The Bish Krew on Tour

Welcome to the antics of the BishKrew on tour round the world. Bish Crew members: Tommy O'Gallagher, Kieran Rafter, James Askew, Tom Fleming, Laurie Howell and Teo Lopéz-Bernal.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Some New York and Toronto pics

Look at these gayboys we snapped by the water.

Had to swim out a while to get this one.

www.proannie.com

Time square.

It was gift from the french to signify friendship. They accepted it before making it their own symbol for freedom. Uhhh... what?

Manhattan syline from Liberty island.

Sorry.

Kieran held the camera whilst Jesus gave Tommy a piggyback... /several gruelling hours and 17 attempts with the timer.

The thee-enn tower wath MATHIFF!!

Dickie put us up in a quaint little outhouse tucked behind the main palace.

Here we learnt to appreciate the finer things in life...

... like getting sh**faced.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Tommy & Kieran homecoming!


12" Pizza and portion of chips for £5 -bet you can't wait to get home!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Party Up the Panamerican. (photos)


Our Huachachina heaven for 48hrs...oh yes!!


Bad Boys in the back.




Shockwaves...peruvian gel...nuff said.



Before....

...and after.


The wind changed.

Milky Joes , Green Eggs and Ham.

Mancorian Sunset.


Morning all.


Spot the gangster.

Partying up the Panamerican

After a couple more amusing nights in the crazy cusco night clubs we jumped on a 16 hr night bus to the oasis of Huacachina on the south western coast of Peru. We arrived at the unearthly hour of 6am and booked into the gringo ridden Casa de Arena hostal. Our time was to be short here but we still manged to fit in three world cup games, a sand boarding and dune buggy tour, a BBQ, a dip in the pool and an evenings banter with Jake, a legendary American. The highlight was undoubtedly the dune buggy tour which proved to be an unforgettable experience. We set off from the hostal in what looked more like a cage on wheels than a dune buggy and headed for the surrounding dunes. Little did we now our driver was to be an absolute nutter who repeatedly tried to eject us from our seats by flying vertically down or up dunes and at times driving almost horizontally along the face of the dunes. Every so often he would stop to let us bomb down the dunes on waxed up 'sand boards', more like planks of wood. We started by attempting to do it standing up, but with Laurie being the only one with any sort of sand boarding talent we decided to race down on our fronts. This technique proved unwise as we reached the bottom of the dune with pain in most parts of our body and with Americans laughing at us. Nevertheless we trekked it back up the 30m dune, bad call, and threw ourselves down again!
Huacachina was definitely a worthwhile stopover and a perfect change of scene in between Cusco and Lima. Most of our time in Lima was spent organising our flight to Venezuela and what we were going to there, so there is not much to say. Its not the most inspiring place although the Miraflores area was nice and after missing out on saturday night we tried to make a night of it on Sunday. It didn't really work and after getting too much unwanted attention from various annoying Peruanas trying to get us into empty bars, we headed to the famed Lima casinos. Sorry parents. It ended up being probably the worst decision we've made during our travels, with the only thing gained from the night being- NEVER GO TO A CASINO! We had to get out of this place as soon as possible and so after toying between going to Trujillo or Huaraz we eventually decided to head for the picturesque town in the centre of the Peruvian Cordillera Blanca (Huaraz). We picked up a chinese and headed to the bus station for yet another night bus.

We rolled up at the Cruz del Sur bus station in Lima for our impending night bus, excited at the prospect of travelling on the best company in Peru. This journey varied little from our other night-buses....it was freezing, Laurie and Tom would sit freezing wearing 2 jumpers, hat, gloves, and curled up in a ball trying to get whatever sleep possible. Meanwhile, Teo "the battery" Lopez-Bernal would somehow recline in just a t-shirt, radiating heat to all those around him!!

