Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Whatever it Takes to Bring Baby

You know those high maintenance, useless, prissy, yappy "dogs" that rich chicks carry around in their Luis Vuitton hand bags?  It's like ... Can that "dog" not walk? Is there a reason it's wearing an alpaca wool sweater that is more expensive than mine when it has a full natural coat of fur? Don't you just want to punch the person carrying said "dog" in the face? Yeah, so do we. That's why we are so confused by everything we have done over the past five months. Look at what we've done to Baby... we mean River ...
No that's not us using a mini coke bottle as a prop for River's impromptu photo shoot. That's also not River in a genuine Peruvian alpaca wool sweater (thanks for the gift, Andrew). No we didn't put sunglasses on River to protect her from the sun in the Atacama desert. And that's definitely not River posing with a mini beer (though if she's going to underage drink, we'd prefer she did it at home).
Wait, no, this couldn't be a second collage of photos. Who are those three idiots holding their small, high maintenance dog as if to reenact the Lion King with their princess as Simba? On the left it definitely isn't River taking a nap during a tour of the Atacama desert.. Who can't leave their dog behind for four hours while they take a tour? And no we didn't purchase a new, red carrying case to compliment River's new summer look. But River's so much cooler than those other dogs, right? It's hard when you are that person you want to punch in the face. Whatever, we are embracing our new, girly selves in the hopes that maybe it will bring in the boys. 

Now that you've seen a montage of River in the Northern Chilean Atacama Desert, here are some photos of actual humans (sorry, Baby, cover your eyes (YES RIVER CAN READ THIS BLOG, LEAVE US ALONE)). 

From the Atacama Desert, we made our way south to Valparaiso. Cool, colorful city, that Valpo. Since some of you might actually be interested in the very cool cities we've visited and not our dog, River, we should mention it reminded us a lot of San Francisco. Valpo has some awesome street art and a very creative vibe. Best of all, we found Chichi's long lost cousin, Marvįn. 

After Valpo, we continued south to Pucon where we had our short, two month stint as farmers. While we embraced the simple life, the simple life stabbed Cheech in the head. That's pretty much all we have for those two months. 

Sporting the latest farmer fashion. 

Just to avoid any confusion... Claire did NOT stab Cheech with a butcher knife. Cheech actually inadvertently stabbed herself while washing dishes. 

Our next stop was Patagonia, the most southern part of Chile and Argentina. During our nine day trek through Torres del Paine National Park, we learned a few important things: 1) it doesn't take long to smell awful, 2) take time to think about what your trekking outfit will look like on camera. You might just be left looking back at pictures of yourself thinking you look like a complete idiot in one of the most beautiful places in the world, 3) oatmeal with m&ms is incredible, 4) walking poles will save your life, 5) when they tell you it's rustic and you can't shower, they're lying. They're just gross, 6) mice can chew through tents... And climb trees... And probably untie your bag, boil some water, and make dinner. Ratatouille was not an animated movie it was a documentary based on the mice at Torres del Paine, and most importantly, 7) you can drink glacier water straight from the stream. It's seriously so cool. 

Day 1 - the beginning

Day 2 - pick up a man named Jacques

Day 3 - First Torres sighting

Day 4/5 - Glacier Grey

Day 6 - Cheech and Claire being rustic and stuff

Day 7 - Britannica Lookout

Day 8 - Lago Nordenshmaggejke... Something Scandanavian. But that's a real reflection just in case you were questioning our authenticity 

Day 9 - Sunrise at the Torres

Argentinian Patagonia - El Chalten, Fitz Roy Peaks

Argentinian Patagonia - Perito Moreno Glacier

For those of you who are still with us, and made it through this long and probably boring blog post, we appreciate you. As a token of our appreciation, we leave you with the image of Alison biking through the Atacama Desert with River in a baby carrier. Doesn't get much more ridiculous than that. K, off to go punch ourselves in the face for the hypocritical dog owners we have become. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Whatever it Takes to Wrap Up Peru

