Oct 30 2018

And here I go, finally sit on the airplane (the first one, headed to Frankfurt). Who would have thought, after all the unforeseen of today...! Oh yes, cuz I did risk of not being able to fly! In fact, less than 20 hours before the flight, I discovered I'd bought a ticket for 3 and half months in Peru, while the visa maximum time in Peru is 90 days..!! :D Poor my beloved André, who did not go to physiotherapy to call Edreams to fix this problem for me... (he does not pay the calls).

The rest of the day was a crazy run, to finish empty the house. How to forget Mário, André and I descending the couch down from the fourth floor of my old house (after that Mário had smartly provided to block the sofa at the door :D).

At night, I went as usual for dinner with André at Zona Franca, an anarchic cultural association, and, surprise surprise, there were there my friends, who André had called for a farewell surprise party!! André, so nice, knew that the previous Saturday I felt a bit sad because I did not organize properly a farewell party and so many people did not come... and so decided to make me such a great surprise - I always wished to have a surprise party!!! :)) I'm bringing with me, physically and in my heart, the t-shirt with all their dedications :)

Finally arrived at Lima, without... my luggage! My backpack was kept in Lisbon, because... I put inside an inflamable camping gas!! :D At the airport I was picked up by Javier, a taxi, friend of my dear friend and colleague Juan Valqui, who safely brought me to Juan's house, in a residential neighborhood, called Surco.

I was very happy to meet Juan again, after that we, together with Alejandro Valenzuela (from Argentina) and Max Sepúlveda (from Chile), met in an otter conference in Brasil almost 5 years ago. It was also great to meet his German companion Maria, and their children Emilio e Leo, two adorable kids! :)

One day, we went at the beach (Punta Hermosa, playa del silencio). Soon after we arrived, early morning (around 8:30AM), we saw for a long time dolphins, quite near the beach. Later, we met Rose, a woman friend of Juan and Maria, very sociable and friendly, who is going to make a retreat of permaculture and bioconstruction at the Tikibamba place, the same one that Maria João suggested me (unfortunately, it seems that they have cancelled the retreat for now).
At a certain moment, Emilio asked where my belly was hahahaha He's so sweet, though his parents revealed that he had quite a tough and difficult character up to relatively recently. Leo is more unpredictable and estroverse.

Maria is still accustoming to Lima (and Peru, in general), she misses her mother and some commodities from Germany, of course. She's sweet and I've to say that I love these two guys, I find them very united and admire them, as parents and as a young couple trying to do their best to raise their children.
I've been treated very well by Juan and Maria, and really felt at home.

After few hours from my arrival, my Tinder, (oh yes, I did it for curiosity when I was in Portugal, maybe some 3 months ago) which in around 3 months maybe gave something like 7-8 matches in total, literally exploded of matches... hahaha So I decided to nurture my curiosity and the first evening went out with Carolina, a young, but very mature and pleasant person. We walked along the park in Miraflores, sharing the stories of our lives.

In the following days, I cooked hand-made pasta for Maria and Juan - If my friends from Portugal would know, they'd kill me...!! (I keep promising them I'd do that for them :D).

After some days, Alejandro, our Argentinian friend and otter colleague, came... And the 4th of November, finally, my luggage too!


Nov 03 2018

Yesterday ice-breaking event (in a bar, in Barranco, the bohemian neighborhood of Lima), and today, the otter workshop! Juan organized everything well.
We were 30 or 40 people, the environment was very familiar.
All talks were in Spanish, including mine - first time ever to try to public speak in Spanish! hahaha


Nov 04 2018

Today was the day of otter sightseeing at Punta Corrientes! (some one hour and half south from Lima). With all the otter workshop group (or most of it).
After some hours of waiting, in this beautiful locality (a huge, luxurious private property on the Peruvian coast, visited by some fishermen fishing with hand line - they took loooots of fish in front of us - and many sea birds, including pelicans), we finally saw a "chungungo"! A marine otter (Lontra felina). They're so small!! :) And amazingly able to swim in the middle of strong waves...