At first Huaraz didn´t meet our expectations, our bed´s had close to a wigs worth of hair in, and Tom´s had what we swear were blood stains. However things looked up when we switched rooms, and ate our memorable yoghurt breakfast. Teo and Tom thought it would be a bright idea to buy a large milkshake, a large yoghurt and some chocolate milk... each. This error was compounded by the windy taxi ride to the top of a nearby mountain, where we disembarcked feeling remarkably peeky. We balanced the small girl´s bike-helmets on our heads, took a few token poser photos and set off on our 30km trip downhill. Highlights include Tom and Laurie somehow both going over their handlebars at slow speed and an epic no pedalling race, periodically broken up by various lorrys (of the mechanical variety, not our fellow bishcrew member) going in the opposite direction.

We tumbled into a restaurant, cut, bruised, tired and fired up for the much needed meal (we hadn´t eaten since the chinese the night before). Afterwards following the spanish tradition by retiering for a siesta that afternoon. Our day was completed by an eveining of table tennis where Lauire beat Teo...will Teo ever hear the end of this, although it can be called revenge for when Teo beat Laurie at pool (both claim to be superior at the respective sports).

We were up early the next morning to visit a glacier at 5000 and something meters. The tour company drove us from Huaraz to 1km away from the glacier, stopping off at gripping sights such as a blue pond and some natrual fizzy water which tasted like metal. We surprised ourselves, being so acclimatised to the altitude that we were able to have a 5000m snowball fight, much to the annoyance of the other "glacier goers." Back in Huaraz the idea of a warm, virtually equatorial beach where we could surf and sun ourselves sounded appealing. Tom and Teo thought they would get into the world-cup, English hooligan spirit before the nightbus, by shaving their heads. Teo removed his swarve 70´s style locks for a number 3, while Tom thought he would inflict a mowhawk onto the innocent peruvian public.

The three musketeers racked up in the beachside "resort" of Huanchaco, to be met by so much fog around us that the sea was hardly visible from the beach and the only good hostel full. The other alternative in the guide book turned out to have not had a visitor for nearly 2 weeks and the beds appeared to be made of a 6 by 4 plank of wood! Our misery was compounded when we were informed that we hadn´t arrived on an unlucky day and that the weather really was always this bad. After watching England scrape through AGAIN, against Trinidad and Tobago, we thought our footballing talents would be better, and embarked on an expedition to buy a ball. The bus back from the shop proved to be the highlight of the day when Laurie pointed out the the man sitting opposite was infact a carbon copy of Tommy in 70 years time. The looks from the other passengers at our mirth made us think that maybe we had insulted a village elder...

Maybe travelling had turned us into masocists but we thought that Huanchaco was such a dump and we couldn´t bear to stay any longer. Despite our sleep induced state, we had the intelligance to take our 3rd night bus in 4 days. No good bus companies went the route we wanted, so we settled for a second rate bus where the conductor gave out free English toffee. Afterwards, he kindly informed us that we had to pay for it. He then proceded to talk animatedley to everyone about fathers day and played what appeared to be a toilet roll wrapped in silver foil with a straw in for a good 10 minutes, much to the laughter of all the passengers. The only downside to this experience/journey was the constant battle of the Peruvian passengers over Tom´s window, whether it should be opened or closed, whether Tom and Teo wanted it open or closed was besides the point....to this day we can´t work out what was so special about that particular window.

We got off the bus in Mancora, sleep thick in our eyes but looking as good as ever. A man came from the shadows and put our bags on his infeasably small trike. We piled in and shouted "to the beach", we promptly pulled up at the gated compound that was Sol y Mar hostal located approxiametly 0.5m from the golden sand that makes up on of best surf beaches in the world. After crashing out, following our horrific bus journey, we woke to see the sun, the sea and the surf. We promptly lubed up with factor 40 and exposed our so far mountain carcasses to the equatorial rays. This became a fairly common occurance, and we like to think we have taken the edge of the moon tan (josh tribute). By sheer luck our room turned out to be one of only a few penthouse batchelor suites in Mancora: TV, En Suite, Electricity,Sheets and an amazing view of the beach and bay. Our first night saw our livers beginning to absorb the Mancora culture at 6pm that night: consequence being NWA sung at top volume on the PanAmerican highway and bed by 11pm.

