Humor

Finding myself (without trying to)

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Lately the days have remained the same. We wake gradually with hangovers, and in the afternoon we wander the beach, or sometimes nap. I go to the gym, and eventually go have dinner and very likely drink.

I feel my character is being tested much the same as it was when I lived in outback Queensland. Life becomes emotional, or doesn’t so much, and we must find a way to be able to express ourselves.

Character develops by how we express ourselves but in Peru, living overseas without anyone to judge us, well…doing so never seemed so unimportant. But it is. It’s never been so important.

I talk about how I spend my money, I talk about how I drink, I talk about how I treat my friends and family. I talk about sex, or my decisions regarding it. And let me begin there. In a blog post I wrote in late November, On Trying To Be That Foreign Gentleman, I wrote that I didn’t want to come here and use people. And in a way, I was thinking about one night stands.

But as time goes on and I feel that familiar tension, almost a constant anger in my muscles, a current of adrenaline in my bones that never goes away, ever, and see people around me enjoying themselves, I wonder why I just bind myself to self imposed and self righteous rules. I’m young, I’m in a foreign country, I’m single and I’m surrounded by beautiful women. Why should I overthink this?

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Because it hasn’t made me happier yet.

I explained this pressure to a friend, and she said that she felt that same pressure when she lived overseas, but she still had an unhappy time. And the more I thought about it, this confusion on my own part isn’t going to go away no matter what I do. I’m doing the right thing for me, not for anybody else, but because I am who I am. My character, who I am, what I do, is simply being tested. It’s easy to commit to some manifesto when it’s convenient, harder when it feels like you’re losing for it. And I’m glad I realised this on my own, because it’s such a relevant time. This confusion I feel won’t disappear with a quick fix or ego boost, I just have to ride it, feel it, let it sort out on its own now certain I have no agenda believing this.

There’s no ignoring that roar of sexual frustration, but given I was a very late starter anyway, I’m used to it, and it simply made me more creative. In a twisted way I enjoy it, or I harness it anyway. I jog a lot and listen to music. It requires the need within myself to drink less (and spend less because of it) because that just makes me feel more extreme.

I have spent money upgrading this blog (the link is now simply ‘awkwardconversationswithburnzy.com) meaning I can add videos soon. My justification was this blog has to become a hobby, and I would have spent that money drinking anyway. I want to go to the gym more, and work harder, and I certainly have that energy.

I realised about a year ago that because I’m such a passionate person, I have a need to be absolutely consumed by something if I don’t want to be driven mad by my mind or send the people around me crazy. This in the past had usually been video games, or Doctor Who, and as I grew older it became my work. I find myself in South America having a lot of time on my hands on a Christmas break, conscious that my money is running out, otherwise I would surf.

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It’s never been more important to keep myself occupied. It only makes me a stronger and better person. I left Mount Isa like this, in my own terms, but not realising that I would have to continue to do so when I moved to Peru. But here I am.

I want to set myself a few goals. First, I don’t want to post photos of myself on here or on Instagram for a month. I can use that time to focus on pictures of other people instead. And secondly, I don’t want to drink until Wednesday (that’s only three days). Don’t get me wrong, I know these goals are a crutch to help me self-improve, to trick myself into feeling better about myself, to concentrate on the illusion that I need to be better, but it’s better than drifting in my heart and in my mind.

I know it seems I make things hard for myself, but that’s who I am. And if you know me well you’ll see the benefits to having done that. You’d be amazed if you knew who I was once, to the man I am now.

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People you see in Huanchaco | Photos

DSC_3883.JPGHola to you, my sexy readers! It’s me, Burnzy, and while it’s my second blog post within 18 hours I just have a few photographs around the beach town of Huanchaco I can’t wait to share.

My brother Aaron encouraged me to send him through some photos. I haven’t done that (sorry ol’ mate), but yesterday I walked around to fill in some time, and these are some of the results.

I don’t really photoshop except to filter for Instagram because I’m lazy and I have limited skills, and I know that’s a pity. Still, I hope you enjoy them.

The first photo is of a man on a reed canoe, which Huanchaco is well known for. When he sits there it looks like he’s posing. I must have stood out, a gringo with a large camera on a beach looking right at him, and he was yelling at a mate as if to say ‘look, I’m famous!’ But when I showed him the pic he seemed surprised.

