A bit late to write about my trips of last year... but not TOO late!
The whole journey started the 12 of January. I left Norway very excited and a bit nervous, knowing that I had a hard project waiting for me. I was going to do a fieldwork, and try to be an anthropologist.
The first weeks I stayed with my friends in San José. I had to refresh my spanish, and get some information about the place and people I was going to live with in La reserva indígena de Talamanca. And believe it or not, but people here barely knew that there are indigenous people living in this small country! (actually some thought that there are none at all). So I didn't really get much info, only the university gave me some references of litterature. After realizing that I wouldn't find more help here, I headed to Puerto Viejo, by the caribbean coast, about 20 km from the reservation. From there I started to search for people to contact, and finally I found a pastor who gave me a telephonenumber to a man, mr.M, from a small village called Watsi. I visited mr. M, and after I told him about my project, he offered me to rent a room in one of his son's house (Mr M has 12 children!). Finally I could start my fieldwork.
Talamanca is very beautiful. I lived in the valley surrounded by mountains. The landscape is very green, after all it's raining 75% of the year, and the climate is very hot and humid. When I looked around me I saw rainforest, rivers, banana and platain plantations, chicken, pigs and dogs walking everywhere, kids playing, people walking around with the big jungle knife "machete", etc
In the beginning I had a huge cultural shock which I wasn't prepared for to have at all. I thought before I arrived Talamanca "of course I won't have any cultural shock, I know Costa Rica, I have lived here before!" Well, very stupid thoughts... The part of Costa Rica I knew well was San José.. and the difference between those places is like to different countries. In the beginning it was very hard to live a primitive lifestyle with a millions of mosquitos around me, weird insects, snakes, scorpions+++. Every evening I was almost dead cause of the heat-the only thing I could do was to sit down in the shade with a huge bottle of water in my hand. One big shock was to find out that there was almost no water in the tab. Think about it; we need water for a lot of things - take a shower, wash hands, wash dishes, etc etc etc. But anyway, the river was near by
After 3 weeks of walking around desorientated, confused, homesick, and frustruated, I started to like being there. The indigenous people are great! They included me in their activities, helped me with my project, invited me to parties (where we always danced the traditional dance sorbón!). I liked it more and more, and at the end I didn't want to leave at all. Living there and doing fieldwork was hard, but I learned so much about their interesting and fascinating culture and habits. And I got many good friends! I left Talamanca in July (I didn't stay in talamanca the whole time, I took some fieldbrakes and travelled around when I felt for going away) , I had to go to San Jose to write field-report and send it to my university in Norway. The nearest internet cafe was in Puerto Viejo, and over there they charge a lot. So I went to San Jose, started to write on my report- I had to write minimum 30 pages, at the same time I had to pack my things, send some packs to Norway cause I had too many things, say bye to my friends in San Jose, get prepared for my trip to Ecuador, etc, so the end of my stay in Costa Rica was stressful.
I left Costa Rica the 26 of July and arrived in Quito. I didn't do much in Quito cause I didn't finish my field-report in Costa Rica. So I had to sit in a internetcafe while everybody else had fun.. Nice... I was travelling with my good costarican friend Hazel, and we met travel-buddies from England, Australia, and New Zealand. We went to Otavalo, and again I had to sit and write on my report while the others were doing cool stuff. But I didn't miss the great saturday market!! The indigenous people sell gorgeous things there, and I bought some really nice things. We returned to Quito, and I had to finish the report cause our next destination was Misahualli - the "entrance" to Amazonas! Well, I finished my report 1 hour before the bus left, God how stressed I was!!!
Misahualli is a quiet town with a lot of monkeys in the center. We stayed there for one night. After it got dark some locals made a bonfire on the beach, someone was playing quitar, and people were singing. Some monkeys were sniking around us in the dark We headed into the jungle next morning. A guide who is a biologist was telling us about plants, medicine-plants, insects, animals etc while we were walking. We walked for at least 5 hours, and some parts were hard! It was a very nice walk, but I was very happy when we arrived to the camp we stayed at for the night, cause I was hungry and very tired. Well, we all were.
