Wednesday, 4 May 2011

When 10and a half months turns into 10 weeks…

Hello people, “sawadeee” – and greetings from Laos!! Here is the update from the last few weeks!

Last time I updated, we had just taken part in the Songkram festival in Chiang Mai and since then there are plenty more stories to update you guys on…

Touching a tiger… as I’m sure many of you have seen my pictures on facebook . you would have seen me and Adam having some fun with a load of tigers, where you can get up close and personal…yes I can now tick off spooning a tiger on my things to do before I die list… It was an amazing experience even if the generic response from everyone is that the tigers must be sedated…something I can’t answer as it all seems too good to be true…however you can pay the trainers to wake the cats up and get some better snaps with them…but seeing it asleep and not moving is something I think I prefer than seeing its giant paws slashing my legs open…either way they make for some awesome pictures!

My future c.v will now include “volunteering with an elephant camp” – so this might be a little exaggerated as this work was only a 3 day experience; however me and Adam took part in something that most tourists do not get a chance to do…and this is actually working with the elephants instead of simply riding them on a one day treck…sooo this meant that me and Adam were expected to clean up heaps of elephant shit…go out into the corn fields and harvest the crops and then wash all the elephants in the river at stupid o clock in the morning. – oh and learning how to speak thai commands to the elephants whilst riding them...and as a treat on the last night our accommodation was an open fronted bamboo shack that was right next to a river which is used for white water rafting…a quiet and tranquil experience?? – The excursion was topped off with more white water rafting. Now when we did white water rafting in New Zealand our guide was over cautious on health and safety and ensuring all the rafters knew how to steer the boat…well in Asia these standards are a little more relaxed shall we say and for a good amount of the time Adam was allowed to be the person in charge of the raft whilst the instructor put his feet up…not surprising then that I actually fell in when it came to the serious rapids and ended up flailing around like a drowning legless cat…

Laos…so now we are in Laos where it is more expensive to buy a packet of Peaut m&m’s than it is for a main meal and a litre of beer or a nights accomodation…how does that make sense? – but this country is a little bit special. Started off with a 2day slow boat ride over the boarder that ensured you get to meet a bunch of fellow travellers who are all heading in the same direction but it also gave us a chance to take in some spectacular views of what this country has to offer.

Now most travellers come to Laos to go tubing in a place called Vang Vieng which is where I am writing this from…tubing being hiring out a giant rubber ring and floating down a 3km stretch of river stopping at numerous bars to simply party…naturally this gets pretty messy pretty quickly…and to just ensure it gets messy, many of the bars have built giant 30ft slides and trapeze swings into the river for people to drunkenly try and do…yes many people have been reported to breaking ankles etc but apart from a few scratches me and Adam seem to be just taking it all in our stride.

This place is essentially the “malia or magaluf” of Laos, a hidden paradise that has become so westernised that every restaurant plays either back to back episodes of friends of family guy…even the menus are identical. We have even found somewhere that sells Yorkshire puddings…although I think I will wait until I home to devour a home cooked roast! Howwwever ...it isn't half set in a beautiful location...

Sunday, 17 April 2011

SONGKRAMMM!

Since last time,
So last time I updated, we had been to the hectic city that was Bangkok and arrived in Phuket, however that was now nearly 3 weeks ago and since then the adventure has only continued.

After spending far too much time in Phuket riding out the worst of the weather, we finally took a flight to the North of Thailand to Chaing Mai, and what a time we picked to arrive here...even if when we arrived the hostel was shut and the only free room was a room with no electricity (bonus! - candle lit twin room ..aww romantic! but they gave us it for free!0

Songkram Festival - A Happy Thai New Year...
Now Thai people really know how to hold an amazing water fight! - notably the largest in the world, a 3 day festival throughout the whole country where people come together to celebrate a fresh start...What does this involve? - basically you buy a big water gun, walk out of your front door and unleash as much water as possible. Thousands of people line the streets battling people standing on the back of trucks going down ridiculously congested streets...i'm talking thousands - and the best place to see this and take part is of course in Chaing Mai...where we are! - Ranging from being covered in buckets of river water, to being doused in freezing cold ice water the Songkram experience goes down in mine and Adam's books as one of the best days of our travels for sure! -- The best bit in reflection was that we soon realised that amongst these thousands of people all having a good time...there was not a single police officer to be seen... Like back at home if you randomly threw a bucket of water over someone you would end up getting an ASBO, or a new shade of eye shadow for sure. Even in the name of celebrating in typical English fashion people still end up brawling over nothing...not in Thailand...if you squirt a random you are greeted with a big smile, a squirt back, a comment along the lines of "where are you from?" " Welcome to Thailand" "Happy new years," "Thank you for celebrating with us" or even offered to share a beer with them before continuing the carnage of the water fight... I can be quite cynical about how other countries do things, but I think for the first time during travels me and Adam have both agreed..."England could learn a lot by this," - which, is true,

Despite the craziness of the water fight, the whole festival has a lot of symbolism behind it, not only does it bring the family and the community together but the water represents a cleansing the spirit, wiping away all bad things from the previous year and creating a fresh start...I guess a bit like a rebirth...however it just has something a little more special about it than simply counting down the seconds to hear an over sized bell chime twelve times and waking up with a soar head from one too many gin cocktails ;-)



Everyone has their own story...




A case study from Tan Passakornnatee, the former managing director of Oishi Group, illustrates the point. He was born in a poor family and had to stop studying to work at age of seventeen. At first, he worked as a laborer then as a bookseller before he started a business; surprisingly, he had done business in various fields such as coffee shop, gift shop, and beauty salon. Consequently, he had a lot of invaluable experience which illuminated an idea of investing in Japanese restaurant market in Thailand and made it into reality without any problems. At that time in Thailand, investing in Japanese restaurant market was considered as high-risk because of public sentiment toward Japanese restaurants as extravagant. Despite the risk, Tan Passakornatee, however, managed to prosper as he made Thai people feel familiar with Japanese food by Oishi green tea which is new and affordable, and built a strong connection with the media. Nowadays, Oishi Group has become well-known to all Thais regardless of sex and age, and without doubt Tan Passakornnatee is recognized as one of the richest people of Thailand....shame me and Adam didn't recognise this MILLIONARE! ...

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Tropical Paradise...


So this post was meant to go along the lines of "omg thailand is amazing, a pure paradise on earth, I mean look at this sexy photo i've just taken from my camera... this was meant to be a post that makes you all jealous of my easy life at the miunte, a blog update that would make you write on my wall "I wish I was there"...but as I say...it was meant to be that...what it is infact is a jolly update to inform you all of how fun it is to be stuck in one place...I received a email from sta travel today...let me just copy some of the best bits for you guys...

The Foreign Office have updated their travel advice for Thailand in relation to storms and heavy rainfall along the southern coast and now advise against all but essential travel

Storms and heavy rainfall have caused flooding and damage along the southern coast of Thailand. Affected provinces include Krabi, Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Surat Thani (including the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao), Phattalung, Chumphon, Trang and Satun. Electricity and communications are currently disrupted across the region and there is a continued risk of mudslides and flash flooding in these areas

British Nationals on these islands should consider leaving if it is safe to do so.

Please be aware that travel insurance may not be valid if you visit an area that the Foreign Office advise against travel to.

Great banter hey? - well I won't get ahead of myslef though, im in Phuket still however the place we were meant to be traveling to (Krabi) is one of the severly affected areas and the weather forecast for the next 10 days is the same pissign thunder storms... me and Adam have basically got little option at the minute but to sit tight and see if anything clears up, This is a large section of Thailand that has been afected so its not just as simple as moving onto the next city...I guess we might have to start heading north again and see if we can get to a full moon party at a later date than what we had originally planned...So hopefully in a few months time I will be able to update you with beautiful pictures instead of scense of torrential rain!

