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Archive for July, 2008

So how’s that for a rather ambiguous title to this post?  Let me explain.  The reason it’s the 1st is because, well, it’s the 1st itinerary we’ve published here.  The reason it’s official is because we do have an official booking of the trip outside of the initial flight, so we’re locked into 4 days of our year long journey.  The reason it’s tentative is because we have only booked a 4 day trek, and we are going to be gone for a year, so this will change many times I’m sure.  But the basics should remain the same.  So here goes.

So we’ve had a lot of trouble trying to figure out where to go and when.  There are a TON of different things to consider when planning a trip of this magnitude.  High and low seasons, rainy and dry seasons, monsoon season, holidays, festivals, etc., etc.

We’ve obviously known since last December (when we booked our one and only flight) that we were starting in Lima, Peru.  But that was it.  We have had sooooo many conversations about where we would go next.  One of the things we both looked forward to about this trip is that we don’t want to have a concrete plan.  But we do need to book a few things in advance, mainly hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.  We also need to consider the Christmas holidays as South America is mostly Catholic, December and January is summertime, and most of the continent travels around that time, making everything more crowded and expensive.

So after much discussion, we had to make a decision.  If we were going to hike the Inca Trail in October or November, we had to get it booked as they were running out of spots (the Peruvian government only issues so many permits per day to hike the trail, and you must have a permit and go with a tour company to hike it).  So we decided that this was going to be one of the first things we do.

So we booked the Inca Trail, departing November 5 for a four day hike through the Andes past Incan ruins to the grandaddy of them all; Machu Picchu.  So now we have at least a direction that we will be going, and we can start to at least get an idea on a plan of attack.

So here’s the current tentative (very tentative) plan:

October 15:  Depart St. Louis

October 16:  Arrive in Lima

We will have 3 weeks to get to Cusco, Peru for the start of our trek.  It takes somewhere around 14-20 hours to get to Cusco from Lima by bus (yes, there’s a 6 hour difference in possible times it will take to get there, so I’m probably in for a rude awakening considering I’ve bitched having to wait 15 minutes for the MetroLink before).  My wife is insistent upon spending some time in Lima and enjoying it despite all the negative reviews we’ve read about the city, so stay tuned for our Lima update in October.  One of us will may be gloating about who was right.

We don’t really have any specific plans on what we will see on our way to Cusco.  We may go straight there and then head south before coming back for the Inca Trail trek, we may stay in Cusco and take Spanish classes, who knows?

After Machu Picchu, we will most likely head south toward the Lake Titicaca (chuckle chuckle) area on the border of Bolivia and Peru.

We have a general plan after that, but nothing’s certain.  But here’s the tentative schedule of countries we’ll be in and must-sees:

October/November-Peru (Machu Picchu, maybe Colca Canyon, maybe the Nazca Lines)

November/December-Bolivia (Lake Titicaca, La Paz, the salt flats)

December/January/February-Argentina (Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, Patagonia)

February/March-Ecuador (Galapagos-hopefully-this is such a dilemma because it’s something we both really want to see, but we’ll probably spend the same in 10 days as we would in 1 month + in other areas, so we’ll see)

March/April-Colombia – This is a new addition to the list, so we really haven’t done a whole lot of research yet on specifics of what we want to see.  Most people are going to freak out when they see this on the list based on what you see on the news, but we have researched quite a bit about safety in Colombia, and the country really has turned the corner over the last several years.  It’s quite safe if you are smart, and luckily for us, we are both very smart.  And since most people cringe when they think of traveling to Colombia, it’s still off the radar for many travelers, making it cheaper.  But that is all changing as most people realize that Colombia is a safe and beautiful country to travel in.

After that it’s off to SE Asia, and we have absolutely no clue what will happen there.  We will have a ton of research to do for that portion of the trip.  But the general idea is to go to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, maybe some islands in the S. Pacific, then to India, but not necessarily in that order.

We also have some other big news regarding Megan’s job, but I’ll let her tell that in a future post.  Until then, so long, and we’ll keep you updated on any future plans or happenings.

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So we got our final round of shots yesterday.  10 total shots, 5 a piece.  3 in both our right arms and 2 in both our left arms.  Still a little sore a day later, but at least I know I’m safe from Hepatitus A and B, Polio, Tetanus and Diptheria, Yellow Fever, and Typhoid (not necessarily true with the typhoid as there’s still a 20% chance of contracting it-yeh).

And we got all of those at the bargain price of $577.  Wooohooooo, who doesn’t love paying 600 bucks to get stuck in the arm 5 times?  But at least we’re safe from several different exotic diseases, albeit only 80% safe from typhoid.  Seriously, could they not figure out the other 20%?  I’m quite perplexed by this phenomenon that one can only be safe 80% of the time after a vaccination.  Isn’t that the point of a vaccination?  Isn’t a vaccine by definition supposed to protect you from that disease (actually, the definition is “any preparation used as a preventive inoculation to confer immunity against a specific disease”)?  Sorry, I’m an English teacher, so my dorkiness comes out from time to time.  Not often, but sometimes.  Oh well, I digress.

We are getting closer and closer with each day.  For me, it’s a little more real because I’m not working at my career anymore since I’m a teacher.  For my wife, she still has to go to her real job (not that my job isn’t real, Dad).  We have also been trying to actually make some real preparations for the trip.

As of now, we only have our first plane ticket purchased.  The plan for this trip is not to have a plan, but we do need to make some exceptions.  For instance, we need to decide on when to hike Machu Picchu because it books up so far in advance, and we have had trouble agreeing on when would be best to do this (we decided, kind of, on October 29, but we still haven’t booked it, so it’s not quite official).  We also want to try to figure out where we’re going to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve since it’s such a busy time across South America and things book up so quickly.  Not having much luck there, either, but we have narrowed it down to Rio de Janiero and Buenos Aires (we think).

So while nothing new has been cemented in stone (besides our so called vaccinations), we continue to think and talk about this trip on a daily basis.  We even have thought about the possibilities of moving it up a month because we’re (and by we’re, I mean I’m) getting a little impatient.  I don’t think that’s gonna be a possibility without costing a whole bunch of money though.

Hopefully we’ll actually make some decisions soon, so until then……….

105 DAYS UNTIL DEPARTURE (I can’t believe we’re almost in double digits!!!!!)

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