Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Man Down, BA, Rapa Nui

Hello readers (if there still are any). Hope everyone had a fantastic Easter, non-believers included. Just wanted to give everyone an update since its been over a month now. Mike is now back in San Fran, attempting to reprogram his brain into leading a more standard life, good luck with that buddy. Alex and I are down south in Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire), a title that baffles me since all I see is snow. We will tour the area for several wks and then head back to BA where we will continue to maintain our vampiric lifestyles before returning home. I will be quickly turning back around however, now that I have made the decision with some helpful parental prodding to learn Spanish and evolve.

I must mention my week furlough to Easter Island with our good English friend, Peter Bannister, who gave me the idea for this unplanned side trip back in Colombia. He and I met up in the Santiago Airport and spent 8 days in the most isolated, inhabited island in the world. Quick tip: for those who ever go, 5 days is more than enough time, since by the end of your stay all you do is burn through cash buying food and trinkets. I did have one solid effort in producing my Mom´s famous pasta sauce, which our fellow hostel guests lapped up (out of the pot) due to its awesomeness. Other than checking out the sweet Moai statues, volcanoes, and diving, there is little else to do. When the time came to leave neither Bannister or myself were hanckering for more time. We seperated on the mainland, Pete staying in Santiago to continue south in Chile, myself heading back to BA to regroup with the boys. I managed to get back just in time to celebrate Mike´s sendoff, which consisted of many drinks and clubs.

The following days Alex and I chose to divide and conquer. Alex staying in his cozy palace, the Torino household, taking in a bit of the posh life for the first time of the trip while I stayed in a hostel in Palermo. We were in BA for about 5 days before we made our way south where we are now trying to see as much as possible before fall starts turning into winter. Next stop for me is Punta Arenas, Alex is heading to Torres del Paine with Bannister for some hiking and scenery, I just hope that there is some good scenery for them other than grey skies and poor vistas. I will be straying away from the whole roughing it track, instead holing up in the heated hostels of the many cool, rough-edged towns of southern South America. If any one has ideas of good spots let us know. We probably won´t team back up until Puerto Natales for the ferry ride north to Puerto Montt, but ya never know.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Is there anybody out there!?

Group shot at Macchu Picchu:
Alex at Macchu Pichu:
Cuzco Peru:Logan in the back of a pickup truck in Ica Peru:

Our last moments with Richard the Great:

Alex at his volunteer program:

Having a beer in Cuzco:


Long time, no speaky. Very sorry, but I will try to fill in the gaps below.
Anyways, we just arrived into San Pedro de Attacama (Northern Chile, desert oasis) after an intense 24 hours of buses and borders. Despite the lack of sleep we are all in good spirits, though it appears Senor Henkes has acquired some type of Peruvian cold. Its fitting that someone had to get sick atleast one more time in order to fulfill my Foreigner Peru Illness Theory which goes, all foreigners will become ill 1x per week in Peru due to sanitation faults and poor social hygiene (unless you are a Wilson which means you are invincible). God bless Peru, it is a truly beautiful place with wonderful people, but, I am somewhat jaded cus' I was sick 80% of the time. Anyways, we spent 3 weeks in Cuzco doing volunteer work (I at a juvenille prison, Alex at an afterschool program, Logan at various restaurants and museums). We all had good experiences and though volunteering may be a self gratifying endeavour, I think we each gave something positive back. Last weekend was spent in Macchu Picchu which we all found to be a truly beautiful and epic place - I strongly suggest you check it out if possible. Alex/I checked out a soccer game (Cuzco vs. somewhere) which was a good game for the locals because Cuzco won 2 - 1. We also ended up doing some off-roading adventures through the Andes which was also incredible (I will spare the parents any details and suspense).

We will be here until Tuesday and then off to Salta Argentina for the final leg of the trip (for me atleast). Alex has extended his trip until the end of May as he is planning an amazing trek through Torres del Pines (a beautiful national park in Chile/Arg). Logan is off to Easter Island with our new friend Richard Bannister March 24th and then meeting back up with Alex for the trek further south. As for me, I will be in the BA area for 2 weeks and then back to reality early early April.
I hope you all are well and like the pictures.

The Richards

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Worst Week Ever

To all who have been following this you probably know that I am a rabid fan of the Cardinals of Arizona, so watching them lose the big one was none too pleasant of an experience for yours truely. We found ourselves at the Peruvian beachside wasteland of Puerto Chicama for the game, home of the longest, left-breaking wave in the world per Lonely Planet (actually incorrect since its in Brazil but whatever). It was there where my dreams disintergrated into a million little shards, just like the glass door of the hotel I slammed where we watched the game (also not true since it didn´t break into pieces, but it needed replacing nonetheless). Fortunately, I was on a beach in freakin´ Peru so it made my despair vanish much quicker than had I been back home.