In the morning, we had panes al horno, and in the noon, after the sightseeing, we all went to lunch ceviche (at Pez-on)


Nov 06 2018

Alejandro and I flew to Cusco! At 6AM, with two different, but concurrent flights. When I arrived, he was already there since some 15-20 minutes. Enough to start feeling bad due to the "soroche", the altitude sickness. Thinking that then I'd also feel bad, I started to chew coca leaves, found for free at some airport shops, and we both drank mate de coca (coca tea). I did not feel anything but slow and with some difficulty in hair-breathing, and, after some time, just a little bit of head-hache. Ale, instead, felt quite bad, so I also took some altitude pills.

We then went to Machupichu Reservations, to pay the trek and receive instructions. While there, I also bought a "charango", a small, local mandoline (the question is: why the hell I do that? I know I'd never play it!! :D)


Nov 07 2018

Stupidly, we had booked the Salkantay Trek the following day, at less than 24 hours from our arrival in Cusco, whereas generally they advise for at least 2-3 days of acclimatation in the city. Not only, we also went out, reciprocally with our tinderella (me with Janet, a shy, interesting woman from Lima, but leaving in Cusco. We had a pleasant dinner and chat at the nice restaurant Organika) and grinderino (Ale with a guy working in a restaurant. After dinner, they had, hem... sex :D) friends, as well as slept only 1.5 hours!!! (poor Ale, we were almost sure I'd be at home, so I took the key, but instead make later than him, so I had to return home, open the house for him, and then accompany Janet home, and then, when I got back home, I had to make my luggage, waking Ale up.. :D).

So, very tired from the previous night, and not acclimated at all (:D), we were picked up at 2AM, to start a trip of 2-3 hours by van, which ended up to be very surreal...
The driver, first stopped during the way to pea, which is ok. Then, despite he was mentioning all the time that we were late and should hurry otherwise the rest of the group (from the 5 days trek) would leave us, stopped for about 5 minutes to try to remove an horse from the road, without succeeding, and more importantly without that this was actually necessary (we could pass on the horse's side, without him to be moved). Further, the man also spent some 3 minutes on the side of a house, at 3:30AM, I think yelling in quechua the name of the house's owner, to tell him that her left the door of his house open. After waiting for about 3-5 minutes, without nobody answering or even caring about the yells of our driver (of course, everybody should be asleep at that hour!!!), we continued our crazy trip. Up to the next stop...
When, at 4AM and very dead-tired, Ale and I had to descend the car and pull and push it out of the mud and a river that the driver tried to cross without success :D

After this, we finally arrived at the point where we left the car, after paying 10 soles each for the entrance of the trek, and straight after started the real hike, somewhere around 4-4:30AM, to reach the rest of the group (of the 5 days trek), at 6AM, at the refuge where they spent the night.
Right after a very nice breakfast all together, we thus started the "real" trek - Ale being already quite bed, poor him - of several hours, up to ~4700m.
Since Ale was in poor conditions and therefore had to walk very slow, I made him company, and we were literally left behind. The guide, Aurelio, just waited for us, with the rest of the group, every, say, half an hour, but just the time for us to reach them, and then they went away right after, so we basically made all the trek by ourselves. Including, we lost the group picture!! Moreover, when, already in the descendent part of the trek, Ale, which had asked the guys from the tour (Machupicchu Reservations) if he had to buy oxygen and they told him not, as the guide would have it and would give us, if necessary, asked Aurelio if he should take some oxygen, and Aurelio replied that it would turn better now, as we were descending...

After stopping for lunch, at a lower altitude, Ale start to finally feel better, and with this he recovered his Argentinian teatral art of speaking hehehe We had a nice time - most of the group (which included: Ellen, a Dutch girl, Amélie, french girl, Arhold (?), a Norway man, ... (?), a weird Hungarian man, Laura, an italian girl, -Hannah, a German girl, Steven, an american/New Zealand man, Barry, an Irish guy, a German man, a guy from New York, Cécile and Jerome, a french couple, plus some other 3-4 people) told us that before our arrival they were kind of bored :D

The descending part of the trek was not only easier, as much different, with the landscape changing from cold, altiplanos, mountains and valleys to lower tropical forests and waterfalls.
Aurelio at a certain point took a native plant, seems like a fern, with small, blue berries, and used these to paint the face of all the girls, explaining that these fruits are traditionally used by locals to paint clothes and other things.

