Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Machu Picchu

The Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu is seared into my memory. Wow, the last 3 nights and 4 days, culminating in hiking up to, and all around Machu Piccu has been truly remarkable. I now have three new friends from Belgium and one from Spain that also shared this adventure. Here is a picture of the 6 of us with the driver of the van in the red outfit. When time permits, I will upload a gallery of shots from this four day adventure. Below is a brief description of the journey:

INKA JUNGLE-Mountain Bike and a Jungle Trek to Machupicchu
Day 01: Cusco to Santa Maria:
Tour Company Van with 3 Belgians (Valentin, Pierre, Mathias) Spaniard (Victor), My good Mexican friend whom I met in Banos (Victor), myself and the our Peruvian guide, Edgar. We started at 8 am and passed through the Sacred Valley, stopping in Ollantaytambo. Then climbing until the Malaga High Pass at 4,500 meters (1,4850 Ft). We then Rode mountain bikes down to Santa Maria, a Jungle Village(1,500m or 4,950 Ft.)
Day 02: Santa Maria to Santa Teresa:
Walk in the jungle on segments of the original Inca Road to thermal baths in Santa Teresa. Take a cable car across the Vilcanota River (River sacred to the Incas) . Thermal baths at Santa Teresa are 5 Star and very relaxing.
Day 03: Santa Teresa to Machupicchu:
Santa Teresa is at 1,900m (6,270 ft). We modify the planned all day hike to Aguas Calientes and take a Minivan to an area near a spectacular display of raw power with water coming out of the rocks. There is hydro electric generation going on here without a dam and it is also near a train station. We hike along railroad tracks to Aguas Calientes Village in the Afternoon and hike up a massive mountain that sits directly in front of Machu Picchu.

Day 04: Machupicchu - Cusco
At 4:30 in the morning, we begin to walk to Machupicchu. It takes us less than a hour to reach the site from our hotel and only about half an hour from the the river. All of us hike to the top of Wanna Picchu and I kike to the Sun Gate (Incapunktu). Hike back down the mountain and enjoy two massive dinners, some drinks and the combination train and bus ride back to Cuzco.
So much more to say about this adventure, but gotta run.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Machu Picchu

Headed off on a four day excursion that culminates at Machu Picchu. Will ride bikes for day one of the journey, hike parts of the Inca Trail through the jungle on day 2, more hiking on day three and finally on day 4 get to Machu Picchu at 6am and come back to Cuzco on a combination of train and bus. Very excited to see one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. My friend Oscar and I spent the evening of Corpus Cristi closing down various musical venues, dancing and generally having a really good time. We talked last night about our dreams for community and making the world a better place. We are doing the Machu Picchu trip together. Its great to have a traveling buddy who I can conspire with.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Arrived in Cuzco after a 20 hour ride on a luxury Cruz Del Sur bus. The ride took me through the Andes from Lima and it was very posh. They served us a very nice hot dinner and and even a breakfast. It was a double decker bus with a person assigned to each floor to serve food, drinks and give you blankets and pillows. We watched 5 movies; Harry Potter, Ghandi, Man of the House, Adrift (All in Spanish with English subtitles) and one Spanish only movie about a great teacher who, with the help of his kids, defeats the bad guys and gets the girl in a Mexican town. Had two seats to myself for most of the trip but at the very start, shared a seat with Fidel (pictured). On the second picture on the right hand side after going through the arch is the the Loki hostel where I am staying. The building is 450 years old. So many of the buildings go way back. Walked into one of the churches and it was built in 1523. There are no tall buildings here as they have a restriction that you can´t go over 3-4 floors. Walked up the hill to a community and am happy to say that the kids are curious and full of life. From first glance, Cuzco seems to be a pretty magical place.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Leaving for Cuzco today

Had a great breakfast with family from Canada who has been traveling the world for the 6 months. They have gone to Egypt, Turkey, Africa, China and many other places. The other two at the table are my friends I talked abootin my last blog entry. Bus trip leaves at 5:30 tonight and will take an estimated 20 hours. Will pass through Nazca but will skip spending the day there to maximize time for Bolivia. Definitely coming back to Peru. So much to see and do.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Covering some ground lately. Went from Cuenca Ecuador to Trujillo Peru in about 30 hours, with about 24 of those hours distributed on 4 seperate bus rides. Cruising through the Northern Desert in Peru was truly awesome. Reminded me of the immensity of the Black rock desert in Nevada at times, and then Death Valley at other times. The poverty in Piura and Chiclayo reminded of India. Grinding dirt poor, urban poverty is harsh on the sensibilities. Both cities swarmed with little three wheel motorcycle taxis. Unemployment is so high here that it seems that half the population drives a tax of some sort to make ends meet. I finally landed in
trujillo where I visited the ruins of Chan Chan and Huaca del Luna where we could also see the Huaca del Sol. These Moche and Chimu sites are Pre Inca and go "Way Back". After I got off the bus in Lima, after my 8 hour journey from Trujillo I "Bumped" into two friends from Banos. I had helped set them up for a jungle trip with my friend Shakai. We found a really nice hostel in the Mira Flores area, settled in for a great breakfast at place with really BIG chairs and talked about our Ayahuasca experiences. Spent the day exploring Lima. Will probably push off for the Nazca lines tomorrow.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Peru Getting Closer

Currently in Loja at the moment about an hour away from my 11PM bus to Peru. It´s great to be able to use the Internet at a bus station. Cost is $1 an hour. Really tough leaving Cuenca today as it has much to offer and I barely scratched the surface. It´s one of the underlying themes of this journey in South America that everyplace is hard to leave. There is so much to be experienced here. So many interesting people and incredible places to know. Plan at the current moment is to head back to the states from La Paz to be back for a big family wedding June 29th.

