Houston we have a photo... or two....

If you are interested or want visual evidence that we have been really having adventures and not just making them up while we sit and eat ice cream on the sofa.... here they art...
South America on our camera before it broke
Disposable Camera numero uno


corrupt fried chicken

Half way to San Francisco. We are awaiting our next flight, to LA. Due to a bit of a mix up with our flight from Chile to Lima we had to take the roadtrip option... 21 glorious hours on a bus. We were really pushing it fine as we had a flight out of Lima a couple of hours after our arrival there. They also were wanting to take a super long time getting our luggage out of the bus so we were begginning to freak out abit. Tim was obviously dissapointed that 5 weeks in South America had produced no dabbling in bribery and corruption and felt this was his moment, reaching into his pocket he was determined to bribe the bus driver to get our bags off first. (what a rascal) In the end some kind chap helped us and lost time was made up by our cantankerous and road ragey taxi driver who halved the 30 minute airport trip.
Anyway... here at the stop over in El Salvador a couple of vagabond cops were the cherry on the top of our Latin American adventure. In answer to our question about where everyone was getting these delicious looking boxes of fried chicken and chips from we were met with a mysterious whisper and some glances over their shoulders. With a backhanded $10 dollars on some gloomy steps Tims desire for the corruption experience was sated and 20 minutes later we sat enjoying our greasy goodness.
Anyway, boarding queues are calling and this plane really needs to be on time for us to catch our Greyhound down to see Tims bro, Andy, in San Fran. So adios, amigos from the Americas south of the US of A.



All over South America over this last month Carneval has been being celebrated (originally a pagan celebration of meat, most famously manifested in Rio's elaborate street parade.) A major theme of it is water wars. Here in Cochabamba you literally can not walk for 5 minutes down the street without several water balloons whizzing past or occassionally meeting their target (its pretty refreshing in the heat, thanks.) On Saturday we joined in the fun, after buying 50 filled balloons for 5 B's we trawled the city streets and woe to any rascal with a water gun who surely felt our liquid wrath. (Well, Tim's. Most of us were just the subjects of hilarity with our totally lame throwing skills. Generally soaking only ourselves.)
This weekend is the climax of the festivities with 2 statutary days off, the only holiday many Bolivianos will get all year. But this year the celebration is having a stand off with disaster as the clouds decide to join the party, bringing the most rain for 40 years. Flooding and land slips are making several appearances all over Bolivia. As the heavens declare their own water war the president has declared the country to be in a state of national emergencey.
52687 families have been made homeless from the damage
73495 acres of crops have been wiped out
21 main roads impassable
35 dead, 6 dissapeared
1200 with dengue fever (risen from 20 in 5 days)
and the stats are climbing by the minute....

It's already in a pretty sorry state, old Bolivia, (it receives the 3rd most global aid) and you've got to wonder why this stuff has to happen to such a country. A bit of me says- "its just the self perpetuating cycle... if the politically situ wasn't so unstable then infrastructure could cope with natural disasters etc." But a big chunk of me simply wonders why nature (which ultimatley God could stop!) chooses to let loose so regularly on places that can't cope.

(A site I have found since being in South America is the Democracy Center, which has offices in Cochabamba and San Fran, whose aim is "building democracy from the ground up", they have some rad articles. They also have a super interesting blog that has some light reading on Carnival from Bolivian perspective.)


rainy season in the rainforest...

is pretty flippin rainy!
We have been here (Trinidad, a jungle town tucked into the amazon) for a few days, got a short flight out from Cochabamba to do some floating on the river, wildlife spotting.
The river is flooded by 15 metres, so we were mostly passing the canopy layer of the jungle (lots of birds, hehe)
Although we saw.... pink dolphins (yes, there are freshwater dolphins in the world... and they are pink!! totally news to me) monkeys, tucans, giant kingfishers and storks, a snake, little amazon beaver things, fireflys, bats and their babies in our room! And a whhooollllee lot of trees.
Generally all very wet, has rained the entire time, like, torrentially...soaked to the bones! We even got freezing cold, blue lips and everything... that would have been a peculiar story, hyperthermia in the hot, wet season in the jungle! Back to the Hasties now ( we are just waiting for our flight at the moment) and then only one more week in Bolivia.



I don't know if you know, but we only just really made it to Cochabamba because of the political unrest. It has been super crazy but has settled down. Anyway, Nathanael, the oldest Hastie kid (14 year old genius, upcoming social entrepeneur/ UN Secretary General/ global justice advocate) has started a blog on the socio-political experience in Cochabamba. His first one describes the recent hooha.


Update from Cochabamba

In the last week we have...

Visited islands made out of reeds on the lake in Puno where thousands of people have lived for centuries.

Stayed on the beautiful Isle Del Sol in Copacobana, where we did heaps of trekking and swimming in the snow melt of lake Titicaca. It is the birthplace of the first Inca...

Stayed in a flash hotel in La Paz that we thought was 20 Bolivianos for both of us ($4 nz) and then it turned out in the morning it was um... $20 american, hehe. (Thats a HEAP of money for Bolivia!!!!)