The lunchs and dinners were always nice, prepared with care by the chef, and our heavier luggage was brought by mules - so many of them (from the many companies managing the tours) across the trek!

An interesting part was also a break, in the middle of the descending part, where we saw a neotropical otter ("ucati"), a weasel ("comadreja") and a ocelot ("tigrillo") killed and stuffed, and the woman in a kiosk told us many local stories about their interactions with fauna, including that ucatis eat a lot of "granadillas", a fruit with big seeds, and that they die because of this (constipation), or that the Andean bear has to be respected, as if you respect him he'll not eat all your corn, but if not, you'll instead.

DAY 11

Nov 09 2018

The last day of the three days Salkantay Trek, we got to Machupichu. What an amazing, though intense, hike! And spectacular view! Inkas were really incredibly able to bring there all those heavy, giant stones, as well as to work them and make with them incredibly clean, regular, beautiful and strong walls! The site is so hided in the middle of the mountains and of a river valley, that one can understand why the Spaniards did not find it, when they were destroying all the rest of the Inkas' empire.

During the hike, Ale was better than the previous days, but still quite suffering, although this did not prevent him to flirt with all the awesome men he encountered on the road hahah We both hike also the Montaña (quite hard!), while Ale did not want to go up to the Sun gate. I went, and it was worth it, as you've a different view of the valley from there. Was very tired, though, so I missed the Inka bridge.

In the end, we got a couple of cold beers at the end of the Machupichu tour, coupled with a couple of pisco sours :)

We got down by bus (40 soles each, if I remind well), and then got the train to Aguas Calientes, where we slept the night and the following day we got a hot bath for 20 minutes, before to take the train back to Cusco, where we arrived at ~11PM, after a quite cold trip by bus.

DAY 12

Nov 10 2018

Ale woke up with fever and trembling. After all, I, the "european" from the "first world" (Ale called me like this because of my filtering bottle and water pills), was safe, and never had diarrea, but he got the traveller sickness.
I cooked for both, went to retire our luggages from Machupichu Reservations and claim them about the fact that we apparently had paid 10 dollars more each (was finally able to get the money back), etc. We stayied at home, recovering from the tireness of the trekking.

DAY 13

Nov 11 2018

Sunday early morning, at around 6AM, while Ale was preparing his luggage to fly back to Argentina, still quite sick, we both feel an earthquake.
He left, and I stayed mostly at home, in this Arbnb house (which I think he paid, but am not 100% sure), to think a little bit about my trip plans. I was in need of some time alone, just to think at this.

The following day, I've changed and moved to the Inka Wild Hostel, where I met again Cécile and Jerome, the french couple from the Salkantay trek, and explored the beautiful city of Cusco.

DAY 15

Nov 13 2018

Today at 4:30AM (for 50 soles, transportation from the hostel and breakfast and lunch included + 10s the entrance for the mountain and 10s for the red valley) I went in this tour (I was actually very much tempted to do it by myself, but then I realized I only had 1-2 days left, so I decided to do it with an organized your) to the Rainbow Mountain (Apu Winincunka) and Red Valley, in the Ausangate valley (6800m).

The guide told us that the colors are due to the erosion, and to the minerales such as copper, hiron, sulf. 80-100 years ago it was not visible, covered with snow.
The best period to go there is May to September. After this, rain and fog prevent the view most of the time.
The mountain, discovered 3 years ago by alpinist headed to the Ausangate glacier, belongs to the local community (the money from the tickets go to them :)), half to Cusipata (shortern path) and half (longer & harder) to Pitumarca.

We went there by bus, up to Cusipata ("pueblo feliz", en quechua), where we stopped for lunch, prepared in one of these private houses which are adapted as simple restaurants.
Then, we continued up to Llacto (not sure about its exact name, though), where we started our hike to AMAZING rainbow mountain and red valley!!!! :)))

In the bus, I sit aside to Alberto, a marine biologist from Trama (in the Andes), who studies algae in Lima. When he saw I was rather curious and interested in local history and culture, he told me a looooot, for hours! Here some of the points he told me about:

