Lima a Cusco

esperando por mi pizza en Cusco.. Yo busco un restaurante local. I am so excited to eat!!! I also need to decide if I want to do Inca jungle trek or salkantay…I need to acclimatize too. I am not going to be a lazy bum though. Altitude sickness, stay away. I have plenty of coca leaves and well will go buy some meds if needed. I would get to mountain bike, zipline, and hike for jungle trek! 55km biking..ahh. I did bike like 20km but that is nothing. I cannot decide. Should just rest 1st to get used to altitude. Then book day trips may be. At 11,000 feet, it is freezing. Coming from Lima, where I was sweating to here where the sweater is not even keeping me warm. I hope the hot water works in the showers. Most hostels do not have hot water that actually works. The girls in the hostel, from Netherlands, inspire me to go do the Salkanay trek or jungle trek, but I am thinking of not spending much money and self guiding myself to Machu Picchu, its like few hours total, more or less…and I am not feeling the greatest either. I cannot get more sick. Being solo means I am my own liability, and if ai get sick, sure I have travel insurance and can be my nurse, but I need strength to travel to my next destinations. I need to preservere and take good care of myself instead of being a daredevil all the time. There needs to be a balance. My stomach is killing me….I feel so nauseated. I need warm blankets and may be some coca tea.

Paz… Peace. It has been real Lima. Time to move on to the mountains. I enjoyed staying like a local with a family, cooking meals and eating with them, shopping at local markets and spending time at the park. I am now excited for my new journey!

so I need to rant about hostel life.. Thug life.. I have stayed in tons of hostels in USA, Europe, India, Mexico, ans South America, so I know the ettiquette (sp?) well. I also do air bnb or homestays in between for much needed privacy and rest sometimes as hostels can get rowdy. I cannot stand party hostels. It is Friday night afterall. I want to sleep but the room next to the girls’ room is either a mixed or boys’ dorm and they are blasting annoying loud music. There is clearly sign saying quiet please after 10pm to respect other guests sleeping. Clearly drunk people do not read or do not care. Like go and party your brain out in the bar or the coomon area downstairs. These are dorm rooms. One of the reasons I try to avoid mixed dorms. Females tend to be much more respectful of light and noise. We keep the room and bathroom clean too. Welcome to hostel life after the luxury of a private room last few days. On the bright side, the bunk beds are nice with reading light, curtain, outlet (except wifi does not work in the room), and lockers. Only wish I had 4 blankets and 3 more sweaters to layer up as it is 40 degrees without a heater. May need my headphones tonight. I am such a party pooper. It is called being responsible and not putting alcohol in my body when trying to get used to low oxygen levels.

Camino en la ciudad de Lima

So many parks on the cliff! Nature within the city!

I haggled the price for this cardigan that I now love! It is so spring!

chilling at the park after my long walk. Not for long…back to walking again.

I was determined to walk. I ended up walking almost 2.5 hours total trying to find vegeratian restaurants. Eventually, ended up at the mall on the cliff Larcomar. I was so hungry. I got mashed potatoes and pasta! 🙂 I burnt my mouth and had teary eyes as the salsa for the pasta was muy caliente. Oh well, so happy for my potaoes though! I was craving them so much! Havana na na na…they are playing that song. May be some ice cream. I deserve to spoil myself after that long walk.

Can never get tired of gazing at the samundar/dariyo/oceano/sea. Walk back was another 2.5 hours. My feet and legs will not like me but I got to train for more mounatin hikes to come.

hi bird! Made me smile☺I am going to do a travel lesson of the day based on what I learned.

I walked 5 hours, so the timer is not accurate. Anyway, I learned that you have to be your own cheerleader and push yourself. Walking 5 hours may not seem like a lot, but when you walk 2.5 hours each way in the heat, it can be taxing on the body. The mind has to control the body and say keep going. I refuse to take cabs or other vehicles when I can use my feet. Health is a luxury, so cherish it, nourish it, preserve it, and use it! That is a lesson from both, a traveller, and a nurse! After walking 5 hours in the heat, I also advise taking a shower with hot water to soothe the muscles. During the walk, drink plenty of water. Also, wear sunscreen. Now, go be your own tour guide!

so the awesome part about being a family nurse practitioner, well many thing, but one useful skill when abroad in places where you do not need a Rx…. Treat yourself! In the US, I cannot write prescriptions for myself or my family unless they are oficially my patients. It is sad how I am without health insurance despite being a healthcare provider who took care of 1000s of uninsured people and helped them get free or discount meds! I am supposed to be immune to all ailments so I can serve others. Well, take that US healthcare system, one of the worst in the world in comparison to other developes nations. I met people from Sweden and Germany whose healthcare systems I envy! Anyway, thank you Peru for allowing me to buy myself what I need and want. I have to face the fact that as a nurse, I am uninsured despite being employed, I have to wait months for insurance to kick in. Muy triste…. Just need to fly across the border and treat myself! I can diagnose myself=priceless.

