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Tomorrow´s the big day. The bus is coming to pick us up from our hostal at 430am. Beeejeezus that is early. Then it´s five days and four nights of trekking and camping and mountains and rainforests and llama and finally Macchu Pichu. !!!!!!
Here´s a link to our tentative schedule:
http://www.apusalkantay.com/eng/salkantay_5days_4nights.htm
Zoinks.

I feel very dissappointed in these blog updates. I might have to come back and add pictures and humor and maybe glitter so it´s a little less boring and a little more Jessie. I´ve just been exhausted with all the running around and haggling for south face jacket and pretending it´s someone´s birthday to get free drinks and and understanding spanish but responding in Spangtalish and eating a lot of cheee sandwhiches because I´m scared to eat much else since 80% of conversations here revolve around gatronomical and intestinal health or distress and I don´t want to be able to contribute any cringe worthy stories. Also I´d rather be outside than on the computer.

Sitting in Las Plaza de Armas today writing in a ¨journal¨ which seems to be some sort of primitive blog, I met a man who had walked from the airport – more than 10 miles – and was 76 and unemployed and poor and hungry but a really sweet old man and he had a sweet blazer and greeted me with a secret handshake that included ´pounding it.´ It´s kind of sad a lot of times here because it is such a poor country. Kids walk around in traditional dress with llama so tourists will take picture and pay them. Annalise was our sales woman in a market today and she was 11 and kids younger than 7 run around shining shoe for coin in the plaza. My first day here I went to an internet cafe and the gentleman running the store told me the price which of course I misunderstood because numbers and math and comprehension is enough of a problem in my own language, but i held out a handful of coins that he could have easily taken all of with me just feeling confused and possibly taken advantage of, but he just took the right amount. He was six. Lots of factors there, including my inferior intelligence to six year old, but also there are a lot of good people here. Not so many good toilets though. Be thankful for the freedom to dispose of your toilet paper IN the toilet.

Happy Mother´s Day to my beautiful, wonderful, supportive, loving and all around amazing Mom. I LOVE YOU 🙂

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Peru Day Two

So the band last night was a little different than anticipated. The connection was someone´s boyfriend, but it was the boyfriend of the host grandma of one of Alli´s friends from the volunteer program. Completely not what we were expecting, but mucho divertente nonetheless. Afterwards we got to go on stage and take lots of ´thumbs up´pics with the bands. Such groupies. Then it was to some reggae club with a disco ball, a rock band singing about pot and best of all DARTS. Except there was no score board so I lost interest quickly without a means to determine a winner. Tried my first pisco sour, which apparently has whipped egg in it. Nom nom nom.

http://www.losdoltons.com.pe/indexdoltons.htm

I can´t figure out how to make links work. And we have to go talk to a bunch of travel agencies to get our Salkantay/Machu Picchu trek booked. I´m going to try to change my ticket – or better yet Dad do you want to change it for me? – so that I´ll just stay in Ollaytantambo with Alli and her Peruvian family until Thursday or Friday and then just fly in and out of Lima. Ok. Í´ll do a quick update tomorrow again, then Monday it´s off for four or five days of TREKKING.

The wilderness must be explored!!

Pic poppa snapped as I was going into the airport. Looking a bit crazy at 5am knowing the 26 hours of travel ahead of me. I´ll tell the story of the haircut soon.

I´m finally here in Cusco! I guess I´ve actually been in Peru for almost a day, since I arrived in Lima yesterday at 6pm. But spending 12 hours in an airport that has a Papa Johns, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks can make you loose track of what country you are in. The Starbucks was rather convenient for curling up in a small arm chair and attmepting to sleep in 45 minute bursts so I wouldn´t miss my flight. Made it to Cusco at about 730 this morning, skipped baggage claim since I brought a ridiculous small amount of things and was able to carry them on, then proceeded to take a taxi to the hostel where Í´m meeting Alli soon. Pretty sure I got a little ripped off, but totally didn´t care because there was a soft bed waiting for me. Slept pretty much the whole day and didn´t feel one bit bad about it. With daunting days of 7 hours of trekking ahead, I think I´m allowed some time to recover.

