Location: Lima, Peru
Hola for the last time from South America...we are totally lost in translation right now, it seems only yesterday we were here in Lima..but this time we can speak a bit of Spanish and we know where we are going and how to avoid crazy street vendors!!
We can´t believe that our trip has come to an end, but we sure did pack in a lot in these 3 months. On to new different adventures, and we are so very excited to see everyone over the holidays.
We are also excited for Tim Horton´s and Toffifee in the TO airport..haha. That is exactly what we will be doing during our 4 hour lay over.
Can´t wait to see everyone!!! Love you all....Jan and Jen
Location: Arica, Chile
Arrived in Arica on Saturday, another city right smack dab in the middle of sand dunes and the ocean. We are staying at a ¨party hostel¨...thought it would be a good place to end off our days in Chile. So we did it up well last night, partying until the early morning hours....There was some live entertainment with balloons andsparkles falling from the cieling...and of course we proceeded to have a sparkle fight at the bar so we have been shedding sparkles all day, they just won´t come off... so we look liek we have gold lice in our hair...people look at us in disgust..haha!
Loving our last lazy days on the beach as we have no money left to do anything else. We did hike up a sand mountain today to the old battle grounds of the war between Peru and Chile in 1880... interesting site with an incredible view of the Arica. There was also a big statue of Jesus overlooking the city as will...they sure love their statues in SA. We checked out a museum to see some old mummies, textiles, fabrics and how the people lived in the desert when...
Well gang this will be our last entry from Chile...heading off to Lima, Peru tomorrow. Should be quite the adventure....hopping on a bus, going over the border, then taking a taxi somewhere and then hopping on our last bus from Tacna to Lima...this all should take about 20 hours...looking forward to it.
Location: La Serena/Iquique, Chile
So basically we have been living one night on a bus and one night in a hostel..back and forth. From our last entry we visited a place called La Serena, although it wasn´t that Serene. It was cold and cloudy and our hostel man was kind of a poop. We did however get to go to this very cool Observatory as Chiliean skies are an astronamers dream...clear 300 some odd days a year, little light pollution and high altitude in the Andes. We got to see the moon (craters and all), some different constellations as well as some very clustered galaxies...very cool!! We sereiously learnt more in a few hours than all of our school science classes collectively.
Now we are in a city called Iquique (I-kee-kay). It took us a month to learn how to pronounce it properly....we are much happier here. Our hostel is right across from the beach, its sunny and hot, and we have the coolest huge sand dunes as our backdrop..couldn´t ask for much more.
This morning we went paragliding off those giant sand mountains. Basically we get strapped to a little Chilean dude and run off the mountain and let the wind carry us around for a half hour. We had beautiful views of the city, the coast line and the other dunes. We even landed right on the beach amongst the soccer players and sunbathers....we were a pretty big deal!! For the rest of the day we lazed on the beach, the Pacific ocean is still a little ¨chile¨but Jen braved it for a quick dip anyways...Jan was lazy!
Tomorrow we are off to our last stop in Chile, a little surf town named Arica...just 20 minutes south of the Peruvian border. Can´t believe we are on our last week, time flies when your havin fun!! See you all soon! xo from the J´s
Location: Valparaiso, Chile
We´re in Chile, it isnt chilly and we are trying our darnest just to try and find some Chili..haha just so we can say that!
Anywho, we´ve been in Chile for the last two days. We started off with a 3 hour wait at the Chilean border at 2am with a bunch of people who don´t speak English...wow what a ball of fun. We arrived in Santiago early in the morning, in time for a siesta (nap), in our North American hostel...we swear everyone was from the USA...it was kind of weird not having to point and say no intiendo all the time!! After we were refreshed we explored the city, did some shopping, and bought ingredients to actually cook a meal..the funds are getting low!!
We also discovered that Jen has been getting bitten by bed bugs, and they swell and puss, and she looks great!! She seems to be transporting them with her, as she wakes up with new ones for us to look at. Keeps us entertained most mornings at breakfast...
Now we are in Valparaiso, a port city in the Pacific Ocean. We are off to the beach today, hopefully we will be able to jump in the water as we havent been in the Pacific yet on this trip.
The 10 day count down is on...we are excited to see you all..snow meh not so much!! ciao x
Location: Mendoza, Argentina
Buenos Tardes amigos...we have sadly come to the point in our trip where we are about to enter our last country! AHHHHHHHHH
We left Buenos Aires for Mendoza and decided to go all out and opt for the Executive bus....we´re talkin champagne, big meals, full lay down bed/seats, ENGLISH speaking movies..it was fantastic!!!
In Mendoza we have kept ourselves very enterained with all of the outdoor activities offered in this area. As soon as we got off the bus we headed out on a wine tour (as this is known as wine country). We went to 3 different wineries, tasting mostly red wines and getting a bit tipsy. Our last stop was a chocolate factory where we also got to try some flavored liquors! It was a very good welcome to Mendoza. It also helped that our hostel had free wine all day and all night, it gave us a real feel for the city!!