The place didn't have any electricity, and there were some spiders and cockrochers. The people I was travelling with were very scared of everything moving, and somethimes some loud screems could be heard. I just laughed after all I got used to all kind of creeps in the Costarican jungle. A local shaman came to the camp, and I got cured. He scared away all the bad spirits who were occupying my body.... We also had a walk around the area, and visited some local indigenous people. That was very interesting! We went back to Misahualli the next day, this time by canoe on the river. It wasn't a confortable trip, cause it was raining a lot. We got wet and cold, and we all wanted a hot shower. We could only dream of that cause there was only cold water in the hostel.
We left the Amazonas region, and went to a beautiful town called Baños- a town with hot thermal springs.
The town is in a valley, there are mountains around, and near by there is a vulcano. There are many activities to choose between, for example rafting, horseback riding, bikecykling, walks in the town, trekking in the mountains, etc. Me and a british girl, Sophie, decided to go horseback riding. Wow, what a great trip! We were sitting in a westernsaddle for 5 hours, and since I'm used to ride in a english saddle I was humping like an idiot when we were gallopping. But after an hour I started to figure out how to sit. We passed waterfalls, mountains, the vulcano.. it was so beautiful! Some parts were very scary though, when we headed back to the town we had to walk down some really bad steeps, and the roads were muddy. I had to pray that the horse wouldn't fall down somewhere! But we managed to get down. That was one of my best horserides!!! But when I got off the horse I wasn't able to walk. After all we were riding for 5 hours, and last time I was sitting on a horse was many years ago. So for at least one week I had pain everywhere in my body.
Our next destination was Cuenca - a beautiful city with colonial style.
I got a problem there, I wasn't able to orientate in the city at all. It always took me a long time before I found the hotel after being out for a walk. There were many nice restaurants and shops there, and the nightlife was good. We stayed there for some days, before we went to Peru. The last day in Cuenca I got stomacksick, and that was terrible cause we had to take a bus for at least 7 hours to Peru. Well, I had to take some pills (imodium and stuff) and hoped that I didn't have to run to the toilet during the trip. Everything went fine, and I fell asleep on most of the bustrip. It was sad to leave Ecuador, I really enjoyed being in that country. The people are so nice and helpful, food is good, things are cheap, and the places are beautiful! The country is small, but it has everything; Andes mountains, Amazonas jungle, coast, cities.. One day I will go back!
Our first stop in Peru was Mancora, a small beachtown. The life there was very relaxed. Many nice restaurants, bars, and small shops. We stayed at the beach for one day before we went to Huanchaco. That was a weird town. It was a bit ghosty and pretty empty. Close by was the biggest mud city in the world - Chan Chan.
It was very fascinating. Around the pre-Inca mud city we saw only desert around. Very nice! There were some other ruins in the area as well. And we also visited a interesting museum about the pre-Incas, unfortunally I don't remember the name. Well acually when I think about it, I remember more from Ecuador, but after all we spent more time there.
We took buses to Lima through desert landscape.
When we arrived Lima I was glad I didn't have to sit more in a bus, I was so fed up! Travelling in public buses from Quito to Lima was interesting, but very tirering. We went out in Lima, danced and had fun, and it was sad to say bye to the people. They all left before me. I walked around in the city, and got surprised when I ended up in the middle of a parade! People were dressed up in all kind of colours, they were dancing and singing - it was amazing!!
I packed my bag, and got ready for leaving Latin America. But I knew I would return soon. And I have to go back to Peru, I didn't have time to go to Cusco and Machu Pichu
I spent 5 days in New York, I visited some friends of my mother on Long Island. The family was very nice! I travelled everyday by train to NYC. Wow, what a massive city!! I got very fascinated. I went on sightseeing and stuff, and I spent a lot of time shopping! I shopped till' I dropped The only problem was that if I found something nice I wanted to buy, but decided to wait, then I never found the shop again.
The 19th (?) of August I went back to Norway. Everytime I'm travelling for a long time it's soooo good to see family and friends again. And to talk norwegian, eat norwegian food, do "norwegian stuff", etc. I always get a great feeling when I return to Norway, and then I decide that I will stay in Norway for a long time. Well, I stayed 10 months in Norway before I went back to this fantastic continent!