Saturday, February 26, 2011


We hadn't meant to do a whole country in each post on this blog, but things went pretty fast in these last two. A few days slipped away early on, so we made sure to spend our days in our final locations away from the computer.

Uruguay was the final goal of this trip, and after our layover in Fray Bentos we would be splitting our time in Montevideo, the capital, and the beach. We got into Montevideo in the evening. When we got to the hotel we'd planned on staying in, we heard the desk clerk tell people in front of us that they had no rooms for the night. He recommended one up the street, our second choice, so we spun around and made for it before the others could finish their conversation. It proved to be a good move, because we got the last room. The place, Hotel Palacio, was really nice, with an old iron cage elevator. We got one of the better rooms, complete with a balcony that was bigger than many of the rooms we'd rented on our trip. It also had a great view of Ciudad Vieja, Old Town Montevideo, and the water on both sides.

Ciudad Vieja and the Atlantic
The woman at the desk gave us a map that conveniently outlined places that were and were not safe in the city, so armed with that we set out to get dinner. We had a good meal, but on the way back decided we could still eat, and found a food stand serving chorizo sandwiches with all kinds of pickled toppings. This would not be the only time we got one of these...

Unfortunately we only got that room for one night, as there was a reservation for the next day. We moved to another room which was equally nice, but without the balcony. There was a weekend street market Sunday morning, the Feria de Tristan Narvaja, which closes many streets to traffic so vendors can set up stands selling produce, antiques, clothes, and about anything else you can imagine. We were saving our stomachs for lunch that day, so we stuck to some small pears.

After a few hours we decided not to wait anymore and made for the Mercado del Puerto, where we would be getting the lunch that the trip was built around. To get there we walked through Ciudad Vieja, which we were disappointed to find in pretty sad shape. We'd heard a lot about Montevideo's old buildings, so it was too bad to see them mostly out of commission. Through those, though, we made our way to the market, right by the port, which, unlike the rest of the neighborhood, is bustling on weekends. Inside there are about a dozen parillas, Uruguayan grill restaraurants, all dying to get you to eat there. We made sure to get a seat at the bar where you can watch the cooks throw wood on the fire, rake the coals and manage an ungodly amount of meat, which is what we'd be ordering.

The parrillada is a mix of the more popular cuts of meat, and comes in serving sizes according to your party size which they pile into a metal box with coals underneath. Now, they said the serving size we ordered(which was the smallest) was meant for two, and we mentioned our small breakfast, but this thing was still unmanagable for us. It came with the following meats: a chorizo sausage, a blood sausage, a two-foot-long cut of short ribs, a steak, half a chicken, and two small intestines. That was after the salad, which needless to say, was of little intrest to us. We made a good go of it, but had to stick to our favorites. The sausages didn't last, and we made good progress the ribs and steak. While we were adventurous and tried the intestines, they really weren't good (it was a texture issue) and were an obvious pass. The chicken, while good, wasn't all that exciting. All in all we probably put away about 60% of the the thing, and felt pleased with our efforts. This all went along with a bottle of medio y medio a mix of sparkling and regular white wine.

Una parrilla Uruguaya, a carnivore´s dream come true.

Meat Mountain

A long walk through Ciudad Vieja was much needed after this, as was a nap. Dinner on the other hand, was not so necessary, so we just did some gelato.

Montevideo from the pier

The next day we hopped a bus to La Pedrera, a small beach town a little further away than the busier resort beach towns on the Uruguay coast. We found a little hostel that was cheap and quiet and out of the way called El Tucan. After checking in we made for the beach. It was about 6:00pm, the sun was behind the clouds, the wind had picked up and the water was cold, so we just spent about an hour laying on our towels. The next day the sun was out, so we rented beach chairs and didn't leave until 5:00pm. The water was still pretty cold, and rough, but we made it in at one point. An abundance of jellyfish kept us from staying too long, though, so we returned to the chairs. Seafood on the coast is highly recommended and we found a parilla that served a fish and mussel pasta dish that was incredible as well as a nice change to all the beef we'd been mainlining. Don't worry, we got a chorizo as well to minimize meat withdrawls.

Just plain terrible...

