A Travellerspoint blog

We "Finally!!!" got to India

The Arduous Journey...

So to say that we took the scenic route getting there would be a gross understatement. We definately took the long way around, but extremely short on the scenic part. It's sooo infuriating I'm getting myself all worked up just trying to figure out where to start.
Ok, well we left Zanzibar fully relaxed and sooo ready to begin a new aventure. We headed over to the capital city of Tanzania (Dar es Salam) "hereafter known as Dar" . Going to the airport we felt great because the flight to India was one of the last E-Tickets that we had so we knew that our flight would go off with out a hitch. And it did, We flew again with Quatar Airways (an amazing airline) like Air Canada used to be 25 years ago. I would fly with them agian anytime. Their airport is state of the art. After a 4 hour layover in Doha, Quatar, we grabed out final flight to India. We expected India to be around 16-20 celcius. Nope, 5 degrees. Once again in shorts, T-shirts, and flip-flops. We head through Imigration....and .... "Denied"!!!
The most loathsome phrase in the world goes something like this "Return to point of origin."
Soo, if you remember, our passports were stolen in Equador. Well our Visas to India were in those passports. We had visited the Indian consulate in Madrid and they assured us that it should be no problem. We emailed several agencies and felt confident that all was in order. We even explained our situation to the airline prior to boarding and they seemed to think that it could be sorted out in Imigration. Other travellers had assured us that they could look us up on thier computers when we got there. (What computers. Indian Imigration.... in a major airport... in a major city.....They didn't have a single computer). I should have figured. 3rd world contry, 3rd world procedures.

Long story Long, The Indian Imigration denied us entry, and put us right back on the plane we came on and sent us back to Africa at our expence. We spent 49 hours on planes, or in airport terminals. I think airport terminals were designed so that you are physically unable to get more that 30 seconds of sleep at a time. During the stopover we did everything in our power to get routed to Thiland instead. I even got the flight figured out and gave them my credit card, only to have it returned half an hour later. I was told that it was against airline policy to buy tickets or accept payment for flights while I was in transit. What a roller coaster of emotions

So we arrive back in Tanzania, and have to obtain new Visas for Tanzania because when we left the country the first time they cancelled them, (more money down the crapper). Oh ya,...We got to Tanzania, but our bags didn't. It takes 10 days for our bags to find us. (we rangled $200 out of the airline for "interm relief" another warsaw convention provision.) We spend those 10 days wearing exactly the same clothes while we harass the airline to get our bags, apply for new Visas for India, and read alot of books. Almost 2 weeks later we board another plane to India, with new Visas, and cross our fingers. Sigh, we are very glad to now be in India. Hey, I keep being told that it'll make a great story, what do you think, Good story or what....NOT!!!

Posted by Seaurchins 08:03 Comments (1)

Relaxing in Zanzibar

Can it get any Lazier ?

Jambo!

For the majority of our trip we have kept a fairly tight schedual due to the fact that we needed to connect with our friends in Tanzania for Christmas. Now that Christmas has come and gone and our friends have returned to Canada we have had a couple weeks to explore Zanzibar at our lesuire. During our time here we have learned how to greet locals in Swahili, barter with ease, and find "local" priced meals, and transportation. The locals often ask how much we pay to ride the dalla dalla and when we tell them 1,000$ shillings, they are rather impressed. They tell us that tourists often pay over 12,00 shillings because they don't know any better. Highway robbery! - Jocelyn

This is a boab tree that we found on the side of the road. Apparently this specific tree is over 2,000 years old.

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So....After a week of catching up on my sleep, laying about, reading, eating, diid I say sleeping; We took a Dala dala (a pick up truck wwwith bench seats and a hard top bus/taxi. The average number of people crammed onto one of these is upwards of 24.) Right ... we took a dala dala to the beach where we had bargined quite a steal. We got a sea front bungalow for Tsh 35,000. That comes out to about $28.00. If you take into account that everyone else in the surrounding hotles/resorts were paying upwards of $300.00 a night, well we were very excited. The bungalow itself was the biggest and nicest we have ever had - funny enough our bathroom was bigger than some of our hostel rooms in Central America. Picture this - a huge four poster African style bed with crisp white sheets , fluffy pillows and a mosquito net. We slept with the widows flung open, the only sound outside our window being the gentle lull of the waves crashing on the shoreline, and geckos barking at eachother.

