Monday, 25 June 2012

Montevideo - FAIL!

Ok so the trip obviously started terribly with the loss of probably the 3rd most important thing to me (after Tigger and my Passport) and oly really got worse. We headed to a hostel that Kate had checked out online was the cheapest option and on arrival there was told that it was full with an Argentinan uni trip. By this point I was getting really stressed. The hostel told us we could either sleep in the comunial aria for free or go to a nearby hostel. So we decided to dump our stuff at the hostel as we´d been offered a place near by that was owned by the same place and took a walk into town to try and find a cash machine. I tried about 3 different banks and 8 cash machines but non of them were accepting my bank card as the magnetic strip was too faded. So I sat on a park bench whilst kate went off to find us some booze to drink. 20 minutes later she came back with a bottle of beer that had `sin Alcoholol´written on it, so I said to Kate ´what does sin mean?´and her head dropped and she said ´without´! This should have been an omen I sould have taken heed of. So she went back to the shop and returned with a cheap bottle of whiskey to spice up the non alcoholic beer and we sat having a chat. After a few drinks we were both a bit pissed and we startd talking about some of the people we´d met on our travells. I then made the error of slipping ito the conversation that I´d hooked up with a lap dancer from England in chang mai, and this was when I discovered that Kate´s ´cool, easy going´outlook on life was a bit of a facade and she went ape shit. She was discusted by this (which if you ask me is pretty damn narrow minded as this lap dancer had been in a 2 year relationship before she went travelling, had only been with me whilst travelling, and worked as a care worker with children from abusive families, so clearly wasn´t some dumb slapper) and went mental saying that she thought she was going to get all sorts of STD´s from me. She wouldn´t drop it after this and continued to make snide comments on the walk back to the hostel. I couldn´t believe she was acting like this, I thought she was pretty open minded and non judgemental but clearly not. So I went off to get cash out with my other bank card, paid her the money I owed her from the previous couple of days and we looked as though we were going to part company.

Then we went outside to talk it over and she appologized for blowing off the handle at me. I figured we were both in need of some R&R so I enquired about a sauna and massage place we could go to to get pampered and we grabbed a bus to where the hostel told us to go. On arrival at the place we were told they were closing in half an hour and they only had a fixed rate for the day so we would have paid for a full day and only spent half an hour there. So then we went off and grabbed a meal which was going ok until we got into a silly debate about wether Bon Jovi was a good artist or not! It was becoming more and more clear to me that my competative personality was clashing with hers. We headed back to the hostel and we planned to chill out and watch a movie. The only problem was that the Argentinian uni girls were all in the communial area so we had to wait for them to go out before we could have the place to ourselves. We´re both pretty sociable people so we got chatting to the girls who were all studying law. I was chatting to a girl sat on my left while Kate chatted to some girls on our right. Then Kate asked if we had any whiskey left and I said that it was in the bag in the storage room, I wasn´t bothered about drinking any more but if she wanted to she could go and grab it and drink the rest. This was to be part 2 of the argument as apperently I should have ran off to fetch her booze for her (if you ask me I think she was jealous I was chatting to another girl) so she pulled me to one side and started having a go at me saying I was selfish and never never did anything for her. This was the final nail in the coffin so I said fuck this I´m going to bed told her I didn´t want to travel with her any more. So the hostel guys took us (she wanted to go to bed too) to our ¨dorm room¨ which was actually a twin room and we went to bed in a horrifically awkward silence.

