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Books read throughout the summer, some with thoughts. By Labor Day - 20 books read, no more than 5 are re-reads. Need to finish a book in 5 days. Author- Title (Date Started)
- 1.Dave Eggers- The Circle (5/25)
- 2.Christopher Buckley- Thank You for Smoking
- 3.Jay McInerney- Bright Lights, Big City
Climb the mountains surrounding Cusco and you'll find the remains of the Incan Empire, spread throughout the Valley below and in the Andes around. Though the bus ride will be bumpy and the altitude (almost 13,000 ft) will make your lungs feel like sandbags, the sights are so impressive it's difficult to think of anything as beautiful.
- •Ancient PisaqPositioned high in the mountains to keep safe from the Valley's floods, this Incan city overlooks the modern city of Pisaq that now sits on a river's edge. It includes burial sites dug into the side of the mountain and a structure used for refrigeration that was so innovative, it could keep food from spoiling for over a year.
- •OllantaytamboLike Pisaq, this was an Incan town that included homes, farming, and temples. A difficult climb but certainly worth it for the views. This was my favorite Incan stop of the day.
- •The Temple of the SunThough part of Ollantaytambo, the beauty of this spot was almost too much for me to handle, so it gets its own bullet point. Seated so high in the mountains, it's as if you can reach out and touch the snow caps of the peaks surrounding you. At the temple's edge, the entire Incan city sits below you with a glacier to your right. Sure, the altitude played a part, but this spot actually took the breath from me.
In our last day here, we decided to just meander and take it pretty easy. But, even on a do-nothing day, we managed to have plenty of memorable moments.
- •I touched the Pacific for the first timeWith photographic evidence to prove it! As a life-long Midwestern kid, I'm ashamed to admit it took me so long. Surprisingly, it was warmer than the air temperature. And much warmer than the Lake Michigan water I dipped my feet into two weeks prior.
- •Found a Beatles mural in BarrancoWe took to the part of Lima just south of Miraflores, where we stay, and discovered quite a charming neighborhood. More residential than Miraflores but with some of the best views of the city! Wandering through side streets, we found this mural on the side of a music venue, though the bar was sadly closed for Election Day.
- •Wrote for almost an hour in one of the prettiest places I've ever satAt the edge, literally, of Barranco. Though many words were scribbled into my journal, I think the picture can do more than any of my 350 remaining allotted letters.
At Miraflores' cliff side, overlooking the Pacific, sits El Parque de Amor— the Love Park. It's Gaudi meets Love Poems and my sentimental, English Major heart could hardly stand how gorgeous of a place this was. With the help of my travel partner and the Internet, I translated every poem in the park. The following are my favorites:
- •"The heart beats as intense as the sea." - Pablo Guevara
- •"It's difficult to be in love, but you learn." - Antonio Cisneros
- •"I will tie my heart like a ribbon in your hair."
I felt like driftwood wandering this cramped market, tossed down its narrow rows as if riding a wave in an ocean of people all just trying to buy ingredients for dinner. Somewhere between the soccer stadium and El Barrio Chino, the Central Market stands as one of the craziest places I've ever been.
- •TurkeysRounding the corner from the fruit aisle and into the poultry section, my travel partner in front of me jumped a mile high and my jaw hit the floor as we met a pen of Turkeys, ten or so standing waist high and waiting to be purchased. I have no idea how much one of them costs, but I'd pay a lot of money to Sarah jump that high again!
- •Guinea PigsWhich is what they're called when they're alive. It's Cuoy once one becomes a meal. I watched an adorable Peruvian toddler pull one out of its cage and play with it while a butcher behind him cut off the head of one of the animal's cage mates. Though morbid, I found it fascinating how okay with all of this the toddler was, as I remember crying at that age when I accidentally squashed a ladybug.
