2/1/01: West End, Roatan: Done with our diving, we decided to occupy our time with personal affairs such as laundry and haircuts. Not exactly your Supercuts type of experience, our pleasant hairdresser managed a fine job while manuevering barefoot around her child's toys. A final sunset, a lost room key, a farewell dinner with Chris (good luck with Med school buddy, we'll be in touch), and one last green beer at the Sunset Inn ended our last eveining of island life.
2/02/01: West End - Tegucigalpa: After our last breakfast at Ruby's, we got a bus to the airport. Through a joint partnership melding Russian aircraft manufacture and Chezch engine design our cold war tin can survived the turbulence and landed safely at the Tegucigalpa Airport, where they stop the auto traffic at the end of the runway to let us land. After checking into the hotel and buying our bus ticket, we toured the downtown and spent a record 3 hours at an internet cafe before laying down to rest for the night on our personal concrete slabs.
2/03/01: Tegucigalpa - Managua: Our bus trip to Costa Rica started a 9am with the first day ending in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. The bus ride and border crossing were uneventful, at least by Guatemala standards. We checked into the Ritz outside of the militaryesque bus compound and tried to pass as much time outside our room as possible but within the 3 block "safety dash" of our hotel. We returned to our room and were quite thrilled to wake up at 4 am and move along.
2/04/01: Managua - Jaco: "Hurry up and wait" was the name of the game today. Everyone rushed to the bus station to wait in a long line at 5 am for our 6 am bus. Everyone had a reservation and a ticket, yet we all still had to check in. Then off to the Costa Rica border were everyone ran off the bus to hurry up and get in the long line and wait for over an hour. Then everyone ran to the bus to pull out their bags and stand in a line to get them checked. After we were allowed into the country there were still 4 border check point where we were asked to waive our passports. In San Jose we walked to another bus station and borded a culture class bus to Jaco. Once in Jaco, we checked into a nice place and headed out to see the town.
2/5/01: Jaco: Our third visitor, Dan, arrived in the morning. After a quick breakfast we hit the beach for some relief from the heat. After a little sunset hackey sack, we started the evening with cards and music from the confines of our airconditioned room. After dinner, we passed some time with a few pool matches before patronizing the local modern dance artists.
2/6/01: Jaco - Manuel Antonio: A couple hours down the coast from Jaco we found the paradise like beaches of Manuel Antonio. Our hotel was luxurious by Managua standards and divided by three, very resonably priced. We spent the afternoon on a spectularly scenic beach and enjoyed a sunset worthy of the spot. For dinner, we headed into the port town of Quepos where Carlos continued to sweat, will continue to sweat, and is still sweating (thank those Fonseca genes). Suprisingly, we actually froze at night in our turbo cooled room.
2/7/01: Manuel Antonio: We spent the first part of the day exploring the trails and beaches of the national park. We were entertained by squirrel monkeys, giant lizards, white faced monkeys, and ROUS (rodents of unusual size). But, to Carlos' dismay, no sloth were seen. The rest of the day we spent on the beach, relaxing, surfing, and baking in the sun with another splended sunset to top it off.
2/8/01: Manuel Antonio - Dominical: A bone jarring dusty gravel road south led us to the surf town of Dominical. After checking into a hotel, Carlos and Dan rented surfboards and joined the local lineup for a nice surf session surround by jungle sounds. Surprisingly, we were able to catch Stanford's victory over Oregon at a bar which remained open purely for our convenience. We managed to walk home without getting tangled in any monsterous spider webs or carried off to sea by the army of crabs we ran across, only to lay in bed and slowly cook in our room.
2/09/01: Dominical: Reminiscent of our San Pedro de Atitlan hotel situation, we moved to a much nicer hotel, with air conditioning which of course was cheaper. After receiving numerous emails concerning the length of time since we last updated the website with pictures, we finally succumbed to the pressure and spent a 3 hr session at an internet cafe catching up with the pics. Little did we know how integral a part of everyones lives this website would become. Get a life people. Honestly, we're thrilled to get all the emails and are very excited with all the interest in the trip and website. We appreciate all the well wishes and support. OK, enough sappy stuff. Keep watching.
