Trujillo: Capital of the everlasting Spring

Huanchaca beach

I have a lot of catching up to do, but I’ll start here, with Trujillo. One of the guys we work with, Cesar, is a native of Trujillo and we jumped at the chance when he offered to show us around. A bunch of us loaded onto a bus (so many bus trips this summer) and headed south.

Cesar picked us up from the station and the girls piled into his car and the boys packed into a taxi and then we all headed to Huaca de la Luna (Pyramid of the Moon).

Huaca of the moon

Trujillo Peru

Next, we headed right over to Chan Chan, an ancient city in the middle of the desert. These people sure knew how to make something beautiful out of dirt.

ruins in Peru Trujillo

Chan Chan

We spent the night enjoying the city center and failing at going out clubbing because we passed out from exhaustion too early (lame-o’s). The next day was beaches and piers and sleeping on buses.

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Hey Peru friends, I like traveling with you.

ruins in Peru

South of the equator

Sunset in Peru

It’s been two weeks in Peru and life’s going at warp speed. There’s so much to say and tell and show but I don’t know how. So I will post photos and tell you about a few crazy experiences.

After we arrived in Chiclayo and settled into our apartments, we started work right away. There are several different campuses so we are all split up in different places. I split my time between an elementary school where I help teach English and a high school where I work with IT and internet marketing.

Peru

The first week we were here they had a giant welcoming ceremony for all of us. We are the first American interns to come to Chiclayo so they like to parade us around. They’ve welcomed us with open arms and I think we are getting spoiled with all of the attention we are getting. Plus, not many tourists come to Chiclayo so the fact that we are white makes us quite a spectacle. I’ve never felt like a celebrity before, but I think this has to be what it’s like. I literally get mobbed everyday at the elementary school after I’ve been gifted apples, stickers, origami, pens, and Barbie pictures. The teacher will have to hold all of the kids back after they’ve attacked for 5 minutes and I have no hope of finding my way out alone.

English teaching in Peru

I think Michael likes all of the attention he is getting from the ladies ;)

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We’ve also been publicly embarrassed on several occasions when they make us dance in front of massive amounts of people. My favorite was when we drove up to a nightclub, walked in to a standing ovation by students and parents, and then sat down. Flashing lights of different colors were everywhere and tribal music began to play. We thought we would get to watch a cool tribal dance…no…turns out we were the ones doing the tribal dancing. So there we are, in a flashing nightclub, dancing terribly to tribal music, and all of the sudden clowns on stilts appeared. After 10 minutes of this, we were given some potatoes (because who doesn’t want a potato after working out?) and then escorted out. We didn’t know if this experience was real or a dream. I’m still confused.

To top the week off, we had a mother’s day feast of cow heart, utter, and tongue (which was a very nice gesture and we had to do our best to eat as much as we could). Never will I ever say “I’m so hungry I could eat a cow!”

So we’ve done service projects on the outskirts of town, taught, danced, eaten (I mean we have really eaten…so much food), went to the beach, learned to enjoy potatoes for every meal, eaten crazy weird things, spoken broken Spanish, and kissed too many cheeks to count. All this and we’ve still got the whole summer ahead of us.

Chiclayo, Peru

Chiclayo, Peru

Peru beaches

 Chiclayo, Peru

Getting lost in Lima

Lima, Peru

Peru is a trip. Seriously though, I feel like I was dunked under water, held there for a while, and now I’m flailing my limbs around and trying to breathe in as much air as possible. But more on that later.

We flew into Lima on Tuesday night and taxied over to our hostel in Miraflores. Sidenote, we found the hostel on Airbnb.com, which is the best. Go use it. Our host, Emma, was the kindest lady and stayed up so late just chatting with us and showing us around the apartment. The next morning we were greeted by the loud voices of the other travelers in the  hostel as we tried to sleep in. After pulling ourselves out of bed we chatted with the solo-traveler Mike who gave us a map and told us how to get to downtown Lima by bus. We took his advice and explored the city center, wandered down streets, and grabbed some ice cream. On our way home we got lost but then found by a pack of Peruvian grandmas. They told us they would tell us where to go, but then insisted we get in their car so they could just take us there. They seemed harmless, so we obliged and made it back safely and even found a churro truck on the way.

Lima, peru

That night, after cleaning up in the one bathroom that the travelers all share with the family, we grabbed dinner at a food court overlooking the ocean in Miraflores. We spent the next day hanging out with Emma and her husband who drove us to the Lima Temple and ate some good Chifa (a hilarious combination of chinese and peruvian food) with us. We then explored some pre-Inca ruins and met an Indian travel agent friend.

