Machu Picchu really is the must see if you will be in Cuzco at all. Lima is huge and intense, not that great except for maybe a night or two of restaurants and or clubbing. Arequipa and Urubamba are also small beautiful towns in the highlands.
― sleeve, Sunday, 10 May 2009 19:32 (4 years ago) Permalink
For $$$ you can also take 3 or 4 day jungle tours from Cuzco to the Manu Jungle which I have not done but really want to.
― sleeve, Sunday, 10 May 2009 19:34 (4 years ago) Permalink
lima, arequipa, and cusco i think?
my sister lives in lima but is v bad at communicating/planning so i'm trying to figure out what things i should study up on/not miss.
― tehresa, Sunday, 10 May 2009 19:35 (4 years ago) Permalink
i think i've been told we're not doing any jungles (i checked on this like 30 times becaue i needed to figure out whether i needed the yellow fever vaccine)
yeah you need that, there is also a malaria/dengue fever risk.
I haven't been to Arequipa but it should be good for just chilling. In Cuzco on Avenida Del Sol there is a tourist office where you can buy these tickets that get you in to like 15 attractions around the region. This is separate from the whole Machu Picchu thing, where you take a train from Cuzco, stay overnight in Machu Picchu Pueblo (because there are no roads there, train or walking only) and buy a separate ticket. That takes up most of three days. The tourist ticket is good for ten days, key locations are the Temple Of The Sun, Q'enko, Moras and Moray (near the town of Urubamba), Saqsayhuaman, Pisac, and the local museums. There are also a bunch of other locations on them, you would have to stay super busy to do them all in ten days.
u can webmail me thru ILX if you wanna know more details. Decent Cuzco restaurants are The Bondiet for empanaditas, Trotamundo's and Los Perro's for good tourist food, Cicciolina's for fine dining, and the cheap sandwiches at Carmen's Refrigeria on Plateros.
― sleeve, Sunday, 10 May 2009 19:44 (4 years ago) Permalink
also if at all possible take a plane from Lima to the highlands, it's 24 hours by bus and grueling.
― sleeve, Sunday, 10 May 2009 19:46 (4 years ago) Permalink
and be careful of eating too much or exerting yourself too much the first few days, altitude sickness is a bitch. The pills they sell in the boticas as "siroche medicine" do work though.
― sleeve, Sunday, 10 May 2009 19:47 (4 years ago) Permalink
sister also recommends cocoa leaves!
all the doctors i've talked to have said i don't need yellow fever if i'm not going to the jungle. honestly, i'd like to go to the jungle, but it seems time limits prevent that?
― tehresa, Sunday, 10 May 2009 19:53 (4 years ago) Permalink
here we go again
Leaving on the 27th for a month to do some followup work in Mandorani, health exams and interviews for the 20 families with stoves (or as many of them as we can track down).
Then we're gonna be looking at a few projects our sister organization in Peru, Paskay, wants us to help fund.
We're also slowly getting the application together for 501c3 certification, and hey we have a website now!
― sleeve, Wednesday, 9 March 2011 00:52 (2 years ago) Permalink
link to Paskay here:
― sleeve, Wednesday, 9 March 2011 00:53 (2 years ago) Permalink
I love peru
― Slow lorax loves getting tickled (dayo), Wednesday, 9 March 2011 01:17 (2 years ago) Permalink
man I love Cusco, we just got here around an hour ago. Trujillo was awesome too, a few days of vacation on the coast before we start work in the mountains. Found some LPs in the used market, fixed our friend´s stereo (blown fuse from accidentally switching from 220V to 110V), played with kids, and ate insanely good local food (ahi de gallina, anticuchos, and ceviche).
It´s a really interesting time to be in Peru - they're having their once-every-six-years presidential election and there are five parties with significant voting blocs. The top three have been in a dead heat for months, switching back and forth. The election is April 10th so we will be here. One of the candidates is the daughter of disgraced (and imprisoned) right wing icon and mass murderer Alberto Fujimori (former president), she is running on a tough-on-crime ticket. Pretty surreal.
― sleeve, Friday, 1 April 2011 19:27 (2 years ago) Permalink
cusco is so awesome. i bet that main square is abuzz with political signage, etc.!
lil sis is kickin it in lima for a few more weeks and i'm jealous of both of you.
― tehresa, Friday, 1 April 2011 20:08 (2 years ago) Permalink
Lima still kinda scares me, so big and crazy. Trujillo was really crowded and crazy too, more so than Cusco. And yes, there was a rally in the main square yesterday by supporters of Alejandro Toledo, one of the front-runners and kind of a centrist as far as I can see. He also ran in ´01 and ´06.