Shortly afterwards he takes the canoe and paddles out into the ocean, far beyond the surfers and pier.

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“Cuanto Cuesta?” I ask when I see the stand of bananas (great source of potassium, filling, healthy, delicious, and awesome with Greek Yoghurt. Mum is going to snort with laughter given that I’ve only started eating bananas in the last three months. Never before!)

The signora and her son say “uno soles” (if it’s singular, is it sol, sole?) and then I ask to take the picture. She’s a bit startled. Large cameras aren’t so common here.

DSC_3936.JPGI’m on the pier taking photographs and just as I’m leaving a woman walks up to me and asks me something. It’s to do with photos.

I thought she was asking if they could take my photo (perhaps she was feeling sorry for the fact i was alone).

“No gracias,” I said, and the faces of herself and her friends fell. In fact, she was a little deflated, and I realised something else was happening. Maybe they wanted me to take their pic. So I said, “okay, si! No problemo” and suddenly they stand around me and keep swapping the photographer around so they could take a pic of tall whitie.

Oh we were standing so awkward, so on the last photo I put my arm around one of the women. And that was that! They all needed to redo the photos with my arm around their shoulder. #egoboost

Of course, they couldn’t leave without me taking their pic. “Uno momento!” I said. Afterwards I apologised. “Lo siento. No hablo espanol” and the first woman bowed to me, and I left. I wish I properly said goodbye.

DSC_3915.JPGI’m walking on the pier when I see this pic. Maybe it’s of big brother looking after his little sister? Regardless, I like it.

DSC_3875.JPGI have seen this man in black stand almost in this same position two days in a row, but this time I had my camera. I think he must work at one of the restaurants across the road. I’m unsure to that. Also, can you see the mountain in the background? The top is more often covered with fog than without it, but to be honest in this case there’s just too much light in the lens.

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I saw this gardener watering the garden. At first I just thought he was a senior citizen with a heavy coat on, but once he agreed to have a photo, and saw the result, he decided it was best to take the coat off so he could identify his council or local government. I suspect that’s why. I’ve taken enough photos over years to understand the promotional side of things.

My regret is that he put the coat on the ground. Afterwards I should have picked up the coat to give to him, but my mind was only on my pics. I’ll be more thoughtful next time.

DSC_3878.JPGBecause it’s all about the surf.

 

DSC_3925Fishing and music on the pier actually sounds like a fantastic idea. I wonder what he is listening to?

These are my three guesses:

-Aqua. Probably Cartoon Heroes.

-Iron Maiden (I always put Iron Maiden into any list. You’ll soon see).

-Guns & Roses. Possibly November Rain.

-Bonus guess: Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Please let it be Animal Bar.

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Burnzy’s nine reflections today

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Photo: Adriaan Bornman. 

1. I must learn Spanish before I ask for a hair trim in a Peruvian barbershop. Bye bye hair 😦

2. Ego weighs you down (like hair). Beauty is never only skin deep. Only the bitter claim that. It’s pride that’s shallow and paper thin.

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Photo: Adriaan Bornman. 

3. I’ve learned the definition of Schmoodel and I think I am one of those, and I shouldn’t be proud of that.

4. I could learn the blue steel move from this dog! Her name shall be called Mrs Peanut Butter. How on earth did Mrs Peanut Butter get on the roof?!?! I always see her on there every time I walk past.

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5. Amy is awesome. Lutie is not (that’s 20 soles, por favor, Amy. I’ll use it to buy our next round.

6. We can test ourselves, and we can throw our own bloody image on the ground to be swept away by a broom.

7. Huanchaco: it’s all about people and the places you go to get wreckety wreckety wrecked.

8. I should have spoken to this man. He seems to know all. But I didn’t, so now he’s just a shadow in my mind. This is a tragedy, and who knows by how much.

9. I’ve realised that a few mothers of some delinquent teachers are reading this blog (three if we count my own mum). So for your sake I must give you the honest picture of what we do here:

-Day drink sometimes, night drink always. 

-Op shop

-Buy suits!

-Sitting around bludging

-lose a lot of shit

-Ice creams on the beach. 

