Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lost in Hollywood

3 days in LA, and we just stayed in Hollywood - I was grand with that, I heard LA is shite. Walking out of our hostel we saw the farmer from the movie 'Babe' cycling past us, which was a bit mad, but not really if you think about it because most of the big actors live in the area.

We were up as near to the Hollywood sign as you can get - quite surreal having only seen it on tv all my life. It's good to go to Hollywood just to get some perspective about things. It's just another place in the world where more feckin people live. And that's it.

It's a brilliant sight at night time walking along. The people there are amazing looking, and most of the women have boob jobs. I think 90% of the people in Hollywood have come there to be noticed and catch a break. Even one our tour guides came there with a dream. He wanted to make a comedy series about a tour guide. Not the worst idea in the world, but he said nothing came of it.

We went to Beverly Hills, where many of the 'stars' live. We saw houses (i.e. mostly gates and hedges) of people such as:

John Travolta, Tom Cruise, Posh & Becks, Julia Roberts, Nicolas Cage, 50 Cent, Christina Aguilera, Dr. Phil, Courtney Cox-Arquette, and a few more (not arsed thinking of any more). Oh and of course Pat Kenny.

We met up with some of our old pals Derek, Matt and Heather, from O.C. who trekked with us. in Peru. After we parted in Peru, they had gone to Costa Rica only to be refused entry because they had no Yellow Fever Vaccination Certs. No kidding. So they were devastated as you can imagine. Moral of the story, check what vaccines you need for mad places in the world.

We were at the place where all those red carpet awards and stuff happen. And the stars all along the sidewalks. Everyone who watches E!Entertainment will know alot more about that shite than me.

But it was good to see. Definitely one of the more mental urban places I've been on my travels. Because many cities are really the same as every other city, if you have been to enough to realize it.

The weather they get is QUALITY. If I lived there comfortably I would probably have barbeques every night and drink until I had no more money and became homeless. Or maybe not. Actually we saw something funny when in Hollywood; there was a really fat homeless woman begging for money and she was actually saying "could I please have some money for pizza?" and she wasn't joking.

We got the plane all the way to Reno and rented a car straight away and began that drive into the hot desert towards Black Rock City, i.e. the Burning Man Festival 2008.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Last Stop - Quito

Since Quito was the last stop, we thought we'd spend a few days there. It was only alright, but it was good to have a feckin relax after travelling for so long. But you only need 3 days there, not 6.

We had a sound gang in Quito but we did miss hangin' out with old John. Quito was a mainly drinking place for us.

I don't have much to say about it actually. Right now I'm in Sligo and its hard to think back! We just went to churches and restaurants and the usual tourist things. There was a convent that had loads of paintings of hell and what happens to sinners in hell. A devil puts you on a wheel and turns it and spikes go into you. Paintings don't lie, lads.

Also, I now know what Purgatory looks like. It's a swimming pool full of murky water with loads of babies in it. So I'm sure there are many priests out there who would rather go there than heaven. (I'm sound).

We packed up and headed to a land called Hollywood, in the United States of America, having not been robbed, stabbed or killed even once in South America. Victory.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Chicoleta and Midget Wrestling - La Paz, Bolivia

It sounds a lot more entertaining than it is.... But damn it's funny. Kinda like WWE but about .00001% of the budget! Funny characters, different themes and all that. Masks like the Ray Mysterio one.

The midgets would be getting thrown around the place like crazy. Sometimes it was a man vs a woman and the ref would side with the guy and beat the crap out of the woman. It was all fake-ish but it was still very sore. There is no fake pain when a wrestler smashes a wooden crate over someones head. That's real blood!!!

Here's a video sher!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mancora and Puerto Lopez

We went to Mancora because it is a surfing town and we wanted to chill on a beach and surf all day after our arduous journey through the Peruvian mountains to Machu Pichu.

Mancora waves were tiny and we could not surf. We did get ourselves QUITE a sunburn though so we died from sunburn for a few days.

This hostel we were in was great and it had hammocks everywhere so there was lots of drinking and hammock lying. There was a girl who knew loads of Irish songs (she was from Spiddal), and I taught her the words of 'Finnegan's Wake' in return for making me some buns. Good.

There was a giant dead sealion/otter on the beach. He was smelly and the hostel was downwind so we were basking in his natural morbid fragrance. He got really puffed up the longer he stayed on the beach. He changed colour and got smellier.

One day the lads (not me) dug a giant hole in the beach. The shovels would occasionally tap the carcus by accident. Blood started gushing from one of the eyes of the dead buddy. It was a strange and grizzly sight, I must say. So there the thing got buried, but when the tide came in, there was so much air trapped inside the body that it broke through the sand and rested again on the beach. He was later removed by disposal officials.

We tried to name the dead sea lion. So we thought of people who were fat and dead. And I think we settled on Marlon. (We are assholes).

