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It felt like we had already broken each other’s hearts, as we stumbled into something I knew my heart would fall for but my head would resist. And like all too often, my mind won out.
Jenga, Cervezas, Latinas

Hola senoritas
-Ooo, yes Latinas
Me llamo Andres
O Dre
¿Cual es son sus nombres?
Jovi, Ale, y Dani
-Three!
Son de Chile
-I like…
Me gusto tu vino
Vamos a jugar un juego de Jenga
Con cervezas, pues
-Yes!

Jenga y cervezas
Latinas Chilenas

¿Quien toca?
Toca un de lado
Toca un de centro
Toca un de abajo
Ponela ariba
Construe la Jenga
Tan alto como se peuda

¡Otra cerveza!
¡Salud!
Ariba, abajo
A centro, ¡a dentro!

¿Tiene wi-fi aqui?
¿Tienen Facebook?
¡Tocamos un selfie!
-A selfie?! Here too, really?

Mas alta, mas alta
¡La jenga es bastante alta!
Cuidado, cuidado
Oh…oh…¡OH!
¡Se cayo!
¡Bebe!
¡A seco! ¡A seco! ¡A seco!
Otra cerveza
Otra juego de Jenga

And that’s how the game of Jenga is played
With Latinas and cervezas
Take out anything that’s not absolutely necessary
Build a tower as high as possible
Watch it fall
As it inevitably will
Drink
Put it all back together
Play again
Have fun

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Adventures in Peru

My thoughts, my pictures, and my stories from a week in Peru.

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The story of my adventures in Peru begins with my parents, who 3 years ago traveled to Peru and bravely hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.  For those who aren’t familiar with what this is, the Inca Trail is a strenuous 4 day hike covering 26 miles, going from an altitude of 9000 feet to 14000 and back down to 8000, ending at Machu Picchu, the most prominent site of the 15th century Inca civilization.  Hard for anyone and quite impressive for a married couple in their late 50’s.  My parents enjoyed their adventure so much they graciously paid for me and my sister to experience the same thing together.  I decided to keep a running log of my time in Peru to share with the few people interested in my life and to provide myself with something to look back at.  Here it is below, unfiltered, accompanied with pictures taken along the way, and with some post-trip commentary.

8/30/14 2:39PM
Just landed at Cusco.  Tipped a busboy $5.  $5 too much.  He wasn’t even affiliated with our hotel or travel agency.  He just read the sign from our driver, found a “Shana Wang”, transported our luggage, and earned a $5 tip.  Smart guy.  Good for him.  $5 lesson for me.  We’re on the way to the hotel.  The standard of living is quite lower here.  We’re all spoiled in the States.  It’s all relative.

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4:58PM
Back to the hotel after having a beer and some food at the highest 100% Irish owned pub in the world, Patty’s Pub.  All the carbonated drinks here lack carbonation. Not sure why but I’ll find out.

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9:35PM
" -everything is a mirror that reflects light and creates images of that light - and the world of illusion, the Dream, is just like smoke which doesn’t allow us to see what we really are."
-The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Well said.  We are all the same.

I found out why drinks are flat here.  The difference in bottle pressure and air pressure is greater at higher altitude.  Bigger change in air pressure = faster loss of carbonation.
-Another possible explanation, there might just be less carbonation in the drinks bottled in Peru.

8/31/14 11:45AM
I woke up 3 times last night to puke, off of just 2 drinks.  I have a hangover right now.  Amazing.  Fun fact my sister looked up.  1 drink is 1.5-3 times as potent at an altitude of 5000 feet…so at 11000 feet does that mean 1 drink is 3-6 times as potent?  Wow.

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Pisco sours.  Pisco is the liquor of choice in Peru.  Smells like Tequila, tastes like a mix of vodka and gin.

Guinea pig for lunch!  No alcohol.  Gag.

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9:57PM
All is packed.  Tomorrow our trek to Machu Picchu begins.  5:30AM is when the bus arrives.   I’m feeling slightly off.  My face is numb.  It might be the cold, it might be the altitude.  I hope I feel better once we get moving.  Guinea pig taste like chicken.  Not bad actually.  Time to rest.

One last thing.  There’s a “name of ex” in the other hiking group.  Probably just pure coincidence.