The next day we awoke and hit the beach. We played football against some mildy phsycopathic locals, sunned ourselves further and sat watching the surf, plucking up the courage to join the surf dudes in the outrageously powerful waves. That evening and following a quality curry by an ex-pat bar owner we had a couple of beers and prepared for a big one. It turned out to be a ghost town so we returned and went to our beds. Tom did not and went to the reception to investigate the apparent burglary and theft of 300 soles ( fifty quid), he did not return for a good hour, having evidently become distracted. Teo went to investigate. Ten minutes later we were all assembled in the foyer at midnight ready to start saturday night again. This time it was made easier by a dozen Irish lads and a handful of gap year girls and what appeared to be 50 bottles of the finest rum. Round two was a success and we ended up on the beach at 5am with clothes being ripped off and with our fellow gap yearers we ran starkers into the still intimidating surf. After returning to see our sandals of all things stolen, the camp fire was lit and tales we shared until the sun rose. The bed was now beckoning and we spent sunday relaxing/recovering on the beach. Our peace was rudely broken by a very familiar face jumping from behind going ¨you didn´t see this coming", it was the hardened ecuadorian traveller, Jimmy ´skew. From this point he features in all our adventures.

The next few days; we sunned ourselves more, relaxed in the leather sofas of Milky Joés watching the football with our new gap year buddies Gudrun (Teo*) and Laura, not before a touch of brekky at Green Eggs and Ham. There was more blood spilt in beach footy with locals and we finally took the boards to the waves (no success as we just ended up a good 500m down beach due to the rip, much to the amusement of the locals). We socaliased more and love was poised to flourish (see above*), until we promtly left realising that the border into Ecuador might infact have opening hours.

We took a two hour bus ride to Tumbes and were instantly put into a taxi with two friendly looking Peruvian chaps, and were then subject to a clearly pre-planned taxi scam. Having ripped us off with a blatant display of dishonesty they promised to escort us through the border crossing, so with no choice all six of us remained in their taxi. We assured ourselves that despite their gun four of us would still hijack their taxi and drive to the border ourselves. On the other hand, given that this crossing was highlighted as extremely dangerous by both our guides and the guides we were glad for the company. This is mainly because the hundreds of police present at 5.59pm are absent at 6.01pm. Cleverly we arrived at 8pm in Aguas Verdes in Peru and scurried across the packed footbridge across the border into Huaquillas, with cries of ´your dead´ echoing through the lethal streets surrounding us. This was not helped by the fact that we we were still in full beach attire including party shorts. Here we jumped on the bus at 9pm and at 6am the next morning we arrived in Quito.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ecuador Pictures

My current home.
I never really knew that she could dance like this, She makes a man wants to speak Spanish... (shameless quote fest this blog...)
Local politics.

Most of the international volunteer team on our beach... crap weather though...


Guapulo. Count it.

"Whadya mean I need to pass more?" Bloody kids!

Totally worth the 21 hours of buses just to run on to a crowded beach and scare the crap outta Teo.

I may be a midget but watch out for the guns they'll get ya and it is a lovely tan... (...told you so)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!!

And with 5 minutes to spare. That's showmanship for you. Thanks for bringing us up and stuff guys.

Sorry it hasn't come above as usual, but a new blog is below.

KT

Friday, June 16, 2006

Hello,

Apologies if this blog appears somewhat hurried/of poor quality, we are currently exploiting the free internet provided by the display models in an apple store and the attendents here are like hawks.