The next day I woke up to a letter from her saying she´d left early and detailing all my faults. I had no idea where she´d gone and no plan for where to go next. So I decided to send her a message on FB basically saying i thought it was a shame we´d fallen out over such trivial bollax so she told me she was staying in a hostel down the road so I went off to have a chat and try to patch things up. It was so frustating to me that when we were together it was fucking great, but we were arguing over really pathetic things more and more often. So we met at the hostel and decided that it was probably best that we didn´t get pissed together any more as that was what seemed to cause all our arguements. We ordered some mexican food for delivery and thanks to them totally fucking up the order we got 3x as much food for the price we were going to pay :-). This was probably the only good thing to come out of Montevideo. That night I slept at the first dorm while Kate slept at the new dorm. I was in a 32 bed dorm and was the only one in there - weird! Got a decent nights sleep and the next morning I checked into the same dorm as Kate. I´d love to tell you about all the other things I did in Montevideo other than argue with Kate, but we didn´t do anything else! We planed to go play golf at one point but Kate went out and got shitted the night before and over slept. We planned to go to Kareoki at one point but all the kareoki places were closed. It was all a bit rubish really and I was sick of Montevideo so we decided to head to Tacarembo to find a Gaucho ranch to stay at.....

Colonia De Sacramento - Uruguay

After frantically haring around BA to try and rescue Kate´s guitar from a hostel she left it at, no no avail, we just managed to get to the port in time for our ferry. It was a short journey over to Uruguay and on arrival at Colonia we set about looking for a hostel. As usual we were disgusted by how expensive everywhere was especially as it was low season so the hostels where all really empty anyway. We eventually settled on a pretty decent HI (hostel international) as they had a 4 bed dorm that was up some stairs to ourselves so it was like having our own little den :-). On our first mission out to grab supplies we met the most gorgeous ad cool dog I´ve ever seen who proceeded to follow us around for the remainder of our time in Colonia. We named him Rorge, pictured below (the one on the right ;-))

The first day was mainly spent chilling out, I bought and cooked a mean BBQ chicken with mash lunch and then we spent the rest of the day watching movies and sleeping (we were still a bit ill from man flu at this point). 

The next day we (me, Kate Rorge) wondered off to see if we could rent a moped for the day to explore the town. Not only was it stupidly over priced, we were also only allowed to go around the town and not further a field so we decided to just take a walk down to the old town instead. First stop was to the sea side which was nice and pretty. Then we walked over to the lighthouse in the old town and had a pretty decent view of the town from up there. We could also see Rorge down on the street terrorising the pigeons :-). After that we walked around the pretty cobbled streets and looked at all the old buildings. on the way home we stopped in at a butchers and bought a couple of big old steaks to cook up. Then after a siesta we stocked up on whiskey milk and chocolate and made submarines. Now in order to make a submarine one must add a bar of chocolate to boiled milk so that it dissolves in and tastes ace. we decided to spice up this recipe with the addition of whiskey and got nicely cooked whilst watching battle ship on Kate´s DVD player (pretty decent film for the record). 

The next day planned to hitch to Montevideo but the logistics weren´t really in our favour and the bus was pretty cheap. Unfortunately I lost/had stolen my 120gig ipod which was full of music, comedy and music. Epic fail. In fact this was to be the start of my worst day of travelling in the entire trip.....

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Buenos Aires

Thinking back I´m trying to sum up BA in one sentance. I really liked the place, it was clean cool and pretty and I never felt unsafe walking around. We were staying at Milhouse which is one of those hostels that everyone stays in:

La Paz (Bolivia) Wild Rover
Cusco (Peru) Loki
Buenos Aires (Argentina) Milhouse

Basically they´re all massive hostels where the party only ever stops for sex and/or being sick (and imagine sometimes at the same time!). So when Kate came back from the shower one morning to say that she heard a couple of people having uber loud sex and she thought that the girl was definately faking it I thought nothing of it. Then when I went to have a shower later that day I also heard a couple properly going at it. Then again the next time I went for a shower so I started getting a bit suspicious and asked the other peps in the dorm room.... turns out there is a porno theatre next door to the hostel that backs onto the window of the showers!

Anyway, first night we joined in at a tango class and once again Kate and I had a minor dispute over the dancing and I decided there and then that we were just too competative for each other. After that we went off to a steak resteraunt that we´d been recomended as they give you a free glass of champane with your meal. That, coupled with the bottle of whiskey we´d pre drank, plus a bottle of wine with the meal and I was KO´d!

