Category Archives: South America & Central America

Stampful box from Ecuador

Stamps of Ecuador

Guess what came from the mail!

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The mysterious Alien Nazca lines!

Legends has it that the mysterious Nazca lines of Peru were created by ancient Nazca people for visiting Aliens in their strange air crafts. Nazca images were symbols for communicating with landing craft and landing strips were created along with the symbols.

I come to believe it is true, however I am not sure if the Aliens did land on those landing strips made by these ancient Nazca people. The lines were constructed impeccably by clearing off shallow rock debris on this dry desert plains, the lines were so shallowly created that I couldn’t believe you can see it from the air.

This has been one of the places I had always wanted to visit since I was a young kid after reading all the conspiracy theories in supernatural magazines.

It was the low season, and unfortunately not all the aircraft companies were open, the price for a short 30mins was us$150, it was usually us$90 when all the companies were competing with each other.

There was a  Peruvian version of Sesame street  being shot while I was waiting for the flight and I might be in a part of the episode. I made friends with a couple of the characters while they were filming us and were chatting with the puppets who were taking the Nazca flights as well.

Even thought the airport was constructed for just viewing the Nazca lines,  we needed to have a security screening, our bags were checked and so were all of us under a metal detector and a screening gate.

There is a mandatory 2 pilots on each tiny 8 seater plane, because of a plane crash accident when one pilot had a heart attack on flight and killing all the tourists a few years back.

The pilot greeted us and explained the various Nazca lines we were to fly over, each of us were weighed to assign seats, and I was lucky to be assigned the last seat at the tail for a window all to my own.

The plane circled a few times around each line, from above some of the lines could be barely made out because of the constant erosion by vehicles crossing the desert.  30minutes was a pretty short time, but it was worth the cost of visiting these lines which could possibly be destroyed with more human activities in the Nazca deserts.

The perk of missing the bus while crossing a river

On the way to the Bolivia’s side of Lake Titicaca, one of my travel mates went missing while the bus had to cross a river in a boat ferr.

So I had to get off the bus with all of our luggage and waited for another bus.

It was meant to be! A culinary serendipity where I got to snack on really tasty fried fishes that I couldn’t find else where in my journey. If my travel partner hadn’t gotten missing, I won’t have tasted this brilliant dish!

Battered fried fish, served with steamed corn, potato and really delicious peruvian chilli, spring onion sauce!

The two stalls selling the same delicious fried fish!

Scenes of La Paz – Part 3

La Paz Bolivia, one of the highest capital cities in the world, also one of the great places for street photography

Mantas or ponchos are great for everything including carrying heavy boxes, wrapping it around your back like a little pack

Telling fortunes by reading your coco leaves in the streets in front of the Catheral.

The main streets were closed by Bolivianos protesting against the government for removing the miner’s pensions. Protests are so common that armed guards are situated permanently around the Government parliament squares just in case of such protests.

El Alto is a suburb of La Paz and where most of the poorer bolivians live. It is known for its poorer inhabitants and its high crime rates. While the rich and middle class stay in the lower grounds, the higher you go, the poorer the residents are. Still they have the best views of La Paz and great place to view the entire city.

Jelly drink with foamed cream is quite typical and I resisted getting one just because it might give me the Bolivian belly.

It was full moon and I had to make a special trip back to El Alto just for shooting this image. Watching the sun set as the moon rises in one of the highest capital cities in the world is just breathtaking.

La Paz, the flat and lower city is where the rich and the middle class live, and the higher grounds are the poorer neighbourhoods. quite a different arrangement compared to Asia where the rich all live in the hills.

Galapagos animals

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It’s a winner in La Paz, Bolivia

La Paz, Bolivia

Shoe shining are considered the lowest status jobs and often young boys working as shoe shiners would cover themselves so not to be discriminated against. The older ones seem to take it in strive, but when I saw this image, with a well dressed business man getting his shoes cleaned and talking on his mobile phone, it made the whole scene particularly meaningful.

Ballestas islands the poor man’s Galapagos

So you can’t afford the Galapagos islands in Ecuador, what can you do?

If you are in Peru and Galapagos in Ecuador is not in your budget, then I highly recommend, the Ballestas Islands in Paracas.  This is one of the most spectacular sights of marine birds that you will ever see in your whole life. It even beats Galapagos for the sure concentration of bird life, this is real life nature show at its god smacking best.

Ballestas islands has penguins, boobies, pelicans, comorants, sea lions, almost the same bird life as in the Galapagos but with birds covering the islands completely, my jaw dropped repeatedly. This is the reason why I was disappointed with the Galapagos.

The only way to get here is by taking one of the speed boat ride from Paracas, it cost around us$25 for a 2 hour tour.  It is only a few hours away from Nazca so if you are visiting the Nazca lines, go visit Paracas.

The downside is you can only view the birds from the boat along with a crowded bunch of tourists screaming repeatedly

“the skies covered with birds!”

Street art of Guapulo

Guapulo village, quito, ecuador

Scenes of La Paz – Part 2

La Paz in Bolivia is one of the highest capital cities in the world, it is a great place to spend a few days just wandering through the various streets and the famous witches market for its strange potions and rituals.

Food market right outside the cementaries.

Witches market where you get everything from potions, spells, llama foetus for your home. These make great gifts to your friends and family

Witches market, the friendly vendor explains the various amulet for your various rituals.

Street vendor selling Chicharron, fried pig skin that is often eaten as a snack

Selling herbal supplements and exlirs for virility, sexual prowess and general well being. Eck.

Boliviana ladies wearing their famous bowler hats. The ladies commonly call Cholitas are indigenous women of Aymara descent wearing their version of old victorian dresses mixed with indigenous sense of fashion which is absolutely gorgeous and quite pricey too.

Scenes of La Paz – Part 1

La Paz Government Square, where the parliament of Bolivia resides

Feeding pigeons at La Paz Government Square

The tourist market streets in La Paz

The food market selling fried fish and potatos, for less than us$2 you would get a big chunk of fish and chips.

Young students dress up as zebras : in South America, vehicles have no respect for pedestrians and often speed up despite seeing someone crossing the road. In La Paz, a program started, educating the drivers to stop at crossings and follow road rules.