Getting back to real life

I’m not actually that interested in re-hashing my entire five months in Mexico, chiefly because in my real life, I’ve already shared it extensively and it’s feeling more than a bit tedious to go over ALL of it again. So, it ends in Lo de Marcos, though trust me there were endless adventures, mishaps, great opportunities, excitement and everything.

Coming back home in April surprised some people, as I had said six months. We came back at Easter (so, two weeks early) so we could spend Easter at my sister’s new place and have Easter as a family after we had been out of country for so long. It was super nice to see her new house and enjoy some fine dining, good wine and stories!

That being said, I was SUPER anxious about getting home. I was kind of feeling like it was wayyy past due. Oats was a huge question mark and the uncertainty and daily stress was eating me alive. I had gained a significant amount of weight and was struggling with the feeling like my body was no longer my own. I needed a real routine back (hah, I say as I currently am out of work for oh, six months?). I guess I needed my home life back more than I thought.

Still, I relish the adventure we took part in and I am glad we took the time to also visit family at Easter. A nice bookend to our trip.

And how is the Oats situation? Stay tuned for tomorrow, and I’ll share more! πŸ™‚

More Baja and the end of camping!

After enjoying (?) camping in San Felipe, we headed a little further out and camped for a bit longer along the coast. It was..an experience. I did NOT enjoy how cold it was, and how freaking windy! The wind sandblasted absolutely everything. What I did enjoy? The freedom to explore, to be at one with the universe here…No agenda, no nothing.

Unfortunately I am too impatient to enjoy that for too long, particularly since it was so windy and sand was driving me insane. We escaped to the Mulage Brewery and had a few beers to escape the infernal wind!

And then it was off to Loreto, mercifully a WAY NICER place than San Felipe and basically anywhere in the Baja to date.

Go south

After a kind of challenging Dec and a January that wasn’t improving….We took a trip to Mexico! Specifically Huatulaco. I had been there before, but not for a few years and after two years of going nowhere and doing nothing…I was beyond fed up, stressed out and unhappy and I WAS GOING DAMMIT.

The weather was beautiful EVERY DAY.

It was an extremely stressful lead up. In the days that preceded our trip, we had:

  • A tsunami warning
  • Crazy fog taking over everything and not lifting
  • Omicron variant taking over everything and overwhelming the health system, flights, work-staffing, ferries, buses, etc
  • One of my colleagues went missing and he is still missing three weeks later
  • No third booster shots (I just got mine this week!)

No joke. I was SO TENSE and freaked out going into the holiday. I had no idea what to expect, and how our testing worked to get home, what if we had tested positive and had to quarantine, what to do with the animals and Oats, etc etc etc.

And you know what? It went perfectly fine. Were there glitches, like not having a paper copy of our COVID neg test results and the airport demanding them, when we only had QR codes/apps? Yep! Was there uncertainty? Yep. Was it worth it? OMG YES 100%. For your mental health, go. Just go. Life is too short and too horrible most of the time. Do something nice for yourself, for once.

We swam, kayaked, went stand-up paddleboarding, went into town, snorkeled, went fishing, I did aqua fit and we drank a million crazy cocktails and generally just had an awesome time.

I needed it desperately and I firmly believe so does everyone else.

Dashing through the snow- literally!

So on new year’s day, I had the dumbest/best idea, springing from one of my barn mates. She had taken her mini out and had him pull her around on her skis!
I don’t have xc skis, but I do have downhill skis, so I figured…If she could do it, so can I! I will just get Ian to control Oats and I talked it over with Oats’ half leasor and she suggested I loop the longe line through his girth, and use that as a handle.
So we did it!


Ian dug my skis out from the netherworld of our stairs storage (not an easy feat mind you!) the day after NYE (and we weren’t even that hungover, lucky us!!) and off we went to give it a try πŸ™‚
And how did it go?
Really well! At first…


We cruised around, Ian suggested he NOT ride Oats in the field but instead run him, which turned out to be a very smart suggestion, lol.
We cruised around, my barn mate rode her horse and took pictures and video for me, and we had a blast!

Until…
The last go-around where I said let’s do it one more time! And Oats thought…yeah one more time WHERE I GO BANANAS
And he took off bucking and bolting, and I was like oh fuuuuck first he’s going to kick me, or Ian, but then we let go of the ropes and reins and he bolted straight up the hill…To my barn mate’s horse, who lost her shit and bolted through the gate to the barn yard.
FML.
So, I got dumped with my skis at the bottom of the effing hill, and had to begin the grim march up, wondering if Oats had murdered my barn mate and her horse…
But everyone was ok! They had a bit of a rough ride through the gate, eek, but made it with all tack and persons intact.
PHEW!
So, that was the end of that little adventure, hahaha.
But it was fun! So that counts I guess πŸ™‚

Flying high!