9/1/14 5:47AM
On the bus, about to depart and leave to begin our trek to Machu Picchu.  I just had the worst coffee in my life.  Not to self: keep to tea here in Peru.

5:56AM
¡Vamos a la playa!
-Our tour guide, Jose, jokingly referred to Machu Piccho as la playa, the beach, despite the fact that Peru has no beaches to speak of.  This became our little motto during our hikes.  Even the porters would sarcastically say it as they lugged our baggage along the Inca Trail.

8:10AM
We just finished breakfast.  Had some coca tea which made my face slightly numb and me slightly lightheaded.  That’s probably where my facial numbness is coming from.  I bought a bag of coca leaves for the hike.  2 soles, not even 1 dollar.  Cheap drugs.  Thumbs up.

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7:45PM
First day is in the books.  Several things stand out…
-The hike is actually not as strenuous as expected, partially due to the fact that some members in our group hike at a slower pace.  Just the first day, tomorrow is supposed to be the grueling one.
-The food is amazing.  This is 5-star camping.  Food is made and served to us.  Our tents, extra clothes, and extra baggage are  carried by porters who carry twice what we do and get to camp in half the time it takes us.
-The night sky is so beautiful.  Very little light pollution.  You can see everything.  Different colored stars, shooting stars, the Milky Way.  So beautiful.

Looking forward to tomorrow.

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Our mascot, Lomo the Llama, drunk.

9/21/14 8:27AM
Just got to the first resting point.  I hiked ahead with the porters.  Much more of an adequate pace.  I got to spend the hike chatting with the head porter, Martial.  48 years old I believe.  From a village in the mountains.  It’s amazing to me that many of the porters are well over 40.  There were a couple of em who were 70.  And they make their living doing 4-day, 26 mile hikes.  What a toll it must take on their bodies.  I wonder the incidence of lower back pain in their population.  A study on them would be interesting.

I wonder if I’m even at the right resting spot.  I should find out soon enough.  Elapsed time since my arrival nearly 10 minutes.  Our tour guide Jose, whose slightly addicted to coca leaves, informed us that the porters in the past held competitions to see who could navigate this hike the quickest sans luggage.  The fastest time was 3 hours 45 minutes for a 20 some mile trek.  I would be happy to run a marathon at that time.

Friends are here.  The resting spot was correct.  Elapsed time, 13:26.

9:53AM
Arrived at the lunch meet up point.  Finished the estimated 2 hour hike in 30 minutes.  That was grueling.  A lot of stairs.  Step-ups for days.  Slightly concerned about my sister who was having bouts of diarrhea.  I hope she’s okay but I know she wouldn’t me to stay behind to babysit her.

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This is much more my idea of vacation.  Breathtaking treks with breathtaking views.  Bonding can come later and not at at the expense of exercise or alone time.

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That was truly a great work out.  Great training for my half marathon in little over a month.  Especially at this altitude  I’m eager to see how well I do on my next run with my body acclimated to an altitude of 10,000 feet.

Elapsed time so far. ~10 minutes.  my guess is that this will be well over 30 minutes.

I’m turning to chewing coca leaves as I fatigue.  I’m really not sure how much the high from the coca leaves help, how much it’s the fact that it encourages nose breathing because I have something in my mouth, and how much a placebo effect comes into play.  A good debate over a glass of wine.  Not all so important, so long as it helps.  Useful to remember when it comes to treating patients.  I honestly don’t care if I feed my patient’s a load of bull, as long as they get better, I’m happy.

10:12AM, elapsed time 21:24.

Spending time away from the States at places with lower standards of living always reminds me that money is not need for nor does it equate to happiness.  I see happiness everywhere here and the villagers must make less than a couple thousand dollars annually.  The fact is though, many of us don’t want to live at a lower standard.  I like how I live.  However materialistic it is, the only change I want is to make more money so I can buy more things, travel to more places, and eventually provide my children with the same luxury.  So although money doesn’t equal happiness, money matters.  At least to me.

Friends are here.  Elapsed time: 36:07.

