It was the scenery. The colors in the market in Otavalo to the sun just visible behind the peaks in Maccu Piccu. But it was also the food. Fish tacos in a nearly deserted restaurant on the shore of lake Titicaca and chicken heart at the 5-star restaurant in Rio. It was swimming with the sea lions in the Galapagos and watching the tango dancers in the streets of Buenos Aires. Hiking the Andes and even just playing hearts on the plane. Yes, these are the memories that remind me of the amazing month-long trip I took to South America after 8th grade with my Mom, dad, brother, and two other families. These are the memories I look back on and can’t help but smile and wish I was still there. But no, these are not the events that made this one of the most memorable and unforgettable trips of my life. Those memories are a different story entirely.
It began in our very first destination, Ecuador, at the very first hotel we stayed at, The Folklore. My father, probably the cheapest man on earth, ended up having to choose one of two hotels, La Casa De Sol and The Folklore, to spend five nights at in Ecuador. He said he decided on The Folklore because it looked a little nicer, but we are all pretty convinced it came down to the free breakfast. The only light in our room at The Folklore was a small lamp that could only be turned on by pressing the duct-tape that had been wrapped around the open wire, the steps leading up to the hotel were nearly overgrown, and one morning my mom accidently shook awake a large Ecuadorian man sleeping on our coach thinking it was my brother. One day walking around Quito we ran across La Casa de Sol. It was one of the cutest looking hotels we had ever seen.
We stayed in a similar Folklore-esque hotel somewhere on the shore of Lake Titicaca. This one had open propane tanks in every room for heat, smelled overwhelmingly like pee, and had livestock running around the lobby, which had a dirt floor. I am not sure of the name of that hotel, because it has always sense been referred to by my family as “The Urine Hotel”.
Our next destination was Cusco, Peru. My father splurged a little on this hotel; the doors even had locks. The only fault of the hotel was the large spider on the ceiling of my parents’ room. Luckily, we told the hotel attendants’ about it and when we returned to the hotel for the night the spider was gone. Either the hotel personal had come in and got it, or it had moved to the bed.
But, one of the most memorable destinations of the trip had to have been La Paz, Bolivia. La Paz is essentially over run by a “witch market” filled with good deals on coffins and any dead animal your heart desires. We were welcomed into this exclusive destination by a man peeing on the side of our hotel. They even have a Hard Rock Café. It is truly a spectacular destination.
One day, while wandering the side streets of the witches market, my dad and my friends’ dad snapped a few pictures of one woman’s merchandise. She then proceeded to curse their cameras. I’m not saying I believe in witchcraft, but my dad ended up loosing that camera and all of the pictures on my friends’ dads’ camera came out with a large grey dot in the corner.
In the end, this trip taught me so much about cultures and lifestyles that are so foreign to my own. But more than anything, it taught me that, more often than not, it is the not so fond memories that make a trip truly unique and remarkable.
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