Monday, March 10, 2008
Happy 2008 from
As you may already know, some friends and I managed to break away from the matrix long enough to spend part of December and January re-building an earthquake-torn town in Peru right before blowing out our quads on over 50 kilometers of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. I didn’t get a chance to finish a complete blog this time, but the captions under each picture are pretty detailed, so click here or follow the link below to take a quick visual South American vacation with us. Make sure to click through the slide show version so you can understand what you’re looking at.
Some of the USC crew missed the trip due to injuries or the need to get a job (go figure), but the team that rolled out from
- Running through a park full of over 200 couple making out in downtown
. Romantic cultures rock. Lima
- Competing with thousands of open market shoppers eager to buy their pair of good luck bright yellow underwear. Nice.
- Watching over a thousand dummies stuffed with bad memories burn on New Year’s Eve in Pisco. Random.
- Working with one of the best run nonprofits ever. Check them out at www.hodr.org. All you do is show up and work. They take care of the rest.
- Re-building a school side by side with the Principal under the watchful eye of the future students. Powerful stuff.
- Taking 14 hours to patch together a column form that would have taken 30 minutes in the States. Good thing we weren’t getting paid by the hour.
- Enjoying one of the most satisfying beers ever after sweating in the sun with volunteers from eight different countries.
- Loving the lack of annoying touts and beggars. The Peruvians are a proud and graceful people.
- Connecting with my fellow Net Impacters (www.netimpact.org) who flew out from
, complete with matching brand new work boots a buckets full of enthusiasm New York
- Grieving over the fact that Hands on Disaster Response had to shut down their Pisco operation after we left due to seven volunteer muggings in eight days. Ouch.
- Savoring every bite of every ice cream sandwich I could get my hands on. I have issues.
- Realizing that my rear end is too big for Peruvian bus seats. Humble pie anyone?
- Suffering through the rocket-ship explosiveness of trips to bathroom while working my way through Montezuma’s revenge. Yum.
- Falling in the love with the cobblestone streets, beautiful music, elegant balconies, and powerful history of
Cusco. Don’t miss it.
- Going to a service in a 400+ year old Spanish church and then realizing it isn’t quite as powerful when you can’t understand the words. Duh.
- Watching thousands of
Cuscoresidents get little plastic dolls blessed with holy water. I need to research that one.
- Being impressed by my friend Mary’s grit as she powered through four puking sessions on her first day of Inca Trail hiking. You should have seen the guide’s shoes.
- Practicing my Spanish with the 22 porters that came along to pamper us wimpy western trekkers. You should see their calves.
- Eating some of the most amazing trail food I have ever had. They even baked a cake over a campfire!
- Blowing out my arteries with a mad two hour sprint to the top of the 14,000+ “Dead Woman’s Pass”. Ego gone wild.
- Taking one of the first ever pictures of a
UScitizen hula-hooping at . Nice work Katie. Machu Picchu
- Soaking up the peace, silence, and beauty of some of the most astoundingly breathtaking mountains in the world.
- Getting lost in the analysis-paralysis mental madness that goes on between my ears when I lose touch with the present moment. Surprise.
- Enjoying powerful conversations, belly laughter, and one too many pizzas with some of the most soulful people I know. Thank you all.
- Waking up with clear memories of my dreams again for the first time in over two years. Was it the altitude or the lack of Blackberry signal in the air?
- Learning that a portion of
was broken off during a beer commercial and a massive rock was removed to allow helicopters to land. Support UNESCO. Machu Picchu
- Finding the perspective, energy, and inspiration to walk into my last semester of
with the optimistic, fired up mindset I had the day I started. Nice. Business School
If you read this far, thank for sharing the ride with me. If not, I still love ya. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, I hope you’ve having a great year so far and I hope this message provided a couple pleasurable seconds of distraction.
Until next time…