Friday, January 29, 2010

A Video

Thought I'll give a try posting this video again.

Machu Picchu 360

Sorry, poor quality video :P
Please ignore the way I say Machu Picchu in this video.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Viva el Peru 5

Haaa. Part 5 sudah?
What you missed out on the other 4? Heh. Click "Peru" under label to read them all.

Oh, I just got back from the mall. I haven't been to the mall for almost 2 months now. Huh. That is rather odd. Well, somebody here gotta save up for Peru right? I went to Second Cup Coffee just now and they sell coffee beans from Cuzco, Peru with a photo of Machu Picchu printed on the bag! I would love to try it. I only had coffee once in Cuzco because I want to cut down my caffeine intake during school breaks (heh, I wasn't determined enough, I bought a cup at Dunkin Donut still). I like the taste of Peruvian coffee, but somehow they don't sell it anywhere in the market or maybe I wasn't looking hard enough. Dang. Coca tea in teabags ade. I will get a bag of that coffee ($18) someday or maybe I will buy by weight which is about $4 for 100g. Seriously, I am crazy about coffee know. I have to brew my coffee, no more instant coffee powder (a.k.a Nescafe)! Thanks Jenn for getting me addicted to this!

Back to the real deal.
Cusco - That night we had McDonalds! WTDuck? I had sundae and fries. LOL. Murah je kot. Chocolate sundae was only s/2.90 and I can't remember how much the fries was. Then, I had the most amazing shower that night after 4 days of no shower. From my judgment, I didn't smell that bad after the hike cause I hardly sweat at all. Huh. 3 days camping time Pengakap dulu and tak mandi was far worst than this :P (i.e Malaysia maaa, mesti laa peluh2 like crazyy)

So, after Cusco we decided to go to Nazca. Here's the thing, we didn't buy our bus tix yet. Huh. I felt like nagging myself to this, but I sure glad I didn't buy it. You see, most bus companies in Peru don't have websites. So, you can't compare and contrast the price/time between bus companies in order to find the best deal. Even the reviews I read doesn't really specify any bus companies other than Cruz de Sur (the major one, I guess). Well, they are a lil bit more pricey.

So, we went to the bus terminal with a "positive attitude" because it was Christmas Eve after all and most buses do not run that day. Luckily after hopping from one counter to another, we found one and it was only s/130 (about $60). That's not bad at all for a new, double-decker bus with reclining seats + lunch + snacks + "entertainment" + stewardess....and the list goes on. Oh 14 hours too. But you know what will make it better? If I didn't get motion sickness. This time it was beyond any major motion sickness I ever had! THE WORST. I don't even think it is a big deal before, but now I can say for sure I will get motion sickness in many cases or situations. Shoot. You know how much that will restrict me? Urgh. Well, to cope with the sickness, I slept during the whole bus ride, until one time I cannot take it and I threw up (in the toilet, of course). Poof! I can even began to describe how "magical" I felt later on. OMG. sangat lega ok!
Yeah, the view (before it was dark) was pretty much the mountains and sometimes the river and villages. I enjoyed the view very much. It's not something you will see if you travel by aeroplane :p

3 Peruvian ladies at the bus terminal. This is how they dress. Interesting right?

Yours truly with her sunglasses tanned line and chapped lips. I lost my sunglasses, so I can't cover my face anymore.

Mbn, getting cozy in the bus while reading Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho.
Good book? IDK. Ask him!

Taken during the bus ride, early on the bus ride. The photos I took of the river etc are blurry! :(
I think this is the view of the outskirts of Cusco.

We arrived around 2am. about 3 hours earlier than our expected time of arrival. Huh. Guess where we stayed for the night?
No, it's not Hilton :P
We stayed at another Walkon Inn. Just this time it's in Nazca
Mbn to the guy at the reception: Fabrizio (if I got his name correctly) said HI!
I prefer the one in Cusco better. I don't know, I can't really give it a good review cause I stayed there for a night :P but one good thing is the bathroom is in the room (for those who's that particular about sharing bathroom). Lol.

Photos of Nazca...
Errr...we didn't really took a tour around Nazca town. Instead, we were there to fly over the Nazca Lines and for this, we booked the tour through our hostel. It was USD50 + airport tax.

Our lil plane that can fit 4 people in it.
This is my first time in a small plane ;)

Buckle up boys! They got the backseat.