- The Inkas and the war with the Spaniards . The latter won because of the internal wars, between Inkas successors, who were already mining the Inkas empire. The Inkas only had relationships with their parents. One day, Pachacutec had a son with a servant. The son was called Atahualpa, and nobody did notice the fact. Then, Pachacutec had another son, this time with his wife. This son was called Huasca. When Pachacutec died, his wife wanted her son to be the successor, but, of course, the servant had the same expectation...
Thus, internal wars started, as the servant, who had lot of influence, reunited all the other (non-Inka) populations, which had been oppressed by the Inkas. Atahualpa killed Huasca, goes to the North, where there were more rebelds, in Cajamarca, and claims himself Inka (which, as Cristian, the guide of the free walking tour told us, was the name only used for the emperors and nobles, the rest of the people were not Inkas). In this moment, the Spaniards came, met two native men, called one of them "Felipillo", he was dressed by gold, so they asked him the origin of that gold and he brought them to Cajamarca. In this way they took Atahualpa, betrayed him, asking him all the gold and silver, he offered 2/4 of his treasure (indicating the level with his hand), they wanted more, as they did ear that there was more gold in Cusco (Qosqo, but it was difficult for them to pronounce it, so it was changed to Cusco), they evangelized him (his catholic name became Juan Santos Atahualpa), cut his tongue (as he did not want to kiss the bible), and killed him, beheading him. The Inkas in Cusco did know about his death through the "chasquis" (young messengers who were use to run the Inkas trails, patrolling and informing the whole empire), and proclaim a new Inka, called Mancoinka, who had 3 sons, which were the last resistance. The Spaniards were helped by the rebel populations, one of the most aggressive was the "Chankas".
In one of these battles, the Inkas saw a "thunderbolt", which actually was the cannon of the Spaniards , who said to the people that one of the angels, Santiago, went down to earth to help them (the Spaniards ). This is why so many villages are called Santiago. The last resisting the Spanish invasion was Tupac Amaru I. So, from 1500 to 1700, Peru has saw colonization, slavery of native people (in the mines), evangelization.
The Church convinced the people that they would free them from the three main rules with which the Inkas were use to control them (don't kill, don't steal, don't be lazy), and then betrayed them, sending them in the mines, etc.

- The Spaniards wanted all Inkas' gold, so the Inkas started to hide the gold under the earth, which explains why Peru has still much gold underground. When gold is found, for instance when mining, an animal is sacrificed.
From here it also comes the story of a man who found gold under his house, and from that moment on started to dream of an old man who told him that he should sacrifice his youngest daughter. The man refused and so all his sons, daughters and wife died in accidents, he got crazy, and went to the road, naked, where he was hit by a car. His house is still uninhabited...

- The terrorism by the Peruvian communist party (very strong in Ayacucho), led by José Carlos Mariategui, and then Abilmail Guzman, who changed the name in "el partido comunista peruano por el sendero luminoso de José Carlos Mariategui", which ended up being called "el sendero luminoso", which turned out in the more radical party, with many killings, car bombs, in the name of the "ajusticiamiento popular" (popular justice)...
The APRA party, funded by the intelectual Victor Raul Haya de la Torre, supported that the government should be elitist, only of the intellectuals.
His protege, Alan Garcia, was able to become Peru's president when he was 28 years old!! He left Peru in an inflation status worse than the actual of Venezuela, escaping in France.
The other protege of de la Torre, Polaicampo, who was older (35 years old), got frustrated and decided he'd get the power with the armies, and thus formed the revolutionary movement Tupac Amaru.
Thus, in the '85s, Peru was sorrowing with inflation, two terrorist parties, going out of a dictatorship.... That's why, Alberto tells me, that Peruvians are all over the world, as in this period many of them escaped, leaving the country.

- In this period, a right-wind representant, Mario Vargas Llosa, which was a TV journalist and writer, and who, according to Alberto, had a good political project, candidates in the '90.
His rival was Alberto Fujimori, which was supported by the left-wind parties, for his motto "sciencia, tecnologia y trabajo" (science, technology and job), strongly opposing Llosa's project, and the people believed in Fujimori (despite, Alberto says, the latter never accepted any public confrontation with Llosa, as he had no actual political project, only pure populism - what a novelty, I think..!!).
So Fujimori won, and Llosa went to Spain, where starts to write, becoming famous writing books, winning a Nobel Prize with his work "El guerreiro celta".
In another of his books, in the last page he ends by asking "en que momiento se hodeo el Peru?" (when Peru fucked itself?).