To keep our costs down (even lower) we ate with the Masai up the road at a little roadside hut. I was only around .80 cents for a great very filling meal. I got around to asking the locals if it were possible to rent a spear gun to go out fishing with and they told me that it would be $10.oo. forget that...I started making one of my own out of a branch. The guy running our bungalow saw my pathetic attempt at a spear (what???It was made out of Iron Wood...You know iron wood...steel spear...close enuf....gufaw..) anyway...he took pity on me asnd realized I was no ordinary Mzungu (white guy). So he got me a proper spear with a trigger and everything for $1.50, much better. SO ya .. I went out and got all manner of creatures. If it was big as my hand and stopped long enuf for me to aim it was done. I got a lobster, some awsome red fishes, and a couple of porcupine blow fish. Blow fish taste awsome. But are soooo tricky to skin. You know that saying there is more than one way to skin a cat....Well there is only one way to skin a blowfish! - Nate

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My highlight of staying on Kiwienga beach, aside from the incredible scenery, was all the Masai tribespeople. I have always been fascinated by indigenous tribes and I was so excited to see the Masai people somwehere other than in the pages of a national geographic magazine. I feared that I had lost my opportunity to spend time with them, as most of them reside in villages along the Keyan/Tanzania border. Much to my surprise, when Nathaniel and I rented a motorbike to explore Zanzibar we found a lot of masai on the beaches. After getting to know a few of the masai I found out that they leave their village and sell tribal jewlery for a couple of months of each year. They are such beautiful, fascinating people and when they return to their villages they herd cows and goats, kill lions, drink blood and jump really really high. I wish i could include a picture of the masai jumping, but all the pictures I took of them jumping where taken at night and didn't turn out so great. This is me hanging out with a masai woman and her child. It['s hard to believe this is the first child I have held in over four months. - Joce

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While Nathaniel spent an abnormal amount of time snorkling and spear fishing I worked on my tan and collected shells. One day I decided to join my crazy husband outside the reef where the cool stuff is and I managed to get stung twice by a Man of war jellyfish and kick a seaurchin. Trust me, both were very unpleasant and painful. I now have a renewed appreciation for what Nathaniel endures in the name of "adventure".

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For a couple day we rented a motorcyle and explored the northeast side of the island.

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Oh one last thing. The other day Nathaniel and I decided to book a tour to see the dolphins that live on the Southern tip of Zanzibar. We were thrilled to discover that part of the tour including swimming with the WILD dolphins. Basically we would scann the horizen for dolphin fins, drive the boat over to where they were and then leap into the water as fast as we could. I got so close I almost touched a dolphin as its pod passed by me. I was super excited and terrified in the same momemt. It is a little unerving to be so close to such a huge animal in the water, but very cool as well. Nathaniel swam down to the ocean floor with them- a depth of around 35 feet while I was content to swim at the surface. After our excurision with the whales we checked out an old mahogany forest and saw rare columbus monkies. - Joce

Posted by Seaurchins 02:34 Comments (2)

Africa and Onward

An African Safarii was everything we hoped for and more.!!!

sunny

Happy New year

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Our time in Africa has been incredible, and being here with friends has made it even more memorable. For those of you that don't know, we connected with friends of ours from Abbotsford on Christmas Eve and spent the holidays with them.
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We stayed with their family in a small community near Lake Victoria and after Christmas we all went camping on the Serengetti together. The boys had a blast harressing the wildlife in their safarie vehichles and us girls snapped hundreds of pictures of animals. Will, our friend from Canada, spent some of his childhood in Tanzania so he speaks Swahili fluently and he was able to do a lot of translating. His parents still live in Tanzania and operate a Bible College for local African students. As you can imagine tutition is expensive by African standards and many students wait for years for a sponser. We felt the Lord promting us to sponser someone after we met a young woman in a rural African community who has been wanting to attend the college for some time.

We are in Zanzibar right now, an island off the coast of Tanzania. It is stunning and it has so much history.The streets here are very narrow and all the doors are made of intricatly carved wood and covered with brass knobs. Apparently the style was borrowed from India where the brass knobs prevented domesticated elephants from breaking down people's doors. Crazy!
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Just yersterday we visited a historical site where slaves were kept in hideous conditions underground until they were sold. Even after slavery was abolished it carried on here for many years.
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Zanzibar is a very conservative muslim society so I have made a point of covering my body head to toe.. long skirt, head scarf and long sleeves. It is soooo hot here and very humid, I have no idea how all the women wear so much clothing. I am happy when I go swimming and only have to wear a bathing suit. Hopefully in the next couple of days we will be able to rent a vespa and explore the island - gas permitting. We are trying to learn some Swahili now as we still have almost a month left in Africa.

The snorkling and diving here is great- so many spotted rays and anglefish. They other day Nathaniel found a puffer fish and he teased it until it turned into a ball. I almost choked on sea water laughing so hard. I wish we cold download some pictures onto this site but we can't find any computers that will allow us to. We have so many pictures of Nathaniel holding reptiles and lizards and even one of me helping him hold a giant python. Hope this blog finds all of you well. We love hearing from you, even if it is just a short note.

- Love Jocelyn
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Nathaniel's thoughts....

