The Roaming Realtor

Traveler by heart Realtor by day
Living in: Canton, United States
  • Day7

    Nazca Lines

    March 20 in Peru ⋅ ☁️ 68 °F

    When I booked my trip I had just 4 excursions planned. Yesterday was my last excursion and one of the ones I was looking forward to the most. The Nazca lines. Aliens, ways to communicate with aliens, study of astrology, or maybe just the graffati of their time. Imagine some 15 year old punk kid out there in the dessert carving a picture of his family dog. His parents at home complaining to neighbors that he will never make his mark in the world. Mysterious and who knows. I am sure that was not the actual story but after a difficult flight I can not be sure.

    The day before flying from Cuszco to Lima was definitely a bargain flight. The flight attendents smirked a little as they told us to make sure all seats were in the upward position. My seat as well as many others seemed to be fused into the position so the seat behind me could have done dental work. The flight was an hour late so as we were herded on I am not sure as everyone was in their seats as we were leaving the gate. The flight itself was a rough one as it felt as though the pilot hit every pot hole/ speed bump in the sky. Thank goodness it was only an hour flight.

    Upon arriving in Lima I was happy to easily find my taxi driver to the hotel. Driving in Lima seemed to be a contact sport. 4 cars, 2 buses, and 3 motor bikes all sharing 3 lanes. I could have reached out and touched any of these vehicles at any time. While going 30 mph the driver was also dodging pedestrians as they crossed the street frogger style. No need to worry my driver made the most of our commute talking and texting from 2 different cell phones. I can not be sure he was talking about me but I kept hearing the term gringa chika. He was also picking his nose a few times. Impressively enough we arrived at the hotel with no new car bruises and with out safety intact.
    As scary as it sounds it really wasn't. This is the main stay for driving in other countries. They all seem to share the roads kindly with minimal accidents and no road rage. There is some sort of code as to who is able to go and who is in the right in a cut off situation. My driver joked and asked me if I would ever drive here. Ummm no.
    One of my tour guides explained the process of getting your drivers liscense. Apparently it is a 5 year process that typically includes failing the test multiple times. They definitely earn it though.
    Onto the Nazca lines. I was picked up at a very early 7am for my 4.5 hour drive to the city where we would fly out of. I was the only one on the bus. That sounds good but a little lonely. As we arrived at the airport I dutifully took my Dramamine as I had heard the flight was a bit bumpy. A bit!
    In reality the flight was a easy 45 minute flight out to the dessert with the lines followed by 30 minutes of spiraling circles with the g forces that pulled my face to the ground and my stomach to the skies. Add into this the small air vent above my head was not working. The temperature in that plane had to be over 90. I thought about reaching up and opening the pilots window as we were all that close. Just as I was able to steady myself and get my stomach back we would turn the other way so the other side of the plan could see it. I tried for pictures but decided not puking on the plane full of Chinese passengers seemed the best idea. With the turns and drops there is no way to know how many I could have hit. My other dilemma was that if I did throw up in the handy bag they provided then I would have to hold it on my lap for the 45 minute flight back. Queue more puking.
    From where you come from you must go back. After the flight was my 4.5 hour drive back to Lima. We did pick up a few passengers but even back on the ground my stomach was upset with me. So the first half of the ride I spent listening to a book and not throwing up. By the second part I decided I was able to be social and spoke to a Canadian man behind me.

    So now it is time to go home. What a quick trip it has been. Just 7 days with 2 of them spent traveling. Even with how fast it was I am so glad I came. The Peruvian people are among the kindest I have met in the world. This morning as I was leaving my hotel at 4am the front desk guy wanted to have a full conversation. 4am is not my chatty time. Machu Picchu was everything I could have hoped for and made a wonderful birthday. Thank you all for joining me again on this trip!
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  • Day4