The next day Kate and I were feeling a little under the weather, mainly because of a cold (that was due to stay with us for about a week!) and partly because we´d been drinking every night for the last few weeks.  I went off to a spanish lesson at the other hostel then came back to chill out for a while before heading off to play football with some of the other guys from the hostel. It was 7 a side and I was rocking my new trainers that I´d bought in Rosario on a cracking shoppping spree. I smashed in a pretty tidy goal and almost scored a couple more times. I was surprised how well I was playing considering I hadn´t played in 9 months. That night we had a quite one as neither of us could be arsed. We had a silly arguement about watching a DVD as well.

The next day was another fail day culminating in the evening when we first went to the other hostel for a few drinks, then after a few too many drinks Kate and I had another arguement then she went out to a club while I stayed in.

The next day Kate suggested we should move into seperate rooms and I realized that I´d been a bit tough on her recently. After spending a month living out of each others pockets we´d finally reached breaking point and I wasn´t quite ready for that. Don´t get me wrong Kate is a cracking girl, and we shared some amazing times together, but sometimes we just had big personality clashes. So we discussed how best to act around each other in future and I made a conscious effort to try a bit harder to avoid any more fall outs. And that worked for a pretty long time. Later that day we went off to a football game. So if you book the football game with the hostel they give you a transfer to and from the stadium, give you a tour guide and a bit of information on the ground etc. But it was about 90 quid! The hostel kept emphasising that this price was due to the tickets being expensive and that we couldt go seperately from the hostel. Lies. Kate and I grabbed a bus to the ground, bumped into a few people from the other hostel (there are two milhouse hostels within 3 blocks of each other), booked the tickets and saw the match without any issues. All for about 30 pounds! Not only that, when we asked someone else from our hostel, who had gone with the hostel, what the tour was like she said it was a mess: over half the group didn´t get in to the ground until about 2 minutes before KO as they´d fucked up with the tickets and they had a shit view of the ground. We had fucking awsome seats by the way! The only down side was that we were in the home fans section and the away team (Boca Juniours) smashed the home team (Racing) 3-0! But all the fans were still singing away to each other the whole game and the atmosphere was electric the entire time.

the next day we checked out of the hostel and decided to move to another place as we wanted to see some more of the city, plus we needed a break from the ´party hostel´ so that we could get over our colds. We moved across town and from what I can remember we didn´t do anything special. We wanted to go to a tango show but I think we agreed that it was too expensive for what we were going to get (athough I kind of regret that decision now). Then we booked the ferry to go to Uraguay....

9 months reflection....

Well, I´ve been on the road for 9 months now and I figured I´d do another reflection as the last one seemed to be a bit of a hit. Just to say again, I really like the comments you leave on the blog so please keep leaving them :-).

Hmmmm, so I´m sat in my hostel in Florianopolos (Brazil) and the weather´s been a bit shitty the last couple of days so this may not be the most up beat of entrys! A lot of people have been asking me recently (both here and at home) what my plans are for the rest of my time here and what I plan to do when I get back. So first of all the route:

  • From Floro to rio tomorrow where I´ll spend a few days. Particularly looking forward to seeing christ the redeemer, the favelas and the free U2 gig on sunday.
  • From rio to Uguazu falls
  • Through Paraguay to the salt flats of Bolivia
  • Spend a month in La Paz learning spanish, doing some volunteer work and the death road tour
  • Over to Peru to see Machu Pithcu
  • Up through Equador to columbia then over to venezuala

 So a lot to do still, but I´ve got 3 months so it should be OK. Then what to do after that? Well, it depends on a few factors but I´ve got a few plans to potentially keep me busy for the next decade:

  1. Work in the Mines in Australia for 9 months then travel round the rest of the country with the money I´ve saved
  2. Work in Newzealand for 6 months then travel with the money I´ve saved (both of these I have to do before 30 otherwise I can´t get a working visa)
  3. Teach English in South East Asia - probably ho chi min or south Korea but ideally Chang Mai
  4. Work in Canada for a few months (apperently bar tenders get paid a butt load in tips) then use the money to buy a motorbike and tour the US.
  5. Work in the middle east and save up enough money to go to the antarctic
  6. Work in Europe and save enough money to do the trans siberian from Russia to China then over to Japan.
  7. Work as a tour bus driver in South Africa 
These are pretty much in chronological order of when would make sense to do them. For the record I shan´t be missing Lillerz wedding as it was painfull enough missing Rob´s.

