Day 60. Valparaiso El Fin.

A month in Valparaiso, Chile.

I spent a month in Valparaiso, Chile.  I did a work exchange at a hostel.  I worked in exchange for a bed and some food.  It was actually a lot easier than I thought, despite everything being in Spanish.  It is said that Chilean Spanish is difficult to understand because they talk to fast and they have different slang.  I got along fine though. Before Chile I spent the prior month backpacking through Peru.  It was too fast for me, a week here and a week there.  I found this gig through, Workaway, check it out. I have another gig in August in Scotland.  It was great to relax and not have to worry about traveling.

 

Cerro Bellavista

Valparaiso is the cultural capital of Chile. There are 42 hills, cerros, in the city. There are many incredible murals all over the city.  It has one of the three homes of famous Chilean Poet, Pablo Neruda. It used to be one of the premier ports in the 1800s.  With the creation of the Panama Canal.  Its stopped receiving as many visitors.  I saw a video that showed the city and immediately I wanted to visit the city.

I don’t know who this artist is but I dig the character style and colors.

Red Bull Valparaiso Abajo

 

Me, Hernan, and Lucas

Who I met.  The first people I met were my co-workers, Hernan.  He was the manager of the hostel.  He was very friendly and welcoming.  I learned a lot about Chilean culture from him.  Lucas, a young Brazilian kid, who is from Sao Paulo.  He is traveling all over South America.  He will be in Chile until July.  Pierre, a French traveler, who is from Marseilles.  He has a travel visa for a year.  He left to travel south after a week I arrived.

Pierre made crepes as his last meal with us.

What I got from the experience. Traveling slow is a much more enjoyable experience.  I was able to spend more time to meet people and learn about their culture and country. One of the traditions at the hostel was to have lunch together with all the workers.  It will be something that I’m going to miss.  I believe breaking bread with strangers is one of the best ways to get to know people. The last lunch I had with Hernan and Lucas, I made Filipino chicken adobo.  I believe knowing how to cook is an essential adult skill.  I’m thankful for living on my own, it helped with my knowledge around the kitchen.

My last lunch with the guys. Food brings people together.

I had a lot of down time to train Jiu Jitsu, read, cook, walk around the city, enjoy a  wine tour and take in the Chilean culture.  I will miss the weather, empanadas, murals, food, wine, and speaking spanish but not the terremotos.  I will go to South Korea for a week.

The view from La Sebastiana.

 

Travel slow.

Day 41. Valparaiso

One of my favorite parts of my stay.  Eating together with my Hostel. 


I finished Christian Graugart’s book this week while working reception at my hostel. One take away from the book is that it’s easy for me to be self conscious of my skills and compare myself to other purple belts around the world. By the end of my trip I will roll with over hundred different strangers from countries all over the world. It’s ridiculous to compare each other. We walk our own Camino, our on path.

Cerro Concepcion.  Looking down.


I have to enjoy to process, the journey.  With the example of the Camino.  The most enjoyable part was the day of walking.  The getting up early and packing your bag.  The walk by yourself or with people.  The evening meals with other pilgrims. Those are my favorite memories.  When I got to Santiago, the final destination. I got this meh feeling.  That’s it. I was just sad that it was over.

“If you’re an asshole when you start out and you’re an asshole when you get back,”- Yvon Chounard.

I spend most mornings going for a walk and exploring the city. I sit at a cafe and I write in my journal.  It’s very meditative.  I enjoy this slow pace of travel.  I’m reading a lot more. I have time to really immerse myself here.

 I trained last Friday at Gracie Jiu Jitsu on Pedro Montt.  Which is the picture above. Samir was the Black Belt. He is very welcoming.  First time back since my URI(Upper Respiratory Infection). I rolled mainly with Nico, a purple belt who is competing in a tournament the next day in Santiago. He submitted me many times, with many different submissions.

Currently reading: The Portrait of Dorian Gray.

I will try to blog every week.

Jiu Jitsu Terms in Spanish

Compiled from Reddit and my own research. Please correct where you see necessary.

As I come to the end of my South American part of my trip until Brazil.  Here are some of my research while I had some time to think.