Now, for the next phase of this godforsaken week. From Puerto Chicama, we headed along the coast, trying to get as close to Lima as possible without having to actually stay there. And wouldn´t you know it, we achieved our goal, but with only one tiny problem, wait let me rephrase that, one pretty major problem. The car, that Mike and others have so fondly retitled the ¨Richard Mobile¨, overheated outside the small town of Huacho while I was driving, adding greater insult to injury from the night before. So, luckily for us, people came to our aid, as they tend to do in these parts (handouts being a forgone conclusion). After 10 minutes of towing the car to the center of town to a parking garage we sought shelter, hoping that there would be a solution to our car problems the following day. The next day was spent at the mechanics addressing the situation. They assured us that with certain repairs that the car was fixable and could get us to our destination of Cuzco, 11,000 feet above sea level. That, of course was complete bologne, seeing how it only made it to the town of Ica, roughly 5 hrs later, before our next encounter with an engine that was no longer up to the task. Again, another nice man came to our rescue and towed us into the center of town where we were now ready to part ways with the car and get whatever money we could for it. Unfortunately, in Peru the only way for us to sell the car is under the table and the best deal that was presented to us was for roughly $900 US. In the end, we decided to do the right thing and simply donate the car to a local church where it was now to become their problem. We boarded a bus later that night, which would take 16 hrs to get us to our destination.

The bus didn´t come without its problems. Warning: those with weak stomachs turn your attention elsewhere until the end of this paragraph. No more than, I don´t know, lets say a couple hours, an unkown person contaminated the rear of the bus, with you guessed it, their rear. Our seats, Alex getting the worst of it, were either just in front of or ajacent to the bathroom emanating a foulness that can only be compared to Satan´s Ninth Circle of Hell. So with 14 hrs to go and the added delight of getting to watch the worst Steven Seagal movie ever made (at full blast) I began to think that a mutiny was just moments away. Eventually our sheer exhaustion got the best of us and we fell asleep, some better than others. We arrived in Cuzco close to on time and proceeded to debark as quickly as possible. I made my move quite hastily, and as a result, a terrible mistake was made. Whether it was from being so tired, sore, pissed off, or intoxicated from the gastro-intestinal fumes I had been breathing upwards of half a day, I accidentally left my DVD case on board, which also contained every one of my ticket stubs from all the museums, ruins, and other noteworthy things that we had done up to this point on the trip, all of which I had been saving to frame one day as a keepsake. After about a 10 minute bug out session, I attempted to track the case down at the bus station to no avail.

The one consolation prize to all this heartache is that we are now in the former Incan Capital/Mountain Paradise of Cuzco deep within the Andes. Things could be worse, for one, I might not even be getting to undertake the experience of a lifetime with good friends at my side had I not made a phone call one day or a myriad of other factors not taken place. One thing is for sure, the trivial things will be forgotten or just remembered for what they are, trivial, while the memories, sights, people, and comraderie will never be forgotten because of the power they possess over one´s soul. Sorry to end with such a cheesy anectdote, but its the truth. Peace out!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Todo Bien, Todo Bien

Hi everybody-

Just a quick update, we are in Medellin Colombia home (at some point in time) to some noteworthy figures such as Pablo Escobar, Juanes Botero and others. We arrived here on the 16th of January from Cartagena after an exhaustive albeit beautiful drive. We are in good spirits, the car is running smoothly and life is good. The next stop will Guatape, Cali, Popayan, and then Ecuador!

I am going to try and be more illustrative about whats been happening since Costa Rica using pictures, so here I go (and not in order of country)...

This is a picture of where Alex/I spent Christmas in Panama (Santa Catalina), my tent is on the right while Henkes's is on the left:
Add ImageHere is a great picture of the Panama Canal from a look-out tower my mother/I climbed. To get a sense for how big the canal is please note that the ship moving down the middle is actually a Cruise ship:
This is a picture of my mother/I just outside an indigenous Indian village (South Central Panama):

This is a picture of me charming one of those Indians:

Here is a picture of an insane looking spider that pitched its enormous web just above Logan's bed (the spider had a 5 inch diameter and the pic was taken in Costa Rica):
This is an Owl Butterfly I encountered in Panama:

The following are various pictures of us in Cartagena, Colombia. Cartagena was, in my opinion, one of the greatest places visited thus far. I urge you all to check it out...