Phuket takes it to another level!
So basically if we thought that Bangkok was crazily forward and an eye opener, wow we werent prepared for Phuket, LADYBOYS are everywhere trying to pull you off the streets "hello darling, we the same, but different"..."We like lions and tigers, different but same"...F**K OFF!!! however in and amongst the many lady boys there are 'genuine' hookers(I say it like it was a relief to see them!) however they are even more scary...the best line I have heard being thrown at me whilst I casually tried drinking a beer was "I like you, you hansome, I want your baby in me"...errr please stay away from me! - however this kind of chat does work! - and again you see endless amounts of western men lapping it up.

The best quote from a western man was when he had finished his meal on a table next to where we were sitting, the waiter gave him some banter saying he was a big man...he goes "The bigger you are, the richer you are...that is why you are skinny" - ignorant P***k!

Hopefully the sun will come out soon and the beaches will be filled with sun kissed bodys and I can lounge the days away drinking beer and getting massages on the beach (no fears of happy endings being thrown in when your on a becah...I think? )And when this happens, my posts will start reflecting on what a beautiful paradise this country can offer.

7months on the road now!

xxxxxxx

Monday, 28 March 2011

"The industry that caters for these men-acting-like-boys is a diverse social phenomenon"

So two guesses what this blog post is going to be about? - The Lonely planet guide book describes certain areas of Bangkoks nightlife with the description provided above...wow can certain things really open your eyes. (it's ok mum, I am no where near closer to bringing ting tong home for a marriage),
However the first bit of this blog will explore what mine and Adams poor eyes have had to endure over the last week...

I guess when people go to Amsterdam there is a fascination and a must see feeling to head towards to the red light district, I guess maybe due to the whole feeling of "this would never happen at home" you become lured to see how some women,men, he/she's go about making a bit of money.

In Bangkok you are bombarded by street punters trying to sell what they call "ping pong shows," - something that me and adam and many other people from our hostels wanted to go and see out of curiosity...so before we knew it on a dark evening last week a group of us (I must add there was equally as many girls withus as there were lads) to help reduce the seedyness, however what we witnessed is simply mind bogglingly disturbing, a show of different "talents" shall we say that certain 'women' in bangkok possess...these range from erm shooting ping pong balls out of their lady parts, blowing whistles, shooting darts, pulling razor blades, flowers, birds, fish, writing messages and smoking cigarettes. I must admit, it wasn't as exciting as it sounds, the constant dribbling of middle aged western men drooling over these women, makes it hard to think that these girls enjoy what they do...however I am not naieve enough to think that one protest will bring this industry crashing down, so instead of winging about the outrageous demeaning manner these girls are treated with, I guess I have to fall back on the old saying "when in rome", and just accept that there is a booming industry for these pretty disturbing shows...

Wanting to delve deeper into this really random culture they have out here, we, as a hostel group of people headed for an area of Bangkok, known as "nannas Plaza; a 3 storied "shopping mall" of prostitutes, so basically a smaller version of say like meadowhall where you can go and sample all breeds of life. Again a massive eye opener, mainly due to the equally large population of middle aged over weight western men who actually believe that these girls will fall madly in love with them and their disgustingly seedy manners. - It is a pretty repulsive and equally depressing realisation that these women are working in a very dark world, fueled by what are probably very respectable western men if they were in their own environment back at home.

Shakespeare must have been a backpacker.

So I guess we all know it, the famous scene in Mcbeth where the witches are making their disgusting cauldren of potion...the whole "bubble bubble, toil and trouble" - well I now think that Shakespeare was actually just describing what his stomach felt like after eating lots of thai street food, - either that or my stomach feels like what I imagined this cauldren to have tasted like. The vast majority of food in Thailand comes from street vendors who sell a range of all types of food, I must add that I absolutley love thai food and I have fully thrown myself into eating food form these street vendors...however, stagnant chicken that has flies buzzing around it and sitting in a humid high 30's temperature is not a recipie for a happy tummy. Now the food I have tried out here has been exceptional, I can't explain the explosion of different taste you get for a disgustingly cheap price, however after being back on the proepr backpacker trail for less than a week, I can happily admit that I once again have a very tempromental stomach. Thank god for Imodium!

So we have now left Bangkok as well, currently living it up in a pretty swanky twin bed hotel room for less than 6quid a night in Phukett. However what we failed to realise is that obviously its the monsoon season at the minute, so after a 24 hour long ridiculous bus jouirney from bangkok we are now here chilling in a massive electrical storm...good one!.

However the next few weeks should deliver plent of beautiful beaches, island hopping, scuba diving and plenty of drinking!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Hewwoah weecomme to thaywand

Bangkok craziness
So we have arrived, finally, we are in Bangkok and my god is this place something a little bit "Special"

After leaving (L)adelaide with an emotional goodbye with Natalie, and Kathleen, at stupid o clock in the morning on Monday 21st, we finally arrived in Thailand at around Midnight, this was not before getting an announcment in Adelaide airport saying the following "Would passengers Andrew Meadowcroft and Adam Mcleish please make their way to the nearest desk"...this announcement being made over the main speakers just as I had sat down on the toilet to go about my morning business...a little bit flustered we made our way to the nearest desk...excited that maybe we had been upgraded? - or even worse that Adam maybe had become a secret drug dealer and his stash had been discovered in our bags?...nah nothing that exciting jus thte airport staff wanting to see if we wanted our bags to be exchanged directly at Sydney onto the Bangkok flight...pretty dull ending.

So bangkok it is, thinking as it being our first day, we should just go for a gentle wander to see what our surrondings are , and to get a cheeky barings of this over populated crowded city...no soon had we left the hostel, are we being bundled in to a tuck tuck and taken on a crazy misison around Bangkok, what we thought was a nice man helping us turned out to be what in bangkok is a tourist scam where everyone is in on it at a different level. Basically your taxi driver (or tuck tuck - like a bike with a cart on the back) offeres to drive you to the place you want to, whilst showing you a few cheeky little things here and there, all being offered at a stupidly low price...however the reality is that you are taken to all the places and businesses that obviously give him a commission on any purchases made, this ranging from Suit shops, Restaurants, Tourist agencies and Boat companies, So our day turned out to firstly being shown what suits we could get made for us in Cashmere for 40quid...think I might have to go back, then we were bundeled into a tourist agency who wanted to book us a 40 day trip around Thailand including a lot of things that we want to do whilst here but the reality being that the joy of backpacking is being able to be flexible and chnge your plans, not have a rigid schedule which you have had to pay a large lump up front. After this we were taken to a place on the river for a Boat ride...again bundled into a random boat, of which I have no idea how it is still floating, we were whisked up and down this river for no reason really apart from to see Bangkok from the river...being harrassed by women selling things on small boats, me and adam were convinced to buy some beers and our journey continued, all whilst our tuck tuck driver is sat waiting for us to come back.

Catching onto this little money maker the driver was getting, we asked to be taken back to our Hostel...and all of a sudden his english understanding died...he was desperate to take us to a massage parlour where you can go "bump bump, all very good, full package 2 hours"...we quickly declined and eventually managed to get across we wanted to be dropped off back at the start from where he picked us up... So that is the start of our South East Asian adventure, if this was only the first day, it excites me to think what will happen in the coming weeks.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Lets pick up from where we left off...

It’s been a while!

Hello people! – so this has now been a long time coming, after blogging frequently throughout South America (which now feels an absolute life time since I was there!) I am about to embark on the next adventure which will begin at the end of March.

So why did I stop blogging once I arrived in Australia? – Well basically because my priorities changed dramatically, I was meant to be in Australia to be working so that I could top up the funds before heading off to Asia. Further on from this, unlike South America, Australia is very much like the world we already know, apart from beautiful coastlines and beaches and sun kissed ladies. This makes very uninteresting reading as everything is exactly the same. Also Australia has pretty good internet availability so I have been speaking to a lot of you guys on a regular basis as it is.

