Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bolivia Update

Bolivia sucks. It costs way too much to get a visa (which you must have with an American passport), the immigration office is a joke, the streets of La Paz are clogged with people, cars, and refuse, and dirty old men keep grabbing my ass. To top it all off, Brice bailed on me about 20 minutes ago and retreated to the hotel to get away from my nagging. Anyways, I´m blowing off some steam in an Internet cafe, possibly hitting the town, and then hitting the sack (or Brice´s face).

On another note, we bought our rainforest excursion today and we´re going to Madidi on the 28th. Hopefully that will be a lot more enjoyable than La Paz. Puno was slow, but the islands were fun, and Machu Picchu should cost less. That´s about it, really. We´re due back in Peru within the week.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Peru Update

I don't have much time, so I'll be brief. So far we've seen Lima, Cusco, more of the Quechua people than I ever wanted (Death March of the Gringos >> details to follow later this summer), and I held a baby alpaca. Today we're going into the Sacred Valley, and on Sunday we'll be at Machu Picchu. Brice and I are getting along splendidly, and my feet / legs are doing alright. Oh, and I ate goat heart. But no guinnea pig yet; it's very expensive, and I wasn't feeling at all well last night. No way I was wasting a $18-20 meal on a bad stomach.

I finished 100 Years of Solitude and loved every minute of it. Anyone interested in discussing it some time?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Boyer Hall gets its Groove On

This is so far from related to travel that I can't even justify it, but after the posts about duct tape wars and flowers I don't think I really have a good reason not to post it. Besides, my mom likes to see what I'm up to. This was awesome. I saw it, and am in awe. This video was posted by Brad Mensch on Facebook, so I don't know what the over-all usability will be, but I'm giving it a try.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Cardboard and Duct Tape Wars

This is the first year I didn't fight in the War, but I took a lot of good pictures and wrote some really bad verse to commemorate the event:

If upon a Reading Day you should wander, let us say...

Toward the Witmer Parking lot, at around three o’clock,

There within you should find a sight to really rock your mind:

The Reds leave their Southern Dorms and there prepare to enter War.

They dribble, drip, hemorrhage out – clot the road from tip to spout.

Barbaric North, in icy blue, compiles in Miller Meadow, too.

With icy faces, snowy hearts, they blizzard out - prepare to start.

All make the hike across the land to battle with their rival clan.

The Gen’ral cries for all to hear, and the soldiers answer clear:

HUAH! HUAH! HUAH! They beat their shields, heft their swords,

Going to the Duct Tape Wars.

And in the year twenty-nine Our Lord, there was a clash as ne’er before.

A purple haze, a muddy gore, cardboard flying o’er the hoard.

A wave, a lull, a second charge – and then the ambush, green and large!

From the Starry Fields there came an ivy scream and Greens insane.

A force against the norm’s enthuse: the Reds and Blues were forc’d to fuse

Their might against the Big-Green-Mean, and as such we lay the scene.

The Reds and Blues, once combined, charged the Greens from all sides.

A bedlam, true, and welts abound - their backs bled and bath’d the ground.

With nay a hope for peace in sight, their heroes came to sway the fight.

A grand-green Mean and blue-blood Barb met upon the field’s heart,

And as the Watchers circl’d round no joyless faces could be found.

It quickly turn’d from joy to pain as the battle’s climax came:

To throw the sword and kick the head, this is what the college dreads.

They had us sign a standard form to save the school from legal harm,

To vow their to love and full respect, lest someone tarnish them a speck.

But kick they did and throw - they must!- and so's the heroes' battle-trust:

To rally troops and please the crowd, to make us all a wee-bit proud.

They charg’d again, and ran amok, and in the end they shared a hug.

So listen well and listen good: stop by and watch us, if you could.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Lititz for a Day

This post is a long-time coming, but unfortunately I'm in the middle of finals and don't really have time to give it the detail it deserves. Suffice to say, some friends and I drove out to Lititz to meet my roommate's (currently abroad in Germany) mother. We treated her to lunch at the always delectable Café Chocolat, and socialized for several hours. Topics ranged from local art to behavioral psychology, and a good time was had by all. If you're ever in Lititz, Café Chocolat is a mandatory visit; even if you don't have time for a meal, one of their hand-crafted dark chocolate truffles can never go wrong. There are dozens of great restaurants and antique shops on the town's main street, so spend a whole afternoon (or a long weekend) if able.

1) Decadence, hedonism, and deliciousness, aka heaven on earth.

2) Friends and family!

Monday, May 4, 2009

I can see the Andes on the horizon

As I'm sure you all know by now, Brice and I are following up the semester with a month-long grand tour of Bolivia and Peru. Curiosity beckons! We plan to visit all of the big sites, of course: Machu Picchu, lake Titicaca, the Nazca Lines, Chan Chan, and even the Bolivian rain forest. We're also going to see lots of mummies and catacombs, as well as a fair few llamas. And - this is important - I'm going to eat a Guinea pig. Yes, a Guinea pig [pic related]. And I will swim with pink dolphins, soak in hot springs, and go anaconda hunting by moonlight.* I am so freaking excited about our trip, I can barely sit still. Of course, there are also the more worrisome details. Can I pick up my Spanish fast enough? Will I contract some deadly disease? Will we miss our bus and have to spend a night in the streets? I hope so, I hope not, and I really hope not, but I'm excited all the same.

I'm looking for a solid novel to take with me, because as you can imagine the flight is quite long. We're also going to spend a great deal of time on buses and in hostels, so... I was leaning towards Gabriel García Márquez' One Hundred Years of Solitude, and it's still in the running, but all suggestions are welcome. The book should be reasonably long, available in paperback, and have a good sense of humor, language, or intrigue. Of course, all three are always encouraged whatever the combination may be.

Since Internet connections will be a bit sketchy and necessarily limited (logic: will have time to blog on bus / do not have laptop or Internet on bus; will not have time to blog in Internet cafes, will be too busy emailing family and looking up bus schedules. conclusion: will not blog), I'm planning on keeping a hand written journal. Not only will this give me something else to do on the bus, it will give me an excellent memento gratis to look back on when I'm old and boring. Naturally, I'll be taking as many photos as my memory card will allow, but I won't really be able to share those either. So - since I'm going to be back in Warren by mid June - I'll just type out my journal and publish the appropriate photos when I get back.

OK, to be fair, the odds that I will actually type out all of my journal entries is abysmally low. But I'll share the important ones, and paraphrase where necessary. Long story short, you (yes, all 3 of you) will get to see the Peru trip eventually, just not as it unfolds in real time. I may even include a few poems, if I feel compelled to write them (and by compelled, I mean if I just can't stand looking at Brice for another minute).

Well, no matter how exciting all of this is I still have to pass my finals and move out of my apartment this week. Busy, busy, busy. But I guess I have to take things one step at a time. Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out. It's going to be one hell of a summer, that's for sure.

*Hunting with a camera, but other than that I'm COMPLETELY SERIOUS. How awesome is that?!