 Our day on the beach left us with some light sunburns (unavoidable when you're as white as we are), so we only did the one full day on the coast. The next afternoon we hopped back on a bus and returned to Montevideo. We returned to the Hotel Palacio, and to the restaurant we went to our first night. We tried some other Uruguayan staples, like a chivito sandwich (beef, ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato, olives, eggs and mayo) and a milanesa, a breaded steak cutlet. The restaurant also had some decadant desserts, like the oddly named omelette surprise, which was a huge scoop of ice cream topped with toasted meringue. This was lunch, the only meal we'd had all day, and it tided us over until the late night when we went out to find more chorizo sandwiches. We found a different cart, and though one sounded like enough, we managed two.

Chorizo five of seven on the trip

The following day was our last in Montevideo, so we wanted to make one more (less coma inducing) trip to the Mercado del Puerto. First we stopped by the now defunct train station, a beautiful building now, unfortunately, closed off with corrogated sheet metal. We took the necessary photos, then skipped out of the area which was across the safety line on our map.  At the market we found a different parrilla and went a little lighter, ordering filet mignon, rabbit, and another bottle of medio y medio. Next to us were a Swede and Austrian traveling together, who had questions about what to order. This turned into a long travel conversation that went on past the parrilla's closing.  We didn't get many opportunities to chat with other travelers on this trip, so it was really fun to find some English speakers. They were on the other end of their trip, and going the opposite way we had, so we got to make some recommendations for Peru and Bolivia.

The down and out train station

La segunda parrilla

Nan and Montevideo, far less gloomy than they may look here

The rest of the day was spent walking around the city, drawing and taking photos. We also took our final oppurtunity to get one more omelette surprise, Nan's new best friend. All in all, we really, really enjoyed our time in Uruguay.  Aside from the incredible food it is also a beautiful and easy going country, which met all of our hopes and expectations.  We really lucked out regaining our health and our appetites for this leg of the trip and were truly able to relax and really enjoy ourselves.  We will be keeping our eyes on flight deals to Montevideo and Buenos Aires... we're coming back.

Surprise! It´s an... omelette?
Our flight for Lima left at 8:00am the next morning, and we were required to get to the airport three hours early. It was only about a five hour flight, which was a far preferable option to the three day bus trek back across the continent. We found a new hostel here, and have been enjoying the last few days with some down time. We've done so much in this month its been really nice, both here and in Uruguay, to not have to do any more scrambling.

Today we're meeting up with Rosario again, then have a free day tomorrow, and fly back home on Monday! We're looking forward to being home, but right now we're wearing shorts and light clothing as much as we can before we have to face the sub-freezing Portland weather. That part, we aren't looking forward to so much.

Thanks for reading along. We'll have some closing posts when we get home, along with some photos that didn't make the update posts.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


When we last checked in a week ago, we were just about to board a bus to the Bolivian/Argentine border.  We won't dwell on the events of that little 12 hour journey, but the next time you see us ask about it.  It was so comically awful that it is too difficult to type into words.  Crossing the border was a simple but long process due to 5 hours of waiting in line.  We planned ahead this time and decided to buy our bus tickets to Buenos Aires when we got to the Argentine side... this way we could not be abandoned by another bus.  We ate a little lunch, killed a little time, and then boarded our first bus on the 30 hour haul to B.A.

Not a bad view

This ride was surprisingly luxurious and lovely.  We lucked out and got the front seats on the second level, which has wrap-around windows offering stunning panoramic views of the passing landscape.  Northern Argentina is beautiful, very reminiscent of Arizona with it's hills and tall cacti.  Night fell and we arrived in Jujuy, where we changed busses.  Things got just a tiny bit hairy here.  The company we bought our tickets from sold our fares to another company, which ended up being some semi-legal private charter operating just outside the main bus station.  If there hadn't been a guy on our bus who had the same ticket we would have never figured out where to go.  Things worked out for the best though.  The man assigning seats was so excited that we were from the U.S. that he gave us the great front window seats again.  We slept well on the bus and the night passed quickly.  The next day on the bus was long, only broken up by a 30 minute lunch stop.  Now, I´m not sure what you all did for Valentine's Day, but we held hands over a romantic gas station buffet.  What?  You think that sounds bad?  Try eating in Bolivia for a week.  (Sorry Bolivia, you had that one coming.)

We pulled into Buenos Aires around 9:30 pm and took a cab to a hotel we had read about.  The primary draw was that it was cheap, but it ended up being this awesome old mansion.  Yes, it was kind of falling apart, but you could tell this place was so glamorous about 100 years ago.  It was clean (enough) and centrally located, so we booked it for four nights and called it a day.