1:55PM: 4215 meters, 13829 feet above sea, Warmiwañusqa (got this from Wikipedia), Dead Woman’s Pass
Made it to Dead Woman’s Pass, the highest point of this 4 day hike.  I took this trek at a more leisurely pace for the first half, stayed in the back of the pack with my sister until she asked “Why are you going so slow?”, then left her and passed everyone, made it to the peak, first one up.  Passing, one of the best feelings when it comes to any type of race.  Not that this is at all a race or competition but I can’t help but enjoy passing and being first.  Me and the porters are starting to get to know each other as we spend more time together.  There’s a group of 17 of them, ranging from 30-70 years of age.  Once again, amazing work they do but the toll it takes on their bodies is apparent.

First other member of the group is here.  Elapsed time 7:48.  Signing out.

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4:48PM

Ahhh, arrived at camp.  That.  Was.  Grueling.  After we made it to Dead Woman’s Pass, some of us decide to hike an extra 200 feet to reach 14,000 feet.  One of our group members, Nick, has a personal goal to reach 14,000 feet on all continents so we went along for the trip.  Great idea.   We went up some uncharted territory but had great views and great pictures.  I lost my $20 shades but it was a price worth paying.

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The trek down was all down stairs.  A different type of tiring but tiring nonetheless.

Ready for a nap.

8:02PM
The most physically challenging 2 days of my life so far.  The next few days should be easier but I expect this to be the most difficult trek I will take in a while.  A great experience but there’s nothing more I’m looking forward to now than my bed, my Elly, and a Sunday of football.

Bed time

9/3/14 6:23AM
Beautiful mountain views this morning.  The porters now call me Andrecito.  Me gusto.  Long trek today, longest of the 4 days here.

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8:27AM
Another beautiful peak.  All downhill from here.

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10:51AM
Arrived at our lunch spot,   It was a much easier morning today.  It smells so delicious.  Can’t wait to eat.

We saw an Inca site today, Sayacmarca.  The Incas occupied this area in the 1400’s, stayed for nearly a century.  I’m not sure how they fell.  They built amazingly sturdy stone buildings and stone trails, the same ones we’re walking on.  We saw a sacrificial altar at Sayacmarca where the Incas sacrificed their most beautiful women, dressed them in the most beautiful clothing, accessorized in the most expensive jewelry and placed them with valued goods including crops, seashells, silver, and gold.  All to the gods in hope of rain and sun.
-The Inca Empire lasted from the mid 1400’s to the mid 1500’s.  They fell to the Spaniards in 1533 but prior to this, many of the Inca sites had already been abandoned due to an inadequate supply of water.

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1:44PM
Llamas!

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2:12PM
Phuyupatamarca

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6:07PM
Back at camp.  Final day of camping.  Beautiful Inca sites today.  Machu Picchu, the big one, is tomorrow.  A couple thoughts before heading to evening snack.
-My right lateral knee pain came today after hours of going down stairs.  Just a bit.  I thought this hike would be a nice break for the knee.  Need to look more into this.
-Bob Sr., 71, and Bob Jr., 34, share a great relationship.  Sr. struggles through every hike in good spirits and Jr. is there by him nearly every step of the way and there to help him after the hikes when his body aches.  Truly a great son and very inspiring.
-Mikaela, 24 and her mother, Deb, spend half the time arguing and the other half of the time complaining.  Annoying but also entertaining.
-Got the chance to treat Bob Sr. for cramps in his left hip adductors, attributed it to saphenous nerve irritation stemming from a quadruple heart bypass 4 years which used part of the saphenous vein, thus causing associated nerve irritation.  Also got the chance to help Deb with lateral hip pain attributed to IT band irritation.  Love it, love anatomy, love physical therapy.

Off to food!

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Intipata

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8:52PM
Finished dinner.  Got the chance to give the head porter Martial his portion of the tip.  Got the chance to put in an extra $20 for him, to tell the crew about him being 48 with a 32 year old son who works in electronics, about how he’s from one of the villages in the mountains, works as a porter to support his family, and enjoys playing soccer in his free time.  Good guy and I’m glad to be able to help him out.  3:30 call time tomorrow.  Quite early.  Machu Picchu should be beautiful.

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9/4/14 5:58AM
Rain, rain, go away.  Our trek to Machu Picchu put on hold due to severe rain with some hail.  Thank god for ponchos and rainproof shoes.  We might need to make this trip through this storm if it doesn’t pass.

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Snuck a picture in with this llama during the storm!

