- South America
Currently in Vienna, Austria
Prayer flags were brought to us today from Annapurna by our very close friend Alexander Sivkov
Life doesn't get any better.
Hey there Tumbago & Teddy - Greetings from Ted & Friends in Rhode Island USA
Photo by Albena Decheva
Bear in Flight by Bobby Chiu
One day, someone is going to hug you so tight that all your broken pieces will stick back together.
Pooh Bear didn't want to marry, but the thought of Honeymoon was driving him crazy.
Teddy Bear by Ricardo Pertichi
This reminds me why Tumbago Bear joined the gang.
Our paths crossed again with John and Betti. New friend overlander - Brian Stanfill ( hasadv.com )
Our journey is coming to an end - flying from Lima to Vienna on October 24th. It feels like being through Survivor and Big Brother (aka Juri) at the same time. Beer is well deserved. Looking forward to seeing you soon!
Alpacas can be very friendly, not like llamas which seem to be in bad mood most of the time. Teddy Little Bear is getting `special treatment` from an alpaca living in Leymebamba while Tumbago Bear lost it and throw himself face down.
Tumbago Bear almost didn`t make it through the door
Serenity. Motionless travel in time, to both past and future. I hope one day I see what they are looking at. The "Purunmachos" seem to enjoy themselves and each other's company in a calm unconditional way. They look like tourists in another world.
Photo album from South America 2014
The stone monolytes, now the burial rituals make me think of Sulawesi and Thor Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki expedition inspired by old reports and drawings of Inca rafts, and by native legends and archaeological evidence suggesting contact between South America and Polynesia.
They want me for Alcalde de Moche (Mayor of Moche). Elections are tomorrow, October 5th 2014.
If I win we will have to stick around for a while.
New photos from Trujillo - Chan Chan - Huaca de la Luna - Huanchaco
Leaving tonight for Chachapoyas.
The tent and winter sleeping bags are given to a shepherd (Jesus Pablo Nolberto Flores) from Conopa, Yanapalca in Cordillera Blanca. Juri tore and threw away second pair of hiking boots. First pair was bought in La Paz, Bolivia, the second pair was Peruvian, but had same life span. We are continuing on sandals and hammocks for Trujillo.
glaciers towing into lakes
silencing the thoughts.
Our respect and love for Cordillera Blanca grow with every step we take, steps that are not always easy to take. We are back to Huaraz - washing, feeding, and planning our next destination. Forecast for the next 7 days are showers of rain. Will wait to see what follows. The season is not suppose to end so early.
The mountains behind us is where the events of the movie Touching the void took place. See the photos, we are too busy planning our next trek in the Huascarán, Cordillera Blanca. The main effort goes to avoid routes that require an agency (with guides, mules and muleteers). We never do that. We carry 10-day supplies and have the freedom to choose where and when to go. The latest hit is to finish the trek in thermal waters known only to the locals.
We found the smaller brothers of the Sulawesi patungs that I am so fond of!
This Recuay Monolith (200-800 BC) is holding two little bears. The photo is of a replica on the streets of Huaraz but there is also a photo of the original monolith among other pics from The Archeology Museum of Ancash.
Our next destination is Cordillera Huayhuash, 10 day trek. We are watching the weather over the mountains...
Goodby La Paz
We are catching today a bus to Lima (30 hours), Peru, and then Huaraz same day.
The sleeping bag I got in a store in La Paz says ¨US Army¨ and its topknot hardly reaches my shoulders, so I guess this belongs to a division of midgets that the US army keeps top secret. I can fit only with my knees bent. The tent we bought is for 4 people and Juri`s feet stick out - he reminds me of Gulliver. But the size of the salad in one of the restaurants got the cookie.
Weather is changing. In the mids of the dry season in Bolivia we are subjected to snow, rain, hail and fog that makes you wet to the bone. After 5 days pitching and folding the wet tent looks like a rag. Day after day we climbed frozen and snowy passes and came down to sleep in damp valleys with peaks enfolded in clouds all the time. Dynamic ever changing skies with all kind of high, low and crawling around us clouds. The forecast for Bolivia is not existing (gismeteo.com, mountain-forecast.com are useless). On La Cumbre ( the highest point) of the road to La Paz, there is station where we spent the night when a heavy snow caught up with us, two shifts are paid to measure morning and evening readings for temperature, snow, rain, clouds, wind, and the numbers are diligently scribbled on a sheet of paper pinned to a cork board. When I asked if they call the numbers daily to someone the guy in charge (Toribio) told me ¨que lastima¨ (too bad) they don't have radio station or a phone so the tables go somewhere at the end of the month, maybe in the Museum of Coca.
