A Travellerspoint blog

The Final WHO-RAH!!!

This one will be brief and I'll let the pictures do most of the talking!

After the last post we started our 3-day Lares trek prior to going up to Machu Picchu. What we didn't understand is that it was a three day trek through what was one of the paths connecting villages around the Machu Picchu area, but would not lead us directly to Machu Picchu. The Inka Trail hike will however it is so crowded and touristy we were happy to be on the trek we were... we literally only saw the people that lived on the trail the whole time... no other groups at all. Which apparently the Inca Trail people are constantly passing other tourists.

So the first day we did a tour through the Sacred Valley, this is where many many villages are and were. Our guide was actually born in the Sacred Valley and his mom still lives there.

One of the villages we stopped by (this is before the actual trek) is sponsored by GAP Adventures. We are allowed to stop by and buy goods from them, take pictures, and they show us from the alpaca to the toque what happens... and GAP gives their husbands and sons jobs as porters and herdsmen at a fair wage when they are not farming the land.

Okay... picture time! This is were the toque starts!

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After being died with natural bug parts and such... the ladies spin the wool and roll it up...

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While running after kids... these woman are still knitting!

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The off to the ruins! An old town in the Sacred Valley

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Although we are at close to 3600m... still no altitude issues!

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More ruins...

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Steve really digs this stuff...

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Our last night in a real bed before getting ready to camp... and look at the blankets Steve found in his bed!

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Bright in the morning we hit the trail!

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Our first outlook point! If you look to the right you can see the town we started in

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Prior to the trip, we pooled our money and bought bread for the kids along the trail. Some other trails they allow you to bring candy, but these kids do not have the proper dental hygiene habits for sugar like that and bread is just as much of a treat to them and their teeth stay happy!

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Another peak hiked and we found SNOW!!! Probably around 4300m at this point. Breathtaking... literally, it's hard to breath that high up!

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More cute kids!

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The highest peak at roughly 4600m

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The boys had to check out the lake at the bottom... surprisingly warm!

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And the final group shot... including all the guides, cooks and porters! Great team!!!

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Then MACHU PICCHU!!!

What is that behind us???

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The agricultural tiers are truly a wonder

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More of us...

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Guess who else made it! BACKSIDE!!!

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Power shot

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To keep the grass down... alpaca's were brought in to mow. (And ride!)

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The we celebrated!!!

Steve found another man-crush...

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We found a passed out dude in the bar...

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I tried to imitate it... think I did pretty good!

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The next night we were part of the Pachamama (Mother Earth) ceremony to bless the new hostel with our favourite hostel guys. Apparently the Inka new year is August and the only time this ceremony can be held is the month of August because that is when the heart is the most open. The whole process took about 4 hours and involved all of us to be drinking and passing the bottle around the circle... hence the pictures are not awesome! :D

First the two owners had their Coca leaves read... all looks good there for the business!!!

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Then they created the offering... each different element to the offering has a meaning, really quite interesting!

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Then outside they created a firepit of poop

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And burned the offerings

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The whole process was VERY interesting, but because of the drinking the pictures aren't very reflective

A day of shopping later and we had to come home.

One last Peruvian beer in the airport

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Yummy!!!

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And 26 hours later we were greeted by Tyler and Melissa in Edmonton.

Great trip, great memories and happy to be home with our great friends and family!!!

Posted by TeamTranklit 08:39 Archived in Peru Comments (2)

Peru... we love you

overcast 15 °C

Let's see... last time we left you we were in a bus station waiting to get to Peru. Well since then we have learned a lot about busses around here. The highlights are, always take the non-normal bus or you will be on a 9 hour bus ride to another country where the front door never shuts, people are gettting on and off every 5 minutes... some selling stuff, and there will be chickens and more people than seats the whole way. Lesson learned! We also learned that when the bus takes off with your luggage underneath at the border stop... he will be back, but with only half the people. You don't have to run swearing after the bus at 3am in the middle of nowhere... another lesson learned!

But with all of that, we finally made it to the wonderfully hot Mancora in Peru. After coming from cold Quito, to muggy jungle then chilly Banos it was nice to soak up some sun!

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We could not get over how calm the water was, it was like swimming in a lake. Apparently the week prior there had been a 3 meter tidal wave, which explained some of the random concrete in the beach, but ever since it had been super calm.

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Steve wanted this picture in too...

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After leaving Mancora after a few days of sun and relaxation, we started the trek to Chiclayo to catch our plane to Lima. We hopped on a non-normal overnight bus and headed to the city. We also learned that the non-normal bus seats recline to almost 180 and have fun little rests for you calves too! We caught some zzz's on the bus and arrived in Chiclayo about 8 hours before we had to be at the airport.

