On The Road....

Monday, October 17, 2005

I´m not sure whether it´s those damn optimistic Bolivians or i´ve been drinking too much Pepsi Max or this mountain air just makes you feel like conquering things BUT when the pounding rain eases later in the week we are going to have a crack at climbing a mountain. A dirty big one at that....Huayna Potosi...6088 m of rock and ice. I´m not saying that i´m Sir Edmund Hillary or anything, but if we make it to the top of this champion i reckon the commercial sponsors will start rolling in. OK...i´ll stop blowing my trumpet...the lady in the tourist office says that a days training on the glacier and it´ll be a walk in the park....with ice picks....and clampons....and rope and howling icey winds and crevasses and and and....there better be St Bernards up there dammit!!

In an internet cafe in downtown La Paz and thought it was time for a quick recap...since we last spoke:
I like Santiago. No, dammit i do. The reports you hear are to avoid that place; 'íts too expensive', 'its just like any big city'...ok, both are true but i fealt more alive in the 36 hours we were in that city than the 4 weeks i spent in Buenos Aires. People talk to you...randoms would welcome you to their city and wish you a good day. Thats nice i thought.
After i had gotten over the greatest joke of my 27 years which saw me (upon exiting the airport) announcing to the world 'Man, its a little 'Chile' here isn't it' (it still gets me that one....priceless), it was time to explore. Strolled through the outdoor photographic exhibition celebrating the past 100 years in Santiago. If you manage to check out my photos (on bebo i think) i´ve attached my favourite shot. On the wall the man paints 'porque la mas bella estrela es la mano del trabajador', which translated is 'because the most beautiful star is the hand of the worker'. Amazing photos and a great intro to the city. Had heard rumours that this place was known for its seafood so we made our way to the fish markets (see photo of lazy old fish monger) and met another aussie, and in the tradition of our people, we decided we'd all be best mates and go drink beers and sample the local seafood. Seafood restaurants are just above the market sourcing the freshests of fresh aquatics from the mongers below cooked to perfection (or uncooked if you had the cerviche) and matched with some excellent local booze. The sun was out, the city was new, the views were amazing and the people we're great. Santiago....we´ll meet again!!!!!

As we are still in La Paz i dont think its the proper time for reflections. This city is amazing and i know i´ll be reluctant to leave when the time comes. I've never been to a city with so much passion amongst its people...so much colour amongst the browns and greys and SO MUCH LLAMA WOOL. Everyday and night the city is alive with political rallys (upcoming elections...the socialists look a shoe in...MAS, MAS, MASSSS), festivals (youth break and hip-hop demos...rad), demonstrations (World Food Day yesterday) and all served with a mouth full of coca leaves and a choripan!!! Once the breathing had settled down (3800 m altitude) and barings were established i realised how much this place has to offer, and its so damn cheap i feel like Elton John at a florist (a more masculine Elton).

OK...more about here later. I need another Choripan...

check the photos....things make sense with pictures (i've always had a problem with dictionarys in this regard).

There's huge explosions coming from outside....what are they up to today????????


Monday, October 10, 2005

Aside from a quick visit to Santiago en route to Bolivia, i have three items that i feel warrant a mention at this time. Jam rolls and chocolate logs are delicious treats, made popular by the Country Womens Association I believe, and usually best with a good cuppa or at the end of a meal. On buses in Argentina, some buses, they serve similar rolled delights. BUT they have chosen to make the interesting substitution of capsicum relish for the tradional jam or cream.....crazy bastards.
ALSO, i just walked passed an old lady serving jelly cups with sayo biscuits in them. Excellent idea...why not!

AND, in closing, the Flight Attendant on the flight up here looked identical to a young Alan Border (with moustache)!!

In La Paz....amazing city, as was Santiago, but i think i´ll choose to elaborate on these after some sleep and when unusual things have stopped being so comical. It was a long long journey up here....this place is seeming to be a little bigger than i had first understood!

till tomorrow perhaps.