San Francisco (1st - 6th June)
On the morning of June the 1st, we parted ways with our recently aquired "homies" in Miami and boarded our plane bound for San Francisco, excited to be checking into one of the world's top 10 hostels upon arrival. The Adelaide hostel is located just one block from union square, a perfect position from which to launch our assault on the city. On our first day we leapt aboard one of SF's historic streetcars and headed down to Fisherman's Wharf. Here we were ferried accross to the island of Alcatraz where we enjoyed a fantastically informative prison tour along with a several hour lecture regarding why we shouldn't approach the birds. Once we'd returned to mainland, we indulged in a delicious meal of cisco's famous dish; clam chowder. Lovely. The following day we went shopping. Not much to report except that we are currently looking into purchasing an extra kit bag to accomodate our new garments. That evening we shared an enourmous 18" pizza. Again, not miuch to report, except that Tommy spent the rest of the evening curled into the fetal position, cradling his stretched stomache. That's the way to do it!

The next day it was back to business as we embarked upon a bus tour around the city (naturally led by an overweight homosexual). This included a quick look at the golden gate bridge, union square, the painted ladies, haight street (the hub of the hippy/tax dodging movement back in the day) and some ruins that we didn't even know existed, which was a nice bonus. That evening went for a chinese.. we don't know what came over us, we just went for him. Seriously though, he's stable now. We then hit the second largest chinatown in america for a delicious meal and BEER, the stupid hussy.

On our last full day we returned to the Wharf where we rented a tandem bicycle. On this scorching day, we had a fantastic ride accross the golden gate bridge into the marvellously quaint, Sausalito. A beautiful day, despite the numerous calls of "good for you guys" from the locals. The french kissing probably didn't help. That evening we made our way to the AC & T baseball park to watch the San Francisco Giants slaughter the Florida Marlins. Thia game included a trademark homer from the legendary, pumpkin headed, drug abusing Barry Bonds (now second on the all time biggest hitters list). Despite popular opinion, baseball (for us) is actually a fantastic sport to watch and we drifted home determined to attend a game in L.A.


Los Angeles (6th- 9th June)
Fortunately, on the day we arrived (06/06/06) the remake of the classic film, "The Omen" had just been released into American cinemas, providing us with some entertainment for the evening. This theater was like nothing we've ever attended. Full to the brim with large, black women who would have probably been well advised to buy two tickets, shrieking, laughing and yelling advice at the screen. Literally top volume. Literally the entire length of the film. One of them was called "January". FFFFFFFFFlipping hell. The next day was spend exploring Santa Monica, including Muscle Beach, Venice Beach and that peer what Forest Gump runs down in the film, "Forest Gump". Basically, we bought enourmous sandwiches along with a bag full of fruit each and wondered about. That evening saw us attending yet another baseball game and this time it was to be the L.A Dodgers taking on the New York Mets. Awesome!

On the final day, we donned our string vests, our trucker caps and most importantly, our false mustaches to venture into the highly glamerous Beverly Hills. An equadorian man named Pedro was kind enough to take us along with several other women (who again, probably should have forked out for more tickets) on tour of various celebrity homes. The only house that really sticks in our minds at the moment is that of BIYYAOW CYAOWWZZBEH (Bill Cosby). Minly because once he'd spotted the bus out side, he sprinted accross his front lawn to inform us that (what with being kids), we didn't "understand about the jazz". Nice bloke. To be honest, L.A wasn't really our scene. Whilst we had a good time marvelling at the proportions of some of its inhabitants, we were keen to move on to Toronto.


Toronto (9th - 17th June)
On the evening of the 9th, we were lucky enough to arrive at Dickie's incredeble compound when a traditional family party was taking place. Whilst to Paul, this meant turning 40, a significant landmark in any man's life, to us it meant being fed and watered properly for the first time in months! We absolutely stuffed ourselves with an amazing range of succulant BBQ meat, knocked back a few ice cold beers and of course nibbled some sides of caviar, pretending that we, like everyone else, loved its delicate taste. After escalating out of control, the evening eventually died down with a 3am "hot tub sesh".

The next morning we took take a trip on Dicky's new toy; a 23 foot, leather seated, luxury speed boat. Obviously. Cruising accross Lake Ontario in the blazing heat was a great way to start the day and we could tell that life in Toronto was going to be sweet. That evening, Franka, Paul and Ali were kind enough to burden themselves with our company and we all took a trip to their local pub, The King's Arms. Good times.