I am currently working in an Irish bar as a barman, and loving every second of it, the 16quid a hour makes it a lot better paid than most graduate jobs back in the UK, and it will be hard to leave. Despite this however, we are cutting our ties with Australia short and we will be heading out to Asia at the end of this month. Back to the proper traveller trail, and moving around places on a frequent basis...this means...oh yes! More long bus journeys! Disgusting toilets in countries with poor sewage systems, Back on the anti malarial tablets, eating street food and wrestling lady boys...the perfect mix of a true backpacker!

However before this adventure begins our fun in Adelaide is not over! – A week on Monday (14th) we are going to rip it up at a stinkingly big music festival, with a headlining act of the chemical brothers which should prove to be an amazing day!

Its going to be an emotional one to leave Adelaide, despite not being the most exciting city in Australia, we have been incredibly fortunate to have been living with two Australian girls who we met in Peru who have very kindly been putting us up, a favour that will oneday be returned if they ever venture over to the UK.

Lonely planet bought!
So in a previous post a long time ago, (can you believe i’ve been on the road for 6 months now, with a maximum of 4 months left!) I mentioned that you are stupid if you ever buy a lonely planet guide book, as it kinda does all the hard work for you , and it only creates expectations of places, however I must confess, me and Adam have invested in one of these bibles for travellers for Asia, only because we plan to be in Asia for 3 and a half months, and the names of places are more confusing than watching Australian “comedy”..(we saw a stand up comedian called Sam Simmons, who’s idea of comedy was to smash old el paso taco’s against his chest in some strange sexual manner.)

Therefore we plan to do a route that will take us all through Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. We watched the Beach the other night, the strange film with Leo’ d’banterio and so we aim to get to this beach/island as well so keep an eye out for the photos in the coming months!,

However Asia is Cheap, so we can’t wait to spend time exploring this clutter of countries that have a totally different culture than I would have ever experienced, oh and I can’t wait to smash thai food on a regular basis .mmmmmmmmmm!

I hope you guys will start following me again on this, the next months will fly by and i’ll be back before you know it! Spending xmas, new years and my birthday in Australia has meant I have defiantly missed a lot of celebrations with you guys that I can’t wait to make up for when I’m back...

The adventure starts on teh 21st of March.

xxxx

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Hello people!

once again a cheeky little update for any of you who are still following this long narrative drivel!

so basically we have now been in new Zealand for nearly 3 weeks and Australia is peeking its head above the horizon! - we are pretty pumped for the land of oz and we have got a wicked few months lined up already! - we are both actually looking forward to the prospect of working and earning a little bit of cash, NZ is unbelivably unforgiving on the bank account!

Broken Ipod-
My ipod has broke, im actually gutted, the thought of 7 months still with no music other than adams collection of chick flick sound tracks is pretty depressing. - hopefully I can get something from the insurance company but obviously not able to upload anything..sad times!

Queenstown! - so we made it, speaking to any other backpackers along the way, the one thing they awlays rave about in NZ is Q'town, renowned for its lively atmosphere, stunning scenary, adrenaline pumping activitives and wild night life...oh and home to probably the best burger shop on the planet..FURBURGER (in ferg we trust!)

Bar Crawl - for those of you who might not have seen a wall post on my facebook from adam, we decided to go on a massive 10 hole bar crawl, with other 100 other backpackers, we thought it would be a great way to meet some other travelers, get shit faced and expand out social labidos! - however, things didint quite go to plan...3 bars in me and adam parted ways after a petty argument over him ordereing jager straight then me ordering a beer and him telling me to calm down...shit bant but when we were drunk it was intense...this led us to sit in a bar not talking to each other and most importantly making ourselves look like absolute social rejects and not getting involved in the whole bar crawl banter...this led adam to leave whilst I was in the toilet and he went off on a drunken expodition which resulted in him waking up next to a king size snickers and an empty chicken sandwich wrapper.

So on the flip side my story took me to a kebab store, and shouting random insults at fellow room mates in the hostel (we booked a night in a hostel for a shower!) oh yea and adam fell out of his bed whilst trying to get to the top bunk...not a very successful night but proved funny in the morning!

NZ radio- best quote heard on the no nonsence broadcasting that is nz radio was this comment about the scotish rugby team following their loss to the all blacks "lets face it mate...there all a bunch of wankers! great chat!

second attempt of a night out...better results?
well we got smashed...actually made it past midnight and oh still ended up going different ways, however this time just in drunken disorientation and we soon randomly met again outside old ferg where I ordered a heart attack between 2 slices of bread...not to worry a cheeky chunder sorted that problem out...

credit card rejection...keeps happening, i had the humiliation of having to put back a bottle of coke a sarni and a pakcet of crisps today as my card rejected again! - forgot that it was the wekeend and money doesnt transfer quickly onto my c,card! - good one!

So tomorrow we have stupidly signed up to do the Nevis 134m bunjee jump and white water rafting, hopefully there should be a good photo or two but our hearts are definatly racing for this one! - stories to follow soon!

11 weeks in!!!

Monday, 15 November 2010

A new day a new country and a new continenet!

Hello people! Greetings from new Zealand!- so we made it...finally, nothing could be simpler than going to an airport and getting on your plane to your next destination...well throw in a 13 hour flight delay, check in staff who don't know about the delay and being forced to stay in  santiago in a swanky hotel for an extra night, and you will realise how much of a farce we actuall had getting here, courtersy of the airline we felt the need to indulge in ransaking the mini bar in the room, but failing to declare it as we feel the airline should have to pay!

Time warp, 
In south America we were always between 3-6 hours behind the uk, but all of a sudden we are now 13 hours ahead of you guys, all pretty disorientating and my body clock is hammered!

Fail of an ATM
So in chile I tried taking some money out of a cash machine...didn't work, didn't think much of it till I checked my online statement...good one they took £140 from my account thinking the transaction went through! What's even better my international travelers cash card...you know designed for use abbroad, the customer help line is only open 9-5 uk time! Good one! So I'm basically in an ongoing argument through emails getting them to give me my money back!

Small world syndrome
So walkin down the main high street in auckland you don't expect to see anyone you know, maybe at a push other travelers who are following a similar route...deinatley don't expect to bump into someone you used to go to secondary school with! Pretty surreal to be honest but cool to catch up!

Auckland needs clubs!
Now we have been reassured that Auckland does have night clubs...but all me and Adam can say is "Where the f**k are they" lots of pretty swanky smart bars but no clubs! We gave up in the end and called it an earl night...probably for the best considering pints are like £4.50 each

Las Vegas! So some how in our quest for a club we found our selves in the biggest casino I have ever seen, without even knowing it was a casino at first...traveling on a budget this was probably a bad idea, either way after 15minutes I walked away with $200nzd about £100 and a smile on my face...every litle helps!

Irish bars everywhere
After 8 weeks of looking, 8 weeks of constant disapoonent, 8 weeks of foul mouthed insults towards pretend Irish bars we have fianally had a pint of guinness, even if it did cost £4.50 a pint! I've never seen Adam smile so much!

Auckland is a pretty cool city, full of large corporations and shops you would recognise from home and incredibly diverse! A great starting point for us!

So basically we pick up our campervan tomorrow for the next 3 weeks! So I will be pretty uncontactable, if I haven't already got you then add me on skype, now I'm in a more developed par of the world, if anyone is missing my voice I'll happily arrange a chin wag! Tara for now! Xxxx


So that would have been the latest post for last week, if I could have actually managed to upload it, so here is the next bit cottoned on to the bottom!

Happy campers!
So someone still thinks that it was a good idea to let me and Adam loose in this pimp wagon! What can only be described as a converted decorators van we are letting loose on kiwi roads!

After initial glitches in working out how to use the stove and locating other essentials we are now cruising happily finding random seedy car parks to set up camp each night.

