Monday, May 26, 2008

Recession...what Recession?

We got a call that our couch we ordered finally arrived!!! On top of that, our new mattress was delivered this week. Well, we put it in our existing bed frame (the one I had growing up) and now that we got the pillowtop it is way too big for the frame. You can hardly see the headboard anymore! :) So we decided we best go out and look for a new bedroom set...

Saturday we were at one furniture store we have been to many times, and everything on the floor you could buy for 50% off. Well, the dining room table and chairs we looked at previously were still there, so we ended up finally buying a table and chairs for our empty room! Sunday we headed out again looking for more deals and low and behold found a new bedroom set and bought that plus an armoire!

So the table and chairs will be delivered this week, the bedroom set and couch to be delivered next week! Our house is finally coming together...not too much more to buy now thank goodness! We surely are keeping people in business right now!

By the way, we celebrated 6 years of marriage by buying said furniture above, along with a bike ride (in which I received another flat tire...time to get a new tire, not just a tube), a game and a half of bocchi ball (in which I won both), plus smores, nascar and hockey. What more could you ask for! :)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Congrats Moomers!

For winning best ice cream in America (on Good Morning America)!!! If you ever visit Traverse City, Michigan be sure to stop in and get a scoop (or multiple scoops if you are me) of the best ice cream there is!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Ok, so obviously I can't post all the pictures, we took between 300-400 pictures. Here is a sample of some of my favorites, or just of the area:

The Cathedral in Lima, Peru

Traditional Peru meal: (large kernel) corn with cheese

Cliffs/Beach in Lima (like the soccer court on the beach)

View of Cusco, Peru from our hostel

Eric with the llama and girl who told him "No, Uno Sole" after he gave her only 50 cents.

More traditional food: Guinea Pig (doesn't it look good)

Main square in Cusco

The Andes on our way to Ollyambtambo

Arriving in Aqua Calientes (base of mountain where Machu Picchu is)

Obviously, you know where we are now...we are going to hike up the mountain in the backgroud

This is the view once we hiked up the mountain

Here are a few pics around Machu Picchu:

Here is Eric riding a horse for the first time on our trip around more ruins outside the city of Cusco (and then some of the ruins:

Here I am drinking the most popular soda in Peru-Inca Cola-after a long train ride and bus ride back to Cusco after Machu Picchu (it tastes like bubblegum):

Alright, I think I am done posting pictures :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Back from Peru

Well...a little update about our trip. We were suppose to head out on our 4 day hike Monday morning, but Sunday night about 2am, I came down with a serious stomach bug. It was not altitude sickness, it was a stomach bug that took its course in a matter of only a couple hours to empty out my entire insides. Needless to say there was no way I could hike, so we ended up not being able to go.

We were extremely disappointed since this is what we planned our entire trip around but oh well, what can you do. I spend all of Monday in bed while Eric ran around the town getting everything situated to get to Machu Picchu.

Tuesday we just walked around the city a little and took a short tour on a trolley. I still wasn't feeling great. Wednesday we went out for an American breakfast and had pancakes with bananas and carmel sauce before taking our taxi out to Ollyamtambo where we would catch our train to Machu Picchu. We took a more expensive train that had windows on the ceiling to we could see as much as possible and it was an awesome train ride. Only 6 people were on the train and so we were able to move around to both sides taking pictures.

We got to Aquas Calientes (20 min bus ride to Machu Picchu) and walked around the town. It is really small, bascially geared just for tourists, so just shops and restaurants. There are some hot springs there, but they didn't look very appealing-lots of dirty people trying to get clean in what they turned into little pools. We ate an awesome dinner at a little french/peruvian restaurant before heading to bed.

We woke up at 4:30am to a wake up call we didn't order but thought that maybe the treking place had made it. We ate a little breakfast and took the first bus up to Machu Picchu at 5:30. We were suppose to meet our treking group at the entrence (they had our tickets) but they didn't arrive until almost 8:00am. So we just sat around for 2 hours. But once we headed in, our whole trip turned around. Machu Picchu really was amazing. Much larger than I imagined. It was pretty amazing. We took a two hour tour of the ruins and then went over to hike up Wanyu Picchu, the mountain that is commonly seen in the backdrop of the ruins.

They only allow 400 people to hike up it, we of course didn't know how it all worked. Turns out they let 200 people in at 8:00 and 200 more in at 10:00. We got over there around 10:30 and there was a little line, turns out that we were 390 and 391 into the mountain. It was about an hour or so up the mountain that included some steep parts and really narrow stairs, but it was way worth it. The ruins were neat up there as well, hiked in part of a cave and it is just amazing how they built these ruins on the side of a mountain.

We came back and ate a little lunch before going back out on part of the Inca trail hike up to whats called the sun gate, where if we had done the hike we would have seen the ruins for the first time. It wasn't up like the other mountain, but it was a nice hike. Then came back and walked around the ruins some more before heading back down the mountain at 5pm.

The next day, I had wanted to climb another mountain that is across from the ruins, so we headed out around 9am. This hike was about an hour up, maybe 1000 feet of climbing, and parts of the hike are just ladders made of logs and nailed into the rocks. There were 250 ladder steps on the hike, and going up wasn't that bad, but come down was scary for me, just going down and seeing all the way down the mountain. It was a nice hike, hardly anyone on the train, and we spend about 45 min at the top by ourselves just enjoying the scenery. I enjoyed this part the most, just more secluded and peaceful than the chaos at Machu Picchu.

