Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Hasta luego Peru....

Well im sat in an internet cafe in Lima, soon to get on board a flight to Canada. People warned me that this place was trouble but unless i get mugged now on the way back to airport ive had a great day bimbling around! (To the powers that be i am still working hard in hospital).

Treated myself to the luxuary bus overnight back to Cusco, mind you ive been successfuly raiding the pharmacies here so probably could have slept on the roof! Immediately upon my return i was fussed over and over fed by Marianela, who continually called me Sarah, no joke ha ha! Then spent the day meeting friends and realising how annoying Cusco itself is if you actually try and shop for pressies and being thankful that i didnt have time to realise this as i was too busy when i was living there. Also, had i been living somewhere nice and sunny and relaxing then it would have made work harder. Always look on the bright side! I tried to get out of being over fed breakfast this morning by pretending i get flight sick but i just got given a clove of garlic and aparently i just hold it over my belly and i will miracliously be cured. Ah marianela, a unique creature.

So yeh i cant believe that im going to be in Canada tomorrow! Ive got my alpaca sweater waiting for the snow, although the geordie representative of the vancouver tourist board insists he´ll find a way to keep me warm! Its a strange feeling because i really love it here, i feel ive hardly seen anything and i want to just carry on and explore the whole of south america, yet im also really looking forward to seeing the boy as i must admit ive missed him so its an odd one. (I have spent the last few days trying to convince him to meet me in mexico or go to chile!). But i guess its good to enjoy somewhere and still be hungry for more as now ill return as soon as i get enough time.

Shit tomorrow im gonna be in Canada. ....shit....... yehhhhhhhh....... noooooooo... ...I feel like the numskulls are all arguing in my head ... ahh must stock up on latino memrobilia....i almost have an urge to buy Shakiras album......better get to the airport quick and perfect my best dumb blond look...

"coca leave´s mr customs officer....i honestly didnt know they were illegal, i just thought theyd be good for snowboarding"




Oooo its been a while eh...time flies when youre having fun and all that or panicking over the last few days before a job application deadline. Had last minute panik attack (What a supprise!) and kept ticking scotland and sheffield and manchester and leeds and and and and and then finally realised i was insane so realised newcastle was a perfect place to be insane in.

So generally been chilling round Arequpia. Really loved the vibe and the weather down there. For the last few days i found myself this sports centre where for $3 i could use the olympic size out door pool and then relax with a freshly squeezed juice brought to me at my lounger all for $1. Ive found pikey paradise! Who needs posh hotels! To be honest i was just quite excited to swim, funny how much you miss the things you do routinely at home. I really really miss my bike! How sad am i! I hired a bike in the colca canyon with this girl i met and it was so shit i had to carry it home. I think id be dreaming of riding in the hills too much that the rear mechanism of my karma broke!

Colca canyon is wicked, stunning scenery. Lots of catuses somehow glued to the steep rocks. Just hopped on a bus for a few hours to get there and met eh other gringa doing the same. Supposed to be the deepest in the world, although theres one deeper but it isnt as accesable for tourists! Im not quite sure how you measure a canyon, me thinks it only wins because the mounatins are so high to start with. Went trekking down to this oasis in the bottom one day and again got too excited by the water that i swam too much and then had to munch sweets and coca constantly to make the 3 hours solid climb back out. Ooops!

Went to the tourist look out point in search of condors and we were really lucky, saw loads. Other people hadnt seen any. Well magnificent creatures, so graceful just gliding below us in the canyon. If you spot the condor you may win a prize.....

Saturday, November 25, 2006



To redeem myself after such lame effots were required to walk along with hundreds of others on the Inca trail i thought i´d bag myself a 6000m peak....(6075 if were counting)....Admittedly it´s supposed to be pretty easy as it has no permenant ice as its so warm and dry here but it was wicked and still an 8 hr mission...just 3 of us and a guide in the mountains for a few days. We trekked into base camp which was at 5000 so cant say i slept too well, really mad altitude for those that havent exeperienced it. Like youre breathing and trying to sleep, but then you forget to breath or you dont get enough air so your mechanisms kick in or summat and you wake up gasping! Felt this once before when i was in India stuck about 4, 000 m unacclimatised below a pass we couldnt cross, but just put it down to the rum we´d necked that time!