Then we took another overnight bus (fond of them eh?) across the Peru border to Puerto Lopez, in Ecuador. It was a fuckin kip. I think it must have been hit by a tidal wave or earthquake a few years ago and no one was arsed cleaning it up. It's completely knacker there. But sher it had whale watching, so eh... Ya HAFTA like. I had never seen a whale in real life before, I don't think.

So we got this boat out and it looked like we weren't going to see very many, but indeed we did. They travelled in twos and threes. They would come up so gracefully for air and then go down for a few minutes and then back up. All the while a boat or two was guessing where they would go. I wonder if the whales were annoyed.

The boat was a small wee baidin deas. I was reminded of The Orca in Jaws. Espescially when Elaine and I climbed onto the roof of this little boat and I seriously nearly fell into the ocean due to the rocky waves tossing the boat around.

All in all, whales are sound.

After this lovely town we took our last over night bus to Quito. Our last stop in South America. We had still not been robbed or drugged after 6 weeks in South America.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The World's Most Dangerous Road

One day in La Paz we went on an excursion to cycle down the World's Most Dangerous road, recommended by old Marcus Magee. It was VERY dangerous. 64km down a mountain road sometimes 1 metre from the cliffs edge with an unforgiving 400m drop. No barracades or railings either. Wise, eh?
There were crosses erected along the edge every few kilometres for people who had taken a long plunge to the bottom. Elaine stayed on the bus but the rest of us went on the bikes. Scary stuff. None of us were killed though. And that was fine with me. It was rainy and slippery and I nearly fell off my bike once or twice due to not applying the correct pressure on the brakes.
After we got to the bottom all muddy and destroyed by overdoses of adrenaline, we went to an animal sanctuary. Old John puked his guts up. And we had some food. Then we went wandering on a trail where there was a Boa Constrictor so Elaine did not go far because as you know from this blog, she would die if she saw a snake.

This little monkey jumped from the guides shoulder onto mine. She was wrapping her tail around my arm and apparently that is a VERY flirtatious gesture. So I was chuffed. The only problem was that I already have a girlfriend and also that the monkey was a monkey. Her name was Chica. She was a bit of a babygirl. You kno wum sayin. She kept pulling my hair to keep her balance on my shoulder, but I'm not into that stuff.

There was also a baby goat that kept wandering into the mens toilets. A bit of a George Michael if you ask me.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Cuzco and Lares Trek

In Cuzco I met two old friends Gav and Trev but they were really locked and either they think I'm an asshole or else they were too locked to realise that we weren't in Ireland and that it actually IS a bit mad that we met in Peru.

Cuzco is one of the best places we have been in South America due to cleanliness and stuff. I won't say the food was good though. On the first day we sat in the sun, got locked with a giant group of people and jammed on the guitars. It's amazing how when someone says "play a song", I take about 5 minutes to remember which songs I know.

There were 3 assholes in our dorm who listened to terrible dance remixes of Bryan Adams and that dance music that has the chipmunk singing. Here's how bad they are... There was a Muse song on ..

Asshole #1: Who is this?
Asshole #2: I think its Pink Floyd. No, it's Muse.

Asshole #1: It's not bad.

Asshole #2: Yeah.... It's not really 'going out' music though.

Asshole #1: Nah.


The Lares Trek

The Lares Trek is a trek that you can do if you don't want to do the Inca Trail. We did this one. It was very VERY tough. Elaine at some stages had awful problems. We reached altitudes of over 5000 ft. Trekking through mountains. On the third night, our tent wall was over our faces and we thought it had collapsed. It had happened to many tents that the weight of snow had pushed the tent walls in. We woke to a snowy freezing morning with llamas lying in the snow nearby.

The people we trekked with were really sound and so we motiviated each other by making jokes and being positive. It was one of toughest things we've ever done. 41km trekking over mountains, over a stretch of 4 days. We met many locals in the mountains and gave the children gifts of colouring pencils because they really dig that stuff. They can't get enough of the old colouring pencils.

We were in this house where they had around 15 guinea pigs running around the place. It's a Peruvian custom to have them in your house. They think that the noises a guinea pig makes can alert you to someone going to die, or be sick, or other general local ocurrences.

So guinea pigs are handy to have if you are a Peruvian. But if there is a special occasion, then they eat a guinea pig. So its like, "thanks for letting us know the future all those times, little fella, but eh, now we're gonna eat you. Sorry about that." I like their style.

There was a lot of epic scenery on this journey. It was great. Camping and trekking for days. And looking at HOT llamas. Nah it didn't get that desperate.

In the town below Machu Pichu named Aguas Calientes ('Hot Water/Springs') we went to a natural hot springs for a nice relax. It turns out they are more natural than we wanted. They were full of kids and the water was so murky you couldn't see your hand just under the surface. There was a horrendous smell of piss but we tried to convince ourselves it was some lovely chicken being cooked somewhere along the street. MINGIN.

Well the climax of this adventure in particular was Machu Pichu, an ancient settlement on a mountain which is now abandoned and is a tourist attraction. I cannot really describe this place despite my exceptional eloquency (which is spelled wrong, ironically). You will have to go see Machu Pichu for yourself. There are no words for it.