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sean and teenas south american trip

Welcome to sean_teena's Travel Page. Here is where I will be keeping a record of my travels for all of you to read. Please feel free to leave a comment for me. If I have time in between discovering new places and meeting new people I will reply to them!

Diary Entries

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Location: Varedero, Cuba

Our finale to the trip ended in Varedero in the region of Matanzas, Cuba....where we took the time to relax in the resort and spend time round the pool, sampling cocktails and enjoying the beautiful beaches!

In addition to that we took the opportunity to venture on two more day trips. Firstly we booked ourselves on a trip to go on a city tour style trip to the region of Matanzas.....which we thought would have been your standard coach tour with lovely views. Much to our suprise but enjoyement it was anything but and we were handed a pair of keys to a jeep to get in and drive betwwen four of us and follow the guide and the rest of the day trippers. We were then thrown into doing some proper sea snorkling, trekking through a cave, horseback riding, swimming in a local cave before taking to the dirt track again and driving the jeeps back to base for close of the day......this was the point where i ended up getting the jeep stuck in the mud!

Our other day trip was on our final day and we got the coach to get a beautiful catermaran to set sail for the day and stop for snorkling, visit an island for lobster lunch before visiting a base where we would get into the water with dolphins and get to spend 20 or so minutes 'swimming with dolphins'....which was a very cool experience!

Overall the last week was a nice way to complete our trip.....(for now that is)............and we were ready to return to England with plenty of action packed and enjoyable memories from all stages and parts of the 2 months away!

Sunday, 08 April 2007

Location: Havana, Cuba

As our week in Havana comes to an end this easter sunday, we have had a great time taking in the city and all its beautiful and old fashioned character!
We started our week with getting to know the city and went on 2 trips, one to a place called Rio de Vines, which is a very wild west kind of place....full of old fashioned and tradional looking cubans! We were taken to a farm where they grow the tobacco and place it in these cooling huts, which was really good to see, then taken to a cigar factory where they show you how each cuban cigar is made and hand made at that....to the finest detail as well! We were also taken to a cave where u take a boat and pass inside the caves, before visiting some scenic beauty along our way back.

To familiarise ourselves with how the city worked and where it all was we took a city tour.....visiting a place where some cuban dude made a cigar 30 meters long! Passing through the Old town and Central Havana is then so amazing to see.....especially in Old Havana as it is like taking a trip back to the 1950`s, what with all the old fashioned cars and run down buildings.......!

During other days in the city, we have explored all there is to see in Havana, mainly the old town.......with an abundance of markets and cigar shops scattered around!

Within Havana there are so many historical parts to take in, and throughout the whole city you are reminded and constantly pass images and captions / quotes of its socialist and revolutionary attitudes....with che gueverra on every possible one!

Nightlife in Havana is especially good and we have been to three different types of nights, first going to the famous hemmingway el floridita bar where a cocktail was supposedly invented. We then went to a salsa night with a live act playing and finally a live jazz club which was really good!

We now move on the final and most relaxing part of the trip in Varedero...where weather permitting it will be our time to chill out and unwind!

Tuesday, 03 April 2007

Location: Havana, Cuba

Our week in Manaus following the 7 day boat trip begun with a city tour, taking in the vast selection of markets and street trade that it contains. We also were taken to the famous Manaus theatre, mainly famous for the opera and fine arts.....it just looked like a typical opera house to us of course! Anyway, other activities and pastimes were visiting the museums, based on either amazonian heritage and american indian history.

