08.02.2012 - 19.06.2012
As clichés go -this one is pretty appropriate: time flies when you’re having fun. Where have our 5 months in South America gone? How to put into words our thoughts on it all, how we feel now that the end is almost upon us? Impossible really! When we first landed in Buenos Aires we were happy to be travelling by ourselves again. Now we’re totally shattered and looking forward to being back at home. We’ve had so many incredible experiences with hardly any setbacks. That first week in the jungle was pretty tough, and Mike probably still has a jungle parasite in his guts (no joke), but all things considered I think we’ve done a bloody fine job. Nothing got stolen, we didn’t miss a single bus and overall we haven’t come in ridiculously over budget. Over budget for sure, but we’re putting that down to all the drinking in Africa and ding things like skydiving which were never on the budget to begin with. Absolutely no regrets though!!!!
So South America - all the details:
• Favourite country: Bolivia. Why? Scenery in national park, cheap, met some lovely people and had some great nights out, the animals.
• Best beach: Lopes Mendes, Ilha Grande, Brazil. Why? After hiking for hours in baking heat the first swim was the best ever!
• Number of bus/train trips taken: 33.
• Hours spent on buses and/or trains commuting. (This doesn’t include small local trips or transfer time. Literally bum on seat time): 365 hours.
• Longest single bus trip: 29 hours (Rio to Corumba), Brazil.
• Best steak: tie between The Steakhouse in La Paz and La Cabrera in Buenos Aires.
• Best meal in a restaurant: La Bourgogne Vineyard, Mendoza, Argentina.
• Best saltenas: Santa Cruz, Bolivia (curried chicken with raisins, egg and black olive).
• Most uncomfortable bus trip: Tie between Santa Cruz to Sucre and Uyuni to La Paz. Both horrendous bumpy roads and shit buses.
• Favourite experiences: 4 day tour from Tupiza to Uyuni, Machu Picchu, walking a puma and Iguacu falls (both sides of the border).
• Most surprisingly enjoyable experience: horse riding in Tupiza (for Mike especially).
• Best day walking: tie between Lagoona Esmeralda in Ushuaia, Argentina and Day 3 of the W trail in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile.
• Best animal encounter: puma’s of course!
• Worst animal encounter: the dog that bit Mike in Ushuaia (it’s still pretty funny though).
• Biggest disappointment: volcano in Pucon being closed so we never made it to the top.
• Hardest decision: not to do a 3-5 day hike to Machu Picchu.
• Number of times our guide book has been wrong about something: to many to count.
• What we won’t miss: not being able to flush toilet paper down the toilet.
• How we think our Spanish is now: still really really bad.
• Unexpected delight: booking a dorm room but getting upgraded to a private room.
• Place we most want to re-visit: Ecuador. Basically ran out of time to see much of the country so will have to be another time.
In a nut-shell:
South America you’ve been truly unreal! Hope to see you again some-day but for now “adios”. Next stop Los Angeles for Mickey Mouse, shopping and scaring myself shitless on (insane) rollercoasters.