- •So. Much. Ceviche.An entire section of the market dedicated to counters serving the seafood dish to customers on stools in front of the stands. Women holding white boards with prices would step in front of us like carnival barkers, trying to get us to take a seat. Some even back pedaled in front of us as we walked on by. After witnessing the Cuoy's brief Circle of Life, neither of us had much of an appetite.
$25 bucks and 4 hours later, I'm in love with this drink.
- •La Bolivar, La Catedral de Pisco SoursJust off La Plaza de San Martin and inside La Bolivar hotel, which has hosted Nixon, Hemingway, RFK, and The Rolling Stones. "La Catedral" is the proper name, as this is Lima's most infamous Pisco Sour spot! They even have a secret recipe, which I assume is sacred and would make a great object for Nicholas Cage to steal in National Treasure: Lima Liquor (screenplay already in progress on my laptop)
- •QueiroloMy favorite stop on our tour! Cramped in the back alley of a side street off the Plaza, this bar was one of the coolest places I've ever drank. They make their own Pisco! When you take a seat, the waiter places a full bottle of Pisco, Ginger Ale, a bowl of ice and a bowl of limes on the table. Everything after that is up to you. Playing bartender my first night in South America was a ton of fun! Here is where I found my new favorite drink, Un Chilcano con Pisco, made with the above ingredients.
- •El Munich in the basement of La HuacaA piano bar infamous for Machu Pichus- tall glass of orange juice, mint, and Pisco. This being the last stop of the night, I absolutely lost my mind when the old man hunched over the piano in the corner put aside his lounge-type piano music and hammered out Coldplay's "Clocks". Possibly my most "American" moment so far, but damn was that cool. Also, here's a picture of our group with our awesome tour guide, Johnny (the little guy in front of me!)
- •Lastly, a nice pic of my travel buddy and me!Love having my cousin Sarah on this trip with me, partially because we get along so well but mostly because her Spanish rolls off her tongue so easily while I stutter my way through the language.
Pisco, Peru's National Drink
- •Pisco is distilled grapesLike a white wine with three times the alcohol content
- •Pisco Sours are the country's drink of choice3 parts Pisco, 1 part lime juice, 1 part simple syrup, and 1/2 an egg white. Shake, don't blend. Like a margarita with a sweet foam top.
- •Pisco Sours were created by an AmericanVictor Morris of San Francisco opened Morris's Bar in Lima in the early 20th Century, serving a South American twist on the Whiskey Sour. Peruvians quickly tell you they added the egg whites to the drink, which make it frothy and add protein, enabling more consumption. "Practically a health food!" Our guide proclaimed.
Had while Pisco, our hostel's pet, climbed onto my lap while I was reading
- •"So, uh, they really don't neuter dogs down here, huh?"
- •"Man, hair really covers up most dogs' private parts, doesn't it"
- •"I'm incredibly uncomfortable."
As if the airport was given a Now That's What I Call Music 6 CD and felt it'd be the perfect way to welcome travelers to El Salvador
- •Beautiful - Christina AguileraPlayed while I washed my hands in the bathroom. Honestly, its empowering message was appreciated halfway through a 20 hour travel day. I felt beautiful with a stiff neck and drool crusted on the sides of my mouth.
- •She Will Be Loved- Maroon 5Sappy love songs never go out of style, even in the Southern Hemisphere
- •Viva la Vida - ColdplayWhat once served as my 7th grade football "Hype Music" now pumped me up to buy almonds and alcohol for the next flight.
A brief introduction into my thoughts on this very platform
- •I'm a millennial and there is nothing millennials love to do more than shareSee also: Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress, Small Plates Restuarants, Uber Pool, and the title of "Scripps National Spelling Bee Winner 2016"
- •Blogs make me anxiousEveryone has one, no one reads them
- •I'm headed to South America and some people may be interested to see what I'm doingThough I'd like to think there are millions of people out there unable to start their life routines without first seeing what I'm up to, I realize I'm doing this mostly for my mom.
- •Lists are my natural thought patternAnd probably yours, too.