It's hard to put into words what it is like to have a troupe of 20 or so elephants standing less than a stones throw away from your car and at least 2 or 3 less than 10 feet away. They mulled around happily tearing out bucketfuls of grass and chewing contentedly. At one point Jocelyn dragged me back throught the window as one slightly curious Elephant got a little to close to me and our camera. Jocelyn had images running through her head of curious elephants inocently crushing our camera . I'm quite sure that she was not far off.
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Or similarily how a person is impressed by the deep rumblings of a pride of lions as they banter back and forth between eachother. Again, closer that I'd usually let cows get, and the cows would be behind fences!
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Just the sheer numbers of animals of soo many different types is enuf to make a trip like that worth it. Herds of Wildabests, Cape Buffalow, Gazzell, Impalla, Zebras, Ostrichs, Waterbucks, Dik Diks, Warthogs,
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Hippos,
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Nile Crocodile, And Giraffes, Elephants, Lions, Hyenas, Servals, Jackels, birds of all species (especially Ginea Fowl, like a big grouse and just as stupid). We camped in tents on the Serrengetii, and for a lulaby we had the hackeling of hyenas and the roaring of lions. It was Epic!

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This Cape Buffalow kept his distance while we changed a flat tire, but I don't know who checked over their shoulder more, me or the Buffalow
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On th way back from the Sarengetii we stopped at a nice restarant, you know one that costs a bit and has a nice view. I was bored of the view in short order and began looking around for something that could occupy my attention. It wasn't long before I saw a small lizard on a rock not faraway sitiing in the sun by Lake Victoria. So after a bit of egging from my friends and a camera slung across my shou8lder I headed off to disturb this sunning lizard. Just as I get to the first set of rocks I see a huge monitor lizard slipping into a hole and out of sight. I mean it is close to the biggest lizard I've ever seen in real life....You know most people would think twice before getting involved with a 5 foot monitor lizard. Somepeople would at least stop to think once, a thought something along the lines of "once I get his tail then what" But me...I give up thinking altogether and jump down between those rocks and grab the tail just before it slithers into oblivian. And THEN I wonder what I'm going to do with his other end which is now hissing and clawing as though it were the proginy of satan himself.
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Well....I can't just let go, and if he does turn on me I can jump in the lake, but for now he seems to be dead set for the hole and continues working in that direction. Which is fine by me. I somehow manage the wit to get my camera out with one hand and snap a couple of pictures of the visible half for proof with my friends.
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I then look over my shoulder and call my buddy Will Tuokola. He knows instantly that if I'm calling him things must have gotten really interesting. He's there in a flash and telling me to lift the tail up to him. Sounds like a good plan but that means that the bitting end of this devil lizard is gona have to pass uncomfortably close to own bitting end and i'm wagering that his snappers are nastier than mine. So after planning and vizualizing my escape route should things go awry, I lift up the beast with 2 hands and clear out. The thing is wildly lunging up in an arc and trying to free his tail end. I gotta give it to Will, He kept ahold of that thing when most people would have filled thier drawers.
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After about 5 minutes of me taking pictures of Will looking like a construction crane, keeping a safe distance between
himself and the Monitor, his arm was getting tired and it was time to switch. So we exchanged. I kept the Monitor busy while he found a stick so that we could hold down the head and get a grip on him. Once we had it in two hands it calmed a little but we were sure to keep a tight grip, One bite and you'd have some seriouse hospital time and even more seriouse antibiotics. I will get a pic up as soon as we can locate a computer with enuf ram to get the job done in under 1 hour.
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We were in Kenya for one night and if any of you have seen the news on the civil crisis there right now we are glad that that was all. Nirobi is not a nice city and that was a week before they had their election. It has been one week since the election and there are over 300 dead because of differences in political parties. It is madness. It has strarted to affect the contries that surround them in ways like difficult getting gasoline for cars. over night the price quadrupled from $1.50 to over 4 dollars a liter here in Zanzibar (a small island off the coast of Tanzania.

- Nate Dawg!

Posted by Seaurchins 07:23 Archived in Tanzania Comments (7)

Top 10 strangest things about Central/South American

Not for the faint of heart or the faint of Butt

1. Being asked if you would like some "really good pot" 15 times, on 15 different occasions by the same guy. Least dissurbing of which is that of those 15 times he recognized me not once.

2. On the roads instead of hitting deer or running over smaller furry creatures like racoons, rabitts, or squirrels, You run over 25 pound Iguanas that vibrate and shake afterward.

3. Before you check into a Hotel you adamantly insist that you first see and inspect the prospective room to ensure that it is fit for Human habitation. You interpret cockroaches as a good sign, cause hey .....if they can live here...

4. You have booked a tour and are picked up at around 7;00am...... or 8. You get in to a full 12 passenger Van. You proceed to collect another 9 people and the occupants are making wagers weather this is the last one or not upping bets with each new guest. You head to the tour with at least 23 people. The driver caries a shotgun.

5. Before entering a shoe store you are met by 2 armed guards. Both are carrying what I assume are loaded shot guns. This is a ¨SHOE¨ store... Not jeweled shoes store, or gold shoes... just rubber..shoes... I ask myself ..if the shoe store neeeds armed guards, then why don´t I have armed guards??? ¨*Quiver*¨

6. Meat is left to hang in the sun and open air for most of the day at the market. I´m talking entire rear quarter. or a whole side, or just a huge dangaling chunk. In their homes most people don´t have a refigerator, ......Why isn´t everyone dead??...I eat meat I amagine was processed in the same fasion...Why aren´t I dead? In Canada do we have a huge misunderstanding as to the limits of fresh meat?