We set off at 1 am up the ridge and crossed some lower peaks called Angel and Faitima and still needed Ice axes for the gullys so it was pretty exciting as it was dark and bloody freezing. Thing that made me realise how high we were was being able to see the whole of Ariquipa´s city lights in the darkness, and its bigger than Manchester!

Slightly worrying the decorations at the top! And the rather fat mice that clearly do so well of tourist tit bits that theyve migrated there from the surrounding desert (He wouldnt pose for me)

Now what am i going to do.....?


Lago Titicaca


Well im trying to keep myself up and amused to get back in sync seeing as i was up climbing that mountain at 1 am, so i thought i´d post some new pictures as i cant think of much to say for once! I love modern technology, just hook up my camera in an internet cafe and we´re away! Im enjoying bimbling along the gringo trail and have now made it to Ariquipa. As seems to be the way here i aquired myself another mother on the bus who constantly fed me. She was most put out that i´d rather climb a hill than stay with her family, spanish can´t be as bad as i think to maintain 6 hours of chitchat or maybe i just look lost! Nothing seems as touristy after Cusco and i like the vibe much better down here, it doesnt rain as much and i dont have to go to work! Lake Titicaca was really beautiful, stayed with a family on Amantani and happily pottered around the islands climbing hills. The islands are all unique in terms of culture and enjoy inbreeding. The local boats were full of visual sensations....

Pachamama on Amantani.....

Looking at Bolivia...maybe next time!

Peddle boats at dawn in Puno...went around the whole lake on one of these....honest!!

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Adios Cusco!

To whom it may concern: this photo was taken on the 14th December 2006 ;-)

Yay! My papers are signed off and it’s time to travel! So glad to be leaving Cusco, but sad to leave my friends at hospital. They gave me this formal type presentation full of Latino passion, cake, flowers and certificates and it was all very embarrassing as I tried to make a speech in Spanish. The other pic is of me and my mate Cesar (yes actually a Latino male who was respectful and happy(ish) just to be friends, the bloke who took me rafting) He was always showing me the best things around town, such as who sells the freshest coca leaves! Hmm I’m getting rather fond of the cure all coca tea so I might try take some to Canada and deny all knowledge of their illegality outside Peru.

This is my mate Gladys, body guard against the creeps and the angel which makes the Cruz Roya actually work. Probably the person ill miss most.

I can’t say I’m sad to leave the Spanish school, not because the lessons weren’t good, I just need some time to digest the bucket fulls of grammar that’s been thrust down me everyday. The lessons were intense and I need time to practice what we were taught as we just babbled about owt in Hospital. I particularly enjoyed the lessons where we just learnt the lyrics to Manu Chau songs! The teachers were all great but I hate the management because they’re two faced money grabbing tossers who are constantly inventing reasons for you to give them more money or face getting chucked out of my flat! That and what happened to Elene have been the only down sides, oh and smoggy cities aint my thing, I’m itching for an adventure in the mountains!

It’s also been great to have real mates around, rather than the usual backpacker chat as everyone from the school was around for months studying and volunteering. The funniest memory of Sarah (see above on top of a mounatin near Pisac) will be her coming round at 5am absolutely leathered after a night out cos Marianela had locked her out! Sarah has gone up to another branch of the school in Quito, Ecuador for a month as she’s learning Spanish for her international business masters and other people are also moving on so the time is right. Although the Norwegian girls continue to attract bad luck and now have parasites. Me and Sarah took Marianela and family out for dinner to say thanks, she’s less aggressive now my Spanish is improving but still booked a taxi for Sarah in the name of Cat today!