- From the 2000s, up to the 2012, there were many investments, says Alberto, unluckily all of them privatizing everything (telephone, electricity, health, university, etc but the water), as well as a lot of corruption, and lot of concessions, with combined procurements, etc...

DAY 16

Nov 14 2018

Today was the first time I benefited from the free breakfast from the hostel (Inka Wild hostel, 20s, decent), in company of Cécile and Jerome, the french couple met at the Salkantany trek.

Then, I went to the free walking tour of Cusco, starting from the hostel, led by Cristian, young, smart Peruvian guy (from Urubamba), who told us (me, Martin & Judit, a english guy and a girl from Barcelona, and Itamar, an Israeli guy, part of the army, who revealed frankly that he joined the army because he did a lot of money, and then negotiated an impermeable coat by a seller on the road pretending to pay it 1 sole... :D) about the Corichanpa, the Inkas' sun temple, the San Blas neighborhood, the Plaza de Armas, etc.

Cristian also likes to climb and arranged me a possibility to climb with his friend for 70s. His grandfather was a shaman, and he's quite into Ayuhasca and similar stuff. He told me he could sense I was bringing with me some weight or something, saying, after that I was telling him I broke up one year ago, that he'd imagined that... I felt this a bit strange (besides the fact that I don't think I'm actually feeling the weight of my past story anymore). But he also gave me a nice idea, telling me that I can volunteer at the hostel, at the bar, for 6 days per week, 6h per day, having accommodation and 40% discount at the restaurant. I've checked it and it's true, but I've to compromise for at least 1 week, so I'll see.

In the afternoon, I hang out with a girl from couchsurfing, Brenda, very nice girl, open-minded, easy-going, friendly. She's from Lima, worked in an italian ice cream shop, and moved since 4 months to Ollataytanbo, where now works in a restaurant. We were then joined by Lijia, a Brenda's friend from Guatemala, who works with an ONG which works with textile and local producers, quite woman. Brenda offered us a free meal in the restaurant where she works, but I've missed it cause I'd to go to the hostel to ree-book a further night there, and there I got distracted by playing ping pong and speaking with Jennifer, a Brazilian hostess :)

Then called Paola, the woman from Tinder who got me the most (we did not see each other, when I was in Lima, but we spent most of the following days chatting, sharing pictures, stories, and callings, developing even some feelings), telling her that I knew that I don't have to go anymore to Manu, and that therefore I'm free and really considering to go there in Lima to stay with her... Trying to understand if that makes any sense hehe She's so nice... She invited me to go and said that she'd find the way to stay with me as much as possible.

The night, I had dinner with Laura, the italian from the Salkantay trek, at Marcelo Batata, quite expensive but very good. We shared our sentimental stories (she's going to Mexico, to see her companion and try to understand if he really wants something with her).

DAY 17

Nov 15 2018

Today has been very random, with a nice coincidence: during the breakfast at the hostel I met three young girls and discover that are biology students from Lima going to a Mastozoology congress in Cusco, starting in 15 minutes near the hostel!! I went with them :) to listen and especially to see and maybe make some contacts with local researchers.
Unluckily all the presentations of today were on rodents, but the last invited talk was a good one, by Silvio Marchini, from Sao Paulo, who collaboraste with Wildcru, working with human dimensions and large carnivore.
After the congress, I met a woman professor in Peru, working with diseases (think she's vet, but not sure), who took my contact (told her I'm kind of searching for a part-time job/volunteering), and had a chat with Silvio and even thought about postponing my trip to Lima to take his three days course (Carlos, the congress organizer, not very nice actually, but gave me his number and told me I could participate in the course, which costs 250s), but then decided to not miss the weekend with Paola.

So here I'm, on a 22h bus trip (booked on Redbus or Busbud. I chose one from the company Tepsa, 123s, but there were offers from 60s, without wifi, blankets and meals, though)), to a city which did not impress me at all. an to which I would have only thought. to go. back fore the flight back fo Portugal, changing my plans to see what this sentiment, emotions and attraction for this cute Peruvian girl are... :) <3

The trip is going ok, although the wifi stopped working after just a couple of hours, preventing me to book an house on Arbnb and to communicate with Paola. Up to light hours, I could see we crossed many crops with beautiful mountains behind, and some scattered villages with most of the buildings typically not finished or under construction (almost always without being painted the external walls), often with some colorful written such as "Santiago", or "Somos Peru", "Franco", etc.
We also passed through an area with an intense rain and storm, and did hear 2-3 storms very strong and acute breaking relatively near us.

