Backpacks and Broken Spanglish

Just wanted to update and share a little about my current South American adventure. I’m currently writing from Cusco, Peru about a month into traveling.

To make a long story short, I left Quito and first went to the Ecuadorian coast, then back up into the Andes, and finally to the beautiful center of Vilcabamba. Next it was off to Peru for a quick stop in the far north for some spicy, street vendor cebiche al pescado, a 22 hour bus ride to the capital of Lima, and then another 24 hours to Cusco. Cusco, as you probably know, was the capital of the Inca empire and now the jump-off point for the ridiculously popular gringo mecca of Macchu Pichu. I forewent this Disneyland of South America for the Sacred Inca Valley and some less known (read: way cheaper) Incan sites–which I found quite spectacular.

Following are some snapshots from the journey, which has mainly included hitchhiking to unknown destinations, sleeping in tents, couchsurfing, long long bus rides, and lots of Spanglish haggling. Really, not the worst way to spend a summer….

Mompiche, Ecuador: small fishing town, providing a good look at the country’s costal life251210_10100359131185122_1970710_n

We stayed with a local family who welcomed us to use their kitchen and share comida, a lovely experience and great example of the how open Ecuadorian culture can be
Montañita, Ecuador: my second trip to this popular (and backpacker-overloaded) beach town, where I nearly bailed and went home. Fortunately sights like the following helped me remember why I came and why I should continue to stay
Los Friales, Ecuador:  an Ecuadorian National Reserve, where you walk for an hour or so to the beach, then climb a bit to the lookout point…never once encountering another soul
lunch at the mirador, and a perfect picture capturing the food I ate for about 2 weeks straight from Ecuador to Peru
Cuenca, Ecuador:  Back into the Andes to this colonial town, with an array of well-preserved museums and the only Inca ruins in Ecuador called Incapirca.
(*note: it was very very cold, hence the non-smile)
Vilcabamba, Ecuador: This city is known for having the most people over 100 in the world…perhaps the Fountain of Youth?  Well, at the very least, one of the most peaceful and beautiful places I have ever been. I actually made a humble offer on a house here, where we would work the store downstairs for free rent!
Lima, Peru: For me, this is just another big SA city, strikingly reminiscent of Quito. But, I am also sick of living in a big, dirty city (or wait, aren’t all big cities dirty and overbearing?). Anywho, my favorite takeaway was the lovely Museum of Pre-Colombian-Inca Art and Culture==totally worth the 30 soles entrance fee!

Cuzco, Peru:  Expensive as Peru==especially Cuzco==is, June is Fiestas de Cusco, and many of the real treasures of the city and culture have been just simply out on the streets

Well, my backpacking has come to an end (for now). Today I purchased my tickets onwards to Chile, and leave for Santiago in a few days. I am moving there with a few potential teaching jobs (and a positive attitude), hoping to make it work. Chile and Argentina have been my South American goals since the get-go, so I am really excited for this next chapter.

Missing everybody back home, and who knows, could be seeing you all very soon!  Wish me luck, besos a todas.