So that's it, it's all over. We got home six days ago and it already feels like we haven't been away. The job hunt is on and the non-stop travelling of South America feels like a very distant memory. So let's rewind...
We spent three weeks after Mexico in New York, where Jaz has family. We saw all the tourist sites, spent a long weekend on Shelter Island, celebrated Liam's birthday with a night out and a ride on "The Beast" and ate our body weight in Italian food, in fact, any type of food. Jaz has been to New York many times before and was eager to introduce Liam to the city that never sleeps and it left a good impression. We met up with Garren (of Bolivian jungle fame) quite a few times over the weeks, but by the time September 30th came we were excited to get on our plane home.
The sunset in Shelter Island:
Liam on Shelter Island:
The boys at a Modest Mouse gig at the Williamsburg Waterfront:
On the "Top of the Rock":
Eating the "best pizza in New York" at Grimaldis (we didn't rate it too highly):
Going to watch the Lion King on Broadway:
At the Statue of Liberty:
So, we had an amazing time. Definite highlights include:
The Inca Trail
The sense of achievement after doing this was just incredible. Despite the problems we encountered during the four days the moment we saw Machu Picchu we couldn't help but think it was all so worth it.
The Bolivian jungle
This was just a once in a lifetime trip. We sailed down a river, surrounded by alligators and capyvera, we hunted anacondas, we fished for pirahnas, swam with pink dolphins in the same river we had just been sailing down and even endured some food poisoning. The people we were with really made our time in the jungle, you're all ace guys!
This place was just PARADISE. It was ace to be somewhere so serene, without cars or motorcycles, where people didn't stare or comment and where the beaches were so perfect. We had an amazing few days here.
We would have liked longer to explore Mexico, but we liked what we saw: from Mexico City to Isla Mujeres there was something that caught our eye. It helps that the food was ridiculously good (especially in Amigos!) and very cheap to boot.
It's crazy to think back to the favelas of Rio and how much safer we felt there than in the streets of Rio. The pickpocketing incident on just our fourth day. Watching the football on the beach. Skye. Enda. Brian. "Gringo! Christo!". Getting lost looking for the Lapa steps. Ilha Grande, paradise. The old guy in the canoe with his dog and coconuts. The rain in Paraty. The gypsies. Sao Paolo and the power cut. England losing to the Germans. Our first long-distance bus to Iguacu falls. Iguacu falls. Both sides. The Argentine side being better. Losing the yellow fever certificate. That medical centre filled with sick children, staring at us. Bellinha. The BBQ. Tony, Graham, Lauren. That boat ride. Getting wet through waterproofs. The flight to Montevideo which added an extra destination and was really delayed. Montevideo. Mate. The Uruguayans winning THAT match. The noise and excitement. Smcksy on his way to Colonia (Sandwich bag McGee). Lying on that bench when the dog was right next to Jaz's face. Buenos Aires. Oh Buenos Aires. Jeremy. La Boca. The bitter wind. Milhouse. The tango show. Sitting at that posh table for hours until anything even happened. Sneaky illegal filming. That 90s club. The cemetary. The first class coach. Travelling on Independence Day AGAIN. The bag theft. Mendoza. Mr Hugo. SPAIN WINNING THE WORLD CUP.
And of course we can't forget the bus ride to Santiago. The delays. Aldo. Xime. Paula. The tias. Liam's fever. Replacing clothes. Eating two completos each. Pisco sours, both types. Getting locked out of Aldo's. The cafe with the strippers. La Virgen. Mote con huecilla. Cindy the cat. The coach ride back to Mendoza. The cold. Numb feet. Disappointment. Never meeting our roomate. Salta. Even colder. The Waster. The snowman in the main square. That bbq dish. Israli war veteran. Coping with stress. Baseball bat. Early starts. Daytrips. Kenan, Kel and Hassan. More mate, with the yummy cheese and bread. The cactus farm. Windburn and sunburn. Our money-saving picnic in the square. Cafayate wine. Jibbing the wine tour. Robin on the wine tour. Climbing the hill overlooking the town. Being thrown out of the car and made to walk. San Pedro de Atacama. Demanding to be let back on the bus. For the entire 30 second journey. That older couple. The second hostel we stayed in and the dude that ran it. Sandboarding.
