A Travellerspoint blog

Santiago LAST DAY!

Holiday Stats

overcast 26 °C

My last blog for this holiday!

Poor old Tezza spent his last day sick as a dog from food poisoning on our last night in Rio. Thing was, I ate at the same place he did and I am fine so I think it was his stomache crying out to him - "stop, stop, I cant take any more food..."

So while he sat at the hostel for the day, I went out to Valparaiso, a port town 1.5 hours out of Santiago which was quite pretty, used to be a major port of Santiago until they built the Panama Canal, now it is more of an artists town with steep streets and funky graffiti everywhere.

I decided for this last entry to compile some holiday statistics so here goes:

· No. of bad weather days - 2
· No. of majestic views - too many to count
· Hardest trek - Toss up between the 8 hour trek in El Chalten to top of mountain (4 hours uphill) and the trek where I tore my calf muscle (for obvious reasons)
· No. of people randomly bumped into who we had previously met in another country or city - 5
· Funniest/best tour guide - All were fantastic, too many to pick just one so I have narrowed it down to 3 - Santiago walking tour guide, rock climbing guide and Whitewater rafting guide.
· No. of trips to the chemist for drugs - 5
· No. of lost items - 4
· No. of lost items retrieved - 2
· No. of insect bites - too many to count
· No. of beers Terry consumed -too many to count
· Best Icrecream ever - El Chalten
· Best Chocolate - Bariloche (of course)
· Best dinner - For me the steak in Bariloche, for Terry the traditional dinner in Rio.
· Best hostel breakfast - Rio
· No. of times lost each other - 4
· No. of arguments with each other - about 550
· Average duration of arguments - 1.5 minutes
· No. of friends reaquainted with after 23 years -1
· Worst thing about trip - For me, not being able to put toilet paper in the toilet (gross). For Terry - Not being able to be understood, even when he was trying to sign what he wanted!
· Best thing about trip - Too many to count!

So it is Adios for this travel blog. Hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have writing it.

Wish us luck for the return plane trip (esp Terry, if he throws up on me on the plane I will NOT be happy!!)

Posted by SueAttar 23.2.12 14:23 Archived in Chile Comments (1)

Rio - Post Carnivale!

sunny 30 °C

Our last full day in Rio today :(

Carnivale was unbelievable! In my blog about Iguazu Falls I think I said that the only problem is no waterfall can ever compare to them. Now I have to say the same about Carnivale versus any other parade! The Sambadrome is huge and all the different samba schools have 1 hour and 20 minutes to parade down the centre of the stadium (which has got to be about 700m long). They have all kinds of different floats with people dancing on them and around them, the costumes are amazing, a sea of colours. Its a visual overload. We were there from 9ish to 5.30am and it still hadnt finished. Of course getting home was like anything where thousands of people are trying to do the same thing but we finally made it back to our beds by 7am. Actually the delay was good because it meant we saw an amazing sunrise out of the bus window on our way home!

We forced ourselves up 4 hours later so as not to waste the day and went with Renato and his wife to a block party where a band were playing Beatles songs to the beat of the samba. It would have been fantastic but unfortunately their sound system wasnt working so that was a shame. Then we all had a delicious seafood lunch/dinner.

On our way home we happened upon another block party, this time it was more of the traditional type which Terry remembered from 17 years ago. There was a truck at the beginning with people singing and dancing on the top of it and all the crowd follows the truck, singing and dancing behind. Terry joined in while I went to Ipanema beach to see the sunset.

This morning we got up at 6.30am, saw another amazing sunrise from our hostel window and then met Renato for another great bike ride, this time around a bay as well as the beach. As I said to him, there is no excuse for anyone in Rio to be fat because their walking/bike tracks are everywhere and you can ride for miles along the beaches etc.

Then we went to the beach where we hired an umbrella and two chairs (as everyone does) and people watched for 3 hours. I tried to go in the water but it was just way too cold. Terry did but even he took a while to get in and didnt stay in for long. He said that was because it was too polluted as well as his toes going numb! So if you count the pollution into the beach factor, maybe the beaches here arent as good as ours after all. Hey, Rio has to have some flaws! (sorry Renato!)

So, this is my last posting from Rio. We are going to try the steak tonight as we havent yet had meat in Brazil. Tomorrow it is packing our packs and flying to Chile via Buenos Aires where we have one final full day in Santiago before flying home :(.

