Rickys Random Articles

Travel Review: Peru

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1x1.trans Travel Review: Peru

What an exhausting two weeks. Most of my vacations consist of traveling to some world class city, gorging on their gastronomical delights and taking in the various shops and clubs that the place has to offer.

Not this trip.

As I wrote in my preview, this vacation was more of an outdoor adventure kind of trip. Having survived two weeks, here are some thoughts about my trip.

Firsts:

- First time sleeping in a mosquito net. Sleeping in a bed that was surrounded by a mosquito net, I felt a bit like a prisoner. It only takes one stroll through the Amazon at night to realize that the alternative is a lot worse.

1x1.trans Travel Review: Peru

- First time not taking a swimming opportunity. If you know me, you will know that I love to swim. The guides in the Amazon said we would be able to swim in a designated area in Lake Sandoval if we wanted but had to sign a waiver because of the poisonous sting rays, piranhas and caiman that inhabit the same lake. No thanks.

- First time I wore a sun hat or bandana. The sun was so intense sometimes in the Andes that I got a sunburn on a cloudy, rainy day

1x1.trans Travel Review: Peru

- First time I ever hitch hiked: while in the Cordillera Blanca (aka the home of the highest tropical peaks on Earth), we had to hitch hike from locals to various drop off points for hiking.. which led to:

- First time I sat in the trunk of a hatchback. After a particularly exhausting hike to Lake 69 (altitude 4600m, picture above) we were desperate to hitch a ride back to the area our lodge was. Fortunately, these Dutch teachers had extra spots in their taxi for us. Sadly, it was in the trunk part of the hatchback. A 40 minute ride on a gravel road going down a mountain is not pleasant when folded up like accordion. I took a pretty average video of the experience:

- First time in an overnight bus. Peru has overnight buses covered. They are amazing. Super comfortable, goes back all the way to 170 degrees, foot rest and a server on the bus who gives you food and coffee. All for 30 bucks or something. Why don’t they have these to New York city?

1x1.trans Travel Review: Peru

Machu Picchu: What can you say? It’s an astonishing sight to see this ancient Incan city at the Sun Gate after a grueling four day hike that involved some crazy up and downhill hikes. Doing it any other way would be cheating, in my mind. Pretty good weight loss program too. No picture can really describe it’s magnificence, which I guess is why I hiked there in the first place.

Amazon Rainforest: Amazing. five minutes into our hike to reach our lodge, we encountered one of many monkeys living in the area. Tarantulas were everywhere, as were all kinds of birds (including parrots) and various other animals. Even the flora in the Amazon were interesting. it’s a shame it’s all getting destroyed.

All in all, Peru is an amazing place that I would highly recommend to anyone. The natural diversity the country has to offered is unparalleled for the countries’ size and I honestly felt two weeks isn’t enough.

Airline review: Taca Airlines

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1x1.trans Airline review: Taca Airlines

It only seems fitting that a trip to South America should include a South/Central American airline. My flight to Lima was booked on Expedia and the cheapest most reasonable option was Taca Airlines, an airline I had never heard of. Apparently, Taca stands for Transportes Aéreos del Continente Americano and is actually a brand of five indie airlines operating out of Central America. The flights I had included a stop over in San Salvador. Here is my review of my experience.

Ease of check in: A fairly painless process that included web checkin 24 hours prior, although I was a bit perplexed at the lack of seating chart on seatguru (use united a320 for reference). Despite being able to pick my seat, I still had to lineup to check in my luggage. So..basically I had to lineup.

Seating Comfort – Standard a320 seating, not too comfortable but better then the discount airlines. I didn’t get the seats I wanted (emergency seats) but the seats were comfortable enough.

Sustainance – I was most impressed with the booze offered, Flor De Cana rum was readily available and the servers were quite liberal with the amount of rum they gave in a rum and coke. Big thumbs up. I was able to order a red wine and a beer from the same person. Am I an alcoholic? I dunno. The beer offered was of the South and Central American variety, which further added to my excitement of the trip.

Food
For a snack, Taca gave us some mix of nuts and dried fruit called Congo Mix. It was delicious. My lunch included a tasty lasagna and my dinner was some chicken and tomato mixture. Each came with salad, bread and some sweets. it was about average for an airline but better than Air Canada’s crap (and much much better then whatever United Airlines offers).

In House entertainment
Sadly, I had to watch Captain America twice since they were two separate flights. The other movie was Mr Poppers Penguin, which reminded me of Liar Liar (Jim Carrey as overworked divorced father who ignores kids, then changes his life around), only with animals. Remember when Jim Carrey was funny? me neither. On the way back to Toronto, saw a movie called Water for Elephants which started the vampire from Twilight and Reese Witherspoon’s teeth. It was pretty bad. However, on a plane, everything is watchable. Even Glee*.