Body- Cuerpo

Head- Cabeza

Face- Cara

Throat- Cuello

Shoulder- Hombro

Chest- Pecho

Stomach- Estomago

Arm- Abrazo

Hand- Mano

Hips- Cadera

Fingers- Dedos

Legs- Piernas

Knees- Rodillas

Feet- Pies

Positions- Posiciones

Closed Guard- Guardia Cerrado

Half Guard- Guardia Medio

Side Control- Pecho a Pecho/ Cien Kilos

North South- Norte Sur

Knee on belly- Rodilla en el estomago

Mount- La montada

Back- Espalda

Turtle- La Tortuga

50/50- Cincuenta Cincuenta

X Guard- Guardia X

Single X- Solo X/ Simple X

Deep Half- Profunda media

Inverted Guard- Guardia invertida

De La Riva Guard- Guardia De La Riva

Moves – Movimientos 

Ankle lock- Llave de Tobillo

Knee Bar- Llave de Rodillo

Triangle- Triangulo

Armbar- Llave de abrazo

Choke- Choke/ Estrangulacion

Sweep- raspado

To Shrimp- Hacer la Gamba

Guard Pass- El pasaje de Guardia

Passing the Guard- Paseando la guardia

Useful Words- Palabras Util

Grip- Agarre

Loose- Libre

Tight- Estrecho

Space- Espacio

Heavy- pesado

Light- Ligero

Weight- Peso

Post- pata

Timing- Ritmo

Floor- Suelo

2 on 1- Dos en uno

to pull- tirar (infinitive)

to push- empujar (infinitive)

Good Training- Buen entrenamiento

Questions- Unas preguntas?

What is  your name? – Como se llama?

I am (your name)- Soy ( tu nombre)

Nice to meet you- Mucho Gusto

For Example. Por Ejemplo

Can you show me? –  Usted puede mostrarme?

Can I train here?- Puedo entrenar aqui?

How much does it cost?- Cuanto cuesta?

Thank you very much- Muchas Gracias

Oss- Oss

Travel Slow!

Day 27: Cuzco

It’s been five days having URI symptoms. I don’t feel like doing shit. I just want to stay in bed until I leave. I’ve been a connoisseur of tea and soup.  I really enjoy Cuzco though. It’s just a shame I can’t shake this cold.


I got back from Machu Picchu and I went searching for Bunker Cuzco.  I ran into Diego Yule. He runs Bunker with Nico Culrich.  It was good to exchange Jiu Jitsu stories and have a local show me around.  He showed me the Mercado de San Blas.  Little things like showing a traveler a local market means a lot.


I trained three times. I’m proud of myself for training but feeling of being sick when I’m not training isn’t good.  Some techniques Nico and Diego went over were an omoplata from spider and half guard/ knee shield. When I went to open mat we exchanged GI and NO GI. Diego was preparing for a No Gi tournament in May. We discussed how leg locks is now a system everybody needs to study. If not you will be behind the curve, especially as purple belts.


I met a Helene at the Open Mat on Saturday, a fellow BJJ Globetrotter. You can follow her blog. She has over 400 days on the road. She gave me some advice on traveling. She is truly an inspiration.

@helenebjj. Follow her on instagram @helenebjj and her blog 

 

As a former US Navy Hospital Corpsman, I self diagnosed myself with acute URI (upper respiratory infection). (Note: self diagnosing yourself is a running joke in the medical field. Why? Nearly all patients google their symptoms and think they know what they have.)  I have decided its viral and that I will just ride out the symptoms.

I fly to Lima then to Cuzco in a few hours. I hope the weather will be better for my symptoms.

Day 20 Enfermo con Machu Picchu

Where Do I start?

I had two really bad nights before I got to Aguas Calientes.  I spent one night in Cuzco before I went to Aguas Calientes.  That night I had a fever, body aches, diarrhea and insomnia.  It was quite possibly the worst night I have had yet.   On top of trying to go to sleep I was hot and cold constantly.  I was in a room with other 6 people.  I’m pretty sure they heard me tossing around the entire night.  My breath was so labored.  It was awful.  I maybe got 2 hours of sleep.  I thought I lost my medications in Starbucks that night.  I had Ibuprofen and Zolpidem, I would have taken.  Turns out after struggling the 9 hours of trying to sleep I found that I didn’t lose my meds.  After going to the bathroom 3 times that night and constantly drinking water.  I took an Ibuprofen and felt absolutely better.  Having an uncontrolled fever is terrible. I maybe took another hour of rest then I got up to start my day.

I had to travel to Machu Picchu that day.  A 2 hour bus ride and a 2 hour train ride. It actually took about 1 hour and 35 minutes for the bus ride from Cuzco to Ollantaytambo.  Then about an 1 hour and 40 minutes on a train to Aguas Caliente.  I found my hostel and I got a private room to recover.  I spent that day recovering the sleep I lost the previous night.  It was well worth the rest.

