August 08, 2004


In Salta, I bid adieu to my travelling partners from most of the summer and bolted south for Mendoza, where I met up with my friend Frank from Toronto. Mendoza is a beautiful city. It actually reminded me somewhat of Winnipeg my hometown, of all places, with its wide tree-lined streets, the overhanging branches bare in the dead of winter. Except, of course, the dead of winter was still 15 degrees above. Sidewalk cafes on pedestrian streets added a dash of Europe to the mix. Overall quite pleasant.

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July 31, 2004

Argentinian cuisine and the All-Protein diet

If there is one thing synonymous with Argentina, it is beef.

Argentinians love their beef, in all its glory. And with good reason, I might add.

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July 25, 2004

Through Bolivia and on to Chile

I started my trip through Bolivia with a visit to Copacabana, not the Brazilian beach and not the Copacabana of Barry Manilow fame, but a really nice place nonetheless. It's a small resort-type town on the southern shores of Lake Titicaca, and the area is really beautiful. I spent one night camping on the nearby Isla del Sol, according to Inca legend the birthplace of the Sun, and the view of the sun coming up over the mountains and the lake makes it pretty clear why the Inca held the place to be sacred.

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July 14, 2004

Running for the border

The deadline was set. It was July 13. We - Alex, the German I'm travelling with; Nick, an American; and a couple, Ian and Louise (funny eh Steve?), an Aussie and a Brit - were in Puno, a Peruvian city on Lake Titicaca. There was a nationwide strike planned for July 14, which meant no buses, no taxis, no services, and no border crossing for at least a couple days, so it was either leave yesterday or wait until at least tomorrow. Waiting wasn't an option.

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July 11, 2004

the Lost City of the Inca

July 11 today....Happy July 11th! One month from today I fly back to Canada. Three weeks from today Frank arrives in Argentina, and suddenly I feel as though I hardly have any time left.

For those of you out east, I'll be staying in Toronto the night of August 12th, so if you're in the area then let me know. And for those of you in Vancouver, I'll be home the afternoon of Friday the 13th. Jonny's back.

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July 02, 2004

Following the footsteps of Von Daniken

I stayed in Lima all of a night and a morning - just long enough to head down to the South American Explorer's Clubhouse and pick up a travel guide to Argentina. Yes, Argentina! Looks like I'll be spending about 2 weeks in the northwestern part of it to finish off my trip. Frank's flying in to Santiago and heading that way at the end of July.

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June 27, 2004

the Santa Cruz trek

Every once in a while when you're travelling around, you happen across a town that you just don't want to leave. Huaraz, Peru was definitely one of those places.

For those of you who know Liz and Kylene, I had been planning for some time to meet them here to do some trekking. For those of you who know Ben and Sarah, I had also been keeping in touch with them for the last month with the intention of meeting up as well. It just so happened that all of us ended up together in Huaraz at the same time, so suddenly it seemed half the hostel was full of people I knew.

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June 20, 2004

recovering in Peru

Well well...lots of catching up to do.

First, the Galapagos. Amazing. I don't know what to say. I think it's nearly impossible to adequately describe the place without pictures - and hopefully I'll have some of those up soon.

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June 01, 2004

Churches, snowstorms, and tropical islands

Colonial architecture summarized: churches, balconies, cobblestones, pastels, churches, balconies, churches and more churches. I spent the day yesterday walking around the old part of Quito. Kinda cool, but honestly, you've seen one colonial town, you've seen them all. That's when I decided that I don't feel like visiting any more big cities on this trip. Bor-ring. Think I'll give big ol' Lima a big ol' pass.

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May 30, 2004

Hangin in Quito, eatin wings, watchin hockey

Baņos was good. The hostel was amazing, the people were great, and thereīs tons to do there. I went biking the other day - east of Baņos, the road drops down into the upper Amazon, and you can rent bikes and ride down the highway. Itīs almost all downhill, so just point it and go, blowing by waterfalls, through tunnels, all the while dropping in elevation and watching the forest turn slowly into a tropical jungle. I also hit some of the baths in town, where an Irish girl told me that in Ireland they refer to hottubs as "Canadian hottubs" - apparently hottubs in every hotel is a Canadian thing. I also went out to watch the volcano, but unfortunately it was cloudy - apparently when itīs clear you can see red-hot rocks flying from the caldera. You can definitely hear the volcano constantly rumbling, like thunder in the distance.

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May 25, 2004

Swimming in the Baņos

From Riobamba, which was never more than a stopover, it was off to Guaranda, Ambato, and Baņos, a circle of road around Chimborazo, the highest peak in Ecuador at over 6300m, the peak of which has the notable distinction of being the point on the Earthīs surface the farthest away from the Earthīs centre - Everest is higher when measured from sea level of course, but the earth bulges around the equator. Even the highway got to well over 4000m, pretty crazy.

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May 24, 2004

Musica de los ochenta

Secret to speaking passable Spanish: if you donīt know a word, use the french word but pronounce all the silent letters. If the french word sounds too cheese-eating-surrender-monkeyish, then use the English word instead.

So last night I had a 3-way.....conversation.....(sickos) with a woman from rural Quebec and this dude from Guayquil, Ecuador. I could hardly keep up with what language we were speaking, or in my case fumbling to understand. Turns out the guy, Jorge, who spoke decent English, taught himself the language by writing down and translating the lyrics to la musica de los ochenta - 80īs music! too funny.

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May 23, 2004

Episode I: a new beginning

Well hey everyone, and welcome to my brand-spanking-new fancy shmancy weblog. As you may have heard, Iīm spending the next 3 months or so in South America, so if you want to keep track of what Iīm up to you can do so here. I thought it better to do this than to send out mass emails.

My first day here was nuts....I flew in to Peru on Thursday night...actually more like Friday morning, it was 1 AM. I had a flight out of Lima to Tumbes leaving at 7AM, so, along with a bunch of other homeless backpackers, I spent an enjoyable 5 hours lying on the concrete floor of the terminal, closing my eyes and feigning sleep. Ugh....

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