Chum reap suor

Sorry for the nearly 2 month unannounced blog hibernation… but we were traveling through SE Asia and had unexpectedly minimal computer access. I had a few blog posts all set up for posting, but couldn’t mange to get them ‘out the door’, as it were. I just never expected internet in the big cities of China to be harder to acquire than in the relatively rural areas of Cambodia and Thailand (We got WiFi – and an advanced degree in ‘sweating-like-crazy’ – everywhere in Thailand and Cambodia). Captain Bizzaro in effect. I’ll be doing individual posts on the places we went later… For now, suffice it to say: It was an amazing adventure… and it’s also great to be back in Minnesota.


Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

Part three of my South America quest (Buenos Aires and Peru being parts one and two) is finally making it online. ¬†Colonia, easily accessible via ferry from Buenos Aires, is a small little backwater town a few hours down the coast from Montevideo; seemingly plucked straight from the past – even the ‘modern’ touches seem 30-60 years old. ¬†Colonia is¬†the oldest town in Uruguay and the historic quarter is a wonderfully serene place. ¬†We were there for 3 days in the middle of the week and rarely saw other people – especially after the sun went down. ¬†Sad, in some ways, because you could tell it was a shell of it’s former self — but what a shell it was!


Buenos Aires 2008

Yes, I’m aware it’s a full 93 days into 2009. ¬†I’m still putting a ‘2008’ title on my post – I hope this doesn’t cause too much confusion. ¬†Luckily, people don’t write many checks anymore, or I could see a flood of people cashing year-old checks. ¬† Technically this is just me being late on part 2 (of 3) from my other South America post.

If you are ever in Buenos Aires –¬†

DO: See a Boca Juniors game with the home-crowd. Most amazing sporting experience of my life. Get their earlier than you would ever expect you’d need to and sit UNDER the balcony, trust me on this.

DON’T: Miss out on the meat. ¬†Amazing amazing meat. ¬†Mmmm… Meat.

DO: Hit up tango classes Рjust be ready to somehow (and strangely) have your masculinity challenged by your inability to do frilly toe-twirls while dancing.  

DON’T: Expect the entire city to be Tangos and bright colors. ¬†A small section of the Boca part of town is wicked-colorful and exactly what all the tourist mags say it is, however. ¬†But that’s like saying “Disneyland represents all of Florida”…

DO: Go to Ricoletta Cemetary (Cementerio de la Recoleta). ¬†Sure, it’s got Evita’s tomb, but it’s WAY WAY cooler than that.

DON’T: Go to a “City Cultural Music Festival – Percussion night” that a someone tells you is “going to be great”. ¬†Well, be like us and¬†go, but be ready for a full-0n rave in a busted-out warehouse complete with mouth-sized glowsticks and entranced locals going nuts.

… I could go on and on. ¬†But I’ll let some photographs do the talking for me.


Peru 2008

So as many of you many know, Colleen and  I were lucky enough to travel to South America over Thanksgiving.  This is part one in a three-part blog (for fear of litteraly making your brain explode from awesomeness) with some images from the first 5-and-a-half days of the trip.

Peru is incredible.¬† We spent most of our time in the Cuzco region (the capital of the Inca empire) and went to many ruins in the area.¬† Of course, we also saw Machu Picchu (which fully lives up to the hype).¬† With the help of some trusty friends, we managed to survive (pictures of Colleen sucking down oxygen due to the altitude have been omitted… ūüôĀ ) and see some amazing things that we wouldn’t have otherwise seen if we hadn’t befriended locals.¬†

From wild Vicuna and¬†rural farmers¬†looking to hold onto their way of life, to the amazing (AMAZING!!) stonework of the Incas¬†and the later Spanish cathedrals and architecture that sits atop much of the ancient Inca capital… everything went beyond expectations.¬†¬†The juxtaposition of modern and fresh next to priceless ancient sites next to¬†pure poverty and squalor was something I’d never seen so pronounced before.¬† I hope the sites can be protected long enough to bring in enough money to truly help some of the least fortunate. (Apparently robbing the Inca stonework to help build your house (or simply because¬†“There’s a bird in there!!”) is a common activity – so common that even we saw it on a few occasions)

One thing that was the most¬†refreshing was how friendly everyone was – much different than most ‘tourist’ places you go. (except the policeman that hauled us to the station wanting a bribe from us – he’s not friendly at all.¬† I only got one shot of him before he spotted me ‘documenting’ from inside the vehicle. Still got you though! And¬†now you are on the¬†dubya-dubya-dubya for all to see.¬† Bwhahaaa) People smiled at our broken Spanish and really put forth an effort to ensure our stay was as good as it could possibly be. Even the llama that almost pushed me off a cliff ended up posing for me; friendly folk, those Peruvians.¬†

I got some amazing panoramas (one nearly 410mpx) and other unique photographs that just don’t hold up when shrunk to 750 pixels wide. I’ll have to find a way to share those somehow.

Oh, and yes, that lady is on a cell phone at Machu Picchu.¬† What’s stranger: ¬†her being on a phone in one of the most remote and beautiful places on earth, or me taking¬†a picture of her being on a phone at one of the most remote and beautiful places on earth?¬† ūüėČ



Boundary Waters Canoe Area (Northern Minnesota)

‘Juan Verde’ and I hit the boundary waters a few weeks back between my October weddings.¬† It was my first trip to the BWCA (most of my hiking is done on the north shore – always saying “I’ll get to the BWCA eventually…” ) and it was spectacular.¬† Cloudy and overcast with hints of rain or snow most of the time… but not overly cold or windy.¬† We kept hot water going over the fire the entire time for an emergency hot coco fix if we started to get cold.

From the ancient Indian pictographs, to John’s 8 pound walleye (released), to seeing a deer ‘jump the boarder’ by swimming across a lake… everything was better than I dreamed.¬†¬†Floating through wild rice on a glass-still river the morning after¬†seeing a scene that simultaneously included¬†the sunset, 2 eagles lit perfect by said sunset, a huge rainbow, fall colors, a¬†mirror-like¬†lake, islands, and a waterfall… I couldn’t help but think to myself: “Why’d you wait¬†so long to come up here!?!”¬† (and “Why didn’t you bring your nice camera!??”… ūüôĀ¬† )

We had walleye for every meal other than breakfast – for 5 days.¬† That’s 10 meals (really, like 20 meals worth of fish … we were definitely¬†on the ‘all fish, all the time’ diet) of pure BWCA fish.¬† On the way home, just for giggles, we checked the ‘mercury concentrations’ that determine what a ‘safe’ level of fish to eat is from the any particular lake; though some of the purest water around, it turns out the BWCA has high mercury concentrations¬†¬†— 1 meal per month is the maximum safe amount to eat.¬†¬† Haha…¬† On the bright side, however, I now have a keen knack for telling temperature. ūüôā