Maz Porta

Joined August 2016
  • Day1

    Back to Miami

    August 26, 2016 in the United States

    South beach! After traveling through cold Bolivia I wanted to get some sun, beach and see my friend Randy. We were going to go on a road trip through the south of the states.

    Unfortunately due to some miscalculations he has to do some work applications and exams so he won't be able to join me, I'll have to replan my trip. Taking a couple of days on the heath to do that.

    No sun either as such since tropical storm Gustav is coming but it's hot anyway and I like tropical showers anyway.

    First night we go to little Havana, calle ocho, an area I've not yet seen in Miami, it's a wonderfully true Cuban area of Miami, totally feels like Havana at points and of course there's loads of Spanish speaking people here, another chance to practice my Spanish which is now getting better each day

    There's a quick one off show for a new night, mix between Cuba and moulin rouge, meet some of Randy's friends and enjoy the area.

    Before the evening starts we go to Wynwood a lovely trendy gentrified area that I feel in love with on my last visit, we get taco here and I get to try cactus as a dish in the taco (over ordered my taco amount but managed to woof it down nonetheless). I get frijoles too with bacon and beer, haven't had it for such a long time!!

    By 10 pm I'm completely crashing, need sleep before weekend of planning new destinations and friends to meet.
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  • Day22

    Potosi, day 2

    August 22, 2016 in Bolivia

    Didn't sleep well and tried to organise things on internet instead. Rosy and Pasquale woke up to go to visit the mines, i didn't book it as I wanted to experience more of the city when not closed and also didn't like the idea of dusty and claustrophobic environments. I appreciate the difficult conditions the miners are working on but found the voyeuristic effect of going there as a tourist and in a very touristy trap way to be a bit insulting to them and to me. It is however what you do when in Potosi so I'm not discarding anyone's choice to go, just not my thing.

    Staying behind paid off, I went back to places we'd been to yesterday and the city was full of life today, loads of colours, people, festivities and friendliness all around, the central market was open and there were still folkloristics celebrations going on in the main square.

    The city is a UNESCO endangered site, although that's mostly for the mines (first in the world I think) the old town is quite pretty and picturesque. Took some pictures but mostly enjoyed taking in the life around.

    In town there's the first ever (?) casa dela moneda, the first mint, and a few other buildings that tourists are directed to but nothing much really. In fact there are very few tourists around. I stopped on the main square, chatted to a free locals and enjoyed people watching for a bit then got a coffee in a lovely bar called la plata (that is obviously touristy) and headed back to the hotel to pack my bag and wait for the others.

    After they got back we got more time in town and got a visit to the main cathedral which has a mirador and killed time before the bus ride.

    Back at the hotel getting ready we found out that the miners have called the strike from midnight tonight, they intend to blockade La Paz but the information is sketchy. This is a bit worrying, last time, just over a month ago, they went on strike and blocked all communications and got violent, took 70 police officers prisoners and we're heavily armed and kept on for two weeks. That time over 100 tourists were stuck in La Paz for days and there were violent clashes. These miners are not fucking about!

    The lady at the hotel got worried when we told her we were going to la Paz and told us to get out of there as soon as possible, we have a bus going to copacabana two hours after we arrive but don't know if we will be allowed to get out and sure don't want to get stuck in a blockage or clay with police and miners.

    We'll see. At least it'll make fire a nice story, lol.

    During the bus ride much has happened already, we're the only foreigners on the bus, as we left the station many more people came on, we guessed they board the bus later to avoid what I called the gringo tax, an extra couple of Bolivianos you have to pay when you come or leave. Performers with guitars did a little show for some cash and people come on and off to sell you food or drinks.

    About the hours on also the bus got hailed by the travelers from another bus that either had an accident or broke down so we got a few more passengers on. At midnight there was a fifteen minutes stop to go to the toilet since the bus toilet is broken, people move around and do all sorts, easy, drink, change bus, it's a little chaotic but interesting.
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  • Day21

    Potosi, day 1 - Bolivia

    August 21, 2016 in Bolivia

    After the salt flats we came to the highest city in the world's, elevation 4060m, we took a night bus after a quick eat in a lonely planet recommended restaurant that turned out to be pricey and not that good.