I spent Saturday just wondering around and resting in my room.  I still had diarrhea but I was feeling better. I was getting better with using medications.  I took Biscuth for my upset stomach after I ate.  I got my Machu Picchu/ WaynaPicchu ticket printed for Monday. I took a walk to the Machu Picchu Museum and Botanical Garden. I walked back and rested in my room for the rest of the day.

 

Waynapicchu took about an hour with a 10 minutes break from the control point. It was cloudy at the top which is hence why this is the only picture. 

On Sunday I bought a ticket just for Machu Picchu and I hiked up from town. The hike to the stairs which was fairly easy since I reconed it the day before. The hike from the bottom of the stairs to the entrance took roughly 90 minutes with a break.  Before you cross the bridge to get to the stairs there will be a guard checking for your Machu Picchu ticket and Passport.  There was an American who didn’t print it out and didn’t buy a bus ticket.  He tried to get pass the guard. The guard caught up with him when he tried to bypass him. I never saw that American again!

I spent the next few hours enjoying the views.  It was truly breathtaking.  There was some rain and clouds so the view kept changing.  They say that it is difficult to predict the weather at Machu Picchu.  I saw the weather first hand there.  It changed constantly from a beautiful picture that you want capture into grey clouds that you can’t see pass 100 meters. Elusive beauty at its best.

I sweat profusely when exercise especially for this hike up.  So I was constantly cold while I was walking around Machu Picchu. If you hike up carry an extra dry shirt to change later. My misery made me leave quicker.  I hiked back down because I didn’t want to pay for the bus. I didn’t get a guide because I was cold. If you wish to know more about the history of Machu Picchu, you can see the Wikipedia page here. I used the bus the next day.

I decided to use the bus since I was going to hike Waynapicchu.  There are only two times to hike 0700-0800 and 1000-1100.  I bought my ticket two weeks in advance because of advice I took from my Peruvian friends. Even now when I check Huayna Picchu first group tickets its completely sold out for March. There are only 400 people allowed each day.  The only drag was that it was cloudy when I got to the top. It was crowded too which distracted the celebration.  I’m one that dislikes crowds. So I left to beat the exiting crowd.  Yes, I could have stayed and waited for the clouds to move for the picture perfect moment.  It was raining, cold, I was full of sweat and too many people. Misery makes me leave.

 

 

Machu Picchu. Deja Vu.

 

I don’t claim to be an expert at this trip.  I just know what I did well. I bought a ticket to Machu Picchu/ Huayna Picchu in advance.  I stayed in Aguas Caliente for four days.  I think that was good for my body to acclimate better to the altitude.  Plus I used those days to recover from my travel sickness. I brought hiking clothes. I saw some people wearing jeans and sneakers up the mountain. I’m prone to accidents when I’m not prepared so boots and proper clothing helped me out. A change of dry clothes after you hike.

More take aways from this trip. When you’re home, you usually have a support system, your family, friends, familiar healthcare.  When you travel alone, you make the decision on what you should you do about your health.

Day 16. Family and toilets

 
I just spent 6 days in Trujillo.  I went off the path because my plans were altered in Lima.  My friend, Jimmy, whom I was stationed with in 29 Palms, had in-laws in Trujillo.  I spoke about my trip a lot at work during my final months in the Navy.  He told me  if I was in Trujillo to look them up.  With the unexpected change of plans in Lima I decided to see another city instead of just the two main cities of Peru.

Jimmy’s brother-in-law, Yhon, showed me around.  He grew up in Norwalk, Ca he is  fluent in English and Spanis. I don’t know how express the amount of hospitality his family displayed toward me. It’s overwhelming because of the language barrier.  My Spanish/ Castellano was embarrassing.  I could speak to them but I couldn’t understand 80% of what they said. They cooked for me, took me out to eat, showed my Chan Chan, and gave me a place to stay. I am forever grateful to Yhon and his family. Many thoughts came over me from visiting his family.  Family is a big part of Peruvian culture.  It honestly made me homesick for my family.


