Luke Stableford


Luke Stableford

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Latin America Trip

First stop - Havana

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana March 28th 2011

After the cold and rain of the Andes, I decided to finish my trip with a month of sun, salsa and partying in Cuba. The flights worked out the same price to fly to the UK via Cuba or from La Paz directly. When I arrived in Havana airport the difference to South America was very noticeable. At midnight the air was humid and the temperature was still in the high 20s. We took a taxi in a 1950s Buick to a soundtrack of salsa with an extroverted afro-cuban taxi driver who flirted outrageously with the two Danish girls I had met in the impossibly slow immigration queue. Despite that it took me several days to organise the paperwork and a morning to obtain the visa, the officials didn't ask me to produce any of the ... read more
Casa de La Musica, Centro Habana
Plaza Vieja
Plaza Vieja

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Salar de Uyuni February 28th 2011

I spent longer in La Paz than I planned sorting out my final travel plans and return home. I realised that as I had booked my flight early to avoid the high carnival prices, I now had very little time left in Bolivia. And I hard hardly seen anything that I wanted to see. Salar de Uyuni Trying to cram in the two most important trips, I took a night train to Uyuni - the base point for tours of the salt flats. Salar de Uyuni is the most popular tourist destination in Bolivia as I am told it is unique and the scenery is stunning. The morning I arrived I joined a tour group by jeep out on to the salt flats, along with hordes of other tourists. The salt flats appeared before us like ... read more
Salar de Uyuni
Two Swedish Girls in the Palm of My Hand

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department February 22nd 2011

I arrived in La Paz and after an internal debate I checked in to the infamous Wild Rover Hostel. I couldn't find many good options on Hostel World - either crazy party hostels or boring hotels. I wanted something sociable but not full of young drug and drink crazy backpackers uninterested in anything else. Wild Rover seemed to be the best set up of all the hostels and turned out to the most notorious for wild all night partying. The social life of the hostel revolves around the manic Irish bar where friendly bartenders free pour alcohol in the mouths of the mass of drunken revellers, who often come from other hostels specifically to party. This is the prime place for backpackers to hook up and get fuc ked up. When the bar closes everybody piles ... read more
Main Square, La Paz
Main Square, La Paz
Main Square, La Paz

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » Huayna Potosí February 19th 2011

I decided that whilst I was in the Andes I wanted to climb a 6000m mountain. I'd already done quite a bit of high altitude hiking, but the highest peak I'd climbed was 5,100m. I booked on a three day tour from La Paz to climb Huayna Potosi - purported to be the one of the easiest 6,000m mountains in the world to climb and is about 6,050m. I, and two Australians - Pat and Alex - set off in the morning to drive to the mountain, which is a couple of hours from La Paz. We arrived at base camp at around 4,800m and after lunch set off to practice ice climbing on the glacier. We walked for around an hour and then when we reached the start of the glacier we spent some time ... read more

South America » Peru » Puno » Lake Titicaca February 10th 2011

I returned back to Lima to collect some stuff that I had left there and to arrange my return to England and the rest of my trip. I spent a couple of days relaxing in Marcelo's apartment, organising, and going out with Couchsurfers at night. I decided that I would do a quick tour of Bolivia before flying to Cuba on my way home. I took a bus to Puno, a town on Lake Titicaca, which is on the main route to Bolivia. The town is not much to look at but is the main transit point for the floating reed islands, known as the Uros, on the lake. I took a tour to visit them the following morning. Like most of South Peru the experience was very touristy. The islands are interesting - the inhabitants ... read more
Lake Titicaca
Uros Islands, Lake Titicaca
Uros Islands, Lake Titicaca

South America » Peru » Cusco February 1st 2011

Alegria and I arrived bleary eyed at 6am in Cusco and slept a couple of hours before taking an afternoon tour of the Incan ruins around the city. We visited 4 sites which were interesting when explained by the guide but unspectacular compared to another sites in the region. I was appalled to learn that when the Spanish arrived at Cusco, the "navel" of the Incan empire they systematically set about destroying the Incan temples by using the stone to build their houses and then building Catholic churches on top. Our first stop on the tour was to visit one such place - an unusual fusion of the pragmatic solid granite tessellating block walls of the Incan temple with the colonial cathedral on top. Two days later I took a tour to the sacred valley and ... read more

South America » Peru January 21st 2011

...I arrived back in Lima from the eco-farm and spent a week staying with Marcelo, a couchsurfer that I met at the New Years Eve party. He lives with his cousin, Jaime, and a Gringa, Jessie, in a plush flat in the heart of Miraflores - a perfect base for taking advantage of the vibrant nightlife. We went out quite a bit including a number of couchsurfing related parties. The first weekend I was there Marcelo, Jaime, and I went to one of the beaches South of Lima where the Limenos go at the weekend to relax and party. I went out with a number of CS potential dance partners who were into Salsa, but didn't end up dancing much Salsa. I connected well with Pamela and we went out a few times including to a ... read more
Eco Truly
Pamela in city centre
Marcelo, Jaime, and me at the beach

South America » Peru January 7th 2011

I arrived in Piura in the North of Peru early in the morning and was startled just how different it was to Ecuador. Asian style moto taxis (Tuk Tuks in Thailand) swarmed everywhere weaving through hoards of people, stray dogs, and rubbish. The town was dusty, dirty, with half finished concrete box houses with reinforcing rods sprouting from the top. My travelling companion Filippe and I jumped straight on the next bus to Mancora. Mancora was slightly better but nowhere near the paradise I'd been led to believe. Mancora is Peru's most popular beach resort boasting the warmest water and best beaches in Peru, which isn't saying much. Maybe I'm just spoilt by the beautiful beaches of Central America, but I thought it was OK here but nothing special. My mood wasn't improved by a violent ... read more

South America » Ecuador December 20th 2010

I haven´t written anything since I left Colombia so I have quite a bit of catching up to do. I´m going to summarise the last couple of months to fill in the blanks and then carry on as normal. Unfortunately the internet connection in La Paz is appallingly slow so I can't upload photos. All my photos from Ecuador are on Facebook so check them out on there. After leaving Colombia I went straight down to Quito, Ecuador. I couchsurfed for around five days with a couple - a German guy called Ingo and his Ecuadorian wife Jenny. They had recently moved from Barcelona and formed a small farm with Llamas, Goats, Sheep, Chickens, Geese, Turkeys, and a few dogs and cats. Quite a menagerie! I had fun helping out with the feeding, milked the Goats. ... read more

South America » Colombia » Bogota October 14th 2010

After my tour around South West Colombia I returned to Bogota to visit Angela and to do some more Salsa classes. As I had found a good Salsa teacher I thought it a good opportunity to learn more and I wanted to get to the point where I had mastered it to a usable standard. My teacher recommended that I make regular videos as feedback of my progress. This is the last video I made, about two weeks in to the lessons. My partner is another student at the school with a similar ability level to me. By this point my posture and the fluidity of movement had improved greatly and I'm quite happy with the progress. Unfortunately, for various reasons I wasn't able to shoot another video before finishing the classes. I had improved my ... read more

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