Category Archives: Travel

From New Years Eve to 53 degrees…

Wow, I sure have been slack with this blog!!! considering that it is now June… I am back in Australia and this post is about just after new years till the middle of February I have taken procrastination to a new level. But I will finish this project, one post at a time I will get back to the day when I get home, and then see where I will go from there. If this blog will develop into something new or if I will shut it down, I do not know yet.

Well a few days after new years Nick and I went to the south of chile with some family friends to a lake called Caburga, this is a place known as the presidents lake as about 3 or 4 of them have holiday houses on the lake! The cabin that we stayed in backed onto the lake which was to put it simply. Friggen awesome! Like you do in chile we had lots of meat and sugar while we stayed there, not much of anything else =D Went out on kayaks around the lake. One of the days when Nick was feeling a little worse for wear ūüėČ I went for a walk with one of the kids past the house of Pi√Īera (Chilean President) and along the way a dog started to follow us from that house, in the end it went home with us. A few builders said that it was the dog of the handyman, but but for me that still means it was Pi√Īera’s dog! Another of the days we went out in the cars up a really long mountain dirt road till we got to a national park where there was some pretty cool and by cool i mean the water was SO COLD waterfalls. Which of course means that we had to strip down to a minimum amount of clothes (nudity was not possible as mothers were about) and go for a quick dip to get under the water. which was awesome except for the whole water being freezing like i mentioned above, but that had to be expected when you take into account that the water was melted snow… hmm.. it did taste really good though! I think it was the next day nick and i had a try at fishing in the lake, with no luck, but it was very relaxing and later that day we went to a river which again we had no luck in. But talking to some other people that had been fishing in the area that had only caught 1 fish in about 2 or 3 hours in that river so it was not just us. ¬†I did get my line caught on a branch and had to go belly button deep in another freezing river to get my line and floaty out (i was NOT going to let that floaty go!)

Finally once our time in Caburga was done, we got a bus out to Valdiva which just happens to be a really nice town/city and also the location of the largest ever recorded earthquake in 1960 which literally shifted the geography of the region. ¬†A map that was printed in 1959 was of little use if you were trying to do some orienteering in 1961. ¬†Lakes formed where there was farmland, and where there was lakes farmland appeared. So that is a little bit of an introduction to Valdiva. ¬†But anyway back to the story and the adventure, we were staying with my biggest cousin Josefa who for your information is a friggen champion! she is one of the funniest people i know in the whole wide world, and after this trip which is now well and truly over as i will be about to start my 3rd week at home is a lot of people! ¬†On that first day we went with her and one of her friends to the beach which unlike most beaches in chile was not super cold, because it is right next to the mouth of the river which has had time to warm up so the water is significantly warmer than vi√Īa.

*I also have a saying about going to the beach and swimming at the beach, “You have not been to the beach unless you wet your feet and have not gone for a swim unless you wet your hair” *

But because it was summer and summer means holidays and lots of free time there is like a market thing for all things typically Chilean there.  All types of really yummy foods are sold as well as maybe the most local beer, short of going to the brewery (which was about 5km away).  Hanging out at the beach which was black sand and left my feet all funny coloured was really cool, i had never seen proper black sand and it was nice to see a beach like this.  My cousin had a pub/cafe which she was a proper local at (they are there most days) she would walk in and take about 5 min to get to a table because she would be talking with all the people there. I would love to have a place where it was like cheers and everybody knows your name =P Went there a few times in our 3 days in Valdivia (i think 4 times) had some local beers one was called cuello negro which was soo nice! but it was a friggen death trap, i got the numb face from one pint i think it was, but its possible that it was bigger.  This is of no interest to no one except me, but i had a pair of thongs which i had for years and they were always really slippery and when i was in peru i cut them up a bit to give them more grip which worked great! And they broken when i was in Valdivia bought an emergency pair at the supermarket and turned out they were the best pair of thongs i have ever owned! not got a blister from them, most comfortable, grippy, everything. Hyperlider you know how to make one mean pair of thongs!

After the time in Valdivia we got a bus to Lican Ray to go to the best house in the world, it is the place where you can take a dump and watch an active volcano from the window, its the place where you walk about 200 meters and your at the lake, 400 meters and there is an arcade with pool tables, foosball and well arcade games =P It is where some of my greatest childhood memories were. ¬†But this time it was not about making childhood memories, it was about making memories as an adult. Not just faint blurs of random things but whole days, conversations actually being there. ¬†We arrived to Lican with only my grandparents and cousin at the house so it was a little dull for the first 2 days, but then another one of my cousins arrived and it became much more interesting and entertaining. ¬†Nacho is so much fun to hang out with, he just talks total crap all the time, its great and fits in with Nick and I really well! ¬†Claudio on the other hand is much a worrier. Everything is a little bit to dangerous. Just an annoying person to have around when you want to go exploring, We start going to a walk to who knows where and he will start to complaint that we are on a walk to who knows where… Then why follow! ¬†So as background to the lake where Lican Ray is on, it’s Lago Calafquen which is wicked! When i was little i would sit on the edge of the lake and look out and see 3 islands. one big one, one medium one and little one all in order from big to small, i was never allowed to go out to them when i was little but now that i was big i was determined to get out there! ¬†So we went down to the lake and hired a boat which Claudio was constantly in our ear about grandma saying we were not allowed to do. ¬†She would always tell Claudio what we could and couldn’t but never to us. ¬†So we listened to ourselves hired a boat and started to row out to the island. ¬†Turns out rowboats are really hard to row straight! ¬†Anyway after zigzagging our way to the island for about an hour (we hired the boat for 2) and playing on the island for about 1/2hr we started to make our way back which took even longer. ¬†Nacho and Claudio were pretty crap at rowing (just being honest Nacho if you read this!) so Nick and I were getting tired, when we were about 150m from the sure the boys got out to swim the rest of the way and instantly the boat was just flying though the water! It was crazy how much faster we could go… Finally returned the boat, and we only had about 1500 pesos left between us so we pretty much saved 3500 peso =P, Poor dude hated us!

