Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hey all,

So we arrived in Buenos Aires in time for the weekend, and in time for the England vs. France rugby match. B.A is an awesome city, and we had some great weather there. When we arrived, we become random friends with some gay argentinean and chilean guys, who invited us out that night. We ended up in a gay club (which pete was not happy about!! he got asked out by about 10 different guys, and wouldn´t go up to the bar alone for fear of groping!!) but i had a great time, dancing the night away with no hassles until daylight. the timing is funny in B.A, we didn´t leave the hostel to go clubbing till 3am, so the days were pretty much useless!

That week we started spanish classes, with a very strange spanish lady who loved my english accent, she was a bit scared of pete tho, and mostly ignored him! We had to tone down the nights out, as classes started at 9am!

The advantage of morning lessons, was we could explored the city in the afternoons. We went on a bike tour of the city, visiting boca, the old part (san telmo), the harbour, and the centre, including the presidential building. Was really good fun, almost died a couple of times from the traffic tho!!

We also went to visit the cemetery where Evita was burried. Most people only visit for 5 mins just to see her tomb. But me and pete got slightly carried away pulling poses that we spent about 2 hours pissing about, not completely respectful of the dead!

But then came along pete´s bday, the day before our last class. We went out that night to a tango show, and then went to a club after. The tango was awesome, and we had a great meal. (Manuel, Pete and Mike) and (Elise and Lauren).

They even suprised pete with a free cake and us all with a free glass of champagne!

We then hit the nightclub, one we´d heard from an aussie friend was awesome. He promised naked strippers and great music. We turned up to find some cabaret dancers, transvestites, and some girls dancing around poles, but no nakedness. We managed to drink more alcohol and have a great night tho, getting home rediculously late, and having an hour's sleep before getting up for class half an hour late!

Pete slept through the entire class, probably shouldn´t have bothered going! But I fared better (UBS trained me well!) and managed to take something in I hope!

We then left B.A and headed accross the pond to Montevideo, which me and pete absolutely fell in love with. It´s a much quieter city than B.A, but has great atmosphere, and is so beautiful. We arrived stupidly in the middle of the city with no idea as to where a hostel would be. We stood with the rough guide in hand, when an elderly couple came up to us, and asked us in perfect English if we needed help! They then walked us to a hostel around the corner, and gave us their phone number should we need anymore help! It was amazing!

That night (sat) the town was buzzing, there were so many people dancing, drinking on the streets, having a good time. Me and pete found a great bar which played sting, the stones, and lots more tunes, and played a lot of pool.

The next day we went on a tour of the city, seeing the beaches, the rich areas, the botanical gardens and the old town. All of it beautiful.

We spent the afternoon on the beach, and had dinner at an awesome restaurant overlooking the sea. Sunday night was much quieter, the town was dead, but by the beach it was great.

The next day we went back to B.A via colonia, and met Mike (an aussie) on the ferry. We caught a bus with him up to Iguazu. We attempted to go to the brazilian side for the afternoon, but by the time we got thru immigration (mike had to go straight back as he didn´t have a visa for brazil) got on the wrong bus, got on the right bus, and realised brazil was an hour ahead, the park was closed! A real shame, but the next day we went to the argentinean side of the falls, and that was well worth it!!

(I´ve got back into the lunging!)

We walked around the park, every sight as beautiful as the last, and went on the boat right into the waterfall, got absolutely soaked!! luckily it was a beautiful hot day!

We then got a bus that evening down to Cordoba. It was absolutely boiling in Cordoba, and we were in a hostel with a bar and pool, so we headed straight there, and met an English couple and a dutch guy, who were heading to a tango class. I loved it, I definately want to take lessons again, if only I could convince James.

We then went on to a really cool club, and the night goes very hazy!! The next day we were catching a bus to mendoza, but not till 10pm!! We checked out at 11am, having got back god-knows when. So me and pete spent the afternoon lying on the grass in the central park, sleeping! Pete also puked in the park bin a couple of times, just to add to our touch of class!

We checked into a really cool hostel in Mendoza, and headed on to a bikes and wines tour. (the hungover had finally gone!) Basically u ride a bike round 6 or so wineries in the main wine region. I´d heard lots about it, but too much biking and not enough drinking for my liking! (Amy and Jilly, our american wine tasterer companions, and translators!) Tasted some good wine tho, and some good liquores and chocolate.
That night our hostel had a BBQ and all you can drink, awesome! met some great peeps, including Ronan and Orla an irish couple.(Simon and Bev)

The next day was great, we lazed by the pool and sunbathed, tan at last! That night I drank way too much wine with an english girl called bev, and had to get up for the bus to Santiago feeling like shit! We also had a bit of a mare crossing the border, well pete did, as when we got off the bus for immigration Pete had his Ipod, but when we got back on, it was gone! He was pretty gutted!!!

