Volunteering with animales
03.01.2010 - 28.01.2010
So I took Avianca airlines from Panama to Ecuador with a layover in Bogota, Colombia...holy shit I have never been so scarred before in my life. They were both about hour flights but had turbulence 75%of the time. When I got to Ecuador I slept in the airport cause it was 1 am and had to take the bus to Mera (about 5 hours from Quito) at 7am..so no point in paying for a hostal. Quito was cold ...i took a taxi which was a 40minute ride and cost me 8 dollars...holy cheapness. I still tried to bargain it down though, no luck. I arrived in Mera around 1pm to meet Frank one of the owners who is Dutch of the animal rehabilitation center. We took a taxi to the end of the road where then we have to walk 20 minutes inorder to get to the location...with all my shit in a rocky muddy trail, luckily he provides everyone with rainboots. When I arrived everyone was so friendly, there was Babs, a girl from Holland who came there to volunteer on her vacation from work, as well as Ester, from Salamanca, who was doing the same. Crazy peeps they came to pay to work on their break, haha. Then there was few peeps from England, Hoyung, Ross, Roe, Louisa(the on site vet) and an irish mate, Damion. Few of them had been there before and have come back. The place has been open for 5 years and they are just staring to recieve animals. The have blue heads, macaws, capachins(my favorite monkey) a wolly monkey who was 3months, tamarinds, and kinkajous. The ministry gives them animals when they find that people have had them illegally as pets. They were several duties...mainly feeding and cleaning the animals cages and chores. People who were there longer got to play with Samsung the Wooly monkey cause it needed a mother type figure. There was a Dutch family there as well for part of the time while I was there. They had two kids and are headed to Peru to try to open up there own place. I payed 65 a week to volunteer(including the dorm) and 20 a week for food. The place was beautiful and had a great time learning and interacting(as much as I could with the animals). There are two people that go shopping twice a week for the grocieries for the volunteers and the animals. The last day I went with Ester...We have to go to Puno a town 30 minutes away to get all the stuff and we go to 5 different stores/markets. We have most of the markets box the stuff up for us and then we take a taxi at the end and have him pick everything up. Well later that day Ester and I were going to Banos for a night, which is a touristy town that has hot springs. So we were excited about that and trying to hurry up. At one of the markets Ester bought fruit and left it there to get picked up with the taxi. When we arrived back to Merazonia(the name of the place) I asked Ester if she got her fruit and then it both hit us...we had forgot half the food back in town...of fuck. It cost 11 dollars for the taxi ride pack. We just kept laughing and laughing and the taxi cab driver was nice enough to take us back to get the stuff for the price of one way. Luckily it was my last day so I didnt have to return to the place feeling like an idiot..Ester did she had 5 days left. Well we finally made it to Banos around 5ish and walked around and then went to the Aguas Termales, naturally hot srpings. Felt sooo good. Banos was destroyed by a volcanoe not to long ago and is now a gringo town..it was a very nice town though and I opted to stay there one more extra night instead of exploring Quito. I payed 6bucks for my own room with a hot shower, with a communal kitcheen, what a freaking deal. Well after that I slept in Quito airport again cause my flight was at 6am.
I flew to Bogota, got there at 730am, and had four hours to kill thus I decided to explore the historic part of La Candelaria. I was hesitant at first about Colombia but after people have said that it isnt that dangerous as it once was I decided Id be ok. I took the bus where this older lady was making sure that I got off at the right place...she was asking everyone else in the bus if they were getting off around the same area and told the bus driver to stop when it was time. It was the sweetest thing. I got there and had 2 and a half hours so I went to a museum then just walked around and ate this soup that had eggs, cream, milk, and cheese, and bread. It was good except for the soogy bread, not really into that. I got back just in time to catch my flight to Lima where I would be staying with a couchsurfer girl with plans to head to Cusco the next day. Little did I know Cusco and Lima were far by bus(about 20 hours) thus I had to get a flight last minute, neacuase my tour for the Maccu Piccu was the 20th. And there was a strike with the buses that was going on till the 21st. So I had very little time in Lima. Shirlley and her brother picked me up from the airport and went to her place. They helped me out trying to get to Miraflores a toursity area. I opted not to go to central Lima where they had all the colonial buildings after Shirley was like be careful its dangerous, and asked if I had everything with me aka my passport, etc. And I did thus I just roamed around in Miraflores which is on the water and the headed back by midnight.
