September 11, 2005

Isla de Pascua

Ever since I was fifteen I've wanted to see Easter Island. It has always seemed a dim and distant possibility, and even after the idea for this trip was conceived it didn't look as if it would be easy to get to. It's one of the most remote places on Earth, but for that reason alone it is surely worth making the effort to see it just once in your life.
Today, at 3:45p.m., I booked my return flight to Rapa Nui. I leave Santiago on Feb 15th for a 3-day detour to see this mysterious piece of land in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I should arrive just in time for the end of one of their most famous festivals, Tapiti RapaNui. It could make getting accomodation more difficult and significantly more pricey, but it's going to be worth every cent!

September 5, 2005

Donde Esta El Nearest Campsite?

It's 10:30 a.m., and already it's shaping up to be one of those days. My co-workers are just about managaing to grunt at each and are wearing the faces of people who've indulged in a little too much this weekend, our diamond of a boss is in one of his "moods" about something, and we have two new people starting work here today (god love them!). I have the inclination of a piece of flaccid lettuce to actually do anything constructive today. It's Monday.
However, this is a short week for me. Only one more day before my brother and I jet off for 10 long, lazy days in Spain. Now that it's in sight, I'm looking forward to it hugely. I've been so caught up in the planning and preparation for my trip in January, that this took a bit of a back seat. We haven't really laid out any itinerary for this, apart from picking up a car at Girona Airport. We'll take it from there.
We're going to be doing this on a budget though, so apart from the luxury of having a car to get around, in all other aspects, it's backpacking in earnest! Hostels and campsites all the way. All the research I've been doing lately for South America has really impressed upon me just how expensive it is to holiday in most of Europe. Saying that, Spain is comparatively cheaper than Ireland in many respects - food and beer are definitely better value, so with a bit of careful planning I think we can make our euros stretch.
For once, I'm organised on the packing front! Instead of the usual last minute flurry, tearing dirty clothes out of drawers and power-washing through the night, I've managed to isolate what I'm taking and have everything washed and ready in advance. (thanks to Mam! ). I have to work tonight and tomorrow, and we're leaving very early on Wednesday morning, so I had to get my ass in gear this time.
Usually, I'm one of those people who overpacks for holidays. I try to bring clothes and shoes to cover all possible situations, and invariably end up not using half of them! I think it's a flaw of the female condition, most women I know are the same. A look of horror flashes across their faces at the thought of ending up in a situation where they might not have the right outfit! LOL. So, the new me, backpacking me, is determined not to haul half the wardrobe with me this time.
This time, I'm making do with -
  • 3 pairs of pants (1 heavy for night-time)
  • 3 T-shirts
  • PJs
  • thermals in case its cold camping at night
  • 1 jumper
  • 1 paclite jacket
  • 1 shirt
  • 2 skirts
  • 2 slightly dressier tops for night-time
  • sandals and flip-flops

It's all fitting in a 35L rucksack with room to spare.

Now, it better not be raining over there!!

September 2, 2005

Time to Get Fit

Last weekend I went on a pretty easy trek - nothing too strenuous - and was shocked to discover how unfit I've become in the last few months. I found that the first section of the trek (a 10minute steep ascent) completely winded me, when a few short months ago I was able to race up it.
It's time to get my ass back to the gym. Yes, it's looking like we've seen the last of the Irish summer, the evenings are getting shorter, and with nothing but a promise of more episodes of Fair City and Nationwide hitting the TV screens for the autumn, it seems that the only option is to put my leisure hours to good use by burning off some stubborn excess and building up those muscles for the trip ahead. I can't believe how lazy I've gotten over the summer!!
The thought of digging out the unflattering gym-gear and actually physically entering the doors of Aura Fitness is not even slightly appealing. It's been months since I last huffed and puffed on a treadmill surrounded by hoards of sweaty, heaving middle-aged men, anorexic, wasted looking girls, and sculpted, bulging beefcakes. Ugh! Like I said, not appealing.
But, it's all for a good cause. One of the first things I will be doing when I land in Peru is the famous Inka Trail. Although, it's described by many a tour group as a moderately difficult trek, they do recommend that people undertaking it be in reasonably good physical condition. If a small hill in Co. Tipperary is taking it out of me at the moment, what will I be like clambering up the Inka Trail post-Christmas.
Not a person known for my iron will-power, Christmas is always a time of the year when I'm likely to double in size! This year, I'm going to have to be steadfast in my refusal of all things fatty and sugar-laden. It's bad enough that I'll have to hire a porter in Cuzco just to lug my backpack. What's he going to think, if I can't even lug myelf up there! Lol!!
With all this in mind, I resolve to return to the gym this weekend. It's going to be painful, but the first day going back after a prolonged absence is really the worst........