A few days later Claudio and Granddad ¬†went back to Santiago but Julio (dads brother) and Co. came down, and it with them cousins and friends (Nacho, Pedro, Nacha, Maca, Gonzo, Seba and Nick) we had maybe the best summer anyone could EVER ask for! ¬†My grandparents were really worried about letting me drive because its the wrong side of the road and that i was in for certain death if i drove here… so i waited until Julio arrived and asked him for the car and sure enough without skipping a beat tells me to go get the keys and have a good time. ¬†He is such a cool guy! So we get all the cousins in the car and in the tray and go for a drive out to the river of lava from the last time the volcano erupted. ¬†When i was little the River used to be right next to the road, but in the last 15 years they have been extracting it and using it for stuff, so we had to go driving in about 1km until suddenly you reach a massive wall, it would be about 10-15 meters high and it was all once lava which is pretty hectic.

Click on Image to view full size.

Another day we went walkies around the town and just started to walk and walk and walk… ¬†We pretty much left the town and were on the road to go to the next town, but at that point we started to return. ¬†There is a river that goes next to Lican so we walked down the side of the river until we reached a place where i couldn’t pass and people started to get angry =P went through a fence in the hope that we would get out to the walkway we were on earlier… Turns out it just finished in an unpassable fence with so we had to go walking through a property which felt kinda dodgy, like it always does when you dont feel like you should be there! and where did we come out? about 100 meters before we started walking next to the river. Big useless detour that made a few memories along the way. The greatest way to travel! Never quite know where you are going, just have a slight idea of direction and hope for the best.

Nacha and Maca (2 female cousins) made some friends and went to watch them do motocross and stuff, but if that sounds extreme the boys (Julio, Pedro, Nick, Seba, Gonzo and I) went up an active volcano to 2000 meters above sea level, as high as you are allowed to go before you need to have mountaineering equipment. Or you will die. That is not a joke or trying to make it sound more dangerous than it really is all the way to the top. The Volcano has perpetual snow and being a volcano it is not smooth on the way up so its you can fall into places and just get stuck.  So we didnt go all the way to the top 2800ish meters. (that is 600 meters higher than australia)  But anyway, we climbed from 1400 to about 1600 which is where the first bit of snow can be found and played something that i suspect has never been played before on that mountain, and maybe even in the entire country. Snow cricket!

Snow Cricket

We continued to climb the mountain after sliding and playing the snow for an hour or so.  Being all Volcanic rock it was really loose so climbing so HARD! Dust was constantly going into your eyes, for every step up you would slide half a step back.  Eventually we made it to the place where the cable car finishes in the winter and just rested there until everyone got there and was good to go back down.  With the climb on the way up we all ran out of water, but because it had been raining a few days earlier there was lots of fresh snow that had fallen.  I went and got my bottle dug a bit to get to the cleaner stuff and just put it into the bottle and left it in the sun, it was pretty good to be honest which i was a little surprised about!  It took about an hour or so to climb the 350 meters and 20 min to run back down! It was just a case or long step slide, long step slide the whole way down. Each step would take you about 2 meters further and maybe drop 1 meter, it was pretty hectic!

From the field to the summit

When i was younger and lived in Chile and used to go on holidays to the south, one of the years mum went white water rafting and loved it! She still raves about it to this day! If you ever talk to her ask her about it =)  So sure enough if it was so good, we had to give it a go! So Pedro, Nacha, Seba, Nick and I went to one of the places that does it, booked ourselves in and hit the rapids.  It was really fun, but so much hard work! You need so much strength to go against the current and trying to stay in the raft as it bounces around the different rocks and waves it really tricky.  A few times i fell off my seat across the raft into Nick, and then you have to get back up and keep going as you get water all over your face.  Down one of the rapids where it went down quickly and then there was a big rock which makes a huge wave Nacha got flung out of the raft into the water,  we got out the other side and turn around and my little cousin was missing! But the guy on the kayak got her out, when she got back to the raft she had such a huge smile! she loved it, she was the only one to fall so she was embarrassed  about that, but she said it was the best fun! A bit further on it got to a huge waterfall which we were not allowed to go down, it was about 6 meters in total so we had to get out and walk around to a rock where there was a 6 meter vertical drop and then a swim out the other side, it was fantastic to do a big drop, I had not jumped of rocks into water in such a long time! The last bit of the run was pretty quiet in comparison to the top, but it was ok as we were all getting pretty tired.