-Selfies. So many selfies. 

Pizza!

-Rock and roll all night and party every day. 

We eat healthy salads at home and save our money. We play a little bit of monopoly without cheating or blackmail or death glares   before we all go to sleep by 9pm-ish  . Also we go to church and do laundry and look after the cute abandoned animals. The end.

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Lucky not to be alone here

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I have often traveled alone. And come to think of it, I have lived alone. That sounds like a bit of an ‘awww’ moment but to be honest I’ve actually enjoyed it. It’s easier to be confident in solitude, but also, you get your own way all the time.

When I backpacked across the UK for a month I was on my own most of the time, and I generally enjoyed it, although it required a survival attitude at the same time. It did force me to seek company at times, people from the street, in a life in which I constantly was on the move, and to a degree it sucked. And yet it tested me as well.

My instinct is to go off and do my own thing, and call that independence issues if you wish, but I have soon-to-be-housemates in Peru who make me glad that I don’t have to do things on my own most of the time. They are four friends who have within six weeks somehow seen me at my worst, and yet here they are, still playing bullshit with me while drinking wine. That’s what we’re doing now (or at least between card games while someone goes on a vino run).

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Adriaan, my South African mate, is probably one of my regular readers. He’s a giant of a man, a former car salesman, and he loves his cigarettes.

When I first started writing about my travels in Peru he was the first to encourage me. He knew when I would not write a blog, and acted disappointed. But he also was among the main ones to note when I did my own thing, and when I was being anti-social.

There was a moment when we were swimming with large turtles, and I regretted not bringing my camera, and he said, “you have a mind camera in here,” and what he said was so true.

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Then there’s Lutie, and he’s alright. He thinks he’s Barney to my Ted (a How I Met Your Mother reference), and sure we talk about the bro code a bit.

Here’s the thing about Lutie, which has only taken me six weeks to realise. He brags that he is a doer, and he acts sometimes like he doesn’t think about life. He is quick to accuse me of ‘overthinking’.

But the thing about Lutie is he sells himself out a lot. He’s deep. Or maybe I’m a good influence. Without this guy I would have gone insane in Peru, and we relate in many ways.

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And then there’s the third South African in this group; Nicola. She has the most amazing laugh I’ve heard, and you just can’t help smiling whenever you hear her, even if she laughs at her own jokes. The thing about this woman is her wisdom, and her ability to say hard truths at the times you really need to hear them. She’s usually right, dammit!

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Then there’s Amy, my ally among the South Africans. She’s Canadian but is a tough and a fearless person who usually leads us in what we’re doing next. In many ways she’s the one that holds us together. And we’re both thick as thieves. Once we both got drunk and went to see a movie together, in Spanish!

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And then there is me, and I’m just as important in this party of five. I may be awkward, but the others are just as awkward even if I’m the only one that looks it! Saying nice things about myself doesn’t come naturally, so I won’t, but what I will say is I’m really lucky to be living in another country with this mob.

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Introducing the Croc Hunter to Peru

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Looking at my facial hair…what was I thinking? This has to go as soon as I get back home.

I’m starting to figure out that Australia has an unfounded reputation for dangerous animals that want to kill everybody. Whether I’m talking to a Peruvian or a South African I learn that people are afraid of our snakes and spiders.

Personally I think someone in our defence ministry realised that we could avoid being invaded if we exaggerate our dangers, but it makes us sound bad-ass when we downplay the dangers too, right? Whoever first exaggerated our animals was a crafty bugger, and undoubtedly one that used it to try and get laid. Because it’s so full of tripe. I’ve never once been bitten by a snake and the spiders are actually rather pleasant (how’s my downplay game? 😉 .

Today I had to do a presentation on Australia as a demonstration to students at a school I want to teach at. I was lucky compared to my friends. I had Year 9 students and they had an advanced ability in English. All I really needed to do was keep them interested and engage them in conversation.

But here’s what I learned about my own country from my students, judging from the questions they asked.

They wanted to know about our music, but they especially wanted to know about our dancing.