    March 17 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 63 °F

    Waking up before my alarm (which was set for 4am), the perfect seat on the train, perfect weather, and amazing people have all made for a magical birthday.
    The day started at a very early 415 pick up time. As I walked downstairs my guide was already waiting for me. The bus was a very early and dark 1 hour 40 minute ride to the train that would take me to Machu Picchu. I boarded the train I saw that I had seat #2, the perfect seat that had a front seat view for the ride. 1st birthday miracle. My seat partner was a lovely woman from Chile who now lives in Switzerland. She took her 3 children and fled the country in the coo of 1973 (things for me to look up tomorrow). Another member of my trip is my new buddy Jay, the 70 something man who spends half the year in New Hampshire and the other half traveling.
    There was a slight drizzle of rain and we descended to Machu Picchu. Fun trivia for you Machu Picchu is actually at a lower elevation than Cusco where I am staying. This was a welcome break as I struggle with higher elevation. As reference Denver is 5200 ft above sea level, Machu Picchu 9000 ft, Cusco 11500 ft, areas from the trip last year to Bolivia were close to 16000 to 17000. It affects people differently but for me it literally takes my breath away. Pair this will the steep streets make me move pretty slowly as I wander.
    By around 10am we were finally making our 30 minute ascent from the town in the valley where our train dropped us to the majestic Macchu Picchu. The start of the hike was a steep winding road leading us to the top. Our guide, Marco, knew the names of each of the Llamas (or he pretended well as he makes up new names for them every day). Speaking the name Marco, as you my know it is a popular Spanish name. The joke of saying "Polo" each time never gets old to me as the children yell to find their friends.
    As we arrived at the top the fog began to break revealing a beautiful sunny day. The scene looking down onto the "town" was just like the post card but to be there in person was amazing.
    My guide Marco was fantastic. Fun fact for you. The Inca is actually the name for the king (similar to the title president). So calling them the Inca people is not accurate, it would be like calling Americans the President's People. They should instead be referred to as the Quechua people. That would refer to the people coming from area's is Columbia down the west coast of South America into Chile. It is also a misnomer than the Spanish Conquistadors were the cause of the fall of the Empire. At the time the Spanish came there was much infighting in the tribes that made them easy to concur. An interesting note on this is that anytime I have spoken to anyone in South America about the Spanish I have never heard anger about being taken over. I am not sure why. I would be upset if we were taken over. I will have to figure out nice ways to ask about this and report back to you on a special non trip blog post.
    Back to Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu was build during the time of one of the Inca's (remember this is the king, not the people). It was during the time when they had the largest growth period. The Inca build Machu Picchu as a place where he invited the top scholars of the time in areas such as art, astrology, architecture and more to live in this community of 2000 people focused on working together to grow. (Do you notice my focus this trip of inclusivity and kindness?)
    This is where they came up with brick building techniques that are earth quake resistant, the creation of the Inca calendar and many more discoveries of the time.
    The site of Machu Picchu has temples build that capture the light at the solstices to determine what time of year it is.
    Hiram Bingam rediscovered the lost city in 1911. Although at that time there were still people living in it. The city at that time was completely over grown and taken over by the jungle. So if a helicopter would have flown over they could not have seen anything. (Not sure if there were helicopters in 1911, probably not)
    The weather while at MP was amazing, with the sun shining down, the fog and clouds cleared for a perfect morning. The moment I got on the bus to leave the massive downpour started. Thank you Pachamama (Mother Earth)!
    Once in town I settled at a restaurant called Full House for a nice Alpaca lunch. It reminded me a venison. The restaurant sat on the edge of a roaring river. The sounds was deafening similar to that of Niagara Falls. I believe that people raft through this area. It would have to be stage 5 rapids for the very advanced. At the end of dinner the waiters brought me out a brownie for dessert and sung happy birthday to me in both English and Spanish. Yes of course I had told them it was my birthday, I wanted a free dessert.
    During my dinner the rain picked up until it was a full jungle monsoon. Later as we walked up the stairs to the train station there was a newly created river rushing down the stairs.
    After a little shopping we finally boarded the train for home. I assumed it would be a quiet ride after an exhausting day. Thankfully I was very wrong. It started with a dressed up creature that I believe is one of their gods dancing through the train for a good 5 minutes. Followed up with a fashion show by the attendents with best of baby alpaca clothing fashion. Laughing, dancing, etc!
    From the train the bus to bring us back to Cusco was a very crowded 2 hour ride. On this I talked to my new friend Jay. He has been to an impressive 92 countries. Wow! Oh how I love making new travel friends and swapping stories. One of his that he did not go into much detail about was being kidnapped in China. After that he kept traveling. That is spirit.
    Finally we arrived back into Cusco at around 9pm. Jay was headed to the Irish Pub to watch the sloppy drink British travelers. I headed back to my hotel for well earned sleep.