At first the culture of toilets didn’t bother me in Lima.  A couple of things to highlight about toilets on my trip. You have to bring your own TP everywhere you go.  I was used to this in Lima because I had a backpack full of everything I needed. But when I was in Trujillo, I felt awkuard to bring my backpack everywhere since my hosts didn’t carry a bag everywhere.  I first discovered then read that not everywhere will have TP or hand soap.  It wouldn’t be that big a deal but I had travel diarrhea. I had to go the toilet constantly. I had travel diarrhea in Lima but it seems like it’s getting worst.

I’m currently taking a bunch of medication. Ibuprofen, for the body aches and headaches. Sulfamethoxole, for the stomach issues. Paracetamol, for the pain and headaches.  Traveling and being sick is a bad combination.  It is fine at home because usually you have people to take care of you.  I’m glad I had Yhon and his family to care for me. I think I still have some sort of stomach flu.

This following post was enlightening. Peruvian Toilets.

Recently the north of Peru was hit with a lot of rain.  Yhon said it hasn’t rained this hard in about 20 years.  The basement garage of the apartment we were staying in was flooded, almost 4ft / 1,2 meters. They pushing the cars that out that were in there overnight. By the time we came back to the apartment that night, they had already started pumping the water out. I was worried about my trip to Cuzco.  A selfish thought when thousands of people were displaced because of the flooding and the “huaicos” mudslide.


No Jiu Jitsu in Trujillo because of time constraints and weather.  Team Mamut was huge recommendation by many BJJ Globetrotters.

Some updates. I will be doing the Camino  again from Porto, Portugal.  I am applying to volunteer at the campgrounds for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I started reading The Portrait of Dorian Grey because I left Lolita for Koffi in Lima. Pictures will be updated

 

Day 12. My first video.

I spent most of Friday editing my footage from Lima.  It was good to relax and not worry about traveling or doing tourist stuff. I spent the day in my room writing my last post and trying to figure out how to edit videos.

My friends at Droneworks, who make and edit videos as their business, gave me this tip to edit and make a video as soon as I shoot it.  You can make tiny little episodes while you  travel.  The opposite is shooting a bunch of footage then at the end of your trip, which is a year, and edit it all into a movie.  I prefer the first way because of the amount of footage on the back end would be overwhelming. I would end up procrastinating all of it.

The goal of making videos is to document my trip through my own lens. This is what I saw and I remember the feelings I had when I shot it.  I can look back when I’m 50 at some tangible piece of video instead of a million photographs. What is movie anyway but a collection of moving photos?

I used GoPro Quik.  I tried using Black Magic Divinci Resolve 12 but that was way too difficult.  I think my SurfacePro  4 was working really hard while that program was running too.  I will do more research for my next video.

I write, take photographs, film, train Jiu Jitsu, practice Spanish, eat local food, have travel diarrhea, see the sites, wash my clothes in the shower and other travel stuff that’s done behind the scenes. I piece of me wants to simplify it and only do one thing, like write and photos. But I’ve wanted to play around with film for a long time.  I feel like this is the perfect time to do it. Unfortunately it’s on the road with a bunch of things I also enjoy doing.

It sounds like I’m complaining which I am. If anybody has any advice on the video, editing, or life. Please let me know.

Day 11

I was on 11 hour bus ride from Lima to Trujillo.  The bus was extremely comfortable compared to Greyhound in the US or even a bus I took in Spain from Bilbao to Santander. Our seats were able to lean back and we had our own entertainment. It was a double-decker bus and each row had three seats. We had ample space to stretch.  We were given lunch and snack time with a service attendant. We had a pillow and blanket on our seat waiting for us as we boarded.  It felt like first class for buses. I have never had first class but I imagine that’s what it would have felt like. The scenery was very contemplative. It was full of desert coastlines and driving through little towns.  For $43 USD it was great deal. It had drawbacks though.  You weren’t allowed to defecate in the bathroom, it was only for urinating.  I didn’t understand the explanation if it was broken or if that was normal. The roads were bumpy for more than half the ride paired with the stop and go traffic. The trip took 11 hours.  I wasn’t used to being on a bus for that long.  I will think twice next time I take a bus anywhere.

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Franco telling us a story about women wearing tapadas on balconies.