It has been very hectic in Cusco the past few days, 1000’s of people gathering for crowd mob action with flags and drums etc ahead of tomorrow’s election. This is only for local mayor so who knows what a national election is like! They even ban alcohol for 3 days before an election which seems a bit patronising although we were allowed it in the touristy places last night if we downed it at the bar in a mug! We asked how many people were standing for mayor and what their policies were but no one seemed to care as long as they could just shout and wave a flag!

Originally I had wanted to go north and visit the mountains near Huaraz, supposedly the most beautiful part of the Andes but word has it that the weathers crap and the trails are muddy and grey. So instead I’m going to stay on the gringo trail and head south to Lake Titicaca and Ariquipa where hopefully I will find nice big mountain to climb and leave the rain and smog behind. It’s probably for the best as I can leave my stuff here in Cusco at Marianella’s where it’s safe and return in a few weeks. Farewell my precious lap top with your wonderful music selection that kept me sane and good riddance job application!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Durante la noche…

Cusco is beginning to lose its novelty. Last Wednesday my Norwegian friend Elene got mugged and stabbed 6 times in her thigh on her street. Luckily it was superficial but I feel terrible for her and its scared us all. The police treated her like crap and didn’t believe her till she showed them the evidence. The next day she actually made it on the Inca trek but had to return the second day because her friend got salmonella, but they both made it to Machu Picchu on Sunday which was great. Today at hospital I saw a man who had been shot in the back by drunken policemen. No one seemed to want to give anymore information and just sighed ‘Es Peru’…..


Camino Inca

Well my predications of the Inca trail itself were pretty accurate but even my cynical mind was impressed with the end result, the awesome Machu Picchu. But it was great to get out of the city and stretch the legs and the service from the porters was impeccable, tents set up ready and 4 meals a day…now I could get use to this kind of ‘trekking’. Bit of sunshine instead of rain would have been nice eh!

It was just a long line of gringos and porters following the path of many before them but the scenery was fantastic and climbing 4 hours up a 4000m pass does take a little effort! Met some nice folk to waste away the nights with flask cups full of whiskey and games of shit head, quite bizarre peeking back into traveller lifestyle!

The last camp even has a bar (ridiculous innit!!) Dangerous…..why on earth did I think it was a good idea to get in the Pisco sours again?? The last morning we got up at 4am, and feeling severely wounded I downed 5 cups of coca tea. Me and my mate Jo decided to make the morning interesting by running to Machu Picchu with our packs so we could be the first ones there! Quite amusing passing others with their ski poles and gaiters who had hired special guides to get them there first he he! Well we made it and it cured my hangover inside if not my appearance having the place to ourselves but the weather was shit and we couldn’t see nowt! We debated sacrificing something at the altar at the top of the hill to make the sun shine (that big rock). No I’m not about to give birth to lasagne, it’s a multiple pregnancy of hats and gloves this time!As if our prayers were answered by the gods, about 8am the clouds began to clear and the llamas came out to pose. It was truly was spectacular as all was slowly revealed as the sun burnt through the clouds. I spent many happy hours pottering around the ruins enjoying the first sun in weeks. I’ve decided that the Inca’s were a bunch of obsessive compulsive schizo’s with their immaculate architecture and taste for human sacrifice.
The highlight was climbing up the hill behind the city and looking down on the rainforest below, really a breath taking view. I don’t think I found my mysterious city of gold quite yet but it’s made me eager for some real adventures when I get the chance! That golden condor flying machine must just waiting for me in the next valley…..

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


When its raining its raining...

Oh no! Absolutely been chuckin it down for last few days and im heading off on the 4 day Inca trek to Machu Picchu tomorrow with some Norwegian girls from the Spanish school. Probably gonna be a motorway of mud and tourists but then no one can come to Peru and not see Machu Picchu! Looking forward to getting out of the city and a having a break from Spanish classes which are really hard but im enjoying the challenge.