Well I don’t understand what national dances we actually have, but the students didn’t understand that. So I showed them the heel and toe. I panicked, okay! It’s the bush dance I remember in Primary School. “heel and toe, heel and toe, slide slide slide slide…..left hand clap, right hand clap, both hand clap, on your knees” and then you link arms with your partner and twirl around. (In Year 4 the girls had cooties so it was a horrible exercise, and in Year 6 I asked a girl out to graduation, and she said no (she ran away actually), but we danced during the heel and toe and as we clapped our knees she said ‘see, we got to dance anyway,’ Then I never thought I’d actually be dancing this miserable bush dance at Year 12 graduation, but I did, so there you go. There’s many memories).

I showed the students’ Tash Sultana’s Jungle and they loved that. They wanted to know if we had a traditional dress and the best I could do was show them Indigenous traditional dress, and by then I felt a little sad. I wasn’t sure what culture a whitie like me had that was actually special. Does that make sense?

I showed them a video of the Crocodile Hunter (Mr Steve Irwin himself) and the teacher knew he died in an accident so I had to tell them how (sting ray barb). And I felt a little sad when I told them the story and they could see that.

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An Australian legend. Photo: Australia Zoo. 

I taught them that Canberra was our capital city (they thought it was Sydney) and I even taught them how to pronounce it (they thought it was Can – Berra). Then as an extra favour to my nation I taught them to pronounce Melbourne (Mel-ben, not Mel – born).

We spoke about unusual animals they might not have heard about, including the bilby and the Quokka. I showed them the Quokka selfies online and they loved that.

“What about your snakes and spiders?” they asked.

“What about them? They aren’t dangerous. Everywhere has snakes and spiders.”

“But you have giant ones.”

That’s a bit rich, coming from students that live in the same country as the Amazon.

I feel they learned a bit but then they wanted to show me Peruvian music, and I almost fell for it but the teacher said my time was up (I was supposed to only have half an hour tops and I went double that time).

I’m not sure if I really taught that much, but they remembered basic geography. And I feel there was a connection with the students. They liked me but they were beginning to test my discipline by the end.

I’m writing this from a Starbucks. I had to order a flat white (I am an Aussie after all) and they spelled my name ‘Criss’ and that’s kind of cool because I was bored of my spelling anyway.

 

 

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Let’s go to the mall….today!

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Yesterday Amy and I went out for lunch and decided to skip the lunch and drink alcohol instead. At some point we decided it was time we went to the movies, even if it was in Spanish. We took a taxi to a mall – which for the first time made me feel like I was at home.

And then we chose to watch the movie ‘Bad Mum’s Christmas’. It had Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell. It was a good choice watching a comedy given that we were lucky to have understand one in 15 words. We could laugh at the physical comedy like at the bad mums dirty dancing with Santa. At least I now know Feliz Navidad means Happy Christmas.

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The interesting thing about watching another movie in another language is the ad libbing was surprisingly well done. The voices were different but not obviously so, and the soundtrack music was still in English. It felt that no matter what English is still an influence.

It’s something I noticed this morning when I returned to the mall alone to go food shopping. The others had gone drinking the night before and I stayed back by myself. So while they were recovering, I searched for oats. Finally I found a giant super market. I felt normal for the first time. Nobody was staring at an ignorant gringo as I pushed the trolley around, and I knew exactly what I was buying and how much for. The cash register would tell me in the end anyway.

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I found everything. I found my oats and honey and even Greek Yoghurt. I went a bit overboard though and ended up spending 140 soles. But there’s no excuse for me eating out for a few days.

It’s silly, isn’t it? How much these creature comforts, the normalcy of a mall, can mean so much? Even going to the movies, when I couldn’t understand the words, was great, and so was the McDonalds run afterwards.

 

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Ferris Burnzy’s Day Off

 

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“Let my Burnzy go…..”

I know I’m in Peru and it’s sort of expected that I have exciting adventures every day. But there reaches a point where you need alone time and a completely uneventful day to just gravitate back to who you are.

We moved into a hostel about two days ago and so yesterday was the first time in almost a week where I had my own space and my own room to relax. I found Cadbury chocolate in a small supermarket (holy crap you have no idea how amazing that is!) and I just locked myself away, listened to music and blogged. And Facebook messaged friends from home, as friends knocked on my door to see if I’m alive and to see if I wanted to go to Trujillo.

“Burnzy.”

