Early this morning, we arrived by train from Sochi, a great resort city in the southern, sub-tropical region of Russia where I spent the last week. (I bet you never knew there was a subtropical region of Russia!)
May 5, 2009
May 6, 2009
The coolest part of staying abroad for a lengthy amount of time is developing from tourist to resident. You come to take pride in laughing at those silly tourists who are taking pictures of the donkeys in the street. 'Pff, they must be new. That's cute.' You know that you were frantically snapping photos of the same thing months ago, but, hey, that was months ago. You're a pro now. And as a pro, you avoid vacationing in the touristy spots. In Egypt, that means you go to Dahab. I've been twice now and I could go again and again. A sweet oasis on the Red Sea, South Sinai. If there's ever a chance, stop by. Even if it is just as a tourist.
May 7, 2009
May 8, 2009
I do not think that I will go to hell after I die, but if I did I am sure that it would look eerily similar to the Tres Cruces omnibus terminal in Montevideo. Yes, I spent a night in bus terminal after Easter because my bus to back to Buenos Aires, and the next quickest trip back that did not cost $400 (U.S.) left at 10 a.m. the next day. This was after I spent 22 hours in transit attempting to visit my relatives close to Paysandu, Uruguay. Luckily, the time spent with my family was very pleasant and was totally dampened by my discovery that I had lost my camera somewhere in that unfortunate transit back to Buenos Aires. That last bit is my excuse for the long delay between posts (and the lack of pictures). However, my Mennonite relatives are just so wonderful that I will not be found depressed!
May 10, 2009
On Day Two in Poland we did not have quite the same quirky and random experience as Day One. We traveled outside of Krakow to visit concentration camps Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II - Birkenau. Walking through the camps and knowing that millions of people from all over Europe were brought here, against their will, and executed was incredibly sobering.
I don't think that I'll go to hell, but if I do, I'm fairly certain that it would be eerily similar to the Tres Cruces bus station in Montevideo, Uruguay. The trips to and from Uruguay during Semana Santa were truly conscious nightmares, book-ending an otherwise wonderful visit to the Uruguayan pampas. Spending 22 hours in transit on a micro, or omni, or whatever else people call the long-distance buses, trying to arrive at Paysandú and then spending the night at the bus terminal because I had missed my bus back Buenos Aires were not, however, the high points of my time with my Mennonite relatives. Perhaps it was waffles and mate in the afternoon.
May 13, 2009
I am dearly sorry for the uncreative and cliche title. I had no other option.
Two weekends ago, my friends and I were planning on flying into Iquitos, a city in the Peruvian Amazon and our launching point for our adventure into the jungle. Unfortunately, heavy fog cancelled the flight and we were docked in Lima until the next weekend. Returning to Lima's airport for what seemed like the hundredth time, we successfully boarded the plane and made sure to pretend to have terrible coughs to scare off anyone that displayed their irrational fear of the swine flu by wearing those ridiculous masks. Upon arriving into Iquitos, the largest city in the world inaccessible by road, the humidity frizzed up my curly hair and I had already accumulated a substantial amount of sweat.
The second half of our Blue Mountains trip involved learning more about the history of the area and about the Aboriginal people of Australia. On the way to meet our soon-to-be-new friend Goomblar, Cam took us to see some Aboriginal carvings that date back thousands of years. The carvings were in a protected area near some houses and, if I'm not mistaken, were meant to tell a story. As we would learn on this trip, many traditions and history in Aboriginal culture is passed down through the process of storytelling. Unfortunately, since many of the carvings are on land that people wanted to develop long ago, many of them were defaced or destroyed by greedy landowners. After our short stop, we continued on to a theater to meet Goomblar and watch his performance.
May 14, 2009
As my time in Peru is dwindling down, I have decided that I could not return to the United States without giving back to my faithful blog followers. Therefore, I have decided to create a short survey to receive feedback and reward you for reading my blogs these past four months.
May 15, 2009
Needless to say, there's still a bit of tension between Europe and the New World. Europe fails to recognize the fact the Americas have taken over the world. So in order to settle the score, I organized a small competition. It was supposed to be football, basketball and volleyball but the football field fell through (I put a Scottish guy in charge of getting the fields ... just saying).
I'm home! Getting home was a little bit more of an adventure than I expected since my flight from JFK to Reagan National Airport was canceled due to thick fog and impending rain. My fellow Bucknellian in Barbados, Whitney, and her family were kind enough to let me stay with them for the night until my parents could come pick me up in Pennsylvania in the morning, but before I knew where I was going to spend the night, I'll admit I was freaking out a little.
May 20, 2009
Having explored nearly every region of Peru - the jungle, the desert and the mountains - I decided to spend my last weekend here discovering the northern coast. On the last of my many excursions around this beautiful country, my friends and I visited the pre-Columbian ruins of Chan Chan and Las Huacas del Sol y de la Luna (Temples of the Sun and Moon), while also finding enough time to relax at the beachside village of Huanchaco.
May 21, 2009
I definitely could not have chosen a better destination for the end of the semester - what better place for a final group trip than Barcelona!? To be honest, I really hadn't heard much about the city before coming abroad, but after having realized the frenzy of bookings taking place I became really psyched about my upcoming trip. The only advice I was given before leaving was get sleep; Get LOTS of sleep. And, boy, did I need it! I don't think there was a moment where we stopped moving in this city and there was always so much to do, especially because it's typically the case that staying out till 5 or 6 a.m. in Spain is a normal night on the town.
May 26, 2009
I feel almost as though I'm stabbing Cairo in the back. After all, this city has been my home for almost five months. In that time, I've grown and learned and appreciated every phenomenal opportunity. However, there is a negative shift in me that I can't deny. And you, dear readers, deserve a complete picture of Cairo.
May 31, 2009
After more than three months of living in a city of 3 to 12 million (depending on who you ask), I've realized that I've more or less kept my sanity intact due to some key reasons. When I've holed myself up with my laptop to work on final papers, I will fondly think of these places and people. So the top five reasons that I've remained sane (more or less) here in la Ciudad Autonoma de Buenos Aires begin with: Thelonious Club.