Overall impression: Taca Airlines is usually the cheapest option when flying to South America and it’s not bad, especially with the free flowing alcohol. I would highly recommend it over the stuffy atmosphere that is Air Canada or United Airlines

and..

Glee complaint time!
I had never seen Glee before boarding this airplane and let me tell you something – it’s a pretty bad show. Not only does it feel like a glorified musical after school special, the characters are cardboard caricatures and everything was wrapped up all too nicely. In this particular episode, the football team was divided because the macho linesman didn’t want to be on the same team as the members of the Glee club, who are the quarterbacks, running backs, etc of the team. Somehow in the end, it all neatly wraps up and they are banded together. Still, because it took so long, the team is down 3 points in the championship game and are about to lose when the leader of the team realizes that they could still win if the other teams quarterback fumbles and they return it for a touchdown. Naturally, this happens and just like any unrealistic fairy tale you tell kids growing up, the good guys win and the bad guys lose. It was so stupid because the other team fumbled because the center over snapped the ball to the qb who was lined up in SHOTGUN formation. SHOTGUN! on a kneel down play! What coach would allow that? it’s so stupid. Anyways, I hate the show.

Vacation Preview: Peru, November 5 to 20, South America

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1x1.trans Vacation Preview: Peru, November 5 to 20, South America

In six days I will be going on my second vacation of the year. While going on vacation is something I do on a regular basis (well, whenever I have vacation days) – this is the first time I will go on an outdoor adventure type of vacation. It’s completely new to me – backpacks, hydration systems, gore-tex, wicking – these terms used to mean nothing to me. Now they matter more than ever, a strange case since hydration systems on my previous trips just meant finding a bar with good music.

My chosen destination for this trip is the South American country of Peru. It seems to be a country of destination for young adults in North America who want to experience some culture while being one with nature and getting good photo ops for their Facebook profiles.. While the mystique of this once proud Incan country has slowly eroded with the overabundance of tourists (and subsequent default pictures), it still remains something I have on my bucket list. Since a few of my friends have expressed interest in what I’m actually doing there (and really, it’s the only thing I’m thinking about), I’ve decided to write a vacation preview! I’m also writing this for security purposes – in case I’m kidnapped or something, you’ll know where to send Russell Crowe.

1st stop: Machu Picchu

Not just a below average Strokes song, indie music fans will be pleased to know it’s actually a Unesco World Heritage site. Machu Picchu is one of the former homes of the ancient Inca civilization. One of the premier civilizations in pre colonization South America, the Incans were sophisticated, smart and probably a little too trusting. Still, what remains of their civilization is a spectacular view to be seen. It involves a four day hike in high altitude without a fancy bathroom, martini bar or Uniqlo in sight. Probably the most challenging part of my trip, even more difficult than trying to get Frank to go to a nightclub in Barcelona.

The Strokes – Machu Picchu by UKPlaylist

2nd Stop: Amazon Rainforest

Despite the best efforts of pretty much every country in South America, the ever shrinking Amazon Rainforest is still there and I’m definitely looking forward to going into this mega forest where a single mis step can result in death via Jaguar, Anaconda or those tiny frogs. In preparation for this leg of my tour, I’ve been watching that Duran Duran video on repeat. Just realized that took place in Sri Lanka. Crap.

Step 3: The Mountains

Probably the most relaxing part of my tour is also my last. A short bus ride from Lima will find me in the town of Huaraz. From there we will go to some mountainesque lodge that seems rather relaxing and will allow me to try all kinds of outdoorsy things that I see in those advertisements for Mountain Equipment Co Op, I’ll probably feel more manly because of it.

Anyways, that’s my trip. I am excited to travel to a new continent and eat some good ceviche.

Stay tuned for a review in a few weeks

Great Music Moments in Movies: Lustra, Euro Trip

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1x1.trans Great Music Moments in Movies: Lustra, Euro Trip

Euro Trip was one of those underrated coming of age road movies that came out in the early 2000s. I think Vik bought it in the discount bin or something. The premise is as always, high school seniors decide to go on one big jaunt through Europe before going to college where their friends will all inevitably end. Not quite sure who was the star of the movie but I remember Buffy’s sister/Georgina Sparks was in it as well as the smoking hot Kristin Kreuk, someone who I’ve always thought would have had a better career than she did (maybe the Chun Li movie was a nail in the coffin?)

Anyways, Kreuk has a cameo in the opening sequence where the lead character discovers that Kreuk has been cheating on him and he learns this via a song…. sang by Matt Damon. The song itself is your simple So Cal punk track, titled Scotty Doesn’t Know. The song is by some band named Lustra who promptly disappeared off the face of this Earth after the track. Still, it was a funny movie and an underrated movie music moment. Check it out.