Forgot my camera cord but at least I have my charger. I´ll have to go back on these posts and add pics later. Or rip what I can off the internet.

http://www.travelpod.com/travel-photo/theharrisons/1/1260306112/ninos-hotel-courtyard.jpg/tpod.html
can´t figure out how to save the image but here´s what the hostel looks like. so adorable. plus alli and her friends like to splurge a little whe they come into cusco so there´s even hot running water! hollerr love it.

Going to wander a bit before Alli gets here in a few hours. Apparently she has a friend who has a brother in a band we´re going to see tonight. I knew Peru would understand my language.

Just do it.

I want to take a picture of my room before I start packing.
Here is what it will take to achieve that:

– First, must go to my car and remove all clothes.
I have piles of clothes to wash covering the floor of my room. These must be taken care of before I photograph. But I don’t want to wash some and then have to do more wash, so I need the clothes from my car. But my car is far (not really, I’m just lazy) and first I would have to find my keys. So actually I guess find car keys is first. I think they are somewhere under one of these piles of clothes.
– Wash clothes.
Oh lawd. That takes forever and involves many trips up and down stairs and also drying and folding. Seems unlikely.
– Put clothes away.
But then I’ll argue with myself that it’s pointless since I’m only putting them away so I can start packing them up. Cue internal debate which will be settled by laying on my bed and doing nothing.
– Find camera charger.
Because obviously my camera is dead. I know where the charger is for European plugs, but that isn’t much help now. Yes, I had to buy it when I was in Europe after I surprised no one by leaving my charger and converters in my dad’s car.
– Charge camera.
This is a challenge because I’m not really sure when the battery is charging and when the light is just kind of having a blinky party. I have to do some serious fanangaling to have it sit just right and then I always forget which light blinking pattern means that it’s charging.
– Clean miscellaneous junk around room.
But the reason it’s still around is because there is no place for it. So then I’m going to have to make big decisions about throwing it away, giving it away or sorting it to go into some box and continue hanging on to it in a pointless way.
– Take pictures.
Also involved in this step is making sure camera is working. It’s been on the fritz ever since I dropped it lots of times in Europe and I might actually need to go to a store and have them look at it because it would be tragic to go to Peru without a working camera.
– Load pictures onto computer so I can look at them.
This doesn’t make a lot of sense because I could easily just turn my head and look at the real things instead of the pictures of the things surrounding me. But whatever, can’t argue with my nonsensical ways. Then of course this will progress into me spending too much time looking at all the pictures on my computer and remembering I wanted to finish scrapbooking my Europe trip before leaving on another trip.
– Get out scrapbook and pictures. Move piles of unwashed clothes into hallway. Spread out on floor and start cutting and gluing.
– Realize that this is not a part of packing, even in the most remote Jessie reasoning.
– Feel guilty for not being able to do a simple task like pack.
– Get back in bed and take a nap.
– Be shocked that it’s dinner time and my family wants to go eat.
– Panic because I did nothing all day except think about all the steps it takes to pack or do anything.
– Reevaluate all life choices.
– Paint fingernails.
– Promise to pack tomorrow.
– Play darts.

I have no idea why, but pretty much daily someone gets directed to my blog as a result of searching some strange string of words about sandals. I know it’s related to this entry, but not a clue what I did to make google stand up and notice and tell other people to come look.

That’s not very interesting. Next.

In one week from now, this blog should be called “Jess in South America” because THAT’S WHERE I’LL BE! In Lima, to be more specific. Except unless I’m on a 20 hour bus ride down to Cuzco, then I’ll be less in Lima and more in limbo between cities and amongst Peruvian bus riders and food peddlers.