We went out to Mandorani today and all of the stoves seem to be working great! Very relieved. The one kinda problematic family from before seemed a lot more together. Apparently there is some legal fallout still from our conflict with Victor (who is now the president of the neighborhood association), and our friend & stovebuilder Tomas is being taken to civil court on Wednesday. Victor is claiming we never gave him his money back, that´ll teach us to not do receipts. Fortunately Laurie has blog entries referring to it that we are printing out, complete with dates. We also have witnesses who remember us talking about it. The end result is that there are six families that (according to Tomas) don´t want to have anything to do with us (although their stoves are working fine as well).
At worst we will have to pay the money again, I am actually kind of curious to see a court process. We called our lawyer friend Maribel to see if she can help us. They are also claiming that Tomas, as part of the association, had no authority to accept our money and (I think) they are demanding that he pay it to them? This is one of those times when we wish we were really super fluent in Espanol.
The important thing is that the stove design has proved itself to be solid and dependable. Even the initial one that was built in June of 2007 is still working fine.
We also saw our young friend MaFre (now age 16) who we helped get eye surgery last time. She is doing great, does not need more surgery, and is in college studying to be an accountant. She´s also learning English.
We were planning on having a big meeting next Sunday, but then we realized it was Election Day! So no way will we get anything done then. We switched to Friday for our followup visits and testing.
― sleeve, Sunday, 3 April 2011 19:37 (2 years ago) Permalink
Well that was a rough couple of days, but everything turned out OK. Laurie got sick yesterday and ended up in the hospital for a night with altitude sickness aka soroche. After an IV drip and a night of oxygen she was OK enough today to go home to our little hostel room where she is resting now after a big lunch of quinoa soup.
On Monday we finally found our friend Rossana who is a local mover and shaker, and discovered she is running for Congress! She´s probably gonna win too, polling at 70%. She is amazing. She´s on the PPK ticket (Pedro Pable Kuczynski, one of the presidential candidates). Her boyfriend Mario is a lawyer and he told us he would help us out (Maribel never got back to us which is not at all unusual in this country). We agreed to meet in front of the hostal at 10 AM on Wednesday. Then we got sideswiped by the hospital trip, but we made it out this morning and were on the corner at 10 sharp.
And after all that, we didn't even have to go to court... all we have to do is sign some papers on Monday. I even bought a dress shirt at Topitop! Oh well. Our friend Carlos also showed up to translate into English and offer moral support.
It was a bit more complicated than we thought - Mandorani is run like a commune, the land is owned by the association not the people who livethere. So what they were doing was trying to use the fact that Tomas worked with us to take his land and house away. As Carlos said, "Tomas'land is the sandwich they wanted, the money Victor was claiming you didn't pay was just the mustard".
Mario said that providing copies of the contract and LVM info (website etc) was plenty of proof that we were an autonomous American NGO and not bound by Mandorani association rules. We were reassured from all sides. Carlos told us that he had had a similar experience with his guinea pig farm (i.e problems with local gov't), and ended up only working with individual families on a private basis. So that is our path from here on out.
It was so awesome when we were waiting on the corner with Tomas (the dude who built our stoves last time and a great guy), and Mario and Rossana pulled up in their tricked out PPK-mobile pickup covered with PPK flags and big magnets and their crew riding in the back, it was like the cavalry arriving. I cracked up when Rossana, never missing a trick, started campaigning for her party with Tomas and asking him how PPK was doing in Mandorani.
Then Rossana told us not to go back to the hospital so we took her advice. Carlos came with us and we paid our bill - $400 for an overnight stay, IV drip, oxygen, and lab work. A lot more than last time but we ain't complaining.
So now that we´re back on track, we are planning on going out to Mandorani on Friday to give money back as promised and do the health tests. One thing that was kind of a bummer was that the retention-cooker baskets we had provided were nowhere in sight at the 6 houses we visited on Sunday. But hey, the stoves work, that's the important thing. Oh and there are only four families who are siding with Victor now out of the 15! I´m still gonna go to their houses and give them their money back, with a receipt this time.
Early next week, after the elections, we'll be headed downhill to Ollantaytambo where it will be warmer and more oxygenated. We may end up leaving a week early, we don't know yet.
― sleeve, Wednesday, 6 April 2011 21:45 (2 years ago) Permalink
some more random impressions...
