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Flowers and fish heads

With acknowledgement to Nelson's Express newspaper Fish Heads and Flowers column, here is our take on the good and the not-so-good aspects of our trip.

  • Flowers to Nelson Waldorf School faculty for agreeing to Tanya's leave of absence.
  • Flowers to Carron Mulligan for helping make our trip possible (by taking Tanya's class while we were away) and giving us good travel advice.
  • Flowers to MaryAnn and Rick for transporting us to and from Victoria Airport and looking after our car while we were away.
  • Flowers to Christine, Michelle, Sean, and Veronika for taking care of the house and Shadow while we were away.
  • Flowers to Max, Juana, Fabricio, and Pedro at EDEAQ Spanish Language School in Arequipa, Peru for helping us get started learning Spanish.
  • Flowers to Virginia for giving us a gentle introduction to Peru.
  • Flowers to Delfin on Taquile Island who helped us so much while Bethany was sick.
  • Flowers to Pisac Inca Hostal for nice people and cheery, clean rooms and a lovely garden.
  • Flowers to Lili at Pisac Inca Hostal for being our friend and working hard to make our stay so pleasant.
  • Flowers to Kusi Kawsay school for welcoming us and giving the girls three months of immersive Andean culture.
  • Flowers to Rosaura, Yessica, Fielding, Roman, Hugo, Rene, and everyone else at Kusi Kawsay.
  • Flowers to David, Abraham, Patrona, Jacinto, Miguel, Gaspar and all the other members of Grupos de Mujeres y Hombres por la Paz in Nebaj.
  • Flowers to accommodation managers everywhere we went for helping us with arranging tours and other accommodation.
  • Flowers to Tripadvisor for consistently providing better information than our guidebooks.
  • Flowers to the makers of sea bands for helping to limit travel sickness on the speeding buses.
  • Flowers to the doctors in Guatemala and Belize who helped us when we got sick.
  • Flowers to the makers of the medications that made us better and kept us well.
  • Flowers to the makers of the gizmos and gadgets that smoothed our path and kept us entertained, in particular our netbook computer, iPod Touch, Steripen hand-cranked fluorescent light water purifier, digital camera, moka pot (caffettiera), hand-cranked flashlight, Swiss army knife.
  • Flowers to Nelson Public Library for providing us with an endless supply of free audiobooks and ebooks.
  • Flowers to Tanya for arranging the focal points of our trip - going to Kusi Kawsay school in Pisac for three months and volunteering with Grupos de Mujeres y Hombres por la Paz in Nebaj.
  • Flowers to Iain for organizing all the trip details.
  • Flowers to Bethany and Sierra for being good sports and their enthusiasm every day of our trip no matter what we were doing.
  • Fish heads to amoebas - you make us sick.
  • Fish heads to bedbugs for making sleep itchy night after night.
  • Fish heads to the stray dogs all over the place (although they'd probably just scarf them down).
  • Fish heads to the Tikal tarantula for ambushing Sierra.
  • Fish heads to speeding bus drivers.
  • Fish heads to the handful of scam artists we encountered (although there really weren't too many).
  • Fish heads to locals trying to touch Sierra's blonde hair, which was cute at first but got old quickly.
  • Fish heads to ultra sensitive guests of Pisac Inca Hostal complaining about the girls making too much noise while they played in the middle of the day.
  • Fish heads to western hippies trying to sell their junk at local handicraft markets.
  • Fish heads to Lonely Planet for publishing disappointing guidebooks with outdated information and misleading advice (when traveling 20 years ago Lonely Planet books were the gold standard and worthy of their reputation, now not so much it seems).
  • Fish heads to Hospedaje Beho in Pisac for dark, dingy rooms, cold showers, and scary decorations.
  • Fish heads to U.S. Immigration at Fort Lauderdale Airport for being rude to visitors and making the immigration process as miserable as possible.