Leena Beejadhur

The adventures of TJ and the Beej in South America

Leena Beejadhur

Africa » Mauritius » Quatre Bornes September 16th 2009

Hello all I thought I would write some final words to close the blog and draw the curtain on my travels. As I have told some of my friends, taking time off is the best thing I did for myself. At the risk of sounding zen, it has been an immensely rewarding experience. My travels have allowed me to rediscover myself and the values I hold dear, and it was a good test of my mettle. There were times I wanted to quit and go back home but I managed to find it in myself to press on. Undoubtedly, the hardest part was when I was travelling on my own. I take my hat off to people who do it for the long term. Whilst it is fun to meet new people, it is great to ... read more

South America » Peru » Arequipa » Colca Canyon September 5th 2009

This was not a planned hike. We met a lovely couple, Tim and Nancy, when we were doing Salkantay and they suggested that we would like Colca Canyon. We organised the trip from Arequipa and went for the two-night and three-day hike option. We also decided to do the off the track (i.e. harder) hike, which is called Llahuar. It was another 3.30 a.m. start. On the way to the start of the hike, we stopped at Cruz del Condor, which is where one can see condors flying on the warm air currents that rise from the Canyon. Fantastic. You can also see inca and pre-inca terraces which are on the side of the Canyon and still cultivated. The Canyon is not steep and there are many inhabited villages in it (most of them without electricity). ... read more
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South America » Peru » Arequipa » Arequipa September 5th 2009

After all our adventures in Manu, Salkantay and Puno, it was time to bid farewell to Cuzco and head to Arequipa, which was the second city in Peru after Lima (there is some dispute with Cuzco about that...). The sky was blue when we landed and we immediately fell in love with this colourful city. It is surrounded by snow capped mountains and volcanoes. Apperently when one of the Inca chiefs saw the region for the first town, he said in Quechua Language: "Ari quepay", which means "Yes, stay". Arequipa is also known as the Ciudad Blanca (White City) as a lot of the buildings there are made from silar, a white volcanic rock. Allegedly, it has 300 days of sunshine a year, which was not hard for us to believe as the sky was always ... read more
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South America » Peru » Cusco » Manu National Park September 3rd 2009

After Salkantay, we gave ourselves a few hours of rest and then set off for our next adventure, Manu Biosphere. Rest is overrated anyway, and we were really excited at the thought of spending eight days in the jungle. Having been born and bred in the tropics, I thought that the insect factor would not really faze me- I was going to be proved very wrong indeed. Read on, reader... We left at 4.30 am (another early start) and set off in a coach - there was a dozen or so of us. The Manu Biospehere is a protected reserve in the Peruvian Amazonian Basin. Annu decided that she was going to wear her flipflops. After all we were going to the jungle - how cold could it be? Well, we did have to go up ... read more
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South America » Peru » Cusco » Salkantay Trail August 25th 2009

We sadly bid farewell to Rupal when we came back from Titicaca. I forgot to mention that Rupal has a better sense of direction than me and that I was relying on her to get around Cuzco... Annu and I wanted to do the Inca trail, but it requires booking months ahead. So we did the alternative Inca trail, Salkantay, which is one of the hardest trek to get to Machu Picchu (we didn't really know this at that point in time!). Salkantay in Quechua means the "savage one", which we didn't know before we set off. In any case, after Titicaca, we thought that we would have one more day of rest before setting off on the Salkantay trail to Machu Picchu. It was not meant to be. There were some strikes that were planned ... read more
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South America » Peru » Puno » Lake Titicaca August 25th 2009

When Rupal and I came back from Machu Picchu, we met up with Annu. There is no rest for the wicked, so the next day we took the bus to Puno, which is on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. It is shared by Peru and Bolivia and there is a Peruvian joke that says "the Peruvians got the titi side whilst the Bolivians go the caca side". The trip to Puno itself was interesting. We took the Inca Express, which a bus that stops in a few noteworthy locations along the way, the most notable of which, were the church in San Pedro de Andahuaylillas (it is beautifully decorated and is filled with gold and silver!) and Raqchi, an interesting archeological site. Lake Titicaca is beautiful with clear blue ... read more
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South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu August 25th 2009

OK, I went to Machu Picchu twice, once with Rupal and once with Annu. Rupal and Annu did not overlap very much, so we only managed to have one trip to Lake Titicaca together. The first visit was definitely chilled out as we took the taxi-train-bus option. The second, much more hardcore, as it involved camping and hiking. More on these adventures later. Ollantaytambo The train leaves from a town called Ollantaytambo. Somehow, it is much faster to go to Ollanta than taking the train from Cusco itself due to a combination of steep terrain and Perurail. Ollanta itself is a cute little town, much more than a thoroughfare to the Sacred Valley and the Inca trail. It has been built on top of original Inca foundations, and I believe is one of the best surviving ... read more
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South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco » Cusco August 24th 2009

Rupal and I really loved Cusco. It was a welcome change from Lima, although much much colder. It is also quite high up so the altitude does require some getting used to. It is also quite hilly, so by the time you walk from your hostel to the Plaza, you are quite out of breath. Cusco is the ancient Inca capital and a lot of the new buildings are built on the original inca settlements. The Inca stonework can be seen in many places still. It is truly beautiful, lots of museums (I use the term loosely, an amalgamation of artefacts does not make a building a museum) and churches. The other thing we noticed is that the people in Cuzco definitely looked more indigenous. A lot of them were actually quite shorter than me, which ... read more
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South America » Peru » Lima » Lima August 24th 2009

Hello hello hello. Long time no write. I have been in Peru, for longer than I thought I would be. Seven weeks if my maths serve me right. I was only supposed to be there for a month and then make my way to Ecuador. But it was not meant to be. Peru is a fabulous country and in seven weeks you barely scratch the surface. Nevertheless, we managed to fit quite a lot in the time we were there. We hiked to Machu Picchu, went to the Amazon Basin in Manu, hiked down the second deepest canyon in the world, went to the highest navigable lake in the world, chilled out by the beach and saw many pre-Inca and Inca ruins. This leg of the trip started when my friend Rupal met me in Lima, ... read more
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South America » Chile July 11th 2009

I saved the best for last. San Pedro de Aacama is a small town in the middle of the desert, close to the Bolivian and Argentian borders and is rightly considered the archeological capital of Chile. It used to be the centre of the Atacameño culture before the arrival of the Spaniards. It does look very indigenous with all the construction made from adobe. It is a great base to explore this side of the world and at an altidude of 2,400m, requires some getting used to! The recommendation is to drink coca tea or chew on coca leaves and avoid any strenuous physical activities for two days. I don´t know what they mean by strenuous but I was winded just by carrying my back pack from the bus station to the hostel. It does get ... read more
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