And then there was Bolivia. The four-day tour through the desert and to the salt flats. Hannah, Nuno, Di, Azoo. Geysers. Thermal pools. Lagoons. The cold. The wind. The "llaaaaaameeeeeeeeeees". One hot shower. One cold shower. Excitment at wine. Card games. The obligatory photos. That car that broke down and no-one could fix. The train cementary. Uyuni, awful Uyuni. Potosi, the highest city in the world. The mines. Being stuck in Potosi for FOUR days with nothing to do. Cooking an awful dinner in a hostel that wasn't our own. Eventually getting a cab the hell out of there. Roadblocks. Hitting that poor dog. Sucre. White trees. The dinosaur park. Joy Ride. The Bolivians hand-painting the lines on to the roads. The "Eiffel Tower" and "Arc de Triomphe" in that park. More road blocks. Cochabamba. 12 hours. Rubbish lunch. La Paz.
Wild Rover. The altitude. The drunkeness and hangover at altitude. Choco. Girl cat. Boy cat. TV room cat. City of Men- How DOES it end?! The brass band that followed every demonstration. The tear gas. The prison. Llama foetuses. Ekoko. The camera issues. Rurrenabaque. The jungle. Helen, Elliot, Garren, Aiden. Alligators. Capivera. Pink Dolphins. Dead anacondas. Tony baiting alligators. Pirahna Fishing. The first bowt of food poisoning. Sunsets. Card games late into the night. Attracting the bugs to the torches after the generator had turned all the lights off. La Paz. Lake Titicaca/Isla del Sol. The walk up that hill with the little lad guiding us. Liam carrying both bags. Apachetes. That sunset. The French people on the top of the hill. Almost missing the boat. Feeling sick on the boat.
Peru. Arequipa. Turkish Food three times, all amazing. Mexican food twice, disappointing. No beer ice cream. Rip-off merchants inside the church. Tiny Ice Princess. Fear of highjacking of our bus. Ica. Villa Jazmin. Anniversary. Huacachina. Climbing the sand dune. Sandboarding. Dune buggy. The Americans- "Yeeeeeeeeeah!". The Nazca Lines. "Hey Manchester!! Excuse me Manchester!!". Cuzco. Milkshakes. Rafting- "It was really cool". National Folklore Week. The Inca Trail. Miguel, Megan, Nate, Doreen, Mill. Food poisoning round two. Dead Woman's Pass. Apachete. Machu Picchu. The sense of achievement and pride. Resenting all the clean people. The porters. Papa. That weird offering to Pachamama. Being offered drugs every two seconds. The transvestite in the toilets of Mama Africa. That 21 hour bus to Lima. Sara, Sharon, Dorian, Luke. Chuey. The stuck up cat. Allianza Lima. The street food market. Bembos. Día de Santa Rosa. Hunting for guinea pig. The early rise to catch the flight. Running in the rain to flag a taxi down.
Mexico. The food. Mexico City. Those tacos. The non-stop walking tours. The night out with the hostel peeps who just wanted to pull. Oaxaca. The brass band in the square. The market. The bar with the one barman raving all the time. Realisation of lack of funds and error coming to Oaxaca. Sad times. The Mezcal. Happy times. Tlayudas. Hanging our washing out to dry and then the rain comes. 24 hours to Cancun. Isla Mujeres. The heat. The beaches. Chivas shirt. Amigos. The hostel beach bar. The guy in the white pants dancing. Locking ourselves out of our room and the security guard trying to break in. The golf buggy. The dive-bombing birds. Cancun. The beach club. The City. Tequila tequila. South African Dancing. Searching for sandals.
New York. The family. Shelter Island. Lots of food. Fishing. Tubing. Kayaking. Walks to the icecream shop. Times Square. The Statue of Liberty. The Beast. Top of the Rock. Central Park. The Lion King. Liam's new shoes. Lot's of new things. Ground Zero in the rain. Empire State Building in the mist. More eating. Liam's birthday. Samson's Birthday. Seven course meal. Home. The End.
We didn't realise quite how many of you read this until we got home and people mentioned it to us. Thank you so much for sharing our adventure with us, we mainly kept the blog as a way of staying in touch, helping those who are wanting to do a similar trip and to have something to read back when our memories aren't quite so clear in years to come, so it's great to know that people have actually enjoyed reading it, too.
Until our next trip,
Jaz and Liam xxx