30 May 2010

Electric fence

YouTube Video

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Monkey Robot Review

Check it out! A review of Monkey Robot Soldier in Bold Life Magazine. Read it here:


29 May 2010


Home again. The garden is overgrown, the animals are healthy. It's nice to be back, though it was great to be away.

28 May 2010

Back in the US

We are back.
This ad is weird:

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27 May 2010

What Remains

Leaving Lima

Last Lima Lunch:

Pisco Sours and Red Wine.
Crab Wontons.
Sauteed Beef and Seafood Cebiche.

Not a bad way to prepare to leave, which happens tomorrow morning...very, very early.

Lima Zoo

YouTube Video

26 May 2010


Nice image from the Inka Museum in Cuzco. Later on I got yelled at by a skinny guard in a boxy suit, for obvious reasons.

Dude scared the hell out of me.

Still ill in Lima, but medicine is doing a good job of hiding it for the moment. We come home Friday....sad, but happy to see friends, Lupe the dog, Roger the cat, and our garden.


I am sick and mad at third world hygiene, plumbing, and water safety.

And I have a plane to catch in a few hours. No need to worry, but today promises to be a rough one.

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25 May 2010

Last Day in Cuzco

Our last day in Cuzco (tomorrow we head to Lima), and we have been taking it very easy. We have been book shopping, we have eaten some amazing cebiche (with lunch beers for me), and we have gotten some mediocre massages for very cheap. Beth's masseuse (definitely not massage therapist) unfortunately seems to have made her less relaxed, as her style involved pinching and hangnail scraping. Nonetheless, a lovely day.

Tonight, we shall go out to dinner with our friends Coren and Judith, an Israeli mother and son, with whom we have been spending many delightful hours.

More soon from Lima. Drool over the cebiche.

23 May 2010

Cuzco (Again)

We have arrived back in Cuzco, after an all day tourist bus that we ended up taking. It was much more expensive than the regular bus, but worth it, I believe, as we had the opportunity to visit some worthwhile points of interest along the way.

More on that later.

For now, I am happy to be able to take a deep breath (a relative notion, since we have only come down to 3300 meters), and to be back in this beautiful city.

22 May 2010


I just lost a post that took an hour to write, and I'm calm but annoyed.

So, skipping all of the anthropology and details, here is some very quick background, bulleted, that will give flesh to the photos below:

-we stayed a night on an island in Lake Titicaca with a family. It was interesting, but slightly awkward.

-on this island (amantani) 80% of people are Catholic and Pentecost, which is tomorrow, is a big deal.

-this morning as a lead up to Pentecost, all the village families were visited by young men and boys in BLACKFACE, tooting flutes, singing, acting dumb, and calling eachother by names that sounded oddly Polish. This visit is meant to provide good luck for the harvest next year.

-at the same time of this visit (around 5 am), the matriarch and patriarch of our house, whom we had never met, returned home, after being out all day and night partying. They were f&$@ing hammered.

That's all I can muster. More soon. Tomorrow we head back go Cuzco to search for oxygen in the air.

YouTube Video


For now, dear friends, some photos from our recent journey to the Floating Islands of Uros, Amantani Island, and Taquile Island. Later, I shall provide some text to enhance the images.

21 May 2010


Soroche is what they call altitude sickness here, and I can now say firsthand that it sucks and that I never want to climb Mt. Everest.

I think that I may somehow be almost okay already--at least the worst seems behind me, but yesterday afternoon was terrible.

All was well here in Puno. We had found a hostel and had gone out to lunch with a new friend we had met on the bus. We had visited an indoor market and had had a great time joking and talking with local indigenous women, one of whom, a cheese monger, had a mouth like a sailor. Perhaps that's what happens growing up alongside the highest navigable lake in the world. We had then enjoyed a delicious fruit shake (mango), which I when I began to feel a bit weird.

We headed back to the hotel to chill out a bit, figuring we would just take it easy. Within the hour, I went from feeling fine to moaning and shivering on the bed. My stomach hurt, my head hurt, I had no energy. I fell asleep early and tossed and turned, dreaming of nightmarish mountains and terrible boat rides.

Around one I awoke and puked my brains out. Beth sat with me through all of my grossness, and then we stumbled back to bed, to more tossing and turning.

And now, praise be to all things holy, it is 6:45 and somehow I feel nearly human again. Which means that today we can leave as planned to visit the islands on Titicaca.

More soon as possible from Peru.


Writing from the road from Cuzco to Puno. Along the way, we stopped at the border between Cuzco (state) and Puno (state). Our elevation at that point was even greater than it will be at Lake Titicaca. We were at 4335 meters above sea level, which is about 14,305 feet.

We can feel it for sure.