The Devils Nose Riobamba-Cuenca-Ecuador

New found friends and I all were glad we waited for the ride caused by United States Ambassador taking the earlier train as a big ceremony celebrating the 100 Year Aniversary of the Quito to Guya, it was Amazing! Arrive in Riobamba the the night before for some amazing views of earths highest mountain (measured from the equator) Chimborazo.
The Devils Nose is a famous section of a rail journey in Ecuador.

Friday, May 09, 2008

A Different View of History-For Your Consideration

Since are so called leaders have a difficult time telling the truth, isn´t it time we dicovered for ourselves what´s the truth is? I leave it to you dear reader to do what you will with the thesis put forward in the book by Riane Eisler called The Chalice and the Blade. It asserts that the period of Neolithic agrarian life from 8000-3000 BC was the basis for the development of civilization. That it was marked by Goddess worship that had people view the earth as alive and live in harmony with all life. Notice the message that the indigenous societies that still exist today convey a similar belief. In my short time in the jungle with a Shuar community it was clear that these people live in harmony with the land and treat it with reverence. Is it possible that the Bible, the Koran and other religious texts that have replaced the Divine Mother with the Divine Father, did this to brainwash the population? That they don´t want people to know the truth? Why has so called modern history been marked by a few people lording over the many through the use of force? Why have we come to this moment in history where the acitivities of man now threaten the very existence of the life support systems of the earth that human life depends on? Do the last remaining sections of the rainforrest need to be cut down to answer these questions?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Leaving Banos-Towards Peru

Headed South to Riobamba to take the Devils Nose train trip. From there I push further South to Cuenca. It has definitley been GREAT being here in Banos. It´s hard to leave this place that I have made so many great friends and feel really at home in. For me to make it through Peru and also have 2-3 weeks in Bolivia it´s imperative that I leave shortly, so my plan is to leave in a day or two. The one thing that is making it somewhat easier to tear myself away from this place is knowing that I will be returning someday. I have earned a nickname among some of my friends as the King of Epiphanies because I seem to have so many of them. This one came in the form of the need for a daily physical practice such as yoga and meditation to continually increase my health. To celebrate my realization I treated myself to a banana split at one of the local ice cream joints.
Total cost was $1.80 and it was fabulous.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Dream Home for Sale in Ecuador

This custom built home in Rio Verde is almost finsihed. It is set on a parcel of land 2000 square meters. There is already a healthy garden on the land. The back of the house sits on a river rich with trout. A short distance up the dirt road is a hiking area that leads to a lake that is fabled to be where the Inca´s hid all their gold. The house has three bathroms. The master bedroom upstairs looks out onto the river and has it´s own bathrom with tub. There are two smaller bedrooms upstairs with one shared bathroom. The house has it´s own septic system, and receives its water from a local aquifer. There is a deck on the main floor overlooking the river. Their are many custom features to this house including tile in the bathrooms, windows and reinforced palm support beams. The home is a beauty to behold and is located a short 10-15 minute drive from Banos. To see more pictures of the home click here. The seller of the house is Fredy Villamarin. Feel free to contact him at or by calling him directly in Ecuador from the U.S. at 001-593-327-40810 Fredy speaks perfect English having spent considerable time in the states. The asking price is $90,000.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Off the Gringo Trail-Into the Jungle and the Spirit World

Spending one week in the jungle, near Macas, within a Shuar community has given me an incredible experience to see the world in a different light (To see photos click here). My Shuar friend Herman Shakai took me the place in jungle where he was raised along with his 12 siblings. We visited his mother and fathers place and then went down the river by dugout to visit other comunities, finally ending up in community of about of around 50 people called Sant, named after the Shaman. We visited many of the homes here and in the surrounding area. We drank lots of Jungle Beer (a fermented brew of the Yucca plant). "The Shuar are the second largest and one of the most studied Amazonian groups. They have a long history of survival and defense against outsiders, and have long had a reputation as headhunters and savages. They live in the southeastern part of Ecuador between the Pastaza and Marañón Rivers, east of the present city of Cuenca along the contested border region with Peru".

In a nightime ritual in Sant, the Shaman guided us during an Ayahuasca ceremony where we drank a foul tasting combination of the liquid from two plants cooked together over an open fire.
I saw how the word "TO", as in; why is this happening to me?, implies being a victim and not responsible for ones life and the word "FOR", as in; why is this happening for me, implies gratitude and appreciation for everything that happens and being responsible for ones life.

We saw the devastation being wrought by a road being built nearby to the frontier border with Peru. In general the people were the happiest and healthiest of any group I´ve ever had the pleasure to meet. The children played together in freedom and their smiles were truly contagious. The people of the jungle don´t need so called civilization. IMHO, those of us in the so called "Modern World" need more of the simplicity in which they live their lives. These people are "Spiritual" in the best sense of the word. These people fiercely hold onto their land despite every attempt by the interests of so called "Progress and Development" to get them to sell off there land and be assimilated to more modern ways. These peole provide an anditote to a world of material affluence that has become disconnected from the world of spirit. I believe that the Shamans in the rainforest understand that the reason the rainforrest is being destroyed is this loss of connection to the spirit world. Giving our power over to something outside ourselves such as a priest or political leader. A great number of people in the west are asleep to their own power. Allowing themselves to be programmed from the outside to support the stupidity of war and violence in any form. It´s important to wake up to our own power so that we can protect the last remaining wild places of the earth so that human kind does not go the way of the dinosoaur. The Shamans stand waiting for us to ask for their help.

Listen to a youtube piece on reestablishing our connection to the world of spirit from an interview on Coast to Coast with Graham Hancock.