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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

EMERGENCY MEDICAL PROCEDURE

NAZCA vs NASCA

I've seen both spellings around, hence both are either correct or incorrect.  Either way, it refers to the town near the famous Nasca Lines.

Both spellings are used here at my whim.



NAZCA FOOD SUCKS

So far, the restaurants I've eaten at have all been pretty shitty.  Like get up in the middle of the meal, pay and leave.  Count yourself lucky you don't have to eat the rest.

Great for a diet plan.

Found a local tailor and asked him about pants.  The old guy (like pretty much everyone in Peru) only spoke Spanish so the conversation was a bit difficult.

From what I gathered, no he does not make cheap pants.  However, if I want to take a hell ride back to Lima, I can seek out some district famous for clothing.  There, I will probably be told no they don't make cheap pants.

Seeing my extreme reluctance to go back to over priced Lima on a fun filled multi hour odyssey, he suggested Bolivia.

It's hard being 'full figured' (read as fat) in a world of mediums (read as midgets).



NAZCA NAKEDNESS

Oh, the looks I get.

Today is a big laundry day.

Hence, I have no clothing other than a pair of shorts on.

And I need to stand out on the street to smoke.

Keep in mind that gringos are rare in Nazca and I doubt any have seen this fat of one before.

Oh, the looks I get.



BAG WEIGHT

Down to a hair over 10KG.  Before you congratulate me, know that my small computer bag may be the same.  While I'd like to trim that down, the computer I use every day for hours and hours is a brick.

"Oh, Logan.  I traveled the world without a computer!"  Yeah.  It is indeed possible but I enjoy spending a lot of hours on the computer.  It is my vice, my teacher, my secret lover - oh wait.  Anyway, the important thing is I get my use out of it even if it and all it's attendant cords and plugs weigh me down.



SECURITY IN PERU

Before you get on to a bus, they like to scan you with a non-functional metal detector.  It can't pick up the change in my pockets nor other metal on me.

Then, they ask to search your bags you are taking on to the bus.

When I travel on a bus, I have two bags - my 'carry everywhere' bag and my computer backpack.

They didn't ask to search my 'yes it could hold a 10mm pistol with extended magazine' 'carry everywhere' bag.  They did ask to search my computer bag.  Without thinking about undoing a couple small zipper locks on it I handed it over.  Finding a couple of large compartments were locked, the guard decided to just do a perfunctory search on the other compartments then handed back the bag.

For the last bit of the security, a policeman gets on the bus with a video recorder and captures the faces of those riding the bus.

Naturally, he got the crazy Logan face.

Oh, the looks I get.



BUS MESSAGES AND INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS

Because the Hispanic mentality seems to require a constant input of loud music and movies, all long distance buses in this part of the world come equipped with loud distorted speakers and built in TV's.

The bus safety video told us for our safety we should always keep the curtains closed.

Gosh, that was ominous.

If the reavers see you, there will be trouble!



NASCA PERU

If they didn't have the famous Nasca lines, nobody would ever visit here.  If they did, they'd just ask themselves 'why'?

Everything useful for tourists (restaurants, banks, travel adventure places) is pretty much located along the central boulevard.  Boulevard is way too grand of name for it.  Street will suffice.

The further you go from this, the more dilapidated and scary the streets become.  I'd suggest keeping to the main strip here.

Although the town is kept moderately clean, it is totally bereft of charm.  The building style is what I privately refer to as 'shit-box buildings', or very basic cheap buildings.

Unless you are wanting to put out the money to go up in an aircraft - and given how they drive I'm not curious to find out their safety record - totally avoid this town.



MAP DISTANCE VS REAL LIFE

Sweet merciful crap.

Here's the difference between what we see on the map and what reality tells us.  Note, this is especially useful for gamers.

http://tinyurl.com/lswamfk

To get to the first town on this journey it is 610 KM.  For those in the USA using a system of measurement everyone else in the world has wisely given up, that's about 380 miles.  If you were going say 60MPH driving in the USA you're looking at say 7 hours.

Google is not even realistic when it says eight and a half.  Maybe if you don't mind some carnage along the way.

The actual time is over 14 hours.  Non stop.  Not kidding.  Why so long?  Unlike in the USA, Western Europe and such where they have super highways, here you get a lane and a half of curving roads going through villages where the locals regard it as their god given right not only to stop unexpectedly and inexplicably on the road for variable amounts of time in their vehicles but also to just hang out on the roads.  I agree that the speed may be a bit better for smaller cars but given the amount of civilians, speed bumps and such - not really a huge time saver.  Take that in to account the next time you sit down with your gaming group.

I don't even want to think about how long it will be to get over to the Bolivian border.  Guessing 20+ hours.

As the town I'm currently in seems to suck ass, I will probably be getting a bus ticket tomorrow.  It will either be for the next day or the day after that.  I'm going to try to get a seat in the front of the bus on the upper floor so I can make a movie of some of the parts of the travel.