Next lesson learned... after about 2 hours in a restaurant, they start to look at you as if you'll never leave. And... when we have too much time on our hands we turn into the best tourists EVER!!!

Exhibit A

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Exhibit B

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Exhibit C

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When the time came, we grabbed the smallest cab ever and headed to the airport... no trunk for the bags and barely enough room for me too in the back seat!

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Next stop... LIMA!!!

What a great city... we literally spent 3 days just walking around the beach, doing laundry and all the normal stuff we haven't really done since we left! I even went to Starbucks! The first non-instant coffee I've had in awhile!

This is one shot during the day down by the ocean

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We also did some shopping and started the obsession with alpaca... Steve loves it!!!

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Again... loved Lima so here are a few more pics!

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It's cold so the alpaca scarf worked nicely!

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And Steve loved the parks

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Next up CUZCO!!! We thought we loved Lima but after 5 days in Cuzco now, we decided this is by far the favorite. Complete with a Genesis tribute band in the square!

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Cuzco is one of the most preserved old cities in all of Peru. Steve loves the narrow cobblestone streets.

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Although, compared to the Inca's we are both GIGANTIC!

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There are markets in every corner... with more "Pure alpaca lady"

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And Steve loves the architecture

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And... I spend a lot of time looking at this

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However... big shout out to Mr. Ben Anders for recommending the best hostel EVER! We stayed in the first one in Lima and the same owners have one here in Cuzco. The hostel is amazing and has heaters and hot water!!!

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And with the owners one night we drank many many Pisco Sours... a Peruvian drink that will get you!

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Tonight we have our orientation with our Machu Picchu hike guide and we hit the trail with our sleeping bags and tents in the morning! Only just over a week left of this trip and neither of us is sure if we never want it to end, or our beds at home would be nice.

Love and miss you all... were off to the navel of the world!

Posted by TeamTranklit 14:24 Archived in Peru Comments (2)

Ecuador... what a treat you are!

overcast 26 °C

Well, we said good bye to our hostel in Panama, and good bye to the moustaches too...

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Next up was Quito, Ecuador... after a night in Venezuela of course. We set out to see some of the sights around town. The old town is quite the photographers dream, but I think I have a second career in impersonations too.

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We also made it out to Mitad del Mundo... the middle of the earth. Did all the fun things like jumping from one side to another and flushing toilets and stuff. A pretty cool place for science experiements!

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Then we headed out for probably the most amazing 4 days of our trip so far... to the heart of the jungle. We took an overnight bus for 8ish hours to the town of Coca, then got in a farm tour type of hay wagon truck. Went down gravel roads for about 4 hours in that beast then in a motorized canoe down the river for another 3 or 4 hours into the jungle. Until we got here...

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There is no way we could write of all the things we saw and not go broke at the internet cafe. But these are the highlights!

We went fishing...

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Caught the ugliest catfish I have ever seen... our guide thought it was hilarious that I thought they looked hideous! .... but they did taste pretty good.

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Along with our Spanish/English guide, we also had a Warani, the indigenous tribe in the area, guy along as well. Steve ate a maggot the size of one of those nuts that Mama loves at Christmas and I only know the racist name for.... We also ate live ants that taste like lemon drops, licked the bark of the tree that they make the poison darts from, and saw how they made the bags that they carry their prey... sometimes human... back out of the jungle!

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We later went fishing again and Steve caught his Pirhana... and yup he even kept the jaw. It is currently snuggled in my mouthguard case... GROSS!!!!

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I wasn´t feeling well for one of the treks so I let the boys go alone... they brought me back a present...

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We will have WAY more stories when we get back, but it was sad to say goodbye to our jungle home.

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Next, we were off to our next little surprise. Banos! What an amazing little town...

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We spent a couple of days there... but we have another country to get too. So on with the backpacks!

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Now we sit in Guayquil waiting for another overnight bus to Peru! Our last country but so much to explore!!!

Love and miss you all and will report back from Peru.

Posted by TeamTranklit 11:42 Archived in Ecuador Comments (4)

So long Pais, Ola Panama!

overcast 29 °C

Our last couple days in Mal Pais didn´t include puking, purging, and bubbly blisters, but there was four by fouring, refreshing waterfalls, and an island full of dead guys. This is me at the entrance to an island cemetary that you can only get to when the tide is out, Wendy fought two zombies with conch shell shoulder pads here, but I wasn´t able to take a picture because her ninja jabs are lightning quick....

