A Travellerspoint blog

LOST in Hawaii

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View Gary & Vicki Ponder-Payne tour 2008 on GPonder76's travel map.

We both spent the journey from Lima to Hawaii making emergency dashes to the toilet. Fortunately our stopover hotels in Lima and Los Angeles were a better place to have an upset stomach rather than in the Jungle and it didn't interfere with our trip.

We have a lovely hotel and restaurant right on the beach at the quiet end of Waikiki. (Romantica!)
Stomach troubles aside, we are both struggling with the portion size of the meals here. On our first morning we ordered pancakes, when they arrived there were three pancakes the size of the whole plate (or an Amazon moth). Between us both we wouldn't have made it through one portion. We quckly learned to share.

Our first trip in Hawaii was to Pearl Harbour to see the sunken Arizona and a tour around the Missouri battle ship. Both very moving and lots of history.

The next day we hired a car and drove around the coast up to the north shore of Oahu. We stopped at all of the points of interest and lookouts and also some of the locations where they have filmed LOST. We found the nose section of the plane, but it was completely covered - boo! We also trekked up to the top of Waimea Valley to the waterfall at the top (where Kate & Sawyer found the Halliburton case).

It was Haloween and we were impressed by the effort these Americans put into their costumes (although some of them just use it as an excuse to dress up kinky).

After the dissapointment of the nose section being hidden, we were delighted when we stumbled across the prop storage at the back of the Hawaii film studios the next day. We were on our way back from our trek to Diamond Head Crater when Vicki noticed a red telephone box in a yard. As we looked closer Gary spotted the Santa Rosa Mental Heath Institute sign (...and nearly wet his pants!). We could also see some seats from the plane, the hatch, the bars that made up the dome computer room and the frozen donkey wheel and much more! (this probably will not mean much to most of you but it will to people who watch LOST).
A guy saw us looking and told us where they were filming that day, so we hopped on a bus to Honolulu and watched as they filmed a car chase scene.

Posted by GPonder76 19:35 Archived in USA Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Jungle Creepy Crawlies

The Amazon Lodge

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View Gary & Vicki Ponder-Payne tour 2008 on GPonder76's travel map.

After a few relaxing days in Cuzco, we headed into the depths of the Amazon jungle. A short plane, bus and canoe ride took us to Posodas Amazona Lodge. Our room only had three bamboo walls and the fourth was an open veranda looking out into the jungle. This was cool during the day, but at night we laid in bed in the dark and could hear all of the animals and huge bugs in our room. We did not dare turn our torches on to see what was in our room as the light would only attract more moths, crickets and flying bugs.


Our days were full of tours through the jungle. The first was a trip up to the top of a 37meter lookout tower to see the view above the canopy (yes - Vicki did get to the top, but only with a lot of coaching!). From here we were lucky enough to see Dusky Titi Monkeys, Macaws & Vultures. We watched the sunset from here and then did a night walk through the jungle to get back to our lodge. We saw a jumping spider, scorpions and the guide poked a twig in to a tarantula nest to try to get him to come out, but thankfully the spider was not at home. The guide also asked us all to chew a piece of bark which was supposed to taste like cinnamon - but it just tasted like bark to me & Vicki spat it out as soon as she heard the word cinnamon.

The next day was a 5am canoe ride up river to an ox bow lake were we did some piranha fishing and saw the very rare Giant River Otters. In the afternoon we visited a shamen and even tried one of his potions which was supposed to have the same effect as red bull but we all fell asleep on the canoe back to the lodge.

The next day we flew back to Lima and stayed at the airport hotel again before flying to Los Angeles and Hawaii. Unfortunately Gary spent his last night in Peru on the toilet. :(

Posted by GPonder76 19:05 Archived in Peru Tagged travelling_with_pets Comments (0)

The View from 4,000 Meters above sea level

Lake Titicaca & Inca Trail

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View Gary & Vicki Ponder-Payne tour 2008 on GPonder76's travel map.


We are proud to say that we have successfully completed the 45 KM section of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. We arrived back in Cuzco last night and we were both thoroughly shattered and could harldy walk another step. The trail was tough in places (especially day 2 - a four hour steep climb from 2,700m to 4,200m to a place called Dead Woman´s Pass) but amazing views of snow capped mountains, valleys and Inca ruins. On our last day of hiking we had to get up at 3:50am to run the last 5km to Machu Picchu which was stunning!