    Looked like we were the only people actually going to Potosi (pronounced poto-si by the way) as everyone else was going to the more interesting Sucre but that was OK. The bus want as comfortable as previous travels but nothing a sleeping pill wouldn't resolve.

    We got in around 2 am and got a cab to the hotel, roads looked like there had been a party and a few drunken people dotted the streets, got to the hotel fairly fast and good surprises it was a heathed room! Yay!

    After a good sleep and a long shower we ventured out on the streets to get a feel of the town, this is a miners town and due to government being in the verge of changing (therefore no security over what will happen next) they work Monday to Saturday in shifts to cover 24 hours and ensure they can mine as much silver as possible, that means they only have Sundays left to test and enjoy family so the city was fairly deserted.

    However we found the Sunday markets and to our surprise there was celebrations going on, parading around were people of all ages, classes, colleges etc dancing to a time played by the band who matched with them. It was very folkloristics and I loved it, at one point we even ended up by mistake joining the march and dancing along the locals (it was just some simple steps).

    The elevation definitely affected us, breathing shallow breath and feeling a bit tired but certainly not as much as we were scared to think by reports from other travelers, having been at high altitude in the past few weeks must have helped and soon there was little effect leftover.

    Rosy didn't like it much, or the city, i guess she may have been tied or maybe not what she expected. After all it was Sunday and most things were closed. Pasquale didn't seem to like it much either although not as strongly as Rosy.

    For dinner we went to a lonely planet recommended place (seems the norm now to do that) which was quite good actually, not even as pricey as it could have been. I tried the brochetas Gipsy style (skewered meats) together with a spinach soup and it was great, Pasquale wasn't so lucky with his roasted vegetables.

    We went to bed early even if we didn't need to, I couldn't sleep and heard the fireworks and was a bit gutted I didn't stay out to see the end of the celebrations. Oh well, another time.
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  • Day7

    Colca canyon, Peru

    August 7, 2016 in Peru

    The long awaited canyon trip was finally here today! After a sumptuous dinner last night we knew we had a big day ahead of us and they were coming to pick us up at 3 am (3 am!!!) And we still needed to get our bags packed. So rosy went back to the hotel and Pasquale and I went to find the only gay disco in the village! 😂😉😉

    The disco wasn't much but they were REALLY happy to get some foreign people on that they didn't even charge is entrance! We only stayed for a drink because of the early start planned and because the security guard patrolling the premises was just delicious! I wish I'd taken a pic, you'd totally agree with me!! 😉

    Off to bed for a quick kip then phone rings and we barely make our way out. We're all worried about the bus ride which is notoriously dangerous roads and very sick inducing, especially Rosy who suffers from travel sickness, and about raising our altitude to 4900m a whole 2000 metres above Arequipa (we had all felt it when we first arrived, headaches etc). The ride proved true to its story with our driver almost causing a full frontal accident but luckily it was a near miss and Rosy's medicine worked great so she slept and want stock. Our hero!!

    Pasquale woke up first and got the great sun rise colours in the valley, half way through the night we had all had problems with altitude, at the tallest point we felt terrible breathing and general heaviness but it soon passed.

    After breakfast we headed for the real canyon side and stopped by the condor nests and storm am hour observing and trying to take pictures of them flying, some came right past us and we got some awesome shots although with the DSLR so you're gonna have to wait for the pictures. Condors are definitely cool but ver ugly, like a turkey that can fly.

    Off to various other bits of the canyon, learning history and myths and stories and all sort of things, sceneries surrounding us were always amazing with tall mountains and glaciers and snow on side of the road, precarious but somewhat fun too.

    Interestingly this area is surrounded by inactive volcanoes although it's not the usual black soil I'd come to expect but it was rather arid and red and tones of browns, rocky and in places even very green.

    Lunch then obligatory stop to meet the alpacas, they're so soft and sweet!! Rosy decided to get some scarfs (if you know her your not surprised) made of baby alpacas, despite me telling her how bad that is: to keep the wool that soft they keep the baby alpacas from birth immersed in fabric conditioner with the kids repeatedly combing the fur over a hundred times twice a day (they have no Barbie here, they're poor!). Still she didn't listen and decided to feed this horrible trade. 😂😂

    As it was we tried alpacas meat for lunch and I think the fabric conditioner sips through because it's oh so tender!!

