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Franz Josef Glacier (and more caves, yippee!)

Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand

Thats right, more caves, climbing & cold! Extreme

permalink written by  Vegtibbles on September 8, 2006 from Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand
from the travel blog: The Crazy Adventures of the Tibbler
tagged Glacier

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Parade & Glacier

Huancayo, Peru

The last three days have been rather epic. We never really knew what we were getting into either.

Harry, Jimmy and the new yankee girl were told to show up at the orphanage at the usual time (9am) to prep before the local parade. We wore traditional Peruvian clothing, probably what you seen in movies and post cards of Bolivia and Peru. Us guys (gringos and a few boys) sported white shirts under panchos with dress pants and a nice bowler hat to top off the outfit. The girls wore colorful skirts that make any butt look big, white shirts, braids, a shall and no socks in their shoes.

6 kids and 6 gringos (including 2 older Canadiens from Laval) piled into the back of the orphanages pickup truck and were shipped to the parade. We waited here for roughly 2 hours before any sign of the parade getting underway, which gave us plenty of time to get a couple of pictures with locals and have hundreds taken of us. I laughed today when I heard Eminem's lyrics, "Ya'll act like ya never seen a white person before". Anywho, I never understood the tradition of putting baby powder or flour on your face for festivals. But when in Rome. So we put confetti in our hair, flour on our face and watched all the locals buy this in excess amounts. They even bought some itchy plant.

We were lucky to be situated right behind a band, so we could hear them clearly, making dancing much easier. Once they fired up we started dancing down the main drag in Huancayo not having any clue what we were getting into. One lady told us this was their version of Carnivál, but when I think of parades I resort back to Uncle Ricky driving his tractor down Rosthern and picking up peanuts off the street.

The reality of the situations hit us in the form of a water balloon. Then a bucket of water, followed by flour in the face. It didn't take us long to realise that we enlisted in a 2 hour, 10 kilometer water fight where everyone - spectators included - are fair game. Spectators would lob balloons from 4 stories up and hurl buckets of water from rooftops. Being a gringo seems to make you more of a target too, which just added to our fun. Every once in a while the paraders would swarm someone running up to soak us and smear them in flour. The itchy plant, well that was a saviour. Ususually some teen would sneak up behind us with a bucket and soak one of us only to get jumped by the group behind us wiping the itchy plant on their skin!

At the central plaza some folk were tossing purple water at us from 3 floors up, so Jimmy and I thought it was funny to dance close to the window and then casual slide out the way at the last second. Then just a half a block up one guy ran out of the crowd with bucket. I had some flour, so I challenged him. I kinda expected to get wet, but I didn't expect to get hit by 10 buckets of water, one after another! It made for a good enough photo to be in full colour on the back page of the local newspaper.

After the parade we saw this yankee living here, so went over to say hi. I had no idea, but she has her own TV show here that covers local events, so we got interviewed and will be on TV tomorrow tonight.

We went out with the yank that night and she asked if she could bring her camera crew. Harry and Jimmy are not shy. We went to a few clubs and danced the night away with a stellar rock cover band. Hands down, the best rock I've heard since I've been here.

We woke up hungover and went to the central plaza to meet the tour group. We lucked out big time as it was just Harry, Jimmy, the new yankee volunteer, a cab driver, our guide and me. We left civilization behind on our way to the glacier, but one of the last places anyone lives was a small hut on the side of a mountain, far beyond the tree line. We asked if we could stop and meet the family, which turned out to be a humbling experience. An old man lives the simple life there with his little girl and wife, letting his cattle graze the steep slopes. They only had three huts, including one for the dogs to sleep. No electricity, no gas, no water. He used small shrubs to burn for cooking and boiling water from the mountain stream. He really demonstrates what you NEED to live.

The hike to the glacier was a measly 5km. The hard part was that we were hiking up to 5100m above sea level (Edm is 660m, Calgary is 1100m, Mt Robson is 3500m and Canada only has a few mountains above that height). Singing and hiking don't mix to well at this altitude, especially when you're hungover. But we made it and Jimmy got to see snow for his first time in a blizzard, followed by throwing snowballs and building a snowman on a glacier. God I miss snowboarding.

To top of the beauty of it all, we were the only 5 people on this trail on this day. I couldn't believe how exhilerating hiking to a glacier could be. On the way down the blizzard cleared, so we just had clouds above and below us wandering by. Harry and I hiked down faster until we got to a tiny valley where we waited in the silence of a mountain birds and a glacier creek. It was incredibly touching as an intimate moment with nature. Sorry to sappy, but me and mother nature had a moment.

Getting back to base camp (actually just a restaurant with more character nailed to the walls than imaginable) my hangover reminded me of its presence by thumping on my temples. Not cool considering we were pulling a repeat night.

Same bar, similar crew. But we went out later though so we could nap and rehydrate. I'm happy to say that my second go at dancing with local girls did not include hookers. Nope, not this time. Woot woot, lesson 1 payed off!

The yankee girl was sick today, so it was Harry, Jimmy and I who went for lunch with Cecilia, Guillermo, his mom and sister and Adrian. We went to a tranquil restaurant on the outskirts of town. I had my first meal that had a proper portion and god was it good. Mashed potatoes and avocado sandwiched a tuna medly. Mm-mm-mmm.

The restaurant has a stocked pond, some exotic animals, some kiddie-sized quads among other rec activities. Naturally the Harry the yank wanted to try out the power vehicles, which was kinda fun. But we spontaneously found ourselves in the middle of a soccer game after. An old man played net for the other team along with some young kids. The game lasted for what had to be at least a half hour before we said our goodbyes. That's part of what I like about it here, time isn't a concern like it is back home. No one checked their watch to see how much time they were wasting. No one was in a hurry to leave. We'll all get done what we need to.

permalink written by  ryanmyers on February 22, 2009 from Huancayo, Peru
from the travel blog: Ryan's First Sabbatical
tagged Glacier, Soccer, Carnival, Parade and Huatapallano

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