29 July 2009


Arequipa today was warm and dry, with mostly clear skies though later hazy or perhaps smoggy. This city is situated in a huge desert, with a backdrop of active volcanos. Quite a spectacular view from the airplane. City tour, much walking. Noisy hotel with a so-so restaurant.

EDIT: Photo album from this part of trip to Peru is here.

Jean at Arequipa

28 July 2009

Lima to Arequipa

At Lima hotel, I was a bit appalled at the prices in the restaurant until I realised they were in the local currency, not in US dollars as all the other hotels have used. Silly me. Three soles to the US$ made the prices more than reasonable.

Gotta keep an eye on the bar & restaurant staff in my hotels. Too often they charge me for a bottle of wine when I've had only a glass. I'm assuming honest mistakes, but still...

In this part of Lima (Miraflores), I saw at least 6 casinos in about 4 blocks.

Lima airport seems to have free wifi, hooray. Also, today is Independence Day. Little traffic, short checkin queue. Off to Arequipa today.

27 July 2009


Back in Lima for 2 nights. Using iPod on hotel wifi. Lousy weather here too. Grumbles from local guide re uncooperative dry season weather. Now doing comparative Pisco Sour tasting aided by free welcome drink here. Hope I can get a bottle to take home with me.

26 July 2009

Cusco and Machu Picchu

Cusco: stayed at the Monasterio Hotel. Very nice (also very expensive). Excellent food. Great location. Tour of city. Bus tour of Sacred Valley. Fascinating country.

Machu Picchu yesterday and today. Tour yesterday in rain. Everything vertical, much with steps higher than my knees consider comfortable. Despite that, it's totally AWESOME. A larger area than it looks in typical photos. Definitely a You Have To Be Here experience that photos do not do justice to.

Staying at Sanctuary Lodge, just outside entrance to Machu Picchu. Another very nice, very expensive hotel, with great food. Have discovered the Pisco Sour. YUM!

EDIT: Photo album from this part of Peru is here.

Jean at Machu Picchu

21 July 2009

Leaving Venezuela

Leaving Venezuela now, after a most enjoyable but rather exhausting week. On to Peru. Will be writing much longer report when I get home next month.

17 July 2009

Caracas, Venezuela

Went to a shopping mall on a hillside near where I'm staying in El Hatillo. Could see Caracas sprawling on the hills below. I was impressed by the mountains. Then the clouds cleared and the REAL mountains appeared above the ones I was admiring. Whoa!! Impressive. And even those probably are dwarfed by the high Andes. Of course, I did not have my camera with me.

EDIT: Photo album from Venezuela is here.

16 July 2009

Caracas, Venezuela

Arrived in Venezuela last Friday. Weekend at beach and driving back to Caracas through mountains Monday. Fascinating country, wish I had time to see more of it. Host family large, loud, enthusiastic, delightful. Way too much to write about now.

Finally got to see a thorough demo of a Wii Fit. In Spanish. Some of it looks quite useful for me, but I think the cutesy graphics would soon annoy me. But at least now I have a much better idea of what so many people are talking about.

10 July 2009

On way from Santiago to Caracas

Arrived yesterday in Santiago. Flight from Auckland was almost empty in Buz class and far from full in economy. Beautiful views of snow-capped Andes as we flew up a valley between them and the lower, older coastal range.

No delays at immigration and customs. Struggled through a crowd of taxi touts, saw my name on a sign, and was taken to my hotel by an informative guide. Too tired to walk around sightseeing, and too late to take a tour. Want to return to Chile for a proper visit, instead of just passing through. Nice dinner in hotel.

Santiago airport, LAN VIP lounge, waiting for flight to Caracas. Spanish keyboard is confusing.

09 July 2009

On route to South America

Auckland. Qantas Club. iPod Touch not too bad for reading, not so good for typing, so I'm using their computers. Did I mention that I left all the laptops at home, and only brough the iPod Touch for personal use when I can't find a computer to use?

Wifi in Brisbane hotel was flakey, but free. Early flight from Brisbane. Waiting for LAN flight to Santiago.

Speculative fiction prize so far: biz class lunch menu. Caterers delivered different items to aircraft. Better that than the flight schedule being fiction. That may come later in the trip.

07 July 2009

Off to South America tomorrow

Tomorrow I set off for South America, sightseeing and attending the wedding of two good friends. I fly to Brisbane tomorrow, then on Thursday from Brisbane to Auckland to Santiago de Chile. After one night there, I go on to Caracas (Venezuela) for 10 days, during which I'll visit various nearby places. Then to Peru for 11 days, visting Lima, Cuzco, Sacred Valley, Macchu Piccu, Arequipa, and Colca Canyon. Then the killer flight home: Lima to Santiago to Auckland to Brisbane to Townsville. Would love to have extended the trip a bit and visit some Chilean vineyards, but I suspect that I'll be exhausted by that point.

I'm going to try to post some blog entries by email as I go, but based on past experience I probably won't get around to it.

02 July 2009

Cool Ubuntu shirt

I love chocolate and Ubuntu, so I couldn't resist buying this shirt.

01 July 2009

Carlyle Gardens from the air

The flight path of incoming planes from the south goes just east of us, with the planes low enough for passengers on the left side to get an excellent view of Carlyle Gardens. Coming in from Sydney on Monday around noon, we didn't have the best seat for photography (our row didn't have a window), but Eric managed to get some shots. Here's one. Carlyle Gardens is the large rectangular area surrounded by a tree-lined fence, plus the large cleared area with a cluster of houses just above it in the photo. I've circled our house. To the right you can just see the bridge linking the "far side" with the older section of the community.