Its hard to capture all the old architectural details

We woke up the next morning and seeing Buenos Aires by the light of day... it was love at first sight.  The city is incredible.  It has the hustle of New York and the european charm of Paris.  We started our day sipping café con leche and snacking on medialunas (tiny, sweet croissants) at a little sidewalk bistro.  If Portland is where young people go to retire, then this is where we will be heading when we are older.  We decided to hit the ground running and loosely did a four hour self guided walking tour from our guide book.  It was a great chance to see so much of the city in one afternoon, hitting many of the architectural highlights, though our favorite part of this tour, natuarally, was lunch.  This parrilla (restaurant serving an overabundance of grilled meats) was a cow's nightmare and our heaven.  We decided to keep it simple and opted for two sandwiches;  one chorizo and one blood sausage.  We also threw in a litre of Stella Artois for good measure.  It. Was. Awesome.  There is not much else to say about that.  It left us full for the day so we passed on propper dinner and were forced to eat giant cones of the most beautiful gelato instead.  Basically, life is really tough here.

Plaza Del Congreso

Game over

The Argentine congress building, drawing forthcoming

The next two days were filled with more of the same.  Lots of walking and sitting in beautiful cafes eating more medialunas, empanadas, gelato, and the best beef sirloin we've ever had.  It was such a wonderful contrast to the debacle that was the previous week.  It didn't take long for us to fall pretty hard for Buenos Aires.  We are already scheming a way to get back as soon as possible. 

We wish we'd had more time here, as well as the rest of Argentina which went unexplored... but the show must go on.  Yesterday we hopped a quick four hour bus to the Uruguayan border town of Fray Bentos.  It is very small, but with lots of local charm.  It doesn't seem as frequented by tourists and the residents are very laid back.  The reason for stopping here was to visit a museum, (about meat!) but breaking up the 8 hour journey to Montevideo proved to be quite necessary.  In the fun little game we have been playing to see who can come down with the most serious illness, Reid, the dark horse, pulled ahead with a 104 degree fever, requiring a quick little trip to the hospital.  One fantastic doctor, two hours, and fifty bucks later he was much, much better.  Not to get all Sean Penn on you, but South American health care - 2, U.S. health care - 0. 

Meat factory turned meat Museum

This afternoon, rested and recovered, we continued on to Montevideo.  The ride was very comfortable and a great chance to just sit and take in the Uruguayan countryside.  Arriving in the city was significant for two reasons.  One, we have just really wanted to come here for a while now, and two, it marks the completion of the goal if this trip.  We crossed the continent entirely on land!  Its been great, but truthfully the journey has been far more exhausting than we'd anticipated. Much has been learned on this trip and it will definitely change the way we travel in the future.  Starting now.  We have already sprung for plane tickets to get back to Lima.  We're adventurous, but not masochistic.

We can't tell you how much we are looking forward to the last week of our trip.  We have some pretty serious eating to do here in Montevideo and some much earned relaxing to do on the beach.  We'll let you know how that goes. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Copacabana and Sucre

Sorry for the long time between posts (we know it was long since our moms exchanged worried phone calls), but its been a little difficult lately. Unfortunately our stay in Copacabana was not much more comfortable than our arrival. When last we posted, we were taking a day to forget the rough journey, and preparing to visit a highly reccomended island on Lake Titicaca (it's alright, laugh). Lake plans were delayed when we were hit with a pretty serious stomach bug that kept us sidelined for a solid 24 hours. The following day we took it slow, and switched to a half day trip to the island. In reality "half day" meant an hour and a half boat ride, only just over an hour to see the Inca ruins and lake view then an hour and a half return trip. Machu Picchu survived the hype, Isla del Sol, not so much.

Terraces on Isla del Sol
This was disappointing, as Copacabana itself is little more than a hub to get to the island and other lake attractions. The food there was pretty lackluster, aside from, ironically, the meal that made us sick. Most restaurants are run by dreadlocked expats who aggressively pass out flyers all sporting the same menu. Other bohemian types spread out blankets on the street and sell jewelry and knick-knacks, which can also be bothersome, but one vendor was an unexpected high point. Rather than selling tourist-geared junk he had two tables full of fossils and semi-precious stones, some for jewelry, others in the rough. He was a Bolivian paleontology student just making a few extra bucks with some of his finds. Needless to say, these appealed to both of us in differing ways. Nan picked out some necklace pendants and Reid got a petrified deer tooth and took the opportunity to talk shop for a little while.