My flight was at 10 the next morning to Cusco. Her brother was taking me and I was getting nervous cause he took forever to wake up. I arrived at the ariport an hour before and there was a bit of a line. I asked the lady who worked for Lan airlines if I was fine and she was like yea no worries no problem...fifteen minutes later still in line I noticed there was a line for Cusco then I asked her again and she was like yea go over there. And when I got there the flight was supposedly closed, so they made me and a few other late arrivers wait in another line and then finally checked us in 30 minutes to spare...I swore they were going to have to book us another flight for the next day since they only do two to Cusco. I was seat 2A which I though either this is first class, which Im pretty sure I didnt pay for, or they are all coach class. It was first class! But I was bumbed cause the flight is only like 40 minutes...But to my luck we were unable to land in Cusco cause of the weather so we had to go the closest airport...guess which one that was, Lima. haha so we went back there, waited 20 minutes then took off again for Cusco. I landed around 3pm then took a taxi for 6 soles(1 dollar=2.80soles) which was about 30 minutes to Grifo where I was to meet the other couch surfer, Ronnie, who is from there and has helped me with my booking in the Jungle Trip to Maccu Picchu. Unforturnetly bacuase of the strike he had two girls from Brazil still at his pad so he was unable to host me so he asked if it would be ok if I stayed at a hostel and I sayed of course and then he brought me there and described everything about the Jungle Trip, and he would be by at 6am to pick me up and store my big bag at his house. So I walked around that night and sayed fuck it to my trying to budget cause I love all the things they make here in Cusco and they are all relatively cheap! The trip include the following:
INKA JUNGLE TRIP 04D/03N.
We start our adventure in Cuzco at 06:30am prox, where we take a private bus to Abra del Malaga (4350 m.o.l.s), this is 150 km from Cuzco city, there we start our biking going down around 04 HOURS until reach to "Santa Maria" which is 230 km from Cuzco.
This day, it’s a good start because boarding of our mountain bikes with front suspension, we going down enjoying with the "Puna ecologico floor" directly to "La Selva Alta", it means from 4300 to 1430 m.o.l.s, where the weather is warm since his beginning until the ending.
In the way we will see huge snowed such as: "Veronica", then "Cataracts", finally we get in the jungle which is full of wild animals and fruit trees of the zone.
In the same day in the afternoon our group will practice the famous river rafting level III and IV during 2 hours aprox, and in the end go back to santa maria village, where we pass our first nigths.
This day is really amazing, we start our trekking (8 hours approximately) between reductions and ascents, but the most interesting in this trekking, is that we won’t just through part of the perfect inca path way if not an real adventure among the jungle where we will be surrounded by the green nature full of fruit trees, mighty rivers and exotic animals of the zone, it will make us feel full of excitement. Between the animals we will find parrots, monkeys in their many diversities, moreover a number of flora varieties of the sector. At the same time in the way we can enjoy with a relaxing shower in the hot springs of Cocal mayu , after that and very near we will reach to "Santa Teresa"(1900 m.o.l.s), our second nigth in a basic hostal or lodge.
Nature, adventure the third day of trekking to Machu Picchu. the comfort of this trekking is in the pleasant climate among 25 • 30.
Very easy day: 05 hours walking to aguas calientes town where we will pass our last night to visit the machupicchu citydal.
Very early, we start the trekking to "Ciudadela de Machu Picchu", there we will see the "Bosque de Nubes" and others natural wonders of the dawn.
Then, we will have all the day to visit all the Machu Picchu ruins moreover a special guide bilingue will make your last day an unforgettable experience.
