Thursday, June 30, 2011

Road Bumps and Petroglifos

Greetings all!!

As we´ve hit a few bumps in the road during our expedition, we are still in Arequipa though heading to Cusco tonight. Our team has had their ups and downs with health issues but at this point we are feeling better. Even though we lost a few days in Cusco, we are back on track with an updated itinerary that the group helped put together. They weighed the wants of the group and are still going to be able to incorporate all aspects of our trip. Tomorrow will be our first day in Cusco where we will spend 2 nights before heading on a 4 day trek. Unfortunately we will not be able to do Ausengante but we will see glaciar lakes, llamas and picturesque villages. We will then visit Machu Picchu :) and then onto our service project!

Yesterday we went to see Petroglifos and trekked up into the mountains. The group spent the day roaming around rocks and looking at all the carvings. The scenery was quite awesome because we left the green below as we entered the desert. Check out our photos to see exactly what I mean!! Petroglifos!

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer, and I know the group is excited to share all of their experiences with you all. They have come a long way in just over a week and Olga and I are excited to see them grow even more in the next 2 phases of our trip!

Ms. B

Sunday, June 26, 2011

In and Around Arequipa

Today is June 26th and I just cant believe that we have been in Peru for less than a week, so much has happened! After leaving the incredible sand dunes in Ica we caught an over night bus to Arequipa. Just looking out of the bus's windows was amazing. The early morning sun illuminated a stark landscape against a backdrop of snow caped mountains. Through this incredible vista wound a canyon filled with clouds! Later when we arrived at Arequipa I was atounded at the placment of this city with in a bowl rimmed by mountains. The entire city is dominated by the pristine peak of Mt. Misti, standing allone crowned with ice.
 The rest of the day we spent exploring Arequipa which included seeing the grand Plaza de Armas and shopping in for Peruvian goods in local shops. We also hit an interesting reasturant with a great view but food that would come back to haunt us. The following day we went on our first aclimitization trek around the base of Mt. Misti. It was a trip to remember with great views and that, for better or worse, was at high altitude. During the day some people began to feel a little rough (though by now they are much better and ready to tackle the excitment of Cuzco).

Today was an easy day after the challenges of our first hike. We slept in and those of us that felt up to it went on a short hike in the outskirts of Arequipa. After we met as a group and began to prepare and plan for Cuzco. At the end of the day we had a touching ceremony presided over by Olga. All in all Arequipa was a great place.

Pictures can be found at Arequipa

Friday, June 24, 2011

Paracas and Ica

Yesterday, June 23rd 2011, we started our day by taking a boat tour to the Ballestas Islands. Onthe 20km trip out to the islands, we encountered dolphins, however most of us only got to see its fins. Once we reached the islands, which were simply enormous rocks, we saw penguins, sea lions, pelicans, and various other birds. There wasn´t a spot on the rocks that wasn´t covered by a bird. One of the rock formations that we passed was the ancient Candelabra, which is a symmetrical mark on the face of an island that is said to be formed by Gods. As the tour progressed, we saw even more of the animals listed above, as well as rocks shaped like a elephants (Two parents and a baby!). We also got to hear the roars of sea lions amplified from inside of  cave! Finally, when the speed boat was returning to the shore, a few thousand black birds flew alongside the boat in the same direction. There was an entire line of birds just skimming the water as if they were racing the boat. It was beautiful, and we got plenty of pictures!   .     

Later on we took a bus to Ica. The surroundings of Ica were unique to me- all of the cars were unique and the traffic was crazy. Everyone seemed to be driving impulsively and honking for the fun of it, but for some reason this chaos worked for them. Later on in the day at about 4:30PM, we began our hike up the sand dunes of Huacachina. It was a challenge for everyone- as our legs propelled us forwards our feet sunk into the sand and slipped backwards. However everyone kept good spirits because we knew it would be worth it. Some people didn´t even want to because they didn´t believe they could, but we all got past these doubts and surpassed them when we reached the top. There were so many sand dunes! When we looked around, all we could see were sand dunes in the distance and the nearby hostels and a community. There were also two oasises, which added great contrast to the desert sand. Not only was the view gorgeous, but we all had a blast jumping into the sand and goofing off. At around 6:00PM we got to watch the sun set behind the sand, and later on as it grew dark we could see the lights of a nearby community. We took oodles of pictures of the sand dunes and of ourselves, it was, in my opinion, our first physcial and mental challenge, and we passed!

Check out more pictures at our Picasa site: Huacachina  Ballestas Islands Paracas

--Emily S.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day one in Lima

Hello Viewers!! So it is about 10 at night in our second night in the hostel with the adorable baby and wonderful couches (but ugly cockroaches) and we are wrapping up an eventful day to say the least We spent all day exploring the wonderfu city of Mira Flores where we just saw a random mariachi band on the street making us feel like we are actually all together in PERU for the first time!! <i would insert smiley face here but these spanish computers are confuzzling>. So basically all day we spent changing money, attempting to book millions (okay well maybe 5) different busses with almost no luck but we prevailed! We also bought an incountry mobile phone and navigated our way around. So as we spent our first day in a new culture we faced some challenging aspects, including adding the Ballestas Islands to our itinerary which we are very excited about.  We also had to learn how to talk on the phone in spanish...not the easiest...and how to kill cockroaches on the wall, and also not to mention the harrowing task of  trying to all fit around a miniscule table at the hostel in a 10 by 10 room
so all is well in PERU as we get settled in this new exciting place for the rest of our trip, and as we get ready to leavefor <paracas tomorrow morning and then travels to Arequipa the next day.
<love you challengers>
aka laura ostrow as typist!!!

Check out the some more pictures here: Picasa!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Arrival In Lima

Hey everyone! We spent all day traveling today. We left Franklin High at 6:30 and finally made it here in Peru at midnight (1:00 US time). We took a 3 hour plane ride from Boston to Miami. And a 5 hour plane ride from Miami to Lima. We had to navigate the airports and going through customs. We all made it her alive with all our gear and all our team members!  No one mugged us... we are all body guards ;) muaha (This is from Emily Doak). We all miss our families but we accomplished a lot in one full day of traveling. For some of us, we had to overcome the challenge of flying on a plane. We managed to communicate with our spanish speaking van driver, and found our way to the hostel. We all say hi to our families and we miss all of you!

-Doak and Catie

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Build Up Day

Today was the first offical day of our trip. We all checked all of our gear to make sure we had everything.  We also went through all the team gear, remebering what each thing is used for. We all had an awesome pot luck dinner with our parents. We all ran around the school in wheely chairs and are now sleeping over in the school library. Tomorrow night we finally be in Peru! We are super excited and cant wait for everything that is ahead!