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Meeting the Mad crew

March 24, 2010

After a couple of days of acclimatizing to Cusco, it was time to get started on my project organised by the gap year group, Madventurer. On 2nd August, the group leader, Dick Turnbill came and took me to a local hostel to meet the rest of the team I´d be working with. He was only 23 been travelling so much his accent was hard to trace. At the hostel, I met Caroline and Jill who were both also suffering from Jet lag. Still, unlike most nights, I was able to stay up for dinner and a drink afterwards!

Being part of a group out here felt much better than wondering around on my own. The next day, we decided to go and see the Cristo Blanco, which we saw the night before, glowing earily, seeming to float in the darkness. After a conversation with the taxi driver on the way over there, I became the group´s translator. At the end of the day, Dick invited us round to his place for a BBQ! There, we met some more of the Madventure crew. There was Anna who was working in a local orphanage, Roy the Regional Officer, and Matt the rock – Roy´s bodyguard and Spike, Dick´s dog. The crowd was nothing like I had suspected it to be.  Within no time, there was some absolutely crazy banter flying! By about 9, I was ready to go to bed, but I ended up going out to the Indigo Bar with Roy, Anna and Matt. The chance of a good night out in Cusco was too tempting to miss. Indigo turned out to be a great lounge bar.

The next day, our group was joined by Alexis, a French student studying English and Spanish. As soon as I was up sometime in the afternoon (finally getting the hang of Peruvian times), we had some lunch and headed out to the Village of Uycho to start our project. It was a spectacular drive through the Andies. As we sped along the mountain roads and the crowded streets, I kept unconsciously putting town by break foot, but surely enough, the driver judged it right every time. Cusco quickly disappeared and rocky and snow-capped mountains unfolded around us. When we arrived the villagers gave us a local delicacy; Cuy meaning ´Guinea Pig´. It tasted a bit like salty mackerel, but I couldn´t stand the feeling of cutting into it, since it was still shaped like Guinea Pig! Kudos to Jill though. She got stuck in despite having two Guinea Pigs; Chaz and Dave back home!

At first, work was a bit dull. We were aimlessly moving rocks into piles in the field. But, on Thursday 7th, we got out the diggers and awakened the boys within us. We loaded the rocks into the lorries and had them taken away to the resevoir where we´d be building a wall to protect the town´s water. Riding in the lorry meant we had to launch ourselves up the sides and grab hold of things. It was pretty rough terrain meaning that we were occasionally flung into the air. When a wall stood in the way, we simply got out the digger to take it out. I wish I´d have brought my camera! The next day, we were clearing room for construction using pick axes and machetes. It was fun but prickly!

The days went suprisingly quickly. By no time it was our last day of the working week. We spent evenings simply playing cards and chatting. Our last working day was also Alexis´ last day in Peru! We headed back to Cusco for a night out at Indigo´s. I´m feeling a lot more at home now. The great thing about travelling alone is that I´ve been free to meet so many great people over here. It´s the same story for the other volunteers as well. I´ve gone from wondering how I´m going to survive 6 weeks out here to wondering where the time´s been going.

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From → Peru 2008

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