There is no denying that Steph and I have fallen behind on the blog. Blogging in South America versus blogging in India presented some noticeable differences. While internet was often easier to come by, down time was pretty much non existent. A full day in India usually involved waiting around for meals to be served in restaurants, exploring temples until we could no longer withstand the heat, reading a ridiculous amount of books and making our way through the movies on Steph’s hard drive. Steph had plenty of time to thumb through our Lonely Planet while I tweaked the thousands of photos I had taken. Argentina was different. We could barely find the time to sleep. Between moving around every 2-3 days, long stretches of transport in between, hours and hours of hiking and a ridiculous amount of time spent finding grocery stores, waiting in lines and cooking our own meals, finding time to write was near impossible.
After the trip, both Steph and I returned to a hectic work life and finding time to catch up on the posts we were already behind on became tougher and tougher. And now here we are checked into our hotel room in Singapore waiting for a flight to the Male in the Maldives. We figured it would be best to dish up a quick and dirty round up of the rest of our South America trip (the first trip of my 30’s and the last trip of Steph’s 20’s) before we started to blog again. We may find the time to revisit some of these places, but for now here is the coles notes version of 2016 for Borderline Crazy 29/30:
Cordoba and a return to Buenos Aires
After traveling with Matt in Mendoza we headed east to central Argentina to visit Cordoba. Honestly, not much happened there. We stayed at an OK hostel where we thought the front desk guys name was Taco, but it was actually Nacho. The fact that I am including that tidbit of info should be an indication of how much did not happen in Cordoba. We visited a Jesuit community about an hour outside of town followed by a visit to a German town where we drank beer and ate lomos. Then we went to the local mall to watch Star Wars. Going to the movies while traveling is a great way to feel normal after having been on the road for a long time. We went back the next night to watch Jennifer Lawrence’s “Joy” and walked out wondering how we managed to sit through a movie that is, honest to god, about a mop. We strolled the city (Cordoba is a nice city) ate some food and drank more wine (of course) and then caught our bus to Buenos Aires where my new passport was waiting for me at the Canadian Embassy.
We had a few days booked in Buenos Aires to allow for time to get the passport and see a few sights. After a visit to the embassy, we returned to our hostel and met Marcus, a German traveller, who joined us for drinks on the roof of the hostel, a fantastic spot that no one but us seemed to like using. Marcus had spent an intense amount of time exploring the city and offered to take us on a tour of his favourite sites the following day. His tour included the graveyard where Eva Peron was buried, which we missed on our last visit. Later, I turned to Tinder, not in search of a fine man, but a fine steak. I know that sounds weird, but it worked. One of my matches, a producer at a Buenos Aires radio station, recommended a great spot only frequented but locals and we had a great steak in the country’s capital for just 7 dollars, avoiding the overpriced touristy areas altogether. For those of you wondering, I never did go on a Tinder date in Buenos Aires because the following night I ended up quite stomach sick.. I don’t think it had anything to do with the steak. Before our bus to Iguazu in the South, we looked up a leather district in the city and each bought a fantastic pair of leather boots that have been serving us well ever since.
This would be my second visit to Iguazu Falls (I had visited the Brazilian side when I lived in Rio Grande a decade ago) and Steph’s first time. We arranged to meet with Karina, Steph’s friend whom we had met at the Mendoza bus station the day someone stole my bag. We spent a morning applying for a Brazilian visa, not the simplest thing without any entry stamps in my new passport, but the police report helped with that) and the afternoon was spent strolling the boardwalk along the falls and getting rather wet.
Rio De Janeiro
From Iguazu, we took a bus to Rio de Janeiro in time to arrive for Carnival. My brother-in-law’s cousin kindly offered us her apartment in the Catete district as she was in Paris avoiding the craziness of Carnival with her family. Fortunately for us, Leo, the Brazilian we had spent Christmas with and the person who had ultimately convinced us to include Carnival in our itinerary, lived in the same district and showed us the ropes of navigating Carnival. After a few days of partying and hanging out on the Copacabana, Karina left for Bolivia and Steph and I shelled out the big bucks to go to the Samba Parade on its final night. We were lucky enough to see the year’s winning samba school perform that evening, which did not wrap up until 6am. Steph’s flight left that evening, but that did not stop us from forgoing sleep and taking the cable car up Sugar Loaf Mountain. Naturally, we ran late and Steph had to race for a taxi to get to the airport on time, leaving me to fly solo for the rest of the trip.
Paraty and Ilha Grande
Flying solo once again, I took a bus to Paraty, a charming colonial town a few hours from Rio with cobblestone streets and whitewashed stone buildings. Coming to terms with traveling alone again for the first time in 2 years, I signed up for a boat trip and made fast friends with 3 Londoners. From Paraty I voyaged on to Ilha Grande, a tropical paradise of stunning beaches, hiking snorkeling and diving that inspired me to hum the Jurassic Park theme song from time to time because it was just that lush. By this point, I had completely adjusted to traveling alone again and made fast friends with others visiting the island.
An Africa Travel CO. Reunion in Rio
Upon returning from Ilha Grande I was picked up by Matteus. Matheus had been on my African Truck tour back in 2012 and was the 4th person from that tour I had met up with somewhere in the world after that trip. Matheus had just returned from visiting his girlfriend Mayara (who had also been on our trip) in Spain and had all the time in the world to take me out and about. His impeccable hosting included drinking cold mate on Niteroi beautiful beaches, paddle boarding with sea turtles, hiking up an insanely big rock, hanging out in his pool and being spoiled with his mother’s tapioca. Next came a visit to Rio’s Tijuca National Park, the largest national park to sit in the middle of a cosmopolitan city and the tour ended with a karaoke birthday party. The day of my flight I managed to squeeze in a trip to the beach with Caroline, Sylvain and Mael, my sister’s in-laws, who had just returned from Paris, before boarding a plane to Europe…