Thursday, August 31, 2006

You dont know the pain ...!

ok quick post for everyone. we arrived safe in Cusco but yep .. its the ass end of the world :) ..

so this will be the only post for approx 3 days. basically the only net connection we have in our hotel is a crappy windoze 486 machine with a 28K modem. no good ameigo!

oh did i mention ... ITS ALL IN SPANISH .. plenty of pics to come and news. just wait for a huge update once we hit LA. oh btw we have organised to leave early so we will arrive a day early in LA, more shoppin hours :) Machu Picchu tomorrow...
cyas later

all fine and well. decent food / sleep and people.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Museum of Natural History

Today after the meet and greet, we headed off with a city tour guide to hit a few of the local city tourist locations. museums and historical buildings, cathedrals and colonial exhibits.

first stop was the Museum of Natural History. Basically a one stop shop for all your crash course Inca and Peruvian history and culture. was great to get some idea of the scope of things, from the pre inca civilisations to the inca, spanish invasion and modern day. was also a bit disheartening to me personally to see them losing their culture slowly to a growing western influence. Billboards and advertising, Traffic and chaos. shopping malls and the almighty dollar taking over from traditional ways. i guess this is where these museums are so important, today as we arrived, five bus loads of school kids from around the district were there as well.

Inca mummy. yup even this culture had a belief in the afterlife. you were buried with cloth and posesions to go with you into the next life. being placed and wrapped in the fetal position to be "re-born" into the next life.

certain cultures believed in the practise of deforming their skulls for decorative and religious purposes. from birth the infants heads are bound and pushed into shape while their skull bones are soft and growing. i got the strange feeling these were extra terestrial. the side effects as shown below were that by thier 20s the deformed skulls left no room for a growing brain. primitive surgery was needed to relieve pressure on the brain, while the patients were alive. they often survived as skulls were found with "healed" bone sections.

Huge Inca carving in solid granite. 2 - 3m High. 3 inches thick, the only tools used were primitive bronze chisels. the acuracy was amazing in the carving. this was one of those "lost and found pieces" it was rescued from a farmer who was using the slab as a table top up side down, not knowing the carving beneath.

potery and ornimentals were a big thing. strangly they were mainly used as art pieces and not as storage containers. coloured ink was used and determined by the heat of the kilms. sexuality and education was also a big thing. there's replica pottery in all the stores, and first thoughts to the uneducated is, man that pot looks like a bong, and its got this crazy penis dude on it. turns out these types of ornaments were made in the culture for sex education amungst other things. funny how our western culture has turned this type of art away from education and into something thats "not viewable for childrens eyes"

Lima tour / meet and great

Today we met our tour guide (2 Days in) lol, and we met the rest of our tour group. basically something happened to another guide in the jungle and theres a few of us that have now been grouped together, 15 in our group. all aussies i think, and as usual theres 1 or 2 classic characters. you know the type. the larikins of the bunch, the people you hear from across the street with an aussie accent and realise ... yep he's an aussie. but then you get chattin and realise that these are the people to hang with, the cool ones, the ones who are on your level, traveling for fun, taking everything as it comes and not living to a pre guided "tour plan"

funny thing is we are the only 20 year olds on the tour, making us initially the odd ones out. the rest of the group being mostly 35 to 65 year old. yeh 65, we have a granny aboard that kicks ass! acting like a 20 year old and drinking the guys under the table. in our western culture we tend to put our elderly out to pasture, pass them off as taking up space. think we need to remember they are the wise ones. even if they cant work that new mobile phone :)

anyway back to the tour, we are the new commers, everyone else is on a 28 day major South American tour, not just Peru. we basically fly in just to do Machu Picchu. 8 Days in total. one thing im getting now is this is it. no turning back, no flying or driving back home. we're on for the long haul. its a strange feeling i keep getting. kinda like this isnt me doing this. outa body experience, this is someone else on the trip of a lifetime, its so far from the norm.

few more pics of Miraflores, coastal front. giving you an idea of the beach and cliff face. the air currents pushing up from the ocean up the cliffs provide air streams perfect for Paragliding. the launch from the cliffs fly out over the beach and back again, never dropping to hit the highway below.

