Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tia Nena is Yet Another Year Wiser



The lady on the right is my Tia Nena (her b-day)

My Tia Nena and my Tio Joel have a ranch about 5-10 minutes from their house in the town.  Kind of funny that there relax home is that close to their actual house.  In Mexico, the big meal is lunch, and dinner is normally bread with hot chocolate or some tacos on the street, so Sunday for lunch we went to my aunt and uncles rancho to celebrate my aunts birthday!  We started with 1 van, 1 car, some delicious food and headed over to the ranch.  Within an hour more and more families kept showing up with good food and good tequila.  Hey can't complain!  We had music going on, we ate all day, and a couple hours after lunch, it was very typical Mexican style and the ladies went inside to chat, while the men stayed outside to watch futbol.  We stayed their till the food and tequila were gone, and then headed home.



Of course I have to spill something




Me and the Birthday girl!


Mari Fer (my youngest cousin on my dad's side)



We Arive To Guadalajara, Mexico




Guadalajara, Guadalajara!  Feels so good to be with family.  I have 3 cousins who live in Guadalajara, 2 of them doctors, and one studying to be a dentist, and when we get together, we have a blast!  We talked and talked and they were so impressed that Brendan was learning Spanish and wanted to talk to him.  That night we went out dancing and I wore heels and a dress for the first time in 3 months, Dang did that feel good!!!  haha, I was feeling pretty sexy!

My Tia Nena's Girls and Me






We Are Way Too Lucky



Not only did our friends let us stay in their apartment, pick us up from the airport, drive us to cool spots, and gave us a cell phone, but they also offered up their beach apartment for me and Bren to stay in for  a couple days.  And Javier's dad (Javier and Chelsea are the friends we stayed with) invited us over for lunch at his home which is beautiful!  We ate, talked, drank, swam, and had a great time!  The beach apartent had a huge window that overlooked the marina, and Bren and I ate every meal there, with the awesome view.  We went into town and shopped the day away, ALWAYS fun!

Our View from our big fun windows

After our great and relaxing time in Venezuela, we went to the airport to fly to Mexico, but we had just one problem... once you have Venezuelan currency, the exchange houses won't change that currency to any other currency... wierd politics with Venezuela and Hugo Chavez (who by the way is not liked by many many people in Venezuela)  So we had two options, get it changed on the street, but our friends didn't recommend that because it's a shady business and they often give away fake money, so we had one other option, shop and spend it in the airport!  Airports are very expensive, but hey we had to spend the money, or the money would never be used again...

Too Cool of a Beach




A town called Tucacas in the state of Caraboba; translated a town  called Your Poop in the state of Dumb Face....  Ok, yeah what could there possibly be there??  Beaches, and beaches, with a tropical setting and warm warm water!!!  When we got to this town, it smelt pretty bad and it was scorching hot, and when we finally found a place to stay, our shower head poured out as much water as a little boy pissing (in Brendan's words)  We were hoping these beaches were as cool as our friends had talked about and we were definatly impressed!  The next day we went out on a small boat, and toured the various islands; the boat stopped in the middle of the ocean, and we hopped out into the water and could stand in chest high water!
We ended off on this island with wild palm trees, gorgeous clear warm water, and on a beautiful sunny day.  We forgot to bring extra money for food, and the boat dropped us off on an island and wasn't going to pick us up till 5pm.   Whoops.... not to worry though because there was so many palm trees filled with coconuts; we ate those all day, and drank the juice from the cocunut.  The ride back from the island was so movieish, with the sun setting and our hair blowing in the wind, we just closed our eyes and took it all in.  On the way back we stopped and took a swim with starfish in the warm water!




This is wear the Virgin appeared.  On the left side, you see a darker spot on the rock (a dark spot of her face as well as her robe)  The people hang clothes as an offering to the Virgin Mary






Swimming with starfish at the bottom of our feet!


A way cool shell I found, all intact!


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Venezuela, German, Gothic, Braveheart = FUN!





Before arriving to Venezuela, and an old friend from high school saw pictures of me and Bren on our honeymoon; she emailed me that her and her and her boyfriend have been living in Venezuela for a year and a half, and that we should stay with them!  They were absolutly amazing hosts, and we can't even begin to say how much they did for us!! We get there and  Halloween is creeping closer; love dressing up, so this holiday is too much fun!
Before the big night, we went to visit an all German town in Venezuela, about 45 minutes from Caracas; very wierd to see blonde hair and blue eyes in Venezuela, lol. The story of the town goes like this:  A long long time ago, a Venezuelen promised land ready for cultivation and homes for them to live in, so a lot of German's moved to Venezuela.  But when they got there, the land was raw jungle, and there was only one building.... The Germans worked very hard, and now this town is known for cultivating great vegetables, fruits, and jam!  After visiting the town and buying some yummy food, we headed back to Caracas to get ready for the big night.  Outfits... hmmm, hadn't planned too much, so we did the old: get in the closet and see what we can pull together...  I was gothic that night, which was just way too much fun, but I think I smiled too much for a gothic girl...  And Brendan painted half his face white with shoe polish; yikes, I was kind of scared he was going to wake up with a rash, or no face...haha  We went out to a club and of course, danced the night away!

This is the main part of the town


German style in Spanish


Really big flower patch

Thursday, November 12, 2009

BREAKING NEWS

        What do these two young couples have in common....THEIR ENGAGED!!!