We spent a few days in Trujillo, on the coast. Very bizarre weather patterns, not like anything I've experienced. Hot in the mornings, cold in the afternoons, some rain, humid at night. Laurie has a godson there and we stayed a block away from the family and hung out with them pretty much all the time.
One day in Trujillo we went to an archaeological site called Huaca De la Luna (wall of the moon) that was built by the Moche people starting around 300 AD (I think). The amazing thing is that five consecutive times over hundreds of years they filled the temple in with bricks and built a larger one on top. It is now being excavated and is open for visitors, which was not the case two years ago. The wall frescoes alone are staggering.
Cusco seems more polluted than before, the cars/buses in particular are awful. On the Ethiopia thread somebody said that they thought Addis Ababa was where all the vehicles that fail their emissions tests are sent, but I think that dubious honor belongs to Cusco. Sometimes I literally cannot breathe for upwards of 30 seconds when walking on the street, which sucks when your oxygen levels are low.
It's really hard to tell who's going to win the presidential election - it looks like Ollanta Humala (the most left/populist candidate) has a slim lead. You read a lot of fear-mongering in the more right-wing papers about how he's gonna be just like Chavez or Castro, but I seriously doubt the military (or most of the country, in fact) would allow him to pull that kind of power move. We'll see!
― sleeve, Friday, 8 April 2011 14:56 (2 years ago) Permalink
It's Election Day!
Voting is MANDATORY in Peru, 20 million people are expected to cast votes today. Charmingly, they won't have results until Tuesday. The whole country is under a dry law that has been rigorously enforced since Friday at noon, you can't buy alcohol anywhere. It lasts until midday on Monday. Obviously we are for Humala the quasi-socialist, but all of the candidates except Keiko Fujimori seem like they would do a decent job.
We had a great visit in Mandorani yesterday, now we have seen almost all of the stoves and tested/interviewed most of the people from before. On the whole, the project has been even more successful than we hoped. Also, we saw a lot of chimneys in the village that we didn't build. The idea is catching on, which is what we wanted. Anecdotally, people are reporting less wood usage, up to half of the previous amount. Lung expiration volumes seem higher as well, I'll have to crunch those numbers later.
― sleeve, Sunday, 10 April 2011 16:13 (2 years ago) Permalink
OK, I feel kinda dumb because that election ended up being like a primary... I think if somebody had gotten over 50% it wouldn't have been? Anyway, the REAL election is in July.
Anyway, what happened was that the three centrist candidates split the vote, so we have ended up with lefty Humala versus super-right Fujimori, a choice that Mario Vargas Llosa compared to "AIDS vs. cancer", um not really helping there dude. M.V.L. later said that he would never vote for Keiko Fujimori, but he "could work with" Humala. The 3rd place party, PPK, has vowed to support Humala, I would be surprised and very disappointed if Keiko wins.
Spent the last few days wrapping up loose ends. An internet friend of ours who we had never met came and visited us. She's Peruvian, but was at college in Portland when she found our website. Oldest of ten kids, from a super poor region, now she has a degree in natural resource management. We hope to work with her more in the future. Laurie and her went out to Mandorani to do the last two family interviews while I finally got the rest of our things back from Rossana's, where they had been in storage for two years.
We also finally met our friend Leander IRL, she runs a nonprofit called My Small Help and has been focusing on getting help and education for disabled kids. We also met Lourdes, an 18-year-old Peruvian woman with spinal bifida who had literally never been outside of her house in her whole life until the last six months. Leander somehow got an appeal for a wheelchair onto Peruvian national TV and one was donated from Spain. We had dinner with her and Lourdes, watching Lourdes in Cusco was some really amazing flower-blooming Helen Keller type experience. She is now involved in making silver jewelry to support herself.
Today we leave for Ollantaytambo, Leander is kindly putting us up for free this week. Sunday we have a table at a local environmental fair in Urubamba, we have 100 copies of stove plans and some other visual aids. The rest of the week we will be visiting various projects of Leander's and Carlos', we may even get up the nerve to go back to T'Astayoc (at 14,000 feet where Laurie got so sick at the end of our last time here).
Next Friday we'll be headed back to Cusco for our last weekend, we are hoping to make it to Sipascancha as well!
