Pages From My Skin

Monday, March 23, 2009


After 3 weeks in Peru, I have to say that I'm kind of glad to be back in Ecuador. It was a life altering trip that I will NEVER forget but in many ways, I miss some of the simplicity of Quito. It's been awhile since I've seen Nick & Sam so it was fun to go back & forth and trade stories. It was kind of hard to explain the things that I saw during my Ayahuasca ceremonies in Iquitos but I prefaced everything by saying, "You might not believe all of this but here's what happened..." I'm still trying to interpret all of the things that I saw. (Dia, you and I def have to speak about this in deep detail.)

Looks like I will resume teaching tomorrow morning at 9am. Right back into the work cycle while still trying to reflect on all of my experiences. I have a new poem that I wrote while riding down to Lake Titicaca. It's called "The Nest" and has a great deal to do with my mom and Grandmother. It's been a poem that I've been wanting to write for such a long time now. It kind of came about in one full shot. Very little editing and I am proud of that. Being away from the slam scene has really helped me further develop my natural voice with little distraction or worry due to confining regulations. I have already begun writing for my 2nd play and I think this poem has a strong place in it. I still have another month and a half in South much growth to acquire.

Friday, March 20, 2009


After 2 and half weeks of traveling jungles, dieting, nearly drowning, starring down the barrel of a cop's gun, vomiting everything I have to give, envisioning the nearly unfathomable, meeting new people, being ripped off, ripping off, sweating, missing family & friends, being lost, feeling found, and way too many near death experiences...


The largest lake in the world by volume and the highest in altitude to navigate.
Oh my...this place is a dream!
The water is gorgeous and the islands here are amazing!
On the border between Peru and Bolivia, I stand in awe!

Upon arriving to Puno, Peru...I booked a 2 day stay with a native family from the island of Amantani where the people are sooo humble. They live with very little but make up with what they don't have by smiling and laughing. I got to play a game of volleyball with the locals for a bottle of Coca-Cola. (I don't drink soda but it just made the game all the more fun.) I ended up leaving early to hike to the Temple of Pachamama (which is Quechua for Mother Earth) and thus, ended up paying 3 soles for a bottle of Coca-Cola...even though my team was close to winning!!! Eghhh!

I also got to visit La Isla de Los Uros where 7 families live on this floating island made of some kind of organic straw. They had solar panels and were all selling hand made boats, dolls, blankets, scarfs, and necklaces. I got to spend some time with the children who were so fun to interact with. Afterwards, we visited the island of Taquile (NOT Tequila!!!) where everything is hand made from the houses everyone lives in to the clothes on their back. The men hand sew their own shirts, sweaters, and hats...even their wife's wedding dress which in return, the women stitch their husband's belt made from their OWN HAIR!!! Pretty crazy to imagine but I've seen it! Ironically enough, four of the people that I traveled to Machu Picchu with were on the island! My guide was really wack, so their group...kind of adopted me! It was hilarious! They even gave me a boat and bus ride back to Puno. I got to take a shower at a friend's hostel for free and am now using their internet. (Gotta save where you can!)

I have a bus to Cusco booked for 9pm which will arrive at 4 or 5am. My flight back to Quito, Ecuador is at 7:45am so I have to haul ass if I want to make it on time. Jack Nicholson says in that movie: As Good As It Gets, "Never a break!"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Four Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu...
PHEW! What an experience!!!

The best way I can explain all that happened is by doing my best to briefly summarize day by day. Here I go:

DAY ONE (14/03/2009):

First, we hiked for about three hours passing Wayllabamba with a break for lunch. Amazing soup, rice, vegetables, avocado, salad, cheeses, and juice! We only had 10 minutes to digest before our guide rushed us to move forward. At first, we paced slow but then hit some pretty steep hills.  Another 4 hours of hiking before reaching our final resting camp. I didn't want to hire a porter or "Chasqui" to carry my backpack but back was so sore! I packed light but ended up having to carry an additional sleeping bag, folding mattress, and two liters of water. Surprisingly, the extra weight was significant enough for me to get a Chasqui for the next day. Word. I wasn't trying to feel that way again!