DAY 18

Nov 16 2018

I woke up in the bus around 5:30AM and was quite worried by noting the presence of a blood corpse in my mouth, due to the problem on the gengiva.. went to the bathroom and removed it and washed my mouth, hoping that the situation would stop and not worsen (water here is not that clean..).

Arrived at Lima around 2PM and Paola was there, shyningly waiting for me. The old woman on her side kidding with us, saying that she was a very good woman and I should take her with me in Italy hehehe
We went directly to the Arbnb house of Mariana, in San Borja district, with a "killer" combi hehe these little van/buses that are noisy as hell, with the guys/women working on them yelling very loud to ask clients to hop on or to descend :D

Once at home, we basically spent the whole 3 days there, "knowing ourselves"... :) She's cute, very passionate, funny, and very talkative. Watches too much TV, though :D

DAY 19

Nov 17 2018

DAY 21

Nov 19 2018

On Monday, early morning, we both left the house, she went to work, I went with Juan at his University (with all my luggage..!!), for some talks on marine biology and to actually know his work place.

After these, I had a nice chat with Isabell, the German trainee of Juan, at a bar, while we were waiting for Juan and Rodolfo (the archaeologist) who were in a meeting. She told me about her family problems, with her father's behavior and how this affected her and even more her littler brother. She also gave me a nice idea, to try make up a crowdfunding project to finance my otter children book idea (and therefore my trip ;)).

Then, Juan and I went to his house, where I've re-met Maria and the adorable Emilio and Leo :)) Leo this time told me I've lot of hairs on the body, but none on the head :D He also said that his father should stay at home with them, and when Juan asked "but then, who'd study the otters??", he replied "ah, Lorenzo will do that!" :D :D

At night, I had dinner alone at the Tanta, eating a tamalito verde and Aji de gallina mmm...!! Very good.

DAY 22

Nov 20 2018

The following day, basically I spent all the day at the dentist. I got the teeth cleaned and treated - apparently I had 8 caries!! :O The dentists were smooth, at least. And the insurance should cover everything, so not bad.
At lunch I eat a sandwich with fresh cheese and olives and a tamal con pollo, plus a big chocolate cake in a vegan bar (quite expensive and not worth it, though. Or only worth it for the nice and sweet Venezuelan girl on the balcony hehehe).

Once at home, I discovered that there may be some strange movements in my bank account, fearing that my card has been cloned I've called to the bank, and a young girl told me that the service was close and that I should call the following day, and gave me a number to call, which appeared to be the same I did call! On top of this, the call, which lasted maximum 2 minutes and, as such, should cost me maximum 1-2€, apparently did cost me more than 25€!!! I sent an email to both the bank and the mobile companies, asking for money back, threatening them to cancel my contract with them. And now I don't know what to do, because I certainly don't want to call again for another 25€'s call, but otherwise I don't know how I'll check out if my card has been cloned or not! Affff.....

At night, after a light dinner and when the children were at bed, Juan showed me some videos of Koricancha, a Chilean kind of spontaneous clown (quite funny! :D), after that I told him about my idea of making something similar but with an underlying environmental education message.

DAY 23

Nov 21 2018

Today, I worked at laptop in the morning (sending emails to ask to volunteer, etc), and then spent ALL the afternoon walking, before alone from Surco to Miraflores, where I met Ysanae, and then with her to Barranco, where we had dinner (lomo saltado, ceviche y jalea de pescado), then Miraflores again, and then Surco (by myself). Wow, it has been something like 25km almost non-stop!

Ysanae is very funny, she told me a lot about all his family, including his very funny father, her very shy mother, her Japanese grandma, and her life and travels in Europe, where lived in Madrid for 1.5 years, and back here in lima, where she's several offers from different companies (she's accountable), but she's quite practical, and decided she does not want to live to work, but wants her our free time (to spend time with friends, with her very traditional - all Sundays together - family, and to have one children, cuz many are "not feasible nowadays" hehe). Ah, and she can't walk on your right side :D

When I got back home, I found Juan working to fix Emilio's bike, and helped him.
After, we talked about the problem of the ex-president of the foundation Chinchimen, which apparently has been accused of pedofilia, and who was subscribed to the otter specialist group and Juan want to remove him.