Bright and early the following Sunday, a slightly hung over Franka drove a slightly hung over Paul along with the deliciously awake KT and Fiona, to the jewel of North American theme parks, Canada Wonderland. Here. We. Had. An. AHHHSUM TIME!! The next few days were spent perfecting our backflips on the outdoor diving board, consuming numerous BBQs/beers and scampering excitedly around the aisles of the local supermarket having been told we could buy "whatever we want". Sorry Franka, but we also had a party. Don't worry Dickie, it wasn't that big, that's a big part of why we were so shocked when all the furniture went missing.

On Thursday we visited the Toronto apartment of the newly engaged couple, Fiona & "Jeffy"<--our christening. Congratulations guys. After a lovely pizza at the pad, we visited what we had heard described as their local "undercover meat market". It was a confusing yet fascinating, multi-story labyrinth of bars and bustling customers. After several rounds of drinks the happy couple stumbled home. They were pretty gone, but we kept an eye on them and saw them to bed. On Friday morning, having twigged onto a certain sensitive issue regarding a picture the previous evening, we rearranged some things and fear we may have sparked the couples' first serious domestic dispute. Sorry guys. We then headed home for more backflips and swimming before heading out for our final meal. Everything about this evening was wonderful and the fact that Dicky scored us some free champagne and pudding by pretending there was a birthday girl at the table (Franka) was almost too much for us. Thankyou very much for the hospitality guys. You have been very generous.

The following morning we flew to New York and this is where we finish. We've been doing shifts battling off the apparently marshal arts trained staff here and we're both pretty beat up.


Out.

KT

Monday, June 12, 2006

California 2006

California.

Highlight of the entire trip. No contest. Reprasent.

"Now Kieran, this is a shot in front of the Hollywood sign which means it's DEFINITELY going on the blog so try not to embarass yourself, okay?"


They're like ants down there aren't they? Seriously, if you think that you're on crack, they're just far away. What a ridiculous thing to say.


Luckily, homosexuals (and tandem bike owners at that) are extremely easy to overpower.

San Francisco is famous for its enchanting mist. A dense fog that shrouds the city's landmarks, cloaking them in a magnificant veil of mystery and intrigue making for the shittest photos.


Lombard street. In the photo above.

On our first full day in the city, we tried to immerse ourselves in the culture by riding their famous streetcars... like benders

Kieran's incessant questions regarding the lizard population of Alcatraz landed him in the hole.

Tommy takes a deep breath and plunges down for the pose - completely filled with water!!


Drink it in... it always goes down smooth.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Atacames, 11th June

Hola,

Ok i'm no less exhausted than yesterday so bear with me as I recount my various adventures in deepest ecuador. Firstly complaints. Mosquitos/Sand flies/Ticks have all established what many people already know, I taste really good! I have more bites than the rest of the volunteers put together. The heat, it's really really hot, 30 degrees and 85% humidity, and I tend not to thrive in warm countries!

Thats my griping over. I set off for Musine in the Ecuadorian province of Esmeraldas not really knowing quite what to expect. 9 Hours later I arrived pretty much drenched from the absurd humidity, and was quickly introduced to the international team of volunteers and our spacious if basic volunteer home. The team consists of 3 Canadians, 3 Ecuadorians (not including me), 1 Swiss, 1 American and 2 English (including me). Naturally, Tom is from Bristol.

The next day was my first day of working, in a typical day we will do one manual task and one conservation or community task. For example my first day featured 4 hours of hacking at a rainforest trail with machettes in the morning and turtle monitoring out on the ocean in the afternoon. In the following days we have done a lot of machette work, built roofs, made trails, stocked shrimp ponds, monitored the rock pools and generally wondered around Congal Island itself harvesting pinapples, lemons, corn as well as rubbish clearing on the beaches. It's all really hard work, but really satisfying and we definately pack a lot into each day.