    On the way back we stopped at a viewing point for the five or so biggest volcanoes of the area, shame we couldn't go up.

    Rest of the return trip was a little harrowing and now we're off to 12 more hours bus ride overnight to the best part of the Peru trip, Cusco. Loads to do there but will tell you each time, keep reading our blog.
    Xx
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  • Day6

    Arequipa Peru

    August 6, 2016 in Peru

    We took a night bus from Nazca to come on our first altitude-important part of the trip and it was the best night bus ride ever (aside from a tonto luggage and ticket handler).

    We choose not to skimp and got the equivalent of first class 160, degrees seats, that means they almost fully recline into a bed and they were REALLY comfortable. Pasquale and Rosy feel asleep almost immediately tired from the day, I watched a bit of Spanish-dubbed start wars (the latest) which helped refresh my star-wars-related-vocabulary then gazed at the most fantastic starry night through the window and finally feel asleep.

    Pasquale was the first to wake up in the morning and saw landscapes "out of this world", moon-like desert fields and rock formations and more. Then breakfast on the bus, a little more Spanish star wars and we finally arrived. A short taxi ride took us to the wonderful hotel with terrace, antique features and very Inca/Peruvian feel (with style though).

    Once we started visiting Arequipa, the second largest city in Peru, we felt much more like the journey through this country was taking shape, more of what we expected the people and surrounding to be like. We booked the canyon tour for tomorrow to be sure not to miss it then set of for our now-typical walk through town and photo taking.

    When we arrived this morning we all had to some extent some altitude sickness, it is 2800m above the sea and it takes some getting used to. The medicines helped and we're taking it easy - had a nice lunch with a super lazy waiter serving us on a roof terrace in the colourful plaza de armes - took forever but for was good.

    Chased the sunset and took some pics of the volcano in sun setting light, visited some markets and got some presents for friends (won't spoil surprises though).

    Now back at the hotel for a quick rest then off to an amazing and sophisticated restaurant (chef is known throughout Peru for his cusine) - we're getting picked up at 3 am for the start of the trek but we might squeeze in a little club night - no rest for the wicked!! 😉😂

    Can't wait for the Colca canyon tomorrow, will tell you all about it.
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  • Day5

    Nazca

    August 5, 2016 in Peru

    Beautiful Nazca lines, old, mysterious, great designs and a flight over it that would challenge the strongest of stomachs.

    Some cha cha coca and loads of courage helped us all with the flight (which was delayed so we took the chance to do a quick photographic shoot with rosy as our diva).

    Maz's stomach was better today so he had much more energy and was back to his usual rude self.

    The hostel was named by these wonderful ladies, reminded us of the casa particular of Cuba.

    Rosy found herself being marked as the Gordy one in the local supermarket! 😂
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  • Day3

    Huacachina, Peru

    August 3, 2016 in Peru

    This place is idyllic, there's a tiny oasis in the middle of the desert surrounded by humongous sand dunes.

    Here we experienced a very bumpy but exhilarating ride on the dune buggies, did sand boarding in the steepest of dunes and watched the sun set over the sand hills.

    Maz got I'll with food/stomach bug that forced him to pop into hospital for the amazingly painful cramps and kind of lost a bit of the day but Pasquale managed to get a second ride on the dunes and take some wonderful pictures.

    Rosy discovered some really sweet desserts and took advantage of that (let's see if the ones she's bought to bring back make it all the way to Milan) and could not stop laughing when riding the buggies (she peed a little too) -can't wait to take this girl onto some rollercoaster).

    All in all an awesome place. First use of the go pro for Maz with some mixed results, will get better and post videos too.
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  • Day1

    Lima District, Peru

    August 1, 2016 in Peru

    First of our stops, after a long, hard travel we got to this massive city. Despite it not being the greatest looking city we found loads of friends in a very nice hostel, did a walking tour and learned a lot about the city and a few tips from our free guide, tried ceviche the Peruvian way (which is oh so tasty, Pasquale couldn't get enough) as well as many other local delicacies (and some less nice), got lost in the city and walked everywhere to get us started for the treks that await us.Read more

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