The journey through Peru has been an experience!!! When we first landed in Lima we jumped in a taxi to go to our hotel. As we drove through the streets of Lima it looked like a very rough place, the taxi driver then took a turn down a very dark and narrow side street and I was sure we were about to be robbed (but don´t worry, he was just taking a short cut). We did get to our hotel safely without any problems, but when we checked in we were less than impressed with the standard. We had a hole in the wall which was covered by a thin sheet of hard board and the bathroom stank of ciggarettes and bleach. We spent one night there in our sleeping bags and were glad to leave early the next day. The flight from Lima to Juliacas was also eventful as we had an aborted landing right at the very last second (no idea why - they didn´t tell us anything, or even say sorry!).

Once we go to Puno the standard of the hotel had greatly improved. However the altitude took a bit of getting used to, we felt like a pair of 80 year olds as we were out of breath walking up one flight of stairs. We had a good time in Puno and had some nice meals with our new group before we headed off to Lake Titicaca (Which if you pronounce wrong the locals will interpret as ´lake Puma Poo´.

On Lake Puma Poo we visited Taquille island where we climed to the top for a fresh trout lunch and a cup of coca tea, all for 3GBP. Then decended down the 500 steps back to our boat, form here we had a very rough crossing to Amanti island where we and the rest of our group split up and each spent the night with a local Peruvian family. Our Mama (Rebecca) and Papa (David) cooked us dinner and then dressed us up in traditional costume and took us dancing (very energetic, for a couple of 80 year olds!).

We retuned to Puno and then took a local bus from Puno to Cuzco. This was also an experience. Vicki & I were pleased at first when we got the front seats but quickly learned that ignorance is bliss. It was a white knuckle ride through the towns of Puno & Juliacas, then on the long straight road to Cuzco we managed to run over a sheep and and had vey near misses with cows, stray dogs, lorries, tuk tuks, and even some local farmers. Our guide had some harsh words for the driver in Spanish and although I didn´t understand what he was saying, I knew what he was saying!

Cuzco is a great city, We spent one night here and went to a lovely restaurant where Gary ordered Cuy (Guinea Pig) which was quite disgusting. Vicki had chicken, the safe option.

The next day we set off to the Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo, two fantastic Inca stites which marked the start of our Inca Trail.

We are back in Cuzco today and we have a free day to have a wander around the city. Tonight we have a BBQ (but Gary won´t be digging on any more Cuy) and tomorrow we fly back down to sea level to spend a few days canoeing and trekking along the Amazon.

Hope all is well back home. We miss you all and we would love to hear from you.

Gary & Vicki

Posted by GPonder76 08:41 Archived in Peru Tagged foot Comments (0)

Pictures of Boobies

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View Gary & Vicki Ponder-Payne tour 2008 on GPonder76's travel map.

Hello again from Quito.

We have just completed the first part of our tour in South America which was a boat trip around the Galapagos Islands and we´re having the most wonderful time. Our first couple of days was non-stop airports - flights and airport hotels.

Last Tuesday we met up with the rest of our group who were all very friendly and flew to the Galapogos Islands. We stayed on a small boat with 11 other people exploring several of the islands with a guide who explained the natural history of the islands and the amazing wildlife.

We saw hundreds of Sea-lions, Turtles, Iguanas, Sharks and the famous Blue Footed Boobies (Picture below, as promised).


We spent time snorkelling in clear water and got up close to the lovely coloured fish, played with the sea lions, and observed sharks... safely from the boat!

We adapted to life on the boat quite well, although having spent 24 hours back on dry land we´re still swaying to the rhythm of the sea! The point when we knew we were truly on holiday was when we drank Gin and Tonic whilst on the sun deck with only the ocean around us and a beautiful sunset.


This afternoon we take a flight back to Peru and head to Lake Titicaca and the surrounding villages to see Peruvian life.

Will write again soon, take care all


Posted by GPonder76 05:06 Archived in Ecuador Tagged boating Comments (0)

Farewell grey skies!

rain 8 °C

Welcome to our blog.  From here you can track our progress through Southern America to Australia (see our map).So, we're all packed and in a few hours we'll be meeting our friends to say farewell.Vicki still can't believe that a wardrobe for 3 months fits into a backpack, but is happy to not wobble like a weeble when she wears it!!Having spent a week off work Gary is now very sad to be packing away the Play Station - boo.Next entry from Peru :)


Posted by GPonder76 06:44 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged preparation Comments (0)

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