We hope you are well. Much love.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Logans Panama Blog

Hello to all. Much of everything has been outlined from Mikes previous post, but I figured I would add my comments. First and foremost, I just want to say how awesome it was to witness the Cards victory over the Falcons with Mike and Alex at the sports bar at the Marriott in town, hopefully my wish will come true and the Gboys and the Cards will meet during the NFC Championship game, providing the three of us with a great opportunity for trash talking. But now to why I am writing. Mike and Alex were forced to seperate with me before my arrival to Panama, and because of that we have maintained a steady stretch of a lack of togetherness. I have been spending a majority of time in the El Congrejo part of town while Mike and Alex have been keeping Casco Viejo under lockdown at Lunas Castle. Much of this was the result of my gfriend visiting with me for 9 days and my belief that Mike and Alex didnt want to interfere with our affairs, which is understandable. As a result, Tori and I spent a wonderful time doing all the touristy things. Namely a stroll through Casco Viejo, Panama Viejo, the Causeway, and especially the Canal. We had a splendid time which can be viewed in the attached photogs.

On a more sour not, Tori and I had to part ways prior to New Years and we were not able to bring in the New Year with the kind of style I would have enjoyed. Instead I was left to wander the streets of the city alone, all the while looking for the action that never seemed to present itself. It was quite lonely searching out a fun crowd to party with only to come to the realization that it was not where I was looking. I ended up finding myself at the casino near my hotel where I managed to salvage what was left of my night, playing craps with a bunch of other lonely, degenerates until 5 am. Mike and Alex probably enjoyed there last day of the year more since they were on a party bus organized by their hostel, only problem, mostly dudes and unsightly chicas were onboard from the photos I saw.

Now I stand here, writing this with a mere couple of days before we depart to the unkown beyond of Colombia. It should be either the most eye opening portion of the trip thus far or the quickest thing we would like to forget. Either way it will be something to remember. Please keep us all in your thoughts as we embark on the biggest unkown of the trip up to this point. I wish everyone back home a happy holidays and the start of a new year that will hopefully be more promising than the one we are leaving behind. Cheers.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Panama and on and on

Hello everybody,

Again, sorry for the delay! We are in Panama City and are currently trying to figure out the car shipping situation and I am spending time with my mother.

Since our last entry much has transpired. From Samarra Costa Rica we headed south to Mal Pais/St.Theresa, a town inhabited primarily by surfers and hippies. Nothing really noteworthy took place here aside from catching some pretty good waves and after 4 days we became bored and decided to head inland to San Jose so that Logan could catch a flight to meet up with his girlfriend in Panama City. San Jose is a nondescript place - dirty, loud, and full of lecherous folk (prostitution is legal in CR) so you aren't missing much unless Vegas is simply not enough. After dropping Logan off at the airport, Alex and I headed to Manuel Antonio with a Oregonian friend acquired at the hostel in San Jose and had a great couple of days hiking/swimming, playing gin rummy, and drinking beers. While in Manuel Antonio hiking, we came across a large contingent of howler monkees that had been somewhat human-socialized (Alex will be posting pictures of this encounter shortly). We also spotted a handful of other noteworthy creatures such as Sloths, upright standing lizards, birds with big beaks, gigantic hamster-esque rodents, and day walking racoons who were employed in thievery!

Costa Rica is definitely the most touristy of the various central American countries visited thus far- and as a result is also probably the most modernized. However, despite lacking in wandering giant pigs (Guatemala), obstacle like speed bumps (Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras), dollar magnetized police check points (everywhere but CR), and 3 legged hairless dogs (everywhere but CR) we ended up having the day from hell in this modernized/tourist charged paradise. The date was December 20th and started off with a modest whiskey induced hangover that made me believe we needed to go to the Osa Pennisula (Bahia Drake) and ended with our vessel trapped in limbo in the middle of a river, two flat tires, and absolutely nowhere to sleep. Alex will upload pictures of the day so you can project, but I will simply follow that it was a very long/expensive 2 days which felt more like 2 weeks. Nonetheless, the 2 flats forced us to revamp the car (now fondly named "Richard" in honor of our friends, the Carroll brothers, dog Richard) with monster Pirelli ATR Scorpions. I dare the roads of South America to 'front on our spokes' (2Short) - Richard eats potholes for breakfast.

You ask what our Xmas was like? Alex/I spent it eating beans out of a can, surfing for 7 hours, playing dominoes and sleeping under a canopy of palm trees, stars and constellations in Santa Catalina. It was a very hearthy xmas.

By early next week we will be in Cartagena Colombia and as always 'trying to get in where we fit in' (2short). Much love.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mike from Costa Rica

I never realized how difficult surfing, reading, relaxing and BBQ'ing can be on an individual! We are in Costa Rica (the Samara area, Pacific Coast) staying at a friends house overlooking the ocean - incredible views. Below are some random photo's of the group in Honduras/Nicaragua/Costa Rica as well as some new friends. I hope you like them.

We are going to be doing some volunteer work for a couple of weeks in Colombia, if you are interested in learning more about it email me.