To further widen our Manaus and amazonian experiences we also went to the `Sambadrome`, a carnival based venue that we had only heard about and didnt know what it entailed. Saturday night we ventured down there and it was a live music event, very much based on the locals participating and performing these `locally well known dance moves`......we just simply spectated and sampled more beers! On the Sunday we then decided to `do as the locals do` and take a boat from the local port and go to the only beach based place in the region. Sundays as with a lot of places is the day to unwind and drink beers etc....in manaus they like to play their samba music and dance all day on boats and this tiny island with a river shore.........the locals found it funny to pick me out and help me learn a few moves!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Location: Amazonas & Manaus, Brazil

Well the last time we were preparing to leave Rio and head to the unknown of the Amazon and the port city of Manaus.
Arriving in Manaus was yet again a very different experience....the people are much more indain native, with a great deal of similarities to more peruvian and bolivian based cultures and the actual city of Manaus is just one large scale market.....and i mean market.....from its fish/meat and veg/fruit to everything else you could think thata place could possibly sell!

Monday we made our way to the port ready to board our riverboat...where we met our guide called jerison and the cook and the captain...only the guide spoke english of course! It was very strange to grasp at the beginning that we were actually going to be living and functioning totally off this boat..not to mention that there was no shower so a daily bathe in the rivers were our new means of hygiene...but we soon got used to it!

Activities and day to day occurances that we got up to started with getting to see the meeting of the waters between the River Negro and the Amazon...which as the picture shows has a mad contrast from the rich colours of the amazon to the black and acidic colours of the Negro! We then ventured on to sailing down the Amazon....taking in for the first time sights of immense rainforest and nature along with these floating shacks that these river people lived in......very surreal! Next we visited the famous victorian water lillys, before heading off to set up our base for the night at a jungle lodge....which upon our arrival had no electricity and no water........!

Other day activities included night aligator spotting, fishing for piranha on numerous occasions, jungle trekking...seeing the medicine plants and also wildlfe spotting! We also spent an afternoon visiting a river village in the heart of the jungle. The fact that the area was so remote suprised us as this village had everything u could think of....from a school and church to a tv shack and full size footbal pitch....plus the mass abundance of kids took a liking immediately to Teena as she brought along with her a bag full sweets and goodies!

Our most memorable day / night would have to be the excursion to a waterfall in the middle of the forest.....travelled there by a canoe! Once there our jungle guide and native indian friend called mr roberto set up our camp and prepared our jungle dinner.....basically some wooden scewers with lumps of chicken on it, a bowl of rice and a variety of jungle fruits. Once fed and settled we were to sleep purely in a hammock with a plastic cover over our head and a mossi net. The nights events soon unfolded as an immensely strong storm broke out...happening to destroy poor Teenas hammock and totally drench her...for which she had to then cope with all night. She was less than impressed i tell you!

Overall it was a fantastic week and experience......we had a great guide, comical captain and a great cook who fed us home cooked amazon cuisines constantly.......im missing her cooking already!

Friday, 16 March 2007

Location: Brazil

So since i last updated we had been on the city tour to the main tourist sights......
Since then we have been fairly busy and have been on 2...u could say 3 other excursions. We went on a trip to a place called Buzios, which is a little fishing village with a beautiful beach and shopping / bar areas. It took over 3 hrs to reach it in this grotty little van but i was worth it and nice to get out of the hustle and bustle of Rio and the copacabana front!
We also went on an island tour trip...same again...took 2 hours to get to the port for the boat but once on the boat...it was really good....music and beers / food etc. The boat stops off at an island...tells u to jump off then leaves u for a bit...comes back and on we go again. It stopped off and lets u do some deep sea diving and snorkling.....which i did and loved it! Then on to the final island of Il Grande....where we chilled out before our return.
The best and most random day we had was yesterday was that we decided about 48hrs ago when returning home from a meal and drinks to preliminarily put our names down to handglide off a 1500ft mountain along the coast of Rio. Handgliding in Rio is very dependent on the weather and the right wind speeds as u can imagine. Anyway.....we ended up doing it yesterday...both of us and what a class experience that was. They take u up...meet ur in co pilot and practice once before running off the edge....always wanted to do something like it so was glad to do it.....teena was very happy she had done it too.
Apart from sampling the food, beers, meeting some guy from our hotel called Peter and going out for a meal and drinks.....theres been beaches and a bit more beaches and plenty to keep us occupied to say the least!
We are off to the Favelas today....the slums of Rio...on a tour ofcourse, are off to a samba show on sat night and then off to the jungle in the middle of sunday/monday night.......so will update soon....a week or so!