A few days later we went and did the last kinda adventurey thing. Some of the cousins went to do a big high ropes thing while Nick, Nacha, her friend and I went horseback riding. ¬†I love South America, we got to the place, they put us on our horses and off we went. no safety talks, no instruction on how to ride at all and no helmets. There is nothing like riding a horse without a helmet, riding a motorbike is close but no cigar. ¬†So we went riding along, Nacha is a “gun” rider and was pretty much controlling the pace of the entire group which was pretty cool, we went off through all the main steps of the horses, but for me rarely did it get to a gallop which for those that don’t know feels like a magic carpet ride! ¬†we all went to far and then had to turn around and go back up big hill and wait for the rest of the group, poor horses got worked pretty hard! As we got back with the group the leader got a message on his radio calling “Matias Zenteno” which we thought was kinda weird that there was another Zenteno there because it’s a pretty rare name but thought nothing of it. ¬†Anyway we kept riding along and finally as we got back to the entrance to where the stables are there was a police man with a book and he read out all our names and said we had to go with him as there had been an accident with one of our family members. Not what you want to hear when you are the one in charge of the group and the accident happened about an hour before you knew anything about it! ¬†All that we were told was that there was an accident with someone and that we were going to get driven back to Pucon in the police car to the hospital. ¬†Nick and I were in the back of the paddy-wagon Nacha and her friend in the back seat. ¬†So sirens blaring we sped back to the town hitting about 150 at some points, it was pretty cool =D ¬† When we got to the hospital we see Pedro with his shirt totally ripped, Maca has a big gash on her face and leg, Seba is limping around and Gonzo is nowhere to be seen. ¬†There was another little kid in a¬†neck brace. ¬†Later we find out that Gonzo had broken his pelvis, but he was not the worst of the group. A girl had broken 2 vertebrae, her shoulder-blade , elbow and some ribs. ¬†From what the cousins said it was horrible, she was hanging backwards with her feet touching her head¬†unconscious¬†for about 15 minutes with the staff asking my cousin who was the only one awake at that point to check if she was dead!

Long story short chargers were pressed on the company and my cousins were on the front cover quiet a few news papers and on the TV in the national news.  In the coming days lots of things came out about that company, they shut down their rafting (which we did) because they were not complying to safety standards etc.  It started a pretty big police investigation. It was pretty full on.

After returning to Santiago we had a few days before Nick had to go back, which were pretty eventless. ¬†A few days after Nick went home i went up into the mountains with Julio, Rosario (dads brother and sister) and some of my cousins. It was really cool, the place we went is a mini resort thing for the police where they can take their families on holidays. It was really pretty right in the middle of the mountains. One of the most beautiful things i have ever seen. ¬†That night i went to stay with Julio and for the next few days he lent us his car and we went out to Vi√Īa and Valpo to visit my other cousins and pick up Maca’s boyfriend. From Valpo we went to a place called Algarrobo which is where the worlds biggest swimming pool is, but more importantly where there is a holidays house of some relatives! stayed there for 2 nights having an awesome times and introducing flippies into the surf when the wave comes in, to chile. Believe me in a few years it will be the big thing there!

I went back to Vi√Īa and stayed with my uncle and went on one final round visiting family in that area as i was going home in a few days time. I was at my aunties house when i got a call from Home telling me that they had found some information about my grandfather, mums dad. So i started some frantic calling to get in contact with some people and try to organise something. ¬†The next day i left Vi√Īa in the morning, met up with my mums half-sister and we went to see my grandfather for the first time in 15 years.

When we got there it was the most touching and sad thing i have and i think will ever see. He was just an empty shell, he was so thin i dont know if he understood anything that i said to him.  There was not emotion in his eyes, no movement it was just a stare. But just being there i knew that he was the reason i was in the world and that i loved him so much. Regardless of what might have happened in the past or how he is now. He is still my grandfather and always will be.  I knew at that point that i was going to be the last of his grandchildren that will ever see him, he was to frail and 4 of them didnt know anything about him.  I felt such a privilege to be there with him.  For all of South America, seeing Machu Picchu, becoming friends with all my cousins again, meeting new ones. Going to the north of Chile which is so special to my mum. None of that matters. I saw my grandfather for the last time and that, THAT is what will truly stay with me till the day i die.  That is something that i can never ever ever do again.  A few days after getting to England in March i got another phone call from home to let me know that he had passed away. And honestly it hit me so hard, i was a mess for a while after, any time i would think of him i would get so down.  Even writting this i have tears building up in my eyes and the biggest knot in my throat.


South America was and will be one of the most special places in my life, this journey through there just made me see that with the eyes of an adult.  It is not the fairytale place that i had in my memory. It is a land far from perfect, but at the end of the day it is where my roots are, it is where i grew up. It is where i have my first memory.

It is my first home.


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Chile from north to south

Alright like always i am heaps far behind, considering that i left south america on the 15th of feb and now it is the 2nd of April. Wops =P i have been on 2 different continents and met countless people in the time, had some good times had some bad times and lost a grandparent =(. But i was very blessed to have seen him before i left chile which brings me back to this post. Chile from north to south.