DAY 24

Nov 22 2018

I planned go to see the city center, with Ysanae as guide. But... I actually arrived so late (got distracted with the time, and thought we'd confirm before) that she already left.
I had a walk in the Plaza de armas, and then went back home with Juan, with his sister's car. Lot of traffic, a manifestation, and un pan con palta (avogado), 4-5 uevitos de codorniz (quail's eggs), y un emoliente por 3 soles :)

We got back home simultaneously with Maria, and went straightly to eat a burger (Burger kind... sob :)). We spoken about how difficult it is to have and raise children well, without loosing the patience, I told them how much I admire them, telling them that today I had a Whatsapp call with my friend André, where we were saying that maybe the two of us will stay as old singles without sons, as the latter change your life and require much more attention and effort that I'd have thought in the past, etc etc).

Later, I gave Juan and Maria the music box, with a small message. They were very happy and Juan, as good Peruvian guy and family father, expressed his willingness for that I'd join them the coming weekend, to go on the beach and on the anthropological museum, which I've accepted with pleasure. Indeed, with them I feel at home and in family :)

DAY 25

Nov 23 2018

Today, at 5:30 AM (!!), I went with Juan and Pedro, Juan's bioinformatic colleague, to the national reserve in Paracas, to sample a site on the Peruvian coast, for Juan's project assessing the effects of El Niño on the intertidal community. What a day!!

First, we sampled in a very beautiful location, surrounded by pelicans, gulls, and few fishermen. One of them, curious, Junior approximated us, asking why a green algae was becoming more abundant recently (we were not able to provide a sound explanation).

After the sampling was over - Juan and Pedro did all the job, I was just being "ecotourist", as they properly called me :D - we went for a small hike in this "cerro", to search for fossiles.

Just few minutes before that, we saw several dolphins beautifully playing and preying near the beach, and then, while going for the fossiles, I suddenly saw a marine otter very near us, called Juan, so all the three of us could see several times for some minutes the otter - so cool!! :)

Then we saw tree fossiles from the Carbonifero, a couple of dead sea lions, one of them being scavenged by a "gallinazo de cabeza roja", and then went for a swim in the cold but beautiful waters of the beach.

DAY 26

Nov 24 2018

Today, another of these beautiful "family days" that I've having the privilege to live, here in Lima, at Juan's place. This time, we went to the Cerro Azul beach, one and half hour from Lima, again Southwards.
We started surfing one hour, I ride the longest waives I've ever had so far! And the site is awesome, we were surfing at 40 meters from dolphins and at 25m from two Humbolt penguins... :) besides that in the same spot Juan told me they're use to see marine otters too...

We eat ceviche at the beach, and then Juan, Emilio, Leo and I went for a small hike in the cerro, in this archaeological site, called Huelco, apparently used by the Inkas to dry the fish, and full of argilla walls.
The site is very beautiful, with sand dunes and a spectacular view on the ocean, also with the presence of pelicans, gulls, gallinazos de cabeza roja, and the unmissable lizards. The funny moment was Emilio pooing in the middle of an ancient Inkas' plaza :D :D

At night, I met Lorena, a woman, professor of English and Science here in Lima, who gave me the idea to teach in an Italian college here in Lima. After half an hour Juan and Maria joined us, and we had a nice chat. Now, I'd like to spend this, which will probably be my last night in Lima, dancing, but I'm tired and afraid I'd stay home hehehe

DAY 27

Nov 25 2018

Today privileged visit at the Natural History Museum of Lima, guided by the good Peruvian paleontologist Rodolfo Sigismondi, friend and colleague of Juan, who enthusiastically tried to explain as much as possible on dinosaurs and fossiles to Emilio and Leo.

Afterwards, we had a delicious lunch at a restaurant near the museum, between Jesús Maria and Lince.