Hot water beach
So mine and Adams motto for this
Campervan banter is "go somewhere see what the fuss is about, and fuck off!" that's exactly what we are doing, firstly a beach that is located on top of volcanic springs, so when the tide goes out you dig a pool and it fills up with boiling hot water! Great bant but the novelty soon wears off!

Mario karting!
Next stop was rotoura where they have something called luging, basically an unpowered go kart down steep mountain tracks! Great fun even if Adam did beat me 3-2 but I spanked him the last time...his excuse a slow luge...bore off!

Rememberance day,
11th November, traditionally the day to pay respects to fallen soldiers in previous conflicts, however this date will always remind me of a small town on a very big lake called taupo. Why? Because if you haven't already seen my facebook pictures and video, this is the palce me and Adam thought I would be a good idea to jump out of a plane at 15000ft! An unbelievably unforgettable experience and something I'm so buzzed at for doing! Everyone should do one! A heart stopping thrill I am desperate to do again! Shame it cost £250! 

Road kill-everywhere! Enough said

Wellington-capital of nz-pretty dull place nothing really exciting here apart from the endless amount of "gentlemans clubs" but this is where you get to south island from...just another £75 each!

Victim of corporate bullying, now why is it you can't walk into a weatherspoons and not order a burger and a pint for a fiver, or walk into a burger king an not order a whopper or a mcdonalds without asking for a bi mac? It's hypnotic corporate bullying that is getting the better of me now and I'm going to complain, I don't actually think burger king have anything else on the menu besides the whopper? But the point is that after eatin so much crap badly cooked food in south America it's like being in heaven over here not having to run to a toilet at short notice on a refualr basis, and whilst now living on tinned soups I did have a relapse of eating shit in Auckland.

Less than a week in the van and we have already picked up a parking ticket-wuuu

In bed by 8pm-so what's the greatest thing about having nothing but the open road at your hands? The beautiful scenary? The endless amounts of places you can stop at or the apriciation of
Blaring out some banging tunes and bellowing them out?...nope none of these it is in fact, we are tending to be wrapped up in bed most nights around 8pm- there is f**k all to do when it goes dark and we are in some random lay by lane-great bant!

Random carpark attracts random guests! Whilst parked up in another conspicuous carpark in Wellington, rewarding ourselves with a well deserved crate of lager, there was a strange/depressed looking guy hurled over a bench supping something from a brown bag...paying not a great amount of attention to him I made the passing comment to Adam that he had probably just broken up with someone and contemplating killing himself, and no matter what we should not attract his attention...wise words? Well as the beer took it's toll on our bladders it was only a matter of time till we needed to leave the van...Adam first , I say "do not bring him back"...2 minutes later we have a slightly psycotic middle aged guy in the camper with us...further more he is from sunny Doncaster, and further more just going through a messy divorce contemplating a few life decisions...good one! Putting up with him for a while I soon made an obrupt comment how I was going to have an early night...after initial refusal to leave the van we managed to shake him off...cheers Adam for your new found friend!!!!

Random quote on a random campervan we passed "why does the rain drop but snow falls?" -just the crazy world we live in!

Fran josef glacier-big glacier pretty cool but the non stop rain put a dampner on this one- problem resolved with 40degrees glacier hot springs...just what we needed considering we hadn't showered for 4 days and I had ran out of clean boxers 4 days ago...all fixed by a random garage on thestreet with washers in...love this trampy life!

Well that's the last 2 weeks guys! Been out here for 10 weeks now only 7 and a half months left! Missing everyone greatly! Xxxx
     

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The final chat of south America.

So guys this is it, the end of the first chapter of our world adventure, the first 8 weeks tallyed off, pumped up for nz!

My last post took us upto getting back to la Paz, well it was an interesting few days there, everyone seemed to follow us from Loki in cusco and before we knew it we were up dancing on the bars again! Although this time there was no 7shot challenge, just the familiar shouts of "bloodbomb!!!" to get us going!

Salt flats
Sharing a room with possibly the most arrogant guy on the planet, he began to grief me and Adam that he was actually doing stuff whilst me and Adam were drinking and sleeping, however as I promptly reminded him we were socialising whilst the nicest thing people could say about him was that he was a prick! 
But anyway not taking inspiration from him, we did however book the 3 day salt flat tour from uyuni, I'm sure many of you have seen the photos from this place before but now it was our turn, leaving quite late at night we had been forwarned about the last 6 hours of unmade gravel road and how it's imposible to sleep...that is until andy meadowcroft walked into a pharmasist and did the sleeping action with my hands an head...what's that they just gave me some random tablets...good one, wikipedia even informed me that these tablets are illegal to posess in most European countires without a prescription, either way I slept like a baby that had been gently rocked to sleep, Adam however refusing to take these chill pills, didn't sleep and was feeling rough!

The first day of the tour with our amazing non English quide! Took us onto the salt flats themselves where it is just simply incredible the sheer vastness of them. Just endless flat White salt plains where beyond the horizon is just more salt. Naturally everyone tries taking the distorted photos between the foregroud and the background,( there a lot harder than you think to do) but we had some fun and eventually found ourselves at a hostel for the night that was made out of...yes you guessed it...salt! 

The second day took us to higher altitudes amougst the volcanic regions, seeing endless blue and red lagoons all swarming with wild flamingos, pretty cool to see, although the smell of the sulpher from the volcanic springs was almost as unbarable as the smells that leak from Adam!

Staying at an altitude of 4900ms the final night was a struggle. Getting hot and cold flushes, stomach cramps and a racing heart was not what I had signed up for, I had a resting heart beat of 120bpm! Altitude sickness? No...just another dose of Andean food poisioning! Fortunately I wasn't in it alone, the two Ozzie lasses got hit pretty hard, waking up for half 4 had never felt such a tourture. 

The final day was meant for seeing hot geizas and being rewarded with natural hit springs and watching the sun rise, unfortunately the only hot spring I felt was what was coming from my insides! Not nice and I didn't leave the jeep until we got to our drop off point on the chillean boarder!

24 hour bus ride...easy, arriving in San pedro in northern chile we eventually managed to book a bus from here to Santiago in preperation for out departure, just another 24 hour bus ride...simples

Santiago! Probably the least south American place we have been to, a real modern high class place, very few stray dog, clean streets, qwerky shops and bars, expensive! Everything south America hasn't been in places! We've got a nice hostel in the middle of the drinking district, kind of what eccy road is to sheff but a lot nicer. Me and Adam found ourselves smashing 720ml bottles of corona in a random Mexican bar.

South America reflection
So here it is guys the last 8 weeks have flown...so for budding people what is my summary message
•worst quote heard "I never met many brazilians before I came to south America"-some random Ozzie guy-idiot!
•food poisioning is fun- Andean food isn't a delicacy just basic stuff that ruins you
•iguazu falls still remains one of the coolest natural things I have ever seen
•the death road is not that scary
•the inca trail is one of my greatest achievements
•rich southners who travel are arse holes
•south America will always be about the people we have met rather than the things we saw
•the 7 shot challenge will never be beat and a part of me is left in cusco!
•my Spanish has grown beautifully to the point I can count to 100, ask for the bill, the time, how much something costs, order beer and speak shit when I'm drunk.
•me and Adam have been labelled the cool version of dick and Dom, and have met some amazing people, 
•not being allowed to flush your toilet roll is rubbish and we welcome the advanced sewer systems of Australasia!
•lopez mendez on Ilah grande will always remain the best hidden gem discovered by talking to other travelers.
•the lonely planet quides are for people scared of nto knowing what to expect and only ruin the eye opening experience.
•finally, me and Adam have made it from brazil, through Argentina, Bolivia Peru and found our way into chile- pretty impressed with ourselves and welcome the next challenge! 

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Teaching English croft
Our hostel has a programme with a local community, which involves volenteers from the Loki to spend an afternoon teaching English to kids aged between 3-15! Somehow me an Adam got persuaded into doing this! Walking upto the school we encountered a poo dog that had been savagly be-headed and left to rot, pretty sick and it made us think what were we letting ourselves into!

