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We were on a break!


View Central America 2021 on cblanc102's travel map.

So it's been just under a week since I last posted a blog, a long time for me, but, it's not just laziness...

Since I last posted, I've travelled from The Galapagos to Guayaquil, from there to Cuenca, then back to Guayaquil on an amazingly beautiful bus ride through the clouds until I eventually caught a flight to Lima, Peru and finally now to Cusco Peru. That's a lot of travelling! In fact I've now travelled over 10,000 miles this trip!!

I've also been planning. I pretty much have the entire rest of the trip planned out to a degree now, ending on September 7th when I land at Gatwick. That will be about 4 months, which is enough. As I said before, 6 months was too long for me.

I've also had problems with my bloody laptop, which has taken to turning itself off (sort of) indiscriminately. At any point, sometimes before I've even had a chance to log in on the computer, the screen will go blank. It could go black, or white or now, sometimes blue. I have no idea, but it's a massive pain in the arse .I have found though that the power needs to be in all the time, or else it goes straight to the blank screen, and if I have a video running in the background, even YouTube, it tends not to do it. Although I have to reboot many times tonight just while writing this (and watching Ted Lasso)

An update for this, it looks like I need a replacement battery. They're not expensive, but I doubt I'll be able to sort it until I get home, I'll have to soldier on..

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Amazing views as you enter into the clouds

My week was pretty much this:

Flew back to Guayaquil, stayed there for one day, left my water bottle in a cab (that's twice now I've lost the same bottle at £20 a pop)
Got a four hour bus to Cuenca, which was very nice and the hotel was great, so I stayed for four days instead of two.
Got a Covid test. Passed
Took the bus back to Guayaquil where I took a flight to Cusco Peru, via Lima and an 8 hour layover.

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They had a working fountain in Cuenca! Most others I've seen have been turned off during the pandemic

Cusco (or Cuzco, it seems interchangeable) Is a lovely town in the Peruvian Andes, it's the Gateway to Machu Picchu, which is where I'm heading Wednesday, or at least starting my four day tour. Its surrounded by mountains, filled with lovely colonial buildings and some Aztec ruins, is pretty cheap and has great food. Although I did see this sign today outside a restaurant!

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I always enjoy humanizing my food before I eat it

Of course, I din't eat guinea pig! Of course not! No, I ate alpaca! and it was lovely, and the alpaca burger, amazing chips, strange barley drink and an incredible passion fruit cheesecake came to less than £6, including tip! Although it was a bit off after seeing the people parading their alpacas for photos on the square. Sorry buddy, but you taste great!

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Bloody lovely dinner!

I had given myself two days space to acclimatize to the altitude, but I needn't have bothered, I feel fine, so maybe tomorrow or Weds I'll take a tour somewhere, maybe the rainbow mountains.

Until then I've not much to add, although I have some thoughts..

It's cold now! It's 20 odd degrees here during the day, but down to as much as minus two at night. I don't have the clothes for this.

I haven't seen any pubs, in fact, I didn't see any in Cuenca Ecuador either. Perhaps it's not much of a thing in South America? I saw a couple in Quito

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What is the point of cash machines issuing expensive notes if no one wants to take them? This has been a thing across my entire trip! Ive spent the last couple of months trying to use $20 notes and now the machines in Peru give out 200 Sol notes, about the equivalent of £40. No one wants them!! I could take out smaller amounts each time, but I get charged for using the bloody machine.

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I am constantly pounced upon by people after money here. You can't walk 15 steps without someone offering you something. It's mostly fine and they're only trying to make a living, but some won't take no for an answer. There are many people here selling identical art from identical folders that they claim is original (it's not). I explained to one guy that I can't buy anything because then I'd have to drag it across two continents, but he wouldn't have it, then saw me again later and followed me around for ages again. There are people selling tours, selfie sticks, fruit, sweets, photos with alpacas all in one square. It's relentless. I'm very lucky to have my life, lucky to be here, I shouldn't moan, but it's a pain...

They REALLY like to dress their dogs up here. All the dogs look like Dodger from Oliver & Co, some even have little toys tied around their necks. It pretty funny

Right, I'll try to update this more this week and ahead, I have lots of plans to see lots of things in Peru, so I should have stuff to talk about!

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Posted by cblanc102 12:29 Archived in Peru Tagged mountains art animals sky night food flying hiking travel bus drink panama weather aeroplane beauty flights alcohol south_america galapagos central_america latin_america ecuador solo_travel Comments (0)

Ever deeper

Scuba diving isn't just about being in the water

The diving had been fantastic, I'd passed my Open Water certificate and was now allowed to pretty much dive anywhere, but I would also be losing the people I had dived with.

Of the four of us that started the course, only three continued, but all four of us had been out together every night since day one along with the boyfriends of two of the girls and often another couple that dived with Sairee Cottage. We'd also just run into people we knew as we went along. It's a small island.

I had my first bucket with them, for the uninitiated, this is usually about a mug full of some spirit (in this case Vodka) tipped into a small bucket and topped up with coke at a ridiculously cheap price. We sat together at a bar's beach party watching fire jugglers toss their flaming sticks 40 feet to each other over everyone's heads. We played pool and beer pong (how was this my first time? What did I do at Uni? ) we drank and we ate, it was great.

And now they were leaving.

One couple were off to another island, another off to Cambodia to Koh Rong where Klau and I visited a few years back. The last member of our group was going home.

This almost arbitrary friendship between people with almost nothing in common takes some getting used to. I've obviously travelled solo a fair amount, but usually I keep to myself, speaking to very few people and only rarely seeing them more than a day or two. No need to get attached. I got friendly with a group at the hostel in Bangkok, most of whom I only spent an evening with, but this was different because we went through a lot together, we were reliant on each other to get through the day and we chose to spend our time together in the evenings. It meant more. And then you share social media accounts and leave, maybe never seeing each other again.

I'm sure that as this trip progresses, I'll meet many more people, some of who I'll stay in touch with forever, but at the beginning of this experience, it feels a little sadder. Before I left, I was a little wary of hostels, thinking I'd always go for a hotel if it was cheap enough, but now I'm thinking hostels are the way to go. There's a much better chance to meet people there than in a hotel room where I tend to keep myself to myself.

I saw most of them again the next day as I started the advanced course and they were waiting for ferries to take them back to the mainland, it was nice, we wished each other safe journeys and went on with our lives. I'm following their Instagram, they seem to be having a fine time...

I continued my course, diving 5 times over 2 days in some of the greatest visibility (being able to see 15 - 20 meters underwater is incredible) and worst visibility (diving at 30 meters but only being able to see for 3 or 4 meters is scary as hell) I had experienced so far. I dived at night, which was incredible and scary all at once and I explored a wreck, probably the highlight of all the dives. Tired, but happy, it was time for me to move on. I said goodbye to Sairee Beach, Sairee Cottage Diving and the people there I had become friends with, but I promised to come back one day this week and share a beer or two.

I actually saw two of them later that same night as I was eating. Like I said before, small Island

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Beer Pong at it's finest

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A blurry picture of drunk people on a beach at night having a time

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As I former fire safety officer, I should have been more wary, less drunk, when around these

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Getting ready for our night dive

Posted by cblanc102 08:49 Archived in Thailand Tagged islands food diving beach drink hostels scuba underwater friendship alcohol solo_travel Comments (2)

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