At night, I met Paola in the city centre, to say her goodbye, since I'm leaving Lima tomorrow or the day after. We spent long hours together and I confirm, she's a very nice and pleasant person to spend time with! Pity that we met now, when I've to leave and she cannot travel with me. OR maybe it's better like this... :)

DAY 28

Nov 26 2018

Just organized by ideas at home, and at night cooked again fresh, hand-made pasta for Maria and Juan, this time with eggs.
We had again long, nice chats, and they told me that they would like me to stay with them also during the Christmas holidays in the Sacred Valley :))
I'll most likely do this, so I'll now arrange my plans so to be in Cusco around the 12th of January.

DAY 29

Nov 27 2018

Planning the rest of the trip, speaking with André, finally decided to go Southwards, but not with Peruhop, with a normal bus, to save money and have more flexibility. First step, Paracas!

In the evening, went out with Roxana, from couchsurfing. We staid all the time in the Parque de la Amistad, then had an ice cream and pisco sour at Sarcletti, and then Parque Chavin.

DAY 30

Nov 28 2018

Early morning free (5s) class of salsa, chachacha, cumbia, raggaeton, etc with the great Rodolfo, and Maria and other 7-8 women, in the Parque Chavin, before leaving for Paracas.

So excited to finally start my real solo, wild camping, backpacking adventure!!! (but also already miss my dear adoptive family... :)))

Unbelievable me... I was closing my backpack, and opened my bus's e-ticket to copy the bus station's address to call a Uber, when suddenly I realized the bus was NOT leaving at 14:00, but at 12:45, and it was 12:41!!!!!!!! I did call the bus company (Perubus), with Maria's mobile, and they told me that the ticket was lost and I could not change it for the following day, but the woman also told me that if speaking with the agency sometimes they do accept to gather clients at a next stop on the way south. I asked many times to repeat me such a stop, as I could not understand it properly (you know, my Spanish still "lacks to desire", as Italians would say! Jajajaja), and, as soon as I got at least part of it (the cross between Av. Canadá and Av. Circunvalacion - so lucky that my mother tongue and Spanish are both of latin origin..!! ;)), I immediately ended the call, called a Uber, hug Maria and Leo, and run away, with my laptop on my hands - as, of course, windows decided to update in the most opportune moment (Murphy's law!! hehe) - to this hypothetic point, for an illusory mission: to stop the Perubus directed to South and hop on it. The Uber driver, Luis Humberto, was great. We talked a lot about Napoli, Maradona, I told him my story, he brought me at this presumptive spot and then explained what happened to the guys of the bus, which apparently had already saw me, running in the middle of the road with my backpack to get where the bus was, and yelled at me to hop on. And... Fiuuuuuuuu..!!!!! Hahahaha
So, here I go, on the way to Paracas, wild camping, penguins and sea lions, in a bus full of nice, blond stranger women!!! :))
Question is: when the hell will I grow up??! :D :D

The trip, approximately 3,5 hours (40s), was smooth. At my arrival, I was literally submerged by many locals working in the touristic sector, proposing me hostels, tours, and restaurants. I chose the cheapest tour (basically you pay the boat and the entrance, 42s everything, from 8 to 10AM) to the Ballestas Islands (the "poor men's Galápagos" hahaha islands, part of the protected area of Paracas, inhabited by sea lions, Humboldt penguins, pelicans and more) - as it's not possible to go on your own, and unluckily you cannot jump off on land there.
Then I bought some junk food at supermarket, and a beautiful, handmade blanket for the beach.

At night, I set my tent on the beach, after the Kokopelli hostel, on the side of the only one other tent, of a young couple of malabarists, Maikem (Argentinian, from Rosario) and Gabriella (from Lima).
They advised me to see laguna Morron (from Pisco, apparently you can take a "colectivo" up to El Cruze, on the way to Chincha), a natural and less famous (i.e., turistic, crowded) oasis in the desert than Huacachina, where there's also a man renting boarda for the sandboard. I'll check it out and likely go there.
The guys also taught me a couple of quechua words to "trick" local market sellers to low the price and give you more fruits/items: "yapa" (aumentar), "wayqi" (amigo). Finally, they told me about Camaná, a beach at Arequipa, but which seems to be dangerous and not that worth it.
The site is quiet, except from car from time to time passing really on the beach, and seems secure. Buenas noches!

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