Travels

Huaraz: The Tropical Himalayas

“The mountainous region of the Cordillera Blanca is where superlatives crash and burn in a brave attempt to capture the beauty of the place,” so goes the introduction to this region in my Lonely Planet guidebook.

Ancash Region, Peru

Huaraz was never on my radar before I came to Peru, but boy am I glad I went there. What Lima lacks in weather and beauty, Huaraz and the surrounding Cordilleras Blancas make up for a hundred times over. The highest tropical mountain range in the world, the Cordillera Blanca resembles the Himalayas and somewhat dwarfs even the highest mountains in the Rockies. In places like Colorado, the highest mountains aren’t much above 14,000 feet, which is quite high. However, in the area around Huaraz, there are towns higher than that. From my room in the Morales Guesthouse (highly recommended by the way), I had an unobstructed view of the highest mountain in Peru at well over 22,000 feet!

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Travels

Lima, Peru

Pacific Ocean from Barranco

So much for a travel blog, eh? Anyway, since I posted last, something like a month ago, I’ve traveled quite a bit and I figured I’d post some quick recaps of the cities I’ve visited.

Let’s start with Lima. Well, I didn’t so much travel to Lima as live there. Honestly, Lima was fantastic, especially if you like to eat and don’t like to spend money. My rent was $200 per month. 3-course gourmet lunches for $3.50 were the norm and cheaper wasn’t uncommon. Of course, it’s possible to spend a lot of money anywhere you go, but the food you could get in Lima for a reasonable price was unreal.

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Travels

A Weekend Away

After nearly 2 months in Peru, I finally managed to leave Lima for the first time. This past weekend, I took a quick side trip with my friends David and Andrea 5 hours south to Ica, Huacachina, and the Islas Ballestas. With less than a week left of my practicum in Lima, this trip was a bit of a warm-up for the 5 weeks of travel I have planned starting next weekend.

My practicum, speaking of which, has been an absolutely amazing experience that I’ll have to elaborate on soon. I’ve learned more than I imagined possible in such a short time about TB, epidemiology, and public health; made friends with wonderful researchers from Peru and around the world; and hopefully contributed a bit to the research as well. But more on that another time. This post is about travel…

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Huacachina, Peru

So, after a 5 hour bus ride with the latest Fast and Furious movies as company (seem to be a big thing here), the three of us arrived in Ica, a town described in my guidebook as having a “downtrodden air” with a “richly deserved reputation for theft.” Fortunately this wasn’t our final destination and a 10 minute taxi ride brought us to Huacachina, a desert oasis just outside of the town.

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Travels

Huacachina, Peru

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Travels

Trilingual by 2015, or why I might give $1000 to the Tea Party

I’ve been in this situation before. Hopelessly monolingual in a foreign country, wishing for meaningful dialogues instead of simple pleasantries and broken conversations about the weather. In both Nicaragua and Spain, I told myself I’d go back home and learn Spanish so that next time it wouldn’t be like this, but it’s never happened. I know people who are fluent in 5 languages, how can I still only speak one?

Starting today that changes. I’m going to rid myself of that stereotype that plagues Americans the world over – that we’re too lazy to learn another language besides English.

Actually, I’m going to learn two languages, and do it by my 25th birthday.

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Travels

Intra-tourism

I’d been in Lima for nearly 4 weeks and I hadn’t seen the historic city center.

Every tourist in Lima goes to the city center; it’s like seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Opera House if you’re in Sydney. Francisco Pizarro founded the city of Lima there almost 500 years ago and some of the buildings remain to this day. It’s definitely worth a visit, if not for the historical draw, then at least for architectural, cultural, culinary, or check-it-off-the-list reasons.

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Yet nearly a month into my South American adventure, and I hadn’t made it 7 stops north on the bus line to check it out. So when my good friend Jonathan stopped by Lima this weekend for the first day of his whirlwind, 81-day, trip around the world, we made it one of our first stops.

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Mood Swing Amplitude Trends

File under: nerdiest blog post title ever.

#nofilter

15 days ago exactly, my plane touched down in Lima. It feels like such a long time ago, but at the same time I can’t believe I’ve already been here for 2 weeks. One of those paradoxes that everyone knows so well and deserves a name of its own. But I digress.

A fourth of my brief time in Lima already behind me, I couldn’t help but reflect on these first few weeks south of the equator on my commute home from work today. So, how am I enjoying Lima? For the first week, my answer would have been remarkably unpredictable.

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