Further more whilst discussing what the lesson plan was, we decided as a group to teach emotions and feelings to the kids. This meant words like angry happy sad etc, followed with demonstrating why the expressions are to these. Our leader, an Israeli guy said we should teach them the word "fighting" well it was like he had just killed someone by the reaction he go from 3 American girls, they went barmy at the thought, saying this was outrageous and we can't encourage fighting...ok so within 5 minutes of sitting down with my 2 kids both aged 11, I asked if I could flick through their note pads...only to disover a double page spread of beautifully drawn guns and rockets! -loved seeing their faces...this is south America you silly cotton wool wrapped new yorkers, open your eyes!

We had some great fun with the kids and they were all so keen to learn...well until I showed them my camera and iPod, I've never seen kids so facinated by things that I don't think twice about, it's sad to think they will probably never be able to afford these items, but they had fun arguing over who could play FIFA on my touch.


Becoming a Loki lad, 
So whilst traveling you visit loads of hostels and meet loads of people, but how do you become a bit of a legacy and leave your mark on a place? Well I think I found the answer in cusco, my name is plastered on thedrinks menu behind the bar as I achieved a record. The 7 shot challange winner! The previous record holder, I've been told was a massive Australian nut head who managed to do the below shots in. 13 seconds. Adam having complete faith in me took one look at that time and went "andy could smash that time"...low and behold I did! Doing all of the below shots in 8 seconds! (s.American shots are 50mls) this basically meant all the bar staff were in disbelief and I earned the rep as a bit of a lad! -should I be proud? Either way for the next 3 nights every tome I would walk in the bar I would hear "and here's the world champ"-legacy left and 3 free t shirts gained!
Pisco
Tequilla
Sambuca
Kahlua
Springbox glider
Baby Guinness 
Jagermeister

Back to la Paz
We have now left cusco behind and now back at the Loki hostel in la Paz, waiting for our new Ozzie mates to come and join us were going to head off to do the Bolivian salt flats with them in the coming week, something I really can't wait to do!

Alpaccacroft!
So the fashion of backpackers in andean south America is to wear clothes made from llamas and alpaccas, hoodys, socks, hats etc. No doubt me and Adam have jumped on this band wagon- I'm sure you all hav seen those wooly hats that have the big ear flaps, well the cost less than £2 here so I am starting a fine collection as well as a number o hoodies, don't really know why considering Australia will be so hot! Either way they are pretty cool!

I hear the weather is cold and shit in the uk! Just to soften the blow, it is the rainy season here, but still delightfully warm ;-)

Monday, 11 October 2010

Paddington returns to Cusco!
What an absolutley amazing city, this place is incredible, we thought la paz was steep, well we managed to pick a hostel right at the top of the city, on the plus side its the nicest place we have stayed an for a fiver a night, its worth being left breathless every time we try to get back.!

Some girls have no dignity!
So sharing a 13 bedroom dorm we were woken up at 6 in rhe morning by an american lad and an english girl getting jiggy for us all to see and hear, her words were no lie, "when in rome"

Full body massage!
This seems to be the big thing in cusco, very attractive women offering massages. After meeting 2 danish lads on the bus upto cusco, we have spent the day wanderig around. Initially settling our appitites at the very cultural mcdonalds, wr decided it would be rude not to get a full massage done, especially as it only cost £4. The madsage was heavenly, but the 4 girls giving them seemed to have fallen in love with us all. Wanting photos of us after, and also wanting to takr us all to a "disco" later on. Oh peru!

No alcohol-its elections!
Apparently there are some big elections going on in cusco or peru, which means what?...oh yea no where is allowed to sell beverages, good one! Our hostel has a massive halls of residence feel to it, most of the people are from an english speaking country and so the hostel bar has been serving shots of rum to keep people happy for free.

Dancing on the bar!
So our hostel finally went into full swing and the bar came alive, me and Adam partying hard...again?! But this time by leading the crowd in dancing on the bar, pretty cringe now were sober and feeling rough but it was definatly something to witness. The bar was rammed and me and Adam didn't think we would get to know that many people, howeve by th end of the night w coulnt beleive how many people we had chatted with. This place is like freshers week over and over.

Traditional Bolivian drink, 
After a final meal in la Paz with the swedes the Waite brought out some "free drinks"/shots 3 of which looked ok, but one was under a tea towel...revealed as a jar with a dead snake in, pickled in some liqiour. Me and Adam necked a shot of this rather random shot and probably won't try it again!

Inccccaaaaaaa trail!
Alive to tell the story, although my knees may well be looking to get replaced soon. Possibly the hardest most. Physically challanging thing I have ever done. So what happened?

Day one- sad to be leaving the Loki hostel after a great time we rocked up at the outlined hotel for our breifing and first taste of luxuary for a while, filling our bag with snacks we were good to go!

Sacred valley- the first proper day of our tour was just around the inca sacred valley, visiting old inca settlements, understading how they worked and seeing for the first time the incredible way they used to farm the hillsides, and shape their settlements in the shapes of creatures sacred o them, or example cusco is built in the shape of a puma.

First day of the actual hike, a nice 11km walk to warm us up for what the trail is like in blistering heat was nice, fortunatly walkig along the mountain valleys the walk wasn't over strenuous, however me and Adam have been labbeled as gay by both the guides and two of the canadians on our tour, being told we bikker more than a married couple.

Shit head,
You might have heard of this card game, well w were playing it on the campsite with about half of the group all joining in, to make it more interesting we introduced a few forfits for the loser ( which turned out to be me) so there I was being made to run around the campsite shouting "I'm a happy shit head" 

Food poisoning, 
First night on the trail poor Adam and 3 other guys got struck with a bad case of sickness and the D word that comes out the other end ;-) sure Adam won't appriciate me saying this on here, but every hour he was up decorating the camp site, with his new found chunder buddies,

Up at 5am day 2
So our slave driving guide woke us all up at 5am so that we could conquor the hardest part of the inca trail. Known as the 'dead womans pass' this is located at 4215m above sea level, and it was basically the biggest bitch to climb ever, on uneven steep stairs you are constantly breathless over a space of 6 hours. Adam have not slept and feeling pretty weak, battled on hard inspired by poor renditions of the rocky soundtrack by many of us.

Gringa killing stairs, so after smashing the dead womans pass, team morale had not been higher! However this was only 2/3rds of the way to the end...all down hill to the camp site sound good? Well yea except you decend 800ms over 4kms so the stairs down were unbelievably steep and have smashed
my knees to pieces.

Shit head Adams forfit, 
The feeling of getting to camp on the second day of the trail was simpy incredible. Being able to lay down in our tents and chill was simply bliss, however after some lunch we re racked te cards fi another round of shit head, however this time the forit wad to get woken up at 4.30am and go round each tent offering people cups of tea...uh and Adam lost! But somehow he didint end up doing this!

Coca tea- so Bolivia and Peru love their coca leaves...the basic raw ingredient of cocaine not your dairy milk bars;-) these guys have it with every meal as if it's nothing, pretty surreal at the check in at the hotel we were given a cup each. Now it's meant to help with digestion and help combat altitude sickness, as it's not refined down into cocaine it's not the same (so mum I've not been doing drugs) to be honest after trying a cup of it, we don't understand what the fuss is about, just another cup of boring tea needing a hob nob dunking into to make barable. However everyone else in our group is smashing the cups of it, pass and move on I think. Further on from this it takes 150kgs of coca leaves to produce a gram of cocaine so I don't think we are in danger of addiction, side effects.

Day three of the hike 16kms
Waking up to pouring rain and the image of a big f**k off mountain that needed climbing was not the best thing ever, especially ad once again we got woken up at 5am! However the third day was actually the best despite being the longest, a lot nicer trails and a mi of up down and flat meant the day flew by, being back in camp before we knew it there was a bar and hot showers! Also machu pichu mountain was on the horizon!