Friday, 09 March 2007

Location: rio de janeiro

we arrived in rio on the 5th march and it took us a couple of days to get our bearings. we are staying on the main and most famous strip....avenue atlantico which is where the copacana strip and beach is. The hotel is nice and we have a balcony on the 10th floor......with a pool on the roof terrace....very fancy!!!!!!

we have so far sampled the copacana and ipenema beaches........with ipenema the best for surf and strong waves......gona try the body boarding i think very soon!!!

wednesday 7th march we went to football match.....the local and biggest team flamengo were playing in a rio cup final....what an experience.......nothing like english football. the fans are wild, they have no stewards, they sing and dance the whole match and then party after.....obviously helped by the fact they won that is!

today...the 9th march...we went on a city tour....taking in the sugarloaf, christ the redeemer, some new cathedral, the famous maracana stadium and some other beaches etc

much more news to follow so will keep u updated next week!

Sunday, 04 March 2007

Location: salvador - Barra & pelerinho, Brazil

as we prepare for our departure today to rio de janeiro i will update u with all that has been going on.....as best i can anyway!
our 2 week stay started in quite exhausting fashion, our flights were delayed and we took longer than expected....id say about a day and a half in total. When we arrived we were faced with quite amazing sites of the largest and wildest party i have ever known of......the brazilian carnival.
Purely functioning of adrenaline and excitement we went straight into the carnival,....and lasted the majority of the night........no pictures unfortunately as it is far too dangerous.....consider 2 million people packed in a street for miles.
Anyway, once that was over and the post carnival atmosphre had died down we settled in our nice and spacious room for our 9 night stay. The first couple of days we experienced major tropical rain......this is rain never seen before...its hard and the temperature remains at 25 degrees and more.
Once that had settled we spent some of the days just taking in the local beaches and sites, and sampling the different cuisines etc.
Salvador has many beaches, from the local one in Barra where its like a market cos they sell everything...to luxurious ones like playo de flamingos, itapua, piata etc.....which we went to as many as we could, where I got the stangest looks whilst Teena quickly tanned and blended in.......
In the evenings we went to many of the restaurants and sampled the different food......the main dish being fish ofcourse and specifically a dish called 'Moquica',.....lovely i must say! There is also tasty rice bean and meat dishes, steaks, more fish and i even managed to eventually sample some japanese food.....always wanted to and glad i did!
We were quite fortunate how our stay worked out as there was a local brazilian who worked at our pousada called Adriano, very helpful and willing. He had invited a friend of his from London called Arron to visit to see what Salvador was all about so we kind of befriended them and ended up going out on day trips and in the evenings, meeting another girl called Natalie also (a very experienced traveller to say the least who was travelling alone), aswell as two more of Adrianos friends from Austria who we got to know. One evening specifically was a good experience as we went to a local afro brazilian concert........
we had a meal, took in the sites and danced the night away. There concerts really do put English 'gigs ' to shame.......they last all night and they just simply love partying and dancing till the last drum is struck.....this i have photoes and a brief video of!
Other trips we went on with our newly found friends was a full day of taking in all the history and local heritage....from a very special church called 'bonfim church' which is a place of pilgrimage and where u make wishes. Also we saw an old defence fort, more local cuisine, the markets which sell all arts and crafts and much more. Another night we simply sampled the Brazilian beer as much as possible....very nice!
One of the most beautiful parts of Salvador is its churches and the picturesque views they have. One church in specific is purely made out of Gold, solid and real gold.......i have the pictures to prove it. This church is very sacred and access is restricted for obvious reasons.
We have been on a number of day trips during our stay. We went to a place called 'Morro de Sao Paulo', a beautiful island that u take a bus and a speed boat to. There, there is a collection of lovely beaches and a little village.....although it has the makings of developing into a 'Ibiza type resort' in years to come! We also went to a turtle planetarium for endangered sea turtles. They have turtles from new born to up to 80 years old.
On friday 2nd March we moved to a place in the town called 'Pelerinho' which is a very old town, and is protected under the UNIESCO heriatge....which basically means that none of its features or history can be touched in any way! Pelerinho is beautiful.......every night there is music and afro brazilian drums beating somewhere. On sat 3rd March we went to a local Bahian Show which gives you an insite into all aspects of their culture........from the religion, local sport of capoeira to the classic samba music.
Yesterday....4th March we were fortunate enought to watch a small part of a Church service.....a very different experience and good to have seen.
I will end my update here and return once settled in Rio.......hopefully being much more frequent in filling u in on our activities!


