Tagged with first impressions

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Our first Thai dish. It smacked of Thai takeout for the first split second but gave way to a burst of fresh flavors - salted dried fish, red chili, lemongrass, and a Ginger that tasted like spicy flowers. I've only had Thai a handful of times, usually from plastic takeout containers, and nothing whatsoever worth remembering. Why does the US have to make everything so bland and uniform?

Like most other cuisines we've had in our travels, we can't wait to get passed those one or two familiar flavors and delve into the source. We can't even say "Thank you" yet in Thai but we've managed to find a good meal. It's a promising start. Stay tuned…

A tourist's legend to understanding times &...

Friday

  • All businesses, museums, etc are closed after 2pm
  • Cabs are insanely expensive

Saturday

  • Some businesses are open
  • Museums and tourist attractions are closed except for one or two; the most touristy section of town, around Teatro Amazonas, is a ghost town  
  • Mercado Municipal is open but only the fish market
  • Cabs are now offensively expensive and this is explained by adding a number "2" next to the cost [Result? We learn to take the bus.]

Sunday

  • Everything except all-you-can-eat places and a few malls are closed; maybe there is one museum open that wasn't open yesterday and won't be open tomorrow

Monday

  • All business are open except the Mercado Municipal, which is closed and boarded up
  • Cabs have gone back to normal only ... View Post »

Please choose from the following. Would you rather:

  1. Drink beer in a place that smelled like piss (the bare minimum of what we hope to accomplish in Brazil)
  2. Drink piss where it smelled like beer (what we did a lot of in Peru)
  3. Drink something that tasted like piss-beer in a place that smelled like piss and beer (you know what type of place I'm talking about)

StoryLions and tigers and bears...

Some of the students here roam the jungle by day (specifically those on plant duty) and some roam at night (most critters are more active at night). Over the breakfast table today we learned of the night's events for those studying a species of frog. There are actually three groups here studying the same species of frog. While they have different aims, this particular frog is easy to catch and therefore popular for study. It seems if they could just get the damn things to survive in a lab - they've tried, but they generally don't even make it alive to Quito - no one would need to even venture out into the rainforest to study them. 

We're going to start tagging along in the evening with one of the groups, but Matt is waiting until I've… errr… acclimatized myself to the idea of woolly ... View Story »

Welcome to the jungle

After we waited for our cabbie to show this morning, he took us 1 1/2 hours from Coca, east across a well-kept paved private oil road to Pompeya, a small village on the north side of Rio Napo. We waited an hour for our canoe to show and when it didn't we hitched a ride with one of the motor boats schlepping people across the river. After making our way through the RepSol checkpoint, and putting our luggage and persons through the X-rays, one of the administrators, Carlos, picked us up in his truck. We took the oil road, rocks and dirt this time, another 1 1/2 hours to Yasuní.

We passed a few small villages and school children on our way, including a group of Huaorani in helmets and vests working for the Company (this company being RepSol). We questioned Carlos about the station, ... View Post »

EssayOn the up and UP

Our tiny two burner propane stove where we make our meals.

Things were ebbing when we arrived in Cusco and are now flowing again as we near the end of our first week. It took a little while to find a good pad. On our first night there was a crazy amount of noise reverberating off the walls in our street-side room. On our second, the uncanny smell of sulfur which the lazy owner - who had yet to change out of her pajamas - claimed to be sewage from the street. Since we had no internet and have never known sewage to smell like a steamy hot spring, we strapped on our gear at 9:30pm, paid for a half day and left. We were tired of smelling shit - our bathroom for the last month had bad plumbing that smelled like dirty Chinese food and we had to shower in a toilet stall used by 40 women during the day.

But we're happy to report that since Tuesday ... View Essay »

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The clouds here have a lot to say. It's really breathtaking (especially when you've just climbed a hill to see this)!

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Sounds of Peru, Vol. 1 - Lima, like many cities, is a cacophony of sounds. After living in NYC for over eight years we thought we would be permanently immune to the din of ambulances, trucks and buses, construction and the like. It turns out we are not. Perhaps it is because we spent the last four months in the serenity and quietude of Connecticut, but we can't seem block out this particular phenomenon of the urban landscape, which appears in every street, around every corner, every day, at all times of day, everywhere we go. It is unbelievable. It has even happened twice while writing this post. We are past the phase of being annoyed and have entered the phase of being amazed at both how absolutely useless it is, and how this exact recording could be so consistent ... View Post »

Vivimos en Lima

We placed a down payment on our apartment yesterday. It's not ours yet - we don't move in until Saturday - but we're hopeful the search is over! It's in a central part of Miraflores near a beautiful park and many small restaurants just waiting to be discovered down all these little side streets. It's about a 10 minute walk to where the air starts to smell salty and you can see the Pacific.

Our landlord is a Southern - we expect ex-military - gent named Ian (EYE-I-N, not EEE-I-N) who has been living in Lima for three years. Our apartment is part of a building of apart hotels - ours is one of the only actual apartments. It's a cute, sizable place whose decor is reminiscent of the 70s. And we have - count them - four, real gas burners. Gasp.

Most apartments here are geared towards ... View Post »

It feels like in the woods you might go to pee and come back a few hours later - having dug a hole along the way, felled a couple of trees, skinned a squirrel, collected some duff and studied an army of ants in between. It's an adventure for sure!

It also means until I get the hang of it all planning bets are off. Time it took to wash my face this morning: 15 minutes. There was boiling the water, mixing it with cooler water, finding the washcloth, retrieving the face wash from the bathing area some 100 yards away, collecting water to wash my hands and then putting that water in the sump and finally washing my face. But the fresh feeling and smell of earth all around me as I pulled my freshly dunked face out of the water was definitely priceless.

Ask me about our first shower ... View Post »