7. In ALL of Central/South America you are not allowed/supposed to flush toilet paper down the toilet. There is a little garbage can specifically for this item. Dropping said item after it is used is a very hard habit to break. There are signs in all gringo washrooms reminding you that if you don´t follow the rules the toilet will back-up. And they do!

8. Speaking of Toilet paper...In all Public washrooms you either have to pay to go in and use the facilities, or you have to pay for a wad of toilet paper at the door, Usually both. In non public bathrooms there simply isn´t any. We stopped trying our luck and carry some with us always.

9. After eating a meal you set your watch, if nothing happens within 2 to 4 hours you are safe to proceed to the next meal.

10. In the markets you can get a special price. A price just for you. A special price for you. And of course it is their work, their job, hand made by their infant son. It is a guiness work of art inspired by the Virgin Mary and blessed by the Pope himself. With a special price,....I give you special price. 400 merchants...all with special prices.
Ps. Special price means....You are a gringo idiot who will pay whatever special price that pops into my head based on what you look and smell like. But mostly cause you are white and I don´t think you speak spanish to argue with me.

Posted by Seaurchins 11:42 Comments (4)

Bolivia...... to Madrid

What a crazy world we live in

Merry Christmas,

This may be the last time that we get chance to write before we leave for Africa for Christmas, so we might as well wish everyone a great holiday. Hopefully all of you have a couple days off and someone great to spend them with.

Our time in Bolivia has been short but throughly enjoyable. We stayed in a hostel that had once been a mansion... complete with high ceilings and chandeliers. We also biked the world´s most dangerous road, a 64km mostly downhill adventure through some of the most beautiful scenery. Every corner ended with a cliff that dropped thousands of feet, and everywhere you looked there were waterfalls. The crazy thing is that when we started we were in the mountains surrounded by llamas and snow and when we finished 4 hours later, we were in a lush tropical valley. We were both filthy by the end but it was a blast.

We had the most difficult time flying out of the airport in La Paz, due to the fact that our tickets had been stolen and we couldn´t buy new ones because the airport didn´t accept travellers checks... which was the only form of currency that we had. Nathaniel took a taxi from the airport to find a bank that would change our checks into cash and was not successful. He tried over five banks and not one could help him. Our third day at the airport we finally caught a flight out to Lima and then were able to buy new tickets to Madrid. We have been in Madrid now for a little over a day now and we have already managed to sort out the metro system, which Nathaniel loves, picked up our permanent passports from the Canadian consulate here and have gotten visas for Kenya, Africa. Hopefullly we will get to do a bit more sightseeing tommorow. It is very lovely and clean here but it also very cold. We have been travelling in fairly warm climates up to now and we don´t have much warm clothing. In fact we are wearing nearly everything that we brought. I feel like a fashion disaster. Almost every second woman I see is wearing a fur coat or carrying a prada purse. It´s craziness to go from seeing toddlers begging on the streets to poodles in custom made rain jackets. What a crazy world we live in.

The Christmas decorations in Madrid are beautiful and for the first time, it feels like the Christmas season. Today we went to the groccery store and loaded up on all our favorite foods... lindt chocolate, cheese, fresh bread, oranges... and we had a feast in our tiny european hostel room... while we watched TV in spanish. Simple pleasures.

Much love Jocelyn and Nathaniel

Soon we will be in Kenya and cold will only be a memory.

Posted by Seaurchins 10:57 Comments (1)

Lovely, Expensive Peru, utter poverty

-17 °C

Hey,
Scroll down a bit. we cut and paste pics from facebook from now on and they are bigger than The travellerspoint screen. K

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Today we visited our foster child in his village outside Cuzco. We have been looking forward to our visit for some time and we are glad it finally worked out. We got to meet Gustavo and his family. We brought him a soccer ball and some chalk and his somber little face lit up like Christmas. We visited Gustavos village and all the children had prepared songs and very passionate speeches in Quichia (the native tongue of the Andean highland people). It´s really cool to see what World Vision has been able to do in the villages around Cuzco. The families in the highland are so poor and can scarcely afford to buy food let alone things like school supplies. All the children´s faces are wind burnt and their hands and feet look like elephant skin. We were told that many children die each year from pneumonia because parents cannot afford medical attention. Believe it or not, its quite cold here and I have been wearing a toque and gloves for a couple weeks. Joce