My favourite part of the course so far however has to be the community work. We are based 5 minutes walk from a tiny village called Bunche where we spend a lot of time. 2 volunteers teach English every morning and while the kids are ridiculously rowdy, it is really fun both for us and for them I hope. We also help the village president with the running of the village which has included repainting and cleaning the health centre, laying a floor in the nursery and my own personal favourite playing football against the villagers. This next week we are going to spend 2 nights on Congal island for Marine conservation clases and the whale season started last week so pretty soon we should start heading out on the boats after them!

Our free time is slightly limited by exhaustion and sickness, but most mornings everyone gets up at 6 piles into a 4x4 and races the 30 seconds to our own private beach for surfing and body boarding. We also have enjoyed the hospitality of the Bunche government, (who all seem to be around the same age as us!) and there culture of all night drinking sessions featuring home-brewed liquor retailing at $2 for 4 gallons has definately kept spirits up in the evenings.

The main events however have been our free weekends and this one has been pretty epic to say the least. Following the game on Friday partying hit the streets of every town around Ecuador and we definately enjoyed ourselves! Heavily hung over we hit Atacames, the party capital of Ecuador for a mad weekend. The ultimate hangover cure of 24 Ecuadorian girls school leavers in your hotel seemed to work pretty well and while they didn't seem to understand my invitation for me to be Charlie and them to be angels I felt it would be rude not to join them on a night out. Things got out of hand pretty quickly as within 20 minutes i found myself dancing salsa, merengue and of course reggaeton in a competition, for "chicos y chicas sexy", which took place on the bar itself. I'm not sure whether it was the thought of wining four pitchers of caipriña for the girls or just my natural dancing talent coming through but somehow me and my partner, a lovely quiteña called caroline, swept all before us and won!! I quickly became very popular and the girls are all looking forward to meeting Teo and Tom next weekend!

I haven't quite managed to make it to bed yet and the thought of Iran Mexico is calling so i'm gonna press on...

LOL charlie

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Ecuador 2 - Polonia 0

C. Tenorio 24
Delgado 80


Enough said.... We partied big time last night... Sadly someone took out the power for the entire province and as a result i missed Englands victory! Will post a real blog when i've had some sleep and am less hung over! Saturday 21st... England vs Ecuador in Munich... LOL Jx

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Power to the Picchu


Pants down in Peru! (Tom joins the club)



One for the Mums.


It´s behiiiiiiiind you.


Machu Picchu


A room with a view (Cusco).


´English explorers save tiny people´s straw boat.´

The Three Musketeers on the Islas Flotantes.

Lake Titicaca, Cusco and Machu Picchu

Soon after meeting in Arequipa we three Bristolian gentleman left Peru´s second city with stomachs full of alpaca and minds full of anticipation about the adventures that were spread out infront of us. The first of these being a six hour bus journey, landing us in the small town Puno. Puno is at a height of 3800m and falls into the deep waters of Lake Titicaca the largest lake in South America. We immediately checked into Hostal Virgen de Copacapana, a quiet, old building with what we gathered from the guide book had the best bathroom for miles....it didnt. Washing aside we ate yet more alpaca and drank the night away next to the typical cauldrons in most Punoian* bars knowing that the next day brought a horrifically early start. We woke up the next day at the unsaintly hour of 6:40am to the beeps of the bike powered rickshaws tootaling along below our window, minutes later and we were chugging out into Lake Titicaca on the slowest boat in the world.
*not sure.
An hour later and we stepped out onto one of the Islas de Flotatantes, made entirely from reeds, a mean feat we should say. We all agreed that it was abit like a human zoo with rich americans poking and photographing the local Quechuan people, but we could see nothing else to do and subsequently chose three particularly vicious looking reed poles. Once the main culprits had left on an overpriced boat journey to another island we finally got down to business with the locals asking us remaining immensly strong hulks to help them launch their newest boat the Reedmaster 2009. Further island hopping and we finally left the locals in peace and chugged for a further two hours to the third biggest island in the middle of the lake where another indigineuos people awaited. We strolled and panted with the altitude and evenually settled down to eat some fish from the lake..delicious. We returned to the boat on the other side of the island after purchasing some wristbands from a little girl who displayed the indiginious selling technique of absolute silence but pesistent pointing. Three hours of what felt like we were reversing across the lake and we were on terra firma.
The next day we left the delightful lakeside resort and took the incredible beast that was the Pony Express bus to the city of Cusco in the Peruvian Andes. By incredible we mean aweful and by Express they clearly meant the slowest bus on earth. It was made worse by the fact that the bus was bright pink and the driver obviously had a vendetta against any peruvian that was remotely near the road by beeping his horn and refusing to budge his bus an inch, thus forcing cyclists to swerve off into ditches etc.