And I became the co-pilot that wasn't of any help to the pilot. LOL
Ok, I kinda look like I was about to cry in this photo. Well, this is the only photo I have :(

The dashboard. So many buttons! I was so tempted to randomly push any button :P and see what happens. The pilot was explaining a lot of stuff to us...but I can't keep up. I was feeling too dizzy and nausea. Dangggg! I shouldn't go on this fly-over thing in the first place...cause I couldn't enjoy it :(

Some photos of the Nazca Lines from the plane:
I edited the photos, otherwise you can't really see the lines. Now that they are all edited....they kinda look a lil bit out of this world. woooo....As some suggested, these lines could be made by ET! The Nazca lines were there way before the Inca Empire and nobody knows how and why those lines were made. I'm amazed by the different shapes because they depicted the actual objects very well. And I don't think they are easy to make, just look at the scale of these lines!




Lush plantation nearby :0

We left Nazca the very same day.

Our bus ride from Nazca to Ica took about 2 hrs and then we took a cab to Huacachina which is just at the outskirts of Ica. I forgot how much the bus ride was. It was fairly cheap, definitely less than s/10.
Peru has almost every bits of things to experience! Cause now, we are in the desert! Like WTF right? Peru has mountains (even with snow caps), deserts, volcanoes, beaches, rain forest and the list goes on and on! Too bad we can't experience them all :(

Huacachina is HOT! Ahhhh!
We arrived here one day earlier that we supposed to and our hostel was full that day, so we opted for another hostel. Ermm, I forgot the name of the hostel :P Sorry bout that. Well, it was only s/15 per night and with that, we had to pay only s/40 for the sand buggy and sandboarding (usually s/45). Pretty darn cheap. The hostel is somewhat new I think, you won't find it if you google it. We went there and randomly asked if they have vacancy for 2 days. So, that's how we ended up there. Not the best hostel, but good enough. It's not like I'm staying in the room all the time right?

Photos of the Oasis and mega sand dunes around it:
I've never been to a desert before, so I was stoked!

The view of the oasis from the top of a sand dune.

Sand ripples and rain clouds.

If you turn your away from the oasis, this is what you'll see.
Pretty remarkable, isn't it?

Yours truly feet and a view of few kids sandboarding

Aww. The desert vs. the "city"

In our buggy. Gonna tackle the dunessss...
(credit: Zar)

No, it wasn't that scary :P
Definitely fun!! It's way better than a roller coaster ride haha

Zar, tried to sandboard and fell instead.
I love how the sand kinda "splashed out"

Us, "surfing the sand"

My point is, wear a sunglasses when you are in a desert. Since I don't have one (I lost it!!), the best thing to do was squinting my eyes :p Sorry Zar, tak masuk frame plak...

Yours truly trying to sandboard. Since I had no previous experience with snowboard; I guess I did pretty good until I fell and hit my head hard on the sand! Minor concussion yo! My neck was swollen the next few days. Sigh.

I took this shot :P So, I love it!
(credit: Zar)

This was on 26 Dec 2009. I felt like I did a lot of things on this date, some new things as well, like sandboarding and getting hair beads! And the best part is, I get to read my 10 year old letter by the oasis. Huh. I was pretty much giggling the whole time cause I sounded very ridiculous and irrational! I guess the teenager syndrome is true then. All I can say, I appreciate my life now. Whatever hard feelings I hard (yes! it was a complaint letter!) 10 years ago went away with time. Cool. Anyways, I told you this already, I wrote another letter for me to read in 2019. Hopefully I can read it somewhere amazing as well.

OMG, I forgot to write this, but people in Huacachina are sooooo friendly! We met a lot of people that are, of course, rather curious about where do we come from. I love to answer this question! Bangganye jadi rakyat Malaysia! And I love how they respond to "We are from Malaysia". You should see their faces, somewhat enlighten. Probably because they don't get visitors from Malaysia too often. Hehe. Lucky to be one of the few :)

Tadaaaaaa! This is my hair bead. It cost me s/10 to get this!
See the middle part, the more intricate thing? Yea, Jesusa (maybe this is the way to spell her name) who beaded my hair made this especially for me. She said "this is for you 'cause you come from so far away". Haha, I enjoyed trying so damn hard to communicate with her while she's beading my hair. LOL that was fun. Well, she said I speak good Spanish. Humfff, I don't know bout that. I taught her some Malay words as well. Surprising enough she can pronounce them right everytime. Cool! The small "rock" at the end is a mineral called Chrysocolla, thought I should add a lil geologist flavour to it ;) And the red thing hanging on my wall is actually a Peruvian table cloth. It is now replacing my "love" wall cause it was falling apart anyways. I bought it for s/15 at Paracas (see below).