Mountain penis! 
So the Andean people in there native ketuchua langauge love laughing at tourists, why? Well we all seem to prounounce the lost inca city machi pi-chu which translates to mountain penis, the actual way of saying it is machu pict-chu so our guides had fun with that one!

Day 4 3am wake up
6km left till we got to MP which was a nice flat and down hill decend, only problem was that it hammered it down! Walking at that stupid hour in that weather was about as funny as one of Adams jokes! However, reaching the sun gate (cloud gate) we could finally just about see the reward of this trip. There it was, machu pichu ready to be explored, an amazing place that is pretty bewildering. 
Eventually the clouds cleared and the standard photos were taken overlooking the place.

Crazy school girls
On thr trail there wad a school trip of secondary school girls that followed us for a couple of days, wanting to practice their English with us, all good until we got to mp and they found us, I think me and Adam have broke a lot of hearts as they swomped us, desperate to get photos of us in groups and individually, it was pretty cringe especially looking at the pouts they were all pulling. Far too young!!

Guinnea pig
A national Andean dish is guinea pig, and the last time I saw one was in the pet section of Harrods looking pretty cute, however when they are deep fried whole and served with chips, they takr on a whole new persona, not trying one myself 4 people in our group had one and yea I don't think I will be.

So that's the last week and a half guys, were staying in cusco for a while so the next update will prob be in a couple of weeks time, I've got a shed loads of photos from Argentina Bolivia and Peru to put up, hopefully in the coming days. Hope everyone is well back at home it's been a crazy 5 weeks so far! Xxxx

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Hello people, so before i dive into the latest update i've stumbled across a few quotes which, i really think describe the situations me and adam have been in and how good we are feeling at the minute. So i'd like to share these with you.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

"The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes: sight-seeing."

"Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things - air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky - all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it."

"When you travel, you experience, in a very practical way, the act of rebirth. You confront completely new situations, the day passes more slowly, and on most journeys you don't even understand the language the people speak. So you are like a child just out of the womb. You begin to attach much more importance to the things around you because your survival depends upon them. You begin to be more accessible to others because they may be able to help you in different situations. At the same time, since all things are new, you see only the beauty in them, and you feel happy to be alive."

And now what we have been upto....

New stamp in the passport!
So we made it to La Paz in bolivia! But what a journey it has been to get here from Buenos Aires. 

Burying children alive!
So before getting to bolivia we spent a couple of days in a town called Salta, situated in northern argentina. A town famed for the discovery of 3 500year old preserved inca children who were offered as a sacrifice to the "sacred mountains" they are kept on show in a museum. A sight that was pretty disturbing, what was worse was that these children were buried alive and it is inca belief that they did not die but are simply sleeping. Apparently it was a great honour to be offered to the mountais.-bag of s**t if you ask me, i'd rather not take part- its worth google image searchimg "the lightning girl salta" to really see what im on about.

Drunk on £6?
So embracing this new found argentinian party spirit, me and adam had a massive night out in salta-managing to get a bottle of vodka orange juice redbull and some chips for less than 3 quid each...this was going to be messy! Heading into the main strip of salta we generally cant remember that much, all i know is my reggaton salsa dancing was simply amazing compared with buenos aires!

Super sweeds
So in salta we were sharing a room with 2 sweedish lasses who seemeed to be on our wavelength, they have become our new travel buddies and have joined us on our journey up to la paz.- not to mention one of them can speak spanish which, has been a god send!  

Being famous. 
So i've never really thought i'm the kind of guy that sticks out in a crowd, however me and adam now know what it feels like to be a 'gringa' honestly, in salta and in bolivia we just get stared at, its so strange but as they cant speak english we can give them some bant too. Either way i cant decide if people are just curious and a bit shy, or if they just generally dont like us.

Bolivia is cheap
Hostels for £2 a night
Meals in restaurants for less than £4
Litres of beer for £1
Cakes and coffee for less than 30p
Taxis for pence

Stray dogs
Everywhere you look in south america there are just stray dogs roaming the streets, probably filled with rabis, either way get them rounded up and shot!

Hot shower
What i wouldnt give to have a hot shower right now, its probably not worth contemplating, bolivians dont seem to believe in a nice hot shower-retards!

Good buildings
So when i was in inguacu i got talking to kiwi guy wjo warned me about bolivia, one thing by saying that, everything is broken they dont have any good carpenters or electricians, thinking he was exagerating i got a quick reality slap. The remote villages we hav stayed in are simply ridiculous, i'd argue going on thrid world. Things are broken and glued together. The buildings all look like a 2 yea old had a temper tantrum wjilst trying to buol a lego house.

"thats made me feel sick"
So we stayed in one place on the boarder between argentina and bolivia, a extremly poor place where the roads were all gravel and dust, people living in essentially slums. However the thing that really made me wretch was seeing little children just bending down in the streets going to the toilet.-i mean if i did that in england i would get charged £80 

First class train travel
So a 15 hour train ride, first class for less than 20quid sounds a good deal? Yea we thought so too, however first class in bolivia is probably about as luxurious as a weekend in skeg-vegas. This train was a nightmare- ive been on smoother roller coasters, all i could imagine was how bad was standard class!!

Oruro has hot springs!
So before getting to la paz we stopped in a town called Oruro, to break the journey up and to see what there was. Our new found swedish friends have brought the bible with them (the lonely planet guides) and informed us that there were some natural hot springs in the mountains that we should go to, getting lost in our imaginations we all thought these would be pretty "lush" and a great way to relax.-again we were wrong, the expression "piss filled swimming pool" was more of the reality. Oh and again 4 white europeans in a swimming pool full of bolivians is like frowing a cat to the dogs. The girls were getting photographed by horny teenagers who have probably never seen a white girl before, further on from that we were just out of our comfort zones...but loved it! Again "when in rome"-or not, it was pretty surreal to be honest.

La paz
So we are now in la paz, spending a few days here before the inca trail kicks off next week in peru. This place on first impressions is simpy phenominal. We are 4000m above sea level and altitude sickness may kick in. The streets are so steep but there seems to be something a little special about this place. Further more you decend into the city from the mountains, something that was pretty spectacular to see.

Death road
So booking to do the bolivian death road on mointain bikes, was more than enough to send goosebumps down our spines, but the reality of it...(goggle image "bolivian death road" if you dont know what this is...)(mum i'm writing this after i have done it so dont worry...i'm alive)- well basically its a 40 mile down hill bike ride on what is classed as the worlds most dangerous road. I'm sure many of you saw the top gear special that was filmed on it.
So how was it? - basically it was the most exilerating, adrenaline pumping thing i have ever done (bunjee jumps and sky dives come in november) whilst also encountering the most breathtaking scenary i have ever seen. 
The first 10kmish was on tar mac starting at an altitude of 4700meters, you get to charge full steam down some steep hair pin filled roads. With nothing more on your mind than "faster faster faster" The actual death road was a different reality, narrow,loose gravel and low visability to start with helped fuel the buzz we were feeling. The guides were cool and kept having regular pi stops to let us know of any terrain changes etc. They also split the group in two groups- the more confident from the lesser, well as me and adam are highly unexperienced in mountain biking, and the steepest road we have probably been on is our street at home, we naturally ended up in the front group setting a respectable pace behind the lead guide. The pictures are on facebook and before we knew it 3 hours had passed and we were supping a nice cold beer at the bottom.

Dangerous or overhyped?
So me and adam sat at the bottom discussing if we actually felt in that much danger? Well no we didint, we both had a iffy moment where we lost  control and veered towards the edge, but nothing herat stopping, that was nothing more than us needing to mak a complete stop. we agreed it wasn't that dangerous and we would love to do it again.