Cheech makes a quick getaway ! :)

OHAS .... not in Lima

Dad, u will love this one.
we we're walking down to the coast and came past a new construction zone from an apartment, but freaked out at the local lack of safety procedures :)

support beams are simple slabs of local timber branches. no scaffolding to be seen. no protective barriers, the truck has to even be jacked up to pump concrete up to the top level lol.

some crazy stuff happens around here. things you just shake your head at and go ... this aint Perth. but you know in a way thats what you want. you want to open your eyes to things, something different, reminds you theres more to this big ol world. yet its small in the fact that everyone still eats, shops, works, the same as the rest of us.

Bday in Lima

Hey everyone,
all things are good and well. i'll try to upload as many pics as possible over the next day or so while we are still in lima as i dont know if we will get a net connection in Cusco. bare with me if its only news.

Monday 28th. another year older eh. definitely can say i havent experienced a birthday quite like this. Peru / Lima, what a place. different in all respects to anything experienced so far. a culture shock is definitely the word. the people are super friendly but the whole economic infrastructure is driven by tourism. if your not a 4 foot tall, indian (Peru indian) then ur immediately a tourist and they can see a dollar a mile away. every taxi that passes us honks its horn for a lift. every street seller is hawking something. and if ur an unsuspecting tourist u can get ripped off easy. were learning fast, but its all good. just getting by learning a bit of local spanish here and there to buy the esentials, water / fruit. you soon learn what to "really pay" in US Dollars, whos out to rip you off and whos honest to the dumb tourist. lol

the whole place reminds me initially of Africa, minor crime is a problem so much so that every house hold or building is either patrolled by security, has burglar bars on the windows, steel fences, barb wire or electric fence wire. the smell is full of diesel, in the inner city. the transport system is basically 5 taxi's to 2 bus's to 1 normal car. once you walk out of the heavy traffic zones and hit the coast or open areas you get fresh air and a breeze.

Perth, you think we're having a drought? LOL ... it hasnt rained in Lima since 1970 haha. mark and i noticed on the first day that this place has no arched roofs for water run off or water drains in the sidewalks. they just dont get rain, the source their water from the two main rivers. however its always cloudy here, low level water rich clouds blow in from the coast and rise up over Lima and the Andes, then fall in the mountains and highlands.

while im dribbling on sorry if i miss something, its just every second is a new experience and to jot it all done is taxing. Inca Cola = their national soft drink, awesome stuff, kinda on a par with grape fanta and mountain dew. super stuff.

thats enough for this post. news soon.

they have central city "plaza's" or circle gardens in the city. kinda like a mini park in the hussle and bussle. this is a plaza 20m from the hotel. funny thing is that everything is so green because they have to water everything by irrigation and there's a high humidity, not a dry heat like WA

this is the view outside our hotel window :) this is the suburb or "district" of the city known as Miraflores. its the upper class area, kinda like a cultural tourist zone, Subiaco style ? city elements and traffic yet touristy and near the beaches. btw, people surf here as well ! yeh there's some awesome breaks here as the beaches are stone pebbles, ala UK style. very shallow which makes for great waves, cold water though.

hotel from the front. 4 star in Peru. safe and secure, great people.

view of the coast, walking down about 200m from the hotel, and walking down from the cliffs. the beach in this area rises to cliff faces made from river pebbles and stones, its not solid rock, but with no rain fall theres no erosion.

local corner Peruvian store. right outside our window, the attendent is honest enough to give you correct money change as she realises the hotel guests come to her first, shes then recomended as a "safe" option. like i said, tourist economy.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Cheech's Digs

we found his lodgings in Santiago :)
this is for u Mom, no money pit yet ...

Santiago Bits and Pieces


quick thoughts on Santiago. bloody great ! we got in from Auckland round about 12PM in the arvo to the international airport, similar in size to Perth, shaped like SYD. free highspeed wireless net access and great food! I MEAN GREAT FOOD! when u've had crap meals on four flights you appreciate the little things. we had a burger and toasted cheese / ham sandwich + orange soda. what a culture shock, everyone speaks spanish and you feel like an imediate outsider. lota pointing and alot of sign language happening. we got by easy enough.

1) speak english?
2) point and name
3) US Dollar?
4) pull out $1 notes, no bigger.

easy done. i crashed later in the arvo on a couch for an hours sleep and then we boarded for Lima, 8PM arriving @ 11PM.

pics are from the front of the airport and of the local "Fanta" brand soda. nice stuff.
one thing we forgot to mention, we saw a tourist / waiting for a flight, walking round with, of all things, a kitten in the airport ! yes no worries from customs or security, he was just walking with his cat. more pics to come, but we are currently posting from our hotel room with an uber slow connection, WATCHING THE CRICKET! :) ENG vs PAK, live.

having fun, posting more soon. pics of hotel and LIMA to come. gracious

Safe and Sound.