Tonight at work one of my tables asked if there was some sort of a convention happening. I wasn’t sure where he was going with this question, our bar is right next to a hotel and there are often conventions there. I didn’t know if he was hoping to link up with some like minded people passionate about some obscure hobby, maybe score some free swag or if he was just a strange/inquisitive person. I gave a noncommital response and pensively scratched my ear, waiting to see what would come next. “Well, there seems to be a large number from a particular … demographic. Like, all up by the stage? Dancing?” Ahhh yes, our cougars. We have an abundant number of older sessssaaay women in our bar, always on the prowl, always ready to get up and shashashake it. They crowd around the stage, pushing tables and peoples out of their way, jut out their hips, wave their arms, vigorously shake their heads and clench/unclench their hands to the music. Tonight one 55+ woman in a bright orange polo tank top and cargo khaki pants heard the opening cords of some song and it was like a call from the heavens. She slammed her drink down and started hustling her way to the ‘dance floor’. Mid-hustle she apparently realized she was still holding a cigarette. There was no time to extinguish it, and she seemed to understand that fire dancing was not welcome in this bar. Luckily, there was a waitress standing in her path. She thrust the half smoked cigarette at her and continued to the dance floor.
It reminded me of how in high school and also yesterday if I was holding something like trash or anything I was tired of holding but didn’t have a place to put it I might just hold it out to someone and say ‘Here’ and pretty much without fail, the other person will take it. ‘Here’ is like an awesome code word that throws people off guard, like they think maybe you’re really offering/giving them something super cool, and they should take whatever it is, just in case. Then their hand and eyes realize that it’s not cool, it’s your sandwich wrapper crumbled up in a chip bag, but it still takes a minute to get to their brain and register. By that time you can call “NO BACKSIES” and you’re in the clear. It’s the coolest thing. Try it today. But don’t try it with a cigarette and a waitress and a cougar bar. That’s a little played out right now.

Not played out, Phoenix. Get to see them in concert tomorrow, hollaaaa.

Did I mention the Vampire Weekend concert was amazing? It was.

Best.

Congrats to my big sis who had her last day of law school today. So excited to get up there after Peru and see her graduate 🙂 Smarty pants.

We love DC and soon we will love graduation again.

And after another beautiful but brief Austin adventure, I am reunited with Rachel’s backpack, ready for another adventure. I kind of want to challenge myself to take just a school sort of backpack, since it’s just two weeks and I lived in this thing for two months. But, with hiking Machu Picchu and all the other incredible totally envy and brag worthy things I’ll be doing, it’s probably best to take the big one. And for snacks.

Here's me getting ready to Europe. Practicing dance moves with backpack - gotta be ready for all possible situations. That backpack can change the way you move.

Ok. More updates are likely within the next week, since there is a lot of things I need to be doing like packing and packing and packing and haircuting and car washing and cleaning and planning and working and other stuffing. And since I shouldn’t have any time to do write, I’ll probably do lots of it.

PERU.

GIMMIE TOAST

I am extremely impatient when it comes to waiting for food. Especially food I’m preparing because I get really excited and proud of myself for making food and then I see how close it is to being done and get kinda grumpy because I want it NOW. This happens most with toast. Because that’s the kind of culinary masterpiece I usually make. (Side note, so happy that our toaster oven is allowed back on the counter. This will be the first item on my wedding registry. No, I’m not getting married. I just like thinking about people getting me gifts. Specifically toasters.) Anyway I often end up with warm bread, which is really dissappointing but not so much that I will not eat it. Unless it’s cheese toast – mmm cheese toast – because that mustt cook all the way. Then I’ll just eat other things or drink glass after glass of oj or milk while I wait and then I’m not super hungry anymore but again that won’t stop me from eating it.
Yep, that’s all this post is about. I have toast toasting RIGHT NOW and hopefully it’s fully toasted now. But not too toasted. Because then I’ll have to start over again.

I actually have a post in my head that I was planning to write, but it’s not quite ready and Missi demanded a new entry RIGHT NOW. So here’s something I wrote when I was traveling and being good about taking time to write things. Just a fictional short story. Didn’t take the time to edit, dont judge too hard.
Also, somehow I always seem to update on the day after I get the most viewers for the month. Mah bad yos.