A Bolvian Paleontologist. All the knowledge, none of the sleeves.
Overall we spent four nights there, which was more than we´d intended. Even with a few bright spots (our hostel was nice and the woman who ran it was lovely as well) it was hard not to leave a little underimpressed after all the disappointments and setbacks. Since we´d lost a few days already we decided to pass on staying in La Paz, Bolivia´s largest city. We had no concrete plans there, so it made sense to get to the next place we knew we wanted to go, Sucre, the former capitol.

As a city Sucre is much nicer. Whitewashed colonial buildings comprise the city´s iconic image, its cleaner, and we found a hostel close to its main plaza. Its also an easy city to navigate, so we found the points of interest quickly. Today we made for Cal Ork´o a paleontological site with over 5000 dinosaur tracks, the most found in one place in the whole world, just a few minutes drive out of town. Initial research made it sound like it was mostly unknown, just a wall of footprinted rock by a cement quarry. That was true until about ten years ago, and now a museum has sprung up. Cretaceous Park, they call it, complete with anatomically accurate stautes of the dinosaurs that used to live here (and T-Rex, not native, but necessary for any dinosaur theme park). A tour came with admission, and our guide was very nice and enthusiastic. However, you are kept pretty far from the wall itself. In the past guests could stand right by it, but since they can´t keep it from crumbling it is now a safety hazard.  It is understandable, but being kept so far away from the wall really takes away from the wonder of the site.  At our age, the giant plastic dinosaurs just don´t impress the way they used to.

Central plaza in Sucre

Hey look, a dinosaur! Oh wait, its fake.

A mile of dinosaur foot prints. A mile away.

This was another highly anticipated point that fell a little flat. With our two Bolivian highlights significantly dimmed we´re ready to move on to Argentina. Let us be clear. This post is not to say that we don´t like Bolivia or that we haven´t had some great experiences here.  It is a very understated country. You have to try a little harder to find things that appeal to you. The mix of high expectations, bad weather and lingering illness was a tough obstacle to overcome.  We are leaving with the knowledge that we have two more entires on our five year visa, and we intend to use them.  Another time. Different sights.

Tomorrow we will start to make our way to the Argentine border.  Its a long ride to Buenos Aires, so we´ll be breaking this trip up.  Our stomachs better get ready.  Meat, here we come.

Internet connection is a little slow here, so we won´t be including any photos.  Check in later for an update to this post when we are able to share some images.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Better Days

Getting to Bolivia was rough.  Someday we will look back on the journey and laugh.  That day is not today.  We won't dwell on the negative, and in truth we did learn some valuable lessons, but we could have done without the whole experience.  In short, there was a bit of confusion, with our bus bringing us a to different border crossing than we expected... and then leaving before we got through customs.  It was kind of the ultimate kid nightmare... being left behind.  Only this time it wasn't at the mall or the supermarket, it was at a very dirty Bolivian/Peruvian border town.  There was a bit of panic (Me (Nan) crying), but we (Reid)  found a way out.

It did take us about 5 hours of unplanned bus travel, but we got to where we wanted to be with all of our gear (barely).  We are now in Copacabana on the shore of Lake Titicaca.  Last night was capped by staying in a pretty rough hostel, but we have started fresh today by switching to a nicer place.  It was hard to not feel a little sad yesterday, after having such a good experience in Peru and a rough start to Bolivia.  We are putting that behind us though, and so far today has been really lovely, enjoying the quiet charms of Copacabana. 

Every big trip inevitably has a day like yesterday.  It's part of the deal.  At this point we are just feeling greatful that the damage was minimal and things once again seem to be looking up.  We will be reviewing our Spanish in regards to bus vocabulary, but overall are confident we can avoid that same situation in the future.

Today will just be a day to relax and casually see the city.  Tomorrow, we will explore the lake.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

This one's for you: Nan's thoughts on Machu Picchu

It is quite a hike, but quite a view looking down from Wayna Picchu

There is a lot to say about Machu Picchu... more than could fit into one joint post.  When the morning clouds finally dissapated and the full scope of the site was revealed beneath us, it was breathtaking.  There had been concerns that while it would definitely be cool, it might not live up to naturally high expectations.... yeah, not an issue.  While I could go on and on about the stunning achievment of architecture and agricultural planning, it´s not really what is sticking with me.  I´ll start by saying this was a surprisingly very personal experience, which is not at all what I was expecting, and in general pretty atypical for me.  (Basically, this post is awkwardly emotional.  You´ve been warned.)