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Recent Messages

From Tom
Alright dude

good to hear its going good, bet its nice to chill out for a while. U better get saving when your home coz im lookin for poeple to go away for a few long wknds over the summer hope your up for it. Was thinking of the Bull run in spain suppose to be a good party. See u next week.,
Response: easy now mate.....its been really gud in cuba.....a few weekends away in summer sounds cool.....once i recovered from this trip and got the cash!
From Bruce (aka Chunk)
How do sweety,
its looks and sounds amazing out there, you must be having the time of your lives!!! you have not missed much around hear, same old same old!! i hope the both of you have a fantastic last week or so and look forward to hearing all the stories when your back.
Take care and see you soon.
Response: ahh bruce....was wondering when i was goin to hear from u! Its been class mate...strongly recommend it....speak soon!
From mum
havana sounds great! you sound a bit sad as the trip is coming to an end! cats gone to the pics, wet day 2day . Im very impressed by your reporting and language skills .its like reading a news update ! enjoy the finale!!!!
Response: All is good and we are enjoying cuba....updates have been halted as cuba restricts email and internet.....bit of a pain! see u all soon! x
From Annemarie
Hi
Happy Easter!
Have just read all your news, sounds like you've really enjoyed yourselves. Everything is good here, enjoying a bit of good weather for a change.. (nothing like the sunshine you have seen.) Am off for a week now, thank god! am hoping to do a few nice things with the kids and relax. Looking forward to when you get back... are you? or have you got the travelling bug ?
Enjoy the rest of your hols xxx
Response: A late happy easter to u too.....email access is restricted here......first time on in ages! Sunshines all day here....even managed to add some colour to the irish skin for once! Tell niamh and ciaran i come bearing great gifts....bits of all the places ive seen! x
From Dave
Sounds amazing you two. After reading what you've wrote about it, it sounds better than i imagined. Ive not had the chance to post my message earlier, but ive finally got my ass in gear and remembered that you guys still exist - you've been gone for ages! I hope your gonna bring some cigars back.N

Response: Hello there mr horton......good to hear from u mate...hope all is well....emailed u ages ago but began to wonder whether u got it at all....anyway....no fear mate i return with cigars for the lads....!
From mum
glad to hearu are enjoying yourselves happy easter weather is lovely here only 10 days left! cat sends her love looking forward to more pics.
Response: Happy easter to you all....havana has been really nice, nightlife is great and looking forward to winding down in our last week in varedero....rest and relaxation for the 1st time since leaving! x x
From Rory
Wonder why the locals picked on you mate?!! Cuba sounds cool, looking forward to some more photos real soon. Will be good to see you when you get back soon, although I shouldn't really say that as you guys probably want to stay out there forever... don't we all!! Glasto tickets was a failure again, was pretty gutted but now can't be bothered with it anyway, probably go away that week now. Take it easy speak soon.
Response: alrite mate....all is gud here, still plenty do do and a bit more time to do it yet...not long now unfortunately though! Didnt really have much hope for the glasto tkts...did anyone get 1..? Im sure the line up wouldnt be much to shout about.....better off going away for the week id say! speak and see u guys soon i suppose...take it easy!
From Gooner Nick
Hey there crusties,

Good to hear you're having a brill time.. How you finding Cuba? Try and go to Floriditas, its a famous bar in Havna, its where they invented the Daiquari cocktail allegedly.. They've opned one in London now so when you're back and pining for some Salsa you can re live the experience..