    People will always ask me what my favorite country is. I never have an answer for this but I have favorite travel days. Today will be one of those days where everything went perfectly and made the best day ever. I do have to say though I think the Peruvian people are among the kindest I have found in the world. Everything they do is done in love and kindness for their visitors. I have found so many who have been generous to share their culture and country with me.
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  • Day2

    Spread love and kindness

    March 15 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 50 °F

    Welcome to Peru,

    I say this because I feel like I take you all with me when I travel.
    After 22 hours of 3 airplanes, 4 airports, and a taxi I arrived. I use to be able to arrive and start exploring the same day. This morning after just 2 hours of sleep I was exhausted. I ended up sleeping until 4, it was glorious!
    Many times after the grueling hours of travel to get to my destination I wonder to myself if it is all worth it. Is it worth the cramped quarters of the airplane. Or 5 hour layovers. Then I go to my first activity of the trip. For this trip it was a night walking tour and pisco sour making lesson. It always starts with the anxiety of if I will find my group, if they will be kind people, and if I can keep up in a walking tour at 11000 ft above sea level. Then I meet my group. Tonight's tour was a nearly private tour with a beautiful person who lives in Miami and is working in Chile for 4 months. As we began to talk about travel and where she has been, I remembered how much I crave it. Hearing about others travels, where they have been and their experiences brings the oxygen back to my blood.
    The tour itself consisted of walking through the bohemian art districts and taking a moment to orient myself to the city.
    Peru is a 75 or more percent catholic country and in addition to that they are very connected with the Earth. They believe in Pacchi Mama (mother earth for those who remember her from Boliva). To me the believe on Pacchi Mama versus traditional religion resonates more in my heart. There is no talk of smiting or cursing someone who does not do what the Gods wish. It is about celebrating and giving thanks to the amazing things the world has provided us. As I travel I am constantly in awe of areas in the world where religions or lack of are respected and able to live in harmony with each other.
    I read earlier very quickly of the shootings in Christchurch NZ. As with anytime these things happen my heart is broken. The families who after going about their daily life will no longer be the same, the fear that is now instilled in peoples hearts, and the unfathomable hate that exists in the world. I cry, scream and try to understand how such hate happens. Is the cause a society that has chosen to focus on our differences versus our similarities.
    Before my tour started I sat on the steps of the Cathedral and spoke to a Peruvian woman, named Elsa. She much better at English than I am with my broken Spanish. She spoke of her family and her 6 year old son. So close in age to the little Twincesses in my life. She asked questions about me and my life. She too has lost her father at a too an age. No time was lost debating politics or religion. It was just a genuine interaction of kindness and connection. I have been so lucky to find these connections all over the world, yet I do not believe you necessarily have to leave your own peace (intentional misspelling) of the world to find this. React when you see hate happening in the world. Maybe if we are able to stop it early then these instants of mass killing will cease to be an everyday event in our lives that we ignore because it is so far away.
    At 25 I lived in London. I remember that Thursday when bombs were exploded on the tube (subway). One affected my line yet I was running early that day. I remember that feeling of the city I lived in and loved being under attack. Just two weeks later they attempted it again and luckily the bombs did not detonate. To live in a city where you felt like you had no clue what was going to happen next was terrifying. I remember thinking that is what people are living with in "those other" counties. Now it is happening weekly to people just like us. Shame on us for not acting years ago but now is the time. I ask all of you a simple favor. Stand up with love to hate when you see it. Support the victim of hate but also find a way to create kindness to the perpetrator. Who knows where your kindness could lead and what it could potentially stop in the future.
    Thank you all who have taken the time to read this. I know it is a bit of a divergence from my normal travel blog. I believe the purpose if travel is to learn. As I mentioned in my travels I take you along with me so I hope you too will have an opportunity to look at the world a little different tomorrow.

    Ps I write my blogs on my phone so forgive any spell check errors that come up. They are written all through out my day and posted at the end. You will see in this blog the moment I peaked out of my vacation bliss to read the news to see what was happening in the world. The tone changes as a result. It may not be the most cohesive way to write but it is the raw cut. I hope you enjoy.