In the early stages of planning this whole trip, a visit to Machu Picchu was a given.  We were going to be in Peru.  We had to go.  End of story... until I talked to my Dad just a few days before leaving.  He made a passing comment about how my Grandmother had always wanted to visit Machu Picchu.  This very small detail, that she had always wanted to do something I was about to do, struck me in such an unexpected way.  My Grandmother passed away when I was seventeen.  I never knew her as an adult.  I don´t know much about her as a person, especially her as a young woman, only as Grandma.  I was (and still am) filled with so many questions about her.  I have many memories, and it might be a fools errand to try an figure out who she was through these small fragments, but the more I think about what I do know, the more I am struck with how much of her there is in me.  No, I don´t save all my yogurt containers and I don´t attempt to get every single last morsel out of a seemingly empty jar with a spatula, but the more I think about it... I have a sneaking suspicion that we are alike in many ways.  First of all, she was as stubborn and opinionated as all hell... so, there´s that, but she was also very creative (always working on a project), she loved to travel and see new things, she could make a damn fine breakfast, and in ways very unique to her, she really loved her family. 

These last two weeks I have found myself wondering what our relationship would be like if she were still here.  She was certainly more traditional than I am, and as such might have raised eyebrows about some of my choices, but the travel... that she would be into.  There would have been many phone conversations leading up to this trip.  She was a teacher, and would have been so excited to tell me all that she knew about Peru and Machu Picchu.  I still very fondly recall the time in fifth grade when I told her I was learning about the Incas.  She was always interested in what I was leaning at school, but talking about the Incas with me, she was ecstatic.  It would have been so nice to have the second part of that conversation, fifteen years later. 

She and my Grandpa did a lot of traveling later in life, both driving across the US, and going on several cruises.  One cruise through the Panama Canal even got her to South America (where she did get the South American emeralds she had always wanted), but she never quite made it to Machu Picchu. 

Until now.  That is her granddaughter.... and that is her scarf.   We made the trip together... and I really hope she enjoyed the view. 

And this is what I love about travel.  The experience itself and what you take away are never what you expect.  I don´t know that I buy into the concept of travel as a chance to find yourself.  You can´t plan or orchestrate that.  Sometimes though, if you are lucky, and I certainly have been... you will see, learn, or feel something new that connects you back to something that was always there.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cusco: Part 2 and Machu Picchu

The whole enchilada
As mentioned before, we had almost a full day in Cusco before we left for Aguas Calientes, from where we would depart for Machu Picchu. We spent the day at the San Pedro market again, drawing in Plaza de Armas and then avoiding the rain in an internet cafe until we left at five.

With seasonal mainenence closing much of the railway, the cheapest option for getting to Aguas Calientes is a two hour bus ride to the train in Ollantaytambo. We assumed that this was what awaited us, but since we booked the trip through our hostel there was a surprise waiting for us. At five, a cab took us to an alley where a fleet of station wagons, long range taxis, were shuttling people to the train. We were assigned to a car which was filled up by two Peruvians. Appearal of American sports teams is common down here, but its usually  hats and shirts of major market teams, so we were surprised when a young man wearing a Portland Trailblazers hat sat in the back seat with us. We were tempted to mention it, but we doubted he was familiar with the team or the city.

We´d been reluctant to book our trip with an agency, since it means surrendering control of your experience, often towards things that are more touristy, and less genuine. Before we even left Cusco we had to laugh about how our station wagon ride (at an estimated 90 mph) through the country side was likely a more honest Peruvian experience than a bus of foreigners. Halfway through the ride our driver pulled over to pick up two hitchhikers. For a few soles they were more than happy to sit in the back, not on seats, mind you. The scenery was pretty rural, with a few rustic farming outposts. We wanted to take photos, but the light was fading, and as mentioned, they were passing pretty quickly.

Ollantaytambo looked like a cute little town, but we had to get right on the train. We were a little confused about where to go, and our station wagon-mate in the Blazers hat showed us the way. You can always count on one of your own...

It was pretty standard train travel to Aguas Calientes, which was probably a pretty quiet town until people learned about Machu Picchu. Now it´s primarily hostels and souvenier stands. The place we stayed was pretty nice, run by a friendly family, and there we got to take our first hot showers in a long time. We got up at 4:45 the next morning to catch the bus up the mountain, hoping to see the sun rise. By the time we got there it was six and already light out, but covered in a thick fog and light rain, so sunrise was not in the cards anyway.