Hey everyone.

all safe and sound this end. we are currently sitting in Santiago Airport awaiting our last flight out to Lima later today. 8PM local time, 10AM WST AUST. well this may be a third world country but DAMN! weve got free wireless access here @ the airport so we are set. Weather is fine and cool outside.

well the journey so far has been exhausting. losing count of the planes we have caught and the days along the way, and we havent even started in Peru. Qantas flight was so so. someone thought it was fine to leave the aircon on. Dad would have been fine, i froze. then boarding LAN airlines, we switched to middle seats. but no people next to us so things have been great. onboard video screens and movies, south american flight attendents are easy on the eye :) 3 flights down 1 to go. we even stopped in NZ.

sleepings been horrible but eh, thats what ya get. i find the biggest problem is my knees, feel old and cramped lol. be good to get into a hotel. foods also been ok on the flights. fish and veg / omeletes / sandwiches etc.

so apart from being very tired and eager to hit a hotel all is good.
pics below of some happy snaps. Qantas shots are from SYD. LAN airlines and airport shots are from Santiago, Chili.

now to find cheech. oh BTW, ive already blown $100 AUS lol, you know my account details for deposits dont u Mom ? :)

PS. pics are rough snaps on the road. no editing comments, yes that means you Dad :)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

T Minus 12:22 and counting...

Brain ... check.
Money ... check.
Clothes ... .. .

yep i guess id better start packing. nows about the time it hits ya. the what ifs? have i? should i be? ... the freak out stage just before your about to leave. well as a pre launch update we are 99% set. we managed to work out our final amounts for spending money on the trip and we cashed in some USD and some travelers cheques.

to all who have helped along the way > cheers.
keep your eyes peeled here as we endevour to keep in contact as much as possible.

.... now where did i leave those tickets..... JK

Cheech to the rescue

PS. we can be reached via mobile for emergencey on the trip anytime anywhere. the number is marks mobile. same as always just dial. : 0419 910 637 ,we've been told theres no need for extra codes.

chow from OZ. next stop update in Lima.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

just about .... ready

Hey everyone,

finally found time to put together a comprehensive itinerary for our trip prior to departure. listing below should be comprehensive enough. as always leave your comments below and we can get back to you. we will be trying hard to "blog" our adventure along the way with notes and pictures. .. counting the days down.



12:15 AM depart Perth (Qantas)
6:10 AM stopover Sydney (3h 55min)

10:55 AM depart Sydney (Lan Chile Airlines)
12:45 PM stop over Santiago (15h 50min)

8:05 PM depart Santiago (Lan Chile Airlines)
10:50 PM arrive Lima (3h 45min)

- arrival at Lima airport. pickup and transferal to hotel, Hotel Monte Real, Miraflores, Lima

- morning free to explore unguided. Shaun's Birthday
- evening meeting with tour leader / group, from Peregrine Adventures.
- group dinner at nearby restaurant

- morning exploration / guided tour of capital city of Peru, Lima
- sights include The Plaza de Armas, Cathedral, Government Palace, Catacombs, Archaeological Museum

- fly from Lima inland (east) into the Andes, city of Cusco. Inca Capital.
- settle into hotel, afternoon exploration / guided tour.
- sights include Museums, Historical Inca Ruins

- full day tour. exploration / guided tour of Cusco and the surrounding "Sacred Valley" home to many Inca ruins

- catch morning train, North West from Cusco to rural town of Aguas Calientes, base location for tour of Machu Picchu.
- bus ride up mountain road to base of Machu Picchu. climb / trek into Machu Picchu, midday exploration / guided tour "Lost City of the Incas" undiscovered by Spanish Conquistadors. rediscovered by Europeans in 1911.
- overnight stay in Aguas Calientes hotel

- possible return visit to Machu Picchu if requested. early morning exploration.
- catch afternoon train back to Cusco. settle back into hotel.

- free day to spend in Cusco.

