- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.ZOSg03mN.dpuf Katie Nugent Photography: December 2009


the day went downhill

When we left off, I had revealed our harrowing journey from La Paz to Copacabana. At the time, the Momma bear was feeling a little "off" and yet she soldiered on, displaying a brave face, even though it looked green. When we arrived at our hostel in Puno, Peru (yes we had to cross the border once again!) we put her straight to bed, hoping a good night's sleep would erase whatever was causing her ashen appearance.

Unfortunately plans rarely go the way we organize them. In fact during the middle of the night I awoke to find my body performing the jitterbug, my teeth chattering to set the tempo. I piled on every article of clothing I had and when the not-so-good vibrations refused to stop, I woke my bedroom buddy, Mags, our newly minted nurse in the family, and begged for help. She opened her bag of pharmaceuticals (it's a wonder she never got searched during all those border crossings), concocted a nice little potion and put me back to bed. In my drugged up stupor the last thing I remember was her saying her belly wasn't feeling great. And then came the welcomed coma I sank into for the remainder of the night.

The morning found Momma bear, head first in the toilet, a sure sign the good night's sleep prescription had failed. When she vacated her post, our little nursing darling, ran in to take up her position. Somewhere in the night her belly had contorted to bring out, ummm, everything.

Molly and I, being historically squeamish, left the bombing beauties to their commode lovin' and raced to the soundproof breakfast area. There we spoke of lovely things and ignored the predicament at hand completely. The predicament being how to get two spewing, backfiring bellas onto the bus without causing calamity. We also ignored the fact that neither of us was feeling good, instead using the tried and true technique of -- fake it 'til you make it. Which meant using only positive and affirming statements like "I feel amazing!"

Molly pretending everything & everyone was "amazing"

Luckily we only had one near disaster right before loading the bus, when Maggie stopped mid step and hunched over the gutter, bringing her face right close to a forgotten doggie dodo, bringing on even more gagging. I yelled at her to find a washroom immediately as I refused to be part of the canadian unloading her guts into the gutter along with the dog shit pile, a tact that scared her or inspired her to find a more private venue.

this might have been the only time Maggie left her bus cocoon.
However once we loaded the bus we all felt safe and secure in our little bus womb, with it's plush, wide seats and onboard facilities. If anyone disbelieved that heaven exists they need to get their bums on that bus. And we were not the worst of the bunch. No there was an older man attached to an air mask who looked far more ashen than the four of us combined.

she wasn't even wearing lipstick... a bad sign indeed.
Over the course of the day we stopped at "must-see" spots, including a little incan house with pet llamas, alpaca and guinea pig. Although I don't actually believe they were pets but merely edible animals, still it was nice to pet them. At the last stop outside of Cusco we entered an old church undergoing extensive repairs. Half the church had been renovated while the other half awaited it's makeover, an interesting paradox to see. Poor momma bear who is usually so filled with inquiry went to ask our guide about something but once she realized the amount of effort it would take to grab his attention and figure out the proper spanish wording, she shut her mouth and plopped down on the bench. "I don't even care," she said. Which made both Molly and I stare mouth agape, taking stock of this once in a lifetime moment. Our mother, keeping quiet and no burning questions of minute detail to ask... maybe this travel sickness wasn't so bad after all.
yes this is me singing to an Alpaca, it was part of my "positive" affirmations

PS have you seen waitress? I loved it so very much it's on my top ten.


travel days can be crappy...

Travel days have a tendency to be annoying. Especially when there is distance to cover and borders to cross. Numerous times. Why, you ask, did we need to cross the Bolivian/Peruvian borders a number of times? Well my friends let me tell you the tale...

We awoke fresh as can be in La Paz, ready to see the highest lake in the world: Lake Titicaca. Oh we had plans, yes we did. We would arrive at the lake by noon and enjoy a lavish buffet of fine bolivian delicacies, and then we'd board a catamaran to take us to Isle Del Sol, the very birth place of the Incan Empire. Excited we were, oh yes indeed.

So onto the bus we boarded. Cuddled two by two into our pleasantly uncomfortable seats. Not a problem, oh no. We are travelers here to rough it. Moments later we arrived outside a Hostel International hostel. Shortly after a number of grimy brits, all stinking of stale booze with an equally sour look on each of their faces, infested our bus. (note to self: I do not miss that aspect of backpacking. Thank the lord I have become sophisticated) (readers note: some of my best friends are brits so I'm allowed to hate on some travelers. In fact we met a couple of people from BC who were so awful I considered telling people we were american, but that's another story)

Anyways, onwards we drove, out of the city and out into the countryside. But wait. Aren't we suppose to be surrounded by lovely bolivian scenery passing by? The scenery looked awfully brown. Not lovely at all. In fact it looked suspiciously like the scenery described in our travel guide under the heading: THE ROUTE NOT TO TAKE TO LAKE TITCACA. Hmmmmm....

