So after roughly six months my time in South America is over. To sum up an amazing half year adventure here is a blog that will hopefully capture, review and pay tribute to the ups, downs, antics, shenanigans and escapades I have experienced in Latin America.
Things I've learnt in South America
- · About 200 words in Spanish - still can't string a decent sentence together though.
- · The Brazilian Woman Rating System - They are so much better looing there you have to adjust the system for example an English 10 would be a Brazilian 8.
- · The Coffee Woman Rating System - On our coffee tour in Brazil we found out if the coffee rating system. We found if a bean needs a slight roasting it's a cinnamon or if it needs longer the top is Spanish. We thought we could apply this to women, as calling a girl a cinnamon sounds nicer than she is a 1!
- · You see an image of a cow / bull every day. Fact!
- · The Facial Hair Equation. - Length of Beard = Time Travelling. Length of Beard = Respect from peers. The longer the better, who said size didn't matter.
- · Red wine is bearable, thanks to the tours in Mendoza and Santa Cruz
- · There are no pies in Fray Bentos! Disgraceful!
- · Raw tomatoes actually taste delicious!
- · Salsa - Had a one hour free class in Cali, Colombia and now I think I can win Strictly Come Dancing
- · Game of Thrones is a decent read, although very long!
- · The Gringo Trail - If you are heading in the same direction as someone else you will see them again weather its one day, one week or a month it will happen.
- · ChooseLime!!
The Best Things about Travelling South America
- · Meeting loads of awesome new people from a range of places around the world and all walks of life
- · The atmosphere at football games
- · Seeing some of the new Seven Wonders of the World like Macchu Picchu and Iguazu Falls.
- · Visiting other sights like Cartel Houses, Sand Boarding, Death Road & Cholita's wrestling
- · Eating some crazy food like Toad Juice and Bull Penis Soup
- · The World Cup 2014!
- · Getting Adam Frith's name in as many different places as we could
- · Learning about the culture of the continent
- · Realising that the continent is a lot safer than it is portrayed
- · Incredible views and scenery
- · Comfortable Night Buses, the one from Iguazu to Asuncion springs to mind that was like travelling in lazy boys
The Worse Things about Travelling South America
- · Missing friends and family back home
- · Leaving awesome people you have met and not knowing if you will ever see them again
- · Top bunks in dorms! - Especially in Triple Bed Dorms
- · All the steps and all the walking uphill, especially at high altitude
- · Eating some crazy foods!
- · The South American s***s!
- · Night Buses with a lack of leg room, no working light, no air con, too much air con. And the journeys with very windy roads
- · Flight prices within the continent
South America - FAQ
Best place visited?This is tough every place has been good for different reasons. But the San Blas Islands were exceptional. To be in paradise is lucky in its own write, but to share the journey with ten or so other fantastic people is incredible
Worse place visited?Guayaquil, where we stayed for two hours and then decided to Gareth Bale.
Favourite Country in South America?Colombia -I enjoyed Colombian History, the diversity the women, hostels nights out, friendly people, I'm not sure I have a bad word to say about the place.
Least Favourite Country in South America?Uruguay - It was cold, wet and miserable. Despite Colonia and the golf carts Uruguay offered very little. It had potential with Frey Bentos too but I'm sure you are already aware I'm a bit pissed off there were no pies there
Best Football Game Attended?The Strongest 3 vs 1 Universitario Cobija. Even though going to a world cup game was class, the game we went England were dumped out and there were no goals. So despite seeing Chris Kamara and there being a cracking atmosphere the Bolivian one gets it. I had an affiliation with the club from my younger days playing premier manager with Adam Frith where we would set up friendlies with the team and saying 'only the strongest play the strongest.' The game wasn't bad either 4 goals, a penalty, a screamer, a howler, the ground was nice being surrounded by mountains and I managed to get a lift there and back with the mental supporters group!
Worse Football Game Attended?A bore draw in Cusco between Real Garcilaso and Alianza Lima. Zero zero and no real incidents to talk of.
Best Tour / AttractionThere are lots. The Coffee Tour, Sand Buggying, Iguazu Falls, Hiking the Volcano in Pucon, The Amazon, The Pablo Escobar Tour, The Equator. The list could go on and on. But if you made me pick one it would be Macchu Picchu. I only did the trek from the village but the satisfaction of making it is brilliant and then the hill there too. I can only imagine what doing the four day Inca trail before must feel like.
Worse Tour / Attraction visited?The Colca Canyon, Arequipa, Peru. Despite meeting Doctor Suze the tour was shoddy. The place itself was nice and was amazing to see wild condor's. The tour was just very poorly run and organised.
Best Beach? Definitely the Lopez Mendez beach at Ilha Grande, Brazil. The trek to the beach is definitely worth it.
