Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hace tiempo.

I suppose it's been quite a while since I last blogged.  My two or three readers are surely quite depressed by now.  I don't feel like I have tons to say - but here we go!

Work is work: classes continuing and going well with the daily Vacational Orientation and Youth Entreprenuership; library project as always is at a crawl, as the space the Muni gave me sucks and I am convincing them to give me a better one; science club is rad and the kids have raised a ton of money with their donuts and have planned a movie night; won the grant for the science club so we are a definite go with the telescopes and everything else; community banks are plugging along - still just the one that is fully functioning without my support and four others still in their launching phases.

So, done with all that boring work crap.  Just kidding, I really love my work and am happy it is going well, I am just feeling slightly frustrated at the moment as I am writing this blog while waiting for a meeting that was supposed to start over an hour ago.  Thinking it's not happening...  Some days I feel more accustomed to and comfortable with Peru and it's sucky work habits and sometimes I feel like the opposite, like it's all building up and I will soon burn it all down.

I went on a vacation.  It was beyond spectacular.  For the Fourth of July all volunteers get 4 free vacation days.  Five of my friends and I decided to hit Chachapoyas.  It's the capital of Amazonas and high altitude jungle - cloud forest, really.  Pretty chilly but just gorgeous and surrounded with amazing ruins and caves and waterfalls and such.  The nearby Kuelap ruins are known as the Machu Picchu of the North, or the Poor Man's Machu Picchu.  Also, it's really close to where I live and therefore made for a real cheap vacation - I didn't have to bust into my savings at all, just had to not save this month instead.

We got out there and it turns out that many other small groups of volunteers had come up with the same vacation plan.  No one had a complete head count, but there seemed to be between 30 and 40 volunteers running around this tiny mountain town all weekend.  Ok, screw typing more.  Here are some pictures:

Me and Huey - Bus ride to Gocta waterfall.  Day 1.

That morning, looking to go out to Gocta, we ran into a total of 21 volunteers with the same plan.  It proved to be cheapest to all rent a bus together and we were then officially a bunch of tourists - so here is our cheesy tourist photo.

 An hour or so into the hike, there was a mid-jungle random ass beer stand.  Perfect.

Me and the waterfall.  Quite a ways inthe hike.  Third highest waterfall in the world.  I can't even begin to describe how tall that friggin' thing was up close.

Everyone was very cold, very tired, and very wet for the ride back to town.

The next day, another large group of us went to see the Kuelap ruins.  Pretty huge city, 1200 years old.  Pretty awesome.

Kuelap fortress.

Climbing through the ruins.

Ancient human bones and a reconstructed house.  There were ruins of about 500 houses.

Random llamas in the ruins.

This is where they prayed to their gods to take away the smallpox that the Spaniards brought.  According to our guide, "Unfortunately, their gods did not exist.  So they all died."

I spent hours, over days, on building this pyramid.  Be impressed.

It was only a four day vacation.  I left site Thursday and was back Tuesday, so really just a long weekend.  Fortunately, when I got back, the circus had come to Santa Cruz.  My mom and brother had already been numerous times while I was gone but I convinced my mom to go with me anyways.  It was ridiculous.  A ghetto tiny tent set up in a dirt pile.  Bleachers that EVERYONE was concerned were going to collapse.  They were essentially tied together 1x6's.  It started an hour and twenty minutes after the time advertised.  

The juggler juggled a little better than me.  The trapeze artists did some seriously unimpressive spinning around while their ropes were being held up by three clowns leaning their body weight into it to raise and lower the girl.  At intermission the clowns were making cotton candy, the ticket takers we popping popcorn, and the trapeze artist/juggler/dog tamer was sitting in the corner drinking.  The people from my town were SUPER enthralled with the whole thing.  It was all very... charming, as well as your standard level of Peru-dangerous.  I realized after that I didn't take pictures - but I did video tape so many chucnks of it.  Next time I find good bandwidth I will upload a video or two.  For now, here's a picture of the entrance.  Great name:

Here's a random bonus picture of me and my Entrepenuership girls:

I guess that's it.  I am still plugging away at many of the same things, as I mentioned above.  Strangely, I am finishing up this blog now as my classes were cancelled this afternoon.  It's pouring out.  It did yesterday afternoon too.  Now, I know when I arrived to site in late August, rainy season was already in full effect and went until May.  Things started lightening up in early May and it stopped raining completely by the beginning of June. So I haven't seen any at all and now two days in a row.  Is it really going to start again already?

I hope so.  I'm gonna go buy some cocoa makings right now though.

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