Published: July 9th 2012July 9th 2012
It has come to my attention that I have again, been neglecting my blog so here is hopefully a fairly accurate account of the last month.
So I last blogged in Cuzco just before starting the Inca trail. The morning we left it was raining, which actually was not a bad thing as it meant that we had cooler weather to trek in. The first day was not too strenuous with a few up hill sections and we arrived into camp with our tents set up and a fantastic dinner prepared for us. Surprisingly, even though there are around 500 people on the trail each day, we did not encounter too many other trekkers. The second day was tougher as we climbed to 4200metres to tackle the dead woman's pass. It was a challenging but enjoyable climb with fantastic views of the snow capped mountains. The third day was a long day with an initial climb and then a large downhill component. The day was made less enjoyable by the development of diarrhoea which is not ideal when the toilets are few and far between. The fourth day we walked to the sun gate and we're treated with spectacular views
of Machu Picchu with clear skies. We had a tour of Machu Picchu and fought against hundreds of lazy tourists for good photo opportunities and then we retreated to bed for a well deserved rest. Following the Inca Trail I remained unwell so I elected to remain in Arequipa for a few days whilst the rest of the group visited the Colca Canyon. This was a good opportunity to rest and I also attended Spanish classes for three days and allowed the Ciprofloaxacin a chance to sort out my gut flora. We then carried on to the coast of Peru, visited Pisco ad enjoyed a few Pisco sours and then headed to Lima where the tour finished. I then flew East across SA to Buenos Aires. I had my own apartment for 6 nights and this was a great opportunity to relax and reflect on the last month. I spent the first couple of days walking around the city, visiting interesting historical sights and eating some good steaks. I then went out into the countryside for a day and had a polo lesson which was great fun but seriously hard work on the arms. I went to see a tango
show in the evening which was overpriced and mediocre, but still a good experience. The last day I visited La Boca and enjoyed all of the brightly painted buildings and buying some nice art and then I visited the San Telmo market which was a fantastic market stretching for well over a kilometre and there were some great street performers dancing tango that was far superior to what I witnessed in the show. My last evening was spent having a tango lesson and then I was taken to a Milonga to practice my steps. It was a fantastic experience to be in a dance hall and watch all the locals strut their stuff 48 hours of travelling the wrong way around the world eventually resulted in me landing in Bangkok. Tired but intrigued I headed out into the traffic congested streets and found Bangkok to be surprisingly fantastic. A modern city but full of Asian culture that can be enjoyed without the constant pestering that I found so tiresome in India. I enjoyed a trip through the canals, visiting the grand palace, some Wats and of course, some shopping. I joined into a new tour group with rather oddly, a
Peruvian guide and we headed into Northern Thailand to Chaing Mai. This was a beautiful city with many Wats to visit and a great night market. We experienced true Thai culture visiting a beautiful Wat to experience the monks chanting then in the evening a ladyboy cabaret! After a short time in Thailand we crossed the border into Laos and spent two days chugging down the Mekong river on a slow boat. This was a great opportunity to relax, take in some beautiful scenery and do some revision,which is necessary after an 8 month break from working. We visited a small riverside village of a farming community. It was interesting that despite their basic housing and infrastructure,it had been a priority to install satellite dishes into as many households as possible. Our final destination on our slow boat was Luang Prabang which is a fantastic place to visit. We enjoyed visiting more Wats, a picturesque turquoise waterfall, the night market and an early morning rise allowed us to witness the monks receiving alms ceremony which was a fantastic sight. We then headed to Vang Vieng which is a horrible town full of partially dressed, inebriated 18 year olds. Fortunately our
time there was brief, though long enough for us to enjoy a morning in some water caves sat on rubber tubes. We have just spent one day in Vientiane, the capital and we were fortunate to have a break in the rain and spent the morning cycling around the city. Today we fly to Hanoi and spend 10 days in Vietnam. I hope it rains less there than it has in Laos!
There are more photos below