    Today's pictures don't follow the tone of the blog, but it was a good day so I wanted to share.
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  • Day1

    Beer and valium

    March 14 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 59 °F

    Hello and welcome back,

    Can you believe your favorite roaming Realtor is tuning 40? I have to say I can't.
    A question I frequently receive about my travels is how do I choose my next trip. The answer is usually based on a picture I have seen from that country. For Peru I believe it was the picture of Guinea pig on a menu and served whole. Oh yeah Macchu Picchu also looked cool.
    For those who have known me for awhile you know this is the second time I have booked this trip. The first time was in 2016, the year the world fell apart for me. I believe we have all had those years and when they happen it is time to make the decision of what will make you happy and what you would like your life to be like. I had been smart in previous years and saved for the just in case. So I restarted my life and career that year. It was the best decision I have ever made. For those who followed my blog that year was very raw for me. I am happy to report that after 3 years I am not back to who I was but now a new and improved version of myself.
    A recap on my past year to catch you up. I made the decision last year to switch the brokerage with which I worked. Wow what a difference that made. I was able to more than double my business year over year and end up in the top 15% of my office. I am so grateful to each of my clients, vendors and KW staff who helped. 2019 is already off to an amazing start and I look to double my production again this year.
    Besides work my life is much the same. Basil continues to get older and his face a little whiter. I helped my Mom sell the lake house in Belleville and move up to Canton to be near Amy and me.
    Now for a few details about my trip. I ended up booking it when I realized I had not been out of the country in over a year and only out of the state to go to OH. Yikes. This one was very last minute and was only booked about 3 weeks ago. I will be gone for just 6 days. The highlights include my 40th birthday on top of Macchu Picchu, quad biking and a flight over the Nazca lines. A few small activities are also planned but that will pretty much be it. Many ask about the flights. I start with 3 hours to Dallas, a five hour layover, 7.5 hours to Lima Peru, then a quick 1 hour flight to Cusco. It will take me about 22 hours total from leaving my house to arriving at my hotel. I know it sounds a bit grueling but a few beers and a few valium the time flies by.
    I am currently sitting at my layover in Dallas.
    For many reasons I thought this again was going to be the trip that did not happen. I have fought through back spasms, entire plane collections being grounded and a few other things to make this trip happen. As your Roaming Realtor I woke up this morning to having to renegotiate a contract to ensure my clients got their dream home.

    Now vacation begins. Bring on the beer time for my 7 hour nap waking up in Peru.

    My 41st country in 40 years!

    Stay tuned, more updates to come.
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  • Day18

    Vacation is about Dancing

    February 25, 2018 in Argentina ⋅ ☀️ 73 °F

    Yay finally a flight! I am a girl who likes to fly versus taking buses. Salta to Buenos Aires is a short 2 hour flight. For a girl use to 12-15 hour flights, 2 hours barely gives me time to do the Sudoku puzzle in the In-flight magazine. For this flight I woke still feeling a little drunk (a lot drunk) from the night before. After the farm and 25 bottles of wine with 7 people we decided to go to a local bar. We also found the rest of the group on our walk to the bar. The walk home from the bar was a interesting task of herding cats or small children. We were back down to 7 people but all were going different directions. At one point we lost 2 to the super market for the weekly shopping they did not need to do. As the mama bear of the group I made sure that all made it back to the hotel.
    Buenos Aires rates as one of my favorite cities in the world. It is warm, it has amazing architecture, history and is safe. Our hostel was a bit of a walk but finally we found food. It was the traditional American hang over food of a McDonald's Big Mac. As the only American someone commented to me that Big Mac's in the states must taste so much better.
    The day was Sunday which is the day of the 10 plus block handi craft and antique market. 8 miles of walking for the day I think I got my steps in. After only being in Buenos Aires once before I was excited to be able to easily navigate the city. The main attraction I used to navigate is called 9 de Julio. This is the 25 lane highway that goes through the middle of the city. It is an entire block wide and luckily there are many pedestrian stopping area's so it is not as though you are playing the old Atarii game of Frogger. This a reference that very few of my fellow travelers would have known. With many of them being 20 and me at 38 this was the first time I could legitimately be the same age as their parents.
    The evening was filled with more beef, Argentine Tango lessons and the tango show. Tango lessons could be best described as bumper cars. As we all attempted our steps in pairs I believe there was more laughing and running into each other than dancing.
    The Tango show symbolized the end of the tour even though I had a few days extra in Buenos Aires by myself. It was a sad goodbye to a few of my fellow travelers, but to be honest not all.
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  • Day17