Hospital is pretty emotionaly taxing and things never usually get to me. Theres just no equipment, one of the volunteers brought this guy to me who had been beaten up in the street expecting me to do summat (!) but there wasn´t even antiseptic or stitches available so we just had to send him else where. The patients in the hospital have to buy anything they need, be it , medicine, canulas, gloves for the dr, unless they have insurance. Its crazy as if they don´t have the money and the red cross doesnt have what they need in stock it´s tough luck! Yesterday got to me cos we picked up this 8 year old girl we found sleeping rough in the grounds with her little sister. It was really hard to examine her and comfort her cos she smelt so bad. She was so ill, every gland was up and you could have fried an egg on her forehead. We got her to a propper doctor and between us we bought the medicines she needed from the pharmacy, but who knows that will happen to them when they leave hospital.

Anyways now i´ve depressed you all im gonna mumble on about rubish to brighten you up! Inca trek also be good to get away from the computer that i have been attached to like a geek every evening trying to perfect my job application form which is currently live on the net for a few weeks. Anything i write sounds so cheesy, how do you big yourself up without sounding like a nobhead?

Gonna apply for Newcastle central hospitals then Sunderland cos they have jobs i like, im just praying to the Inca gods that i dont end up in Whitehaven! Could be worse, could be Barrow, which is the bottom of the Northwestern deanery pit ha ha. Had wanted to go to Edinburgh but the application process for Scotland is really biased, you apply to get into Scotland itself annonymously but after that it's down to CV's and who you know and so it´s unlikely i would have actually got a post in Edders. Unfortunately Toon is the only area of the country that still interviews so im gonna have to get me some posh clothes! Bit shockin really the way we apply for jobs, could end up anywhere doing anything, alough its better than a biased sytem. Looking forward to Toon in only 6 months, new advernture, new place. Already buzzin off being in a new place here in Cusco, it deffinately took a couple of my 9 lives staying in Manc so long, not supposed to be kept in a cage it makes me miserable! Oh yeh but obviously im going there to be with my wonderful boyfriend! (are you happy that you have a mention now!!). For shout outs please email me .....MC MEOW....SAYIN IT HoW...!

Ah yeh saw this wicked local rock band last weekend. Its really cool working with local volunteers cos they know nice little bars and places to take me. What was ace was the atmosphere, everybody just dancing and singing and not giving a damn. Too often now when you go out at home people try to hard to look cool and dont let themselves go, i think the UK could do with an injection of peruvian enthusiasm! Maybe a few Pisco Sours help you get in the mood. They certainly give you a headache the next day!

Right time for school.... till next time xx

Sunday, November 05, 2006



Anyone else concerned (or amused) by the row of undertakers opposite the hospital?


Its due any minute now...

I’m going to have to find a polite was of getting out of Marianela’s dinners. She made this vegetable lasagne especially but I don’t think it was cooked right and my belly spent the following afternoon swelling up to child bearing proportions, ouch!! My friend Sarah from the language school lives in a room at the house and suffered the same fate. Poor Sarah is now getting called Cat by the dotty granny and great aunt who think I live there instead! Yesterday in hospital Marinaela kept telling me and anyone else off who spoke English. I think amusing is starting to boarder on insane!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006



Another of the volunteers at Cruz Roja, Sezer, is a rafting guide. Last Saturday I went along with him and his friends taking 80 students from the Instituto Turismo, who spend 6 years learning how to make money from tourists, the only fruitful career choice in Cusco. They have to try out every thing that they may have to sell the tourists, not a bad course eh! It was great day and something totally new to try, but I wonder if getting chucked in that river with the rubbish had anything to do with the events of the last few days? Turns out Sezers best mate is twice peruvian mountain bike champion & he was telling me in great detail about his 5 bikes. I have said im up for an easy route but i fear its been lost in translation! It was nice knowing you all!



Well I was going to go back to the hospital today as I’m feeling much better, but last night I got a little note through my door from my adopted mother informing me that it’s a public holiday, excellent!....And speaking of Marianella (I think she deserves naming as I think she is likely to feature a lot) just as I was typing away to you she’s turned up on her bike with an avocado and 2 mandarins & invited me for lunch again tomorrow! They tend to eat a big meal at lunchtime here because you can’t eat a lot in the evening with the altitude.