“Burnzy.”

“Burnzy.”

“Burnzy.”

It was Ferris Burnzy’s Day Off, and sometimes there’s nothing special and exciting about doing that. Some days you just have to be anti-social and recharge, because the world out there gets a little overwhelming at times. Almost every word is in Spanish, it’s crowded, and doing things with your friends sometimes takes a lot longer than it needs to be. The bill at restaurants gets irritating as you each try to break your 50 or 100 soles note.

You don’t have to seize the day all the time.

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Punch buggies everywhere! Now I have bruises on my shoulders.

Gosh I feel like such a typical introvert, but that’s okay. I’m not afraid of being on my own (with the voices of Tash Sultana, San Cisco and Iron Maiden in my headphones). I just wish I hadn’t cancelled my Netflix.

On another note I’ve been burnzying my way through cash, and I’m lucky that my company unexpectedly paid me the leave they owed me or I would have been screwed. Most of that is because we’ve been planning for our future living arrangements, but it is a humbling reminder that I need to start eating meals at home instead of eating out.

I wanted to go see ruins today but I think maybe it’s a good idea to avoid doing much sightseeing and spending until I start earning an income.

I’m trying to normalise my diet before I start going to the gym, so I’m trying to find oats for porridge. None of the stores here seem to have it. Avocado is easy to track down, and so are bananas, but I can forget about Greek yoghurt. I can’t seem to find honey either.

The food here is good, but my metabolism has suddenly increased, and therefore my energy levels crash rapidly. I have been getting hangry, and quickly. I ate spaghetti last night and then needed to order a Hawaiian hamburger because I was still starving. I’m too old to be having a growth spurt.

 

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Life was gonna be this way / da da da da

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The top of the apartment that we’re going to be getting. 

Five of us have found an apartment house to live in in Huanchaco, a beach town near where we work. Halfway between Trujillo and Huanchaco is the Chan Chan (world heritage listed ruins!).

The place we are getting is a lovely four bedroom place relatively close to the beach. Amy, Nicola, Adriaan, Lutti and I have the makings of a sit-com. Three South Africans, a Canadian, and an Australian share a house together for six months. What can go wrong? How many seasons will we get before God cancels on us?

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We inspected the place and discussed at the bar whether we would take it. Adriaan decided he will sleep in the lounge room but it turns out he’s not allowed to do that.

After discussing prices and house rules we had to determine which Friends characters we were.

Adriaan is Chandler, apparently, but I’m not sure why. Probably because he’s the smart arse. Amy wants to be Rachel but the boys and I think she should be Monica. She is the leader of the group. Nicola is without a doubt, Phoebe (she gets the best lines). Lutti is Joey apparently (dammit), and they all made me Ross. Ross! (outraged and gobsmacked expression).

“Why are you Joey?” I asked Lutti this morning over panqueques.

“I say stupid shit and I shag,” he said. “Facts of life. You cannot deny that.”

“How come I’m Ross?”

“You’re deep and in six seasons you’ll probably have six divorces.”

….

Personally I prefer to think that we’re in a How I Met Your Mother arrangement. Except they reckon I’m Ted. Ted! Preferable to Ross, but I’m not Ted, thank you. Sure I like museums and mock outrage, and I was the one that bought the guide books and the fanny pack, and the architecture of the churches in Trujillo is fascinating considering the clearly defined Middle Eastern influences and sure I take forever to get to the point of a story…okay, point conceded. And maybe I’m a little chuffed come to think of it.

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Lutti, me, and Amy. 

Lutti gets to be Barney, sonovabitch. As if. When is the last time Lutti has worn a suit. I love suits. I wear suits. My Instagram proves it. The only thing he’s been doing lately is enforcing the bro code. Adriaan is Marshall, which is cool but I suspect it’s because he’s a giant. There’s some debate as to who the girls are, because Amy is Canadian, like Robin, and Nicola may well be teaching kindergarteners (like Lilly), but I can imagine Nicola smoking cigars with Lutti, and brawling in Canadian bars.

Okay, I’ve spent way too much time analysing this, but mainly because I’m so excited to live with the others and be part of some group adventure. I’m keen to step back, watch, wait, and witness what happens next in our life.