Lima, Peru.

Spot the airplane!

Oceano Pacifico. Que bonita.

I walked 30 min to and 30 min from the museo in the city. An offline GPS to get there and my memorized map and directions to return. Enjoyed a pastry on my way back as I was so hungry. Eventually, got back home and cooked lunch, and napped. Now, I am craving cake or torta. There are so many bakeries nearby.

I was enjoying this architecture on my walk to the museo this morning, and some guy yelled mi amor blah blah blah out some van. The problem with all large cities. I kept walking. Not going to let creepy people ruin my swag. I do have the urge to want to punch them in the face though, but then why get my hands dirty. The guard at the museo as I was leaving started to talk to me. Me being friendly talked a little, but then he asked me for my whatsapp number. I said I do not have a number with the phone in my hand! People can be such… He was then professional again and showed me the way to retrieve my bookbag.

replica of Machu Picchu.

I learned about historic cultures of Peru including modern day cultures and traditions of different regions. The Amzonas fascinates me the most. I really want to make it to Iquitos, but I would need to cancel my flight to Santiago which I cannot. I could come back to Peru in the future just to lodge in the jungle. This time, I must skip it with regret and instead, may be do Patagonia. I will see. For now, I am just worried I will not get a ticket to enter Machu Picchu since the govt website is so annoying telling me I can only book 10 days in advance. I will be on my way out of Peru by then! I can risk and book in person when I get to Cusco, but that is if the office is open on weekends! The last option is going with a tour company or treck. I am considering doing a last minute 5 day hike in the mountains to Machu Picchu. I would need to buy a sleeping bag though and request vegetarian meals. I just do not want to pay hundreds of dollars. It would allow me to push my limits and do challenging hikes and mountain climbing. I would be risking altitude sickness as the hike goes up to like 14000 or 15000 feet. When I was at 13000 feet in Ladakh, I had severe headache and shortness of breath for days, but I lived. I need a sign, God. Something to tell me to book the 5 day hike or not. I only have 7 days in Cusco too which 2 days would be for acclimitization. Knowing me, I will probably roam around the town for hours day 1 instead of rest. I need a sign, fast… To book the multi day hike or not. Dun dun dun…give me a sign!! …till then, I shall go find some cake! Yummy 🙂

Taste of home away from home

ensalada muy saludable…necesita cocinar cuando no puedo buscar comida vegeratania

Sometimes, you just crave the familiar. This has to be one of the best pastas I have cooked. I went grocery shopping at local supermercados this morning with my airbnb host. We got fresh ingridients and I now have groceries for 2-3 days depending on my hunger level! Trying to not eat out. I truly value and enjoy living like a local instead, away from touristy neighborhoods. My host makes me feel like her duaghter, how sweet. I love the kindness of strangers that turn me into their family. My last air bnb hosts were so sweet too. They let me use their laundry machine and dropped me to the airport! If I stayed longer, we would have become best friends. They were a young couple who loved to travel but owned 2 stores. They worked 6 days a week until midnight sometimes, yet they insisted to drop me to the airport on their Sunda day off. I resisted but they insisted and won. They are also trying to turn vegetarian or vegan since they own a new health food store! I was giving them tips and advice on how to do so! They gave me travel tips for Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. I offered to host them once I move to California when they visit! It is strange how friendships can form so fast. A smile, kindness, and an open mind is all that is needed to make friends and form connections across the globe.

vblog: Backpacking South America tips

my dinner plus popcorn with netflix! Perfect for a rainy night. Homesickness gets to the most seasoned travelers. I think today was the worst; it could have been because I dis not really enjoy this city, or it was my mood that made me not like the city. Either way, sometimes, you just need a piece of home. Humans are accustomed to find comfort in the familiar. As much as I love the unfamiliar and pushing myself out of the comfort zone, there needs to be breaks and watch netflix, eat fries or popcorn. I do miss hot water showers and mashed potatos especially becuase it has been so difficult to find vegetarian food in Ecuador. I hope this homesickness passes soon. I think it is just this place. Then, I will be back into action. I am not enjoying this large city. I actually loved the small towns or cities in the sierra/mountains. Something about the mountains is just so mesmerizing and I can stare at them all day. Guayaquil may be nice for some people, but not my cup of tea.

Simon Bolivar? I forget what the statue said.

spot the iguana!

I did not touch the iguanas. I was fed up with bug bites and one of the iguanas or pigeons from the tree pooped on my shoe. The kids were so brave! This 1 year old was having a blast playing with the iguanas. People were feeding them too at Iguana park! I have held enough animals for Ecuador. In Peru, I will see what I will pet.