Well ladies and gents, we are officially working women. We know we may have let some of you down (our sincerest apologies to the funemployment crew), but we have finally succumbed to "the man." Who is "the man" you ask? Have we become investment bankers? Lawyers? Been accepted to a prestigious graduate school? No, no, we are furthering our Princeton Education as organic farmers in Southern Chile earning the whopping salary of room and board. By room we mean a lovely tent cabin featuring one "bed" which is actually just two lawn chair mats pushed together with a sheet over them. We'd say it's the Ritz Carlton of tent cabins. Not that we have ever actually been to the Ritz Carlton, but Google tells us that it's pretty snazzy. On to board. We want to preface this with the fact that we don't actually know what board stands for. We think it means food because we get food here, but kids go to boarding school where they live. So then we think it's housing, but room and room doesn't make sense, does it? With that in mind, here's a peek into our dietary staples here on the farm: milk is powder, meat is soy, hotdogs are equivalent to prime rib, and we make our own bread. Pretty much fine dining. Now onto our work. Ya know, how we make the big bucks. We have carefully researched and began the construction of a permaculture pond. The intricacies of such a pond allow for a biological filtration system which promotes an entirely organic and flourishing ecosystem. We have also undertaken the responsibility of lead architects in the planning and design of an efficient storage system that is both visually pragmatic and satisfies a spectrum of natural disaster precautions and regulations. Talk about a resume builder! But seriously we are digging a huge hole and stacking fire wood. We made you stop for a second though and think "hey, are they actually doing something productive?" Didn't we? Because of these newfound responsibilities, we have had to put blogging on the back burner for a while. 

Let us take you back to January, which was a pretty sweet month. We started off in style, dune buggying through the Ica sand dunes and taking a 6 person mini plane ride over the Nazca Lines. Style points took a hit though when we took a boat around what people call the "poor man's" Galápagos Islands. Lets just say there's a reason it's the poor man's version; sure there are some penguins, pretty birds, even some seals, but the predominant sight here was bird poop. Lots and lots of bird poop everywhere. 

See that huge dune in the background? We sand boarded down that. Don't get too excited, thinking we were standing up like rockstars. We all went on our bellys

Sand Buggy. We rode in that. Quite fun actually. 

We can't talk about Nazca for too long because it really turns our tables. WHAT THE HECK ARE THESE LINES AND WHO DID THEM AND HOW?? There are literally huge drawings of birds, trees, dogs, this monkey, AN ALIEN... IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. No. Seriously.. okay blood pressure is rising, we need to move on. 

Poor Mans Galapagos. If you're wondering what is in that backpack Cheech is hugging.. It's our dog. We swear we are good mothers..

From our lovely tour of bird poop, we went to Lima. You could say we didn't quite take advantage of being in what is considered the food capital of the world. Though we were surrounded by top notch multinational cuisine, for god knows what reason, we ate at McDonalds, Chili's, and Dunkin Donuts. Once our fat kid cravings were satisfied, we did manage to make it to the best Shawarma spot of all time. Good job, Lima, good job. 

Next stop, Cusco to meet up with Alison's family. To ensure everyone is oriented, let us provide you with this short Meet and Greet. 

Ross Daddy - pictured sporting this fashionable tourist hat that he "will be wearing in the courtroom," Ross enjoys spending his free time at music festivals and watching the Yankees. 
Personal Quote: "There are two things I know.. The law and music"

Kath Momma - seen here being worshipped for her incredible conquest of Huayna Picchu, Kath is the voice of reason. Kath enjoys long walks on the Canadian shores of Lake Huron, everything Michigan Blue, and Easter. 
Personal Quote: "Hey, I'm chill"

Brother Nate - As his wardrobe may suggest, Nathan graduated from, and loves the University of Miami. Some know Nate as Mr. Nabatoff, Deloite Financial Consultant, while others simply know DJ DBT, Mr. Do Big Things. Though some may find it taxing, Nate enjoys the life of consultant by day and DJ by night