Tent is pitched at 3800m, and the the clouds are coming from below. The break is not enough for Juri to finish his cigarette and seconds later he and the shoes are inside and the tent zipped.
Bolivia is a land of strong sun and cold shadows. You are always going either up or down, nothing in the middle. Cordillera Real (Bolivia) is a preparation for Cordillera Blanca (Peru). Traversing ridges always puts me in a pensive mode - more walking, less talking, but the mind follows its emotional landscape. The parallel is that life at every point should be a preparation for something greater, harder, higher. Even going to the highest peak doesn´t mean it´s the end of the road. If there is no higher peak then one can always make it for a better time, harsher weather, or with less luggage on the back and in the head. We are currently traversing Cohoni - Sorata on and off. On La Cumbre a snow storm caught up with us so we improvised going down on a very popular trek - the precolumbino camino El Choro which drops 4000m in 2 days - see pics below which are made in two consequitive days. On the first one I´m freezing my butt on La Cumbre, and on the second one we are chilling out with a beer in a tent pitched on a improvised football field.
We are now back to La Paz to add 30 more days to my visa, and then going up to Illampu - the north circle of the traverse.
Some personal discoveries (not sure if they can be of any use for you):
Today we bought 2nd hand (or should I say 2nd foot) hiking shoes for $10 from a flea market on 4000m (500m above our hotel). When la gente indigena saw me how I couldn´t catch my breath, these merciful people told me what a wonderful remedy for altitude weakness is the ¨mate de coca¨. We are in the city of the Museo de la Coca after all. I think we will be talking with the spirits of the Andes tonight. We will be ready to head to the mountains when we can run from one end of the city to the other without gasping for air. The prominence is about 1000m.
Valle de la Luna
After taking the bus from Guayaramerin to La Paz and staying folded in the seats for 2 days, congested with dirt, we ran into two road blocks each 3-4 hours, which didn´t come as a surprise to the rest of the passengers. They took their time to do laundry, rise a family, grow old and eventually die. After reaching Caranavi - 100 km horizontally and 3 km vertically away from La Paz, we gave up on this bus to continue the trip next day, so we don´t have to travel at night on unpaved mountain road on a beaten down double decker. In the morning we found that since more than a year roads in this part of Bolivia are out of service Monday - Saturday 7am - 5pm. So much for safety precautions. As for the advertisement above - ¨Ositos¨means little bears. I want to turn your attention to the golden wrist watch he´s wearing.
Our first low-land Amazonian, full of mosquitoes, hot and sweaty phase of the trip is over. Tomorrow we are rising to 4000 m in the highest capital La Paz and will roam the surrounding mountains. Time to dig up long pants and trekking shoes from the backpacks. In La Paz we have to buy or rent tent, mountain shoes and gear. All we bring is sleeping bags for 10°C and Primus stove burner. The plan is to spend as much time as we can in Cordillera Real.
I like Bolivia, Guayaramerín is not a bad place to turn 4. I hope a surprise (how about a cake?) is awaiting for me today.
5 days on Madeira river on Barco Dois Irmãos I - from Manaus to Porto Velho
An Amazon Cruise for $17 a Day. Hammock Not Included - NY times article on same cruise
Hammocks are already breezing on the boat leaving Manaus to Porto Velho at 6 pm today. Journey will take 5 days.
Writing from Boa Vista, we are catching a bus tonight to Manaus. There is ferry leaving tomorrow from Manaus to Porto Velho. If we are in luck we will be on it.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we present you Roraima. The legend says that there was this gigantic Tree of All Fruits but the smart heads of the time decided to cut it off to get all the fruits at once. The corona of the tree tipped over in the abyss never to be found. Now los pemones harvest yucca and drink occasional beer when they can land a job as a guide.
This is Omar´s family - our guide. There is a young boy hiding behind his sister, the only son, who wanted to be in the picture but didn´t want to show his face. His name is Jordan, same as Juri´s grandfather.