The day after we saddled up our horses and rode out into the country. In the foothills of the Andes we meandered about, trying our hand at different types of riding (trotting, cantering and the occasional gallop). The saddles are made a bit different here so our bums were less than impressed with the galloping...and boy did we feel the affects the next day. We were walking around like 80 year old women who had played on a sea saw too long. So we decided it would be a good day to check out the city, do some shopping and lounge by our pool (oooohhh tough life we know!!)
Our last day we did some white water rafting and some zip lining. Both of which were a lot of fun, and got our hearts a pumpin`! A great way to finish off an amazing country..tonight we are on, yup you guessed it, another night bus to Santiago, Chile.
Location: Buenos Airies, Argentina
Hola Family and Friends!
So we have been in the beautiful city of Buenos Airies for the last five days...took the bus from Rosario Thursday where we took out Jan´s beloved braids...can you say AFRO!!..haha..took the train to our hostel where we immediately met more Irish and started on the jugs of beer. People in this city really like to use up every hour of their day...you don´t even go to the bar until 1 or 2 am, so lets just say we have seen many o sunrises...and living on basically 2 hours of sleep a day.
During the day we find thing to do pretty easily, in a city of 12 million people. We visited the most insane cemetery ever where all of the graves are big elaborate stone buildings with caskets inside..the most notable being Evita´s tomb (The dont cry for me Argentina lady). We´ve shopped till we dropped in the blocks upon blocks of markets and stores and eatin parts of cows every night in style served by men in tuxedos. We took in a tango show (as this city lives and breathes the beautiful dance) and most recently experienced a ¨futball¨game in the cultured part of Buenos Aires. There were 45 000 people, screaming, chanting, singing and waving flags and T-shirts around for the entire 5 hours that we were there..pretty intense to say the least (we had to have seperate entrances for the fans, SWAT teams, helicopters and loogeys were being spit everywhere)
To sum it up..BA is a beautiful city lined with gorgeous historical buildings and big old trees where you could wander around for hours and we love the atmosphere even though we tend to prefer smaller centers. Tonight we are off to a place called Mendoza for some more action adventure sports..need to work off some of these extra pounds before we come home!!
Location: Rosario, Argentina
WE GOT ROBBED! Ok it wasnt that dramatic, but we did get our bags rummaged through while we were sleeping on the bus on our way to Rosario. The buggers even got through our locks, but thankfully they did not steal anything TOO important (Jen´s IPOD charger, battery charger and all of her hygeine products, and Jans speakers..and her bath towel..creepy) Not the end of the world, but it put us in a crabby mood yesterday morning...however that changed quickly when we discovered what a beautiful city Rosario is. It was even voted Argentina´s best city.
It is very historical. We visited a monument where the first flag of Argentina was flown, and the man that designed it was buried. The city is full of beautiful old buildings, churches and museums. We edumacated ourselves in one of the more modern Historical museums, as well as enjoyed an afternoon on the river beach. It feels a bit like Saskatoon actually.
Back on a bus to Buenos Aires..look for new improved Jen and Jan as the braids are coming out and we are getting haircuts!!!yay. AHHHHHHHHHHHHH we are coming home in 3 weeks today...yeesh!
Location: Porto Iguazu, Argentina
So we have arrived in Argentina, back to Spanish, but, like we know the difference. Of course, we the seasoned travellers drove through the Brazilian border without giving our exit forms or receiving our exit passport stamps..hey we had just gotten off a 23 hour bus ride give us a break. So we got stamped into Argentina, had to ride the bus all the way to town, stay on and get stamped out of Argentina, walk around the Brazilian border till we could find where to get stamped out...and yes then get stamped back into Argentina..a two hour process in 35 degree weather..with all of our bags...we still blame the bus driver!!
Anywho, after that was all settled we checked into the Ritz of all hostels, complete with a gigantic pool which we dove right into..after the ritual welcome cervesa...we feel it necessary to try every country´s beer when get there. We also got the full Argentinian experience with our first nights supper..MEAT..and lots of it. We´ve been hearing for weeks about Argentinian steak..and boy did we ever indulge. The waiter came out with a huge sword of the most tender sirloin steak, onions, bacon and red pepper. Seriously the skewer...but it was actually a sword..was as big as Jen. We are definitely going to enjoy this country.
Yesterday we visited one of the wonders of the world (whether it is a natural, or new one we are not too sure) but it was a wonder none the less. Iguazu Falls... Wow!! Our pictures dont do it justice because there are just so many falls, and they are so big. Iguazu Falls lie between the Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil borders. They are made up of almost 300 waterfalls, the biggest falling from 70 meters..and it stretches 2.7 kms...they are just unreal! We even got to take a boat ride into some of the tamer waterfalls and had our first shower in weeks...j/k
Today we are back in full fledge travel mode again, boarding another long 18 hour bus (we are going to be professional bus riders after this trip)..off to a place called Rosario...keep the messages a comin, they brighten our days..