2/10/01: Dominical: Dan woke us up early to head over to Hacienda Baru to "Fly like Toucans". With helmets, harnesses, and gloves we hiked into the deafening rorar of the jungle for our tour of the jungle canopy. This consisted of 8 separate cables stretched acrros the tops of the trees. We hooked up to these cables and aided by gravity zipped over the jungle from platform to platform. After flying like toucans all over the place, we welcomed the mysterious mist showering us, which to our dismay turned out to be insect piss. A long nap and a 3 hr surf session closed out the day. After dinner Dan finally succumbed to his cold and went to bed early while we walked in the dark for 20 minutes to what turned to be the best nightclub we have been to so far. Fun was had by all at this open air nightclub with great music, tons of people, lots of dancing, liters of sweat, until fun could be had no more.
2/11/01: Dominical - San Isisdro: We awoke briefly at 7 AM to bid farewell to Dan, who was catching an early bus to get to San Jose, and then caught a few more hours of sleep before breakfast. We read in our air conditioned room for as long as possible before braving the midday heat and catching our bus to San Isidro. With no seats available, we mastered the art of bus surfing as we stood in the aisle while our bus wound its way up the hills from the coast. Not quite tempted by Godzilla 2000, playing in the local theater, we set up our own movie theater in our room, and previewed our 2nd videotape, due to be released as part of our full length feature film "Watch Us Wander - The Movie" in 2002.
2/12/01: San Isidro - Boquete: This was pretty much one of those travel across border days: long hot bus ride, many lines, stamps, more stamps, revisions and bus fumigations. Having no ticket to leave Panama, we had to convince the border guard that we were financially secure and were not seeking to burden his government by showing him all of our credit cards. From the city of David, we boarded a Hartford County School Bus to Boquete. At the foot of a volcano, Boquete turned out to be a cool welcome relief from the coastal heat we had been enduring so far. For dinner we inhaled a Volcan Especial large pizza and went to bed to hibernate.
2/13/01: Boquete: Having pushed the limits on recycling our sweaty clothes, we decided it was laundry time again. The rest of our day would be spent on a nice 3 hour hike around the hills and rivers of town. The highlight of which was the very random "Mi Jardin es su Jardin". A cross between a Swiss private garden estate, mini golf park, and Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. We also discovered that Boquete seems to be located in a bizzare meteorological position that generates a permanent source of mist and wind. Comming from the Heat of the Costa Rican coast, we were happy to don the rain parkas for the first time. An excellent dinner of rainbow trout and grilled chicken finished off our not so tipical day.
2/14/01: Boquete - Panama City: We awoke to the constant mist which seems to be ever present in Boquete. Returning to the coastal heat, it never occured to us that our bus from David to Panama City would test its ThermoKing cooling system to the limits of its power and positively freeze us for 6 1/2 hours while our warm fleeces were safetly packed in the luggage compartment underneath. Once in Panama City, only halfway thawed, we opted for the only appropriate lodging for us in the entire city, Hotel California. After a few failed attempts at finding some night life, we ended the night, or early morning, at Senor Frogs, where we went deaf to pre-carnival mayhem.
2/15/01: Panama City: We bought our tickets to Ecuador and cabbed it to the old part of town, Casco Viejo, to take in some sights. Driven by overwhelming pains of hunger, we devoured some bread and 2 bowls of tortelini in Cafe Paris, an excellent restaurant where we fit right in with our shorts and t-shirts. A quick trip through a Canal Museum and a walk through the pedestrian mall lead to a very satisfying nap back at the hotel. We enjoyed a delicious dinner of "Old Clothes" and headed to the Baccus Night Club. Feeling like caged animals on display, we enjoyed the novelty of being the only foreigners in attendance. An umbrella weilding rap artist, aggressive Panamanian women, an open bar, and lots of dancing were all involved, but we survived to travel another day.