The road has been beautiful, all majestic mountains and fields and thatched roof houses and villages and ruins and llamas, llamas, llamas. Cows and sheep too.

We should be in Puno within an hour or so, if all continues to go well.

19 May 2010

Machu Picchu

I am once again writing a post with my phone. Thank you Apple, thank you 21st century, and thank you Hostal Hatun Wasi!

We are back again in Cuzco, after a trip away to Machu Picchu. It was, in short, an amazing and life altering experience.

We stayed two nights in Aguas Calientes, a town that seemingly exists solely for the "benefit" of tourists. It is filled with many crappy restaurants (along with some gems), bars offering happy hours that last three hours and offer 4 for 1 specials, and myriad touts trying to entice you to enter their hotel, restaurant, bar, whatever.

We followed one if said touts to a hotel that on first glance seemed okay-ish, but which turned out to be a pretty shit place. One of the windows in our room, rather than opening onto a street, a plaza, or a courtyard, seemed to lead directly into someone's kitchen. All at times, we could hear people talking, yelling, babies crying--all of human existence. On the upside, this morning our bathroom smelled like freshly brewed coffee, so waking up was somewhat easier.

Speaking of the bathroom, the bathroom floor was perpetually wet, since apparently towels were not included with the room, though a bathroom was.

I could go on, and perhaps speak of the thinness of the walls, which allowed us to hear the delicate noises of a drunken group returning and the subsequent vomiting in which they partook, but I shall leave my description of this place here. Suffice it to say that we were not overly impressed with the place, though the price was nearly unbeatable--12 bucks or so a night, in a town known for fleecing tourists.

Yesterday, after a fretful night if sleep in this oasis, we awoke at 4:30 in the morning, to get ourselves online for the bus to take us up to Machu Picchu. The reason for this absurd wake up time is this: Only 400 people a day are allowed to climb Wayna Picchu, the huge and very steep mountain that appears in the background of nearly every picture of Machu Picchu. The view from there is spectacular, and in order to be one of the lucky 400, one must get to the site early to receive the stamp of permission to climb it. Luckily, we made it, and had the joy and true honor to climb that beautiful and venerable mountain, following paths and stone stairs laid down by the Incas over 500 years ago.

The view was spectacular, and after enjoying it for a while, we climbed down via an alternate route, which led us through jungle-like vegetation, past wild orchids and begonias and bromeliads, down impossibly long ladders made of tree limbs and along thin rock trails that hugged to rock faces, and finally spit us out at the site of the Grand Cavern and the Temple of the Moon, both spaces in which the Incas built temples within pre-existing caverns, following and working with the natural shape of the cave.

From there we walked back to the main site and spent a lovely few hours hiking around the ruins, walking up top to catch the iconic and perhaps best vista of the site, and photographing llamas. We even got a video of a couple of them engaging in some attempted llama coitus, which I shall try to include below.

And now, after another night in our lovely hotel, we are back in Cuzco, ready and excited to head out tomorrow for Puno, the main destination on Lake Titicaca, which is the highest lake in South America, and I believe the highest navigated lake in the world. We shall be at over 3800 meters, which is about 11 and a half thousand feet of altitude. Hopefully we won't suffer too much, though we have certainly felt some effects of altitude this far (we are currently at 3,300 meters) and we expect to feel something more with an added 500 meters.

That's all for now, amigos. I am going to try and attach some photos below, as well perhaps a video. We have been taking most if out pictures with a camera, so this will be only a small smattering of what we have seen. Enough, perhaps, to entice you for the final report when we return home.





Machu Picchu with Wayna Picchu in background

My feet after day at MP

Beth after a day at MP

YouTube Video

Attempted Llama Sex

16 May 2010


Hello All,

Unfortunately, my IPhone WiFi is not working her at our hotel in Cuzco, Peru. This means that I must use this terribly annoying keyboard on the hotel computer. Worse, it means that I cannot include any photos with this post. Alas, we shall make it through, I am quite sure.

Things are great here, let me say first and foremost. We arrived in Cuzco yesterday morning after a short and uneventful flight from Lima, where we had spent two nights. Lima, where I last checked in, was very frenetic, exciting, and eye opening....As you can see from the last post.

Cuzco is a much calmer, smaller, more picturesque place, though it is also much more touristy. There are many streets sellers of all sorts, selling massages, handicrafts, photo opportunities. Older women roam the streets, accompanied by small children holding baby sheep and sometimes llamas. They charge to have their picture taken, which is a totally bizarre conundrum that affords to easy outlet...For, if one wishes to document one´s trip to Peru, the people in indigenous dress are certainly something to portray. But it feels weird to pay, exploitive and whatnot. Though they make money in this way, so to take a picture and not pay is probably worse, right? Confusing.