Miraflores, Lima, Peru

Miraflores Peru

We met up with the rest of the BYU clan the next day and ate breakfast and explored more of the city with them. Little did we know what we had gotten ourselves into for the rest of this summer. We hopped on an overnight bus that evening and spent the night driving up the coast to Chiclayo where we live now. Lima was definitely a vacation to what Chiclayo has brought upon us, but I’ll save that for the next post.

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Lima, Peru

Here’s lookin’ at you, Peru

Peru, Machu Pichu

Summertime is made for adventure, and what’s more adventurous than moving south of the equator? That’s what Michael and I told ourselves as we purchased tickets that would land us in Chiclayo, Peru for the summer. This all came about in a really nonchalant way with Michael toying with the idea of doing an internship there, meeting with some people, getting a grant, and then…what we are really going? Yep, we are going. In one week. (Cue panic attack for everything we have to get done before then)

Basically, we are still fuzzy on some of the details, but we are moving there for the summer to work at a local University in the city. We will be helping with marketing, SEO, eco-tourism, and English courses. Unfortunately for me, my Spanish skills are really rusting seeing as the last time I used Spanish was in Spain…3 years ago. But, the cool thing about this internship is that we are really going to be pushing this University and it’s resources to the next level. They are excited and we are really excited and I guess that’s the  most you can ask for.

So, here’s to adventure and unknowns. And to prove how adventurous we really are, we bought Chacos, because what says adventure more than a pair of Chacos? Watch out Peru, our strappy sandle feet are about to trapse all over you.

Traveling Thailand-Bangkok

Grand Palace Bangkok

Bangkok is our home-base. We flew into Bangkok, out of Bangkok, back in, back out, back in, and sadly one last trip out. In between all of this airport time we managed to visit the gems of Bangkok. Props to my mom for being an amazing tour guide and taking us to the best places.

Our first stop in Bangkok was Chatuchak market. It’s only open on the weekends and we only had one open Friday where we would be in the city. We drove over with Kun Su Shard (sweetest man in all of Thailand who brought us Coke Zeros when we were thirsty) and explored the markets. They have everything there. Needless today it took a lot of self control to not go on a buying spree. Once we were done wandering we hit up some street vendors for chicken sate and some weird bread/butter/evaporated milk thing.

The Grand Palace, BangkokThe next venture into the city was to visit the Grand Palace, which is AMAZING. Often compared to the Forbidden City in China, I think this one takes the cake for me. With giant gold bells and hand mosaics covering many of the buildings and statues, it’s stunning. Also, if you are a boy don’t forget to wear pants. Girls are ok in dresses and sleeves but the guys have to be in pants because Thai people don’t want to see the tourist’s pale calves. Michael got to rent some nice baggy sweatpants to wear over his shorts. Lookin goooood. Coryne was immodest too and was given a long skirt to wear over her shorts.

The Grand Palace, Bangkok

The Grand Palace, Bangkok

The Grand Palace, Bangkok

Next we hit up the Mandarin Oriental hotel downtown for a late lunch (super late because Bangkok traffic is insane and it took us forever to get there). The hotel is beautiful and set on the waterfront and the food was super yummy. After this we talked them into letting us grab a long boat from there (usually only hotel guests can, but mama Farnsworth got her way). The long boat took us down the river through the city and you can see 5 star hotels sharing property with run down shacks which back up to ancient temples. So cool. We also got pummeled with a wave from another boat and the camera was oh so close to being lost to the waters of Thailand.

Long boat, Thailand

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Mandarin Oriental hotel, BangkokOur last day trekking around Bangkok was spent out at Ayutthaya, the old ruins. We visited a floated market, got our feet nommed on by fish, and hit up as many of the ruins as we could. We had to cut the day short thanks to a pack of pit bulls that attacked us. We were trying to find the entrance, passed a sign written in Thai that apparently said “No trespassing”, and walked onto someone’s property. Before we knew it, 4 pit bulls were headed at full velocity towards us and my mom got the worst of it when one of them chomped her calf. We quickly got out of there and then hit up the doctor later that day where she got to start her 5 series of rabies shots.

fish massageAyutthaya ThailandAyutthaya ThailandAyutthaya Thailand

Ayutthaya ThailandAyutthaya ThailandAyutthaya Thailand