Right now we are working on getting replacement tickets from La Paz Bolivia ...where we are now... to Lima Peru and on to Madrid Spain. So ya. but other that that everything is cool ... So ya like Jocelyn said 2 days ago we visited our World Vision foster child in Peru! His name is Gustovo, and we have been supporting him for around 2 years. We got to meet his whole family and visit his school and community...I tell you what.. I'm a skeptical guy, but the difference that World Vision makes in that community is overwhelming, ...and at the same time sooo much more could be done. They really do seek out the poorest communities and through the sponsored children are able to improve the whole community in real and visible ways. Prior to world vision, many communities only grew potatoes and raised Alpaca, which did not provide the community with enough nutrition. Now that World Vision is involved they have taught them how to grow a variety of vegetables and also how to raise Guinea pigs. Apparently guinea pig is full of vitamins and healthy fats (just like squirell) that the highland people need. The other day I ordered one for dinner in a restaurant and it's really good - kinda tastes like beaver. A bit weird though cause they serve it up with feet and head attached, big guinea smile included, teeth bared and everything. Jocelyn didn't want one but i made her try at least a bite, she had Alpaca steak instead. Also another thing about world vision............ in Canada they keep the fact that they are a Christian Organization a little hush hush. But when we were there they were telling us that one of their main goals is to share the cross with these people and show them the love of God. Anyway .. here I am going on like a televised Ethiopian heart throb commercial. ..... bless you and say hi to the gang for me ... Nate

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Yesterday we went to Macchu Piccu to see the famed ruins. It was extremely expensive to get there (by budget traveling standards) but the scenery was stunning and I felt rather emotional upon reaching the summit. I have always dreamed of traveling and reaching that summit felt monumental.

So right...you know how in the movie the Emperors new Grove, they show Cuzco as this town with really steep mountains everywhere? Ya, well not soo much. That movie was really misleading. it got my expectations up and stuff. The real Cuzco is nothing like the movie. Once again Disney is a bunch of liars. The movie would be more like Machu Pichu, that place is really hilly. Like straight up cones jutting out everywhere that are 1000 feet tall...well they look like they are 1000 feet tall. Although Cuzco is really high, and anytime you walk anywhere you find you are winded and out of breath all the time even though you are just walking. Anyway. While we were in Cuzco, we were shopping around in the streets looking at all the little shops. I left Jocelyn talking to a painter and stepped into a shop and 2 minutes later i hear a commotion and look out the door of the shop and Jocelyn is half sitting/fallen on the ground and she looked dazed and confused and she was surrounded by people. It looked to me like someone had just hit/mugged her. I swear I have never been so close to swinging knock-out shots at the nearest random people. I ran out of the shop yelling "HEY" "WHAT THE" . People just scattered. I got beside Jocelyn right away and didn't see anyone running with her stuff and so now I'm confused and trying to ask her what just happened. Well apparently, She was standing there and was trying to be polite cause the painter guy was talking to her, but she felt woozy and needed to sit down. But that would be impolite, and if Jocelyn is anything she is not impolite. So she waited too long and just fainted and fell over, taking the guys paintings with her. So needless to say I had quite the fright and Jocelyn had quite the embarrassment. She thinks that it had just been a really long bus ride the night before with not much sleep and we had just checked into our hotel and were on the way to a late brunch, and the altitude, and well just alot of things together. So ya. Sound like fun? Not so much. Memories none the less.

Love Nate and Joce

Posted by Seaurchins 16:32 Archived in Peru Comments (2)

Killing time in Quito

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Finally,

Well we officially have new passports.. temporary ones, but passports nevertheless. We get our normal passports in Madrid, Spain. How exotic. We have been in Quito for just over five days and we are both itching to get out of the city. Dispite the belching public trasport and the hordes of people, our time here has been quite productive. Lets see, we went to a bullfight...a real one where at least six bulls died and two madadors got gored. It was not my cup of tea, considering I can´t even kill a bug, but it was a cultural experiemce. I´ll let Nathaniel write more on the subject as he probaly enjoyed it more than I did. We hiked to an elavation of 4,700 meters..... seriously high and definatly the toughest hike we have ever done. We could barely put one foot ahead of the other by the time we reached the summit. The air was thinner up there and it messed with our heads and our ability to breath properly.

We explored some gothic churches and one that was inlaid with over seven tons of gold..... it was overwelming. Unfortunatly we were not allowed to take pictures in there... we proably would have blinded ourselves anyway! Let´s see what else... we got to expereince "Quito Days" - a week long party that started three days ago and will continue for another week. There are concerts in every main square, bizarre buses with bands on the roof that drive around town and music and partying from the afternoon into the wee hours of the night. It´s very festive! Well we are off the catch a flight to Lima, Peru now. We hope that we will not run into any trouble at the airport with regards to our stolen e-tickets.

- Jocelyn and Nathaniel

Posted by Seaurchins 11:08 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Fun in the Jungle

Banos, Ecuador

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Eating a pastry
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Waterfall
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Joce with Blowgun
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Me infront of the Amazon
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Blue Morpho
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Blue tounges
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Us with our guide Carlos
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Another day in parardise.