Cuenca, old town charm in a modern city

My last minute plan to visit Cuenca was a brilliant idea! I am loving this ciudad muy hermosa, very beautiful city. From working out in outdoor gym in the morning, to roaming about the cobblestone streets of old town, to learning about indigenous history at the museo, to walking along the river, and swinging in the park. No matter how old I am, my favorite childhood activity will always be my favorite. There is something so therapeutic and liberating about flying back and forth on a swing with wind blowing hair back and trying to go high as possible trying to let the wind propel you with the soundrltrack od music or sweet kids’ giggles and the clouds and sun. It never gets old. Being kid size, and peoole calling me nina (child), I will take advantage of parks and swing all I want, until of course I see a child who wants to use the swing. Then, I get up, as it is their childhood afterall. We should never let the inner child fade. Life is too precious to be serious all the time! Too bad I leave tomorow for the next place, but I will be sure to catch another workout in the morning at my new favorite park in the world, segundo, primero es Kamati baug in India. Childhood is childhood afterall. Haha there is another girl at the hostel wearing a mickey mouse shirt! Disney rules! I am loving this hostel for its chill vibe. Only $6 per night; it is the cheapest I have stayed at in the world! The last minute booking meant a mixed 8 bed dorm, but the hostel volunteer was nice enough to switch me to the 4 bed one so I can have a bottom bunk! I had the room to myself until 2 guys checked in. It was my 1st time staying in a mixed gender dorm as I only preferred all female dorm rooms before. I still do, but last minute booking only had mixed dorm option. I felt ubcomfortable at 1st, but then I was like who cares. I slept like a baby. Travelers, men or women, are very respectful of oneanother and actualy try to make others comdortable. I felt safer than in a hotel room by myself! Backpackers or travelers just tend to have a friendly vibe and have an unwritten code of looking after eachother and respecting others’ belongings. I keep my bag out unlocked and do not worry. Somehow, I can trust fellow travelers more than strangers. On a similar note, I might revisit the Amzon jungle in Peru after talking to some backpackers. Many are working professionals taking a break and traveling. I have met a lawyer from France, writer from UK, pharmacist from France, medical student from Germany, and so forth. There is no best age to travel or backpack. The time is never right on the external clock, so the internal clock has to decide. An open mind, some budgeting and saving, and time is all that is needed! I do not want to wait until retirement to see the world. Tomorow is never guaranteed. Live life for today. Similary, after talking to a girl at the hostel, who visited Patagonia, I have decided to make it happen. Try to at least in Chile. It has been a goal to go to Patagonia edge of the world and tierra del fuego! Ahh so many ideas. It is 3 mil km from northern Chile by bus! I have time to contemplate though.

Tarzaning through the Andes and flying over the edge

Tungarahua volcano perfect view. Today was eventful! Nothing like flying through the mountains. I have a fear of heights, but I do not succumb to my fears. I overcome them, and thus, I have loved paragliding and ziplining. My favorite adventure sports. I feel so free like a bird in the air. First, in the morning I went to la casa del Arbol, crazy bus ride, jam packed, and I sat on this cushion thing behind the driver’s seat! It was 1 dollar, so its ok. Anyway, eventually, when the kid in the front passenger seat of the bus got off (no such thing as car safety here!), the bus driver invited me to sit in the passenger seat! Lovely views! Then, paid another dollar to enter the little garden on the hill and swing off of the mountain! The views or vistas were splendid of the volcano and the town below. I was nervous, but everyone else was doing it, and I realized fears are just that, thoughts, which can be controlled or changed. I did it! I enjoyed swinging in the air like that, biggest swing of my life in comparison the playgrounds of childhood! People were so sweet taking pics for me and pushing me! I returned the favor and took pics for the nice fellow traveler. Being kind is priceless. Then I had chocolate ice cream and watched the mountains while waiting for the bus. Later, my new friend from the hostel and I headed for ziplining! We did 6 courses in 1 hr with ton of hiking in between! The hiking was rough, and the zuplining itself felt like a break! We did superman..correction, superwoman o super chica, position of hanging like a bird basically and flying or zipoling through the jungle! Loved it, and was like that is all when it was over!? Another one was were both of us were tied together, but on different lines, and super chica’d our way through the trees and over the rivers! We were like woahh. Then we headed to find the hidden hot water spring or banos that is less known. It took us forever, like 40 min, but we found it! Now the plan is to try paragliding tomorow pending weather conditions and then chill in the hot water springs. What a lovely day! I realize I spent the most money in Banos due to the adventure sports’ activities, but well worth it! That is was Banos is for, relaxing in a small traditional town, befriending locals, to meeting fellow travelers and roaming in the jungle to flying through the air! In the midst of all of this, I forgot to pick up my clothes from the lavenderia. I will get them en la manana, porque es cerrado ahora. Neither of us took our cameras for ziplining, but regret not getting the amazing views on camera! They are in my memory, and I will paint them when I return to the estados unidos. I am still on high of ziplining, and keep picturing how amazing it was. My burning muscles from hiking, to the force of wind propelling me through the air barely missing trees! It is like a dream, but reality! After thr smoky mountain 10 line course, this is my favorite! It is always more special when shared with others. Smoky mountains was with ny bro and sis in law, and Andes mountains was with a fellow female traveler. I may never meet her after tomorow, but we will have a shared experience to look back on! That is special in its own way. Buenos noches. Soy muy cansada y necesita dormir.