Been to the jungle (Coroico) and went tramping to these waterfalls. It was freaky thinking about all the things out there that want to eat us! Okay, not so much, but imaginations really run wild in the wild! (There were hundreds and thousands of beautiful butterlies, that really wanted to hang about the water and our feet. It made me think about how they were so fragile- so much can kill them- but it doesn't stop them flying daringly about being what they were meant to be!)

Experienced some manic thunderstorms, both on the lake and in the jungle, where a roll of thunder actually feels like giants are playing bowls with gargantuan concrete balls over your room.

Left both our books on the bus to Cochabamba, which also had all my written and addressed postcards in. (Yep, I was totally sending all ye postcards!! But now they are all vamos!)

Made it to Cochabamba, Bolivia, where we are staying with our friends the Hastie Family for a couple of weeks. They are kiwi Salvation Army officers working here in the Calicanto Community. It has been rad hanging out with them the last couple of days... lots of food and laughs! (we have also watched 5 episodes of MacGyver. They totally have the first 5 series.)

Been a comedy duo of clowns for the Sunday school...(I have the aff and Tim has the plait hat)
Okay, off to watch another Macgyver. He rocks.


sometimes it is okay to be a sheep, you know...

Today we got the bus from Copacabana to La Paz. About half way we stopped at a little town, the driver yelled something down the back so me and Tim looked at each other and went "Ah, toilet stop". Everyone got off the bus, Tim said "Need some fresh air lu?" No, no, I didn´t really need any fresh air, or the toilet, so I carried on reading my book. Moments later I looked up as the bus groaned back into life... why was I the only passenger left? did they ALL need the loo? Were they ALL sick of stale bus air? Something fishy was going on. All became clear as the bus rolled onto a big barge on the lake and I looked out of the window to see everyone else queuing up for a speed boat. RATS I WISH I HAD LEARNED SPANISH BEFORE I CAME HERE! WHY DIDNT I NEED THE TOILET! OR FRESH AIR!!
It turned out to be in my favour though, for after 20 minutes of rolling along the lake we all met up again on the bus on shore AND I was in the money! They all had to pay 1 Boliviano for the speed boat ride! mohaha. (Yep, I saved 15 cents... gonna get a treat..)

The South Americans know how to....

Wherever there is a group of more then 2 or 3 people they seem to be having the most joyous and exciting time...chatter... laughter... exubiant. Mind you, the last few days we have seem some real partying with panpipe karaoke on the back of a truck and hundreds of gleefull dancers following a day of parading through the streets throwing confetti and having mass it seemed. (That was a bit weird)
In every major city we have been in we have been met with large scale protests, at least one or two. Complete with plattoons of armoured guards with tear gas, tanks and water canons. Todays protest in La Pas was the biggest I have seen in my life, at least 5000 miners and their families swarmed the main streets. They are camped out together, united in their desire for change. (Well, okay, thats what we think it is, seeing as our Spanish isn´t crash hot, speaking of which....)
Yep, we have been here two weeks and already have witnessed the world infamous dangerous roads. on our first bus trip we were traffic jammed for 3 hours or so because 2 trucks had had a head on. And on our way into Bolivia we passed a truck that had been full of humans (like a cheap bus) that had come of the road onto it´s side, leaving about 70 locals and the vehicle upturned. We were gonna cycle down the worlds most dangerous road tomorrow, but dont really feel much need to anymore! ´
So, this is why South Americans truly know how to Party, Protest and Pcrash. (Silent P, okay, gosh.)


Blisters, archeology and natures wee treasures

Have just returned from Ye Trail of Ye Inca. WOWZA, hard work! Days beginning between 4 am and 6 am and lasting between 6 and 10 hours, mucho up hill mountaineering styles!
Gods finger prints all over it: from the magnificent snow capped craggy peaks to the tiny orchids splashed all round- colourful intricacies the size of your fingernail...

We were with a crazy bunch of singing Brazillians. We got our first warning when we turned up to the 4 day trek feeling totally illprepared (no hiking boots or rain gear) and they exclaimed "Ooh, you two are very professional, yes?" They began the trail using plastic shopping bags to hold their sleeping bags, mattresses and clothes, and finished as a choir of sopping, sodden singers. (Honestly, they sang non stop, from Britney to the Beatles) One of the new amigos from the group will stick in our minds forever I think, he was a pure breed of Edward Scissorhands and Mogley from the Jungle Book, he walked at 1 metre an hour and (as you can imagine) arrived consistently 2 hours late to each meeting point.

Arrived at the Sun gate at Macchu Picchu today at 7 o clock. A mindblowing thing, this little Inca city plopped right in the middle of the jungle. My favourite moments there were when the walls came alive with animals- the lazy chinchillas cosied up in the corner of a shrine, the massive purple millipede hurrying along the steps... the baby llamas: WAH!
The drive home was lit up by the nightly lightening display over the Andes and energy infused by having to push our coach out of a hole it got severely stuck in.

Very tired now, but trying to stay up till a sensible going to bed time. Off on a bus to Puno (On Lake Titicaca) tommorrow for some time on the floating Islands.