First off, I completely forgot to mention a little side trip that I took in Huaraz, Peru. My main focus, in the last post, was to establish the immense amount of pain that filled my body and tearing it to pieces at the moment. Thinking solely of this end, and consumed by the immense discomfort that I was attempting to describe, I failed to acknowledge a little side trip that I took while in Huaraz before my misery in the mountains began. My apologies.

Upon the first five minutes of entering the city of Huaraz, I was lured into the office of some Peruvian businessmen (generally not to be trusted) that promised to deliver a tour for the day after next. This was the only criteria that I required to be satisfied in the deal (aside from hiking boots) and was the major selling point of our negotiations. Well, as it turns out and somehow I find myself saying unsurprisingly, my tiny Peruvian friend Richard failed to deliver. Not being one for confrontation, but also being one for honesty and responsibility,  I implored my humble salesmen to compensate for not upholding his end of the bargain. Begrudgingly, with a hard push from my end and a firm stance that his mistake was something for which he should be responsible, Richard saw the error of his ways and opted to offer an activity to do in the time period while I waited. Score: Will 1 – Richard 0.

In all honesty, the details are still a bit sketchy on where I went. I know it´s name was Chavin de Huantar, and it´s a world historic site of great significance for Incan culture, but it´s percise location geographically I have no idea. Being a gift, I had very little choice over what I was going to do but was fully committed to enjoying myself while there. A positive mindframe, and a willingness to explore, landed me on a bus heading into the country side with around 30 other Peruvians. We drove for around 3 hours to a site that is speculated to have been formed around 900 B.C., during which it became clear to myself and everyone else there that I was the only foreigner in the group. I rather enjoyed myself, rising to the challenge of an all Spanish tour guide, and took in the views. Here are some of the best photos I got:

A lagoon that our group passed on our way to Chavin, not too shabby to start off with especially in a free tour,

One of the many Jesus statues that hid amongst the hills, this being a symbol of great significance in two regards: 1. It exemplifies the current religion of the entire region, and nearly 90% of Peru, upon first sight 2. It demonstrates the transition from the Incan dieties to the present reign of Catholicism that has occurred over the past few centuries (sidenote: this also happened to be an ¨action shot¨ – one that was taken on the move inside the vehicle – something I generally prefer not to do),

A present day remodeling of the historic site, obviously scaled down for practical purposes,

A tablet created by the Incans at some time before the birth of Christ, which was then used (if I understood correctly) by some foreign lord and his family for a few hundred years as their dinner table,

A view of the steps that surrounded the main market area, plus the strikingly green mountains in the background,

A photo capturing some more of the landscape and partially reconstructed buildings that stood in the same exact location long ago,

The rock pile marking the entrance into the main temple,

The exterior of the temple, whereby the hole on the right hand side was the space for their sundial and the left remnants of the original building. Other information to be included with this photo is that when this was taken, our tour guide suggested that the temple was more likely made by extra terrestrials than humans, without any conclusive evidence to defend such a statement – which coincided with my abrupt transition from paying attention to the words that were being spoken to just snapping away recklessly with my camera,

This structure,¨The Lanzón¨, was the purpose of our visit. It is meant  to respresent the supreme diety, a blend of man with various animals on an obelisk, of the Chavin people,

I liked the way the light was hitting this bush as it rested above the site, so I decided to take a photo (side note: this also happened to be within the time frame where I was no longer paying attention to the tour guide),

A face on the outside of the main temple, who is meant to watch over those who enter and pass by,

Well that´s it for the Chavin de Huantar. I hope this shed some light on a subject that remains relatively unknown to many people. A fun, friendly activity to pass a day away, one that left me with more questions than answers on a very important topic in Incan history. Now, a few words in regard to Ecuador.

If you had ever wondered why the United States never really used the one dollar coins, or where all that extra money we have printed over the past year has gone because it doesn´t appear to be exchanging hands within the USA and our own businesses, look no further than Ecuador. The domestic currency is the lovely greenback from the United States, the $1.00 dollar bill commonly substituted with the Sacajawea (I currently have one from 2000 in my possession, who even knew they were still being made in 2000? ), the humidity something equivalent to Florida during the summer time, Guayaquil, Ecuador is breath of smoltering hot air compared to the cool, crisp beaches of northern Peru from which I came.  Reminscent of home in numerous regards, the most overwhelming being the currency and comparable prices for goods, this country has treated me well since my arrival. The journey from Trujillo to Guayaquil was long, nearly nearly 19 hours total, but definitely worth the pain I incurred while still overcoming the morbid state of my body. As I am sitting down right now and writing this blog, I have in my possession a round trip ticket to the Galapagos Islands that was purchased in person this morning at the Guayaquil International Airport . My flight departs at 9:10 AM tomorrow morning, not scheduled to return until the 7th of June, and will probably be one of the best trips in which I partake during my lifetime. A fourteen day period, one that is much longer than I anticipated and likely to be shorter than scheduled, as my itinerary can be altered much more easily if my return flight is booked on a later date rather than earlier to avoid the  U$D 25 fee associated with changing my flight if I am going to miss it, I am the most excited for this next portion of my South American journey than I have been for anything else in a long time. All I can think about right now are the Giant Tortoise, Galapagos Sharks, Penguins, and Frigate Birds who will be walking about as I become acquainted with the land that Bishop of Panama made famous in the 16th century,  followed by Darwin´s newsworthy expedition in the 19th.  Natural selection being the result of its insanely diverse animal life, the Galapagos present the opportunity to fulfill one of my childhood dreams:  To have a first person interaction with the animal that tormented my elementary biology classes, the Blue Footed Booby. This will be the long awaited confrontation, something that has taken years upon years to materialize, and will most likely see itself through 36 hours. It has been a long time since my dreams of becoming a marine biologist died away, but I still like to think of myself as a ¨scientific mind¨ of sorts, one that will certainly appreciate the beautiful animals that reside on the Islands, their lovely habitat, and manage to absorb all that will be offered I am there (without the sketches or detailed explanation of each animal´s parts and functions. I´m not looking to get too scientific, of course).  I plan on taking lots of photos, lots of notes in order to recount the adventure after I return, and to post sometime while I am there before I jump on a boat to do a tour (no definitive promises can be made on the last point, unfortunately). Until then,  God speed and I wish you well.

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