To bring it back to Lima.  On my last day I took a free walking tour of downtown Lima.  It was good to meet other travelers.  The only other contact I had was my host Jiu Jitsu gym and the hostel workers.  The night before I decided to be more sociable and meet people. By nature I spend a lot of time by myself when I’m at home but I don’t mind because I have a house full of my family.  I’m naturally an introverted person who doesn’t like small talk. I had to force myself to go out and go on the tour.  So I met a few German girls, an Argentine couple, and Franco, our tour guide.  I felt better to talk to people.  I enjoyed how I could speak with everyone and ask questions in Spanish/ Castellano.  If my German was conversational I would be even more happy with myself, but I spoke English with them. The Germans, Mona, Katy, Lea, and Gesa, were going to Cuzco later in the month. The Argentine couple were from a city north of Buenos Aires, I don’t remember the name. They were on a three month car trip ending in Ecuador.

Franco telling us about Taulichusco, the first “alcade” of Lima.

I recommend looking into any free walking tour if you’re ever in a big city.  I took one in Barcelona and Madrid.  They are always a good way to meet other travelers and hear the history of the city.  I have heard about the Spanish Colonization of South America but hearing some of the details and atrocities that took place. It’s very sad.  It’s one thing to hear the story in Spain and another in Peru.  It gives the city you are visiting a personal touch. You may have observations/questions that are not covered in the guide’s normal spiel.  I had a question about the facades of the cathedral having three different styles.

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Lima had earthquakes so they reconstructed the buildings they were in different styles. 

Please see this blog post about introverts https://youngadventuress.com/2015/01/travel-introvert.html

It’s hot in Huanchaco but it’s a beautiful beach though. More to come.

Just outside my hostel is the Playa of Huanchaco. 

Day 3 Lima, Peru 

Day 3 The walk there was the adventure. It became less and less populated the further I walked away from my hostel. The streets got darker and dirtier. I became more and more worried about my safety. This is why I came. To step out of the complacency. My family is filipino so I have been to the Philippines a few times, but never have I walked alone in the rough parts. I always had local family members or taxi drivers to chauffeur me around.

Then I come into a mat space 20×20 with a pillar in the middle. No tatami mats here just old school puzzle mats. It gets the jobs done. The training was very detailed and specific. I we went over anaconda, darce and a choke I didn’t know the name of. All from turtle. We drilled these moves then we did several rounds of 3 minutes. It was a good first gym in Lima.

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Enrico and I rolling.

Enrico was a very knowledgable teacher. His understanding of the techniques he was teaching us was very detailed and concise. I appreciated how he broke stuff down in English for me, especially the details. I has a brown belt in jiu jitsu, for reasons I couldn’t decipher in Spanish/Castellano.

The walk home was fine.  I was soaking with sweat still, I sweat a lot. I got some street food for 7 soles. I have no idea what the meat was but it was tasty.  I felt like a local after jiu jitsu class walking home.  It was a good end of the night.

I wanted to travel and do jiu jitsu since I was a white belt.  I’m glad I’m a purple belt traveling.  I think you can travel as any belt but they all have some pros and cons. If you’re a white belt, you are so new that you may not understand the techniques or positions. I think blue and purple belt is a good belt to travel with. I’m not brown or black but my assumption is that you have to prove your belt where ever you train. More than likely you will outrank the majority  in the gyms you encounter.

If you are able to travel around the world and take your hobby with you. Do it. There’s a special feeling where you get to share what you love with strangers. You may not speak the same tongue but you do have a common language.

Books: I have to finish Lolita.
Google maps: you can download maps and use them without being connected to wifi. Useful when you’re walking around foreign countries looking for Jiu Jitsu gyms.

Thanks to BJJ Musashi Ronin Club in Lima, Peru. and BJJ Globetrotters for my travel gi.

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Day 1. The Unknown

I have a lot of emotions in me.  I’m about to embark on a year of travel. This type of travel has been something I’ve been thinking about for a long time.  It seems to big of a task to undertake.  I’ve chosen a handful of countries to see and maybe I’ll see some more later.

Last night I was especially anxious because it is actually happening. Why?  Is it that I’m going to a continent I have never visited?  Or the long time frame? Being homesick? The inevitable return home? The unknown?

It’s that unknown feeling. That feeling of not knowing. It hits your stomach so profound that it only happens a few times in my life.  Like when you approach a girl you like, when you have a big test, or when you are about the compete in your respective sport.  I don’t get that feeling anymore.  You would think I would get that feeling in the military, but alas I probably felt it twice. The moment before you enter boot camp and my first day at dive school from the fleet. Now when I think of it,  I smiled during those times of unknown. I search for the feeling again.

I invite the adventure.  For whatever comes out of it.  I’ve wrapped my head around the scenarios of what could possibly happen to me.  I will continue because I would rather do this than not living out my dream.

More to come…