poured our wine and cheersed to Thanks & Giving.

When our food came we all held hands, said a prayer and went around the circle and said what we were thankful for. Mine--for our family away from home.

It was a delightful meal. I still was not feeling 100% so I had a grilled cheese sandwich that costed 3 soles (about $1). I could not even finish all of it! haha...what a Thanksgiving! No one ate traditional Thanksgiving food but in a way it did feel like Thanksgiving. Sharing food, joking and laughing.

We have been hanging out in Puno and at our hostel alot. It is a very relaxed town beside Lake Titicaca. Yesterday we went to a market and I started taking with a woman in one of the booths. She was 45 years old and was knitting a pancho that would take her 3 whole days to make. I talked to her about the business, her family, my family, the US, and lots of other things. She was such a sweet woman! I bought a pair of gloves for myself (the took her 2 days to make), gloves for Olivia, a hat and one of her amazing panchos. The pancho costed me 30 soles. 30 soles! That is the equivilant of about $12. She worked 3 entire days to make it and sold it for $12! The total cost of my items came to a whopping 50 soles or just under $20. The woman was so thankful to me for buying all of those items from her! She was hugging me and kissing me and telling me now she can pay for the lights and the gas and food for her family.

3 days spent knitting a pancho seems like a long time to me. But her booth was filled with textiles that she had made. 3 days on one item was probably not very much for her. It is probably harder for her to find a buyer than it is for her to spend 3 days on a pancho.

Thanks and giving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Colca Canyon and Recovery

The Colca Canyon
This canyon is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon!

Hello! I am continually surprised by how seredipitous life is! I took that bus to Chivay and just as it was pulling up in the station in Chivay I saw the group I had been travelling with getting on the bus to go to Cabanaconde (they had missed a bus or two). Cam leaned his head out the window and said, ¨Come be part of the family again!¨ That got me. I threw my bags under the bus and climbed on for the 2 hour, $1 ride to Cabanaconde.

The next morning my crew set off at 9:00 to hike the Colca Canyon. By lunch time we were at the very bottom of the canyon and hiked another half an hour up it to a little house\restraunt by the name of Gloria where we had a delicious lunch. Sopa de verduras con arroz, aguacate, papas y alpaca. Pero soy vegetariana y yo comi huevos.

Then we hiked more hours and saw more of the canyon and the people who live there. About 7 hours after we began we were at the oasis. O-a-sis.

Swimming pools, water and shade. Oasis: a little resort built in the very bottom of the canyon.

We swam, ate spaghetti and camped there that night. But one member of our group, Michael, had to get to Bolivia on a tight schedule so he hiked up the canyon that night (in the dark, alone, with a headlamp, water and a chocolate I gave him). I heard from some other backpackers that they saw him arrive in town that night and he was really tired but he had made it.

Some of my friends who stayed at the oasis had tents and offered to let me sleep in them but it was so nice outside and there were so many stars that I just slept right there in the grass. I woke up around sunrise and saw a group of people eating breakfast and preparing for their hike up the canyon. I waved, then flopped back down and continued sleeping.

After spending the morning and afternoon relaxing in the oasis we used the evening to do the 3 hour ascent back up the canyon. It was a good hike, I really enjoyed it. It was strenous though. I was definitely sore the next day.

When we got in to town there were people sitting on one street eating and drinking. They were all dressed in their traditional attire. I stopped and talked to some of the men and women and they said they were celebrating that a house had been built. I asked them if I could take a few pictures and they said yes and were happy to pose and see the pictures after I took them. One lady even told me to wear her hat for the picture. Another invited me to stay the night in her home but I was too tired to accept and spend the evening partying with the community.

This is a woman in Cabanaconde and me wearing a traditional hat.

I ate then went to bed where ended up staying for 2 more nights. The day after the hike I hardly left my room...my stomach was not happy.

Yesterday I decided to go to Chivay. So I packed up and just before I left I saw a French chica, Caty, who I had met a few nights earlier and 3 California boys. We only had a minute to talk before my bus left but they were all interested in having a Thanksgiving dinner possibly in Arequipa or Puno. They briefly said they were staying in La Casa de la Tourista in Arequipa and would be going back there that night.

When my bus got to Chivay it was raining and the sky was cloudy. The main reason I wanted to go to Chivay was to visit the astronomical observatory, but there was no hope of seeing stars that night so I hopped back on the bus returning to Arequipa.

And Arequipa is where I have spent the day. I found the Tourist Hostel last night and left a note on the front desk for California and French. When I woke up this morning I was surprised to find a note in my door from them saying they would come get me when they woke up.

I woke up at 6 feeling good so I got breakfast, showered and did yoga. Then I met up with California and California (AKA Max and Marshall). The other California and French had gone back to Cabanaconde because French forgot her passport there. So Max and Marshall and I went to the market to see if we could find Thanksgiving type food. We found ceviche, empenadas and juice. We all walked away from the market stuffed. When we got back to the hostel I did not feel so good. I spent the remainder of today, up until now, in bed.

Meanwhile, California and French arrived and they and Cali 1 and Cali 2 went out in search of Thanksgiving food.

Turns out there are no cranberries in this town. And turkey was not found either. How can we have Thanksgiving without Cranberries and Turkey? We will. It will be more symbolic...you know, in The Spirit of Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Enjoy--I mean enjoy--the pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, cranberry sauce and turkey. But also embrace the holiday, the spirit of it. The thankfulness for the family, friends and food that are in your life.