Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hal-isms, Vol. 14

"A turd is a turd. You can pick it up, smell it, taste it. But it's a turd."
On the comparison between him and Archie Bunker:
"But he lived in a city."
On him being a country version of Archie Bunker: "I'll accept that."

Yelling from the TV area to my brother, in the dining room area (remember this is all in a one-room shack): "Pete! Fire in a barn!"  (While watching My Pal Trigger, during a scene were there is fire in a barn.)

Friday, May 27, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

I'm home.  I finally got on the plane in New York and Josette picked me up and brought me straight out for drinks with Summer and a few other friends.  It was fabulous to talk and laugh until very late and then go back to Josette's place for a yummy sleep.

When I woke up, I took a HOT shower and indulged myself by using every last one of Josette's products.  Aveda!  Burt's Bees!  Colgate!  I got all super clean and we had cup after cup of french press coffee overlooking her Minneapolis street while we waited for my sister Keri to arrive to bring me straight up to my parents' cabin.  It only took us 10 hours, but we got here last night.  And I've been smiling ear-to-ear ever since.

A couple things I learned from traveling:

I will never, ever go anywhere again without my flatiron.
A little makeup never hurt anybody.
I love Target.  And Trader Joe's. 
Minnesota is my home, and no other place in the world can even compare.

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww....I (heart) Minnesota!

Hal-isms!!! They're Back. Vol. 13

Well, I'm home now, facing an entire summer living in my parents' cabin house.  In much closer proximity than last summer, when at least I had the whole upstairs to myself and they were way down in the basement.  Now my bedroom is a loft above the living room and kitchen, completely open and with no privacy.  And these ol' folks get up early.  Yarg.  I have to say though...being here...I'm happier'na hoorah.  (I'm in the middle of watching True Grit).  I even have a couple new Hal-isms already!  I bet you missed 'em.  I know I did.

To my niece, who plugged her iPod in and stretched the cord across a walkway: "I love you Karley, but I've loved a lot of dogs I've had to shoot."

Demonstrating his command of the Spanish language: "Donde esta.  Muy bien.  Por que anamos aqui."

On eating for weight loss: "What's the matter, can't you just have a portion?  Like me?  I just have a portion."

And, our very first Dianne-ism: "You're just sayin' that cuz you don't mean it."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More Bad Travel Stuff

So...to recap:

Lost wallet
Got very sick for 5 days
Missed out on Bolivia
Had to take 9 hour boat instead of 2 hour bus
Had passport confiscated and wasn't sure if I would get it back in time to fly home
Camera stolen

That was before today.

Today, I flew to Lima and then Miami and then got on a flight to Chicago.  All boarded and doors closed, and then it was announced that the flight was cancelled for weather in Chicago.  I stood in line for hours and the best the airline could do was route me through New York, but 8 hours late.  But there was a chance, if I got onto an 11:05 flight to New York, that maybe it would be early and I could make a connection to Minneapolis at 2:20.  Well, we landed in New York at 1:50!  I thought, I can make this!  You don't even know the stress I experienced as I watched all the stupid slow people get their stupid slow bags from the overhead compartments, but ten minutes later I was RUNNING through the airport.  I made it through security in no time.  The gate was close!  I ran up to the counter with a huge smile on my face.  "I'm on standby, can you get me on this plane?"  And to everyone else standing there, "I CAN'T BELIEVE I MADE IT!!!!!!!!"

Now maybe I could still meet all my plans for Minneapolis (I have ten minutes there and 40 things to accomplish before heading up to the north woods, including a haircut.)

Now, from me to you.  A lesson in life.  The next time it's in your power to help someone, for gosh sakes, just do it.  Unlike the asshole (yah you heard me) who wouldn't check me into the flight.  Instead, he threw up his hands and paced back and forth and kept muttering stressfully 'I have to close the flight'.  'getting you on it would take 'more than 5 minutes'.  Later, when I came back from sobbing in the bathroom to get my new boarding pass, he finally decided to take those 5 minutes.  And of course, it took precisely 14 seconds to put me on the next flight.  Departing 5 hours later.