- fly back to Lima from Cusco. arrival mid afternoon. idea to find a secure place to store bags till early morning flight. possible exploration of Lima, dinner, then arrival back at airport ~ 11 PM
- flight leaves @ 1:05 AM

1:05 AM depart Lima (Lan Chile Airlines)
7:40 AM arrive Los Angeles (8h 35min)

- arrive in LA (LAX) early morning. look for place to store baggage for day. plan to change currency. taxi, shopping at "The Citadel" ~ 9 AM - 1 PM, lunch.
- taxi back to LAX and catch shuttle bus / van north to town of Bakersfield CA.
- late afternoon exploration of Bakersfield. dinner.
- pick up tickets for concert, to see TOOL, live at the Rabobank Arena 8 PM. catch the returning shuttle to LAX ~ 3 AM

- catch shuttle back from Bakersfield to LAX airport, leaving ~ 3 AM
- arrive LAX ~ 6 AM, breakfast check in for flight. no sleep till Brooklyn

8:45 AM depart Los Angeles (American Airlines)
10:05 AM arrive San Fransico (1h 20min)

- taxi or train from airport to hotel, Heritage Marina Hotel, 2550 Van Ness Ave, SF
- unpack and settle. lunch. exploration.
- San Fransico Bay Helicopter Ride. ~ 3 PM
- dinner and rest for next day

- free day, shopping, exploration around city and bay area. Fisherman's Wharf, Golden Gate Bridge

- 10 AM Bay Cruise around harbor under Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island
- Alcatraz tour and sightsee
- dinner inner city or fisherman's wharf. packup and head to airport ~ 8:30 PM
- flight leaves @ 10:30 PM

10:30 PM depart San Fransico (American Airlines)
6:45 AM arrive New York City (5h 15min)

- taxi from airport to hotel, Hotel 31, 120 East, 31st Street, NYC
- unpack and settle. brunch, sightsee. Empire State Building top floor. Apple Store 5th Ave.
- taxi to COSM, Alex Grey studio. 540 West 27th Street, 4th Floor
- lunch, sightsee and shop. dinner
- Night Loop Double-Decker Bus Tour of New York City @ 6 PM

- sightsee "Downtown" lower Manhattan
- Ground Zero, Statue of Liberty ferry ride and tour @10:45 AM
- shopping, free time to get lost

- Ground Zero revisit for memorial day.
- Helicopter Tour over NYC and Harbor @ 10:45 AM
- explore, shop, Midtown, Times Square, Central Park, Museum of Art, Apple Store

- Mark's Birthday, visit Sony Wonder Lab in the morning
- Beast Speed Boat Ride @ 1 PM
- shopping, The Rockefeller Center top floor
- Possible inclusion of Yankee Stadium Tour.
- dinner, packup and head to airport ~ 6:30 PM
- flight leaves @ 10:30 PM

8:30 PM depart New York City (British Airways)
8:25 AM arrive London (6h 55min)

- taxi from airport to hotel, Arriva Hotel, 55 Swinton Street, London
- unpack and settle. brunch.
- train tube to London Eye @ 2 PM, River Cruise down The Thames @ 2:45 PM
- possible inclusion of Modern Tate Gallery, pack for trip to Paris

- early start. catch taxi to Waterloo Station London ~ 4 AM
- depart Waterloo Station @ 5:30 AM, Eurostar for Paris Nord Station, Train #9078
- arrive Paris Nord Station 9:23 AM. begin tour, including coach city tour, Eiffel Tower climb, cruise on the river Seine, afternoon to explore.
- possible inclusion of the Louvre, or Apple paris Expo.
- dinner early, leave via taxi or tour setup, ~ 6 PM
- depart Paris Nord Station @ 8:43 PM
- arrive Waterloo Station @ 10:28 PM. taxi back to hotel

- shopping and sightsee, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Lord's Cricket Ground
- lunch booked @ Jamie Oliver's Restaurant Fifteen
- dinner, packup and head to airport ~ 7 PM
- flight leaves @ 9:15 PM

9:15 PM depart London (British Airways)
8:55 AM stopover Johannesburg (10h 40min)

11:10 AM depart Johannesburg (British Airways)
12:20 PM arrive Durban (1h 10min)

- arrive pickup from airport, unpack and settle

- Balito and Coast drive, visit old school and homes

- leave for Game Park Safari. Umfolosi. spend the night.
- night tour, 2 hour drive through park

- day in Umfolosi, leaving late afternoon.