All is well here, oh and kid, send mum a text or something, they've not heard from you for a few days and you know what they're like...
Response: Cuba so far so good!! have had a brill time in havana....took your advice and been on horse ride....check! night life is especially good....they really love their music over here.....glad to hear all is well, will be back in a week....cant believe it! off to Varadero tomoz and looking forward to doing nothing! x x
From aunt scary
Sean happy belated birthday when are you both coming to this neck of the woods
Response: Thanks for birthday regards......once we've recharged our travelling batteries and sorted ourselves out, me and teena would love to take a trip to the states to see u all....hope all is well x x x
From Niamh and Ciaran
Hi Uncle Sean and Teena

Happy Birthday- sorry its belated but mummy forgot to tell us. We are being good... looking forward to Easter and getting lots of chocolate eggs. Have a good holday.. we are looking forward to seeing you, but U. Sean don't pick me up( Niamh)!
lots of love xxxxxxxxx
Response: awwhh thanks niamh and ciaran......uncle sean is having a very nice time and has got u both some nice presents. lots of love..uncle sean x x x
From annemarie
Hi
Hope you had a good birthday. sorry i didn't email yesterday... hope you and Teena enjoyed the celebration.
25 eh! Getting old! Speak soon x
Response: Knew u didnt forget completely....just a touch late like i was for urs i guess! Had a nice day......much different to my other 24 birthdays.......25...old u may think...but ur always that 3 years older i guess! speak soon x x x
From Tom
Yo
The jungle look amazing especially the cooking on the fire i love that stuff, did u catch what you ate? I cant wait to see all the pictures. I suppose your time in Brazil is coming to an end now i hope u had fun there im well up for going back with u one day. Teena looks really skinny. speak soon
Response: Yeh that jungle feast was one of the main highlights.....as well as aligator spotting in pitch black and sleeping in the jungle of course....! Our time in Brazil comes to an end on Monday.....seen enough for now id say....looking forward to chilling out in cuba...esp havana! speak soon
From mum and caitriona
happy birthday geeek.
picture were brill, u look like a local! place looks brill, no spiders in sight, yet! xxxxxxxx
I'm a celebrity get me out of here!!!ha, ha.
Response: No pics of spiders unfortunately.....we tried to wake up a taranchala and its family one day but no response!
From SIobhan and Aisha
Wah blow Steen! Get your skinny brown ass home soon, we miss you!!!!

We are sitting round Aisha's planning the hen party and jealously browsing through your gorgeous pics!

Love to you and Sean, xxxx
Response: Hello girlies!! Good to hear from you....having a great time still, but of course missing you!! Hope there is plenty of goss for when im back...not long now! Glad to hear hen party is being arranged....is there an invite for me although cant make wedding??!! Hope so! anyhow....will be in touch when im back....kisses to ella...bet shes missing the `sweety fairy!'......see you soon ladies x x x
From Rory
Did a long message before, but it hasn't appeared for some reason, so not writing it again!! Just to say, Happy Birthday mate. Stay safe, see you soon.
Response: i know mate...i got both...... i have to reply for it to appear on the screen...cheers anyhow......the jungle was definately one of the highlights of my trip......u would have really enjoyed it.....aligators and piranha to name but a few......but saw no anacondas....i suppose thats a good thing!
From Rory
Happy Birthday mate, I'm sure it will be one to remember! Glad you sruvived the jungle, I was a bit worried about you and those pirahna fish! Anyway, I'll get you a few late birthday beers when your back, have a good one, take it easy, see you soon.
Response: cheers mate........
From Tom
Alright dude