A RANT BY KEVIN D ON LOGAN

"...it is a lie that Logan has friends. He has people assigned by various government agencies to watch him there fore they are subjected to daily doses of his debauchery. I have been on disability for seven years now since my stint as a watcher of Logan ended. In order to keep my benefits I must continue to put on this act that I actually like him and listen to the mindless insulting dribble that flows from his twisted drug riddled brain. The only reason that they have not executed him is that they fear reprisal from Cthulhu. Please Logan you offensive, morally bankrupt excuse for a fleshbag, do us a favor and get lost in the jungle and be eaten alive by a tribe of cannibals. On second thought, ingesting you would probably corrupt the young virgin women of the tribe and impregnate them and a whole litter of Logan Spawn would descend upon the earth."

If I ever get a publisher who wants to turn this blog into a book, I'd love to have this on the dust jacket of the book.



EMERGENCY MEDICAL PROCEDURE

Disclaimer:  People who talk about their medical problems without contest are the worst bores imaginable.  There is nothing quite so disheartening as some person, usually old and without a life, wanting to go on and on about their boil or rash.  Nobody cares.  They sit and listen to you and hope you die soon so they don't have to hear any more stories about your various ailments.  In many cases, this is all that is left to people to talk about because they have nothing else interesting going on in their lives.  

Because of this, I normally don't talk about my medical condition.  If people ask me "Why doesn't your head turn" or "Why are you so bent you look like you're working on developing a hunch back?" I try to give them a quick glossed over answer and move the conversation on to something else.  If the person is a medical professional and I want some free advice, I might linger but either way the conversation is generally over in about sixty seconds or less.  I figure everyone wants free advice from medical professionals so I try to spare them that.

So why am I writing about this in the blog?

Because people seem to be very interested and it's happening at facilities only a couple steps up from American Red Cross tents set up in Africa as field stations.

Plus, if you don't want to read about it, you can skip ahead.

Were you to ask me about my current leg problem face to face, I'd say something along the lines of "Yeah, it seems to be pretty fucked up.  So where all have you traveled?"

But for those wanting the gory details here we go.

Two days ago, my right leg (the same one with the Thai tattoo) started leaking some sort of clear fluid with no smell.

[Thai Tattoo:  In Thailand, moped taxis are cheap and common.  You hop on the back and are driven by the driver.  Because you are sitting on the back your right leg is very near the muffler.  Since these moped taxis are substandard and shoddily maintained, they usually do not have a muffler cover.  Hence, when your right leg touches it, you get a lovely burn on the left flank of your right calf.]

I kept a close eye on it but was concerned.  One of the things early settlers (read as Spanish invaders having a rape-fest) discovered as that things tend to get infected quickly here.

On the third day it started to sting a bit.  Still leaking.

Now, you have to understand I'm staying in a hotel locals stay in.  The people who work here speak less English than I speak Spanish.  So a lot of sign language goes on.   He told me that near the main park was a red cross station where a doctor consultant could see me for 10 sols.  Since that's under $3, I figured why not.

For those who don't know a better way to do it, here is how you see a doctor in a country you don't speak the language of.  You go to the biggest, nicest, most expensive hotel you can find.  I've yet to find a luxury hotel that doesn't have someone who speaks English.  These places also usually have lists of English speaking doctors they can set you up with.  But it will cost you some money.  Hopefully you have travel insurance.  I don't, hence the $3 option sounded lovely to me.

The red cross is a simple affair.  Personally, I like going to places where the locals get their medicine.  It will sound horrible but as a tourist you often get preferential treatment.  Nobody wants some fat gringo to die in their waiting room.  There would be questions and probably paperwork.  Police coming in and scaring people.  So you get bumped up to the front of the line and the doctor takes a real interest.  I'm good with that.

The absurdly young doctor sat in his pink (not kidding) office with a big fan blowing at him and a flickering florescent light that made me start seeing squiggles at the edges of my vision after only a few minutes.  He spoke absolutely no English.  This surprised me a bit.  Usually medical professionals, being better educated, speak some.  Nada.  He got on the phone and started what I call the 'brain trust'.

The 'brain trust' is when a local doesn't know something and they contact many other locals so they can come to a committee decision of ignorance.   I hate trying to talk to people on the phone who aren't completely fluent in English.  That's one of the reasons I don't own a phone.  If their body language and facial expressions are invisible, chances of me actually understanding them are horrible.  Turns out none of his contacts actually spoke English despite their opinion.

At that point, the extreme "Logan Luck" (TM) kicked in and the nurse came in with a guy from the USA.  He is a Peace Corps volunteer.  For those who don't know anything about the Peace Corpse, these are do gooders who work unpaid for a year or more in foreign countries they don't get to choose.  This guy had lived in Nasca (yes, I feel sorry for that) for about a year and a half and had learned Spanish during that time.  He was happy to translate though the doctor tended to speak in lengthy paragraphs.  Both translating and speaking through translators are skills not a lot of people have.