DAY TWO (15/03/2009):
I DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED but somewhere around 1 in the morning, I had to get up and felt sicker than I've been in a long time! I had to keep running to the bathroom and ended up vomiting more than I would have liked. Looked up at the moonlight illuminating our campsite and just wanted to enjoy the gorgeous views but felt horrible. Day two was the roughest!!! 9 hours of STRAIGHT UP HILL hiking! We mounted Dead Woman's Pass and began our descent to the campsite. There were no bathrooms on the way so needless to say, I had a not so wonderful time making offerings to "Pachamama" (Mother Earth) on the side of trails. We managed to visit Sayacmarca where our guide gave us a deep briefing on the history of the Incas. I was emotionally involved with all of the sites and soaked in as much as I could without taking photos.  However, by the time we reached our resting place, I couldn't even eat dinner.  I went straight to sleep!

DAY THREE (16/03/2009):

I had another night of intense stomach pains and back 2 back bathroom visits. Good news though: By morning, I felt MUCH better. By lunch, I felt as good as can be.  The hiking trails were much easier and along the way, we visited some beautiful ruins. We passed Phuyupatamarca & Winay Wayna where the Incas had built extraordinary military view points and passages. We reached our campsite by 3pm and was done with hiking for the day! The break helped me rejuvenate my energy and prepare for the next morning. Had a Toblerone for the first time in my life and GEEZZZ...I'm not a big fan of chocolate but one piece got me hooked! Ate dinner with the group and had so much fun laughing & joking. By 9pm though, it was time to knock out...

DAY FOUR (17/03/2009):

Somehow, the stomach pains returned and I was back in the bathroom! The worst part about it was that the bathrooms have NO toilet seats so you kinda have to...squat and uh...let go!  I refuse to go into further detail. By 4am, everyone was up and ready to hike to Machu Picchu. There was a long line of travelers waiting to get in. Feeling worse than before, I pushed ahead of the group and hiked without stopping...pretty much without thinking. I didn't want to pay attention to how much pain I was in so I kept it moving at a speed that had everyone asking me to slow down. Eventually, I couldn't take it anymore and made a few more offerings to Pachamama. Ooohhhhhhh!!! Whatever happened to private stalls and personal space for these kind of things??? Finally, we reached Intipunku (Sun's gate) and took a few pictures. The view was incredible and we were lucky enough to view Machu Picchu in the distance with perfect weather above us. We made it down to Control and began our path to the sacred city. The experience was indescribable. The rocks and stones were placed so perfectly at a time when hands were still artists and civilizations still knew who they were.  

Overall, many changes took place within and it was indeed refreshing to hang out with people from all over the world. Unheard accents, personal stories, and unique perspectives. Finished the last day by staying in pools of bubbling hot water with a Pina Colada in Aguas Calientes with Bob Marley playing in the background. Yeah...I think that's how you're supposed to end 4 days of hiking! I was the 2nd youngest on the trip and felt so accomplished to have done this at such a young age. Despite the difficulties, I survived and in return, have learned so much.  I am proud of who I am becoming.  It felt so rewarding to do all of this on my own with my money that I saved through working and doing shows over the past year. Many things to look forward to in this life. 

One step at a time...

Friday, March 13, 2009


Sooo...I was offered to go water rafting today and since I`ve never done it before, I figured, ¨Sure, why not? It´s not everyday you get to go rafting in Peru!¨ However, we reached a level 4 rapid which out of a level 5 rating system is pretty scary. The water was powerful! We had already been rafting for well over an hour and were doing fairly well. We were ahead of the other boat (there were two), 6 people with one guide in each raft. There was an extra guy in a kayak named Ronal and another guy on a cataraft taking pictures. Needless to say, our raft reached an area where the water sunk in and was rather aggressive. And...we kinda fell in that hole! At first, I stayed calm and eventually came up to the surface but the boat was on top of me. There were a few seating gaps where I was able to breathe but I wanted to get away from under the boat because the water kept bringing me back down. So, I tried swimming away from under the raft but that was my biggest mistake.