The beading process.
(credit: Mbn)

The boys had beads as well! Mbn got 2! and Zar got 1. Nice one guys!
This one time, while Mbn was getting his beads, two girls approached the stall and spoke in Spanish to the Jesusa...of course I didn't understand them, but later Jesusa told me that those girls want to take photo. I thought they wanted to take photos with me lol ...actually they were going for Zar. huh. Ade peminat tuhhh. Well, I was in the picture anyways. LOL. And guess what, right after I did my beads, those girls came over again and one of them want to get a hair bead as well. Haha. Even an old dude from Greece (I think) was joking about getting a hair bead as well...errrr....

Ok. We left Huacachina the next day. Hurm. I don't know if I will miss the desert or not. Maybe I do, but it's not as much as I miss the mountains.

Wooott! Next stop: BEACH! Yes, the last time I was at a beach was back in Sept 2009 during field trip to Nova Scotia. So I was excited about the hanging out by the beach and eat lots of seafood!

Oh well. Paracas was hit by an earthquake few years ago and since then, Paracas does not fully-recovered from the aftermath. There are some buildings still under construction, but some places...they don't bother to rebuild the structures. I kinda notice I do not have a lot of photos in Paracas. Hummm.

Anyways, we didn't book any hotel/hostel in Paracas beforehand because the choices on the web are limited. So, we went there and try our luck. After asking "Cuanto for dos noches" at many hotel/hostel, we ended up at Hostel Ballestas Island and I had to pay s/20 per night. Not bad at all since the room has a TV and the view of the ocean :)

Some photos :)

The jetty to Ballestas Island.

I wanna hold your hands

Huh. How to spend a day at the beach.

Pelicans and sea gulls.

Fishing boats.

Rebuilding some of the shops and all that after the major earthquake.

This dish is called mixed ceviche with squid, octopus and pescado (fish), where the raw seafood are marinated in lime juice and chili. It's delicious. Please don't throw up when reading that this is raw. Actually the acid from the lime kinda "cook" it and change the colour. YUMMY! We had our lunch at some small stall by the beach, just like the ones back home if you wanna imagine it.

Parihuela. I would call this a seafood stew. It had fish, shrimp, squid, octopus and crab! OMG! very good and cheap --> this dish is only s/25 (about $8). I shared it with Zar cause the portion was huge. This is by far the best $8 food!
(credit: Zar)

We had this at a restaurant that I can't remember the name cause we kept calling it Joe's restaurant! Joe is a guy from Alaska that works there :P It's amazing how he is just taking his time away from home to travel around South America and at the same time, he works to support himself and all that. I think that's just great. Why can't I be more carefree like that? LOL

Crack that crab! Oh dear, it needed some team effort to crack it :P
(credit: Mbn)

To Ballestas Island:
- We went on a tour to this "Little Galapagos" island. The tour was about s/40. As you can imagine, I got seasick! Shoot! It was okay at first, but when the boat stopped....that's when disaster struck! I was feeling nausea, the smell of birds' poo might play a part to that nausea feeling too. Hey, I don't easily feel disgusted by anything (except snakes!!), but this got me man! Fine, so now I'm sure to have seasick everytime the boat stopped. I almost felt like throwing up, but I held "it" back. Mbn and Zar: Tgk langit Farisa! Mesti OK. Hurmm, that helps a lil, tp kalau ade minyak cap kapak, mesti lagi best. Haha
Sigh. Nevertheless, that didn't stop me from enjoying my lil trip to the island.

Take a look at the photos to see why I was like a lil kid all over again (picture a lil kid at the zoo)...Oh, as you might guess, most of these photos are not from my camera cause I can't seem to focus. Some photos I took....sadly enough, had my finger covering the lens....such a noob!

Welcome to Ballestas Island!

Walking towards the boat.

All made of sandstone. From afar, one might think they are sand dunes :P

Amboi, happy je Zar sorang2

The boat ride took us about 20 minutes to get to Ballestas Island. I was still feeling okay and no funky tummy yet.

A Candelabra carved in the sandstone. Why? Don't ask me. Along with Nazca lines, these lines are not properly understood.

The infamous Ballestas Island arch.

A lot of BIRDS.