Harsh reality slap, 
The minibus drove us back up the death road to get back to la paz, enabling us to see all the things we had missed, due to concentrating on our routes and cornering on the way down. Wow we really missed some grim reminders of the dangers this road holds if people become too complacent. You cant help but notice the sheer amount of memorials to people who have lost their lifes on this road. Notably there were 3 places that made me think "wow this place is unforgiving" firstly the tour quides showed us where a english guy was getting over confident and shot off a cliff to his death, something our guide witnessed, secondly the site where a girl fell to her death on a foggy day, falling over 100m hitting two cliff ledges only 6 months ago.-again our tour guides helpe recover her body. Finally our minibus pulled over and pointed over a edge that was over 150m sheer drop and said "look theres a car"-a family who plunged to their death only last month, a moving memorial situated in the cliff face above, although initially we thought it had just happened.

Having said this all however, this was an incredible experience and despite the dangers our tour guides were incredible and our safety never felt compromised- definatly one of the coolest things i have ever done!!! 

Llamacroft
So embracing local culture, i have absolutley demolished a lasagne tonight, however made with llama meat- it was delightful!

The quest for guinness
Me and adam both enjoy a cheeky pint of guinness, and after sampling guinness in englad, dublin, ibiza and corfu we are on a mission to try it in south america in a cheeky irish bar. So far brazil didnt deliver, argentina had two irish bars, one in burnos aires and one in salta- however both had no guinness. Finaly in la paz we found another irish bar- however for 50 bolivianos a can (about a fiver) we decided against it-the quest continues!

Showing how we party up'north
Sampling the La Pazian (that work?) night life- we promised our new bff's the sweeds we would show them how me and adam party when we are in sheff. Our dance routines encourporated       leap froggin each other on the dance floor and some strange synced leaning thrusting dance- we had the barmen in stitches- lady gaga never sounded so good! Goodbye to this sambary salsary shiite.

General chat
So my Mobile number basically no longer exists, so if you have text me im not being rude by not replying. Also i am doing all these updates from my ipod as internet access is limited- this is why there are so many typos etc.

Few days in la paz then onto peru people!! Cant believe all that we have seen so far.
Tara for now x x x  

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Tomaty loco! Tomaty loco!

Buenos Aires
Amazing city, great vibe and buzzing atmosphere. A mix of London meets new York feel with a load of chikka chikka espanol frown in for good measure. Definatly reccomend this place, even if it's just to get Dior clothes at a stupidly low price.

On a roof top terrace nations meet.
So our hostel is pretty querky and has a lot of character and it has quite a nice decking on the roof. Whilst drinking last night it dawned on me how incredible traveling is. Sat in a group all drinking there were people from all ends of the planet. I mean realistically when is the next time after this year i will get a chance to sit with Americans, kiwis, Australians, Argentinians, sweedish and brazillian all together sharing beers and stories, pretty much never it was a cool experience.

Mummy says "do not drink too much in south America"
Sorry mum, but last night me and Adam fully embraced the Argentinian culture of how to party, while obviously remaining cautious we are still alive to tell the story, just that old saying "when in Rome"

Private nightclub
So in England that title probably makes you think of a strip club if it's called a private club. But over here they have nightclubs that are essentially private I guess as we have been told a place where the rich kids go. Oh and for some reason me and Adam found ourselves in one of these clubs. Pretty exclusive, one of our room mates knew a girl who knew a girl who knew a secret handshake or something to get us in.  Being told it was pretty expensive due to the clientele we got in for free and beer was only 10 pasos equiv of about £1.50 we soon realized we were wealthy westerners in terms of that being a bargain to us!
Soaking up the pure sound of Argentinian salsa/rumba/regge influenced music we soon got approached by some chikka's being told that were obvous "gringos" probably because of the way we were dancing. -that bad?

The girls told us that unless you dance like salsa and grab girls to twirl and pull in to you then You are a "cock sucker" in her words. Further on from this when meeting men or women you are meant to kiss them on the cheek, so as me and Adam refussed to kiss each other apparently we are 'homophobes'- a part of the Argentinian culture we are not going to adopt!!!

Rub your body sexy when you dance- these were the final cringe instructions we were told to do on the dancefloor on advice how to win the women over- so imagine me now for a minute essentially rubbing my self down as if I was in the shower- possibly one of the cringest things I have ever done.

So our whistle stop tour of Burnos Aires concludes tomorrow which culminates with a massive night out to Pacha tonight. Unfortunatley we didint get to see loads of the city but what we saw was amazing but. What we didint see is due to being far too hingover to care about not seeing.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The next set of thougts

Giving blood
So I've always wanted to give blood, the thought of helping another person out by giving my blood is quite appealing. However, I have never got round to doing it. That is until I got here to south america and I have become a regular blood doner...to the f*****g mossis Not even been here 2 weeks and I have been bitten over 30 times. The mossis have turned me into their bitch and I'm itching hard!

Massive crab
Something I forgot to mention on my last blog update was the showdown I had with possibly the biggest crab ever seen to man. Late one night in ilah grande me and adam were walking back from having a few cheeky beers on the beach. We saw what looked like a massive rock and felt the urge to kick it. Upon closer inspection we realized it was a crab. Wielding one ginormous claw and one small claw. Fascinated by it but in a slightly drunken manner I decided to get close and personal with it. Imagine a steretypical Mexican accent goin 'hey amigo what the f**k you looking at?' well this is what I imagined it was saying to me anyway. It kept raising it claws at us almost like it was giving us the rods. This led me to asking it if it had a liscene to carry such a large weapon, the response was no in crabbish so, being the mature guy that I am I removed it's claw and told the now clawless crab I would look after it until it was a little more responsible and well mannered!

Hypnotic water
Arriving in iguazu on the brazillian, Argentinian boarder we have been lucky enough to see possibly one of the coolest natural things This planet has to offer. The waterfalls here are unbelievable, the photos already on facebook do not do them justice. The sheer quantity and vastness of the falls are enough to give you goosebumps. There is a saying that you can't leave  the falls being depressed because they just 
 make you happy, a statement I can believe until i asked about if people commit suicide here by jumping in to the falls, which the answer was yes. So obviously not true for everyone.

Something megabus should learn from
The propsect of a 20 hour long bus ride is never something you look froward to. A 4 hour bus ride from Sheffield to London can feel like touture. However this is not the case in Argentina, a full cooked meal, free beer, free bubbly and near fully reclining chairs with ample leg room is enough to set you up for these long rides. Flat screen TVs and blankets are just the added bonus. If all of that isn't enough then you can always rely on a good old game of ispy to pass the time

Winding Swiss people up also passes time
Sat across from a Swiss girl on the bus down to buenos aires turned out to be quite funny for me and Adam. Whilst talking our usual shit to each other we soon managed to her engage in our coversations. Something I guess she is regretting now. Enquiring about nick names she wanted to know what me and Adam were known as by nicnames. Adam convinced her I was victor as in victor meldrew as I'm always complaining apparently, however I ensured she believed Adam was called an arse hole by everyone back at home- she was loving the B-anter. Until she told us she is known as "big octopus" by her friends...something that kept us tickled for a while...silly Swiss people.

St Christopher
Now south America is a heavily religious place with catholism being the national religion. Now not being overly religious my self I am however catholic and I know tha a geeza called saint christopher is the saint of safe travel, ironic that the taxi driver in buenos aires had a image of st chris hanging from his mirror but drove like a f*****g maniac- either that or he genuinly believes t'old st chris will keep him safe even when cutting up busses and other heavy goods vehicles .

Poverty
Arriving in buenos airies you can't help bu notice the sheer poverty some people live in, always an eye opener for me. Leading to a more cautious and suspicious attitude from both of us, it is hard to see and even harder not to become snobby/appriciative of what we have back at home.


Cows
So the Argie bargies are renowned for their steak, something I have been desperate to sample for a while now. This desire has been settled with the amazing creation of a all you can eat steak house. All food and all beers for 70 pasos basically just under 15quid. We have absolutley smashed the fattest steaks and beef joints known to man, concluding that Argentinian beef is simply delicious!- especially win you can just keep going back for more!!