That was the tastiest avocado I’ve ever eaten! Maybe eating it in the sun helps! The weathers crazy here, the sun will burn you in minutes but if it goes it’s freezing & then there’s usually a few storms thrown in for fun each day. Hmm…I think this one of those moments where I realise that I’m turning into my mother, who’s favourite topics are the weather, fruit and the garden. Is it inevitable that this will happen to us all sooner or later? Can I fight this urge to ramble about the scenery or am I genetically programmed to inform you of the colourful flowers outside and the plant called gato orejos because it looks like cats ears at the front door? I think I need to stop….now!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


El Hospital

Felt odd taking pictures of sick people but they encouraged it, so heres a few photos of where im working for my elective....Its called Hospital Antonio Loreno and its pretty run down and kept for the people who have no money in Cusco. It appears that our role at the Cruz Roja is wonder around picking up scribblings by patients beds, have a general chat and see if we have any of the drugs they need....Not actually seen a doctor yet!



Yay! All hail the Peruvian bugs! As it’s because of them that I actually have time to write this blog that Id said id do for some reason instead of writing group emails. The theory was that you can read my thoughts and respond at your leisure and not be at work and be told what a wonderful time I’m having whilst your days get darker.

But yes, despite iodizing and boiling everything in sight, today is my first (and no doubt not the last) bout of the shits. Who had bets on 8 days in the country before I caught something?! Ah well I feel fine so I’m just enjoying pottering around my little studio apartment in close proximity to my little bathroom! It’s a lovely place (down off Avenida Cultura for those that have been here) where I can escape to, ah beats backpacking any day! After living with my folks for 6 months I’m just happy buying veggies at the market, cooking whatever creation I desire and reading in peace. Sad but true!

Cusco is ridiculously touristy because it’s the centre of the old Inca empire and near Machu Picchu. It is actually really pretty with lots of colonial churchs and old cobbled streets. The main tourist bit is around the central square, but outside of that it’s basically a city surrounded by mountains. I only have to go into the centre if I choose to as the Spanish school I go to in the afternoon is this side of town and the hospital is over in Santiago. Its great having the facilities of a tourist town though, internet is fast and 15p an hour and I had a wonderful back massage last week for £2!

I really admire the way they milk the tourists here, the kids go around dressed up in their colourful Andean finery carrying a baby alpaca and the bus loads of Americans just cant resists giving them money for a photo! Genius! They are much more polite about trying to get money off you than the Asian countries I have visited and just ask once then go away. It’s also great not be such a blond novelty as I would be somewhere more remote, although some old man in the supermarket the other evening told me at great length that I was an angel sent from heaven. All very polite and entertaining, in comparison to the sleaze and aggression I experienced in Indonesia. However it’s definitely more dangerous here in terms of personal safety and pickpocketers than I have experienced before but then it’s a big city and are you going to walk through Manchester alone at night waving your camera? Hmm?

Above all I’ve fallen for the genuine kindness and enthusiasm of the people here. For example I’m currently munching on some lentil creation left of my door step by one of the other volunteers at the hospital who’s adopted me and obviously noticed my absence today. I only cleaned up and wrapped up her daughters manky finger that she’d cut last week but it’s as if I performed a miracle! She’s already made me 3 vegetarian meals and in a carnivorous country that’s really something special! Amazing woman, she’s second from the left on the picture of us at the red cross office and her daughter is first on the left. Im working for the red cross out here and they were pretty chuffed with all the stuff i brought out. Theatres gave me loads of sterile gloves and laryngeal masks and i had a few trips to the skills lab and smuggled some pick and mix of everything thing in the cupboard with a little help from an inside source! A step up from my usual exploits at the cinema!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The comrades spot a large doughnut on the horizon..... perhaps they can sail to their beloved basque country on it.....?

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