Sealss!! It's great that I got to see them in their habitat :) (unlike in Seaworld)
Oh, remember I saw a seal when I was in Nova Scotia? LOL

Penguins!! or Penguinosss in Spanish! They are really small! The ones I saw (and pat!) at Seaworld were a lot bigger than these penguins! Somehow, I felt bad for the animals trapped in cages :(
(credit: Mbn)

Cute puff puff!
(credit: Zar)

More seals.
(actually I can't tell the difference between seal and sea lion)
(credit: Zar)

Wee. Fighting!! See, if they were trapped in a are they gonna play like this??
(credit: Mbn)

You know what's great that day? We saw a whale!! Well, actually we didn't see the whole whale, but we saw a spray of water coming out from its blowhole. Hopefully our presence didn't disturb the whale or anything.
After this trip, guess what we did? We slept the whole day. Haha. I did a lil reading and that's pretty much it. There was nothing much to do in Paracas :P We didn't go to the National Park. If you wanna go there, that tour would be another s/20 :)
Oh that night, we had another round of good seafood at "Joe's restaurant".

This time, we opted for some deep fried seafood (s/40 for family platter, which is what we ordered) and grilled octopus & fries (s/18). OMG, the grilled octopus is TO DIE FOR! It was sooooo good! I don't know how to describe the taste, but the octopus flesh is somewhat chewy and the "smoky" taste to it was just beyond any description! Ah! Must love octopus now :P The seafood platter is just the same if you were to go to any seafood restaurant :)

Seriously, we should have just spent 1 day here :(
Initially the plan was to stay for 3 days, but since there are nothing more to see, we decided to head straight to Lima.
Oh, for this, we had to go to Pisco and get a bus there. Taxi to Pisco is expensive! Most of them wanted to charge us between s/15 to s/20. Suddenly, as I was walking towards another taxi driver, a bus stopped across the street and shouted "Pisco" to me. I said "Si, cuanto?" (Yes, how much?)...It was only s/1.50. Haha. Lucky us, we took the bus instead. It was rather slow, but who cares? We are not in a hurry or smthing :) Bus pon ok lah. Macam bus dari Kuantan to Kemaman (not that I've been on such buses, but I imagine it to be the same lol)

The tix to Lima was s/15. Damn cheap for a 4 hr bus ride. Made me think Greyhound buses are way too overpriced :P (CAD25 single trip for a 2 hr bus ride to Toronto!)

The view around the bus stop.
We waited our bus for only 10 minutes! OMG, I don't feel like these buses have schedule. Most of the time, we waited 5-10 minutes for our bus. It's that frequent!

Kami naik Peru Bus!!

This is the capital of Peru. And we have 3 days here and stayed at Hotel Espana
( The hotel is quite close to the main square, so that's just great!
Well, it has lots of single, double etc rooms, but we opted for the dorm style room. For that I had to pay s/14 per night. The room was spacious for sure; and you will enjoy your time here, mingling with other travelers. I know the boys did. I was freaking out bout school, so I spent my time studying rather than hanging out. Oh, I AM LAME like that :( I felt a lil remorse for not chilling with these peeps. The boys told me some amazing stories about them; too bad I wasn't there to hear them myself. Boooo To Me!

Hotel Espana. This hotel has lots of these Roman statues.

More view of Hotel Espana. You will love this hotel!

Parrot as pet :)

Tortoises as well!

Around Lima...

The architecture of Lima is greatly influenced by Spanish and the style is called Moorish. This originated from North Africa.

More building....

Church. Lots of intricate artwork there :)

Look at his hair bead!

Crossing the road in Peru is just like Malaysia...You crossed wherever you want. Kids, please don't try this at all!

Wee, we love to hang out at the steps of this church.
The best spot for people-watching LOL

More Moorish style design.

Mbn & Me
....I hate my tanned line...

Zar & Me. LOL, the bad boy look :P

Walking through vendors selling postcards, cards, teddy bears etc. Well this is the post office area, so it explains why they are selling all these things. I sent 3 postcards Hehe. To mama & papa, Ainil Izzyan! and I shared one postcard with Mbn and send it to Aunty Rahidah & fam. Mbn macam hantar banyak jerrr... Sorry sape2 tak dapat postcard, tak smpat mintak alamat. Even kat Fadia pon tak terhantar :P

Well, Peru has some night market as well. Not really like Pasar Malam, but somewhat like that. I had picarone (like kuih keria) was so good! Oh, I had churros as well. Fine, I know you can pretty much get churros in North America, but I wanted to try the Peruvian churros. Sangat manis and sedap :)

The next day, we went to Miraflores. Rather than taking a cab (about s/14), we took the local bus! We hardly see any tourist on the bus LOL. Compare to s/14, the bus ride cost us only s/1.20! So, what the hell, just take the bus :)

I must say, Miraflores is very very Miami-like or Laguna Beach-like, with surf/beach brand boutiques all around, open air cafes, big houses etc. Fancy.