    The Best Beef in the World

    February 24, 2018 in Argentina ⋅ ☁️ 66 °F

    Being a restaurant family and going to cooking school I have eaten some amazing beef, but none can even come close to today's Argentinian BBQ.
    Today was a full day activity of horse back riding, Argentinian beef, and unlimited red wine. The day dreams are made of.
    It surprised me that such a small contingent of our group came out. We had 3 for horse back riding and 7 for the BBQ. As we arrived the farm was a beautiful area located in the shadows of local mountains. There was a farm house and barns. There was a long table set for 25 in an open air dining room with an outdoor BBQ at the head of the table. I just realized I did not take any pictures of this part so it will just remain as a memory to me.
    Let me tell you about horse back riding. I believe I have gone horse back riding every 5-10 years for my entire life. Yes that totally means I am a pro, or it means I have a conversation with my horse first and discuss how we will get along. I asked for a nice horse who knew how to have someone ride it versus me knowing what to do. Instead they gave me Bruja, the Spanish word for witch. So witch horse and I went on our way. As the rancher led us through the paths my horse decided that she would be the leader (hmm, sound like anyone you know?). Yes my horse was the bossy witch. At points she stopped to get a bite to eat but would quickly race ahead as she saw the other horses coming close. At one point as we were turning the corner the horse next to me decided my leg looked like foot and took a little munch. No worries no damage was done.
    Joining us on the ride was the farm dog. She ran ahead of us as though she was scouting out the terrain. As we came to a street I call Mean Dog alley she looked to protect us. At points there were 10 or more dogs ganging up on our sweet dog. She quickly let the horses protect her and stuck to the middle of the pack. At one point we got off the horses for a stretch. After my failed attempts to mount the horse at the beginning I was a bit scared I would be chasing my horse back to the farm. Luckily the cowboy remembered this and directed me to a higher area to remount the horse. It could have been really ugly.
    As we returned to the farm the rest of the group arrived. Ohh the wine! It was brewed at a winery near by, along with beef the Argentine's know how to make wine. 7 guests and over 25 bottles of wine......
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  • Day15

    Sand Boarding and Star gazing

    February 22, 2018 in Chile ⋅ 🌧 50 °F

    After a long few days of traveling I am pretty excited to have 2 nights in one place. Today was a day filled with activities, a nap, and a nice meal.
    We started the morning with Sand boarding. Sand Boarding is much like snow boarding, in fact it uses the same equipment. The difference being snowboarding they haul you up a mountain, sand boarding you have to climb sinking sand to get to the top. Even though we have gone down from 15000 ft above sea level to only 7500 breathing is still tough for me. I am proud to say I did make it down the hill once, then enjoyed myself taking pictures and video's of my new friends.
    Even with my one trip down the beating sun and the sand took it out of me. After a shower to get sand out of, well everywhere, it was time for a nap. I decided to take the afternoon off from the group's mountain hike through the Valley of the moon. Instead I wandered the town, had some lunch, did my laundry, and relaxed. After a few full days it was nice to have sometime to relax. I even finished another book.
    Later on in the night it was time to go for star watching. I was excited as the last few nights of stars had been incredible. Unfortunately our star location was pretty close to town, but they had incredible telescopes. Before this trip I thought the Southern Hemisphere saw different constellations as we did here. It turns out they see a few of the same ones such as Orion, but it is upside down. I also got to check out a close up of the craters of the moon.
    It was a great day, but I am dreading tomorrow a bit with out 10 hour bus ride and border crossing into Argentina.
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  • Day15