We had heard that Cusco was the city of dreams and that we would never want to leave!! The drive in suggested otherwise; however the centre was rammed with restaurants, bars and overshadowed by majestic Cathderals. Our plan to have an epic saturday night-out, to so-call christen our travels together, was somewhat scuppered by the Peruvian elections (there was a countrywide alcohol ban.) Having been tipped off about a party in a youth hostel, we intrepid young gentlemen taxied it there to be met by two men with guns wearing balaclavas. This was made worse by the S.S. badges they wore on their arms, and the angry looks on their faces. Deciding that maybe this wasn´t going to be the best party, we elected to return to the centre; however for some strange reason it took a while to persuade our taxi driver to budge from the hostel. We slept off our traumatic experiences, before heading off to Machu Picchu on the Sunday morning. The cheapest way to do this was to take a chicken bus, followed by a collectivo, and then a train - a monumentous undertaking. Particularly as the man sitting next to us not only smelt of alcohol every time he breathed, but also smelt distinctly like the Elephant house at Bristol Zoo!!!

We trawled into Machu Picchu village at 10pm after a days travelling, before being hustled into what we thought was a bargain hostel, for 2 and a bit dollars!! Our lack of sleep, and incistance that we were flea ridden made us feel that maybe it hadn´t been a great choice.

The three musketeers had an unusual flash of organization, and managed to be up at 4.45am to catch the first bus to Machu Picchu. It proved to be a wise move as we were among the first few people in, to see the sunrise and experience a stunning and empty Machu Picchu. Our tranquil moment was sadly spoilt by some american "hippies" who said that our heathly debate about camera batteries, or lack of, was ruining their auror and experience!! Ignoring the pansies we continued to take novelty photos, and as the sun rose and lit up the famous sun temple we were left in ore at this incredible sight.
Trying to live up to the hardcoreness of our musketeer namesakes we soon decided to climb the mountain behind Machu Picchu, Waynupicchu. However, the fact that we had had 5hrs sleep, no food, no water and a 500m vertical climb to undertake didn´t really help our cause. Nonetheless we couldn´t undermine our now fierce reputation and so we began the supposed 1hr vertical climb. Half an hour later, and after shouts from passers-by of ´look at those lamas go´ and ´what a packhorse´, we were at the top, hardly out of breath and ready to continue with the novelty photo theme-HARDCORE! Soon enough we ran back down, in an attempt to catch Laurie who had sadly, for him, been ´door-knobbed´ at the top! Finally out of breath and in need of rehydration we chilled out and took in the beauty of this famous Inca ruin.

The rest of the day was spent in Machu Picchu Village, aka Aguas Calientes, where we indulged in some nice meals and a nap before heading to the thermal baths just outside the village. Much to our dissappointed the baths turned out to be Israeli full, murky coloured, urine smelling dirt pools. After a brief ´get your moneys worth´ half an hour in the so called medicinal baths we returned to try and get some sleep before the 5.15 rise the next morning. Soon enough we were abruptly awoken by Laurie´s shout of ´the train leaves in 5mins´ and so at lightning pace we headed for the train jumping on just as the departure whistle was sounding- perfect timing!

