Travelling again

Well, I'm off travelling again.
It sure makes writing this blog easier, as I have a clearer idea of what I'm doing
(writing nonsense travel stories to look back on when I'm old and wrinkly).

I have good days with my Spanish and bad days too. It is nice when someone pays you a compliment - "Oh you speak good Spanish". However, one must remember not to get too carried away when chatting with an immigration official . . .

Here are some choice words not to say to in that situation - "I live there". "It feels like home". "sometime last year". Que the immigration guy flicking through my passport furiously searching for entry stamps.

"Oh it's OK" he said. "Hehe, we call you false tourists. You like it here eh?"

I had a guy sitting next to me on the flight who was quite funny. He was wearing sunglasses at all times and kept asking everyone for help with his immigration form. At first I thought he was blind, but no, he just seemed to be very excited to be flying. "How delicious" he kept exclaiming, when chowing down on the barely passable airline food. He delighted in commentating on the flight too. At one point he woke me up by tapping me, to tell me we were descending. He then proceeded to chant "down, down, down, down" . . .  until we landed about 10 minutes later. His final act was to troll the airline stewardesses. I asked him if he wanted help from the staff with his card and he said yes, so I called the stewardess. When she arrived she asked "did you call?".

"No" he said, then just pointed at me.
"Not that one" he said, as she was walking away.

I'll definitely miss these funny characters performing the sign of the cross on take off, and talking about introducing me to their family at any opportunity.

Nothing make me want to avoid something more than touts. As soon as you step off the plane in any airport, there are about 50 men crowding you saying "Taxi, amigo, hey!" You don't get a chance to think, and so I run away normally, which is frustrating because you actually want a taxi! We are forever being told not to use taxi touts, but in the airport in Lima when I asked the rather ambivalent girl at the information desk about taxis, she smiled and simply pointed me towards the circle of men with placards chanting "Taaaaxi, Taxi, Taxi".

Lima was interesting if not been spectacular. There is not too much to see in the centre, and I went to a fountain park the other night. It had A LOT of LASERs, light shows and big fountains. As usual you can probably make out that I was near some water from my photos, and not much more.

I'm staying in one of what I have branded the "Super gringo Hostels". They are great for meeting people booking stuff, and having a good time. They are like mini embassies, where British culture thrives. Beans on toast, ham and cheese toasties, everyone talking about the Premier League. The receptionist almost fell off her chair when I asked her something in Spanish. She looked equally shocked when I asked about going to a museum.

n.b. I decided not to go to the museum as it cost more than one nights accommodation.

"We don't recommend taking the bus" she said.
Not because it is dangerous, simply because they don't trust people to manage to catch it! The joke was on me though, as I fed a 20 sol note (£5) to buy a transport card and it gobbled the whole thing, gleefully informing me that I now had 17 soles of credit. Not ideal when a journey is only 1 sol!

These hostels can turn up some surprises. I often think how swashbuckling I am, travelling around Latin America on my own (like a majestic 18th Century sea captain), but some people have it harder than me. Amongst the players of beer pong in the hostel was Jacky, a French deaf mute guy travelling alone. He was chugging beers with the best of them a few nights ago, impressive stuff.

Telling my story to others in the hostel is always fun. 21 year old graduates always look at me in amazement, like a kind of celebrity.

"You had a job??!?!"
what was it like?
"Why did you quit?"

Cusco is very nice, lots of old buildings and traditional Peruvian stuff (you know like women carrying lambs around like babies). I would complain that it is a bit touristy, but anyone who does that is clearly a knobhead. You ARE a tourist, get over it!
I wondered why I was wheezing for breath when lugging my backpack around looking for my hostel and then found out that Cusco is about 3500m above sea level. Luckily I have managed to replace my Mate addiction with Mate de Coca (coca tea) which helps get the blood pumping.

Many people stay here for weeks. I would love to, just to try all of the food. The cuisine is pretty varied here: rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, fish, meat, soups and their famous ceviche (raw fish in lemon juice).
If there are two things they love most though, it is fruit and fried chicken (not together unfortunately). It is an odd combination of greasiness and healthiness.

A lot of people that stay here for weeks and mostly see the inside of the hostel. Latin America seems to attract large groups of public school graduates who insist on calling each other by there surnames, getting drunk and mostly tutting and moaning about anything which isn't perfect.

"Hey Packers, remember that chicken last night? Shocking yah"
"Yeah, me Ralph, Jonesy and Price just went to Mackers . . .  soooo glad"
"I'm so fucked off about losing my iPhone"
"Yah Stevens lost his is Mancora and went totally fucking apeshizzle on them. I would vom if something happened to mine".

The poor staff here must have such warped views of English people. Actually were are a mostly badly spoken bunch who wear G-Star jackets (not Musto). And we clearly prefer Wimpy to McDonalds!

Well I'm off to do my adventure trek to Macchu Picchu tomorrow so I hope to return in one piece before heading to lake Titikakakakakakakakaka

(pics will be uploaded when I am in a hostel where the WiFi doesn't SUCK)