OH and heck ya, we wanna give a shout to all the rider fans out there!!! WOO HOO
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Todo Bang..(hey what's up)..RIO baby, the city of girls from Ipanema, Carnaval, Lola and her Cabana, JC lookin out for everyone..life, love and o transvestites. This city has it all...and its also one of the most beautiful cities we have ever travelled to.
So we got here on Tuesday after a long and smelly bus ride (19 hours and for some reason it smelt like the toilet) but was rewarded with being able to meet up with our Irish friends that we left in Bolivia (Deb and Laura). Our hostel is in Copacabana and the famous beach is just steps away. Of course we walked the strip, enjoyed a coconut, ate some street meat and watched people (its amazing how not modest men in tighty whitey speedos can be LOL)
We ve checked out some of the sights..Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, a cable car tour up to Sugar Loaf mountain for spectacular panoramic views of the city, and of course to the top of Corcovado to hang out with Jesus himself (although he did stand 130 feet above us)...and of course we visited a shopping mall...we had to splurge a little and get some clothes to go out in. One last night out on the town with our friends before we head to Iquazu Falls on Saturday (ugh 23 hour bus ride..why do they do this to us)
Rio is a very cool city. A great way to end off Brazil and we've enjoyed our time here..like really once you've seen Jesus how do you beat that...
Location: Arraial DŽAjuda, Brazil
Yet another beach town, but we´re not complaining. The town is a bit bigger than Itacare and the beach goes on for miles. Apparently there are about 10 of them here but you never know when one ends and the other begins.
Yesterday we strolled along the beach for a good 45 minutes before finally settling on Pitinga Beach on some chairs listening to some samba music. Its easy to get lost in the reality of where we are, so we have to sit up, look at the palm trees, ocean and different people and realize we are in Brazil.
As for us, we´ve had some mistaken identities lately. Last night at supper the waiter thought we were from Israel, which might have to do with the fact that Jan decided to get her entire head braided...it does not look good..but it gives Jen a good laugh. We´ve also had lots of compliments on our bronzed skin, which is pretty good coming from Afro/Brazilian people.
Even though it was a Sunday night, the town was alive with the sound of music. There was a live samba band (bass drum, triangle, guitar and woodblock/chimes) outside at a sort of mini oval stadium where the locals here would pick a partner and samba like nobodies business. It was great to watch, but when asked to dance we said no..again reputations to uphold here. Samba is a very sexy dance, and everyone here can do it, even the guys, it puts our two steppin to shame.
Its our last day in a peaceful town, as tonight we will board our 17 hour bus to the big ol city of Rio de Janeiro. We are excited as we may be able to meet up with some of our Irish friends, but sad to leave our lazy hazy crazy days of being beach bums in these smaller towns. Plus we´re not sure if the ´braids´ will fit in, in Rio.
We´ll fill you all in after a few days in the big city..later Frangos (chickens) haha sorry, the only Porteguse words we are really concerned with learning are related to food.
Location: Itacare', Brazil
Life´s a beach, or so it has been for us for the past week. We arrived in Itacare early Wednesday morning and scuffled around with our backpacks until we could find the beach and a cheap pousada (hotel). Thankfully we found both fairly quickly. We are back to the days of Asia where we have our own room, TV, fridge and ensuite bathroom good for washing our undies and hanging them to dry....
Every second shop in Itacare was a surf shop, we however didnt actually hit the waves being that a)we suck at it b) we live in central Canada with no real chance of ever not sucking at it c) were too busy enjoying the views of the surfers from our beach towels and d) the waves were HUGE...we didnt want to embarass ourselves..we have reputations here to uphold..ok thats a lie too..as we are alone together because Brazil is totally different travelling than the other countries we have been in. We´ve had to rely solely on locals, because there are not many other backpackers up this way, who speak little or no english at all, or try and converse in Spanish which doesnt really help either, to find out where our next destination should be. We constantly get looks of astonishment from Brazilians who cant believe we are travelling Brazil without the ability to speak Porteguese or any sort of travel book..we just smile and nod!!
Itacare has about 9000 beautiful beaches, and after a 45 minute walk through the rainforest we came across the 4th most beautiful beach in Brazil. And it was gorgeous. So we did what we do best and sun tanned all day, and may or may have not enjoyed some watermelon and a coconut or two.
The town was a pumpin as it was a public holiday so it was nice to see people out and about, none of whom speak English of course, but we tried our best to speak with them. You can purchase cervejas in the convience stores or supermacardos and walk through the streets browsing in shops etc. So when in Rome...
Brazil has been all that we wanted it to B: Beach, booze and buff Brazilian bodies..who could ask for more...