Saturday, February 26, 2011

Chino Y Nacho

When I found out that Chino y Nacho were going to play in Cusco, Corey and I were set on going. Last night, it came to fruition and it was all that I was hoping for and more. Let me explain who these two men are. They are from Venezuela and sing reggaeton, cumbia, and merengue songs that are extremely popular in Latin America. They also happen to be quite good looking guys which is always helpful in the music industry. Anyway, Erica and I took off our last classes so we could get in line and while we were in line we bought some Chino Y Nacho headbands. I took a picture but unfortunately, my camera was stolen about 5 minutes later along with my ticket to the show. I had a split second feeling of anger and violation and then my rational optimistic side set in and I just reminded myself that it was more important that I was with Erica and that I can remember things in my head. Not having pictures is not the end of the world. As for the ticket, I just found a scalper and bought another one for 45 soles. In the end the price to see them was 80 soles but what´s a little bit of money? I am just happy that my phone wasn´t taken because I don´t have all the numbers written down and staying connected with people is more important than getting a few pictures of two attractive Latinos. Haha. Life could always be worse. Anyway, we met up with Linda who works at Maximo and she had a camera so she took some to put up on facebook. The concert was a blast. The opening band was OK. They were called Monkiss. Chino y Nacho started off their set with Tu Angelito which is one of their famous songs. It was great seeing them dance. Chino´s signature dance is a gyrating hip thrust of sorts. Hahaha he made all the girls melt of course. The best part of the concert was when Lo Que No Sabes Tu came on. It´s a super fast merengue song and really fun to dance too. Corey, Justin, Erica, Linda, her sister, and I found a spot above one of the exits with plenty of space to dance. I was expecting the place to be packed but it wasn´t that bad at all. I would say there were maybe 4000 people there for the concert.

After the concert, Erica and I headed to Mythology for their white party and danced with some of my students that we saw there. My couch surfing friend Omar from Lima, called me and we went to see him and his buddies perform at a little bar called Hibrido. The guitar was terribly out of tune but it was fun to see him perform. He came to see my sing last Tuesday at Kamikase. Ahora estamos parches (Now we are equal).

After a delicious sandwich de pollo deshilachado I made my way to bed. I had to get up this morning to start packing all my stuff so I wanted to get a little bit of sleep. Tonight Sadidt and Cecilia, two of me Peruvian girlfriends are making Erica and I dinner for my despedida from the apartment. It´s sweet of them and I am excited because I am starving!!

So now on to the next chapter! Let the adventure begin!

Adios Maximo!

Well, my last day finally came yesterday. I have to say that my feelings are a bit bittersweet. I am going to miss seeing all my co-workers on a daily basis but I am not going to miss getting up in the mornings. I was offered another month if I wanted to stay with a bonus but at this point it´s not about the money for me. I am ready for something new and starting tomorrow I will be starting a new adventure in Cusco by moving to Yamanya Hostal. It´s going to be a big change and while I was packing today I had a pretty big knot in my stomach. I know that I am not leaving Cusco all together but at the same time, I know that life is going to change drastically. It doesn´t help that I have started dating someone and now I am moving into a dormitory. Privacy is not easy to come by while working and living in a hostal. It´s similar to working at camp. You are constantly sharing a tent or a cabin with people. Fortunately, it doesn´t bother me too much and I tend to get more out of communal living than I do out of living on my own because I thrive on socializing with other people and hearing their stories. That´s why I think it´s actually going to be pretty awesome. Worst case scenario: I hate it and I really need to have my own space. I will find an apartment to live in for the rest of my time here. I have a little bit of money thanks to the wonderful padres so it´s not like I have no other option than the hostal which is nice to know.

I am also ready to get rid of the damn pulgas that have been biting me lately. They aren´t bed bugs because I have seen what they look like but they sure as hell make me itch. I am going RAID happy before I shuffle all my stuff to the hostal. The last thing I want to do is infest a dorm with bugs. No thank you.

I am going to miss living with my roommate the most. She is my bestie down here for sure and there is not way that I will stop seeing her just because I move out, but it definitely won´t be the same.

Today I went to Salsa lessons and had a blast as usual. I love when the guy really takes control because it makes learning the steps that much easier. I ended up in the advanced circle which was awesome. We might go out again tonight like we did last Saturday and dance Salsa at Mythology, a club in town.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bolivia Border Run

Hey Hey! I know it's been a while but I have definitely been busy finishing up my last month at Maximo. I made a border run this past weekend which was much more expensive for me because unfortunately, Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia is not a fan of the United States. Unfortunately, for me that means paying $135 for a 5 year visa. Oh well, Maximo helped pay for $65 of it and they reimburse me 100 soles for transportation which is also helpful.