Jus thought i would leave you a message to say happy birthday, hope your having a good time, we will have to celebrate when you get home. What date are you coming back coz i was thinking of going to the grand National for my bday, but its not on until 14th April. See u soon lets see some pics of the jungle, i bet that was an experience i have always fancied the amazon.
Response: cheers mate, and a happy birthday for saturday if i dont get the chance to say it again! im back in the uk on the 16th / morning of the 17th i think so wont be able to im afraid........but a few beers when i return are well overdue! the jungle was something else.........
From
Hi Sean and Teena just saw your web site hope you have a great time the handgliding looked exciting but scary take care from Mary and co
Response: Thanks for the message mary....very good to hear from you...and the gang! Hope all is well in your end.....teena sends her regards x
From
hope your jungle trip is gud cant wait to hear and see pics lots of post 4 u here! talk soonxxxxxxxmum
Response: we are alive..........! yeah it was really gud.....will write my updates sometime this week!
From Russ & Dora
Hey, Guys,

Pictures are great, Looks and sounds like you are having a ball.
Dora and I are WELL Jealous!!
Keep having fun and keep safe. We will keep checking your site for updates.
Speak Later
Response: Hello!! finally i have a message on this thimg....was beginning to feel unloved, lol!!! glad you like the site....clearly not my doing! hope all is well at home with everything....missing you all! take a look at our other pics, cant believe i atually slept on a boat for a week!! hmmmm! talk soon x x x
From caitriona
hi geeek and teena
wow! hangliding and snorkling sounds great! im guessin sky diving is next?! really impressed by the travel page as well..cant beleve ur keeping up to date! im ok, got another gig this week wont be up to your standards but should be gud.Im thinkin about going to leeds festival for a day, whay dya think?oh and by the way, what happened to ur phone?! xxxx
Response: handgkiding was very good....the skydive is next...1 day! Leeds for 1 day....that'll be gud....the whole weekend even better but defo a good idea....might go myself yet! my phone...well it was bad luck at its worst....had a glass of water next to my bed and the glass was leeking and leeked a puddle where my phone was laying....gutted!
From Annemarie

Just a quick hello! Was in O Sheas last night for paddys night, had a great time...
The pics of handgliding look good, can't believe you and Tenna did that, your both very brave!!! Speak soon xx
Response: All part of the experience i suppose.........hope all is well....spk soon
From
han d gliding looks great Glad you didnt tell me b4 u did it!
all ok here? luv mum& catxxxxx
Response: well we were never gona tell anyone till we actually followed it through.......plus u would probably have warned me off.....anyway....alls good here ....x
From Rory
Alright lad! (hello to you too Teena!) looks like you are having an amazing time, the hang gliding looks especially class! Glad you are enjoying the trip, you certainly aint missed much at home, alhough we have all registered for Glastonbury tickets, they go on sale in a couple of weeks, sure you aint to bothered about that anyway after experiencing festivals South America style! Paddys day today, big chance that Ireland will win the six nations rugby, we'll be avin a few bulmers down cassidys tonight most probably, sure you will find somewhere green! Helen is cool, still working, still going gym, still playing footie, still going for beers! keep having fun, see you both soon! Keep in touch
Response: handgliding was really good, teena loved it very much........am sure u would have been up for it if presented with the opportunity! good to hear all good...was beginning to wonder if u had received any of my emails......enjoy paddys day mate and good luck with the fight for glasto tickets!
From Tom
Well there must be an irish pub there is in every city in the world. I doubt they will have one in the jungle though. That will be amazing, i have always wanted to go to the Amazon, make sure u take lots of pics. beware of the pirahnas and Anacondas. See u soon bud.
Response: ohhh we'll be sure to look out for everything in that jungle mate......nah theres no paddy pub in rio...believe me! we are off to a rio show and samba thing tonite so will have to combine my celebrations!