    Long Day at the Border

    February 22, 2018 in Chile ⋅ 🌧 50 °F

    Last night was one of my favorite kind of nights on a tour. We stayed at a little lodge in the middle of nowhere. There was limited hot water, shared rooms and no internet. No worries there was vodka, wine, and games. These are my favorite nights because without internet we get to hang out and talk to each other. I wish I could have gotten pictures of the stars for you. It was another night with more stars than I have ever seen.
    I had a great conversation with a couple of guys from Denmark. Schooling in Denmark is very different from the States and for many reasons I can see why they are a happier society. After they finish traditional high school they go to a boarding type school where they specialize in something. It is not always career focused and may include music, sports, or school subjects. They have the chance to live away from home and establish their independence. It is similar to the first year of college without the pressure to know what you want to do when you grow up. They are given time to explore and take time to experience the world a bit before making the decision. After that they attend state sponsored University. I like the fact it takes the pressure off kids and gives them time to figure out themselves before they figure out their career.
    The next morning we left early for a few hours in the hot springs before more exploring of this beautiful national park. Multi colored lagoons, more flamingos, natural rock monuments and natural toilets (not a fan of that part).
    As I have seen in other countries land borders are an interesting experience. This was nothing compared to Cambodia crossing of walking booth to booth for a half mile, 95 degrees, surrounded by men with guns, and an extra $5 payment to speed up the process. None the less it was still a 3rd world land border. This includes confusion over where immigration is, bus transfer issues, more natural toilets and about 5 hours of waiting. Naps were taken, games were played and I listened to another book.
    As we arrived into San Pedro De Atacama it was again like a town from the Wild West. This one reminded me of the old town in Albuquerque New Mexico. It was a low laying city located on a small oasis in the desert. Mountains and desert sand surround the city. Our street consisted of 1 story adobe buildings with dogs roaming free. At dinner there was a dog who sat in the doorway to the restaurant fondly looking inside. I could imagine him saying to the owner "hire me, I will be the best dishwasher you have ever had."
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  • Day14

    Really that's a road?

    February 21, 2018 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 61 °F

    Hello from I don't know where in Bolivia,

    Today was the day of the long drive. After the Salt Flats we drove through the colorful lagoons and National Park. A huge shout out to our amazing drivers. The drive reminded me of driving through each of the National Parks of the Western United States in one day, minus roads.
    Our trusty 4wd truck bounced along old creek beds filled with large rocks, up the side of mountains and across valleys with no roads. It was a bumpy and beautiful ride.
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  • Day12

    I expect to see a horse and cowboy

    February 19, 2018 in Bolivia ⋅ ☀️ 63 °F

    Hello from Uyuni,

    Yesterday we had a long 4 hour drive from Potosí yo Uyuni. This will be the start of our salt flats expedition, my main reason for booking the trip.
    As I am sure is to be expected the land reminds me of the western United States of UT, NM, and CO. We traversed winding roads on mountains and flat dry land with lama roaming free. The lama are decorated with string bows on their ears. Lama farms operate on a co-op system in the small towns so the colorful bows indicate their owners.
    As we got closer to the flats the land became very dry with frequent cacti decoratorations. This was a surprise because due to the rainy season we may not be able to stay at the Salt Hotel. I expected a lush green land.
    As we rode into town, in my imagination on a huge black stallion while actuality was a 20 person coach, it reminded me of the wild West. Wide empty streets with the haze of the dust blowing through. On the sides of the streets many of the businesses were shuttered due to the last night of Carnival. Dogs wandered the streets chasing cars and barking at eachother.
    As I slept it sounded as though there were dog fights outside my window and the cries of an injured dog made me sad. The windows of the hotel installed not with traditional construction methods but instead with clear packing tape. Me, I may have at least used duct tape. Due to the lack of insulation the wind loudly screamed though the windows and the dog fighting sounded to be in the room with me. Despite this after a few long days I had a great a great sleep going to bed at an embarrassing 830 and waking up this morning at 8.
    This morning we are headed for 2 days in the Salt Flats. It is still unclear as to if we will be able to stay at our original Planaterra hostile. Planaterra is the G adventures Charity which is the reason I travel with G. Check out the page below. They work with local communities to help the people form businesses for sustainable travel. I have been to many Planterra sites around the world and they truly help the communities. If you are enjoying my blog and are inclined please donate a few dollars. In a country where the average monthly salary is $200, even $5 can make a huge difference in sustainable income.

    I will not have internet for a few days, but I hope to have amazing pictures for you when I return to you.

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