Ciau

Posted by SueAttar 21.2.12 10:13 Archived in Brazil Comments (1)

RIO - Carnivale

"At the Copa, Copa cobana, music and fashion was always the passion at the Copa ... she fell in love ... Copa Cobana ... "

sunny 31 °C

Well, 4 days into Rio and so much to say ...

Back to Friday, there were two highlights of the day. The first was doing a trek through an amazing forest to yet another spectacular lookout. Yes, Rio is a lot more than just beaches and parties! This forest is in the middle of the city but walking the trail, it felt like hours away as it was literally through the forest. We had our own private guide, thanks once again to Renato as it happened to be his next door neighbour. He didn't speak much English but boy was he funny!! Once again, we seemed to figure out most of what he was saying and viceversa. His best 'skill' was definitely his driving ability. Did you know that it was possible to drive at the same time as dialing and talking on your mobile at the same time as dancing in your seat to the radio at the same time as pointing places of interest out the window at the same time as gesturing what he was saying at the same time as narrowly missing the other cars on the road? Well it is and we are living proof. I said to Terry, he should become a bus driver. I don't think I mentioned the local bus ride we took on our first day to Christ the Redeemer ... we thought we were on a rollercoaster. We would have put our arms up above our heads around the corners if not for the fact that we werent strapped in!

When we got back into town we went to our first block party. Block parties are basically street parties where thousands of people go to dance and drink and party on the street. This goes on for the whole week of Carnivale and there are different ones all over Rio. Yesterday alone there were 150 of them and they were just the registered ones. Apparently a lot don't register because they don't want all the crowds. And crowds there is! The one we went to was just too crowded and too much, it was like being at the Rocks in Sydney on NYE x 1000. So we made our way back out and to a restaurant that Renato had recommended to us on our first night. This was the second highlight of the day.

To explain to you what and how much Terry consumed (and me to a certain extent) is beyond description! Terry of course ordered the traditional meal and all too late I remembered that Renato had advised us just to get one meal between us. Oops! So it comes out and there are about 5 dishes, two of which are in big bowls and this was just Terry's meal. There were things he ate that could have been in a Harry Potter spell! There was enough for at least 4 adults. Terry went in with his usual gusto but even he had to stop halfway through. He was doing this samba-like movement on his chair at one point, when I asked him what he was doing he said he was just trying to push the food down! This lead to our joint Pun of the Night - 'Its not over till the fat bear sinks'. Finally he sunk when I think even the waiters could not believe how little he left. Terry said it was the best meal he has had on his holidays which is a tough call over the steak we had in Bariloche to be sure. Somehow or other we climbed up to our hostel and Terry fell down on the bed like a beached whale and that is where he stayed for the rest of the night! All I can say is, he'd better not have a heart attack before we get home because I can't carry his pack!

So that was Friday. Yesterday (Sat) we met Renato and his lovely family and went together to the top of Sugarloaf mountain for...yes you guessed it..another amazing view of Rio. Then went back to his place and swum in the pool at the bottom of his apartment block before having a delicious lunch he made us.

Oh and I almost forgot .. Tezza is once again famous! He got on TV here can you believe it! There were reporters at the bottom of Sugarloaf Mountain who were asking tourists how they liked the experience up there etc etc and for some reason they picked Terry. Then this morning the lady who cooks the breakfast told us she saw him on the TV that night! Anyway Renato is going to send it to us. The shame of it was that for once, he wasn't wearing one of his 450ppm teeshirts!!

Then at night time we went to another block party, this time one that stretched the entire length of Ipanema Beach which was great because it meant that there was enough room for people to move. Renato told us they expected 100,000 at that one! Apparently at the biggest one they expected 2 million people to show up! Everyone dresses up at these parties so its pretty interesting to people-watch. The costumes range from simple wigs or sparkly hats or rabbit ears for example, all the way up to a full on body costume of anything and everything. I told Terry my costume was a Boring Australian Tourist and his costume was of a Climate Campaigner (yes, he had put his 450 teeshirt on by that stage).

