We are all earthlings

Hey!

Another funny but also insightful story from Samaipata:

During our time there we met an interesting person from Germany. She was a transgender that has been living in Bolivia for a year and a bit now. She didn’t really have an easy time there. Learning Spanish is not her strength I guess, and immigration’s have been harder than expected. But proud she told us that the energy from El Fuerte would help her out and that’s why she stayed here. Probably also because there are so many travelers all the time. :-)

One thing that she said made me think about a specific topic from a completely different side: I have always had this opinion that being respectful and understandable is a necessity when going to another country, especially when the country was poorer than mine. That it was crucial to adjust to what the locals expect from you. Indeed, this makes all travels easier in any case.

What this woman said however, is in some way also true. Read More »

Are you a tourist or a traveler?

You probably don’t even have to get out of your home town to meet most of the different kinds of travelers. There are selfie-tourists, the extremely culture-savvy tourists, the “hippies”, the luxury travelers, the nature adventurers. And a lot more. Especially Peru being a big destination for all kinds of people – rich and not so rich – we met a whole bunch of different people, some only spending a week escaping from their busy routines at home and others who are in their third (!) year of traveling the Americas. I think getting to know every single person inspired me and boyfriend so much and meeting new people, like-minded or not, is one of the best parts of traveling.

After all I noticed some conflicts or rather differences of opinion between the groups of travelers. Somehow, each group is looking down on the others in some form.Read More »

Sharing a ride with a 40-something truck driver

When we made our way to Cuevas we stopped a truck by the street that would take us with him to the nature reserve a few kilometers down the road. (Yep, it is like hitchhiking, but they will usually expect some money!) He was really interested in us and asked questions about where we were from, how much money we need for our travels, how much things cost in Europe, what the weather was like, and so on.

He also told us a lot about himself – he drove a truck from Potosí to Santa Cruz and back. It would take him a few days. His wife was back home in Potosí and had a small kiosk, she had to take care of. He said it was not possible for them to live off just of his salary, so she had to find something to do for her. He said people in Bolivia wouldn’t earn a lot of money, only those that went to school and would now sit in an office.Read More »

One day in the biggest city of Bolivia

Most people might have not even heard of this place before, at least I haven’t before even entering Bolivia – Santa Cruz de la Sierra. It is with over 1.5 million people the biggest city of Bolivia and located in the East right before entering the jungle on either side but the West. The name means Holy Cross of the Mountains which doesn’t really make sense to me because it’s more a selva-place (jungle). It is a surprisingly modern city, clearly influenced by nearby Argentina and Brazil, and also serves as industrial hot spot of Bolivia. We haven’t really thought about visiting it but as we arrived with the night bus at 7 am it gave us plenty of time to stroll around in the center and just enjoy a relaxing Sunday there before continuing our trip.Read More »

Long-distance bus disasters

Long-distance buses are essential for traveling South America. They’ll take you anywhere! It will take you a few hours, sometimes more, sometimes less, but you will get there eventually. Since we landed in Lima in the middle of January those buses were the only way we made it from A to B, not always comfortable but reasonably priced and (almost) always there when you need them. When you look at the continent of South America it might seem small because countries are so big and spread out. To take you from Lima to Cusco for example will take you around 22 hours and that being on a good road. So we’ve gotten pretty used to spending good amounts of time on buses and even came to like it. Everything that is under 6 hours actually seems to be a short time of traveling. Darn, that will be a big change coming back to Europe and realizing that everything is so close!Read More »

What is different about South American countries?

Hey guys!

I am back in English. The last two posts were in German and I kind of enjoyed writing in my mother tongue. You can let me know below, what you prefer?! But here we go with what I have to say for today:

You know that feeling when somebody is generalizing places like Europe and you are just thinking to yourself “Well, Europe is much more than just one thing!” But to be honest I often do the same thing with Africa or Asia, but even Eastern Europe. It’s because I haven’t really been to any of these regions, and I think that’s a normal behavior if you are not familiar with the distinct countries. You might have heard some clichés or preconceptions and that’s what you go with. The same applied for me when I was thinking about South America. There are a couple of countries, but they are pretty much the same, right?

Of course traveling here taught me otherwise.Read More »

Die Hoffnung noch nicht aufgegeben

Im letzten Post habe ich erwähnt, dass wir uns ein bisschen außerhalb der „Touri-Gegend“ aufgehalten haben und eine grandiose Landschaft erleben durften, und dass es einem manchmal die Lebenseinstellung völlig auf den Kopf stellt, wenn man sich aus seinem Alltag raustraut. Hier ein weiteres Beispiel, das sogar mit diesem Tag zusammenhängt.

Eine kleine Vorgeschichte:Read More »

Ab vom Schuss

Unverhofft kommt oft – so heißt ein Sprichwort, das wohl auf diesen Tag komplett zutrifft: Da mein Freund und ich eher Natur- als Stadtmenschen sind, wollten wir aus Potosi raus, um uns die Landschaft anzuschauen. Empfohlen vom „Tourismusbüro“ fuhren wir in ein Tal, wo es angeblich nach einer kurzen Wanderung eine Lagune names Ojo del Inka („Auge des Inka“) mit heißen Quellen geben sollte. Man könnte auch ein bisschen durch die Dörfer spazieren. Nach einer halben Stunde colectivo-Fahrt kamen wir in einem kleinen Dorf an, keiner hatte eine Ahnung wo wir hinwollten aber das Dorf war übersäht mit einem halben Dutzend Thermalbädern. Nicht wirklich das, was wir suchten. Read More »

Culture shock in South America

I always thought culture shock was something absurd. I knew I wouldn’t always agree with everything I encounter in a new and different country and that there will be things to frustrate me. It had never gone that far so I would call it a culture shock but this time it hit me – a little harder. It may be that all the other times before, I haven’t gone out too far of my comfort zone and stayed or moved to places with similar backgrounds, cultures, values and customs. There wasn’t that much of a change from home. Or it can be that I expected a lot of my travels through South America, I hoped them to be perfectly relaxing and easy and to be fun and games, always. Which was not so much the case.Read More »