So what of travelling itself? I suppose it´s just become second nature now and that has had a couple of negative effects. First of all I was sat on a bus in Uruguay the other day talking about how I have a pretty good system for keeping my shit together and how I´ll probably need to be more carefull in Brazil but as it´s Urugauy I can be a little more relaxed. Then Sure enough I lost/had my ipod stolen that journey! 120gig of music and videos that had kept me sane for 9 months gone. Fortunately I have an 8 gig ipod as a backup but it still sucks. Then when I crossed the border and got the bus from Uruguay to Floro I didn´t check about the immigration process untill I was about 5 hours into Brazil and realized I didn´t have an entrance stamp. So I´m going to have to pay a 50 pound fine for not doing the immigtaion process correctly. It´s all a learning curve I guess.

At the moment I still prefer South East Asia to South America but I´ve got some really cool things still to look forward to. I´ve spent the last fortnight basically chilling out and doing nothing so I need to get my arse in gear and start ´travelling´again I suppose. Well, it´s 12:30 and England are playing in a few hours so I suppose I better crack open a beer...........


Sunday, 17 June 2012

Rosario to BA - the easiest hitch ever!

We grabbed a bus to the outskirts of town so that we could hitch on the main road out. So whilst hanging around a petrol garage there a guy came up to us to offer us a lift further down the road. We weren´t sure exactly what he was saying, but it turned out he was the manager of the service station just down the road. So he drops us off, takes us inside and gets us a couple of free coffees. Then whilst we´re sat there drinking the coffees and eating bread rolls we´d pre made he came back over and gave us a plate of croissants on the house! Then after we´d finished eating we wondered over to the exit ramp and started discussing what our ideal hitch would be, and as Kate was fed up of speaking broken Spanish she was hoping for someone who spoke English. Then 2 minutes later a guy comes over and offers us a lift in his corsa. This guy was perfect; he drove 120kph most of the way (all the trucks we´d been in were going like 80 so it took ages to get anywhere), he spoke shit loads of english, had air con and designed flight simulators for the Argentinian army so was really interesting to speak to. 

So we arrived in BA in record time and started looking for Milhouse, which is the hostel EVERYONE stays in…..

Thursday, 14 June 2012


Ok, so Cordoba is the second biggest city on Argentina so we figured it would have been nion impossible to hitch without first going to a near by town. So we grabbed a bus to nearby Rio Secundo and tried to hitch from there. It´s a fairly boring story, so I won´t bore you with too much detail, but there are two road that go from Cordoba to Rosario, one is a major dual carriageway, the other goes to all the little towns along the way. And as we´d gone to a nearby town there was hardly any traffic going through Rio Secundo as it was all on the dual carriage way! So after 2 hours of standing around waiting for a lift we gave up and flagged down a couch to the next town! From advice of the bus driver we walked up the main road to a near by petrol garage a set about asking people for a lift. After half an hour of waiting eventually someone pulled over and offered us a lift.... it was the bus driver that had taken us there! He was off duty and picked us up in his car and took us down the road to where all the trucks stop to get fuel. From there Kate explained how to ask for a lift in spanish and i went up and managed to get us a lift all the way to Rosario from a helpfull truck driver in his late thirties. Really nice guy. It took us a few places and a bit of bartering to get a reasonably prices place and evenually we secured a sweet private room for really cheap and had a quite night in.