So now I'm stuck in New York.  I had $15 in my pocket (remember, wallet stolen).  I figured I was mostly upset due to starvation, so I went to go to a sit-down restaurant and get a much-needed drink.  Not possible.  Just Auntie Annie's and a stupid premade sandwich counter.  So I selected a chicken caesar wrap.  Which turned out to be Southwest Tuna when I sat down to eat it.

Can things get any worse? 

Oh yes, they can.  I just spilled water in my crotch and now it looks like I peed my pants.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Have Been Gone Too Long

I could have sworn she was just four when I left.  You know how time flies.  Apparently my niece Miyo just graduated from high school!

I Made it to La Paz and then she Stole my Camera

So, I'm in Puno, Peru, pooping my guts out for days and days.  The little hotel lady was so cute, "are you going to Copacabana tomorrow?" and everyday I would tell her, "I can't.  I'm sick."  This went on for four days.  And then one day I felt better (I even shaved my legs) and the pooping was much less frequent...so I decided to go for it.  After all, it was only a 2 hour bus ride to Copacabana. 


So, as she explained, my only option to get into Bolivia was to take the slow slow boat across Lake Titicaca and walk across the border.  "How long is this boat?"  "9 hours", she tells me, "but don't worry, it has a bathroom."  Oh, I'm sure this boat does have a bathroom.  It always goes really well for me when the boat has a bathroom. 

Fortunately, the boat ride went off pretty much without a hitch.  I would post some photos of the lovely, lovely Lake Titicaca, but...well the camera is gone.  It was early Sunday morning, I figured I would spend one night in Copacabana, go to Isla del Sol, and then go over to La Paz for my flight on Tuesday night.  Anyways, I didn't really pay attention to anybody on the boat, because I was trying not to poop on them, but they were to become my best friends in the next few days.  Because the boat totally dropped us off in the middle of nowhere.  We had to pay some random lady 1 sol (30 cents) to use her dock and then we had to walk uphill for a mile to the border.  When we got there, a Bolivian man in a Stephen Segal ponytail told us that the Peruvian border was closed, and they wouldn't be able to give us a stamp 'out' of Peru, and so the open Bolivan border people couldn't give us a stamp 'in' to Bolivia.  And so we better just go to La Paz and settle everything with the Embassy there.  So that's what we did.  And of course he conveniently sold us all bus tickets and then we realized we had been Segammed.  (scammed by Segal.  You didn't need explanation for that one, did you?)  Oh well, no more Isla del Sol.  At least I could maybe bike down the death road if I had time...

Back on the bus!  For three hours.  Oh, yah and the bus dumped us off and we had to ride little Hal Hexum fishing boats across this water thing and wait for the bus again.  They never really explain anything.  This is when our little group started bonding.  There was Iyno from Finland, Alexandra from Germany, me from the USA, Melvin from Singapore, Sarah and Adam from England, Danny from Denmark, Sahaf from Israel, a girl from Peru and a girl from Italy and a dude from Peru.  When we finally arrived in La Paz we all went to the same hotel and I ended up sharing a room with Iyno and Alexandra.  In the morning, we all trudged over to the Embassy where they told us that they could stamp us 'in', but we had to do ten ridiculous steps first, including make copies across the street and blah blah blah.  Oh, but you from the USA (me) and you from Singapore (Melvin), you need Visas.  So first, you need to buy Visas.  Then you two can go through the 10 ridiculous steps.  But first, Visas.

OK - when I was in Buenos Aires I spent half a morning at the Bolivian Embassy where they told me I did NOT need a Visa, that they could give me 15 days Transit Visa for free.  And then in Puno, a man said I did in fact need a Visa, but he didn't have any stickers.  He said, go to the border they have tons of stickers there.  But the border was closed.  So here I was, having to pay $135 to be in Bolivia for 2 days. 


Anyways, I'll try and skip to the end.  Melvin and I did all they asked us to do, and came back at 5:30pm, but of course only his was ready.  I had to come back at 11am.  And so I did.  And that's the story of how I got my passport back 3 hours before I had to be at the airport to go home.

I celebrated by buying Hanna a present, and me two presents.  This spent all of my Bolivian money right down to the exact amount I needed to take the rickety colectivo vans they have to the airport.  Then I went and got all my bags and loaded up, had a friend take the one and only picture of me with my backpacks all loaded up and ready for the airport, (*sniff* stolen) and I started walking the two blocks to the airport van pickup area. 