And if nobody will write a TV series about us, I will write about it. Da da da da….

 

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Trujillo

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Photo: Adriaan Bornman.

My friends and I arrived in Trujillo by bus early this morning. The principal of the school we aim to work at greeted us at the bus station and took us to our hotel.

I’m feeling good after the 12 hour trip (or however long it was). I brought sleeping pills. I popped in one of those babies when the TV was loud (in Spanish) and went to la la land. And when I woke up I was….let’s just say, relaxed.

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Connected to the internet and already blogging! Photo: Lutie Van Den Berg. 

We are in the central business district, and as we arrived I saw the sign directing to the Chan Chan – an ancient city that is world heritage listed. There’s old churches and fountains, and probably museums.

 

I was excited when I passed a book store, and I couldn’t get it out of my head. I had to leave the others when we gravitated by a McDonalds (in two hours time the lunch menu will be available) because I needed books! Books! They called to me.

All the books called to me in Spanish, it seems. My heart broke a little, just a little, as I stood in that dusty book store with the covers all illegible to me. I shouldn’t have been surprised, and I wasn’t really, but I stood there, and among these books, in this store with that slight book smell, I could close my eyes, breathe in, and smile.

….

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Don’t judge us! But then we gorged on McDonalds. And it tasted like home, mostly. I had a double quarter pounder and the buns tasted different, and the meat had a slightly different aftertaste, but it was the little things that were perfect. The pickles and the sauce and the flavour were good.

I even was able to replace the coke with Inca Kola. I wish we had Inca Kola at home. It’s even better than Mountain Dew and since that’s my favourite drink I don’t make the claim lightly.

I know it seems wrong in a way to come here and eat McDonalds. Yet McDonalds is much a part of this culture as it might be in ours. Sometimes you miss the details of home and need that crutch.

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Burnzy’s quest for fulfillment in Peru

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A few people have told me recently that they hope I find happiness. This strikes a cord for me because in reality, I should be happy. I’m in Peru and I am a single man with no financial issues, and one who is healthy.

Maybe assuming that happiness would come with a move overseas was a little naive. Maybe I’ve got to pursue that happiness properly. Maybe I need a bucket list of what I want to do here, because in reality I don’t really have one. And that means I’m just going to float without goals, waiting, wondering, stuck in my head…

So I give you my list of what I want to do in order to chase happiness in Peru….

BURNZY’S LIST TO CHASE HAPPINESS AND FULFILLMENT IN PERU:

  1. Learn how to surf.
  2. Learn how to sand board.
  3. See snow.
  4. See the source of the Amazon.
  5. Ride a llama. If that’s not possible then I want to touch one. If that’s not possible I want to spit on one. Or eat one. I don’t really know. Let’s just stick with riding one.
  6. Eat a guinea pig. Cooked would be preferable.
  7. Travel to Machu Picchu. (Oh my gosh, you know what would be better? I want someone to take a photo of me up at Machu Picchu, and I’m wearing a suit and bow tie and totally posing! I know this seems wrong, but I have to make an experience my own.)
  8. Visit Lake Titicaca
  9. See some long lost ruins.
  10. I want to visit the Temple of the Sun.
  11. I want a Peruvian sweater. I think I can get a good one in Cuzco.
  12. There is a city in the Amazon jungle called Iquitos, and apparently you can only get there by boat by river (a journey of a few days) or by plane. I would like to go there.
  13. I want to see some crazy Amazon beasts.
  14. I would like to eat some crazy Amazon beasts.
  15. I would like to buy a sombrero.
  16. There’s a modelling competition in Lima in April. Someone I competed against has entered. I would also either like to compete, or at least watch it to cheer him on.
  17. I would like to visit a few museums and learn some history.
  18. I would like to learn more Spanish; to be able to count and understand numbers up to 20, know the days of the week, the basic colors, etc etc.
  19. I would love to be able to change somebody’s life (for the better, of course).
  20. I want to see the Nazca Lines.
  21. I want to see the Colca Canyon. It’s twice as deep as the USA’s Grand Canyon.
  22. I want to take dancing lessons.
  23. I would like, for a time, not to give a care about what anybody else thinks.
  24. I would like to inspire you.

 

Categories: bucket list, Humor, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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