Saturday, 29 December 2012

End of Bolivia and Peru's beginnings

Day after boxing day. Christmas spent delightfully in Cusco with the splendid and mervellous Adam, Andreas, Eoin, Gemma, Madeleine, James and Abdulla, much food scoffed, much drink drunk, many games played, much tv watched (Predator dubbed in Spanish being a highlight) many songs sung, and a general all round flippin´ lovely time.

I know it´s been a while since my last update, this is due to a number of things; primarily being mostly motionless for two weeks under hostel arrest in La Paz due to an inappropriately placed abcess and Wild Rover hostel (total party hostel) proved to be an anthropologically interesting/depressing experience.

I did, however, after looking with disgust at a number of semi-naked staff and residents dancing on the bar and saying "that will never be me", don a tiger-mouse costume, and along with my new found Aberdeenshire friend Pete, dressed as a smart-casual beach bear, and proceed to dance on the bar all night long which, it transpired, was an absolute hoot.

So since being told by Bolivian quacks that I could travel, I took a bus to Copacabana, a tourist town on the shores of Lake Titcaca, where I played charango on the beach to the sunset, before settling down for the night in my room with a view of the Lake, the night before getting a boat to the famous Isla Del Sol on the end of the world. I missed the party though, miscalculating that the party would be the night of the end of the world rather than the night I arrived to the beach with the tents (and the heavy police presence due to the arrival of Evo Morales), where the celebration was, asked around and discovered that the party was well and truly over.

The Island itself, however, with its dizzying altitude, plunging cliffs, spiky arid plants, gentle shorelines, distant beaches, winding paths, ancient ruins and sacrifice table, was the breath of fresh air (literally) that i needed after the suffocating smog of La Paz. So I took my charango and after disembarking the boat (which took about 1 hour) pounced up the rocky paths which wound and snaked along the length of the Island, breathing deeply and grinning broadly, a reaction I always have to being in these beautiful and achingly huge open spaces, surrounded by minimal human life (other than the fact that Copacabana and the Island was riddled with hippies getting some kind of end of the world vibes and stuff) and striding with my long legs (courtesy of my Dad) through the beautiful land.

Drawing on the beach biding time before finding accomodation, two wee boys came up to me and curiously asked me what I was drawing. They were quite impressed (doesn´t take much to impress a 12 year old boy)  and I then proceeded to chat for a long while with Douglas, the older seeming of the two, who was the most mature 12 year old I have ever had the pleasure to meet. We talked of our respective family sadnesses, his mother works in tourism and hasn´t been home for 12 months, and about how important it is to have a creative outlet when you feel angry or blue. He was pretty amazing.

Since the Isla Del Sol I shimmied over to the stunning city of Cusco with my new found Isla Del Sol friends (a couple of lovely girls and some Ozzies) to meet my homies in our gorgeous apartment, jacuzzi included oh yeeeaaaahh. Where we didn´t leave the flat for about 3 days and preceeded to drink, eat, watch tv, play games, have jacuzzi parties and generally have a bloody wicked time. Photos of the past months to follow. ENJOY CATS!
love from a small village called Pisac where we have ventured to for a couple of days - google it, it is a stunning old Incan village in the mountains.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

La Paz

Some phone pictures of la paz, as since my camera got wet and broke in a storm I've been using my phone which actually makes uploading easier... Enjoy!

Friday, 23 November 2012

The Silver Mines of Potosi

When I was in Potosi I decided after much deliberation to go down the mines, given the vital importance of the mountain's minerals to the town. The visit was melancholic and unpleasant and made me think a lot about the state of the town and the thought of what will happen after all the minerals have run out in about 10 years time as our tour guide calmly stated would be the case. It makes for a relatively negative read but it sums up perfectly how it made me feel.So I went and sat in a cafe and wrote a thing about the state of things in Potosi, and here it is.


These delightful poison battle for prime fragrance in your struggling nostrils. A descent of 20 metres leaves you with a scraped helmet, an achy neck, coughing, dusty hands, itchy eyes, and mild claustrophobia. And that's only after 5 minutes.

After maybe an hour, we hear miners pushing a trolley along the tracks, the trundling echo of clanking getting louder every second. Real live miners! (I use 'live' in the most ironic way, as they all know full well that the average life expectancy of a miner is early 50s, and when you add into the equation that the average starting age is 16 this is not a terribly heartening fact).

One cheek bulging with coca, hands coated in dust, foreheads bearing new beads of sweat every second, breath heavy and laboured, bent double to gather the strength to push and avoid the painful collision with the rocks above.

This is not the sight of a man who has a career choice.

Time does not exist in the mines. This terrifying labyrinth of death is devoid of all reality. Observing this game of luck and death feels perverse. I want to look away and yet my eyes go on widening in disbelief. The 'privilege' of only have to experience this suffocation, ever-expanding coffin for only 2 hours of my life is immeasurable.

'coca es el secreto', laughs a miner of 60; a rare gem in a mass of youn, precious stones. Machismo and joking is what saves the men from a death of morale, but it cannot save them from a death in totum.

We leave the mine, having given gifts of coca and water the the grateful, breathless worker bees who are relentlessley moving about the deepest hive on earth,

On the bus back to normality, (however 'normal' travelling life can be), I am silent.

We wind our way back down the mountain which sits above the city, like a god, waiting for when it will be time to cleanse Potosi, and leave it deserted, punishing it's people for using up all the resources they were blessed with.

Watching people bustle around he town, many women carrying the weight of produce and babies wrapped in colourful fabrics on their backs, I have the strongest feeling that every citizen of Potosi is carrying a heavier weight on their backs; the knowledge of the cities' total dependence on the mines. The knowledge, that all the miners I spoke to were fully aware of, that once the veins of the mountains have been bled dry, the town itself like so many of it's men who have worked in the mines, will die.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Back in the Game.

Dear followers.
I recognise it has been a while, this was due to an adventure, and a sufficient lack of computers in hostels in Tupiza. And a general ´being in the moment´ness blah blah.

 Oh yeah, and I accidentally deleted all of my pictures and had to spend all night getting most of them back. Which I did. It is with great pleasure, therefore, that I present to you photos of my recent journies and adventures and scrapes.

Enjoy. (descriptive text to follow as I have been here for a while)

Sunday, 4 November 2012


here you go you lovelies x

hope this works

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Road Trip and Cafayate and a massive spider

Although these are mostly in the wrong order these are a small collection of what was a pretty bloody great road trip.

For my next adventure, I'm shimmying up North into Bolivia with Theo the Frenchie, going to take my time and disfrutarlo (enjoy it - I'm basically Argentine now). I've heard Sucre is amazing... Quien Sabe! Also it is an aim to buy a charango in Bolivia as they are such beautiful instruments.

That's all for now.