― sleeve, Friday, 15 April 2011 14:48 (2 years ago) Permalink
So, we wrapped everything up in Mandorani on the 15th. Laurie and our friend Luisa went out and did the last two family interviews. A few words about Luisa – she is a Peruvian who contacted us on Facebook while she was getting a degree in Natural Resource Management from a college in Portland. We were never able to meet her in the States, but she took a bus from her hometown of Andahuayllas (sp?) to meet us and see some family and friends (in a strange coincidence, she has a sister in Soncco, where we built 20 ill-fated Inkawasi stoves in 2007). She is the oldest of ten children, from a very poor village in one of the poorest parts of Peru. The new mayor in her town is unfortunately not very receptive to her ideas (the old one was), and so she is now looking for projects to get involved in (or start). Laurie gave her some personal money to get started, and we are considering working with her in the future because she is smart and dedicated and amazing. The next day we found a great cheap bus line that goes direct from Cusco to Ollantaytambo called Diamante Express (10 soles!). Our friend Leander of My Small Help kindly offered to put us up in her house. We were thrilled to see such unheard-of luxuries as a full size fridge and a WASHING MACHINE!!! Nice beds, too. Once we got settled in, we continued preparing for a table at the Urubamba Bioferia (kind of an eco-fair & craft market). Early on Sunday morning we headed out to Urubamba (a 20-minute drive) where Tomas had agreed to meet us. For a while we just sat there as people set up the tents and tables, they all seemed to know each other and were really busy. Once things got rolling around 10 AM, we were mobbed by people for six hours straight. Between Tomas, Laurie, and myself we must have talked to 60 or 70 people. Most of them took stove plans (which we had for free), and about twenty took Tomas’ number down. Hopefully he will be able to make some money while helping people! The vendors were eerily similar to the Oregon Country Fair demographic, lots of dreadlocks and hippie garb. But they all turned out to be really nice (lots of these expats aren’t), and we bought a few things from various tables as the day went by. Another nice thing about our table was that it was set apart from the main section, and almost all of the people we talked to were Urubamba families in town for the regular market day (which was also happening up the street). Exactly the people we were hoping to reach. We left at 4 PM, sunburned and exhausted but very happy with how things had gone. On Monday we took a hike out to where our friend Carlos wants to eventually build a type of eco-village for tourists. Laurie very reluctantly rode a horse partway, while I just huffed it up the constant slope. It took about an hour to get there, and once we did we were maybe 2/3 of the way up the ridgeline. Below us, on the other side of the valley, we could see where we had stayed for the Solstice dawn in 2007. The land has a lot of potential, but the only real development aside from organic crops has been a partial building frame (roof, corners, and floor joists). Carlos is going to be travelling and working over the next year or two and then he might have more resources to put into the project. Tuesday we went with Carlos to buy food for the children of Thastayoc, the small village with stone/thatch houses that Laurie got so sick at last time (it’s at least 14,000 feet). We delivered the food and checked out the larger-sized stove. Tomas had originally built one with us in 2009, but we ran short of adobe and the stove apparently had not functioned well. It had been rebuilt with a big range hood that connected to the old chimney, and was doing a surprisingly good job of pulling the smoke up and out. Unfortunately, all of Laurie’s careful preparations (no food, coca tea) came to naught and she spent yesterday evening being very sick with soroche once again. So we decided not to visit Sipascancha this Saturday. Carlos also took us by a school on the Ollantaytambo-Urubamba road called Pachar. It seemed like a location that could really use some help – the greenhouses had fallen into disuse and disrepair because the government had not repaired the water/irrigation system (meanwhile there are two huge rivers within a few hundred feet). In an area which is routinely (and deliberately) neglected by the government because of their leftist voting habits, this wasn’t exactly a surprise – but it was sad. They need an internet connection, those are much more difficult and expensive around here than they are in Cusco. We talked about the possibility of a school exchange with the head professor. As usual we saw a plaque with several nonprofit names on it bragging about the greenhouse, we would bet money that none of them have ever been back to check on it. This morning we had a long talk with Sonia, the founder of the Living Heart NGO. We will be funding a community stove for them in a village of their choice. Tomas will build it and they will provide followup and updates. We are very happy to be able to work with them, they share our values as an NGO. Today we are going to visit a family that Paskay helped out with some of the money we paid them for Mandorani follow-ups, and then in the afternoon we plan on visiting Lourdes’ family with Leander. Thursday is free for now but we’re sure it will fill up quickly. Friday we head back to Cusco for a few days of relaxing before the flight.
― sleeve, Wednesday, 20 April 2011 15:55 (2 years ago) Permalink
argh no line breaks, sorry.
― sleeve, Wednesday, 20 April 2011 15:56 (2 years ago) Permalink
As always, enlightening and fascinating reports you provide.
― Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 20 April 2011 15:58 (2 years ago) Permalink