Australia and Oceania, South America · 53 Days · 35 Moments · October 2017

John's journi to South America


26 November 2017

I had to stop the last post as I went to my word limit. This pic is of the view outside our hotel. The yellow is from bromeliads in flower. This is likely to be the end of the journi so thanks for joining.
Machu Picchu Sunday We had breakfast early and went to catch the bus in the rain at 5:30; the footpaths were either unprotected or roof overhangs were pouring water on to them so we got wet. Nevertheless there were 800 people queued ahead of us; the rain increased as we queued. Up top it was still raining but it soon stopped but the mists came and went. Pic 1 is of the citadel but it clouded over. Pic 2 is of the modern town situated in a gorge. There don’t seem to be any building regulations. Pic 3 is the view from the same place as pic 2 but in opposite direction. To the right of the far peak there is a flat area which is the citadel; towards the bottom of mountain there is the zigzag road we travelled up. As we had entry tickets for today we went up, took some pics to show the conditions; the path would have been too wet and slippery for us so we all had a coffee and got on the bus back. We board a train at 4 to make our way back to Cusco for tonight and then to Lima tomorrow .

25 November 2017

Machu Picchu Saturday We boarded a bus this morning to go to the Inca town. We climbed the switchback in pic 1; we had a two hour tour with a guide and then walked up to the thatched gate house at top of pic2. From there we could see the scene as advertised and is in pic 3. Tomorrow we go out again for a different climb. That Lavina did this today shows here improvement. This afternoon we all went for a walk in the Inkaterra orchid gardens about 50 from here. We are all orchid growers so it was great. .PS The guinea pigs I talked about last journi are stuffed with a herb my siblings would call ‘stinking roger’; it grew in the corn and made picking by hand a painful experience
This is the gatehouse we walked up to to take the last pic

24 November 2017

Inca granneries
Friday MachuPicchu Arrived here at 9PM by train after a day traversing sacred valley of the Villacamba River; first pic is of it near Cusco; second is of varieties of potatoes grown; third is of the valley; 4th is of Quinoa growing; fifth is of corn crops;6th is of Incan drainage ditches that still are used today 700 years later; 7th is of Guinea-Bissau pigs on the floor of a house. They eat them at 6 months

23 November 2017

PS In 1950, an earthquake destroyed the Dominican convent but the Inca foundations were largely undamaged. Also the wall in the breakfast room is Inca because the Incas established Cusco and there were no buildings here before them.
Cusco Thursday Today was all about walking; most of the morning was forgettable until we went the Dominican convent ( for men) which was built on top of an Inca fort/temple. Pic 1 shows the model of it with gold capping the walls and racked thatched building was a temple whose walls were covered in gold sheet. Pic 5 is inside one of the temples; pic 2 shows the jointing of in one of the walls and pic3 shows a 12 jointed rock in a wall. Pic 4 shows an Inca wall corner Lavina is suffering from something causing her to vomit, probably altitude sickness.

22 November 2017

Cusco Wednesday We flew from Lima today across some rugged untimbered country, arriving just after noon. Our hotel is just off the square; because of the altitude we had to rest for 3 hours. The first two pics are of churches around the square, each probably built for the glory of some bishop; the third is of the wall at the back of the breakfast room, a pre Inca construction The evening is quite cold with lots in overcoats; we must only be a few degrees south of the equator

21 November 2017

This the pendant
Lima Tuesday Today was rest day after yesterday but the group started walking at 9:30 to explore the suburb of Mills Flores- an affluent area around the hotel; the park is just down the street; on the walk we bought Lavina a birthday present of the silver inlaid pendant; our leader did the haggling; we had lunch at MacDonalds and went on bus trip in to town at noon; the statue is in a large park on the centre. We went on a 3 hour guided walk of Lima ending with the convent ( for men) of Saint Francis of Asisi; this visit was a bit mind blowing. We then went to see a laser light show in a park with 13 fountains but the computer broke down. It is South America. We leave for Cusco tomorrow morning for 3 nights and then 2 at Macchu Picchu and then back here

20 November 2017

Monday night late in Lima Peru We had and early start 18 hours ago Isabela and have endured 3 water taxi rides, 4 bus rides, one scary 2 hour speed boat ride and 2 plane rides in 2 different airlines Ecuador has programmed inefficiencies to boost employment. A group of bags in Guayaquil excited a dog and one of ours was in the group so we were called up and the bag was checked by the narcotics police. One of the bags in the group was full of fruit. The pics are of the Main Street of Santa Cruz where we had breakfast and the other of a 300m deep sink hole. We flew out of Baltra, the only big airport in the Galápagos Islands, built by USA when they had 6000 troops stationed there after WWII. We spend a day here and then fly to Cusco, Wednesday. Altitude sickness may be a problem.