Anyways, I hope you are well. We are fine.



Friday, November 28, 2008

Random Blog From Logan

Hey everyone, greetings from Leon, Nicaragua. We are in a great hostel called Lazy Bones and will most likely be chillin for a few days. If things go as planned we will be hitting up some volcanoes manana, potentially even skiing or boarding down the molten ash, should be sweet if it happens. Hope everyone had a great Turkey Day. We got to have a vegetarian one, spaghetti bolognese with soy, which is sort of an oxymoron from what we´re used to in the states. I can´t think of any time that I didn´t have a fat turkey leg in my hand since birth on that magical third Thursday of every November.
A brief update of what has happened. We left Guatamala for Honduras near Puerto Barrios with only minor issues. From there we headed to La Ceiba on the coast of Honduras, where Henkes & Seeley picked up two, small classical guitars to replace the progressively deteriorating other two. While in La Ceiba we got to see Quantum of Solace, pretty good, and planned on heading to the Bay Islands, namely Roatan the following day. Before this happened though, both Mike & Alex proceeded to get violently ill from the always reliable, Applebees. Fortunately for myself, I avoided this disaster since it turned out both of them got Ecoli from eating something there that I did not partake of. Mike and I ended up leaving for the island ourselves, leaving Alex to recoup his strength in the hostel with the plan to have him meet us there when he got to feeling better (sorry Mrs. Henkes). Later that day in Roatan is when it caught up to Mike and he had to go to the hospital in town to get back to feeling better. Being tip-top, I proceeded to go out to find a good bar to watch the Honduras v Mexico game, which Honduras won 1-0. There was a great party celebrating the victory and I definitely embibed way too much. I ended up getting to know a few locals there and went to one guys house to chill out before heading to the dance club. While there, things got a little sketchy as the owner started doing massive amounts of cocaine from the end of a dinner fork in the kitchen as countless other guys kept coming over looking to score some for themselves. Turns out I managed to make friends with the local drug lord, which probably explains why he had such a nice place. Anyway, we ended up leaving there after 30 min or so and went to the dance club where it was 80´s night and I managed to snake away from the drug czar as quckly as I could, not wanting to be associated with their wackness. I met some other people and hung out with them until I could no longer see straight. I stumbled home and passed out, the following day being spent nursing my hangover.
Nothing much else happened in Roatan, it rained every day. I did go Scuba Diving, which was cool. We met some more cool travellers, namely Natalie from Bristol England and Lisa from Atlanta, GA but living in Miami. We left Roatan after 5 days or so, the final day being spent watching the overrated Giants defeat the Cardinals. After getting back to Ceiba from Roatan we headed out the next morning at the but crack of dawn to get to the Nicaraguan border, which we managed to do. One hiccup happened while crossing the border. Since we didnt have any money other than my travellers checks, I used one to exchange with one of the guys who deals in money transfers. He gave me a terrible exchange rate and what made it worse is that I had to write my passport number on the back of the check. Fearing identity theft I chose to put down a fake number, not a smart idea. After handing him the check he pestered me to show him my passport so he could verify what I wrote down. I refused, so he got the chief border official to get it from me, and after he saw it, he said some things in Spanish that made me thin kI could be headed for a jail cell. Fortunately, Mike calmed everyone down, I got another check for the same amount and wrote the passport number down with them watching. We proceeded to get the hell out of dodge and stayed the night in Chinandega. The next couple days were spent on the beach in northern Nicaragua where we ate our vegetarian Thanksgiving. Bringing us to here, Leon, where we plan on enjoying the party scene this weekend, hoping for more good stories.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Living La Vida Loca

Hi -

Sorry for the delay for those of you tracking us, life on the road Add Imagehas distracted us from taking an active interest in relaying our experiences back to you - even though we miss you all. So far things have gone smoothly ie: no major heists, police bribes, debaucherous events etc. . From Mexico City we headed south to Chicahau and then to Porto Escondido where we made a few noteworthy friends (pictured below) and immersed ourselves in varying degrees of hearthdom. After 5 days in that area we headed northeast through the Yucatan (San Cristobal, Palenque, and Chetumal). From Chetumal we headed south into Belize to a town called Dangriga and from Dangriga to Key Whipray off the southern coast of Belize near Placencia. The key was an exceptional experience as I was attacked by a hostile needle fish which, irritated by my fishing lure firmly hooked in its mouth, decided revenge on my leg and hand was necessary (unfortunately he suffered a worse fate). After our time on the key we promply sped off to Guatemala and here I am writing you from Tical.

On a final note, I'd like to give a shout out to my Belgium brother Matt, nice barrel bro, his girlfriend Camille, Sabrina, Charlie and Kyla, and Sev. We miss you guys.

And everybody back home, we miss you too.