After leaving Peru on that bus that had WiFi anywhere that there was mobile signal, which means it pretty much lost WiFi by the time it left Lima we arrived at beautiful Tacna with hands deep in our pockets and constantly turning around to check our bags where still closed we went to find a Taxi that would take us to the border crossing with chile the stable country (the one with only 1 dictator). ¬†We finally found a taxi jump in and ride without the mandatory seatbelts that all Australians enjoy and head out across the desert towards Chile. Home. ¬†We got through the Peruvian side of the border without the slightest hitch it was almost too easy even for nick who was travelling as an Aussie. ¬†Get back in the Taxi and got to the chilean side and there was a few hundred people but we didn’t think much of it. ¬†Go to the desk give our papers and then we get told to go to the end of the line… where does that line even start??? about 80 meters away from the bag checkers. They are on strike about pay disputes and are only letting about 2 or 3 people go through every 30 min. Hmmmm this is going to be a VERY long day! ¬†We arrived at around 11am and by around 3 or 4 suddenly after a bit of yelling and stuff everyone just got up, grabbed their bags and started to march across the border. ¬†With the little group we had we hesitated a little and once it looked like people where going to make it we started to cross, got under the barrier and then suddenly the mass of people start running back to the border. From what we heard the police started to arrest people and/or send them back, we did make up a lot of distance in the line though =D ¬†Now the ones on strike knew they didn’t have the power anymore and that it would end up in an all out riot if they didn’t start to do something. The line started to move a little quicker, and by 10:30 we finally got out of that horrible place!

Arica: It is a very interesting place, has really got ceviche, and some amazing views lots of roofs are broken on the houses but no one cares because it never rains.  Spent a few days there and had a good time,  never got to meet up with the uncle whose house we stayed at, but we did accidentally set off the panic alarm one day trying to turn off the fan =P

Iquique: This place is beautiful, you get the feeling this is the tourist city of the north of chile, it is all highrise apartments on the beach, nice boardwalk and lots of green grass. Which DOES NOT grow like that naturally!  Stayed one night in a hostel near the bus stop and then the next 2 nights with a friend of a friend that looked after us really well.  He showed us his Home theater setup which was his pride and joy and we watch pulp fiction and top gun on it, which was awesome! Just as a spoiler, It is actually a Royal Deluxe not a Royal with cheese, but yes it is because of the metric system =)

Antofagasta: Is this city which is not very pretty but it is very special for my family we stayed for 3 nights, including nicks 20th birthday which ended without anything getting done for it which was pretty bum for him =( We discovered the Zombi series “The Walking Dead” which is wicked! I stayed and met some cousins of mine and and Tio Willie who is an absolute champion and i wish i could have spent more time with him because he really is a great dude. ¬†Went out to the centre and went to the University where Mum did PE teaching when she was a young lass. ¬†Final conclusion of Anto is that it is clearly a mining and port city and that it is not very looked after. It is nice if you go around it, but the city itself is very plan without much happening. ¬†And from there we got a VERY long bus ride to Santiago to spend Christmas with family.

Santiago: Santiago is an interesting place, you never feel like you are truly safe when you are in the CBD, or in some of the outskirts, or when your grandparents are convinced that if you go to the corner store on foot you will not make it home alive in a very safe part of the city. ¬†Spent a few days there had Christmas which was not as massive as it used to be because of family politics and now that cousins have grown up they don’t all live in the same place. ¬†But it was still about 15 or 20 people and we had a great time, laughed a lot and ate even more! ¬†The next day we went to visit Tio Julio and got to see some more long-lost cousins i had not seen in over 10 years! and had an amazing time with them. ¬†Played a bit of cricket and Marco polo and again ATE ALOT!!! ¬†you will see that as a common theme in south america. Eating is pretty much all that you do. ¬†The day after Julio’s we went to Meme’s and ate fresh rabbit that was killed earlier in the day before we arrived, and it was really nice! The day after we went to vi√Īa del mar and stayed with ¬†Tio Sergio.

Vi√Īa and Valpo: If there is ever a city which gets over run with tourists it is Vi√Īa and the tourists are all from Argentina! ¬†Went out with the cousins a little bit, one night we were going to go to a club had predrinks and when we got to the club they changed the free entry age from 18 to 21. so NONE of us could get in even though it was for a friend’s birthday. So we ended the night in a very australian way, at maccas eating. Again. ¬†A few days later we got picked up from Sergio’s house and went to Jaime’s. ¬†When we arrived he was preparing a BBQ for us and we had a great time talking and yeah an all round great night, a few days later we went on a bike ride for about 35km, and pretty much died! could no sit down for a few days because the bikeseat so was so hard! New Years was around here somewhere which we spent on a tugboat in the harbour of Valpo and saw some of the most amazing fireworks! Sydney is beautiful because of the location, but valpo is amazing because of the sheer size of the event. They set up about 10 or 15 spots along the coast and set them all off a the same time. ¬†These fingers that are trying to be concise as i they have 2 months to write about cannot describe it! ¬†After the boat we went to a part out on a property with my cousins and discovered that it is a very full on ritual to dance at a party, like you can’t dance alone, you can’t dance with a mate, you can’t just dance with a girl, you need to ask them if they would like to dance and then finally after all that you can dance! ¬†But there was a little trick up our sleeves… we are from Australia! Did have a speak bad spanish which is pretty low, but all i wanted to do is just dance ¬†like Lady Gaga. But the reasoning behind the bad spanish is that if I spoke to them in proper Spanish no one would dance because i sound chilean! (I have had people in Europe guess i was from chile) My cousins and their mates would take us and use us as Wingmen because all of the girls would accept the guys from Australia. Got home at 8:30 am not feeling the best and headed to bed. ¬†And that was how I welcomed 2011 the year of major travel and left behind 2010 the year of taking the leap of faith into the bit wide world.

I will continue with this later, but 1500 words in one go is a lot and I need to have some dinner!