After I hailed the van, and before I got in it, somebody forcefully bumped into my backpack and ran me into the man next to me.  But it was crowded.  I didn't notice until halfway to the airport that my little camera was no longer in my back pocket.  I am pretty sure I apologized to the thief for bumping into him, as he stole my camera.

Blah blah blah

Anyways, after the last week I have had...lost wallet, poopy McPooperson, too much time spent in an Embassy and not enough time having fun in La Paz, stolen camera...I was sort of bummed, but then I got an email from my mom regarding my homecoming weekend at the cabin:

Here's the plan.....

Thursday: Kelly and I are doing pizza night.
 Friday: Keri --- breakfast. Kelly --- supper.
 Saturday: Karley --- breakfast. Kim --- supper.
 Sunday: Pete and Tanya --- breakfast. Dianne --- supper.
 Monday is leftover day all day.

In between and all day we can snack on anything we want.

Please bring: snack foods, beverages including alcohol and wine, food for your assigned meal.

Sleeping accommodations: Keri, Kelly, Kady: Loft.
Hanna, Karley, Bethany: Bunkhouse.
Kim, John, Skete: Tent
Pete and Tanya: Camper
Miles, Murphy and Miyo: In, around and in between. :D

There will be 4 boats for fishing...we have plenty of rods and tackle and life vests for everyone.

Are you kidding me?  Pizza night?  Leftover night?  Did you notice I wasn't assigned for any meals?  So I don't have to DO anything?  4 boats for fishing??  I'm so freaking excited to see my family this weekend and eat and fish and I guess sleep with Keri and Kelly in my loft bedroom!

Hope you like the floor, suckers!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hanna's Dream. Warning: Gross

Skype conversation between my 16-year-old niece Hanna and me:

[2:04:08 PM] Hanna: wanna hear about a dream I had last night?

[2:04:40 PM] Kady: mary poppins?

[2:04:48 PM] Hanna: no

[2:04:59 PM] Hanna: I was riding the school bus.  A girl named Marissa who used to ride my bus was on the bus and had an Agatha Christie book, and in the book Miss Marple solves the mystery and discovers who the crook is because she discovers that a man is actually a woman, which she discovers by finding a bloody tampon in the toilet in the men's bathroom.

[2:06:41 PM] Kady: now that's good detecting

[2:06:47 PM] Hanna: so in the book there was an illustration of Miss Marple peering into a toilet filled with bloody tampons

[2:07:01 PM] Kady: hahahaha  "I always catch my man. Even when he's a woman."

[2:07:25 PM] Hanna: the bus driver got disgusted by this picture and forced Marissa to throw the book away, he thought it was inapropriate.  I saved the book from the trash and gave it back to her because I really liked Agatha Christie books.  Then we had a good laugh over men and tampons and how silly they are about it

HILARIOUS.  And yes, men are very silly about tampons.  For a good example of this, do yourself a weird favor and click here.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Story of My Lost Wallet

Some day I'll finally post about how amazing the Inca Trail was, but for now I just don't have the energy to type it.  Instead this is the long boring story of how I lost my wallet after a year-and-a-half of travel, eight days before I was scheduled to fly home.  HAHA

On the forth day of the Trail, the day when you wake up at 3:50am to walk into Machu Picchu, I lost my wallet.  It was the weirdest thing.  The night prior, we had a place to shower and get a beer, so I put my wallet in my front sweatshirt pocket in order to pay and stuff.  After my shower I put on my jammies, but because we had a big 'last' dinner, where we tipped all of our porters, I kept my sweatshirt/wallet handy for that too.  When it was time for bed and I was all tucked into my sleeping bag, I put my camera battery in my bra as usual (so it wouldn't drain from the cold) but got irritated that my wallet was still in my sweatshirt.  Typically, I was too lazy to do anything about it though.  In the morning, we had ten minutes to get ready and there were porter dudes right outside my tent trying to take my tent down.  When I arrived at breakfast I realized the wallet was gone.  I searched with a flashlight until we had to leave, and the porters unrolled sleeping bags and helped me look, but it was gone.  I think it got flipped into the grass or something.  I couldn't report the card missing for about four days and nobody used it.  So I gave my wallet to the Inca Trail.  I lost about $60US and my debit card and my drivers' license.