We are now back in the beautiful Cusco, and after an earlier game of our now regular darts and pool at Nortons, we are getting ready to take part in some of the cities well-known night life. Tomorrow we head to the oasis of Huacachina.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Miami 01/06/06

Greetings,

It was in the summer of 1999 that Will Smith graced Bristish charts with the hit single, "Miami" - an infectiously groovey club tune that promised prospective visitors, a "party in the city where the heat is on" and even the opportunity to "lie on the beach untill the break of dawn". What a fantastic track that was. His equally impressive earlier work includes several timeless chart toppers, such as "summertime" and the ruthlessly hip, "boom shake the room". Finally, it would be blasphemy to even begin talking about Will's achievments without giving due acknowledgment to the hilarious T.V series, "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" in which his mischievous yet endearing antics would invariabley send poor uncle Phil round the bend. Classic stuff. Thanks Will.

On the 27th of May, after a brief exchange of cuddles and condolences, KT finally parted with the Jim-meister outside Quito airport and boarded their plane bound for the sunshine state. It is at this point that we would like to apologize profusely for our previous cynicism with regards to american flight schedules; we simply did not understand that such precision was possible. Our flight was scheduled to take off at 08:26 and, sure enough, we were soaring up into the couds at 08:26 and 13 seconds. What is that?
Anyway, we arrived in Miami that afternoon to find, debatably, the biggest culture shock of our entire trip, bar India. It turned out, after a small amount of investigation, that we had arrived during "Black Beach Week" - an annual hip hop festival featuring the performances from the likes of P Diddy, DMX, Nelly, Fat Joe, LL Cool J and several other artists of whom we'd never heard, plus numerous afterparties hosted by today's NBA stars. So, as you would imagine, the streets were completely swamped with the standard bandana wearing, gun slinging, ho pimping, drug pedelling gentlemen that one would expect to find at such an event (350'000 of them). Insanity.

On the first evening, perhaps slightly intimidated by the circumstances, we made a point of burying ourselves down in our hostel's T.V basement, where we enjoyed one of Vince Vaughn's earlier films. Thanks Vince. It was only when we re-emerged however, that we were informed that the police had come by and forcibley removed two drug dealers from the premises. Lovely.

Just two nights were spent in Miami Beach International Traveller's Hostel, before we gathered our belongings and moved onto a far nicer placed called, Clay. It was here that we shared a dorm with Marcus, a Yugoslavian Drum n' Bass fanatic who claimed he used to make a living driving limosines for the stars in Los Angeles, his client list supposedly including big names like Robert Deniro, Harrison Ford, Joe Strummer, Axel Rose, the Cypress Hill group and several other names that escape us at the moment. Having previously spent few years in Miami, Marcus had grown accustomed to "Black Beach Week" and seemed to take a perverse pleasure out of filling us in on the blood soaked tales from past festivals. Despite being a complete legend, we only learnt his name at 05:30 on our final morning in Miami from his derranged stalker who happened to be lurking in the hallway (up to this point, due to his nationality, he had only been referred to as "Yugi").
During long, scorching days between the 27th and the 31st, KT could typically be found lounging on Southbeach or jostling through the pandamonium of Miami's busy streets. Mingling amongst the visiting gangsters and the wildly amusing, native eccentrics was entertaining to say the least and when lacking the energy to mingle, grabbing a coffee on an outdoor terrace and just "people watching" was always an option. In the evenings, searching for somewhere to eat was a pleasant affair, although unfortunately clarity of mind and coherant conversation were both inescapable due to the outrageous/perhaps rather sensible drinking laws.

Once our fear of a premature death by drive by shooting had been overcome, Miami became a great chapter in our travels and certainly added to our excitement regarding the rest of the States. We arrived in here San Francisco yesterday and what a beautiful city it is! But that readers, is for another blog.

Anyways, we out y'all. REPRASENT! RICE AND PEA!!

KT

P.S: We've only just gotten used to the absence of camera happy James. Sorry. We promise we'll feature in the S.F pics.
P.P.S: The Da Vinci Code is blood boilingly awful. Don't go and see it.