Larcomar Mall. An open air mall with quite a few of American brands.
My first taste of Mall in so many weeks.

A minibus, but not the one we took :P

The view of the beautiful coastline.

Peru is big on cows!
So, they have cow statues painted in the most bizarre colours or patterns!
This one is called the "leopard cow"

Nearby, is the tile garden. Broken up tiles were arranged in such a way to create some art. Most of the time, the arts are of flowers (from my observations). They certainly made a beautiful art display with a view of the ocean as the background to boot.

From another angle :) You can see the ocean this time.

My turn to take a picture with the tiles

Madly in Love Cow?

A really nice house, won't you agree?

Bembos! Oh, this is a fastfood chain, very much like McD.
I had their sundae. They have more sundae choices than McD.

On the way back to Lima....Oh boysssss....

Last day in Lima and Peru:
Huh. I wasn't excited at all :(
That day, we spent our morning at San Francisco Cathedral. We went in for a bit, and head to the Catacomb Museum next door. Hoho. Spooky enough? A little.

The San Francisco Cathedral.
The door you see on the left is the entrance to the Catacomb Museum. We had to pay s/2.50 to enter. That's the student price. I don't have any photos in the museum cause we are not allowed to take photos.

Well, the museum was okay. A lot of history and I got lost sometimes with all the info. The part I find cool is the "hidden" murals that they found when they were restoring the cathedral so many many years ago. Another thing that really got my interest is the OLD library. Duh, I forgot when it was build, but the books in that library are the original ones from some centuries ago! They are That library was cool. And of course, we went underground into the catacomb and saw thousands of human bones. Huh. I don't usually like to see skeleton, but what the hell :P Overall, I would give 8/10 for this museum :)

More Moorish architecture
Sekali pandang mcm rumah di kampung2 Melayu juge kan?

We didn't go up there, but from a distance it sure looks interesting. Look at colourful houses!

Mr. President's crib.

More fancy cows :) This one has a painting of 2 Peruvian ladies dressed in their traditional clothes.

Saje je...

Zar pon dah malas nak amik gamba :P tapi still senyum2 malu haha

Awww! Our last picture together. We hang out at the cathedral's church at Plaza Mayor for the very last time :( Seriously, these boys gotta learn how to smile hihi...kasi tunjuk gigi skitt. And I gotta open my eyes wider. Humfff

So, that's it on my trip to Peru.
Mbn just told me a really bad news. Constant heavy rain in Cusco over the last few days had led to a mudslide that killed an Argentinian tourist and a guide at the Inca Trail. OMG. I was so shocked to hear that. I hope everybody else is doing fine. Now they had to close the trail for a bit. I never thought of such thing or prepare myself for any natural disaster when I was there. I was more "prepare" when I was in SF last year, just in case there is an earthquake (duh?!).

There are a lot more things to see and do in Peru than where I went or what I did. We didn't get to go to Puno and Arequipa due to time constraint. Well, if you ever go to Peru, be sure to go there aite. My friend actually hike to an active volcano in Peru. It was just a 6 hr hike. Darn, I forgot to ask her bout that before (although she mentioned about it in her message). It's really cool to hike all the way to the crater at 5000m+ and then wear a gas mask cause of the high sulfur content in the air. I can't believe I missed that one (I love volcanoes). Sad sad sad.

I am very happy I made the decision to go to Peru. I plan to go back, but this time, I must travel the whole South America like other travelers we met did. Maybe it will take a couple of months, I don't know for sure. My friend spent 1 month in Peru alone, so imagine me trying to squeeze everything in 2 weeks. Nevertheless, hear me out...Peru is a must visit! If money is your main concern, I'd say don't be. Cause the plane tickets might be expensive, but everything else is so cheap! It's not even worth to be fussy about! Some Canadian I met on Inca Trail told me he bought his tix for CAD800 only!! Shoot. So, just go if you wanna go (this is why I clicked "BUY" to that expensive tix)

Adios my gators!


- This entry took me 5 days to write! Just cause there are lots of photos I want to show u and they took quite a bit to upload. Anyways, the introduction was written last Friday LOL
- My prof is organising an international field trip to Turkey! I wanna go! And, Turkey is close to Greece folks.....So are you thinking what I'm thinking??

This is my favourite picture of the bunch! Thanks Mubeen for capturing it! It's perfect!!!!!!! According to my friend, I look like a UN ambassador :P