- sightsee, relax

- sightsee breakfast, relax
- pack all items, final loose ends.

1:00 PM depart Durban (British Airways)
2:10 PM stopover Johannesburg (1h 10min)

4:55 PM depart Johannesburg (British Airways)

8:20 AM arrive Perth (9h 25min)


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Mac Pro ness ...

Apples new Mac Pro. announced today.

well first thought was ... yeh i knew about this since 1989
but wheres all the other nifty stuff we expect from apple? no iChat mobile? no iPod? no home Rocket Kit? did they get scared off because of all the preshow hype.

moving on ...
Mac Pro.
well apple are still stuck under that magical 3Ghz mark aint they. lol sure its the fastest Mac ever and would be a beast but eh, i remember Stevo saying "breaking through the 3Ghz barrier by end of 2004" mmm

thank the great one apple didnt change its case. its perfect. ..
hangon i take that back. the case is fantastic, but ive got two sore points. 2 USB ports on the front ?? WTF? and a powersource and powercable link up the top of the machine? yah lets get dangled and tangled chords lol.

Where are the fans in this thing? wonder how loud it is. ..

mmm >? too soon maybe. but eh we used to be the inovators and risktakers. would have thought there would have been an option. but no i have to "expand it myself" if i need it.

all in all im loving the speed and design, minus the flaws mentioned. but it doesnt make me wanna run out and grab one. what it does make me wanna do is go straight to fith ave and crack one of these open to see its guts. lol :) bring on NYC


checkin things out for Lima.
we will be there a night or two ? (mark?) before our flight out to
anyway i see that the good ol Golden Arches have even made their way
into downtown Lima. ONYA YANKS!

aparaently its not a "drive thru section" its a "Auto Mac" haha.
conjures up the thought of a factory produced burger, coming down a
conveyor belt to you. oh wait, that already happens.

wont be eating there anyway.

PS. i see our hotel has made preparations to my new pool already. ("my
S logo") well done lads. Cheech and the boys are working over time.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


note to all...

the idea is for anyone viewing the blog and its posts / pics to use the "comment" link at the base of every post to leave your own comments and questions. this is how we can communicate with you all whilst we are travelling, promise to try and get back to you all ..

who am i kidding, we probably wont even get any net access until New York :)

im also thinking of using Flickr as a backup for everyone to view our photos as we go along. really hope we can find internet access along the way, mainly at night to update everything and keep in touch. next up is the Itinerary update which i will email to everyone.

pic = be there in 21

#TIP 97

testing out this whole photo mass upload thing ..
ok that made no sense to anyone, but it sounded good in my head.

*note to self, use Safari to do blogging. Firefox doesnt respond as well as it should.*

on an update, i presume i will be doing most of the blogging while we are away, using marks Macbook. so unless otherwise noted all posts are from me (Shaun). pictures from both of us, and ramblings from Cheech.

#TIP 97 : how to make your travel luggage stand out in the crowd, making sure your picking up your own baggage.

Planning Packing and Blogging. . ..

Alright time is running down fast and i kinda feel im not gonna make it but eh .. here goes nothing.

over the next weeks im going to be setting the blog up for live updates on the road. yup that means this will be the one stop shop for all the info and updates occuring while Mark and I are on holiday. wanna know what the cooked Guinea Pig in Peru was like? you can bet ya bottom Peso it will be documented here.

so the next weeks will be filled with me trying out and testing the blog to upload multiple pics and etc etc. the point of the exercise is this. we dont have much time on this trip to be sending and coresponding to every friend and family members email. so the best way to keep everyone uptodate and informed is via this WEBLOG / Blog

now to change some cash for the trip. i hear this bloke "Cheech" has his finger on the pulse of the world markets. check that safety deposit hole. Bugger Travelex ... CHEECH IS THE MAN TO SEE!

"Calling Stevo" ... this is woz speaking

Apples WWDC is up soon and there is huge expectations as to the ususal announcements of products and software updates. this years hilights on the board ..

  • MacPro. (replacing the Powermac line as apples Professional line of Desktops)
  • iMobile ( iPhone, iWalkie Talkie, iApple Cell Phone ... you get the idea
  • iPod / vPod (true video pod and new line)
well this just pic just hit the streets and it looks to be legit. i can see Steve shaking in his boots as another one just slipped out of their hands and into public sight. preshow. introducing iChat Mobile. BYAH!