After all the stress of having our backpack stolen we decided we needed to have some chill out time. We left Cuenca and took a nine hour bus ride to Banos, a beautiful little village nestled in the mountains surrounded by waterfalls and hot springs. We did some hiking, ate some delicious food and slept like rocks. After soaking ourselves silly in various temperatures of water we decided to go on a two day jungle trek in the Amazon Basin. Because it is low season in South America (very few tourists) we got to have a guide all to ourselves. We stayed in a hut on stilts, ate ants, cooked fish in leaves, drank water out of bamboo, and took a dugout canoe down some white water rapids I got to hold an incredibly small monkey that lives in and around the village. I also got to hold a couple of parrots that I found just sitting in the trees near our cabin. These parrots could fly away if they wanted, but instead they choose to stick around and steal food off tourists plates ( much to my delight). Our guide showed us some truly funky plants in the jungle... plants that dyed our tonges blue for hours, plants that soothed itchy mosquito bites, seeds that we used to paint eachothers faces and leaves that made tattoos on our bodies.
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It was so cool to be close to the Amazon river and see all kind sof crazy colored birds and insects flying around. We searched for snakes, tarantuals and caimen but didn´t find any (much to the dismay of my husband). I am sure that he will have many more oportunites to get bitten or chased......

Jocelyn Lord

Down a little further...

Down a tinny bit more.....

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Posted by Seaurchins 17:48 Archived in Ecuador Comments (1)

Some bad news

sunny

Hola,

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A picture of me with some strange, unknown fruit........ hmmm

So far our trip has been virtually hassel free, and has been throughly enjoyable. Somtimes the long bus rides can induce serious boughts of nauseousness, and once and awhile our stomaches feel a little off, but overall we are enjoying our adventure. Our trouble free adevture ended three days ago when our backpack containing all our identification (passports, care cards, drivers lisences, SIN numbers.... you name it), credit cards, bank cards, all of our cash.. which was like 500.00$, our trevllers checks, all our flight tickets, my ipod, a beautiful turquoise necklace I had bought in Guatemala, our Bible and so many other important things.. were stolen on our buse ride from Loha to Cuenca in Ecuador. The most painful part was discovering that the backpack was missing about an hour into a 6 hour bus ride and not being able to do anyting about it. We only had 10$ on us and didn´t know how we would be able to get a place to sleep and food to eat. We took a few moments to pray and ask Jesus to give us wisdom and to help us. Then we started asking everyone in our broken spanish if anyone had seen somone leave the bus with our bag. Fortunatly there was an american couple on the bus that spoke better Spanish than us and helped us try and talk to people. They were also kind enough to invite us to their home for the night as we had no place to go. They shared a taxi with us, took us out for dinner and then took us to a place where we could make some international phone calls. The next day they gave us some money to make some more calls and to get some lunch. Thankfully we were able to contact my parents and they wired us some money from our account. Wow, I had no idea how much security money can provide. We tried to go to the police station to file a report but after waiting over an hour in a lineup we were told that the police could do nothing for us. In the meantime we had met a great christain Ecuadorian man who offered to drive us to a place that could help us. He brought us to some department of justice and helped translate our story into spanish so the officials could write a letter. If that wasn´t enough he invited us to come visit his family. We ended up taking him up on his offer a day later after we had gotten a few things sorted out with the Canadian embassy and our insurance company. We have been so blessed by complete strangers generosity and hospitality. We wanted to thank the american couple that had helped us so much so we offered to take them out for a fancy meal or buy ingrediants and cook togther. They took us up on the second option and we cooked an incredibly delicous meal togther. After dinner some friends of theirs came over.. some canadians they worked with at the English school in Ecuador. It turns out one of them grew up in Victoria and the other grew up on Sointula and knows Nathaniel´s best friend Allan Dodds. Wow, what a small world. Apparently they even met once before through friends. So to make a long storey longer... we are okay and we have really enjoyed meeting some cool people that we would not have met if this whole disaster hadn´t happened. If you could pray that by some miracle someone turns in our backpack that would be awesome... replacing everything is going to be very costly and time consuming.

P.S. We are at a fairly high altitude, this city is 2500 meters above sea level. We constantly feel out of breath... you should hear us when we climb some stairs... it is pathetic.

Sincerely, Jocelyn

Posted by Seaurchins 17:18 Archived in Ecuador Comments (2)

Costa Rica and Ecuador

We have a lot of catching up to do....

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Hola,

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It feels as though it has been forever since we have written. Perhaps because we have been lazy, or having too much to remember to write. After hearing from a few of you that we haven´t been dong enough blogs we have decided to make a more concentrated effort. In Costa Rica we visited the active Volcano Arenal. It was cool to hear huge rocks, the size of houses, crashing down the mountainside along with fast flowing lava. On the trail back to the village Nathaniel and the guide found a HUGE viper just off the path. Me and another girl kept our distance as Nathaniel charged into the bushes after it. Honestly though, what can I expect..... Nathaniel has already handled so many huge insects and spiders in the short time that we have been here. We have countless photgraphs of butterflies, moths, spiders, iguanas, lizards...... While in Costa Rica we also tried out some cool zip lines in the Monterverde rainforest. . We rented bikes at one point and biked around the countryside. They were the sweetest mountain bikes, with suspension and gears and breaks and everyting. In the past we have ridden some very sketchy bikes and I have avoided hills for fear that I may not be able to stop. In Granada, Nicaragua we had rented bikes to explore the colonial churches and ruins and Nathaniel had manged to bend his tire within 5 minutes of goofing around.