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Ma to the Pi cchu

Wow, so this is heaps later than i had originally planned =D

So here i am in New York writing about the time in Cuzco which i was originally planning to write about when i was in Santiago.  Just got a burst of 1am inspiration and i thought i would make a post for old times sake =)

So the day in machu picchu started out as a very early day with not heaps of sleep the night before for no real reason, i think we had gone for a walk to plaza de armas and then made dinner got to bed around 12ish and didnt go to sleep until around 1. so as can be seen, not that much sleep concidering the wake up time 6ish!

That morning we got our bags for the day, during which i thought it might be a good idea to take $US 20 with us kinda like a get out of jail in case we got caught short and need cash for some reason, much to nicks confusion (this will become more relevant later).¬† Went downstairs now with our freshly aclimatised lungs and had some breadrolls with jam and took a few for the road.¬† All we took with us that day was camera, battery, jumper, bread, a packet of pepito bicies, tickets and about 100 soles each.¬† We didn’t take any of our big documents because of all the horror stories we had heard about everyone getting mugged.

Any how we left the hostel got to the road and stopped the first taxi that went by:

“can we go to poroy?”

“no problem, 30 soles”

“make it 25?”

“jump in”

So there we are, driving to poroy which was about 20 min from the hostel.¬† Driving along roads that had heaps steep enbankments and were full of rubbish from the much poorer parts of town on the outskirts of Cuzco.¬† Well long story short we got to the train station and as we are pulling up my taxi driver says “That is 30 soles thanks”, to which i replied “no sir you said we were coming here for 25, not 30” at which point the driver started to give reasons why we should pay him the 30 such as it is a long journey and that he will be returning without any passengers. Again i told him it was not my problem as he had agreed on the price nick gave him the money and we got out of the taxi.

We had to wait for a while for the train to leave but eventually it left the station and we were on the way to machu picchu!  The train was really nice concidering it was the cheapest one (and still pretty expensive!) the toilet could only be used when the train was moving cos some people said it just dropped to the tracks. but i dont really know if that is true.  Anyway the train company would tell us every so often thanks for taking preference to travel with them (the have a monopoly on train travel in peru) and also had 4 songs all of which were the same traditional peruvian music played in different genres. FOR 2.5 HOURS!

After seeing some really nice landscapes we finally arrived to Aguas Calients! YAY…. no. It was the most horrible place i had been to in the entire trip, even today when i am writting this. Times square is less tourist focused then that town!

We walk out of the train station with pouring rail and go directly into a small peruvian style craft market that would take up at least 1 block, remembering that the whole town might be about 8 blocks in size.¬† Cross a bridge and you get to more little markets and the restaurants start, there was pretty much only mexican and italian, i honestly dont remembering seeing any peruvian style restaurants in all the parts of the city we walked.¬† So back to walking out, it was raining so hard we had to buy ponchos 2 for 5 soles.¬† We really wanted to get to wichu picchu which is that tall mountain behind the main city that you see in all the pictures, but only 400 people are allowed up each day so we quickly went to find the place to get the tickets to go into machu and then the bus to go up.¬† which from what nick had read was only 7 soles each, which turns out was kinda wrong, as it was 7 dollars, each.¬† so lucky i had that note which we were able to use to get the tickets up the mountain. With all the rain i felt the bus step out about 2 or 3 times going up the road until we finally got to the entrance of the park…

Going to leave it here, got really tired and it is 2am in new york. will update soon with the rest of the adventure =)

In London now and lets continue!

Ok so i got up going up a hill in a bus that was drifting up a hill with shear drops, cool.  Well once we reached the summit we got out and went for run to try to get to wichu picchu which is that big tall bit that you always see behind machu.  turns out that getting there at 11:30 is still too late to be able to go up there! (the first 400 can go up) but anyway talking to people later in the day it seems like you couldnt see anything because it was so foggy so i am not that annoyed by it.  If you go to skinnys facebook you can see most of the pictures that might work if you are friends with the man, if not then bad luck i guess.

But the moral of that big of the story is that we couldn’t see anything for ages and the rain was strong! that continued until around 1:30 when it started to get lighter. so in the time when we couldn’t really see we just went exploring because it is not really worth trying to get amazing pictures of clouds! We went all along the plaza and down the sides the flat bit where we think they must have planted food, tagged onto a tour for a little while just to see what they were talking about and did the thing that i had been waiting 3 weeks to do. Eat my Pepito cookies that i bought in uraguay! yes i found a packet of cookies called “Pepito’s” and saved them for a special occasion which ended up being inside a sort of rock cave at machu picchu in the rain. ¬†That packet travelled more than 6000km, that is more than some people travel in their entire lives and i am not talking about people without legs that are homebound either!

But yes the cookies were good and shortly after that very special life changing meal the rain also started to slow down, just like the tourists also started to leave.  after 3 1/2 hours in the rain you start to get sick of it and all that you want is to be dry. but no, not me no i to quote delta goodrem, i wanted to be there for the long hall! the site closed at 5 and i was going to say till 5, which was convenient because around 2:30 the sun came out and it was the more beautiful day you could imagine.  Not many tourists around (think 100 people on the whole site).  The remained of the afternoon we walked a lot more than earlier we went up a really big hill to look out at the city from up high and see what was on the other side of the mountain (not much, just forest).  that continued until 5pm at which we started to make our way back down the hill by foot down some massive stairs.  We met 2 spanish folk who studied in chile so we walked with them, on the way back to the town which was about 3 km down the road a blister that had developed on the back of my foot was hurting too much so i ended up walking the rest of the way barefoot which was not that bad to be honest!