Yesterday, after arriving here, we wandered around the town, visiting various sites of importance and such. Of particular interest was Qorikancha, which was apparently one of the richest and most important of all Incan sites. Upon the arrival of the Spaniards, it was turned into a monastery and church of course, though many of the amazing original walls were left standing.

Today, we headed out to Pisac, a town a little under an hour from here, to see their famed Sunday market. We took a very small, very rickety, very colorful bus there, which flew along mountain passes, occasionally scaring the hell out of us, but generally delighting us with the magnificent views and exciting sights. We also had the chance to speak with some very friendly locals who joked with us and explained things to us, and generally made us feel very happy about our decision to find a rickety bus instead of taking some lame tourist bus.

The market was great, filled with locals in traditional dress buying and selling vegetables and food and tourists buying handicrafts and crap. It was amazing, and we left with a new bag filled with gifts and treats (mostly of the tropical fruit variety) for ourselves, as well as a stomach filled with delicious empanadas and fat-kerneled corn.

Speaking of food...We have been eating very well during our stay here. We´ve enjoyed cebiche, of course (fish that has been marinated and cured-cooked in lime juice). Since getting here to Cuzco, we have also eaten cuy (guinea pig), which was very rich and sort of tasty, though one guinea piglet doesn´t seem to provide very much meat...Sort of like a big rodent quail. We have also enjoyed alpaca, which is delicious, and some rich, warming stews. Most of all I have enjoyed the various sauces, based on chili peppers, huacatay (a local herb that I think may have no other name), and sometimes peanuts. They are out of this world.

We have also enjoyed, in the oral sense, the local beers and the pisco sours (a blended concoction of Peruvian grape brandy, lime juice, sugar, and egg white), which are amazing...We´ve kept such libations to a minimum, however, as we are currently at an altitude of over 10,000 feet, and so must care for our bodies. To this end, we have been utilizing ginko biloba, which is supposed to be very helpful for altitude sickness. We have also been enjoying the local remedy -- coca leaf, which has helped tremendously. I am, actually, currently enjoying a wad of coca tucked in my right cheek. I´m like a Peruvian redneck, only I don´t need to spit. Also, the coca leaf is meant to be quite nutritious and helpful for myriad problems, and has been used by the Inca people for thousands of years. So it works for me.

Most of all, and finally, we are having a wonderful time. We are safe and sound, and tomorrow, if all works out as planned, we shall be approaching the base of Machu Picchu.

More soon. Adios.

14 May 2010


Today we awoke in Lima, Peru, to the sweet sounds of somebody banging on pipes with a hammer or some other metal implement. In time, a beautiful harmony was made, as the shushing noises of other patrons were joined by the yelling and explanatory voices of the management. All of this was topped by the angry aria of another previously sleeping patron.

We were up.

Today was nice. We are both, I think, still feeling somewhat out if sorts and confused. This place is hectic and crazy, and the tour books and locals are filled with advice like "take a taxi home at night." So we are trying to figure out what it means to be here and to be here safely.

Today we visited first a restaurant, and enjoyed ceviche (seafood which is "cooked" in lime juice, very delicious) and some very basic meat and rice and peas dish. We were surrounded by workers of the orange vest variety, so we knew we had chosen humbly and chosen well.

We then walked downtown to see the cathedral, the shopping district (or rather, one of them), and the lovely and exciting Franciscan monastery. Like others I have seen in other countries, this one sported a bizarre and macabre display of human bones arranged, organized, and used to decorate.

After our trip down the path of bones, we took a taxi to another part of town, to visit a museum we had read of called "Museo Rafael Larco Herrera.". The museum is in the Pueblo Libre section of the city, and boasts a huge collection of pre-Columbian ceramics, as well as some textiles and metalwork. We went, however, mostly to check out their permanent collection of erotic ceramics, which was amazing, eye-opening, and, when
Standing next to middle-aged women, somewhat embarrasing.

The pieces had accompanying text like "deformed man with a female skeleton holding his erect penis" and "scenes of man and women performing male fellatio.".

One of my favorite pieces, which I heard a tour guide talk about, was a spouted vase type object. The top opening had holes all around it, which would make drinking rather messy. So, if one wished to drink, the spout was the only option. And the spout, of course, was in the shape of a big penis.

All in all, it was a fine day. We finished a long day by enjoying some pisco sours (the national cocktail) at an historic hotel, along with some fried snacks. And now, we are back at the hotel, quite early in fact, both tired and feeling like old people, but happy to get to sleep.

Tomorrow, to Cuzco.

08 May 2010

Garden update

The garden is coming along nicely, as you can see below. Shallots and onions and taters are popping, salad greens are crazy, tomatoes and kale and zucchini and lots of other stuff coming along.