We took a train and bus back to Cusco and go back around 10pm Friday night. We had wanted to go white water rafting, but the river was low and so it wasn't recommended. Instead, Saturday we got horses and toured some ruins just outside the city with a small group of nice people and a great guide. And Sunday we took a day long tour of what is known as the Sacred Valley. We got back around 7pm and had reservations at the "best restaurant" in Cusco (which only costs like $15-20 a plate) and packed up.

It was a fun trip besides getting sick and it is disappointing not to have hiked the trail. We talked about whether we would want to go back and do the hike, but part of it was going to be seeing Machu Picchu for the first time from the trail and so we kind of ruined the ending. So we ultimately said we need to go somewhere else. We met some great people and had a great time, especially the last 4-5 days where packed and amazing. No pictures today, Eric took the camera to work, but I will post some of them tomorrow.

Here is the few of the places we are thinking about going next year: Costa Rica, Italy, Greece, Galapagos Islands

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Taxis and Altitude

Ok, so we found an internet cafe that seemed nice enough to use and really cheap. We leave tomorrow for our hike and won´t be back in a town until Friday, but here is a little update.

The flights here were fine. The overnight flight was ok, didn´t sleep all that well but alright. We got in and got through customs fine. And made our first of several scary taxi rides to our hotel which was like 30 minutes. Lima is extremely large city and not really all that nice. I was glad we didn´t stay there but 1 1/2 days. Seriously, some roads don´t have lines, some do, but if they do and say there are 3 lanes, that really means they make 4 or 5 on the road and it is just complete nonsense. That was my biggest fear any time we got in a cab was getting in an accident. There is basically no rules on the road.

Our hotel was nice and we were a close enough walk to the beach, but the beach isn´t really nice, lots of rocks. The city sits up on the cliffs and then you can look over the ocean. That was probably the nicest part. We tried a few local foods...the classic corn with cheese and a pisca sour (cocktail drink that is pure liquor). We tried going to the museum that was recommended but when we got there (after a lovely taxi ride) it was closed until June. :)

Yesterday afternoon we flew up to Cusco, now at something like 13000-14000ft. Our taxi driver was better but we hit a car trying to squeeze two lanes into one. I wouldn´t say hi, but basically rubbed sides. Quite nice. Our hotel here sits way up above the city and the first thing we were offered is the local Coca Tea which is made from coca leaves (leaves that make cocain). Basically the tea is a bunch of the leaves with hot water and is suppose to help with altitude sickness. We got settled in and walked down to the main square and walked around and made our way to dinner.

Eric after a sip of his drink felt sick and said he was going to go outside. I didn´t know that when he went out there he fainted and hit the ground. I stayed inside the restaurant for a while never knowing this till he came back in. The altitude really hit him hard and he still isn´t feeling great. I feel fine though, so I guess that is good. We were able to try a few more local things'some Andean soup and Alpaca (which we thought was llama but are unsure right now). The Alpaca was actually really good.

We took another taxi to a town 20 miles away called Pisca today where they have a lcoal market on Sundays. I bought the standard beanie hat with llamas on it and a cool handwoven belt. And we got some salt and pepper shakers. It was really neat to see the locals and see some of the women weaving their stuff. We are going to take it easy for the rest of the day since we leave at 5:30am tomorrow morning to head out for the hike.

So far we are getting by ok with the limited spanish we know. Most people speak a little english too so that helps, but at the market today most people spoke spanish or quachan (which is the native indian language, and it has no resemblence of spanish).

Hope all is well in the US.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Trip is coming!

Well now, it is only a short day away before we are off in a foreign land where hopefully all of Eric's listening to the spanish station here has helped. I just stopped trying to learn, and will just rely on him. :)

I am done with school and now just using the few days of doing nothing to get some odds and ends errands accomplished. Still have more things to tie up and get done before we go. We have been on a crazy shopping spree lately...finished doing the front/side landscaping and got rockers for the porch, finished painting our bathroom and got towels to go with the room and just bought a new mattress that we will have delivered after our trip. Next up is the bedroom furniture and our couch will maybe be in sometime when we get back.

I will leave you with a couple pictures of our new bathroom color and towels and the front yard. Although, you can't really tell the color of the bathroom, and I tried to take a pic of the toilet area since we painted it a deeper purple.

Last but not least, here is one of Killer in one of his new sleeping spots (our closet).

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The dreaded Flat tire

So yesterday I head out for a ride, and was planning on just 25 miles with a 3x 1 mile workout in the middle after a 10 mile warmup. I was at mile 8 and I hear this pssssssssssss.... I of course don't know what it is at first because I have my ipod on and I think for a second I have a leaf or bag or something stuck in my wheel so I look around and don't see anything.

A few seconds later I realize my back tire is flat. Yikes. So up until now, I have been riding for 3-4 years and haven't had to actually change my tire out on the road. The first flat I got was just a leak and I made it home, the second one was also a leak racking at White Lake Half last year and I didn't even know it until after the race. I got another flat a week after than but I was only a couple miles from home and called Eric who came and picked me up.

So I call him because I am freaking out, it is my rear tire and I am clueless as to how the whole gears and stuff work back there with the wheel. He talks me through getting the wheel off and I manage to change the tire after like 5 calls to Eric to make sure I was doing it right.

Too bad the CO2 cartridge hardly had any stuff in it. I rode home because my tire was still really soft and when I got home, I checked it and the cartridge only gave 30 psi's. Yikes! My wheels require 130 psi's.

Eric said he had only given me 50-50 odds on whether I could do it while his co-worker gave me 75-25. Thanks Mike!