We got back to the town and went to the train station where we just waited ages for the train. ¬†When the train finally arrived with its out of order¬†carriages¬†(ABCEFD) found our seats and started talking with our fellow train riders who were chilean and mexican. ¬†both of them really nice and we went the whole just chatting away… ¬†Arriving at Ollantaytambo we got off the train and went looking for a taxi or bus that would be able to get us back to Cuzco which was not looking that easy and again it had started to rain really hard, when suddenly the 2 thai people that were at our hostel told us that a guy had offered to take us back to cuzco for 80 something soles which is pretty cheap being perfectly honest.

Had a look at his taxi which was is really good nick, and driver seemed nice enough and he wanted to get back home in cuzco as well as he had driven some people to Ollan earlier in the day and needed someone for the trip back and was also having trouble finding someone. So in we get to the taxi and we start to head home, pretty quickly all the other fall asleep and i try to keep awake as long as i could, i think i drifted off once or twice just before arriving to Cuzco.  We dirrected him to the hostel and discovered that the thai didnt have enough change so nick and i pull what we have on us and made the amount. JUST! we checked the next day and it was literally 2 soles in our pocket after the trip.  Now if i may remind you all of what had happened earlier that morning with the other taxi driver which wanted to charge us 5 soles extra. yeah i know that was pretty friggen close!

Summing up machu picchu was totally worth having a hectic blister, empty pockets and being cold for the entire day from moutain rain. and in all honesty i would not want to experience it any other way.  The fact that we had to fight to get there and back be cold and sore make it our own adventure, we didnt get to do the inca train, but we did get to experience a little of what they go though being sore cold, tired and hungry.

Not sure if i will write much more about south america, maybe a bit about the times in the south or just one final sum up of chile.  Because i still have 2 weeks in canada, 1 week in new york, and a few days in iceland to update this humble blog with.  If i have enough steam in me i hope to have it all up to date before i head off for mainland europe on the 16th in the morning, but like all my posts dont hold me to it =)

Peace oot as i would say in canada and hope you enjoyed it eh!

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Some fun facts about Peru.

First of all none of this are facts but rather observations so if you find anything that is not true or offensive don’t hurt me i am just commenting on what I have observed.

Before i start to write about the arrival in peru i will tell a fun story about how aussies are everywhere and we are really easy to spot. Waiting at the airport in Santiago feeling sick as a dog i was lying down on some seats trying to keep the feeling of about to throw up at bay when i could hear 2 girls talking a few meters away. I was so sure that they were aussie but not being able to see their passports i was not 100% sure. I got up to ask if i was about to get priority boarding as i was feeling crook like i mentioned before and on the way back to my seat i asked them if they were aussies. turns out that they were and they lived in Sydney not to far away from my cousin and one of them was studying at Newcastle the year before! Left it at that when we got on the plane and that was that.

After arriving in Peru around midnight hardly able to walk, i needed to go through all the immigration stuff, but thankfully being on a chilean passport made it much quicker. (For the people who don’t know i spent an entire day in bed with vomit and the runs. it was pretty horrible i would sit next to the toilet waiting for it all to come back up or down. But i was unable to move my flight as it was already too close so i had to just deal with it.)

so back to the whole getting to peru thing once though immigration collected my bag and walked to the exit of the airport to find a little thing with a button to push to see if i had to x-ray my bag. it just let me though which i find odd that Lima airport had such a system as every other airport i had travelled though always had a check which i thought was fair enough, but peru which i heard has a lot of problems with drugs and other naughty things coming into the country just had a random check system.

Walking out of the arrivals i am shocked to see hundreds of people waiting at the exit and i knew none of them i walked through the small opening and kept walking to the exit hoping that kuki would recognise me out of the crowd as i had no memory of what he looked like. suddenly i heard a voice say “Tomi, aqui” (Tomi, Here) and there was Kuki waiting for me.

When i arrived home all i did was change into my pj’s and go to sleep. kuki gave me a sports drink to sip on which was the first bit of liquids i was able to hold down in about 18 hours and i knew i would be alright the next day.

I woke at around 9 and kuki’s mother in law made me some chicken soup which was REALLY GOOD!!!

later that day i went out with my aunty Luciana (19 years old) and 2 other cousins to a place called “Miraflores”. While walking around Miraflores i discovered that unlike Santiago which is a city of stray dogs Lima is a city of stray cats. After we finished exploring Miraflores Luci took me for a quick drive along the coastal road to show me a bit of the peruvian coast.