The grounds crew waits for the fog to lift
The package we bought through our hostel included a guide, which was another hidden benefit, otherwise we wouldn´t have learned much while there. We had a little over an hour to roam before meeting him, but with the fog, it was hard to get a scope of the place. By eight the fog lifted and we could see it all!

Its hard to know what to say about Machu Picchu, other than that to get it you really have to go. We´d done some research and seen a lot of photos, so we had concerns that it might take away fromt the experience. Not the case, its worth the trip, the time and the money.

Over all we feel really fortunate that things came together the way they did. If we´d followed through on buying our tickets ourselves we would have had no guide, and would gone up and back in one day. That would have given us roughly four uninformed hours there, versus ten hours, only two of which involved the tour. Another added benefit of more time was being able to climb Wayna Picchu, the mountain to the south. It took an hour to climb the steps that zig-zag up the sheer slope, but the view is awesome. Since the Inca Trail was closed this month, it was great to be able to do some hiking there.
Wayna Picchu in the background

View of Machu Picchu  from Wayna Picchu, with bus route on the left
...the climb down
Climbing back down was almost as hard, and took about 40 minutes. That left us a little more time to spend wandering the parts that weren´t covered in the tour, then back to Aguas Calientes and then Cusco. We were ready to sleep pretty hard that night. After the climb up Wayna Picchu, the stairs leading to our hostel seemed imposing for a whole new reason.

About one third of the steps to our hostel.

If our Cusco hostel hadn´t been so great we likely would have switched to avoid the daily climb up the stairs, but owners Carmen and Jose were unbelievable. Their place gets our reccomendation for anyone going to Cusco.

Los mejores Cusqueños, Jose y Carmen
The next day was to be our last in Cusco, and Peru for that matter. We had our bus tickets to Bolivia, so we checked out of the hostel and spent the day taking in the things we liked about Cusco, which were many. We were a little sad to leave, but after hugs, Carmen wished us ¨mucha suerte,¨ and we were on to Bolivia. We thought.

Upon arriving at the bus station we found out there was a protest in Juliaca, a town between Cusco and Copacabana, and no busses were getting through that night. We trudged back to the hostel, and up the stairs where a surprised Carmen saw us to a room (con dos cervezas). It was a let down, we were ready to go and now we had to spend another day in the same spot. As much as we like Cusco, we feel like we´ve gotten all we can from it. So today is being spent killing time, hence our more focused blogging.

Of all the places to be stuck in, Cusco is high on the list, so we´re keeping that in mind. We got to go back to the market and get more good food, but still, it´s one less day we´ll get somewhere else, and we´re itching to go. We´ve been assured that the bus will get through tonight, so we are hopeful that our next post will be from Bolivia.

Book Report: The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

We have a lot of time to read on this trip, so we thought we´d put together posts about what we´ve read. Here goes...

The Road, by Cormac McCarthy is a light read (bummer) about a father and son´s adventurous romp (deathmarch) through a snowy wonderland (ash-filled postapocalyptic wasteland). On their trip they meet all kinds of colorful characters (cannibals) and just like Nan and I, are always looking for their next great meal (whatever has been left behind). Its a real life-affirmer (as in some things are alive but everything kinda sucks).

Okay, seriously. The Road is really good, and inspite of the fact that its somewhat of a downer, its beautifully written. I´d never read any McCathy before, and in the first few chapters I couldn´t help but take note of how he writes. He is supremely efficient with words and seems to have no interest in complying with correct sentence structure and a fickle relationship with punctuation. Half of his sentences are fragments and none of his dialogue has quotation marks, sometimes he won´t even start a new paragraph for a line of dialogue. Save for Jack Kerouac he is an English teacher´s worst nightmare.

When I started reading I noticed the stylistc elements often. Then all of a sudden I was over halfway through the book, and I realized how well it makes the book flow. Its almost stream of consciousness writing with a purpose. Most of the narration works this way, only slowing down occasionally to make a point. After the success of No Counry for Old Men McCarthy became Hollywood gold, so of course there is a film adaptation, which I haven´t seen. After reading the book, I really wonder how well the elements that make the book translate to film. Maybe Viggo Mortensen´s blues eyes are enough. I´ll still check it out.

Perhaps The Road isn´t your standard beach read. There might be something a little off about reading it while traveling. It kept me turning the pages, and at a faster rate than I usually do, so even if a tale of hardship doesn´t sound appealing, its a quick read that is well worth the time.