Monday, January 1, 2018

Another Year Has Past Goodbye 2017

Each year since I have stopped work in 2013 I have taken a bit of time at the end of each year and look back at the year that just past and try to pick a few photos that represent my year. How can you really summarize a year in a few photos but honestly I enjoy looking back at the photos I have selected from the past years while reminiscing. Here are a few of my photos that I liked from 2017.

I started and ended the year in Mexico and this photo is from the pacific cost town of Puerto Escondido in the state of Oaxaca.

The Aztec Sun Stone in the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City.

I spent about 4 months of the year in Peru and this photo was taken on the train ride between Huancayo and Huancavelica.

This is the main square in Cusco, Peru the gateway to everything Inca.

The pools at Salinas de Maras, Peru used to collect salt that they have been using since before the Inca Empire.

A view of the sacred valley from Ollantaytambo, Peru.

Machu Picchu, Peru was one of the more expensive sites I have ever visited but I think it was worth it and still less than a day at Disneyland.

Machu Picchu is only one of many Inca sites that I visited. A lot of them were really impressive but Machu Picchu was amazing and I agree with it being on the list of 7 wonders of the world.

The view over La Paz, Bolivia.

I did a tour to visit the salt flats (Salar de Uyuni) in Bolivia.

I was not able to visit the colored lakes on my tour of the salt flats due to too much snow but all the colors appeared in this sunset to make up for missing the lakes.

I found seeing Flamingos in Peru and Bolivia a real thrill. I guess in my old age I have become a bird person.

I always thought of Flamingos as a warm weathered bird but there are 3 types of flamingos that call the cold weather of the Andes home.

Llamas or alpacas going for a drink of water near Tupiza, Bolivia.

I did a 3 day tour into Pacaya Samiria national reserve in Peru. This is my guide holding one of the animals I was able to see while he worked his ass off paddling me through the Amazon in his dug out canoe.

While in Cuenca, Ecuador I did a day trip to visit the Inca ruins at Ingapirca and it's splendid Temple of the Sun.

I did not visit a lot of tourist sites in Columbia but enjoyed seeing Botero’s Fat Sculptures in main plaza of Medellin.

I ended the year in Mexico and this is a picture from El Tajin in the state of Veracruz.

Happy 2018 everyone and hope to run into you somewhere down the road.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Stumbling into the Festival of the Crosses

Sometimes when you are traveling you have to roll with the punches and get a wonderful surprise in return. While staying in Cusco Peru I had booked a tour to visit the Inca Site of Moray and the Salt Pools of Salinas de Maras but after going to the meeting point for the tour I never got connected with my tour group. I went to the office where I bought the ticket and made arrangements to go the following day.
Rather than do nothing on the day which I love to do I decided to visit the Inca ruins at the town of Chinchero. I figured out where to catch the public transport and made the short trip to the town and walked up to the ruins. The ruins are a number of terraces with a Spanish Church built on top using stones from the Inca site.

After wondering around the terraces for a bit I went up to visit the Church. There was some type of service taking place and the church was jam packed. I waited around until the service was over so I could both enjoy seeing all the people in the traditional clothing as well as get a chance to see the inside of the Church.
Shortly after the service was over and the Church started clearing out they seemed to start a parade. The parade marched or danced out of the church down into a court yard around it and back up to the church. They stopped at the door to the check and the priest came along and slashed what I assumed was holy water on the people in the parade and the crowd. I have put some of the videos I took below.

I found out the following day that this was the Fiesta de las Cruces ("Festival of the Crosses") that takes place each year on May 3. A day that started with disappointment of missing a tour turned into a day where if I would have got my tour I would have missed seeing the festival.
The following day the tour was also really enjoyable and made it to Moray and Salinas with no problems.

Me at Moray.

Salt Pools of Salinas de Maras

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Trying Chayote for the First Time

I believe it was in San Cristobal De Las Casas that I first noticed this strange looking vegetable that appeared to me to be a demented Avocado.

I saw them a few other times but never stopped and bought one. Then on one of my many lazy days in Mexico City I was walking through the market area and saw a vendor selling corn but she also had this strange vegetable cooking in the same pot. I asked how much and since it was only 15 pesos about .75 US Dollars it was time to give a hairy avocado shaped thing a try.

She asked me a question and I just said yes without having a clue what she just said and she cut it in half, peeled it and put it in a bag for me.

Before I left I did ask her the name and she told me but after stopping in another shop and having to figure out how to ask for a bag in Spanish it was gone. No wonder I can't learn Spanish. I can't remember a word for 15 minutes even after repeating it to myself 10 times.

Once at a keyboard I did a few searches before I hit on the name of Chayote and knew that is the one I wanted.

It is a member of the gourd family and there appears to be different ones because not all of them seem to have the hairy looking peel. It has a very mild taste that somewhat reminded me of a turnip but no where near as strong a flavor. I saw somewhere that compared it to the taste of a cucumber but since mine was cooked I did not think of that. I also read that the core or seed was bitter but for me it was the part I liked the best.

I would like to try one that is not cooked. I will have to keep my eyes open in the market for one and if I try a cooked one again I would like to have a little salt or some other seasoning.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2016 The Year That Was

2016 is over and now it is the time to look back at year that has just finished.

It was another year with me having no real home and living on the road but it may have been my slowest year on the travel front only being in 6 countries. I spent most of the year in Mexico even thought this is not a new country for me it thoroughly impressed me. I have really enjoyed Mexico and am writing this blog from Mexico City.

I had a couple of first for me on my travels and it is just a surprise that it took this long to happen. I was pick pocketed in Mexico city and I forgot a camera on a bus. Both of these were painless but still hope to not repeat either.

I also took my longest bus trip so far on my travels going from Killeen, Texas, USA to Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. It was about 32 hours in total with 5 transfers. This is not something I think I will do often.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from 2016.

Mexico Pictures.

Agua Azul Waterfall

Canon del Sumidero

Santuario de Guadalupe in Morelia


Meal in Patzcuaro

San Luis Potosi





Guatemala Pictures

Sunset in Flores



Santa Lusia Cotzumal

Semuc Champey


El Salvador Pictures

El Tunco at Sunset

Lago Coatepeque



Honduras Pictures



Pulhapanzak Waterfall

Red Macaw

Belize Pictures


Me at the top of one of Lamanai pyramids

Spider Monkey



Well that is all I have for last year. I hope everyone has a wonderful 2017.