When we arrived in Santiago, we then had to go to the police station and do all that crap, but luckily it was pretty painless, thanks to a very friendly policeman with an amazing monobrow! We went next door to our hostel that night to the most amazing sushi restaurant ever! and so cheap!! with the irish couple we´d met in mendoza.
(Robert, Orla, Ronan and Pete)

Then we were straight off again to La Serena, killing time till our flight to Easter Island....

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hi all,

so south america! Me and pete spent a week in Santiago staying with my friend I met in Aus, Paulina. Her family were so great and took us under their wing. They showed us all the sights in Santiago, San Christobel (a big hill in the centre of the city with a big statue of Mary at the top) and they also took us out drinking to experience Pisco (a bit like tequila, i loved it!)

Paulina and her dad took us to Vina del Mar, the beach an hour from Santiago, it was a bit cold, but very beautiful, a bit like miami tho! We then drove to Valpariso, a pretty port town with acsencores (rickety old lifts that take u up the hill to the old town, which is very old fashioned and beautiful, and has great views over the ocean.)

We also went up the slopes for a day, the snow wasn´t in great condition, but was good fun, and great views.

We then had to say bye to our free food, accommodation and sky TV (it was a sad day) and got on the bus down south. We caught the Pachamama backpacker bus, which had a suposedly enlgish speaking guide (more like bob marley reincarnated, who only could say "thats pretty pretty nice!", but it was amusing!) Had a good bunch of people too, some aussies and our current companion, Ze German, Manuel. Our first stop was Pichilemu, a small surfer town, but was a bit too cold for surfing, altho the aussie guy did it!

(Pete and Manuel)

We then went on to Pucon, a very beautiful town on the edge of a volcano (Volcan Villarica), which we decided to climb. Was bloody hard as it was still covered in snow, and 2800m to the top, but well worth it, the views were amazing, altho we didn´t get to see any of the magma!

after the long hike, we all relaxed in the hot pools!

We then left Pucon, and headed to Valdivia on the coast again, a suposedly beautiful port city renowned for its fish. We did have some great fish, but it was a pretty ugly city. We saw some fat seals, and spent the afternoon in the Kuntsman brewery (a german influenced chilean beer, v good!) we drank lots of rockets (what the call them) and continued drinking into the evening back at the hostel.

We then went down to Puerto Montt, the gateway to patagonia. Its a very busy city, but not very welcoming, we went there for the afternoon, walked along the markets and had some seafood, and then headed to the smaller Puerto Varras, a very beautiful town 20 mins away. The next day we did a tour of Puerto Varras, to see the volcano - volcan orsono, and the national park.

We then got on a bus and a ferry over to the small Island of Chiloe, just off Puerto Montt. An Island famous for its penguins and its Palafitos (houses on stilts over the water). They were pretty delapitated, but cool. The weather was too bad to go see the penguins. But we spent the day in the capital castro, and mooched about.

We then headed back to Puerto Montt, and stayed the night in a house with the cutest old lady with a hip problem, who cooked us fresh bread for breakfast, and then got a flight down to Punto Arenas, Patagonia. The flight was very strange, as we stopped off to pick up and drop off passengers on the way!

When we arrived in Punto Arenas we jumped straight on the bus to Puerto Natales, the closest town to the national Park Torres del Paine. We met back up with Ze German here, and did a day trip of the national park (the lazy way, in a van!). It was so beautiful! We saw the Torres del Paine (how the park gets its name, the towers:)

The many beautiful lakes:

and waterfalls:

lots of llama´s (i think we´re all llama´d out already!)

Glacier grey:

(Nikea, Rachel, Manuel, Micheala and Pete)

and lots more:

We then crossed the boarder over the the Argentinean side of Patagonia to El Calafate. Again another beautiful town (similar to a ski resort in europe in feel) and an hours drive away from the fantastic Pedro Mereno Glacier. We hired a car and I managed to get everyone there and back alive!

Now in Argentina we caught a bus all the way to Puerto Madryn on the west coast of Argentina, to see the whales and the penguins. We did a tour to Peninsula Valdes, where we caught a small boat. We saw loads of Southern right whales, they were so big, and came so close to the boat it was amazing, so friendly and curious, you could almost touch them! Didn´t get to see any orcha´s tho, not quite the season yet! We also saw some elephant seals (which didn´t do a lot buy lie, funny to see them try to hobble along the sand tho!) and some cute penguins.

We then got on another long bus ride to Bariloche, on the east of Argentina, still in Patagonia. This is a popular ski resort town, unfortunately the end of the ski season, but a very beautiful and vibrant city. We took a 30km bike ride around the lake to see all of the sights, was bloody hard work, but worth it, it was so beautiful. It also makes up for all the steak and wine we´ve been having! The steak is fantastic out here, so is the dulce de leche (boiled condensed milk, i forget what we call it!). We also took the chair lift up to the top of Cerro Camparino, to see the views over the lake.

Wow i´m up to date, its a miracle! We are now heading on another long bus ride to Buenos Aires!!