Happy Trails

A day in the life of, a life in the life of me.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Home, Bittersweet Home

I've been back in England now for nearly 3 months. It seems something about this has silenced my writing. As Spring starts to show off its flowers and lighter evenings, a part inside me also begins to defrost, and we can be more complete with colour and spark.

Maybe the most unusual thing, now, about being back, is that for the first time in 4 years I have a place, in Engalnd, to call home. In ROK, I had a place of my own, but it was far from being homely. In my 6 month return last summer, I moved home 7 times. But now, now for the first time in a long time, I have a quiet, safe place, to settle and gather myself. I feel that from here, I can find myself. Others go to India, I go to Exeter!

So it's back to routine. The normal life. And I'm rather enjoying it. I'm lucky enough to work with unique people that take me about on some great little adventures. Last friday was horse-riding on a misty calming Dartmoor, January we went surfing off the south hams coast, and a couple of weeks back a walk across Bigbury on an early saturday morning. It's beautiful.

So this will be me for a while, no big trips planned, but a few little ones to keep me going.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Big Smoke.

Leaving shortly again, in search of the beach, something not too difficult, you´d think, as we travel up the coast towards Lima. Two hours and a terrible Bruce Willis film later, the bus leaves us at Cerro Azul, a small surf town. But we´ve got our timing all wrong, it´s more like a ghost town, not a soul about apart from an abundance of barking dogs, and just to top it off, the suns not shining! One night was enough.

With Lima only another two hours away we go to our final destination, with a whole week on our hands. If Lima had half the character of Buenos Aires, I´d be more excited by this prospect. Then again, I can´t complain with having nothing to do but walk the coast line of Miraflores, drink coffee, check out the jazz bar, go for dinner at yet another Korean restaurant, chill at the hostel, contemplate the last three months and with curiosity wonder about the ones to come.

Monday, November 26, 2007

My Little Dune Buggy.

Another 24 hour bus trip back into Peru to hit up Huacachina. Listening to the Beta Band, smiling as the road slices through the desert, the sun sets, red clouds stream across the sky; misty mountains decorate the horizon. I think of people and places. Of the last three months. Listen to the subtle bass. Things are great.

Crossing the last boarder of this trip, we´ve completed our circle of a journey and head to the oasis in the desert. Arriving that morning at 5:30. By the afternoon I was attempting to sandboard down deep, steep dunes. Not having the perserverance to learn, I go the easy way, head first. Hurtling towards the ground, sand flying into a blur. Fantastic fun.

Surrounded by the dunes, there´s a much more romantic appearance than the desert seen from a bus window, that I can´t quite put my finger on.

The sun slips behind a mountain of sand, casting shadows over the peaks the wind has built, shining light on the patturns in the sand before we return to the oasis in the buggy.

The seat-belts are like that from a white-knuckle ride. A strap over each shoulder fastens between the legs, indicates what you´re in for.
Our mentalist driver rollercoasters with speed vertically before u-turning, practically in mid-air, we almost do a loop-the-loop. It was WICKED. Although the guy in the front seat didn´t seem to enjoy it so much. I did the gentlemanly thing and we swapped seats.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Beach Life.

The beach is hot and quiet, locals wisely avoid the intensity of the mid-day sun. Arica nestles between the Pacific and the dessert, where the people hardly know the meaning of cold, even in "winter".

The town doesn´t interest me, and am pleased when three 17 year old girls practice their English with us. They show us the church designed by Eiffel, give us a run down on the history of the place (which involves a war they won over Peru, and is a reason why the countries still hate each other) and we go for milk shakes.

Another day in the baking sun, lapping in the waves, playing guitar in the beach. But there´s something about this place that does nothing for me. I know, call me fussy. We figure there´ll be beaches more to our liking further up the coast.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Getting to sleep on the bus was no problem at all. But the boarder crossing into Chile at 2:30a.m. lasting an hour an a half, took all my stamina. Half pissed, half hungover, waiting in ques in the cold night, struggling to stand. Sniffer dog jumping all over my bag keen to have my harmless friut taken from me. Testing times!

Arriving in Santiago 7a.m. we stumble around, try finding a cash point, coffee, internet, hostel, making our way underground, we bump into a friend from a random night out in Buenos Aires, low and behold, two others are about town also. Dinner and drinks are planned for that evening.

It could have been our frame of mind, we hardly gave Santiago the time of day. Knowing we´ve got quite a strech to cover getting back up to Lima. We decide to leave after one night.

Awake hungover, pack, drink coffee on the hostel balcony over looking the Plaza de Armas, check-out and head to the ticket office still undecided on where to get a bus to. The furthest point north, we book for Arica, a beach town. Bus leaves at 4:30p.m. Just enough time to catch the others for lunch at a cheap and delicious market.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Last Supper. (In Argentina)

We finally got off our arse on the last day of Mendoza. After the mule experience in Peru we were keen for some horse riding, and this is the place to do it.

That morning, dressed inappropriately in a boob tube and flip-flops, a straping, beautiful, man of the land, dressed in some traditional Argentinian cowboy clothes, helped us girls get gracefully on the horses and led the way through the bush, curbing the mountains away from the city. Tranquilo. Until we start trotting and galloping, then my horse sniffs Rachaels horse´s butt causing kicks, neighs and general unrest. Quickly ressuming to taking it nice and slow. Finishing on an easy note back at the stables taking turns to sing and play guitar.

Mendozas keeps 600 wineries. Its first earner is wine, followed by petrol, olive oil and tourism, and it´s a must when visiting to do a wine tour.

Although it´s initially quite exciting to witness such quantities of wine, it quickly gets boring learning how they make the stuff, and after taking some photos, we eagerly await the moment we´re all really there for...the free samples! Which worked out well for the second winery, especially with it being organic, the Malbec tasters were amazingly smooth, this is said to be the top place in the world for this kind of red. I had to go back to buy another bottle having decided three wasn´t enough.

Meeting a friend for dinner that night, it´s only polite to take a bottle along, aswellas another over one last Argentine bloody steak, it was easy to forget about time! Rushed out the restaurant, met Rach, made the bus out of town and indeed the country, by the skin of our teeth.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Let the sunshine shine in.

Arriving at 9a.m. the sun was already out warming the streets of Mendoza. Maybe this is the reason why I haven´t really done much since arriving a few days ago. The hostel has a pool and grass to lay about on, and it also seems the hangovers are getting worse!

Met up with friends on Friday night for yet again more steak with pepper sauce, and a concoction of beer and wine, then made our way to a club, that turned out to be outside. Unable to buy tickets, Dan blagged our way in and we danced the night away. Meeting the next day for a chilled but similar concoction, my head is still hurting!

So my time here has been not so productive, although tomorrow we plan to horse-ride in the morning, wine-tour in the afternoon, then take the bus out of town again. A very big day! In the mean time the tan is coming on. Mendoza is a lovely city, with some great parks. Yesterday the town was buzzing as the fountains became swarmed with people, markets, live bands, buskers, clowns, unfortunately my head was banging and I had to get an early night!