The next morning we got chatting to an English group and went off to explore the sites of Rosario. First on my list was to find the restuarant that Lional Messy´s dad owned. That took a long as time to find but was worth it in the end. Now, if I´m being totally honest we didn´t actually meet papa messy but i didn take a photo next to the resturaunt with the chef and when I put it on face book I may have implied that in fact that was actually Lional Messy´s dad ;-). Next on the list was to head to the war memorial to the fallen soldier, which I soon realised was largely a token to all the soldiers lost in the faulklens war so as I was with a bunch of English people I felt prett embarressed to be there! Check out my pics on FB though, it was a buatifull memorial and a really pretty town.

I really can´t remember doing a lot else in Rosasrio. It was a nice place but fairly un eventfull.

The end.


Shit we spent a long time in Cordoba! The first half we spent at a hostel in one half of the city which was pretty chilled and cheap. It had a table football table which was pretty naff but still good fun. The first time I used it it took a while to get used to and I even managed to get beaten by an american. The next day I kicked his ass though so all was redeemed!

The second day in Cordoba we did precisely fuck all in the day time. We looked around for places to go sky diving as we´d been told that it was really cheap in Cordoba. That evening we played some drinking games before heading out for a night on the tiles. We headed out with some American guys and an couple of Canadian girls. One of the girls was flirting with me pretty heavily so I had to tell her that I was kind of seeing Kate as although we were´t exactly a couple, it would have caused a shit storm if I´d gone off with another girl. Shame though, she was pretty cute! After some shapes in the club Kate and I headed back to the hostel.
The following day i was a touch hung over so watched the final day of the premiem league and watched Man city beat QPR in extra time to win the entire league. Mental game. that evening, me Kate and the American guy headed to a salsa class which was a good laugh. this was first time Kate and I had a we bit of friction though as she was first of all giving me shit for being bad at dancing, then when I tried to do better she was giving me shit for being boring and taking it too seriously and making it ´not sexy´. So I decided that I would make it uber sexy... and turned into a french nympho! So whilst seductively speaking to her in a ridiculously over the top french accent I passionately threw her around to the dance steps. And she was pissing herself laughing the entire time!

The next day we decided to move hostels as we´d found another place across town for cheaper and as we wated to see some more of the town we took a walk. It had Duvuets! Awwww, they were lush. We also managed to find out that the skydiving company affiliated with the hostel was the same place that one of Kates mates worked at so we figured we´d get a discount if we dropped his name. Nope! But still, we went off sky diving and it was sick. I´ve been a few times before so I was pretty excited and not nervous about doing it. But Kate had heard loads of horror storries and managed to make herself really nervious! So when it came to just before the jump I though it best not to tell her that the plane we were using was the same that I´d used at uni and that had crashed through engine failuire! After the skydive, which was obviously kick ass we went for a steak and a siasta. In fact that day I´d had steak, sex, skydiving, salsa and a siasta. Good times!

The next day we headed to Rosario........

The road to Cordoba

Having enjoyed the previous hitching adventures so much we decided to continue the adventures and hitch from Mendoza to Cordoba. As mendoza wasn´t that big we walked to the main junction to stand by the road to Cordoba. We´d worked out that once we´d got to San Luis that it should be pretty easy to get the rest of the way up to Mendoza. However, as always we´d slept in later than planned and did´t hit the road till about 11am. So after standing around for a about half an hour we finally got a lift from a guy, who´s car was littererally falling apart. he was on his way to the garage to get his car fixed and wasn´t sure if his car was going to make it to the garage, and yet, he still felt he should pick up a couple of hitch hickers! What a hero! Anyway, he only took us a small way down the road and then we were stuck at a pretty desolate dual carrage way waiting for our next lift.