19 November 2017

Sunday Isabela Just had lunch; Lavina is going snorkeling and I’m going to do some washing. We leave here 5:30AM tomorrow to Baltra, then to Guayaquil and then Lima in Peru for a couple of days. Images include the town here, a hole in a lava tunnel and its shell as it went towards the sea. Lava came from nearest volcano 20 km away. The marine iguanas were sunning themselves to warm up. Turtles were in a breeding area where they get fed 3 times per week. Internet in hotel is better than expected.
That was a pelican about to dive bomb a fish, not caught at right moment; this is the tortoise and the other is sunset last night

18 November 2017

Went to a beach this morning after breakfast; round trip was 7km, after lunch we caught a boat to Isabella Island which is the Wild West; no Internet at all; Isaballa is youngest island with active volcanos; boat was overloaded for the 2 hour trip Lizards are marine iguanas sunning themselves to warm up; sea lion was asleep on bench where we boarded boat

17 November 2017

Friday, Lavina’s birthday: We went to three islands today and SAN Bartoleme included 388 steps but lava tubes were everywhere; very interesting; the second one shows the view from the top . There are volcanic vents everywhere on the next island The last one is of 3 Galápagos penguins, the northern most species sitting on lava that ran 20km from an eruption about 100 years ago. Internet is not accessible at the hotel here but restaurants where we go as a group usually have reasonable connection

16 November 2017

We went to a small island, South Plaza, today- sea lions, land and marine iguanas and various birds. We transferred to the black boat via rubber ducky and then to the island which had some interesting geological features. After lunch on board half the group went snorkeling; Lavina did; I didn’t

15 November 2017

Santa Cruz Galapagos No wi-fi in hotel; this from a restaurant. Landed on Baltra and transferred to this island; see conditions at airport; today has been about tortoises; there is breeding program so lots of little ones; marine iguana was sunning itself. A pretty interesting day

14 November 2017

We are about to fly to Galapagos; the pic was taken in an information centre at the Cajas national park. I walked for an hour in this area at 4000m. The lower pic is of an Inca trail. In the early 1900s the bishop of Cuenca had a car transported in on this trail on poles supported by porters who took 12 days to get it in.

13 November 2017

I have posted pics without text so here is the text: Went to Gualaceo today but a landslide closed the highway so we took a dirt road which went up so high that the gumtrees couldn’t grow there but they were there and big in Gualaceo. The aim was to go Ecuagenera nursery; 15 acres of orchids. No one could buy any as we can’t get them back. Pics are of front of hotel and garden in courtyard, of an orchid wall.

12 November 2017

Cuenca Sunday We arrived here from Guayaquil this afternoon. On the coast they grow rice, sugar cane, bananas and cacao. We climbed the range to over 4000m. The fruit stall was one of many on the road. We have come down to 2500m on the east side of the Andes so water runs from here in to the Atlantic. On the way up and down we came to a zone of kykuyu and Fresian cows but at 4000m it was very alpine. The road is the Pan American Highway built by USA from Alaska to the southern tip. Excellent road but people have moved in to farm with bad results. The pic of the town is of Cuenca

11 November 2017

Saturday Views from our window. We leave for Cuenca tomorrow for two days at elevation. Went to lectures today; Perth was awarded World Orchid Conference 2023. I think I’ll be a bit old by then

9 November 2017

Thursday We went on a ‘city’ tour and to a Botanic gardens amongst mangroves. There were parrots, macaws, peccaries ( like pigs), tapirs and sloths. When I came home I went to conference and listened to a talk on orchids I’ve never seen. Tonight we go out to a program put on by government Different culture: here, used toilet paper is not to be put down toilet bowl but in an open bin so the toilets on the conference centre got blocked. On Quito we had to buy sheets of toilet paper before we went in.

8 November 2017

Guayaquil Wednesday Went to show early and Got in quickly with our Registrant lanyards; Lavina got lots of pics that we’d talked about without much competition; went for walk this afternoon on waterfront and took this pic. We have coach trips the next two days.

7 November 2017

Guayaquil Tuesday Flew to here this morning arriving 9AM;allowed to judge, an all day event. These 3 orchids looked pretty good to me

6 November 2017

Quito Monday: The pic of the tree is one of a row of callistomons in the square. As well as blue gums black woods are common ( an Australian wattle) but they don’t get borers like st home. Quito is in a valley 80km long and a few wide; there is a view looking up one ridge. Another pic is of a house which has rio sticking up; in this way the owner says he isn’t finished and avoided paying council rates. There are lots of them We went out to a park which purports to be on 0.00.00 latitude and because of the altitude they reckon we were lighter than usual We head too Guayaquil tomorrow early but not early enough to get there for judging

5 November 2017

Quito Sunday Lavina is better but stayed in hotel; we went on trip to Lago SAN Paul at 90 km from here and at 2000m above sea level. Gum trees everywhere; told they have gone feral all over South America but tall straight upright hardwood is the result. The country here is made up of volcanic ash; eroded easily; but lots of good looking agriculture going on. Jim Evans bought his wife Leanne what he thought were 12 roses for US$2 to find there were 25. Ecuador has its own oil so diesel is 30c/litre and petrol just under 50c/litre (US) but lots of people earn only $100/week
And another: these are bromeliads (tillandsias) growing on power lines

4 November 2017

Quito Ecuador: Flew Lima to Quito this morning and mountain is just south of here. Quito is on equator but nearly 3000m above sea level; exports roses to the world; other flowers and broccoli; streams have cut deep v shaped valleys; we have been told to lie down for 3 hours and use oxygen machine if needed. Lavina seems to have gluten reaction; has all day so far. We are here 2 days before going on to WOC on Coast.

3 November 2017

Santiago: on edge of Atacama desert; but snow on mountains; it is 24 hours since we started yesterday morning but it’s 2PM Friday

3 November 2017

In transit in Auckland airport 5.06. Got off plane and have to get back on soon
On way to Sydney

5 October 2017

I am a bit ahead of myself as we leave 3rd November for World Orchid Conference in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Will visit Galapagos and Machu Picchu.