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The trail we took on our quad ride had many features, including a feature film starring Steven Seagul playing a Samurai Surfer who rides sharks instead of surf boards. Another feature was this pristine little beach we found. Wendy has perfected the ¨Stretched out arm shots¨, wouldn´t you say?

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At the end of our trail we hiked about 30mins down a mosquito infested river and stumbled upon this little gem. It was a nice change to swim in fresh water and get some of the sand out of our pores. I climbed the rocks behind us and hucked a few gainers, prolly got like 13 feet of air each time.

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After our 6th straight pancake breakfast we said goodbye to Tranq-uillo Backpackers and Mal Pais. I think there is a hostel coming up called ¨Klitrollio Backpackers¨ so stay tuned for that picture.

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We flew out of San Jose to Panama City and we had read in the Lonely Planet that it´s cheapest to take the local bus they are called ¨Diablos Rojo¨(Red Devils) and rip through the steets like a carnival ride, only with MORE children hanging out the sides. Wendy and I = only white folks on bus. It was about an hour long ride of knee lickin¨ fun when our bus smashed into the back of a car and we followed the que of Panamaniens to the shoulder of a highway and yeilded another graffiti blasted chariot! They sort of look like the BustLoose party buses back home.

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Our first night in, we met a young tender Brazilian (who has since become our personal translator) and two chicks from California looking to party. We all met up at giant yellow house converted into a bar that was having there opening night! Rock n roll, two local punk rockers playing chess, 2 dollar beers and a few rounds of Tequila and our night was spent! We pounded water in the morning and were still able to make it some amazing ruins and suck in some history. Weeeeeeee

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The enemy attacking us....

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As time tends to fly when your travelling, it is our last day in Panama so we did what any good tourist would do and went to the Panama Canal. It was really interesting, 14,000 of these massive boats inch through the canal by only 1 foot each side every year, this was one of the 35 today.

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And the epic main locks that let the boats through while the water level is displaced.

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Ecuador jungles, here we COME!

Hi Mom, this proves Im still alive.

Posted by TeamTranklit 19:22 Archived in Panama Comments (5)

Still in Mal Pais

sunny

Hello Friends!

Well much has happened since the last post! Things here are going phenomenally... with a few exceptions of course.

Shortly after we arrived in Mal Pais Steve and I decided to go for a walk... well we walked for a very long time and I got a blister. The town here is amazing, full of amazing stretches of beach and fun little shops to look at. The BEST part is the supermarkets that you get your groceries at, the one by our hostel is called "Super Ronnie #1", further down the road is "Super Ronnie #2". Again a sign that we were meant to be here.

The next day... the day before Canada Day, we finally ran into Jobbie, the owner of Jobbies Surf Shop and Surf School (thanks again Shammie!) and he had already planned out our Canada Day celebrations. Morning surf session, maybe a little yoga and then fishing for some tuna for supper... with plenty of beer of course. The crew for the day would be Jobbie (Calgary), Eric (just outside of Winnepeg), Charlie (Toronto), and Dave... American, and of course Steve and I. Sounded amazing so Steve and I decided the best way to prepare for the adventure was to rent bikes and ride around town... WAY easier than blisters!

Our trek around town was really cool, we rented bikes from a dude that looked like the undertaker and apparently is ONLY ever seen wearing all black, but the deal was good so no big deal. We rode around town and decided to stop by Jobbies shop to see what was going on. By this point is was raining, but it's a warm tropical rain so again... awesome! We found out that due to the rain and stuff, surfing probably wouldn't be the best idea but fishing was still a go! One thing we have learned is things happen in Costa when they are ready to... so no biggie! We would stop by Canada Day afternoon. On our bike ride home the rain really started pouring and we were laughing our heads off. Until my chain fell off mid climb up a hill.... well I sprawled in the middle of the dirt road then sprung up as quickly as I could again before I was hit by a truck or quad or dirk bike that generally FLY up and down the roads. As Steve and I tried to put the chain back on I noticed a bit of blood coming from my hand and Steve said the same of my knee and elbow. At this point it was a little funny! So we got the bikes back to the hostel and washed out my wounds with clean water. All appeared to be surface scratches with a few pretty impressive looking bruises.

Here at the hostel we have formed a pretty fun little family that people have been coming and leaving from with a core group of about 8 of us that have pretty much been here the whole time. In the evening we make a huge dinner together and usually wind up talking or having a couple of drinks with everyone. The night of the bike was no exception! This is a picture of one of our meals... seriously good peeps here!