::
White wine splashed onto the wood table as Jane carelessly topped off my glass. We raised our glasses and she giggled.
“If there has ever been a day not worth celebrating..” Her glass and chest shook with a new wave of laughter. I couldn’t resist doing the same. We were borderline hysterical. Jane put down her glass to wipe her eyes with one of the monogrammed paper napkins staked between the empty wine bottles and various high end condiments.
“I’ve got it.” Lifting my glass with new importance I waited for her to do the same.
“To the plastic hedgehog.”
“Of course! To the plastic hedgehog.” We clinked glasses, keeping eyes locked and faces as solemn as possible.
A suppressed laugh met the wine in my throat. Coughing, laughing, sputtering, I clumsily found the table with my glass, then my arms, and finally my head.
“What now?” Neither the sandy gravel nor my 300$ custom dyed heels responded.
“What – hic – ever?” Jane hiccupped. I smiled as a drop of wine hit my shoes and discolored the toe.
::

WHAT?! A bonus story?!?! THIS BE NUTS!

::
The bug was moving toward the ticket corner. Big enough that Kate could see it lift each spindly leg from the tile floor and see its antennae shake as it lurched forward. It was sure to terrify the unfriendly Portugese woman who sat picking dirt from her fignernails in her glass box of an office. Kate felt Dan’s hand inching toward hers across the concrete bench. She couldn’t stand to look at him, to touch him, knowing each look and touch would be the ones she’d remember as their last. Sitting next to him, waiting for goodbye, she hurt. Kate reached into her bag for an orange she’d bought earlier that day. Before the leaving began. Dan touched the spot her hand had just been. The heat of the sun and the rays rebounding from the black tar pavement testified the intensity of the midday heat, yet he felt only nothing as his fingers trailed back to his hand and into a soft fist. He beat the bench just hard enough to wish he hadnt.
Citrus juice and scent sprinkled through the heat as Kate’s nails tore the skin. In the days before she arrived the hours had dragged on and her free time felt endless. On Tuesday she had painted her nails pink, only to remove and repaint a brighter shade on Thursday. Over the weekend, the sand and the waves chipped away at the polish. Even still, she liked the bright contrast to her newly tanned skin.
She passed him a slice without a word or a glance. He bit it, relishing the sweet perfection of each tiny cocoon of juice and fruit. Looking over his shoulder into the station, the clock told him the bus was already late. The yellow toothed women with the uncomfortably suggestive smile was staring at something on the ground that he could not see. She sat frozen, two fingers of one hand clasped the index finger of the other, like a confused version of itsy bitsy spider.
Kate’s head bonked onto his shoulder, then nestled into place. Her temple and jaw moved against him as she chewed. He checked the clock again, knowing it hardly mattered. The sigh was unintentional and huge as it filled his lungs and lifted his shoulders. He wanted to snatch it back- undo, rewind, cry out that he didn’t mean it. But she lifted her head and looked past him. Surely looking at the same clock. He couldn’t guess at her thoughts, and it seemed she was done sharing them.
Their reflections danced in and out of her focus as she looked at and through the glass windows. The bug seemed to be on her left shoulder. A few more horrible steps and it would fall into nothingness. Others had turned in their seats to watch the creature. The rarest and greatest bug they’d seen. Terrifying and mesmerizing. Someone approached from beyond Kate’s shoulder and the bug scurried in the opposite direction. Past the gap between her nose and his ear, off his shoulder into open air. Turning slowly toward the parking lot, she nestled her nose against Dan. Taking in the citrus, sand, salt and dirty beach towel she could still detect mingling under his cologne. Stretching her neck forward like a tortoise, she planted a soft kiss in the curve where his neck became shoulder. Her whispered words were lost under grunts and hiss of the bus as it rumbled into the station.
::

Waaahwooaaah. That’s all for now folks.
Sorry I’m not funny today. I’ll try harder next time.

I keep forgetting what music I’ve posted. I get really hung up on songs and listen to them like 392483x and forget about other new awesome songs I discovered.
Here’s one that made me laugh because a car full of teenagers hanging out the window drove by blasting and singing this song.