And then it came... the brief notice that the other (read: more scenic and quicker) road to Lake Titicaca had been washed out in a flash flood and we would be taking the long way around. Not a problem, we can go with the flow.

And as we were going with the flow our own bladders begin to overflow. Molly and I began to bounce uncomfortably in our seats as we realized we had overlooked the fact that there was no washroom on board. So Molly, being the take action kind of girl she is, asked the driver to pull over. Anywhere. Pronto. Ten minutes they said. But in Bolivia ten minutes is not the same as in Canada. Nope. For each canadian minute you can add an additional 5 bolivian minutes. As I watched my sister bite her nails down to nubbins and point out every passing pee-able spot, I began to wonder if we shouldn't have bought a P-mate; the tool that allows women to pee standing up. Just as I was considering how to MacGyver our own P-mate the bus pulled over and we rushed to the ladies. Only to find it locked. There in the middle of nowhere we found ourselves a toilet behind locked doors, which would not or could not be unlocked. Deep breath. We'll squat. Yep. Squat we did right next to the horrified brit boys who were relieving themselves behind a wall. Sorry emergency.

Three hours later, we found ourselves at the border crossing. Which was funny because we weren't actually suppose to be going across the border. We were suppose to be going to Copacabana, Bolivia. Not crossing to Peru until later. Hmmmm...

But we were good little tourists and lined up to have our passports stamped. Time ticked and we waited. The brit kids bitched, we waited. Our catamaran departure time passed, we waited. Mom got a little heat strokish, we waited. Finally, an hour and a half later, our passports were stamped and we boarded the bus. So no bolivian delicacies buffet, no Isle Del Sol, no nothing but a stamp in our passport and one nauseated mom.

I could go on. I could tell you about the confusion of everyone being told they had to pay their fare a second time because their tickets had mysteriously disappeared. I could tell you about the brits who screamed and stamped their feet forcing the bus to pull over when they refused to pay. I could tell you about the second time we crossed the border a mere 35 miles from the other border and then crossed back to Bolivia by foot because the bus couldn't cross the border. But it wouldn't matter. Because in the end our little tour guide who's name escapes me, came through and delivered a very sweet alternative which had us out on a private boat cruising around Lake Titicaca and checking out the floating islands created entirely of reeds. So the crap travel day turned out to be not so bad because he made an effort and we decided to go along with it. After all it's what you have to do when you're on the road. Just go with the flow... as long as there's a toilet near by.


Oh boy.

Did three weeks really just go by? I'm feeling slightly sheepish at my muteness, but alas dear readers I was caught up in pretending to be a gypsy for those three weeks. My little heart couldn't have loved every moment anymore than it did. You see, secretly I've always thought of myself as a wandering soul. I can't get enough of other people and other cultures and other lands. Like a kid meandering along the beach, collecting rocks and seashells and feathers, I'd like to take a big scoop and fill my pockets up with everything I see and do and hear and think whilst travelling. Then I'd bring everything home, line it up on my countertop and examine it closely from every angle. Since that's not really possible I just had to be present in those passing moments, so I'm sorry if I got caught up and stayed away from this little haven of mine.

I hope you will forgive me and enjoy my snippets of images and stories from Bolivia, Peru and Argentina. TO savour the trip a little bit longer, I thought I would break it up into segments that way you have more tales to read and images to digest.

Let's begin with La Paz, Bolivia...

I had never really thought about Bolivia. It wasn't one of those places that beckoned me. We really only decided to fly through La Paz to help us acclimatize to the altitude. BUT I loved it. I don't know why. We slept the entire first day; the altitude made a flight of 20 stairs feel like what I would think an IronMan triathlon might feel like; our hands and feet were constantly tingling from the altitude pills we were taking; I didn't speak the language, or at least not cohesively; but I fell in love. There was just something that makes me want to go back and explore. Like a really great movie preview that leaves you desperate to find the film. Here's a few shots I took, some from the hip, some with a little more care.

Street Shots:

Side Streets La Paz, Bolivia

Building, La Paz Bolivia

Candy Shop, La Paz Bolivia

Evening Market, La Paz Bolivia

Street Vendors, La Paz Bolivia

San Francisco Cathedral, La Paz Bolivia
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