The point of that LONG story is that now, I am without a wallet on the road.  Thankfully, I had an extra Visa card and $135US in my passport holder.  But nobody takes Visa here in Puno Peru.  And the $135US is for my Bolivian Visa.  So more thankfully, Teri lent me $200 and 200 Peruvian Soles to get home on.  But the stupid hostel that I have been holed up in for 5 days, dying of cholera won't take Visa either even though they have Visa stickers ALL OVER THE PLACE, took $96 of that cash (I paid in Soles first) for my stay, laundry and an additional $50 for the 9 HOUR BOAT RIDE I have to take tomorrow morning at 5:20 to get into Bolivia.  Yah.  Apparently the roads are closed because of protesters and I can't take the $3 bus.  OK, so to recap:

I have $235 and 36 Soles ($12) to get home on.  The Bolivian Visa costs $135.  I have to pay $25 to exit Bolivia.  And I have to take a 9 hour boat when I'm very, very, very, very, like Peru Sick.
That leaves me $87 to get from Copacabana, Bolivia to La Paz, Bolivia, two nights lodging, ride to the airport, and food on the planes. 

I think I can do it.  Fortunately Bolivia is the cheapest country in the universe.  And I don't have any time to go to the salt flats anyways, or to do Isla del Sol.  I'm basically just entering Bolivia to get to the La Paz airport, because that's where I'm flying home from.

Here's hoping I can use the other Visa at the Lima/Miami/Chicago airports for food.

"Ladies and Gentleman!"

I had a dream that the real Julie Andrews was my aunt.  She and I were walking through a lush green park arm-in-arm.  I began singing Mary Poppins songs, as we walked along to make her proud.  She smiled as I sang at the top of my lungs.  Then suddenly we turned a corner and there were a ton of people waiting and clapping.  I exclaimed, "Ladies and Gentleman!  Julie Andrews!" and they clapped some more. 

Friday, May 20, 2011


The food is surprisingly fantastic in Peru, and since I've been eating nothing but dry bread for the last few days, I thought this post would be particularly timely. 

Pork chops with potato fingers, corn and tamale with salad

Stuffed chilis with potato fingers and salad

Alpaca with quinoa and steamed veggies

Spinach stuffed chiken breast with potato puree

The Painted Veil

I can't believe I have only blogged 8 times so far this month.  That must be a record of inactivity for me.  (Sorry about that mom.)  Anyway I have a good reason.  As soon as I finished hiking the Inca Trail, I was overcome with fever and the Trots so bad I have done nothing but sleep and poop and watch movies.  I joked on facebook that I would love one of those handy cholera beds they had in the Painted Veil, you know, the one with the hole and the bucket?

Hopefully, since I'm headed back to Minnesota next week (!), sooner if I can get a hold of the airline, I'll have plenty of time to wax poetic about the last year-and-a-half of travel, mixed with some more of your favorite Hal-isms, which is 30% of the reason I love living with my parents.  (The other 70% being my mom's cooking.)
But first let's do a quick tutorial on being sick and alone in another country.
  1. Get a private room.
  2. Learn how to download movies.
  3. Make the staff feel very very sorry for you. 
Some disgusting stats about the last 4 days:
  1. There has been one shower.
  2. I have brushed my teeth twice.
  3. I have only eaten one piece of fish and four small bread rolls and part of one fried egg.
  4. I have pooped out way more than the equivalent of that.  So what the what?
  5. I watched a ton of Modern Family and a buncha movies, including Toy Story 3 which made me cry and cry.
  6. I haven't changed my clothes.  Even to sleep.

    I'm not even trying that hard to look pathetic.
The good news is my room is pretty comfortable and only $15.  My only complaint is that the pillow is a rock hard fat thing.  Oh, and the Runs.

Monday, May 16, 2011

We Did It!!!

At the start of the trail.  We were so innocent then.

Dead Women's pass.  Highest point at 4200m elevation.

Somewhere along the way.

