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¡Obama Ganado!

Machu Picchu Experience

sunny 60 °F
View A Rough Outline of our Trip on daveliz's travel map.

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Ellen, Fredi, and Pat at the start of the 4 day Inca Trail trek.

I knew that hiking the Inca Trail was going to be a great time, but I didn't imagine how special the experience would be for me. Trekking on a trail built by Incan architects more than 500 years ago (way ahead of their time) for Incan royalty to travel, was enough to get me excited about the hike. I also found it interesting/ironic that a huge part of the region's economy is based on the work of an empire destroyed by conquistadors who are still a major influence in South American culture. Today's Andinos give thanks to the Incas by carrying on their traditions, Quechua language and culture. The trail itself meanders through old Peruvian ranches, ancient Incan ruins and spectacular mountainous scenery. The ranches are still farmed by Andinos using oxen to plow irrigation channels for their crop. On our hike, we saw these methods being passed down to a new generation of Andinos, as a young girl copied her mother picking weeds out in the field.

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Andino Woman and daughter at one of our rest stops.

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Old fashion plowing.

I backpacked with my 2nd cousins (in Latin American culture they are considered my aunts) Pat and Ellen who are two of the most fun, outgoing & friendly travelers to be with. We met many other trekkers all who are always friendly and many Peruvian locals all who are incredibly kind.

This was luxury backpacking! All of our heavy stuff was carried by porters. All we had to carry was enough water, snacks and rain gear for the day's hike. The porters are absolutely incredible. They carried all of the heavy stuff in huge, makeshift backpacks, and with just sandals on their feet, they ran up and over 14,000 foot mountain passes. The lifestyle of a porter is grueling but they do it with a smile on their face. After a 4 day trek they return home to wash their belongings, leave their 300 soles ($100 US, tip included!) earnings with their family and then get in line in the town center to get hired for the next trek. As if the trek wasn't enough, they play soccer for hours while waiting to get hired!

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Ellen with Quintin, one of our porters. Salkantay (15025 ft) in the background.

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Porter tending to his foot.

We began the trek by giving our group a name. Since we knew we wouldn't see the results of the election for a few days after the election, we decided to name our team El Camino para Obama (a.k.a The walk for Obama). People we met from all over the world were rooting for Obama. It was apparent that this election was important not only to us in the U.S., but to people in other countries too. On Nov. 6 (2 days after the election results were announced), at one of the most stunningly beautiful spots on the trek, Phuyupatamarka, our guide Fredi had enough cell phone coverage to call his friend to find out what happened. We nervously waited, finally hearing him say two wonderful words "¡Obama Ganado!" (Obama won!).

We cheered so loudly in celebration that others in the area caught on and joined us. Everyone was overwhelmed with emotion from the news and the amazing scenery. It was such a magical moment! On our way back from Machu Picchu to the base town of Cusco our taxi driver put it best, "Espero que Obama resuelve muchos de los problemas que enfrentan en los EE.UU. y los que nos enfrentamos en el mundo (I hope Obama helps to solve many of the problems you face in the US and we face in the world.)" He was expressing hope rather than doubt... what a nice change from the last 8 years! All I could say was, "Mi tambien, mi tambien." (Me too, me too)

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Just after we found out Obama had won at Phuyupatamarka.

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The view from Phuyupatamarka.

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Another view from Phuyupatamarka with the original Inca Trail. Salkantay (15025 ft) in the background.

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Machu Picchu reveals itself through the clouds on the way down from the Sun Gate.

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Descending into Machu Picchu

- Dave
(see the photo gallery for more pictures from the trek)

Posted by daveliz 11:58 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

Say goodbye to Boston

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Dave leaves American soil, Nov. 2. Now in Peru, he is hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. He'll likely find out if Obama or McCain won a trip to the White House the Friday after the election. An update on his Peru trip will come then. Meanwhile, still in Boston, I've been post office hopping looking for a fleece he recently left on a New Hampshire hiking trip, and ordering tools at REI to fix his backpack, which already broke! Mission accomplished on both accounts. Hopefully, it will be smooth travels from here :- )
- Elizabeth

Posted by daveliz 15:37 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Just Married! Let the Honeymoon Begin!

Our Story...


View A Rough Outline of our Trip on daveliz's travel map.

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On March 2, 2007, I met Dave on a blind date at Silvertones, a little, chic bar in Boston, Mass. He was in town on business from Boulder, Colo. I won't give you details of our entire first date, rather a quick story about travellers' fate.

During dinner Dave told me about his crazy plan to travel around the world. I nearly froze. Dave assumed the date would quickly end as I wouldn't want to pursue a guy on the go. Yet, my reaction was quite the contrary. I was in disbelief, as just one week before on my birthday, I declared to my friends that I would stop talking about my ficticous plan to travel the world, and would actually do it. Details, of course, were still TBD.

It was tempting, but on that March night we didn't run home, pack our bags, and escape together to circle the globe. Instead, we took time to get to know each other, but it didn't take long for us to realize we had a true companion in each other. We both firmly believe people should work to live life, and for us, living life is about seeing the world, experiencing new places, meeting new people and learning about new cultures.

Engaged just nine months later, we planned our wedding while also planning our trip around the world. The latter was definitely the key to our sanity. On Nov. 2, 2008, Dave leaves for Peru to hike the Inca Trail with two of his cousins. (I've already completed the hike.) I will meet him one week later in Santiago, Chile. Our dream is quickly becoming a reality!

Photo above from our wedding: September 19, 2008, in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

- Elizabeth

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E & D knocking on the Queen's door, London, Oct. 2007.

The Human GPS

I swear Elizabeth has a built-in GPS in her brain. It doesn't matter how foreign or strange a subway station we emerge, she points and says, "It's that way." I can almost hear the Terminator like beeping sounds doing GPS calculations in her head. Meanwhile, as I try to avoid taking out a map in fear of looking like a tourist, I'm usually spinning around gaping at the street signs and the bright lights in the big city. I must look like some crackpot high on his favorite hallucinogen. My only reply as Elizabeth shakes her head at me is typically, "oh, yeah, just getting my bearings." (In other words, I have no !@#$@# clue where I am.)

Anyhow, Elizabeth mentioned that she'll be my GPS for life to our Rabbi who married us. He ended up making it a part of his spiel during our wedding ceremony. He loved the symbolism. My first reaction was, "Hey Rabbi, what are you saying about me?!?" While my first interpretation is somewhat true, I may be a bit lost (not just directionally) at times, the deeper meaning to his thought sums up why we're embarking on this around the world adventure together. Travel time is a microcosm of our lifetime together. As we travel we'll enjoy seeing each other experience new surroundings, cultures and unique situations, sharing views and possibilities based on new perspectives, and always being there as backup for each other to help guide in the many directions we may take. It'll be an experience to reflect back on during all the other adventures life brings our way.

- Dave


A rough sketch of our itinerary. We'll travel within each region around the green dots. Dates are flexible. More details as we go!
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Posted by daveliz 13:49 Archived in USA Comments (1)

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