Point of thought
So everyone knows that south America is unbelievably passionate about football, this is no suprise- however what has opened my eyes is that in brazil amongst the dirty over crowded multi towering shacks in the favellas, where space seems so precious they litrally build on top of each other, on the steepest of cliffs. there was always a decent sized well laid out football field, weather on grass or gravel next to the favellas. I guess football is a social communal activity that requires a greater priority over having enough room for compared to he need for more spacious living areas?

Next stop Bolivia 
X x x  

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Still Alive

Hello people!

So we have now been here a week so I will try and update you on what we have been upto!
Instead of giving you all a boring update about the places we have been to I will just give you the general low down of our week

1. Just beacuse people do not talk english, does not mean that they are dangerous!
So before coming out to South America we have been warned umpteen times that it is dangerous out here and to not trust anyone, however so far so good, people seem extremly fiendly and helpful and Rio felt suprisingly safe.

2. When sharing rooms with people who are not english - do not insult them in english
So we were sharing a room in Rio with two Korean girls one night who did nothing but continuously turn the light on when we were trying to sleep (the general unwritten rule is to use a torch if people are asleep) - so me and adam being ourselves started shouting random insults at them thinking they did not understand...it was only the morning after when they started talking to us in English did our naievity come to surface...however thankfully our strong yorkshire accents meant they thought we were only shouting the word ¨funny¨...i will leave it to your imagination what we were saying.

3. Concrete can leave you speachless...
so in Rio there is that big mega mahussive statue of the big man Jesus Christ - something that is simply outstanding, we went on a tour up to the statue at me and adam were both left in dissaray at the sheer presence the statue has close up! - definatly the highlight of Rio

4. When talking to German girls, do not tell them that the English think all german women are hairy...followed by rubbing your moustache...it does not go down well

5. When it rains in Rio...it is shit..simple


6. Talking to fellow travelers can reveal hidden gems..
so we were meant to be going to sao paulo after rio but after spending a rainy day stuck in the hostel in rio, we got talking to some girls from manchester who had some annoyingly catchy sayings (BELLL-CHING!!! to name but one) they reccomended we go to an island called Ilah Grande...so we did. This place was simply amazing, A island that has no roads and the only car seemed to be the police van. Our hostel was on decking above the sea and the word paradise became frequently used...however the problem with an island like this is that it tends to be designed for honeymoon couples...and im there with my best mate!

7. 2 and a half hour treck!
so on ilha grande there is an option to treck for 2 and a half hours through the dense forest and up the mountains to reach a beach...something I did not think was worth doing...however 2 and a half hours later there was something that was simply more than just a beach...

8. A beach really can pass the daz whiter than white challege...
So this beach is known as Lopez Mendez and is often reffered to as one of the top ten beaches in the world - a quick google image search will show you why...the sand was the whitest I have ever seen and the water was crystal blue. A true hidden gem on this island! - however it is not just the beach that has passed the daz challange, me and adam seem to be up against a lot of stick from other travelers whos skin is luckily enough to have some colour on, we just keep getting laughed at for being white

9. 30 hour bus rides are not fun.
pretty simple - a bus rider from ilha grande to Iguazu takes this long..it is long, boring, tiring and generally what we have got to look forward to for a good few more weeks

10. Arrived in Iguazu - on the boarder between Argentina and Brazil, we are here to see some ¨spectacular¨waterfalls before heading on to Buenos Aeres in Argentina

Photos should follow soon but for now

taraa

xxx

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

So little time left


Hello people!

So it is finally nearly here! Last time I updated this blog it was April and I was drowning under the heavy demands of final year uni work...well how things have moved on. I have now graduated and joined the ranks of the "alumni," the student dream feels so distant

I have had a cracking summer trying to earn a bit of extra cash at what feels like my second home, the ever fun d2! Leaving me in a situation to afford a few more little bits for the travels.

I have had every injection now and hopefully, I should now be immune to any nasty diseases that I could potentially contract whilst in a number of the countries that I will be visiting.

Further on from this, I have now got just about got everything needed for my this trip as you can see by the picture.


As you can see clothing options are going to be limited! This will only add to all the fun we will have though...right?

The feeling of excitment is growing rapidly by the second, a feeling similar to an excited child being unable to sleep on xmas eve...

Despite all of this, however, it still doesn't feel like a reality, nothing more than a 2 week holiday that will be no different than any other...even at my leaving do this weekend it didn't feel like a goodbye, more of a absolutley quality bank holiday event!

Either way, this time next week I will be somewhere in Brazil and be in a position to actually tell you all how things have started!

Until that point, all that stands between sheffield and the rest of the world is..a delightful 4 hour mega bus ride down to london...good one!

that is all for now :D

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Adventure!






Hello my little blog following people!
Welcome to my Blog. The place where I am going to try and keep you all up to date with what is going to be happening over the next year. Hopefully I will be able to share my expereinces in a light hearted way and make you all chuckle a few times along the way. I will still be contactable through Facebook but who knows how often I will be near a computer.

So basically I'm sure you all know by now that I will be traveling around the world with Adam, Departing from the UK on the 6th September flying from that new big terminal in London to Rio. - We have already been checking out what films are going to be playing on the flight, so far I can not wait to watch Titanic and 2012....this is going to be a long flight!

Also the promise of a free bar for the whole journey will definatly help...although turning up drunk in a south american country with absolutley no knowledge of the place definatly aint the best idea ever...but how else am I going to put up with Adam for this long?

Our plans are ridiculouly hectic especially for South America (see the map to the right of this), some how we have to travel through Brazil, Paruaguay, Uruaguay, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and Chille in 8 weeks by using the best public transport we can find...it will definatly be an eye opener. Despite this, however, Adam believes I desperatly need to work on my negotiation skills so I look forward to the prospect of haggling with the locals on how much it will cost to sleep in cocroach infested dorms...whilst sharing with 20-30 other people. Anyway South America will take up the first 8 weeks of our travels, of which, we are booked on to do the Inca Trail treck in Peru or Para? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKFjWR7X5dU


The next leg of our trip takes us to New Zealand where we will be spending 4 weeks traveling from the North Island down to South Island- in a pimped up rust bucket campervan, Sharing a double bed with Adam in the back of this campervan will undoubtably be the highlight of the trip for me...can't wait for your crepping hands to go venturing again...Glacier hikes, bunjee jumping and general scene taking in is the plan for NZ. I love the idea that apparently in NZ once you leave the major cities the roads become pretty deserted and you can drive for miles without passing another car...The idea of NZ is to basically head for the horizon and see where it takes it, there is no fixed agenda, just me, Adam and the road...the possibilites are endless but this is one of the parts of the trip that I am most looking forward too.

We arrive in Australia on the 2nd December, where we will aim to find smewhere to live and start planning the big Xmas BBQ that we are going to have - Adam is convinced it's all about having shrimp but personally I fancy a nice big bbq'd fillet steak on the beach...maybe whilst wearing a santas outfit? Hopefully we will find some casual work for aus saving enough to head out to fiji for a couple of weeks to spend a romantic honeymoon style holiday together...yeaaaaaa

Also with 6 months we should be able to do all the other things that your supposed to do whilst your down under (no pun intended!)

Flying into Bangkok around May next year we will somehow try and navigate a route that will take us through thailand, laos, cambodia and vietnam but that is a long way away anything could happen by then.

To prove how sad I am, at the time of writing this "updated" initial blog post there is only 4 months 22days left until we ransack the duty free shops of Terminal 5!

I wish my dissertation was as easy to write as this...hopefully you will keep in touch with me, either through this blog or the usual facey B banter.

Finally if any of you reading this have never seen these two clips then you just simply have to. They are two of the most inspirational things I have ever watched and definatly things that have spurred me on to go traveling. I hope you enjoy watching them as much as I have. They really show off what this crazy world has to offer!