You will visit the most imprtant places with the tour guide 03 hours aprox, and them free time to explore machupicchu by yourself and go to: INTI PUNKU, PUENTE INKA or the most popular one: HUAYNA PICCHU!!!.
In the afternoon go down again to aguas calientes tonw where you will take a train to Ollantaytam,bo and then inmediately a bus conexion to cusco, arriving here at :_21:40aprox.
* Private transport cusco-Abra malaga and to Santa maria.
* Professional guide bilingue.
* Mountain bike + equipments.
* River rafting + equipments.
* Food: 03b/03l/03d.
* 03 nigths of hostal durinf the trekking.
* Entrancee fee to machupicchu.
* Train ticket Aguas calientes-Ollantaytambo.
* Bus Ollantaytambo-cusco.
Well it didnt exactly go down as planned. For one I was unable to do the rafting the first day because of the rain. The biking I only did half because it was cold and rainy and we were only going downhill so I didnt see the point so I rode in the bus which was following behing. We stopped in Santa Maria and I walked around while the boys played soccer. My guide was Edwin, there were 5 other boys from Argentina, 3 of them were brothers. I also meet Eduardo, my Cusco lover, an other guide who was taking his brother, Michael, and friend Oscar, to do the same trek. The second day we did the walk which included part of the inka trail, that took a good 7 or 8 hours. We went to a hotspring that night too, then went to Santa Teresa, where we went dancing and then I decided to sleep in and skip the rescheduled trip for rafting the next day. Me and one other guy who booked it were going to go at 8 am and then come back to meet up with the others, truth be told I was a little scarred. I have done white waterrafting 2ce before and never was scarred but this water look furocious and like I might not make it without getting injured. I felt bad though because they wouldnt take the other rafter cause I guess they needed more than one person, he didnt seem to mad though. We then started walking again untill we got to Aguas Calientes, where we went to another hot spring and relaxed, Maccu Picchu was going to begin at 4am the next morning. We have to get there early cause they only allow 400 people to climb Winupicchu, 200 at 7am and 200 at 10am. That has the view of all Maccu Picchu. I went with the others and some how our guide dissapeared and it was just me and the boys and I was the only one with a head lamp so they were all relying on me. We walked 1 1/2 hours of over more than 2000 steps. I was cursing at the end...never again. There is a bus that takes you there but of course I want to do the cheaper more adventourous option...f that next time Im taking the bus. (I ended up taking it on the way back) It was cold and rainy until 10 that morning which was perfect cause thats when we climbed Winupichu so we could get a view of all of Maccu Picchu. My boy was our guide and I got as much of it as I could cause he was talking in Spanish. But it was an amazing expericnce. Later that day we got back to Aguas Calientes at 3pm and decided to go to the hot spring one last time only to be kicked out half an hour later because of the rain. So I went to go get ready for my train that was supposed to leave at 6pm and went there and was told it was postponed, they would know more at 7pm. So we went back at 7 and where told they were canceled cause of the mud slide and find out the next day the only way out is by helicopter. I waited to find out more news. There were 2000 tourists waiting to get out and a helicopter holds 35 people, and only the kids and elders were first. None came that day so we waited and decided to walk along the train tracks to get out on Tuesday. I went with Eduardo a guide, Michael and Oscar. Along the way my backpack opened and I didn't realize it and my camera fell out!!! What a bummer...all my pics of Maccu Picchu, luckily I can steal pics but still a trip I will probably never do again and there are no proof of it happening, haha. The walk was tough. We started at 5am and got to Cusco at 4pm. We walked 8 hours and took three different bused. Walking along a train track is not fun, let me tell you. I was raining and cold untill about 10ish and then it was nice. But we finally made it...I guess two other people died doing the same walk. I was one of the few doing the walk everyone was from Peru. It was crazy seeing the houses flooded and the train track broken. What an experience. I should have waited for the free helicopter ride, I might still have a camera if I did but oh well such is life. Don't know the plan yet but thinking of going to Puno for festivals near lake Titicaca. I don't have time to do the volunteer project I originally planned on here cause it is a week min. and I have less than that now.