While driving along the coast Luci hit a pothole with both passenger side wheels and then the car started to make lots of noise so i told her to quickly pull over where safe to have a look. after a quick look it seemed that only the front wheel was flat, so i got out the spare wheel and went to work on it. But as i was starting to work on that wheel i looked at the back one and saw that it was also flat, but because it was in soft sand it was not as deformed. Time to call the tow truck! waited for about 20 min for it but  the time we got to the tyre place to fix it 1 hour had passed. Discovered that australia is way over priced when it comes to fixing this type of thing. We paid 5 soles to get the wheel fixed. that is less than $2!!! how is it possible that some Peruvian dude it a workshop in a dodgy part of town could do it for that cheap and an aussie will charge at least $20 for something that takes him less than 5 min!

spent another few days in lima until nick arrived after his epic 52 hour bus trip from Santiago. That night we went out for a quick drive though the CBD and then to a park that was full of fountains, but as luck would have it we forgot the camera and had left it had home! which was annoying because it was really pretty. while walking around the park we got to a big fountain and as we are watching it 2 girls start walking towards us and i realise i know those faces… it was the australia girls from the airport! after a second chance meeting in Lima we exchanged name and did the modern way of keeping in contact. Facebooked each other.

another of the days that we spent in Lima we went exploring the CBD just nick and i. ¬†during that trip we discovered that taxi drivers in peru are almost like puppies in that they can’t wait for anything and that they get excited very easily. ¬†I will back this up by telling a story. ¬†On the way into “el centro” we got our taxi the whole time he was on the horn and going though the smallest gaps in order to get there no quicker. ¬†while getting right into the CBD the traffic was moving about 10 -20 meters at a time in that distance we was speeding up to around 25km/h and then hard braking. ¬†in one of those braking moments the traffic didn’t move as much as he wanted and we are pretty sure we heard some sort of bang, but he didn’t seem to mind as all taxi’s in peru had battle scars. ¬†he was honestly beeping his horn the moment the light would turn red so that everyone would get closer together for the start when it went green again! ¬†but enough of that. in the city we walked around and saw that there was lots of police with very big automatic guns outside the presidential palace which was a little alarming, being south america we thought something big was happening but it turned out to be that it was the day of the police officer and they were just holding something in its honour. ¬†We kept exploring and crossed a river and walked though a market which looked a little hmmm… but not heaps bad as we continued though we reached a church looked down the street next to it turned around and went back. ¬†Not being dramatic or anything and nick being my witness will be able to say that it honestly looked like if we went down there we would go back home with lighter pockets and maybe less fingers or hands. it was pretty scary. ¬†we returned to the safer part of town walked around a little more, were getting ready to go to the water park and discovered that it was shut that night! that means we never got a chance to get any pictures of it =(

a few days later we got our flight to Cuzco and i will write about that more in detail in the Cuzco edition of this blog but i will give 2 tips right now. If you go to a bar in Cuzco called paddy’s just off plaza de armas and want to have a piscola (pisco and coke) don’t call it a piscola you get a really dirty look from the bartender rather call it the most gay name ever a “peru libre” or a free peru. And the other thing to remember from peru is that small kumbi busses as dodgy in that they fit at least 25 people inside a Hi-ace van and that you need to agree on a price for a taxi when you are going to the station to go to machu piccu or else the driver will try to rip you off, but again more detail later in the next post.

arriving back in Lima after about 8 days in Cuzco (i think) we stayed one more night at the pons muzzo complex (about 4 families from the same family all live on the same property in different houses) and the next day got our bus back to tacna. after sleeping, being woken up to get bag checks in the middle of no where and still having to pay to use the toilet which was a urinal open to the elements that was full of wee, we got to tacna and found a way to get to the border with chile in a taxi and spent a lot of time waiting to cross over…

Summing up Peru was pretty cool.  If we are low on cash it is no issue because they are lower on cash than you and because of that everything is really cheap. talking food for 2 people for 3 days for about $5 cheap.  Also parts of it are really pretty, i would have loved to have seen more of it not just Lima and Cuzco because Lima is just a city. at least from what i saw maybe going with someone who knows a little more it would be nicer, but for us it was just a city and it was pretty gray and browny in colour.  Cuzco was much cooler when you would leave the main street and see more of the working Cuzco that i guess most tourist wont see.  And from what everyone said that there is other cities and towns that are in the mountains and on the coast that are really cool and much better.

The Cuzco edition of this blog will be out soon and in that section the machu piccu journey will be included.

Happy reading and comment if you like or have any questions about anything =)

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It’s ok, i’m still alive!

Hey, very long time since my last post. Pretty much quick run down on what i have done since my last post way back in argentina.

Went to chile and met up with nick.

Had a fun day filled with vomit and squirts.

Arrived to peru and discovered that hitting a pot hole really hard on the coastal road can in fact break both wheels of a car!

Cuzco is really high up and Literally takes your breath away.

Machu picchu is not so high up and still takes your breath away even once aclimatised.

South american strikes really do stop EVERYTHING.

Australians have no idea what a lack of rain looks like.

Christmas with extended family is really different and really nice.

Got to meet my lunch 2 days before eating it, it was a white rabbit.

In vi√Īa del mar it is really just like a little argentina in the summer.

All the alternate kids will love valpariso, it is just a massive newtown on a big hill.

There are other newyears that are as good as sydney.

The south of chile is the most amazing place on earth. I walked up a river that was once lava and is now just massive amounts of rock.

I will write all of that is detail and more once i get back to santiago, which is in about a week more.

One last thing is that i will be going to canada a little later than planned, which i think is actually a really good thing!

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Beer and m√°te are not a good idea…

Well the last few days have been a little (very) different to my first two days.

Firstly from friday till sunday i was staying with my aunty and my cousins, two of which are my age give or take 1 1/2 years, and the little one is 12.  So it has been a little more interesting.  Dont get me wrong about my great aunt, she is lovely but it is nice to be with people that are not 60 years your senior all the time.  