The water sucked me under and spat me down river. I tried calling for the guy with the camera but he couldn´t catch up quick enough. I tried swimming against stream but it was no use. I had to lean back and let the water take me down river. Looking ahead, the waters were wild and there were huge rocks coming up. That´s when I started to panic. As I hit the waves, I kept going under. I got so scared, my ability to hold my breath grew desperate. I could barely hold it for 5 seconds without feeling the utter need to panic for air. I hit a few rocks and had to kick against others. I tried grabbing rocks but I couldn´t grab a good enough grip. The water was spewing me at a speed I could hardly process my next move. I began taking in mouth fulls of water and paddling for my life. I kept trying to think positive thoughts but the water was in complete control.

Finally, the guy on the kayak sped down river and caught up to me. I grabbed on and kept telling him that I couldn´t breathe. My life jacket was squeezing my lungs. I had to hold onto the kayak for awhile before he brought to a nearby rock. I got on the rock and took off my helmet, gloves, life jacket, and garments. The water was so cold and I had been in it for so long my body was shaking uncontrollably. I thought I was going to fall unconscious because my vision was hazy and dark. I laid on the rock and couldn´t move. It took about 25 minutes for the other 2 boats to even find me. I had gone so far down river, they didn´t know where I was. When they eventually found me, they couldn`t believe how far I had gone.

Nonetheless, we had to continue rafting for another 30 minutes. They said it would take hours to walk and although I was willing...they wouldn´t let me due to schedule. Another girl was shaken up and felt the same. As much as I didn`t want to, I had to get back on the raft. I was unable to paddle as I could barely move my body. I was shivering so viciously and was extremely lightheaded. I hadn´t eaten anything but bread because that´s all my hostel offered as their ´continental breakfast.´ Some breakfast! By the end of it all, I was like, "Damn, 12 people go rafting and I´m the one to get lost under water." Overall, I`m just grateful to be alive. Gotta wake up at 5am tomorrow to begin my 4 day hike to Machu Picchu via the sacred Inca Trail. The adventures continue...

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Last night, I arrived in Lima, Peru. I was recommended by a friend who had been to Lima to go to the "Pay Purix Hostel" which was supposed to be near the airport. However, I never found it! This person told me to walk further away from the airport for a cheaper cab ride. Exiting the airport with a large hiking backpack that did not help disguise me from looking like a "gringo." Mad locals rushed me trying to get me in their taxi. One guy hustled me a ride for 15 soles which is about 5 bucks in American dollars. Considering the alternatives, it was a good bargain. The cab was a little sketchy but I was willing to take my chances. He took an "alternative" route which ended up getting us pulled over by the police.

The crazy part was how the cop came out of the car waving his gun at us before even saying a single word to us. And not no regular 9 millie or, dude was holding weight. He made the driver get out of the car and interrogated us for 15-20 minutes. Finally, he let us go after a thorough series of questions and threatening glares. The driver was so apologetic and went as far as to find another hostel for me since we couldn`t find the original one. His name was Paul and said that he was probably just pulled over for the way he looked. He was a ghetto cat but cool. We spoke quite a bit about the history of Peru and he commented a lot about the government. The area he drove us through was CRAZY HOOD! He went on to negotiate several spots until he got me a room for 20 soles at a Love Shack for couples. haha. Funniest part was how we heard loud sex noises coming from one of the rooms on the first floor. The employee tried to front and say it was the TV! The driver and I laughed til it hurt. HILARIOUS! Stayed the night hearing sounds that would make one think every room was blasting porno! It was def a night for the books...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


10 dias en la selva de Tamshiyacu
4 ceremonies of Ayahuasca & Chacruna
Vomited so much of the negative
Dieted 2 plants:
Chuchuhasha and Banapitipiti
Both are blood purifiers and protectors
No salt, sugar, oil, or pretty much any food with flavor
Visions inherited surpassed Earth & physical limitations
Began writing for my second play
Internally reborn