Heading to Roraima tomorrow with nothing otganized in advance. Will improvise as usual and cover most of the distances on foot.
Betti (Hungary) and John (Britain) in front of their Burt machine
Parrot Toda in Mahdia did some affectionate grooming on Teddy Little Bear
Juri carrying the boat with Johhny (Soldier) up Amatuk falls
James (Minnesota, USA) will spend 2 months on Kaieteur plateau (tapui) researching the endemic golden frog.
We are now heading to Kaieteur Falls after we have been told in the National Park office in Georgetown that we can't make it because of this and that, and more. First stop Mahdia, a city of poachers, gold-miners and prostitutes. Kaieteur Falls is four times higher than the Niagara Falls.
Max De Bowen, filmmaker (IMDB) from Australia whose grandfather is from Bulgaria. Small world.
Guyana is a travel back in time. First impression of Georgetown is open sewer, deafening loud music coming from every car, lots of honking, and some exquisite 19th century wooden buildings. Not understanding the language proved to be dangerous. While I was trying to find the best perspective to make a picture of a dilapidated building occupied by homeless degenerates one of them started talking to me. Out of politeness I approached him to start a conversion. After repeating something 3 times he made a gesture that finally conveyed the message that if I make the picture he will shoot me. I circled the block for 2 days and finally made the picture from far away after Juri made the obvious comment that I have a death wish. Yesterday we went to the waterfront at 5 pm and saw the normal and beautiful people of Guyana, strolling babies, holding hands, dancing capoeira, and just being normal. The fact that we eat with the fishermen, sleep in dangerous areas, and roam the streets meets us with some of the mutants that does not represent the country. But normal people don't walk the streets. They leave their houses and go to their jobs, shops and schools in cars, so we hardly get to meet them.
Trinidad and Tobago is a rastafarian country of reggae, big boobs (even the currency is called tities, well that and because the abbreviation of the country is T&T) and English that can be understood or spoken only with the administration of a joint.
Good morning Tobago
The early bird recycler
Condor Flight 1258 on June 9, 2014 Frankfurt FRA 11:40 AM - Tobago TAB 3:30 PM
Ted invited us to visit him in Rhode Island, US. We have to do something about it.
They are important players. Kami introduced me to Manuka Honey
As full autumn hits the valley of Hallingdal in Norway, this bear chills out in a tree which seems to barely cover its weight.
Photo and caption by Jorgen Tharaldsen
Must be my lucky day. I hit the Happy Hour at the Travel Med - for every shot you get a free booster. So I got shot for polio - booster for hepatitis B, shot for typhus - booster for rabies, and one extra booster for ticks on the house. Travel vaccination office employs some unconventional methods.
Mt. Roraima. Venezueal, Brazil and Guyana borders meet on the plateau. The Real Lost World.
Good start for the list "places to visit before you die". Without planning "to die".
What a forty-something bear might know about the meaning of life.
My cousin Katya is so fond of Tumbago's feet, she says that they are smiling at her,
so he insisted on finishing the card with his left foot.
I have a passport too, in case you don't remember my post from May 2012. Bugger, have to renew it when we come back.
We had a long discovery day. Dzibelia under deep hypnosis remembered his place of origin - Tobago Main Ridge Forest and chose his date of birth. He calls himself Tumbago - from Tummy and Tobago, his place of birth.
The QR code on Tumbago's passport data page says:
- Tumbago Bear
- Tobago Main Ridge Forest
- Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
- Together we aspire, Together we achieve (republic's motto)
- Forged from the Love of Liberty (republic's anthem)
- It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?
- People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.
- Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.
- If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.
Last four lines are A.A. Milne quotes from Winnie-the-Pooh
What we think happened in The Little Prince. Influenced by what we found out lives in the Amazon Rainforest.
All that matters is to be on the right side of the grass. With a friend.
Gary Larson is our favorite cartoonist
Time for bears to wake up from hibernation
This snail crawled into the city and it is now pretending to be a building.
by Scott Hilburn
It's so hot in Bulgaria this winter that we can't hibernate, so we go to hot springs instead. This is Strahil on the photo, and he asked us to find in the alpineum two-headed dragon, chicken, hen, and a hare. Can you?