So instead of going out for a fancy dinner for our anniversary, I decided on a different surprise for the two of us- going to a trampoline gym! The one that opened up in our city is called Flying Squirrel. It’s still pretty new, and they closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, but they opened back up recently and we gave it a go!

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It is pretty reasonably priced – I paid $35/pp for 90 minute visit, and they had a 2-hour special of 1 hour jumping on trampolines and 1 hour on the new ropes course, but I kind of am afraid of heights and have bailed out on these things before, so I just went with the jumping. You do have to buy & wear trampoline socks- they have little grippers on the bottom. They were only $3/ea, so not bad and I get why you need them- it’s slippery!

It was fun!! Man, it felt different from when I was a kid on my own trampoline. I was pretty reckless back then, and now I feel like I could really hurt myself…Ha. But I enjoyed the heck out of it, and we played basketball, jumped from the high tower to the inflatable floor, did cartwheels, jumped from trampoline to trampoline!

We didn’t last the full 90 minutes, after about an hour I had a feeling I was going to get careless and overconfident and hurt myself doing something stupid. HA! At least I can recognize this?? So we packed it in. It’s really fun, felt pretty safe during COVID-19 since the gym was pretty empty, and it was nice to try something new during this boring, miserable time of ‘everything is exactly the same all the time’.

I would go back!

Friends go kayaking

This past weekend I went kayaking in Victoria’s Inner Harbour (to the Gorge) with a friend and we had a lovely time! We only went for two hours, but that was plenty of time (hello bathroom breaks…) and it was much easier than when I first attempted to go kayking in Brazil, in the ocean at Paraty.

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That time we were rented these totally insane surf kayaks (??) that we had to basically jump into in the waves, fight the waves and my balance to paddle out to a few islands (one of which apparently had a dangerous guy living on it??). I couldn’t even reach the foot stop in the ridiculous kayak- it was too big for me. So I was floating in the middle of it, trying to paddle without falling out of the kayak or the kayak tipping over. In the waves. UGH!

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Pretty tippy!

Ian switched with me and I used his, which was MUCH easier. Ha. It was still quite the adventure! I have to say that the kayaks at Ocean River Sports are very slick. They are not cheap to rent (2 hours is $44.00) ouch. But really good kayaks and it’s a very relaxing way to spend a morning with a friend! I loved it. πŸ™‚

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Peru final stage: Cusco

By the time we left Ollantaytambo, I was ready to feel better! I wanted to eat and drink well again. I liked Ollantaytambo, but I didn’t like how cars/buses went ripping around the very narrow cobbled streets- it felt too narrow and busy.

Off to Cusco we went, for the final 3 days of our trip. The ride back to Cusco was ok except I felt horribly carsick heading into Cusco- so twisty, winding, slamming on the brakes and oh, the car we hired didn’t have any seatbelts? Joy!

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We made it and wow, I felt like shit.

Cusco was very cool- lots of big older buildings, museums, hotels and tons and tons of pretty good restaurants and bars. Our hotel was super neat, an old monastery that was attached to a church! The church still held services, and the hotel itself functioned as a non-profit to support orphaned girls.

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I loved the hotel, and the town was very neat. The unfortunate thing about Cusco is that it is SWARMING with hawkers of nearly every description. It does get tiring to swat away vendors and tour guides and you name it. Every.single.time. you leave the hotel, without fail. Kind of exhausting.

We walked around exploring Cusco, and did a chocolate-making workshop that was SUPER fun. Highly recommend! It is pricey but worth it. So fun.

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We enjoyed a beer from the best viewpoint in town, for a very reasonable price.

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We also went to one of the best restaurants in Cusco (according to a friend of mine) called Pachapapas – I had the whole roasted trout, and Ian had Alpaca skewers.Β  They were amazing!! The only thing that sucked was that we were both starting to feel the effects of altitude, and our metabolisms started slowing down. That meant that after 1 meal, we no longer wanted to eat or drink anything…And felt vaguely nauseous for the whole day/night. That meant I wasn’t even hungry for our amazing dinner-bummer! And the thought of alcohol made me feel sick. Man!

We also went to the shabby-chic Coca Museum (it was more shabby than chic hahaha) but a fun little foray.

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In the end, I was glad to wrap up our trip. It was chilly in Cusco at night, but fairly nice during the day. I was wishing I could eat/drink normally again, and quite glad to be back on the road home by the end of our three days.

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Visit Peru- it’s a crazy place and you’ll have a grand adventure!

Peru step 2: Iquitos and the Amazon jungle

Fresh off a Radiohead concert and the intensely dry heat of Lima, we hopped on a plane and flew to Iquitos. There, we would get picked up by our driver and escorted to a boat. The boat would then drive us 1.5 hours into the Amazon, toΒ Muyuna Lodge, where we would spend the next 3 nights/4 days.