This morning we met Renato and went bike riding with him for a couple of hours. There is this great system in Rio where for a small price you can get these bikes from bike racks located at various locations around the city, then you can put them back at any station when you are finished. They are really good bikes too, really easy to ride. So we did this amazing ride along all the beaches, it was fantastic. Had a refreshing coconut water drink at the end of it and then when Renato went back home we went to join a tour to the biggest Favela in Rio. This was great, it was run by an american girl who is now married to a Brazilian guy who grew up in a favela. It was excellent, great information and we got to go into some of the houses there, walked the streets, even happened to see a street party there which was a fluke.

And that brings me to the present where I must leave here because we are on our way back to our hostel to try and sleep for a couple of hours before our big night tonight - Carnivale!!

This city is fantastic! And, much as I hate to admit this, in all my years travelling I have to say that this is the only place I have been which has better beaches than ours!

Cheers for now,

Sue

Posted by SueAttar 19.2.12 09:27 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Rio De Janeiro

`Ohhhh when my baby, when my baby smiles at me I go to Rio .. De Janeiro .. Mio mio .... `

sunny 29 °C

Wow, we are in Rio and I still cant believe we are here.
My friend Renato met us at the airport and took us to our hostel before showing us around the area, then had a drink by Ipanema Beach.

OK NEWS FLASH - I dont think we will be mugged in our Favela hostel! This is of course a bonus. There are lots of guards around and the area has been cleaned up. We have a fantastic view out of our room, thanks to Renato who went there the day before and got us a room overlooking the ocean instead of the other side of the hostel. This morning we had our first breakfast on the Terrace and it was wonderful. The hostel is up high, accounting for the great views of course. Only downside is the hill we need to climb to get there plus the 128 steps to the door (yes I counted) and the next 28 steeper steps to get to our room (yes I counted). But the view is worth it and the room is good.

This morning we went to Christ the Redeemer, famous statue overlooking the city. It is HUGE! 38 metres high, took 10 years to complete. View from there is amazing. We are just making our way back now from there and have walked along Copa Cobana beach where I can tell you the views are of a different kind! Lots of butt cheeks, lots of bronzed women and men, old and young, fat and thin .. you name it we saw it.

Tonight we are going to a samba show, should be good.

Ciao for now,

Sue

Posted by SueAttar 16.2.12 10:30 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Iguazu Falls, Argentinian side

sunny 31 °C

Hola for the last time (not sure what hello is in Portugese yet),

Our last day in Argentina today and our last day in Iguazu. We have spent the past day and a half at the falls doing everything you can there. It is absolutely amazing. I said to Terry today, the only problem with these falls is that, once you have seen them, no waterfall can even come close in comparison. Even Niagra Falls are not a patch on Iguazu. To give you an idea, we read today that the water in all the falls could fill 36 oltympic size swimming pools in one minute! I don´t know where they got that statistic from but after seeing them, I can believe it.

We did the walking tracks there and also this tour which was fantastic, it includes a boat ride underneath the falls where the spray saturates everyone in the boat, it was soooo much fun, as much fun as whitewater rafting. And the water was so good because of how hot and humid it is here.

Even at the lookouts the spray is unbelievable and everyone gets wet. And the falls are not even at their peak at the moment because they have not had rain for a month so they are not even close to being as large as they usually are. Terry said the place has definitely changed since he was there 17 years ago. None of the walkways were around, and he couldn´t get over the number of tourists there now. I´m surprised the lookouts can handle them all!

Also saw heaps of wildlife, took god knows how many photos, will probably have to delete half of them!

Well its way to hot in this room to say much more here (no aircon) so I will leave off and next blog will be from RIO where you will all have to sing the Peter Allan song as you are reading it! Ive been alternating singing that one and Copacobana for the last 2 weeks as well as 'Don´t cry for me Argentina´! Even caught Terry humming along at times!!

Oh that reminds me, its Valentines Day today. Of course Terry would have had no idea it was unless I had told him but then he took credit for it at the Falls, said he doesn´t just do flowers, he takes his girl to the most amazing Falls in the world! Yeah right...

Adios amigos,

Sue
PS Here is another gem from Terry. In Spanish they pronounce the 'e' on the end of words so they say my name with the 'e' as in elephant. I quite like the sound of it .. that was until Terry started calling me 'Sewer'!! That isn´t the sound of it at all, let me assure you!!

Posted by SueAttar 14.2.12 13:10 Archived in Argentina Comments (1)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 17) Page [1] 2 3 4 »