Best Hostel stayed in?Drop Bear in Santa Marta, Colombia. It was an ex-Cartel House and had everything you possibly wanted space, book exchange, big TV area, swimming pool, decent kitchen, friendly staff
Worse Hostel Stayed In?Beach Backpackers in Rio, Brazil. Despite the name was not even close to a beach, had three high bunk beds and annoying receptionist known as Captain Disney because of his annoying habit of squealing Disney songs at 6am in the morning.
Best Drinking Game Learnt?Before this trip I thought I knew about every drinking game. I was wrong! I learnt and made up so many more, fives, tens, electricity, and several new editions of ride the bus. I was going to give the best to Allie's 7s, 11s and doubles but then I remembered the greatest game ever - combining both Flip Cup and Beer Pong. I give to you Flip Pong.
What was the scariest thing you did in South America?Easily Death Road in La Paz. After not riding a bicycle properly since my younger years and I didn't even do that a lot, being put on the world's most dangerous road with one with at least a 100 meter drop to my left wasn't my steadiest of moments.
Did you experience any trouble in South America? There were three minor incidents. Firstly the riots after the world cup final when we got caught up in the back end and got a bit of tear gas. The second was in the melee after the riots when I caught someone trying to pick pocket me and a third a guy tamely threatened us with a knife after trying to sell us drugs, we laughed at him.
Most outrageous food ate? So I have three answers for you here, in terms of taste - Toad Juice, in terms of controversy - Guinea Pig and in terms of general sounding awfulness Bull Penis Soup
What food did you miss most from back home?Baked Beans, why they don't have them in South America is beyond me. Other than this Mashed Potato, Gravy, Mini Cheddars, Jaffa Cake and Terry's Chocolate Orange
Do you have any regrets about your time in South America? Yep one, not going to the salt flats in Bolivia, massive mistake.
SOUTH AMERICA STATS & FACTS!!
General -I visited 10 different countries over 178 days, 5,74 months, 25.42 weeks. Within these countries I visited 44 different cities,don't worry I won't list these. The most was in Brazil visiting 13different Brazilian cities, towns or villages. The least was in Paraguay where we just visited 1 -Asuncion so we could get a passport stamp for Paraguay. The longest we stayed in one city was 10 days in Sao Paulo, which was mainly due to the start of the World Cup. In fact in total Sao Paulo was the longest we stayed in any city with all trips combined with a total of 19 days.
Accommodation -In total I stayed in 48 Hostelsfor a combined total of 111 Nights. 3 Hotelsfor 3 Nights. 4 Air BnB placesfor 21 Nightsand 14 Nightsin Miscellaneous accommodation this included a night in the Amazon and staying with friends we had made along the way mainly The Colombians in Sao Paulo and Katherine Denise house in Santa Cruz. The remaining 29 Nightswere spent on Night Buses travelling from A to B.
Travel -Google maps calculated that I travelled a total of 3236.5 kilometresbetween city to city. The biggest distance travelled was 1970 Kilometresbetween Brasilia and Fortaleza. The shortest distant covered from city to city was 75 Kilometresbetween Huacachina and Paracas. In total I used 5different modes of transport including Bus = 54 Times (29 Night / 25 Day), Train 2 Times, Car 1 Time, Boat 5 Times and Plane 2 Times. The three longest journeys I've had were 1) Cartagena - San Blas Islands - 36 Hours by Boat.2) Salvador to Rio - 31 Hours by Busand 3) San Pedro De Atacama to La Paz which took 28.45 Hours and 3 Buses.The shortest journey made from city to city was 55 minutefight from Fortaleza to Recife. These journeys helped me finish the 9 booksI read on this adventure.
Sport -I went to see 11 different football matches across 7 countrieswhilst in South America. There were 20goals in all of the games with the highest scoring game coming in Bolivia when the strongest won a 4 goal thriller3-1. I suffered the disappointment of two goalless draws one in the World Cup between England and Costa Rica and a Peruvian top flight game between Real Garcilaso and Alianza Lima. I went to see 8 different competitionsincluding top flight games in the Argentinian, Brasilia, Peruvian, Bolivian, Chilean and Colombian leagues. The World Cup, a Copa Sudamerica game and the first leg of the Copa Libertordes final.
Competition-The only competition kept track of was pool between Earl Johnson and me. I took the overall win 30 - 22.But if you did it per country it would be a 2-2 Draw.Earl taking Colombia 2-1and Uruguay 5-2.Myself taking Brazil 9-2and Bolivia 8-3.The games in Argentina ended 5-5,Chile 3-3and Peru 2-2.Surprisingly there was not a single game of pool played between Earl and me in Paraguay and Ecuador.