The doctor didn't know what the hell was wrong with my leg.  Since I can't have it treated here and it will take time to get somewhere else, he prescribed some antibiotics.  Don't use rubbing alcohol, he cautioned, it will make it get worse.  That surprised me.  I've no idea if it's true because it sounds backward.  Don't really feel like testing it though.  When asked how I should was it the doctor suggested bottled water since the water here is absolutely shit.  Possibly literally.

What I need to do is go to a large city and have a dermatologist do a 'biopsy' on it.  For those who don't know, a dermatologist is a skin doctor.  A biopsy is 'let us cut off a piece of this and try to figure out what the hell it is'.  Logan definitions are the best.

Might Cusco, the town I was resisting going to for the last several days during my self imposed exile to a shitty town have a dermatologist?  Yes.  Well, shit.  Guess I'm going on a seventeen hour bus ride.

Currently, my leg has attracted the attention of a couple locals who looked at it with the 'wtf?' look.  It hasn't gotten bad enough where mothers hide their children lest they have nightmares.  Going to try to get it fixed up before that happens.

The biopsy will cost (they claim) between 50-70 sols (around $20).  Hopefully, the entire thing will be less than the 140 sols (under $50) bus ride to the town.

And I still need to research more on where to go next.



FIGURING OUT WHERE NEXT

Yeah.  Feel sorry for Logan.  Boo hoo.

I'm sitting here with a world map trying to figure out where I want to go next.  Sounds horribly depressing in a 'he must be fucking rich' sort of way, I'm sure.  Not really rich at all.  Guessing people who work at Starbucks have more income.  I just don't spend mine on silly shit and I'm happily homeless.  [Disclaimer:  Not the lifestyle for most but if you bitch about not being able to afford going on vacation but eat out, you are a silly wanker.]

Banos seems to have completely ruined me to South America.  It was cheap (Logan affordable) and had charm.  The people were friendly and I was making friends.  Sure, it was noisy but everyone who lives in both Central and South America seem addicted to making as much noise as possible all of the time.  Not sure why - it seems to be either a psychological or cultural compulsion.

After Banos, everywhere else started to look like a shithole.  This normally doesn't irritate me, but the prices are going up.  Who wants to stay in an expensive shithole?  I've stayed in plenty of cheap shitholes and was happy with it.  But expensive?  Hell no.

So I'm plotting and scheming on the next part of my journey which I call "Escape from South America".  Apologies to my friends in Banos but I don't think I'll be back for just one town.  Doesn't make a lot of sense with travel costs and such.

Something I'd learned from my travel mentor (Adam) is to find large airports and use those to fly to and from.  Saves money.  I don't have the luxury of looking for those special deals and checking travel sites for months.  From Brazil to Istanbul (round trip or one way) looks to be $1100.  Holy fuck is that expensive.  I'm going to look in to other options after I get settled in my next place and finish up with my current outbreak of medical follies.  I just need to get to Europe.  After that, the evil (yet cheap) RyanAir can be used.  It's like $100 to go almost anywhere.

My biggest problem is trying to figure out "Where do I want to go?"

It will probably be another (yes another) go to Europe, travel across it and end up in Asia sort of thing.  Once I get to Asia, sit on my ass for a few months to try to regenerate some money.



TRAVELER'S TIP

How to get a table (etc) into your hotel room.

Sounds like it should be pretty easy, but there is a technique to it.

Also, this is just for cheap places.  Expensive places tend to spring into action and do stuff when asked.

When I travel, I always want a table and chair in my room.  Lots of time on my computer.  Doing things like writing this blog - so be happy.  The better hotel rooms have a table or a desk.  If they don't, I ask if it would be possible to get one when I first show up.

And then I stand there with my backpack on and wait for them to bring the table up.

Seriously.

If you take off your backpack or listen to their claims of "We'll get one later", you get no table.  You will get the excuses instead.  "We don't have one"  "I thought we had one but someone else is using it" etc.  The real reason is usually "I am too lazy to bring you a table."

If you stand there with your backpack on and it looks to them that unless you get the table/chair/towel/etc you requested, you may leave and not give them money - miraculously things will happen.

If you are too soft of person for this approach, you can always go with the passive aggressive 'steal a table from the lobby or some other room', but it's not recommended.

This also goes for hot water.  If you ask them "Do you have hot water?" and they say yes, go turn on the shower.  Stand there with your hand in it wearing your backpack and wait to see if the water really heats up.  The temperature you feel it that second is what it will probably be.  Regardless of their stories.  I didn't check at the place I'm staying at now.  It took three days for them to admit it didn't really get hot, just less cold.



VIDEO

Demonstration.  Note the guys in riot armor wandering by.  Normally, you don't get to film cops but I got by on this one.  Not speaking Spanish well I'm guessing the purpose of this demonstration was to protest the imprisonment of four (?) people.



COSTS

Brand new tuk tuk, 11,000 sols.  Really.
Hotel room, decent but no hot water, 35 Sols.

2 comments:

  1. How about NASCA vs NASCAR? (You see? Because they have the same letters and sound the same!)

    ReplyDelete

PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia - Michigan - Illinois - Colorado | England: Slough - Lancaster

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