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8:00AM

4 days of hiking and we arrive at the Sun Gate with the first view of Machu Picchu.  People talk about hiking to Machu Picchu.  I feel like this detracts from everything encountered along the way including the handful of other Inca sites, the mountains the Inca’s worshipped, the stone trails they walked on, the day long hikes they had to go on traveling from site to site.  Machu Picchu by itself means so much less than all of this.

The journey is the destination.

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7:43PM
30 year olds teaching me how to be young again.

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9/5/14 12:01AM
What an amazing time.  Had dinner with the crew, wandered around, met travelers from Texas and Chile (Latinas!), and had a ton of drinks.  Lots of drunken Jenga and drunken selfies.  Reminder to self: ALWAYS choose to stay out later if possible.  Great last night in Peru.  Glad I got my Latina fix in.  Ready to go home.

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Replica Inca site out of Jenga blocks.

7:13AM
I’m not sure what it is I’m having such vivid dreams.  Last night was the second time by dream got flooded because of my urge to urinate.  That’s Inception status there.  Slightly hungover.  A CamelBak is the best hunover bedside water source ever.  I slept with the thing in my mouth like a pacifier in a baby’s.  Train back to Cusco in an hour.  Souvies still to buy including a refrigerator magnet, bottles of Pisco, yarn, and a llama.

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PT thought at the moment before packing to leave for the train.
"Every day, out-of-shape people attempt to regain fitness, lose weight, and become more active.  They assume if they just move more, they will start to move well. Unfortunately, they well just get better at moving poorly for longer periods of time or with larger amounts of weight or at greater speeds."
-Gray Cook, Movement

6:09PM
At the Cusco airport, 35 minutes from boarding my flight to Lima.  After a 5 hour layover in Lima I’ll be on my back home on a 9 hour flight.  What a great week in Peru but no matter the vacation, there is always just one thought on my mind by the end of it: can’t wait to get home.  A short list of some of things I miss includes:
-The polluted LA air.  Still 10 fold better than the nauseous smell of gasoline in Peruvian air.
-My car.  The sun.  Can I drive with my top down in the LA sun already?
-American football
-Elly

14 hours from landing.  Counting down.

A recap of the past couple days. The rain let up during our hike to Machu Picchu but came again once we got there.  Machu Picchu is a much larger Inca site than the rest of the sites and in much better condition partially because the Spaniards never found it when they conquered the Incas and partially due to the restoration efforts of the Peruvians today.  Lots to see there.  Beautiful.

We spent a night in Aguas Calientes.  What a tourist trap that town is.  We went to 4 bars/restaurants and didn’t get an honest bill from any of them.   Stayed out till midnight, impressive considering the fact that we woke up at 3:30AM to hike.  Kudos to my 30 year old friends for teaching me the meaning of youth.  Met Latinas, Chileans to be exact.  Jenga y cervezas.  Un bueno noche.  Took a train, took a bus back to Cusco.  I hate windy roads and the smell of gasoline.  Quick ways to feeling nauseous.  Great pizza back at Cusco.  Souvie shopping in the rain.  Goodbye to new friends.  And currently awaiting a reunion with home.

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10:34PM

Of course, this trip wouldn’t be complete without a lost wallet.  Womp womp.  Here at Lima, I found out I likely left my wallet in the cab on my way to the Cusco airport.  Bad habits. My next attempt at responsibility will include a wallet and chain.  Luckily I had just a driver’s license, a credit card, and no more than $60 in cash but this problem is getting out of hand.

Jenga con cervezas y Latinas.  Complete!  Very proud of my work.  Got it done in a day’s work and it’s beautiful.  Some grammatical editing left, mostly on the Spanish end, but for the most part, done!

http://itsondre.tumblr.com/post/96836011114/jenga-cervezas-latinas

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TV also to be delivered Saturday, tomorrow, between 2-6PM.  Yes!  Sunday football.  Home in T-minus 12 hours.  All is good.

9/6/14 7:45AM
Home sweet home.

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One by Ed Sheeran from the album: x

Ed Sheeran - One

She will know a love you’ve only dreamt of.
See, infidelity is one kind of sin, but my true failure was inattention. I understand that now.
Martin Hart, True Detective

Don’t Leave

Seven Lions feat. Ellie Goulding

Sunrise and Dark Horse.

#maleficent

#maleficent

"When you got people behind you, you can do whatever." -Kevin Durant

"When you got people behind you, you can do whatever." -Kevin Durant