Monday, December 19, 2005
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
The urban myth that Australians fancy a drink was proved over the last few days but not near as much as a Londoner. Ever wonder why there is a pub on every corner in london? Because they're a nation of alcoholics silly. So our quick three days in london to visit friends was a quick three days in London to visit friends and drink more mulled wine, warm bitter and dodgy Australian lager than you could ever possibly imagine. And these kids do it all the time. Lunchtime at work, after work, in the pub round the corner from home, at home, not to mention fancy a nightcap luv down at the local. The end result of all this is that Kate and I are utterly shattered and have hangovers to bring down Westminster. Our hosts were Emma and Dan and their baby daughter Winston Churchill who was permananetly outraged at us being there and gave quite a few emotive speeches about the fact. Emma was actually the person responsible for introducing Kate and myself and she spent the entire three days telling every passerby who would listen. It was great to catch up with them and all the old pals from London including Matt on the Monday night who you may recognise as have acted alongside Christopher Walken in that Famous Italian flick I was once was a drunk teenage sailor. We had a great catch up at Gordons Wine Bar in Embankment which is quite a bit like the Bastille in Paris only so smoky that you have to throw out all your clothes afterwards. Our whirlwind London 3 day tour also included the Xmas lights of Regent street which have been monopolised from some dinosaurs from the Ice Age and also an insight into 22nd century retailing at the Apple Store. Yes for a nightclub come futuristic shopping experience like none other take a look if you're passing through. ( not for those not suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder I might add). Other than being dark by 3.30 pm, extremely crowded and fairly cold there is nothing else to add about old blighty. ( except it's still bloody expensive...our fare from the airport to Emma and Dan's and the cheapest available transport at that time of night cost 55 quid or 130 Australian dollars or 11,357 yen but whose counting)
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
After the tour we set off for Essaouira a laid back Morrocan ex hippy town on the coast. Jimi Hendrix wrote Castles in the sand here and one can hear the ubiquitous whisper of hashish upon strolling the narow alleyways. We've got ourselves a little apartment and are taking some R and R before our flight to London on Saturday, probably loaded up with way too many Morrocan handicrafts. Bring it on Mustapha
Sunday, November 27, 2005
1. Animal Park, Villa Tunauri, Bolivia The chance to work with pumas ocelots, spider monkeys was amazing. Although I complained bitterly a lot of the time it was truly one of the most challenging and rewarding things I have ever done
2. The Salar, Southern Bolivia This strange moon like environment is for me the best site in South America that we saw. 4 days in a jeep looking at places I havent seen anywhere else. Amazing 3.Machu Pichu, Peru Yes it´s as good as everyone says
4. Buenos Aires. A cross between New York, Paris and London and at a very affordable price. The only place to live it up on the continent
5. Easter Island the most remote island in the world and one of the most fascinating. Well worth the 6 hour flight from Chile
6. Galapagos islands sailing around from Island to island eating wonderful food and seeing wildlife up close and personal. Magical! 7. Cadmalca, Peru Building a stove for a Peruvian family was a great experience and got us to an area of Peru few tourists visit
8. Living with an Ecuadorian family Thanx to Yoly and Marco for accepting us into their lives and showing us the way Ecuadorians like to live, and teaching us a bit of Spanish along the way 9)Iguassu Falls Brazil truly spectacular sight and better than Victoria Falls in my opinion 10) La Paz A crazy Bolivian city at very high altitude and with dried llama foetus for sale, it´s unlike any other city I´ve ever been to
2) Tupiza, Bolivia. Getting blockaded for 5 days in a small town in Southern Bolivia. Having to do all our shopping before the shops shut at 9am and then sneaking into restaurants at night to avoid the angry mob that roamed the town looking for blockade breakers.
3) Tierra Santa, Buenos Aires. A religious theme park smack bang on runway 5 of the international airport. What more can I say 4) Easter Island , Chile. Attacked by a territorial hawk whilst cycling on the Island. The bird came for me three times and the final assault felt like someone slamming a phone book on my head.
5) Cadmalca, Peru Judging the local beauty contest in front of hundreds of tribally garbed Peruvians 6) Cadmalca Peru teaching the local Primary schoolchildren English in very bad Spanish 7) Galapagos Islands, Ecuador Walking around on an Island where the possibility of stepping on an Albatross or 10 was very real indeed
8) Villa Tunauri, Bolivia A spider monkey stole the book I was reading, fled to the trees and then proceeded to eat it.
9) Otavalo Ecuador going to the local fiesta with our host family and finding ourselves in the centre of town getting chased by drunk men in silly hats and fired at with tear gas by riot police 10)Ollytaytambo, Peru. Grabbed by a drunken Grandmother and forced to dance for half an hour unable to leave a very bizarre drinking den
1) Plastic chairs. Whoever is making all the plastic chairs over here is definitely not sitting on them. Every restaurant from Quito to Rio is decked out in either red or white... If youre lucky you may get some beer advertising on one of them. Ambience is a dirty word here and why have something nice to sit on when you can fill an empty restaurant with 250 of these things.
2) Buenos Aires taxi drivers. The oxford dictionary definition of maniac driver has been updated to include the antics of these guys. We did 145 kilometres an hour on the freeway from the airport, most of it up the bum of the cars in front. Lanes are optional, pedestrians fare game and cursing par for the course
3)South American cuisine. Ever wondered why you havent seen any South American restaurants recently? Now unless you like fried chicken, served with bland salad and beans you aint gonna be satisfied. And guinea pig... 4) Bolivian Buses. Can somebody tell me why all the buses in Bolivia leave at 7.30 at night and arrive at their destination at 3.30 in the morning so you can spend the wee morning hours cold, hungry looking for a hotel that´s open in a dangerous part of town.
5)Altitude. with most of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile being above 3000 metres this meant that for most of our trip we have been cold, sleep deprived, with headache, nausea, tiredness, breathlessness and other obscure side effects
6) Poo paper in the wastepaper bin. We don´t know how lucky we are in western countries wiping your bum and casually dropping the paper in the toilet. Over here it all goes into a little bin in the corner. Often it´s overflowing and usually only emptied every few days which can leave for a very smelly en suite bathroom
7) Electric showers. Unless you like getting zapped before every wash these are definitely going into room 101. Usually only found in very cold climates, they come with only one tap and the more you turn it on the colder it gets... so if you want a semi warm shower expect a dribble. on the upside the electric zap will definitely get you going in the morning
8) 9pm bedtimes. With the exception of Argentina, it´s tucked in watching some crappy cable tv by 9 pm every night. In Ecuador Peru and Bolivia, it´s too cold out there, nothings open and all the nightlifes gone to Rio.
9)Rubbish. With the exception of Buenos Aires, disposing of rubbish means throwing it out the bus window. 10) 80`s music. Laura Brannigan, Dire straits and Phil collins well and truly live here in South America. Ask someone about English rock and they´ll reply with I love Elton John, ask about Australian music and it´s all about Air Supply. Not that there´s anything wrong with Air Supply...in fact I have a new appreciation of their music.