But on to the activities of the last 3 days.¬† On friday Pati the aunty that picked me up from the airport took Iris (great aunt), her mother in law, her and I to a place called Tigre, the word “tigre” might sound familiar to those of you that like Zoolander!¬† But anyway, Tigre is a little town that is on the edge of the river plate delta and has lots of little islands and markets and stuff. it is very touristy but, it is citizens of Buenos Aires touristy.¬† In that people that live in Buenos Aires visit there on the weekend as a family day out.¬†

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But anyways, in Tigre we bought some little things like a bombilla for m√°te etc.¬† Some of you that read this will know that i have a very sweet tooth and that nothing is ever TOO rich in sweetness for me. I found something that was too sweet there! It is call super dulce de leche which was a flavour of icecreme that that sell here which was amazing! Dulce de leche is a type of caramel that is made from condensed milk by heating it for an extended perior of time.¬† It is the number 1 thing that Australia lacks in terms of really nice foods! We also had choripan and then went home back to pati’s house.¬† I finally got to meet 2 more of my cousins, Rodi and Facu, Rodi is 22 and Facu is 12.¬†

Later on friday night we went to another aunties house as it was her husbands birthday and there all the rest of the cousins were, except Rodi because it was his best friends birthday also that night, but anyway onto the thing that i have liked the most about Argentina so far. 

Family.¬† At the birthday everysingle person that i met is greeted with a kiss on the cheek and then who you are =P¬† That is male or famale, and that is how it is.¬† Then with all the cousins they are cousins, but also all the cousins girlfriends that are also cousins.¬† For example Agostina and Belu which are Nico and Santi’s girlfriends get called prima by all the cousins,¬† I think it is a really nice way that people get accepted into the family.¬† Because you can get accepted in that you are known to be important in the family, but to get title of being a true family member from the rest is different.¬† And so you know being a cousin is almost like being a brother or sister.¬† But yes that night some beer was drunk, and some m√°te which is like¬†a herbal thing that is drunk over here.¬† But if you drink both together inside your gut it bloats you like you would not believe!¬† Got up the next morning and looked 3 to 4 months prego!¬† But anyway, that night was my first night as an Argentinian and we got home at 6am with the sun.

On the saturday after not sleeping once getting home we left the house around 1 1/2 hours later because Facu had a rugby match and presentation again out near Tigre, but it was pretty hot and during the presentation on awards after not sleeping for 28 hours i had a sleep under a tree for about an hour.    We came home from rugby had a swim, got in contact with Eddy,  and at around 9 he came over to pick me up and we went out to eat Malineza and talk till around 11:30pm at which time we split a taxi back to my place and then he went home.  It was so nice to see an old face for the first time in 2 years =D  next day after being dead santi and i both slept in till around 12 and i also had a nap again of about 2 hours a little bit later. 

Rodi finished his uni assignment around 4:30 so from there we went into el centro of Buenos Aires and we were able to get a tour of La Casa Rosara (parlament) walk inside the catherdial, and finally get some pictures infront of the Obelisk which is pretty cool.  from there we went home again via el subte (subway) and a bus and went out to another birthday for some of Pati and families best friends were again it was a lot of answering questions about australia, but because it was younger people asking it was more driving and car based discussions which was a lot nicer =D

from there we left kinda early (so at 1:15 am) and i got dropped off back at Iris’s house and here i am now.¬† I think i will be going out again with Rodi a little later because he wants to show me some more places in Buenos Aires that are meant to be really nice and sometime during this week i think we will be getting the ferry over to Uraguay to Colonia.

Posting again in a few more days, but that is my adventure up to this point.


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The longest day of my life

The 17th of November will be the longest day of my life for a very long time, if not for the rest of my life.  And the reason for that is that i was awake till 3am of that night, slept about 3 1/2 hours and then was awake the entire night (local time) getting 3 more hours of sleep on the plane and arriving the same day that i left at 3pm.  If i had ended my day and called it quits and slept the rest day it would still have been a 38 hour calender day, with 6 hours of break, but instead i was awake till 8pm, extending the day to 43 hours with a 6 hour break making it be 37 hours pretty much being awake!

But now to the fun none complaining bit =D  Having arrived in Buenos Aires it was a totally different experience to sydney and Australia in general.  The Airport that i got to was old, it almost looked like a soviet style building.  But the most amazing thing was that any thing was allowed to drive on the road, and when i say anything I MEAN ANYTHING!!! I had not even got 50 meters our of the airport and a car that had 2 big holes where the headlights should be drives past and i start to get an idea of what to expect. 

As i drove down the Freeway with my aunty and cousin i notice that almost all the cars on the road have some type of battle scar to show that they deserve to be driven in Buenos Aires the capital of Italy in South America.  This is what i imagine Italian cities to be like and i will let you know when i head there later in the trip, but any how that was the first thing that really surprised me.

The other thing that was shocking is how expensive Australia is! just to put this into perspective to get a ticket on the underground train system or “subte” is $1.2 peso.¬† that converted in AU$ is about 30cents.¬† And that is not for just 1 stop, that is the top ticket that takes you from one side to the other!

But yeah it seems like a nice place to be, the main roads are are very dirty with lots of dust and diesel fumes from the trucks, but if you walk one block in, it is all one way streets with trees and its very pretty.

Will keep you all posted and i will make a post every few days which will be a photo post with subtitles of what everything is

Take care and feel free to post comments!


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