Brother Andrew - Andrew's a simple man. He likes cold ones, his dog, Dempsey, America, and all things Pitt. Pictured below, Andrew pays his respects to his Cold One City, of which he is self appointed captain. 
Personal Quote: "Even if it [cold ones [beers]] is microwaved! I'll still drink it"

Brother's girlfriend, Lindsey - Pictured flexing, Lindsey is a fitness fanatic and a foodie. If you're looking for a personal trainer or a delicious healthy meal, look no further. Given our new, fat bodies, we are pretty happy we can go back to Lindsey. Trust us, bigger is NOT better.. We're not talking muscle here 
Personal Quote: "Oh wow, look at that beautiful flower garden. Oh wait, it's a cemetery.."

 Brother's girlfriend's brother, Luke - Luke enjoys a trusted pair of Converse, a good lift with his bros, baseball, and a quality Instagram pic. Above all, Luke is a gentleman, who held Kathy's hand to help her climb up Huayna Picchu. Kathy has two sons who could have done it, but thank you Luke
Personal Quote: "I was never into eating glue." Context: none.  

Lance, the adopted black brother - A member of the family since '06, Lance is an avid traveller. On one particular adventure to the Great Wall of China, Lance was mistaken for Will Smith, and became an instant celebrity. 
Fun Fact: Lance lived in the Nabatoff basement for a year

Early, the adopted black brother's friend: Early, like Lance, has travelled the world. When given the chance to take a vacation from his day to day dealings as a government architect, Early jumps on the nearest flight 
Personal Quote: "Parishioners and Peruvians are two different things."

 So yeah, only immediate family made the trip. Explaining the Nabatioff "family" visit wouldn't do it justice, so we decided to just sum it up with pictures. Here goes nothing. 

Saqsaywaman (who knows how to actually spell it.. We just know it sounds like sexy woman). Noticeably missing from the photo are Cheech and Kath. They went on a little mother/not-quite daughter adventure. Aka they got lost. 

Coricancha. This was a cool Inca temple. Cheech is in this photo, but we should mention that a solid 10 minutes of this tour turned into Finding Cheech. 

Pinkayullna Inca Ruins. Noticeably missing: Claire, Ross, Kath and Lance. As you can see, it was a little difficult to get everyone in one place. 

Train to Machu Picchu! Noticeably missing: Alison. Someone has to take the picture. 

Hike up Huayna Picchu. See that small Asian second in line? Her name is Mindy and she hiked the entire way up to the top of Huayna Pichu with us. At the top she was gone before we knew it.. Talk about a hit and quit.

View from the top of Huayna Picchu. What a pretty sight.. Huay to go Incas! 

#Mindy #whyareyouhere. No wonder while hiking up someone stopped to ask, "what kind of group are you guys?" 

Does this need a caption? Kgood

Or this? No, but we need to say how cool this was. At the astronomical site of the Incas, we look over and see a double rainbow.. I mean, as learned astronomers, we would like to acknowledge this masterpiece made by the Incas and give them a gold star. Well done 
That's real life. Excuse me, what? Okay, fine.. Two gold stars.

Here we have the one and only photo taken of just the Nabatoff family. 

Hopefully these pictures and captions speak 1000 words. After Machu Picchu, and nearly three months in Peru, we finally left and headed to Chile. Unfortunately, given the fact that we are currently sitting in a bus terminal which served as our hostel last night, we have to go. Not to fear though, we will be checking in soon with our Chile Edition that covers February, March, and April as well as our brief stint in the employment world and trekking Patagonia.  Oh, and why we walked back and forth between the Chilean and Peruvian borders seven times before being admitted to Chile. Toodles

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Whatever it takes to Live Life

Well guys, it's been quite a while. We really dropped the ball on this whole blog thing in the past month, but it's probably better you don't know everything that happened in Bolivia. Anyways, our travels in Bolivia started in a little place called Salar de Uyuni aka Mars/North Pole/Whoville/Salvador Dali's famous clock painting. We took a three day tour through the Salar and this place was absolutely ridiculous. Rather than explaining the absurdity, we think its better you see for yourself. You know what they say, a picture's worth a thousand words, right? 

