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Friday, April 15, 2011

From Mancora, Peru, to Cuenca, Ecuador--what a ride!

Well, it´s been roughly one week and several hundred miles since our last update, so I suppose it´s time to catch up! Kurtis and I have begun to lose our sense of time and, to be honest, I´m really not even sure what day it is...it´s quite a strange, freeing feeling, and quite nice actually. But regardless of our inability to keep tack of the days, they are going by SO fast. We are about 1/3 of the way through the trip already! I can´t believe it. The last week has been truly incredible. We left Chiclyao on a bus (which I´m pretty sure was made for small children) for the beautiful beaches of Mancora--a destination which, thankfully, turned out to be well worth the long, bumpy ride. This small vacation spot was just what the doctor ordered: relatively quiet, warm water, lots of sun, and perfect waves for a begginner surfer such as myself. We loved every minute of it! So much in fact, we stayed there for 5 nights and 6 days--the longest we´ve stayed in one spot so far. Coincidently, our last day there, we met some friendly travelers from Germany at our hostel who were not only headed in the same direction, but the same exact city! What a fun bunch, those Germans. We have been thankful for their company and companionship, especially on the 9 hour bus ride accross the border, up steep, twisty, SANDY roads that no bus should ever attempt to drive up--all the way to the spectaclar mountain city (8,500 ft above sea level, that´s almost as high as Mt. Baker, folks!) of Cuenca, Ecuador. I´m pretty sure we were all thanking God for sparing our lives as we pulled up to the bus terminal. So here we all are in this beautiful old (yet surprisingly modern) city in the clouds! We are staying at a quaint hostel in the historic part of down right near the river with cobble stone streets, incredible architecture, and lovely, LOVELY people. Cuenca is, hands down, our favorite South American city yet. We have some beautiful photos to share, but unfortunately, this old computer is not equipped to read our memory card. Hopefully we can post a few pics sometime soon so you can see for yourself just how beautiful this place truly is. As much as we´d love to spend more time here, we´ve got to be moving on. We only have TWO weeks in Ecuador....and there is much to do and see. Today we will get on another bus (pray for us) and continue heading north to the town of Latucunga for some incredible hiking around a volcanic rim. This town will be even further up in elevation, inhabited mostly by indigenous cultures...and we were JUST getting good at our spanish! Ah well, good thing we´re both fluent in hand gestures at this point, and thrilled for the opportunity to encounter these beautiful, ancient, mountain cultures. Well, that´s all for now folks. Stay tuned in, hopefully we´ll have some photos to share soon! Much love, Rose and Kurt

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The time so far

We have been gone 10 days but it seems like 10 weeks. Its amazing to experience the transformative power of travel. I am continually impressed at my vulnerability and fragility in this great and beautiful world.

In our short stay here I already got sick, became intimately aware of on coming traffic, learned to let go when it comes to taxi driving tactics (honking gains the right-of-way), learned the depths of my spanish language deficit, and have become incredibly thankful for the woman I married.

Currently we are in Chiclayo, a town on the northern coast of Peru. Its hot and dry here as most of this coast is. We are taking a bus tonight to Mancora, a beach resort town. There is supposed to be good surfing and nice beaches.

The noise... its election time for the presidential canindate in Peru and the energy is electric - all hours of the day! So there are 10 canidates running and Rosie and I could tell you about each one and what they promise to do. The election is Sunday and the demonstrations are growing louder and more intense it seems. Rose and I just simply want peace and quiet for a bit, and we are hoping Mancora will deliver.

Our plans are very loose (like, we don't have any) so they have been changing often due to whether, feeling, or opportunity. It looks like we are heading to Ecuador sooner than we thought. Possibly Quito first for language school then maybe the jungle or mountian trekking - we'll let you know : )

The picture above is taken in front of part of the Huaca de la Luna, crafted over 1800 years ago!
We are learning so much about Peru, the people, the beliefs, the poverty, the wealth, the vastness, and the paradoxes.

This picture is a community that Food for the Hungery is involved with. Lauren gave us the opportunity to follow her into work one day to visit the Santa Barbara community 35 km north Lima. We had the honor of celebrating with this beautiful group of people.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Trujillo and huanchaco

We have enjoyed the city of Trujillo and it's neighboring ocean town of huanchco (onechako). The colonial remains of Trujillo make for some stunning architecture and a present poverty that is truly evident.

While in Trujillo we met a missionary, Pamela who helped us connect with local friends, Ricardo and Esther. We were able to eat some traditional food and even attend pamela's birthday party- which may have been the biggest party in Trujillo - seriously unreal! Its been such a blessing to be welcomed by Pamela, Ricardo, and Esther - we are so thankful for the unique experience they have given us!

Huanchaco is a smaller town with surfing and traditional fishing boats made from reeds. We camped near the beach and had hot showers made with oven baked stones in the water. It was a really relaxing place...the first night. The second night we came back from Trujillo late and fell asleep content in our cozy tent until 3 am when the loudest party I´ve ever experienced erupted next door for the remainder of the morning - truly impressive to hear the kind of fiesta the peruvians can sustain at such an unlikely hour.
I, of course, became ill like always it seems. Over the last 4 days I progressively got worse until Cipro did it's blessed job of cleaning out my gut.
I'm beginning to feel better and Rosie is taking care of everything - she's amazing!

Yesterday we went to explore some ruins called huaca de la Luna. Very cool from the Moche people. Its an inverted pyramid structure with some crazy art, several chambers, and surprisingly perserved artifacts. Its over 1800 years old! and it was discovered in 1990 accidently. Very exciting stuff as far as archeology goes.

Today we took a bus 3 hours north to a town called chiclayo.
It's smaller and interesting.

We'll post pictures soon!