2/16/01: Panama City - Quito: Surprisingly enough, the main branch of the International Bank of Costa Rica, in Panama City, the one next to the Costa Rican Consulate, will not change its own currency. We wished someone had told us this before we began our morning oddyssey to go there. From the exchange house we cabbed over to the Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal, where we watched a container ship from Monrovia (We are ashamed to admit that the Wanderboys have no idea where Monrovia is, please help) make the final leg and be lowered to the Pacific. Then off to our flight to Ecuador with a stop in Colombia, where we were surprised to discover that 12A and 12B are not next to eachother. 12A and 12C are, but 12B does not exist. Neither did 13B which was heald by a German tourist behind us. We arrived without incident in Quito and checked into Hostal Nassau.
2/17/01: Quito: "The solution will find you." On DEFCON 3 awareness, we toured the new and old parts of town, trying our best to avoid the squirt guns and water balloons of the carnival inspired youth. Carlos was not so lucky, managing to get hit in the head with a balloon, squirted with some mysterious shaving cream like substance and frisked by two ladies attempting to pickpocket him in the span of 10 seconds. After 5 attempts to find the Stanford v. Cal. game we gave up with the final place Sports Planet not living up to its name. A fantastic dinner at the Zocalo was followed by some club hopping where we managed to find a place to sweat again.
2/18/01: Quito: Today was spent recharging the batteries. After sleeping in late we had a great lunch at the Magic Bean. Then we found an internet cafe to update the website at. After returning to our hotel for another one of our famous 2 hour "because we can" naps, we had dinner at a pizza internet-movie hangout. After calling home, our night ended with a well deserved sleep.
2/19/01: Quito - Baņos: Like a well oiled machine, we departed from Quito to Baņos. The reality of this is that we didnīt plan a thing like most of our travel days to intermediate destinations. We had breakfast at the Magic Bean (our lunch was so good the previus day we couldnīt pass up the breakfast), emailed and called from an internet cafe, went to 4 or 5 banks to get money out ($200 in $5īs), bought a backpack cover for Scott, returned to our hotel to pick up our packs, cabbed to the old part of town, and boarded our bus to Baņos, Baņos, Baņos with 2 minutes to spare. We were entertained right away with the acrobatic expertise of the bus monkey (the man who rides shotgun, collects money, and crawls all over the outside of the bus while moving to stow luggage). We finally arrived in Baņos and quickly took part in the townīs routine of soaking in a large hot tub under a waterfall. We ate dinner with the Heathers and retired for the night.
2/20/01: Baņos: Nestled in the Ecuadorian Andes, Baņos offered us our first mountain biking experience. An easy 40 mile ride in the Andes. As usual we started bright and early around 12:30 and 3 hours into the meandering around the Andes we hiked down to the "Puņo del Diablo" waterfall, which was very impressive. At his motherīs insistence, Scott allowed himself to be monkey-handled by "Lucas" the monkey while Carlos took pictures. To our joy, elation, good fortune and happiness, Scottīs bike broke down 22 miles into the trek and we had to take a bus back. The rest of the evening was spent soaking our very sore bums at the local thermal baths again. To everyoneīs delight, Scott kept gargling the public bath water and seeing how long he could hold his breath under the murky water.
2/21/01: Baņos - Cuenca: "Treasure the unexpected." Once again planning our trip to the "T," we missed the direct bus to Cuenca, while we enjoyed breakfast, and boarded our first bus to Ambato and then to Cuenca. For no particular reason, we stayed in Cuenca and were treated to a splendid town and a very fun and unexpected night. A few hospitable Cuencans joined us for a few drinks and finally taught Scott to at least pretend you can dance salsa.
2/22/01: Cuenca - Lima: Almost worthy of another recipe, today was our most surreal day yet. Driven by our lack of planning and the need to meet our next visitor, Shawn, in Lima, we began another Mammoth bus journey. From Cuenca we made into Machala in 4 hours. In Machala we began the process of crossing the border into Peru. Our first sign that this was not an easy crossing was when we were the only two people who were dropped off at immigration in Huaquillas, as the rest of the bus crossed the border. Those of you that are familiar with "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" will understand when we say that we met "Shortstack, shorty." Our guide for the next tumultuous hour of border experiences was a 9-year old 3 foot tall kid, and we felt lucky to have him. From immigration we got in a cab which took us to the border. This no-manīs land was the closest we have experienced, to what one would assume India was like. Thousands of people stuck in a traffic jam of human drawn fruit carts, buses, cars and all bogged down in mud. Shorty guided us through the maze, warding off the money changers and masses of people. The icing on the cake of surrealism was the 6 tigers stuck in the mud as the circus was clearing customs. We were passed off to a taxi driver who cleared us through Peruvian customs and off to a 19-hour bus to Lima.