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We flew out of Coast Rica yesterday and we are now happily settled in our own cabin with in the Vilcabamba valley. We landed in Quito only to discover that the farm we wanted to work at was on the other side of the country. (A little glitch in the planning side of things). In anycase we decided to purchase a domestic flight and save ourselves 15 hours on a bus. Now that we are finally here Nathaniel is hoping to do some bee keeping and I am looking forward to doing some painting and gardening. I am also looking forward to going running in the mornings while it is still cool. Last time I went for a run I saw wild green parrots. How cool is that! We have our own kitchen and we are excited about cooking for ourselves. I never thought I could possibly get tired of eating out. Well I am going to sign out now. I don´t know when we will get to write again because we don´t have internet out there in the boonies but I´m sure we will havew to come to town for grocceries at some point. We also apoligize for the lack of pictures. We are exploring other options as this site is not very good for downloading.

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A hercules beettle on Nathaniel´s hand..... seriously huge!

Love Joce

Posted by Seaurchins 13:10 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

Surfing in San Juan Del Sur

Hey all......

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SO we made it into Nicaragua with no hick-ups. We travelled straight from San Salvador to Managau in 10 hours. It was a long bus ride. Then got out of Managua straight away and down to Grenada. It is the best restored colonial town so far. The buildings have been fixed up and turned into resturants or hotels/hostels. We took a day trip around the north tip of Lake Nicaragua and visited a spanish fortress, and an island inhabited by monkeys, we got to throw them bananas from the boat. So after haging out in Grenada and taking in the sights (speaking of sights, Jocelyn had a massage from a blind person and said it was the best she has ever had) we headed to the beach town of San Juan Del Sur (SJDS). The surfing is great, the people are real friendly and kind, and the waves are sopposed to get real big in the next couple of days. So We are heading out to a hostel right on the surf beach for a couple of days and hopefully there will be some great photos to follow... Nate

Posted by Seaurchins 07:11 Comments (1)

Copan (Ruins and Town)

Of all the places we´ve been, we think we could live here.......

So after a week on a deserted tropical island (complete with tropical storms) we are in the mountains of Honduras. We love it....the town is small....the people are friendly and it feels totally safe. The climate is cool, which means no mosquitos and that you can get a proper nights sleep. Jocelyn has a million mozzy bites and ....well she probably won´t heal before the next onslaught. We visited this amazing Parrot Refuge just outside of town where they have every amaginable toucan and macaw. They also had Hawks and owls which had me tickled pink. The Copan ruins weren´t Tikal...but nonetheless they were amazing. The Detail in the carvings were soo intricate... even after 1500 years. Oh ya... and if this doesn´t weird you out when your traveling...some Latinos from Columbia and El Salvador asked if they could have a picture taken with us ...as if we were some rare commodity. So next we are headed to Nicaragau, But we haven´t qite figured out how we are going to get there. So we have exceded our limit for this site for the month so it might be a couple of days till the 1rst of November when we can upload more. Whaterver...you´ll just have to wait till we get back to see the bulk of them anyway.

PS. Speaking of pictures...One small rant should tide me over. Some of you who are keen on Facebook might have seen my last Facebook photo album ¨spanish sucks¨. (it has since been deleted so you won´t find it) But the short of it is that I was trying to download all our pictures thus far. And I successfully transfered them from my camera to the computer at the internet Cafe that I was using. I had clicked an icon to delete all the pics off my camera when it was done transfering (well that was the jist of what I read... all the computers here are in spanish.). All good and fine. Except that the computer wouldn´t recognize my portable Harddrive. Now for most of you computer savy folks this would be no obstacle. You would click here and there and pull up some tucked away menu from who knows where and presto... but those of you that know me well know that this sort of *hacking* isn´t within my realm. And on top of that the computer is all in spanish. right¿....oh..oh.. and then the kid running the place knows nothing about computers (Jayden knows more), doesn´t speak a word of English (not that he should...I´m in Honduras) and tells me that I have to leave and he is shuting down the computers cause the Voltage in town is gona drop...And I´m thinking...¨Thats it ... my marraige is over .. my wife is gona KILL ME.¨(She didn´t kill me, she was really great and was confident that I would sort it out.) So ya ... He kicks me out and i´m on the curb broken over the potential loss of oer 700 photos from the last month. Welll an hour later the shop opened, this time with a very tech savy person and had me set straight with all my photos on disks and hard drive....I tipped him very well.
PPS. the facebook thing was my attempt at saving what pictures I could before getting kicked out of the cafe.
Lots of fun, Nate

Posted by Seaurchins 17:02 Comments (1)

Tikal, Rio Dulce and Bay Islands

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Hello Everyone,

It feels as though it has been forever since I have written so i have a lot of catching up to do. At the momemt Nathaniel an I are in Utila, the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras. Beautiful. We had only planned to come for two days or so and ended up staying nearly a week- one advantage of having a flexible itinerary. We spent the majority of the week on an island called Diamond Cayes.. or something like that and ater two fantastic dives we decided to do our Adanced Open Water ticket.
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A deep dive, wreck drive, night dive, photography dive, and naviagtion dive later we were certified. The night dive was seriously freaky. There was a massive storm that night and and i felt insane jumping off the dock as lightning was flashing around me. Nathaniel thought it wa great!- I think I clung to him the entire time. Today we had hoped to ctach a ferry back to the mainland but, beause of the huge storm all the ferries were cancelled. Tommorow we will go to Copan to see some ruins and then from there we hope to head to Nicaragua. We have a bunch more pictures to post but downloading the on to the site is painful and takes FOREVER. We will add some when we feel like wasting some of the day. Otherwise check them on Nathaniel's facebook.