I joined this organization called Couch Surfing which is a group of people who either have a couch for people to stay on or are looking for a couch to sleep on when they travel. It's free and a great way to meet new people and like minded people. If you are interested in the organization, you should check out the website

All right so my trip started on Friday night as I took a 10pm bus to Puno from Cusco. At 4:30 I got to Puno where I had a layover for an hour and a half before I boarded a bus at 6am to La Paz. The ride wasn't too bad although there was not a working bathroom on board so I made a quick pit stop behind an abandoned building when the bus stopped to put air in the tires. Thank goodness for carrying tissues and hand sanitizer. After than fun little adventure I had the pleasure of crossing the Bolivian border and paying $135. I think the funniest part is that the Bolivian immigration people wanted a copy of the visa and my photo page from my passport but I had to go back into Peru to make the copy. They can't spring for a copy machine or at least a scanner? I guess considering there was no electricity in the building, it's not surprising. Fortunately, the Peruvian police at the border were cool with me just running back into Peru to make a copy. It was perfect timing when I got back to the Bolivian side because my bus was about to leave. Of course, I was the only American on the bus. I am not surprised that I didn't meet more Americans. Who wants to pay $135 to go to Bolivia? Haha me!

When I got into La Paz I called Jorge and got directions to his place. It was super nice staying with him because he lives in a very central part of La Paz. He is within walking distance to the main plaza and a bunch of restaurants and bars. On Sunday night we checked out the Alasitas festival which was just a few blocks away. We ate traditional Bolivian food, played foosball, and checked out all the miniature things that were being sold. Apparently, each small item has a meaning. If you want to make more money in the new year, you buy a small pack of money. If you want a boyfriend, you buy a little rooster. I enjoyed a chocolate covered apple and churros as well as getting my ass kicked in foosball. Haha.

Anyway, back to Saturday. I got to Jorge's apartment and his mother was making a typical Peruvian meal. There was a gathering of couch surfing friends who were there to partake in the consumption of delicious food such as ceviche (raw fish in lime juice, onion, and cilantro), and aji de gallina. Mmmm mmm! It was soo good. I even got to help make the pisco sours after we ate. I had a great time meeting Jorge's friends and his sister Melissa. We played Uno after eating and then Melissa, her boyfriend Rodrigo, her friend Nelly, and I made our way to Chalet, a restaurant pub. It was pretty full so we decided to get coffee at a place closer to the central. After coffee and great conversation we headed to the mall to see a movie. We saw "The Last Exorcism" which I thought was going to be really scary but ended up being really lame. Don't waste your money on it if you were thinking about seeing it. I only paid 25 Bolivianos for it ($3) but it was still a waste.

After the movie I went back to meet up with Jorge and we went to a bar called Jarón. I met a really cool chick named Jessica who is teaching in La Paz. She is from Utah which was a first for me meeting someone from Utah on my travels in SA. I also met her roommate Sara and Jorge's friend Juan Carlos came out too. After the bar we headed to a club to dance for a bit. The night was capped with some fries from a street vendor. I had a blast. The following day we had lunch with the family and chilled out until the evening when we went to Alasitas which I mentioned earlier. I was supposed to bike the Death Road on Sunday but it didn't work out because I was the only one signed up to do it and it doesn't make financial sense to go with just one person. Even though I really wanted to go on it, I guess I will just have to go back to La Paz some time soon to do it. I have my 5 year visa! I might as well not let it go to waste!

I got up super early on Monday morning since Jorge had a plane to catch. I met up with Juanca (Juan Carlos) and we went to the bus station. I was going to take a 5pm bus but there wasn't one so I had to get a 2pm bus to Copacabana. During the travel to Copacabana it is necessary to cross Lake Titicaca, the highest navegable lake in the world. It was pretty sweet. From Copacabana we were supposed to have a bus to cross the border but ended up going in mini busses. There weren't enough spaces for everyone either so some people had to sit in the aisle. Super safe, I know. In Puno, there also weren't enough tickets to get on a bus to Cusco that night. Fortunately, since I was traveling by myself, there was a space for me. I took a 9:30pm bus to Cusco and go in around 6:30am on Tuesday morning. What a trip. The 72 hours to Chile is going to be awesome! Our bus crossing Lake Titicaca.

Overall, it was an excellent trip and I look forward to going back some time soon. In the meantime, I am gearing up to finish at Maximo, move into Yamanya hostel, and start working at Excell. I did find out today that they only get one dry erase marker a month. Hmm...that's not going to be too great since they dry out every week and that's with six markers to use. We shall see what happens.
I did manage to make my way to the Witches market before I left for Cusco. There are lots of llama fetuses there. I also found some stuffed frogs. The only things I bought from one of the ladies were some pins that were country flags of all the places I have visited so far. I have Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia pins now.

Jorge and myself