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A Change of Plans

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At Santa Catalina

Gang aft agley – Drug Policy – Not adding to the tally – Perturbations

I am very happy that my parents were able to visit us here in Peru. But as I write this we are not with them – they are in the flatlands of the Peruvian coastal desert and we are in the heights of the Colca Canyon. As much as they would like to come to the Colca, they cannot, because in Daddy’s opinion he is suffering from the effects of altitude. Hence they have fled, for now, to sea level for “personal reasons”. Not a drastic situation, but an example of the best laid plans gang aft agley…

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A view of Cusco

As the political situation in Bolivia continues to be tense we have made the decision to not visit the Andean country during this trip. Unsurprisingly, the U.S seems to be a subject of ire, mainly for its drug policies that mandate an elimination of coca cultivation. Our friend from Bolivia, Arnie Lopez, advised that no U.S passport holder visit for the time being and since the situation is not likely to improve anytime soon we will have to leave Bolivia for another day.

Bolivia has so much to offer the tourist – La Paz the highest capital city in the world, the mining town of Potosi, colonial Sucre, Jesuit Missions of the east, and the amazing salt flats of Salar de Uyuni. It was a deep disappointment that we could not go, but driving around in a large conspicuous automobile among a rioting populace did not seem like a prudent course of action. It is best to avoid riots altogether, but in the unfortunate event that one finds oneself in one, it is best not to standout. Having seen several riots up close and personal, I do not feel a need to add to that tally.

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I really dislike having to change my plans, especially after I have spent so much time developing them. I usually charge ahead, come hell or high water, and do my best to achieve the goal that is the result of such careful planning. Most of the time this approach has worked for me, but on occasion I have paid the price for such bullheadedness and not having taken into account changing conditions. When conditions change the plan needs to be revised, or altered, or scrapped altogether, based on how big the change is.

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As far as perturbations go this is a small one – Bolivia can easily bypassed by going further down Chile, to San Pedro de Atacama, and then to the city of Salta in Argentina. But there seems to be more turbulence coming our way, mainly in the form of the failing world economy. What changes in plans will we have to make to accommodate this new uncertainty? Will we have to wrap up the trip as soon as possible and come back to the US to prepare for the coming storm? Or do we stay in a low cost part of the world such as where we are now to ride out the economic waves and cycles that seem to be headed our way?

Right now it seems like an overreaction to panic to abandon our trip and come home; maybe if we give it a few months things will sort themselves out. If they don’t… well… our next address could be Barichara, Colombia…

8 Responses to “A Change of Plans”

  1. fred says:

    I would recommend continuing your trip. Whatever the status of the economic meltdown here, I’m not sure it would profit you to return until the dust settles. There is little any of us can do at this point save read the ever more horrific new items – which you can do just as easily on your travels.

  2. Jerzy says:

    So, after all, since you are skipping Bolivia, we may bump into you somewhere. Valparaiso? Punto Arenas? Or yet somewhere else?
    And, by all means, don’t cut your trip short because of the Wall Street craziness. At least not for as long as you can get some cash out of the ATM’s.

  3. Neena says:

    Hello Fred and Jerzy,
    This is the conclusion we have come too also…But whether we go for the expensive Antarctica trip now is another matter altogether…
    Jerzy, we will be heading into Brazil next, to catch the Pantanal. We will be hitting northern Chile and Argentina, then into Brazil via Foz du Iguazo.
    Unless something happens to make us change our plan yet again….

  4. Michael says:

    Neena and Shreesh,
    Lynn and I just got back home to Pennsylvania after a month in Northwest Argentina, which was fantastic. I just found your site and now I’m enjoying South America (albeit vicariously) all over again. Too bad we couldn’t meet up! Anyway, we based ourselves in Salta, staying at Bloomer’s, which we can heartily recommend. Then we spent about two weeks on the road with a private guide, and another two weeks wandering about by bus on our own. If you are interested, we can recommend some very good side trips. Bolivia would certainly have been great – we heard terrific things about it and crossed the border briefly – but there are more than enough ‘consolation prizes’ in Argentina and Brazil to fill out your itinerary and your scrapbook. As far as the financial crisis here is concerned, I wouldn’t return unless you have some important business you just can’t conduct by phone or e-mail. We’ll just have to hope that Bernie and Barry can sort this one out over the coming months.

  5. Pramod Taskar says:

    We had to change our plans even though Shreesh was insisting. Health is wealth and every senior should give more time to adjust to the alttitude.
    My wife had different alttitude sickness than mine. She lost her appetite and had bitter taste. Mine was shortness of breath and loss of appetite. At night, all of sudden I used to wake up with the feeling of drowning.
    Neena supported my decision of not continuing to see Condors of Colca Canyon and Shreesh and Neena arranged a tour of Paracas, Pisco and Nasca.
    And what a change! We could see the beauty of the flatlands where desert meets the ocean. Natural Cathedral and Caves show the power of sea in carving out different structures, a much more enjoyable sight than ruins of Machu Pichu. We got an opportunity of seeing Peruvian Galapogas, island of Bellestas. Mysterious line drawing of Nasca are mind boggling.
    We changed for better.

  6. fred says:

    To Pramod Taskar: High altitude is not to be trifled with! The best plan is to go lower if its not working out for you. Paradoxically, low Oxygen can cause the very organ of reason, the brain, to malfunction just when you need it most – to make the life-and-death decision to back off and go down. You did the right thing!

  7. Shreesh says:

    Hi Mike,

    We are headed towards Chile and then to Salta after staying a few days in San Pedro Atacama. I would love to get recommendations re:Salta from you!

  8. Hi all,

    Just wanted to let you know we are in Salta, awaiting you guy’s. If you are still in the neighborhood. Find the biggest swimming pool in the world [I guess] and we are sitting right next to it! It lies in the municipal campground.

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