2/23/01: Lima: The 19-hour bus ride was miserable (save for 2 good movies, "Mystery Alaska" and "The Green Mile"), but we go to any lengths to meet friends and visitors on our journey. Breakfast: 30 minutes, good pancakes. Check into hotel and shower: 1 hour, absolutely amazing cleansing experience. Call to Shawn: 30 minutes, hope we see you, hereīs where to meet us. Internet Cafe: 1 hour, check email. Buy tickets to Cuzco: 1 1/2 hour, unsuccessful due to travel agent error. Laundry: 30 minutes, drop off sweaty, grimy, dirty clothes for much needed cleaning. Buy tickets to Cuzco #2: 1 hour, finally. Nap: 2 hours, much needed. Dinner: 1 hour, Lomo Saltado, very good. Think of business plan: 1 hour, sure fire success. Wait for Shawn: ?...Where are you Shawn? We got a pitcher waiting.
2/24/01: Lima: We had quite a boring day today which is what happens when you entertain guests who arive at 1am. Shawn did show up and many hours later we saw the sun rise. Nothing of consequence happened as we woke up late and prepared for the arrival of our other guest, DJ. After DJīs arrival we went to toast our new travel mates at the Old Pub. We met some Peruvian tour guides who led us to one of Limaīs cultural centers Seņor Frogs. Mr. Frog was in many of our pictures. Once again we saw the sun rise as we found our way back to the hotel.
2/25/01: Lima: We woke up bright and early at 1pm to greet our newest visitor Becca. We ventured into the main part of town to see the main sites only to have Carlosī walkman pickpocketed from his backpack. This was quickly followed by a barrage of water balloons from the locals celebrating carnival. Craving the peacefulness of our neighborhood, Miraflores, we cabbed back to our hotel and took in some more local sites. Helados. A pizza dinner with one of the tour guides was followed by one more visit to the Old Pub for DJ, Shawn and Scott. A flip of the coin decided the night for Shawn and Scott. Good thing it came up heads.
2/26/01: Lima - Cuzco: Traveling in style, we opted for the 1 hour plane ride over the 40 hour bus trip to the beautifull Inca capital of Cuzco, at 3,200m. After setting up shop at Hostal Arqueologo we comparison shopped around the picturesque Plaza de Armas for our 4 day hike on the ancient Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. After DJ and Shawn savored their roasted Guinea Pig with some Mate de Coca to help with the altitude we continued to aclimatize with a Guiness at the Irish Pub.
2/27/01: Cuzco: Down one Wanderboy due to illness, DJ, Shawn, Scott and Becca headed into town to explore the local attractions. After braving the rain for a while, we found shelter for a bit while shopping for our authentic Inca tooks. Helados. We checked in on our sick friend and decided to postpone the Inca Trail one day. After updating the website we grabbed dinner at the Speedy Spoon. A game of "centimos" at the restaurant led to a game of "spinning the Inca quarters" where Wallybamba (Becca), Urubamba (Shawn), Jatunchaka (DJ), and Machu Picchu (Scott) donned their native threads. The party continued at a local bar, where there was much rejoicing.
2/28/01: Cuzco: Not phased by the altitude, Shawn, Scott, Becca and DJ took on the Urubamba River while Carlos nursed himself back to health. From the looks of the river we expected a casual paddle downstream in the raft. Instead, the river was angry and flipped us over minutes into the ride at the first rapids. Becca enjoyed a longer swim than most and also got to sample the local water direct from the source. Unfazed, we rafted through more rapids and even a guerilla water balloon attack. As if we were not already wet enough. Following the rafting we returned to Cuzco to find Carlos in much better shape and spirits, ready to hit the Inca Trail - or so we thought.