Stop 1: train cemetery .. This was just weird. Why were there a bunch of 60 year old abandoned trains here? We can't tell you because we lucked out with a guide who didn't explain anything

Stop 2: The Salar.. We actually think we teleported to another planet. All you could see for miles was salt. Crazy. 

Little Nabs Here: Oh golly, Claire is big!

Stop 3: Fish Island. Really a misleading name because there weren't fish. Or water for that matter. Instead there were cacti, rocks, and salt..

Stop 4: Orguelle Volcano. This was when we landed on Mars 

Stop 5: Lagunas on Lagunas on lagunas. There were also lots of flamingos which was really confusing 

 Stop 6: The Soleli Desert. You would think this place would be very hot seeing as its a desert. Totally wrong. It was freezing and windy 

Stop 7: Arbol de Piedra. For us Americans: Rock Tree. Litcherally a rock that looks like a tree


Stop 9: Sol de Mañana Geyser

Stop 10: Hotsprings with our friend who happens to be Kelsey Byrne

Stop 11: Salvador Dali Desert

Stop 12: Laguna verde... Unfortunately the Laguna wasn't very green. In fact not green at all

Stop 13: Chile. So turns out the Soleli desert connects to Chile and most people logically choose to get to Chile this way. Did we cross the border? Yes. Are we planning to travel through Chile? Yes. Then why would we turn around and head north through Bolivia and double back to Peru? We have absolutely no clue. We are now realizing our travel plans may not make the most sense. But hey, live and learn, right? 

Stop 14: Rock Valley. It's in the name, a valley of lava rocks

Andddd that ends our trip to Uyuni. If you find yourself in Southern Bolivia, we highly recommend a pitstop. This brings us to Sucre where there were some very high highs, and arguably the lowest of lows. Lets start with the highs. We went horseback riding for the first time and it was awesome. Another high, we saw the worlds largest cite of dinosaur footprints. Who doesn't love dinosaurs?

 Now the lows. Thanksgiving. Apparently Bolivians really don't like Americans, so when we went around asking for the typical American Thanksgiving dinner, we were either ignored or completely shot down. To deal with the rejection, we decided to down a bottle of wine and eat dinner at a lovely fast food establishment called Pollo Loco. Now if you thought Thanksgiving was rock bottom, no no. Claire hit the earth's core. We signed up to run a night 9k that passed 9 beautiful churches which were decorated with Christmas lights. Tied up our shoes, pinned on our numbers, as former college athletes we thought, "this will be great, we might place in this thing!" 8 minutes later Claire is in the fetal position on the side of the road. We thought it was bad when runners were stopping to offer water, but it hit a whole new low when Claire was surrounded by police officers and an EMT asking if she needed medical attention. After assuring everyone that medical attention wasn't necessary, we walked home, Claire in such shame we decided it was time to leave Sucre. From Sucre, we spent less than an hour in Santa Cruz, met a motley drinking crew consisting of a fully tattood 26 year old Canadian, Hagrid, a 70 year old retired oil tycoon, two belgian dentists, an american firefighter and his bolivian girlfriend, in Samaipata, found ourselves at an Evangelival Jesus camp in Cochabamba, and then finally made it back to La Paz. Since we usually have such great luck, we decided to test it by biking down the world's most dangerous road. Let us tell you .. It's called the worlds most dangerous road for a reason. It was treacherous. We started at the top of a 4,700 meter mountain, and descended all the way into the amazon basin miraculously in one piece. The tours advertise that anyone can do it, but seeing as over half of the people in our group fell hard, and 23 people have died in the past 17 years, we seriously doubt that. As a victim of one of the falls, I (Nabs), can honestly say the fall hurt like shit, and I (Claire), as a first hand witness can say I thought Alison was going to die. All in all though, we made it out alive and to a buffet lunch so that's what's most important. 