Stop and appreciate the little things. The soft mellow flowers.

Puyopungo Amazonas

What a perfect day! This is my type of adventure. Another dream come true-being in the Amazon. From hiking to the waterfall with a beautiful time in the jungle playing with the leaves and boots getting stuck in the mud to splashing in the streams, visiting a native community and learning about their culture, to canooing in rio (river) Puyo where I had front seat! To holding such beautiful parrots and a terrifying snake. To meeting other travelers from Ecuador and Chile on the bus who talked to me and took pics without me even asking for me and bluetoothed the pics to me. I am touched by kindness and the magnificent power of nature. Now, dinner is hot chocolate and then really need to head to the hostel and shower after this long day! Best 25 dollars spent!

La piscinas de la Virgen (hot water spring)

Thermal baths or hot water springs are numerous in Banos, which literally meane baths in Espanol. Visiting Banos and not going to one of these is injustice, so I decided to head out today to discover what the craze is about. It is said that the water is heated from the volcano Tungurahua and has healing properties with natural minerals. Going there, I had to pay 2 dollars to enter, and then noticed how crowded the pools were. The hottest temp did not feel too hot, but warm enough! For me, it was comparable to a heated pool, but I did enjoy chatting with some Ecuadorians on vacation in the pool. I finally had to get out, as it was just too crowded being the most popular picsina de virgen (story goes someone saw virgen Mary there so it is a holy place). There are other ones in town which I may look for later this week. Overall, OK experience, but nice nonetheless for relaxation. The waterfall on top was nice! As I sip my heavenly hot chocolate at my new favorite cafe in town, I notice how the family of 5 at the table in front of me are all on their smartphones. Is this what a family vaction is? Phones are distracting sometimes. Family vacations are to be about bonding and enjoying a new place, not being glued to phones. Even kids are given phones to play with. My biggest pet peev is during office visits with me, when parents give toddlers phone to keep them entertained. What happened to toys or picture books? I need to find the bus to go to casa del arbol, and book an Amazon tour. Sometimes, being lazy and napping is just what is needed after a long day of wandering around. I did not realize how tired I was until I napped, and did not wake up for 3 hours. I keep thinking about work to do, but need to not do it. I have 4 weeks left of traveling, and I need to destress after the rollar coaster the last 2 years were. Sometimes, you do not realize how burnt out you are until you stop and look back. In last 2 years, I went from being myself to this overworked person who developed wrinkles, white hair, and gained 20 pounds in her 20s. Chronic stress is horrible, but I broke the cycle and left for my own good. I had patients using foul language at me 1 year ago, to now, I am met with such kindness by local Ecuadorians. My life changed so much with one decision, to leave what was causing me harm, and find a new path. I miss my old job sometimes, like my colleauges who became friends, and my routine patients who dearly made me part of their family and would bring three generations to see me. They were sad when I said I was leaving, and wanted to move to have me as their provider. I was met with bittersweet hugs of goodbye with people I cared for and who inspired me to continue trying to be the best NP I can be, just to see smiles on their faces and watch their health impove. I need this break so I can go back to what I am meant to do. Travel refuels me and reignites the passion for life. It is not a luxury vacation, long bus rides, crowded hostels, weightlifting backpacks walking miles in new places, but it is my gift to myself. The world is my textbook. I met a young woman in my hostel who reminded me of my younger self. She is traveling for months, but mostly volunteering at different places in Latin America. I did that in Honduras and India back when I was her age. We bonded, and ended up having dinner at this family owned Italian restaurante. It is strange how quickly friends, even if temporary, are made when traveling. Especially when solo traveling, people are more open to talk and hang out unlike people in groups traveling.

I love this cafe and their chocolate caliente! I am a frequent flyer there now! Also, booked an amazon 1 dat tour. The 3 to 4 day one was too expensive and out of my budget although someday I will do an extended trip in the jungle for sure! The old gentleman at the travel agency was so sweet. He taught me about la historia de Ecuador and indigenous communities for like half hour! We talked about native Americans and the disparities they face in US and also about India. I love conversing with locals in Spanish. I had to book the tour after that! I was too imoressed by his kind demeanor and passion for his culture and sharing it with travelers like me. Connecting with locals around the world is priceless. So psyched to go to Amazonas en la manana!

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