- Jocelyn
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Tikal was everything that I imagined that it would be. Nathaniel and I opted to do the sunrise tour which was worth waking up at three in the morning for. We climbed onto temple IV to watch the sunrise over the Tikal ruins as howler monkies screamed in the jungle. Those monkies sound terrifying, if you want to hear them for yourself look them up on u-tube and see if you can find a clip. In any case it was very very cool! Here is a daytime photo of one of the temples.

Posted by Seaurchins 15:46 Archived in Honduras Comments (1)

Antigua is phenominal

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Antigua was amazing and it was very difficult to leave but alas there are many more beuatiful things to see and not enough time. I really enjoyed taking pictures of all the crumbling buildings and beuatiful streets. Nathaniel had to restrain me from taking a picture of every door in Antigua. I have a thing for old doors. In one of the pictures I am holding a really old key to a really old door..... maybe only I think that is cool. Shopping in Chichistenanga was fun, maybe even a tad overwleming. There were so many incredible fabrics and necklaces. Nathaniel and I had a lot of fun bartering with the locals.... and walking away.... and listening to the price decrease with each step... and then coming back to purchase an item at a fair price. In any case I wound up with a bunch of great things that I will willing drag around the world with me. Now we are in San Pedro on Lake Atilan and it is pouring..... we finally understand what our guidebooks meant when it said that October is rainy season. It's a good thing we are from B.C. and have webbed feet. Last night we stayed in really sketchy hotel...... we locked up our packs and Nathaniel slept with a knife under his pillow.... perhaps we were a tad paranoid? Anyways, there were no problems and we left that town first light for another village on the lake. Lake Atilan is incredible and Nathaniel and I have been looking forward to swimming in it for days. - Jocelyn
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So.. WOW. what a couple of days we've had. We took a tour up to the top of Volcano Pacaya....YEEEEHAAAA... it is an active volcano and there are lava flows, and you get to walk right up and poke them with a stick and watch it instantly burst into flames. I brought up a couple of hot dogs and sharpened a long stick and had a weiner roast over the hot magma. ...can anyone else trump that???? I put one pic here bu8t there are others on facebook as our alloted space for pics on this site is limmited. so do some jumping back and forth. ....wow -Nate
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So after a week of spanish lessons in Monterrico our spanish is fairly good. My spanish is ashamedly better than my french. The one on one classes were awsome. We have headed inland to the colonial town of Antigua. Monterrico was soooo hot, and muggy..it was nice, and the beach was great but we are sooo excited to be inland in Antigua, we can finally sleep at night ( the temperature is much cooler here, quite pleasant really.) Jocelyn´s sister Rachel was here for a missions trip last spring and told us how wonderful it was... we definatly agree. We will have pics for you within a couple of days. - Nate

Posted by Seaurchins 08:40 Archived in Guatemala Comments (3)

Now in Guatamala

sunny 32 °C

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October 7th

Nathaniel and I want to let our families know that we are safe and having a great time. Today it absolutly poured and within 20 minutes we were bone dry. The mosquitoes are crazy here but the locals tell us that malaria isn´t a risk here. When we go north to Peten to visit the ruins of tikal we will havw to be much more careful about not getting bitten alive. We will be leaving Montaricco tommorow morning to see Antigua and central Gautemala. We will be in touch with you again once we get there. Our spanish lessons are coming along really well and we are able to have conversations with our host family. We are really gald that we took spanish because it allows us to speak with the guatamalans and other travellers from around the world that don´t speak English. Last night I got to release a baby turtle into the ocean. It was a really cool experience. Anyways we love you all very much.

Love Joce and Nate.

October 3rd

HHHEEELLLLOOOO...I mean Hola. Comesta.. Anyway...Here we are in Monterrico, Guatamala. We arrived safly and really quite painlessly. It is sooooo warm and humid, I´m presently sweating like a pig dripping all over the key board, while Jocelyn looks quite comfortable. Our Host family is really cool and stuffing us full of different but very good food. We went for a swim yesterday and got tossed like little floaties. The waves are large and in charge. Hhaaahaa...on our way we caught a ride in a mini-van made for 8...but funny thing...we counted 25...not including a couple hanging off the outside. There are pigs and chickens and lizards running everywhere... Jocelyn loves the pigs...We´ll post pictures soon. Laters.
Joce and Nate

Posted by Seaurchins 22:39 Comments (4)

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