We look pretty badass don't ya think? Nah that's not us. We actually don't have any photos because we were told we would receive a DVD with pictures of us, but every single photo on the DVD was awful. But yeah, they actually let you bike around that curve, and we did.. Along with many more ridiculously dangerous stretches of the road. 

Having survived the death road, we decided our time in Bolivia had run its course and we headed to Arequipa, Peru. Yes, we did go from Peru to Boliva and back to Peru. Geography isn't our strong suit. First thing we did upon arriving to Arequipa is go on a three day trek through the second deepest canyon in the world, Colca Canyon, which is double the size of the Grand Canyon. Though it was beautiful and we got some much needed exercise, we were confused the whole time because it just looked like a valley of mountains. The Grand Canyon is so much cooler. Not shocking because America is the greatest place on earth (can't you see how cultured we have become?). So that was Colca. 

Sweat? Whatever we climbed 1,200 meters at 430 am in 2.5 hours. But yes, we do understand this plays into why we don't have boyfriends. 

We got back from our Colca hike just in time to celebrate Christmas Eve with all our friends and family. By that we mean eachother and a lovely middle aged, overweight, Peruvian man named Miguel. We arenas sure how we became BFFs with Miguel, but we don't hate it. We ate a bomb ass meal at his house and then watched the whole city set off fireworks at midnight. Side note, this is probably the most dangerous tradition we've encountered so far. People get hammered and throw fireworks at eachother. After dodging death by fireworks, we set out cookies, hummed jingle bells, and dreamed beautiful dreams of Santa Claus. And man, Santa must have loved that because we woke up with the best presents ever under our mini Christmas tree!!

Yep, you guessed it!!! QTIPS AND SOCKS!!!! Every girls dream 

This brings us to This Is the End. Thanks to Bolivia we have had quite a few moments where we think "well, yeah, this is the end for us"

This Is The End:

14. Driving through the Uyuni Salt Flat and Soleli Desert for three days with a completely cracked windshield that our driver often held together with his hand that in turn was not on the wheel
15. Claire in the fetal position surrounded by police and EMTs after a difficult 8 minutes of running
16. The bus ride from hell. Winding through the Andes mountains in the middle of the night, hearing parts of the bus fall off, sitting next to a Chilean Hippi lunatic, in 100 degree weather. It wasn't pleasant. 
17. Waving goodbye to the only person we knew on the way to Evangelical Jesus camp in the middle of the woods in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Just wrap your mind around that. 
18. Nabs flying over her handlebars, doing a flip in the air, and landing on her head on the edge of the World's Most Dangerous Road. That hurt 
19. Nabs being bit on the side by a 170lb bull mastiff because lunatics were throwing fireworks at us. "I not afraid of dogs. I repeat, I am not afraid of dogs" Nabs. 
            Note from Nabs: it's been a rough couple weeks, guys. Don't worry though, what doesn't kill      you makes you stronger I always say. 
20. Coming back from dinner to find the teenage hostel worker in our room with the door closed "fixing the shower." Weird. Weirder was when we came across a butcher knife on the opposite side of the room. Don't worry though, we fashioned a strategic defense mechanism/fortress. Flawless reaction. 

Oh yeah, we forgot to mention this kid showed up! It's great to have her and all, but what's really important here is that she has tried Sublimes, and is now a firm believer in the divinity of the product. We couldn't make this stuff up. Please note the tears of joy

Also, somehow this little dog/hedgehog/bear came into our presence. No, of course we didn't willingly seek it out. What type of unemployed traveling idiots would go out and get a dog in Peru?? That's just ridiculous and totally irresponsible.