Sam (1of Brendan's best friends) and Allison                 Billy (Brendan's brother) and Tif
      

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lake Titikaka





If your like Brendan, I or Billy, you might laugh or giggle when you hear this name.....Lake Titikaka...(And were not 12 years old either....)  Apparently the way you actually say this name, is different than one might think, and Lake Titikaka is very very cool.  Side Note: Peru is bleeding in culture, and it's so neat to see that culture still plays such a big role in the Peruvian lifestyle.




Dead tired from the hike to Machu Pichu, we take a bus ride to Lake Titikaka, where we then take a boat tour to the different islands; an island that is man made.  (Floating islands!)  Pretty interesting how these people made their own islands, and how a main source of their life revolves around reeds from the lake.  (food, homes, artisans, etc.)  They use the roots of the reeds to float and then pile the reeds in a criss cross motion, until the floor is complete.  These people live very simple lives on islands of about 50-70 feet in length.  We then headed over to another island about 2 hours away, where there are no cars in the streets.  The water surrounding this island is clear and from an overview the water is different shades of blue.  We arrived to a trout lunch at the top of a mountain, overlooking the beautiful lake.  It was so neat to see the different customs on this island; the men that are married wear colored hats, and the boys and men that aren't, wear hats with white tips.  Their hats are like our wedding rings!



Our view from our lunch... !




This clothes is typical of this island, as well as the dance




Beautiful!




Taking of his shoes.... Why?....


Oh, of course!


Very Brendan like

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Machu Pichu 5 Day Hike







Total hike = 78 km/ 48 miles


Day 1: (Hiked from 2,900 m - 3,900 m or from 9512 ft - 12,792 up)  Weather: cold but with all the hiking and great sleeping bags, wasn't too bad


- Woke up at 4am and rode a bus
- Horseman packed our bags, so we didn't have to carry them... Pretty Nice
- Began our 8 hour hike, uphill, in altitude that us beach people are so not used to.
- After lunch, Bren began to feel the altitude, and after the 8 hours of hiking he was feeling not so                    good..(He was well taken care)

- Went to bed and in the middle of the night, my heart woke me up beating at 96 beats per minute!  Yikes, I'm usually 64 beats per minute



Day 2: (Hiked from 3,900m - 4,650m up & then from 4,650m - 2,900m down or from 9,512 ft - 15,252 ft up and from 15,252 ft - 9,512 ft down) Weather: cold and windy for the first half and the second half was warm


- Bren woke up with teh same bad headache and his stomach really upset.  My heart was doing better, but when I moved, it began to beat really quick, so....
- We rented horses for the first 4 hours; very beautiful and peaceful
- Got to Salkantay, where there was all these cool rock formations.  The Incas were very into praising mother earth; the sun, the rain, etc.  When we got to Salkantay (the highest point) there was a ceremony with incense and coca leaves.


Ceremony
  Coca Leaves: Leaves that are used in tea, candy    and chewed when hiking for altitude purposes.  They numb your mouth, especially when chewed with charcoal, to activate the ingredients.  This leaf is sacred and also why it's used in the ceremony.
- Walked for 7 more hours (1/2 hour in the rain) and got to our campsite where there was good food waiting!
- After dinner and the rain stopped, we had a bonfire to warm up!





The two that were so nice to take all our backpacks!

Day 3: (Hiked from 2,900m - 2,200m down or from 9,512 ft - 7,216 ft down) Weather: warm to hot, jungle with mosquitos


- Woke up at 4:30 and started the 6 hour hike
- Got eaten alive by mosquitos (itchy, itchy)
- Brendan's headach wasn't so bad!! Yeah
- I randomly got a burst of energy and the 1st half (3 hours) I ran; so not like me
- Got to campsite and met 2 really cool monkeys.  The assistant cook (Jessica) gave me and Brendan a monkey and I was so excited, ut apparently you can't travel with monkeys many places around the world, so we had to leave the monkey.





Day 4: (Hiked from 2,200m - 2,000m down or fro  m 7,216 ft - 6,560 ft down)  Weather: very hot jungle with lots of mosquitos

- Didn't have to wake up till 7am!

- Started our 4 hour hike through hot jungle
- Walked across a bridge for trains that was around 70 ft high and the tracks were anywhere from 6 inches to 2 ft apart.  As we were walking across we were really hoping a train wouldn't come, or in Brendan's words "We would be screwed."  Now me and Bren both aren't hte biggest fans of heights, but it's fun to get scared a bit.   Bren was behind me, and the entire time Brendan was saying to himself "Focus on the wood, focus on the wood, focus on the wood."
- We got to a town called Aguas Calientes and stayed in a hostel.  1st time we got to shower!

Day 5: (Hiked from 2,000m - 2,400m up or from 6,560 ft - 7,872 ft up) Weather: cold and rainy and then warmed up

- Woke up at 3:30 and started the 2 hour hike up the very steep part of the Inca Trail in the pouring rain and in the pitch black.
- Finally at MACHU PICHU!  Truly incredible to see how smart teh Incas were and to hear about their tradition, culture and history.  Too much to tell all, but check out Bren's pictures.


The Incas used wood and wet the wood and then put in rock to crack rock!





After the 2 hour hike, my jeans got soaked, so I wore Bren's shirt as a skirt












The Kiing's Bathroom (the only bathroom in Machu Pichu)