Roadside Pit Stop. Carlos and Edgar in the foreground.
Shot of the beautiful little mountain town we went to, couple thousand feet below the camping.
The start of the ride, looking back on the town.
It was pretty dark and cold by the time we got to camp. So we played with my friend's camera and a flashlight:
Still very cold in the morning, about freezing. We roasted chocolate covered marshmallows while we waited for breakfast.
We were camped in an amphitheater like thing surrounded by these tripped out rocks.
When we hiked, we saw the crazy awesome sacred rocks in various shaped. There were seals and monkeys and turtles and many other things. Here's a face:
There are a ton more fantastic photos, but Chris' photos take about a year to load each, so I am not going to. You'll just have to trust me.
This has been an interesting week. It's been extraordinarily difficult. I was wrenched from being emotionally solid and having a great time to being completely torn up after finding out that my wonderful friend Zack Season was killed last weekend in a car accident. I was out of commission for a couple of days. I have been able to keep busy enough in the daytime to continue on with my training mostly uninterrupted, though substantially more distracted than usual. Unfortunately, I found out late Thursday night that a friend of mine since childhood, Isaiah, also passed on this week. I had another very rough night and have been mostly unable to process all of this, I think. I again have tried to just continue on with my days as normally as possible. I am so far away and there is absolutely nothing I can do, so I am mostly trying to completely block it out of my head most of the time. I am extraordinarily grateful for the staff here, who have been extremely kind and supportive through all of this. I am most grateful for the amazing friends I have made here so far. People have hugged me, have sat with me, have made me laugh til I hurt, and have gotten me drunk til I laughed so hard I fell down and actually got hurt. So that was amazing of them.
Apart from that, my Spanish is still improving pretty rapidly I think and we are learning more and more in our training. Tuesday was a holiday, though I just laid around all day. Friday night, I visited Yanacoto with some amigos, which is another town a short combi ride and a long uphill climb away, that some other trainees live in. We heard they had a bar with a pool table there. It turned out to be true, however the pockets were INSANELY small and the table itself was not in great condition. It took us an hour to play one game. When we left, Adam and Linda and I were chased quite a long way by a dog with no eyes. We had to learn very early on in Peru that you never walk at night or run at any time of day without a rock in hand. We musta chucked a million rocks at that dog (not actually hitting it of course) but it kept on. That was pretty hilarious, creepy white Peruvian dog with empty eye sockets...
Yesterday, Saturday, was epic. We woke up early and the other business volunteers and I headed into Lima for a project and to look around. It was my first trip into Lima - we are about an hour and a half outside of it here. It is a pretty cool place and there are definitely some museums and such that I would like to check out sometime. However, I am not much of a big city girl (and lime is 8.5 million people big) so I did not stay long. Just long enough after our project to eat some amazing and hysterical Peruvian fast food, check out a couple bookstores, and make my way out of town. This is where the day really started.
I went home and just relaxed and worked on homework for a couple of hours. Then my friend Ashley stopped by. Her parents wanted to take her to a party. Now, Ashley doesn't speak much Spanish. So she told me that she was pretty sure it was a party at her dad's work - he works in some sort of glass cutting factory, she says. This sounds pretty intriguing and you pretty much never pass up an opportunity to go to a Peruvian event as it is too easy to hang out with large groups of trainees instead. I explained to my mom what Ashley said was going on. I also told her that who knows because we all know that Ashley's Spanish isn't awesome yet. She told me to go ahead, but that it would probably go too late and to just stay at Ashley's.
So we went and grabbed a couple more of our closest buddies, Chris, Ellen, and Zack, and took off with Ashley's folks to walk to the highway and find a combi. We immediately figured out two things. First, we were going to some town called Nyanya, or maybe ñaña. Second, we were going to a baby shower. My favorite part of this misunderstanding is that "baby shower" is the same in English and Spanish - "baby shower."
This baby shower was AMAZING. There was a clown - a rude and amazing clown - who did a whole performance, there was a huge amount of food as always, and there was seemingly endless sangria and beer being put in our hands.
Oh crap, it's late. I have to go to a Fourth of July party now at another trainee's house. I will tell about the epic, all night baby shower later, and about the party I am going to now. I will try and upload more photos as well.