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The lodge

I was tired, so tired by this time. We got to Iquitos (it’s a real frontier town, ha) and it was surprisingly cool but muggy. The boat ride wasn’t bad actually, loud and quite long but went quickly. The Amazon goes on forever…It’s stunning to think of it.

We pulled up to Muyuna Lodge and got settled. It’s a good lodge, nothing fancy but everything you need and nothing you don’t. Safe, clean and accessible. We even started our excursions that day, at 3pm after lunch. It started pouring rain, but we suited up and went into the jungle for our first jungle walk (I would later kind of dislike jungle walks. Too many mosquitoes, like clouds of them, you never saw any animals, and it was so muddy and wet it was a struggle to slog anywhere.)

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It was kind of eh. We returned to our cabin, and passed out until dinner, which startled the heck out of us. WTF why is it dark out now??Β After dinner we went on a caiman hunting excursion! I loved this, and we got to hold a baby caiman and then let it go. They were SO CUTE and strangely dry.

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The next morning (and every morning is an early one, breakfast at 6:30 am and excursions at 7:15am) we zipped out to visit river dolphins in the Amazon, and go for a swim. It was so neat! We also saw a few monkeys and a ton of sloths. Wow!!

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Lunch back at the lodge – and I have to say, the food at the lodge was great! Tons of variety, as much as you want to eat and I was never unhappy with it. The only issue I ad was that a lot of it was very egg-heavy, or if not eggs, mayonnaise? Neither of which I eat, ha. Oh well, there was ceviche, lomo saltado, beef, pork, stuffed peppers, stir frys, salads, potatoes, all the fresh Amazonian fruit you could eat on tap, good breakfast options (yogurt being my chief demand, ha) and much more. There was even desserts!

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We had so many excursions and outings- three a day, actually. Morning, after lunch and after dinner. We even went fishing for piranhas and we each caught one! I was exhausted!! We’d just crash after the lunch one, after a vigorous game of ping-pong, ahha. No TV, no internet, no cellphones, no news and no problems.

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Loved it. Though by the end, I was tired of the jungle (it was quite rainy haha) and mosquitoes, I do highly recommend checking out Mayuna Lodge. Three nights and four days is just perfect. πŸ™‚

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Peru- the adventure of a lifetime! Step one: Lima & Radiohead

I actually put this off for a day since I’ve been back chiefly because I don’t even know where to begin! I will start by recapping my adventure from where we first landed- Lima, Peru.

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In Lima, we stayed in the Miraflores district. It’s a very safe, quite rich and fancy area in Lima. There are a lot of poorer areas, and one that is outright unsafe (at the airport, Callao, the port area). Lots of robberies, muggings, etc. But it’s easy to bypass by buying a safe bus ticket that leaves directly from the airport and it’s not an area you ‘wander in to’ by any chance.

We spent a few days in Miraflores in a very nice Air BnB that had a rooftop infinity pool, a ground floor pool and lots of sundecks. Really awesome. It was quite warm in Lima, as the sun really lazer beams down on people.

For our time in Lima, we visited the Pucllana Temple, which is right in the heart of Miraflores. It was very neat, and a cool way to learn about pre-Inca civilizations (there were so many, over 35?!).

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We then went to the historical old city part of Lima, and that was okay…It was kind of a bust tourist-wise because they just didn’t seem to be really set up for lounging at cafes or having cocktails, if you know what I mean? Just, nothing there to sit and enjoy. We did visit the San Francisco monastery, where they have very creepy catacombs. A reasonable price and a super interesting visit/tour through the catacombs. I highly recommend!

In the evening, we went to Barranco. Aside from Miraflores, people stay there. It’s really awesome- beautiful, quirky, funky, lots of people and restaurants and very safe. I loved it! There is also a brewery there, the Barranco Brewery.

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The next few days, we ran along the gorgeous Miraflores sea walk. They are very close to the South Pacific but it’s not a very friendly beachfront. There is no sand, just rocks and the highway runs right along next to it! The waves are also killer… And in the evening, we went to the Soundhearts Radiohead concert!!! WHOOP! The bus to the soccer arena was a flaming nigtmare, and I seriously wondered if I was going to get crushed to death. Yikes. I do NOT recommend taking the bus in Lima. It is a horrible experience.

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But anyways, we made it and the concert was SO GOOD. Radiohead played well to their audience, it wasn’t too crammed, and they had three encores. We left after the second, as I did not want to repeat the ‘crushed in a bus’ experience…But we still had time to listen to ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ which made it allll worthwhile….

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Corvina ceviche

And then it was up at 4am to catch a flight to our next adventure- Iquitos and the Amazon jungle. Stay tuned…