Eventually a truck pulled over and gave us a lift. He was a really friendly bloke but seemed a wee bit shadey so my defences were up innitially. Anyway, he was a nice bloke and was going to San Luis that day, unfortunately at a painfully slow pace. Plus he kept making stops at various places. Having said that, he kept buying us stuff! When we stopped at a inter county checkpoint he bought us both a sandwich (which was dry as santans balls!) and a bottle of coke. Then when Kate told him she didn´t drink fizzy drinks he offered to go back and change the drink! Everything was going fine until he pulled over into the back of a dodgey desolate petrol garage in the middle of bum fuck nowhere (One of Kate´s phrases there), then started speaking to one of guys there. I was convinced we were gunna get rolled so I was intently checking the mirrors to see what was going on. So then after a few minutes he got back in the cab and explained to Kate that he was buying dodgey petrol from another country to avoid the Argentinian taxes! He also said (and I understood this from the hand gestures he gave) that we had to keep it a secret or he´d get beaten up! So eventually we arrived in San Luis at around 9pm at night and it was obviously pitch black. We´d talked it over on the way and decided it was best to sleep there for the night. So after dropping off his cargo in a truckers parking lot (where I thought we were going to get rolled again!) he then drove us to a nearby hotel he said was cheap. It was´t! But after some impressive negotiations from kate we´d managed to barter a near by hotel down from 25 pounds each to 10 pounds each for a private room. So after some food we hit the hay.

The next morning we wondered to a near by petrol station to see if we could blag a lift from the truckers. By this stage we´d figured out that it was far quicker and easier to be cheeky and ask truckers at petrol stations where they were heading, that way they could tell we were gringos (and interesting to speak to) and they were more likely to feel sorry for us and give us a lift. it was all going a bit shit though as no-one was heading our way. so we decided to walk up the road to the next intersection where we were told we´d have more luck. So on the walk there we found a pack of stray puppies so we fed them the left over dry sandwhich from the day before but in the process I was massacured by the most furousios midgeys ever. They were fucking brutal, get this, onf of them managed to bit my knee through my jeans! And this was the middle of the day, the midgey bites were everywhere, mostly over my arms but a couple on my face and they were swelling up to about 2 inches in diametre. So I quickly put tuger balm on the bites and cursed the existance of every mosquitoe on the planet for about 20 minutes. Then we asked a truck driver who was by the side of the road where he was heading and as he wasing going our way he offered us a lift. But Kate´s spider sense was tingling as the guy seemed a bit weird and as he offered for us to put out bags in his trailer we politely declined the offer and kept on walking. It took ages before the next ride and eventually we´d gotten a lift about 30 clicks down the road to a service station. By this time it was lunch time so we figures we´d stop in and it was lush. Meatball maddness! I´d been craving meat balls for ages and did´t tink I´d find somewhere that would have it, especially not a service station in the middle of no-where!

Anyway, after a hearty meal I was feeling a lot happier and we managed to get a lift from a truck driver who took us a pretty fair distance. It was starting to get dark and he was stopping in at a town on the way to Cordoba so he dropped us off at a petrol garage. we were pretty worried that we were going to be stranded at this point so we got pretty damn cheeky with asking people where they were headed, plus niether of us had enough money for a bus anywhere!. As we were waiting outside an early thirties guy in a keved up hatch back pulled in and helped his elderly mother out of the passenger seat. I said ´Buenos Noches´ to them as they walked passed and they both blanked me! Then Kate went back into the petrol garage to ask a guy there for directions, delebrately loud so that everyone there coule hear where we were going and what we were after. Then the guy came out of the garage and asked if we wanted a lift with him and his mother and we were chuffed.

He was called maurice and was the best ride we´d got by a mile. 5 minutes down the road, whilst going about 120kph he cracks open a beer and starts handing it around. Then he cranks up the sterio and we have a little sing along to all the latino hits we´d been hearing in the clubs. then he tells us, from what i understood, that san Luis has a drug problem. What he was actually saying that he usued to have a drug problem! So Maurice, the legand, was a part time orthopeadist and part time semi pro rally driver (I´ve seen videos of him being interviewed on Argentinian TV so he was legit). Anyway, he took us into Cordoba and we managed to find a hostel that we´d been recomened and hit the hay....