September 27, 2007

¡Estamos en Peru!

Filed under: Culture,General — mmrobins @ 1:05 pm

Kim and I arrived in Lima two days ago. The first night we got in a little after 8PM so we didn’t do much before going to bed, just walked around a little. Our first hostal was called Inkawasi even though we meant to go to Inka Lodge. This mistake happened because I made our reservation from our South America guide book and we used our Peru specific guidebook to find the hostal the night we arrived and just picked the closest name. It all turned out okay and we didn´t even realize it until we had spent two nights. Ha ha.

We mostly walked around Miraflores the first day. The coolest part was the cliffs along the ocean looking out into the greyness. Lima is constantly under a cloud during every season except summer (it’s early spring here now), so it’s not really all that warm here. I’ve had to switch over to pants, a jacket and shoes after so long in shorts and flip flops. We’ve been eating at the vegetarian restaurants in the guidebook and I’m sure Kim will have full reviews of them on her blog :-) It’s been very good and we just had mushroom ceviche.

We also went to a film that was all in Spanish called “Los Borgia” and barely could understand the dialogue. We doing pretty well with our Spanish in conversations that we’re involved in, but it’s going to be a while before we can understand other people’s conversations since they’re often much faster and use words we probably don’t know yet. It’s fun and challenging to get back into the swing of another language.

In the evening we went to the neighborhood Barranco to a bar. There was live music which was fun. Overall the bar scene was pretty dead since it’s off season on a week night. A ten minute taxi ride there was about $2. We took the bus back which was only about 60 cents. The currency is called soles and one dollar is worth about 3 soles.

We just moved to a hostal that’s $10 per night in central Lima. We were paying $30 per night in Miraflores. I love the dollar exchange rate, even if it’s really dropped in the last few years. The architecture is much more interesting here in Central Lima and everything seems cheaper. I’m not sure why most tourists go to Miraflores. Anyway, later today we’ll probably see a museum or something and then have some pisco sours.

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, we’re in the same time zone as Eastern Standard Time, but there’s no daylight savings time down here, so we’re equal to Central Time until y’all fall back. For you west coasters, that means we’re two hours ahead of you right now and will be three hours ahead after your next time change. We have a cell phone now too, so if you want to call me feel free. I sent out the number in a mass email, but let me know if you didn’t get it and want to call.

The Rest Of Florida

September 26th, 2007
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September 17, 2007

Discovery Cove And Busch Gardens

Filed under: General — mmrobins @ 7:37 am

Kim and I flew into Orlando and her parents picked us up. After dealing with some lost baggage issues (note: US Airways was terrible in dealing with recovering our lost baggage, which happened multiple times to multiple pieces of luggage, all of it on the last leg), we went to Discovery Cove to spend a day swimming with dolphins and other sea life. This was an unexpected surprise from Kim’s parents even though Kim claims she told me we’d be doing it. It was a nice surprise either way.

Matt, Kim and Dexter the dolphin

First thing in the morning Kim and I got into an eight person to group to meet our dolphin friend Dexter. He was a three year old male dolphin and we got to learn some hand signals, give him a kiss and ride him by holding onto his front flipper and dorsal fin. Our time in the water with him was probably 40 minutes and was a blast. We learned a lot about dolphins both through the encounter and then later asking the trainers questions. Did you know dolphins get all their water from the blood of fish they eat since they don’t drink salt water? Cool, eh?

Another really cool part was feeding the sting rays. There was a pool about three feet deep full of sting rays, with their barbs removed of course, that swam around with all the people. We got handfuls of fish and got to feed the string rays, being careful not to let them mistake our thumbs for the fish. In a larger pool we got a mask and snorkel and swam with huge manta and eagle rays among a bunch of other fish. Through an underwater window we could see sharks and barracuda swimming too. We also spent some time in the aviary feeding birds.

Overall it was a great experience. I didn’t expect as much considering it’s owned by Anheuser Busch and is a bunch of animals in captivity. It was all very clean and the animals seemed well treated and got plenty of variety with Seaworld next door. The food was all included and wasn’t anything special, but they did have some decent vegetarian dishes and even were willing to accommodate vegan options.

The next day we went to Busch Gardens near Tampa since it was included with the admission to Discovery Cove. We went on 5 different roller coasters including one with a 90 degree drop. We also did a few water rides and Kim and I got drenched, which was just fine since it was plenty warm out. The park was themed like it was Africa with different sections representing different countries. They also had a bunch of African animals like elephants and rhinos. By the end of two full days of amusement parks we were pretty worn out and happy.

September 10, 2007

Washington to Connecticut

Filed under: General — mmrobins @ 6:40 am

I’ve been outta work for close to two weeks now and am loving it. So far it’s an extended vacation without that return date looming at the end. Getting moved out of our apartment was more work than expected but very rewarding. We got rid of tons of stuff and managed to fit pretty much everything we own into and 5′ x 8′ U-Haul trailer, which we drove back to my parents in Eastern Washington.

We spent about a week with my parents visiting with family and taking care of last minute details. Nathan and Katie even stopped by. I did the Rat Island Swim, and annual event that my dad and his friend Pat started and for the most part have been the only participants in :-) We didn’t have to go anywhere far from home since all the family came to visit us. It was a great chance to relax and unwind after the semi-frantic moving and goodbyeing in Seattle.

Ithaca’s Gorgeous Gorges

We went to Ithaca, New York, with Abbey over the weekend to visit Kim’s friend from high school, Karla. We had a blast seeing the gorgeous gorges and the town. We played in some waterfalls and jumped in the deep pools. For dinner we ate at Moosewood and Kim has a very detailed review of Moosewood. After dinner we went to the ABC cafe for dessert, and then to a bar to listen to live reggae and enjoy 50 something beers on tap. It poured most of the weekend there, but it sounds like everywhere in the Northeast has been needing the rain.

Now we’re in Connecticut visiting Kim’s friends and family, including some eatin at China Pan.

We’ll be off to Florida in a couple of days. Then Peru.