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HAPPY CANADA DAY

Steve and I decided that even though Jobbie figure the surf wouldn't be amazing we were going to just rent a board for the morning before fishing. We grabbed a board and had a blast beating the poop out of ourselves for a couple of hours. Steve body surfed a couple on the board and I got up once... all in all not bad for our first day! Even found some fresh coconuts!

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When we got back I noticed my blister looked a bit strange but brushed it off and headed for the showers, we had a fishing trip to get ready for! By the time we were all showered up and finishing making lunch, one of our hostel friends, a German doctor asked to look at my foot cause I was walking a little funny. Well, long story short, I got put on a round of antibiotics, had a foot swell up to give me an impressive kankle and have been going through the Polysporin and bandaids like crazy. So on the way to fishing I asked the German doc if I could still drink... all my medical attention comes from within the hostel. Why outsource when the goods are right there! He said "ya, sure"... man I love the Germans!

Steve and I head off for Jobbies to head out fishing. When we get there we find out that Jobbie wasn't around but fishing was still on! Well by the time we got out to the little fishing village we were to leave from a storm looked like it was coming in... so fishing rescheduled for the next morning. Well it's Canada Day, so off to the beer we went! Canada in Costa Rica I am a firm believer is the best idea ever!!!

The next morning we get to the fishing village and the weather is looking amazing. The boys help get the boat in the water and we are off! Eric used to help run some sport fishing tours out of there, so we have all the connections!

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We drive out for about 45 minutes and the water is a little choppy but the scenery is AMAZING!!! Being here in the rainy season is phenomenal, everything is so lush and such a dark green! We get out to around this little island where the tuna has been biting the last couple of days... our hearts are set on yellow fin tuna but we will settle with anything, the day is perfect! Well... until they stop the boat to put the first rod in water. They are just your average rod and reel type of setups but the boat moving makes me feel a little off. As soon as the line is out, Steve snags one! As he starts to reel the fish in, I decide I better put my head over the boat for a bit. Well the guys had a great day and caught 10 or so black fin tunas and skipjack... I however had a 2 1/2 hour bout of bulimia, for the full 2 1/2 hours. At one point Steve handed me the bottle of water again and said, "Hey are you on the Paris Hilton diet"? The boys also saw a huge sea turtle and an underground volcano! They were pretty excited about it!!! I was looking at the water on the other side of the boat... lol! Oh, boy!!!

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The catch was amazing and we (I recovered as best as I could with a nap and some bread) had fantastic BBQ'd fish and sashimi (skipjack).

The next morning the boys headed off for the first surf lesson with Jobbie. In the picture is Steve, Jobbie and Charlie.

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You will notice that I am not in the picture... that is because with my wonderfully swollen foot, I am unable to go in the water until my German doctor gives me the clearance. So Randall (Jobbies dog) and I hung out on the beach... look at how happy he is! Steve did great... I think the surfing thing is starting to make sense to him... I am trying to not get jealous. ;)

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Last night, we headed to Cobano for an authentic Costa Rican rodeo! It's a pretty funny sight actually!

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They have real bull riding and I have some videos of it, but the internet here is a little stinky and it would take forever to load! But the best part about it, is in the bull riding ring, lined up along the inside is a bunch of guys drinking beer. Anyone can go down there, but when the bull comes towards them they climb the fence and get out of the way just in time. Of course Steve had to try! They were down in the ring for quite a few of the bull rides and when the bulls come by the guys along the edges, the guys kick the bulls or try and step on their backs! Again, Steve for sure had his feet on the back of a bull... how could you not at a Costa Rican rodeo! The best part is as the night goes along, there are several guys that start forgetting that they are in the ring and are just leaning on the fence drinking their beers until the bull starts charging... hilarious!!! No one... other than a few of the cowboys that got stomped pretty good were hurt.

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Seriously funny stuff... well after that we headed to the bar in a cage... also at the rodeo that was an awesome mix of salsa and rave. I can assure you that there were no epileptics in the crowd at that bar! Seriously fun times so far!

Today was another surf lesson for Steve and another beach day for me. He is standing on almost every wave he catches and doing awesome! Tomorrow we are renting a quad and heading for the waterfalls so stay tuned for that one!

And mom... don't worry, I'm done the antibiotics, my foot is almost normal size again and my bike wounds are close to healed. And as for the bulimia, I don't think I'll do that again either so no worries there! However, I shouldn't need to cleanse when I get back now... took care of that at sea!

Love you all and having the time of our lives!!!

Happy 4th of July to the Americans!

US :D

Posted by TeamTranklit 20:34 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (6)

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