Monday, October 03, 2005

A month in now and time for an update...an update which, with any luck, will prompt a more frequent tide of updates of my adventures from the big unknown. Or should i say the ´big known´, given that this place is crawling with extra keen backpackers. So long as you can get your hands on a Katmandu backpack and a lonely planet shoe-string guide south america is yours for the taking. I´ve developed a healthy cynisism towards the spoon fed backpacker sceen since i last hit the road.....not sure that it should be this easy. ´What did you do today´...´well i went to 3 museums, 2 art galleries, ate lunch at quaint local place, took obligatory photo of interesting local people on street, tried odd local quisine, purchased thai fishing pants and a llama wool hat, got ripped off by dodgy cabby, took photos of 4 nice buildings listed in guide and emailed everyone i know. Tonight i´m getting pissed at the hostel then heading out with my new best mates for ´set your sister on fire and win a sack of sh!t saturdays at Dingo Aussies House of Beer....What about you....?´

Man i am cynical....must be time pull myself off the teet of mother Buenos Aires and what lies to the north!!! I love this place, don´t get me wrong...but i love it in a way that is too similar to why i love Melbourne. A nice big busy city with everything for everyone...food, music, art, fashion, colourful people, colourful buildings at SO MUCH CONVIENCE that it almost makes you sick. Its an interesting mix of the good old days of gold tastles and red velvet, deep scars from the recent economic implosion and plans for a bright future. To the weathered, weary traveller looking for refuge and a foot massage after 4 months off the beaten track in Peru, Bolivia and Columbia this place would no doubt be paradise (without palm trees of course).

Argentinians know their beef and they are fanatical about it. Every second restaurant has a parilla (indoor bbq) lorded over by loud, stocky men in dirty aprons juggling huge pieces of beef, pork, chicken and chorizo, whilst sucking on a dirty big glass of red and patiently nurturing the hot coals. They are called Asadors. I´m not a religious man but i think i have found my nirvana. There´s not a Bar-Be-Mate to be found...no tongs....they use a big old fork, a sturdy yet far from stainless steel blade and their bare hands. I cant imagine they live much passed 40 with the amount of meat and wine they consume and the constant exposure to the heat from the parilla...they´d probably know some good remedies for gout though!!!!

Had dinner out in San Telmo on Friday night after getting all dressed up in cheap op-shop atire and attending the opening night of the new opera showing at Teatro Colon. We got the cheapest tickets available (3 pesos)...standing room at the rear of the top (sixth tear) of this amazing theatre. Slipped the doorman 40 pesos and the five of us had seats...pays to ask these things in foreign lands. My Spanish comprehension is slow at best or maybe its because we didn´t get in till intermission, but i had no idea what the show was about. Still...it was an amazing spectacle and good for people watching. This is one of the cheapest places in the world for cosmetic surgery and has some pretty relaxed rules regarding fur coats...the wealthy old Argentinian scoialite types are like cartoon characters. I´ll take photos....

Speaking of photos, i´ve again neglected to figure out how to post any on this blog. Next time i promise. There´s a nice place around the corner from here that does good tea....good tea is hard to find...i´m needing a tea so its time to sign off.

Remind me to tell you about the time i went to Iguazu Falls....i´m heading there tomorrow!!

be good now

Thursday, September 01, 2005

11:06..................11:07.........need to be up at 5am....got a flight to catch. All excited with the anticipation of the adventure ahead but reflective and maybe a tiny bit sad at the same time.....ooooh, what happens next............11:11.

touch down Mendoza, Argentina, 6:55pm.....i guess i'll just have to wait till then.

11:15pm. Still haven't figured out how to attach a photo. When i do, i'll take a photo of the moment and attach that!!

be good


Sunday, August 21, 2005

Well folks.....it's official! Ignoring a few minor technicalities (ie. my physically leaving these fine shores)....i am ON THE ROAD!
Purchased a sturdy pair of 'travelling' shoes, picked up the old plane ticket and, with a bit of luck, Sharon from Dicksons Creek will buy my car...thats it, i'm out!!

I've set this blog up for those out there who want to check in on me. I guess i'll probably be adding to it from time to time.....ssoooooo watch this space. Should be able to throw a few pics up on here too, once i figure that bit out. Good old technology eh.....still, nothing beats a postcard if you ask me. Dont ask me though.....having said that i really doubt i'll be sending any postcards, this is just too easy!!!

Drinks at the Park Hotel, Abbotsford on saturday the 27th with me, Woody and Stig if you missed the email......

till next time


PS. I think i'll choose me an alterego....they'll never know!!!