Did you really think there wouldn't be a human pyramid at the top?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Peru So Far...And Commencing Radio Silence

OK, I'm freaking out because I have to wake up early, and I don't feel prepared.  To hike.  26 miles.  4 days.  Good thing I have 5 friends with me who remembered toilet paper and sunscreen and hand sanitizer. 

OMG, I just realized I won't be online for 5 days.  So, for your viewing pleasure, here's some of the photos I have taken so far in Peru.

The first is of my taxi driver from the airport to my hostel.  I told him in Spanish if he was planning on killing me, he should probably find my camera and delete this photo as well, otherwise it's STRAIGHT to jail.

And then we have the cute ladies and their cute baby llama that had poop all over it.  NO THANKS, LADIES, I DO NOT WANT TO HOLD THE POOPY LLAMA.

And here's the MP6 (Machu Picchu 6) getting pumped up for the big hike:

Left to right: Kasey, Wendy, Dan, Nicole, Teri, Kady

We took a little scooter tour around Cuzco today:

It's kind of funny that I drove and Kasey rode on the back.

The End.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Blow to My Ego

I'm about to go on a big huge hike, as you may know, on the Inca Trail up to Machu Picchu.  I did a few mini hikes in Costa Rica, and so I know that it is possible to look cute whilst hiking.  Exibit A:

Rachel from New Mexico looking super duper cute.

I haven't mastered it.  Exhibit B:  (I am the man on the left of the tree.)

So, now the Machu Picchu thing.  I have these neato touristy North Face zip-off pants/shorts that I have been schlepping around for a year for the very purpose of trekking in Machu Picchu.  I discovered them in the bottom of my backpack in Brazil and started wearing the shorts around quite a lot.
Remember this magical day?

Well I wore them so much I decided to wash them, and for some reason they turned blue in the wash.  I blame fabric softener / operator error.  Just the upper part of the pants of course, the shorts part.  I didn't need to wash the bottoms because I hadn't used them.  So now I'm going to hike for four days in the following:

Blue on top and brown on bottom.

To top it all off, or, more correctly, to "muffin top" it all off, I gained 634 pounds they must have shrunk.  I can't button them.
This is me sucking in.

And...after the exhale.

How to look cute on a hike...don't ask me.  Jeez.  I'll most likely get a debilitating sunburn on half my face the first day.


I try to look cool at all times.  Especially at airports, which is one of the rare times I feel the confidence of (kind of) having things figured out.

But it never works.  I always find a way to screw it up.  For example when I walk into the men's bathroom.  And, this morning, on my way from Buenos Aires to Peru, as I was walking towards a cafe to spend my last Argentinian pesos on a cafe con leche, I saw a gift shop and decided to go inside and browse a little.  Unfortunately it was closed.  I found this out when I walked right into the glass door.

Not an actual photo...but you get the point.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

So...Peaceful...Those Butterflies

Look at the little '88' on his wings!
At the Iguazu Falls, on the border of Brazil and Argentina, there are zillions of butterflies.  Zillions.  And they are very happy to land right on you like it were some Disney cartoon and you were a singing princess.

Just look how wonderful and peaceful...

Truth be told, I didn't really like it.  Get off me!

Getting in touch with the Nature.

I posted these photos to my facebook profile, and the following picture I captioned something about how the thing loved my armpit and how it stayed there forever as I hyperventilated and tried to take a photo.  I also put, you know, most people love my armpits.  My friend Katie reminded me that Ben Affleck does NOT love my armpits (click here for THAT story) and Brett said, "Well it does have B.O. written on it so maybe there was a reason it felt at home."

Buenos Aires, Down by the River

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Worst Kind of Turd is an Honest One, Vol. 2

Speaking of bad breath and little kids being a little too honest...

My sister Kasey was holding my niece Hanna when she was two or three.  Cuddling her, loving her, wishing she had a baby of her own...kissing her face...
Suddenly Hanna pushed her way out of Kasey's arms, stomped away, turned around, and with fists clenched, screamed,

"Your breath!  It's just so...so...so...PUKEY!"

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Worst Kind of Turd is an Honest One

This is my 4-year-old niece, Miyo (pronounced Mee-Yo):

Today her dad was telling her he loved her (according to his facebook status) and she said, "why didn't you put toothpaste on your toothbrush?"
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