Back in December of 2010, I wrote my first post: 10 things I Want to do on My Next Trip. I published this list before beginning my drifting experiment.
I recently got the first comment on that first post, 164 entries later. It comes from the stream of consciousness travel writer and photo blogger Pinky Binks:
Ages ago I wrote a post entitled Nicaraguan Cuisine. Nicaragua was the first foreign country that I’d started blogging in. Now, after a drifting escapade through Perú, the ninth land that my virtual publication has seen outside of the US, I’ve decided to dedicate a post to a country’s cuisine again.
There’s a consensus among aficionados in the Americas. Many believe that Perú possesses preeminence in the category of cuisine.
In September of 1999, just two months after hiking the Inca Trail and getting a brief introduction to Perú, I managed to secure two more weeks of vacation from my job.
I wanted to visit a land where I’d never been.
I find myself in Lima, Perú. The reason I haven’t left yet is because I have a guest bedroom at a friend’s place.
As a long term traveler, it’s not often that I know someone in the far away and exotic destination that I’m in. But when it happens and they put me up, I feel at home. It gets comfy and hard to leave.
I’m in a spot where there are no hostels or tourists. I’m living among locals in their domain. It feels somewhat normal.
I was under the asinine assumption that the border crossing from Huaquillas to Tumbes would be ridiculously smooth like the one from Colombia into Ecuador that I’d crossed five weeks prior. That super easy crossing conditioned me to think that my next land pass over would be equally as easy. Oh how wrong I was.
After walking along a refreshingly misty and windy Baños street, I came to the Termas de la Virgen, one of a few thermal, public baths heated by Volcán Tungurahua.
Termas de la Virgen sits just beside –practically below– the Caballera de la Virgen waterfall.
After paying the $2 entrance fee I went in and glanced around in awe, finding five pools. They vary in water shade, size, and most importantly, temperature.
I was instructed to take a container, go to a changing room, put on swim trunks and place everything else in the basket.
I’m not going to lie. I’m not a full-fledged vegetarian. That means that when there’s no other option, I suck it up and usually end up settling for chicken and or egg. I even eat beef or pork when it’s served to me in someone’s home. Recently in Colombia I had liver on arepas or corn tortillas while at a home in Virjinia.
As time goes on, I continue to like the idea of vegetarianism more and more. Even though I’m not a fan of labels, for the moment, I’ll loosely consider myself a virtual vegetarian.
The woman told me that the journey would take between four and six hours depending on the weather. She also said that we’d be stopping for lunch. I expected one stop.
While on one of the three microbuses I took to get to the cute little town of Salento from Manizales, I thought about engaging in some hiking. I’d heard that it was a major attraction there. I pondered: I’m in the Andes, there has to be endless trails that are incredibly worthy of hiking. I’d really like to get in touch with more nature, with my diverse earth.
What I didn’t know is that I’d end up going on four unique hikes in just over a week’s time.
After arriving in Salento and being brought to my hostel, I decided to take a stroll into the tranquil and idyllic Salento night.
The smooth 38,000 COP or $20.93 minivan ride through the mountains from Medellín to Manizales reminded of a jaunt from Boston to New York City. The picturesque Andean landscape is not what made me think of the Northeast of the United States. I compared the two rides because the time and costs are similar.