Sunday, 30 August 2015

South America: Transport costs

  • Rio to Campo Grande flight: £50, 2.5 hours
  • Campo Grande to Pantanal: 70 BRL = £13, 6 hours. 
  • Pantanal to Corumba: 40 BRL = £8, 2.5 hours.
  • Corumba to Santa Cruz: 150 BOB = £15, 9 hours.
  • Santa Cruz to Cochabamba: 150 BOB = £15, 14 hours.  
  • Cochabamba to Oruro: 60 BOB = £6, 4.5 hours.
  • Oruro to Uyuni train: 40 BOB = £4, 10 hour train.
  • Uyuni to La Paz via Oruro: 40 BOB + 60 BOB = £10, 8.5 hour train, 4 hour bus. 
  • La Paz to Copacabana: 30 BOB = £3, 4.5 hours.
  • Copacabana to Cusco: 120 BOB = £12, 12 hours. 
  • Cusco to Arequipa: 88 PEN = £18, 14 hours.
  • Arequipa to Tacna: 30 PEN = £6, 7 hours.
  • Tacna to Arica taxi: 20 PEN = £4, 2 hours.
  • Arice to Attacama: 15,000 CLP (50% discount) = £14, 12 hours.
  • Attacama to Santiago: 28,000 CHP = £26, 24 hours.
  • Santiago to Buenos Aires flight: £125, 2.5 hours.
  • Buenos Aires to Iguazu: 880 ARS = £40 using blue dollar, 20 hours.
  • Iguazu to Sao Paulo: 195 BRL = £39, 17 hours.
  • Sao Paulo to Angos del Reis: 75 BRL= £15 , 8 hours.
  • Angos del Reis to Ilhe Grande boat: 40 BRL = £8, 1 hour. 
  • Ilhe Grande to Rio De Janerio boat/bus: 90 BRL = £18, 2.5 hours.
£274 + £175 flights = £449 on transport.
187.5 hours (7.8 days) of travel.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

The big man in the sky.

After dinner we had some drinks, met some new people, and eventually passed out. On Thursday we finally got round to seeing Christ the Redeemer as the weather was no longer cloudy - in fact, it was extremely sunny - hooray! It cost 51 BRL for the train & entrance to the statue area, the views on the way up are beautiful too. There was a wedding ceremony going on just in front of the statue which was cute. As usual for such a tourist attraction, it was absolutely HEAVING! People pulling the same cliched pose (which I shamefully joined in on), and wannabe photographs crouching down at every angle as to avoid cutting off the head of Christ.

In the evening we just chilled out - the people in our hostel room are the most obnoxious people I have ever come across. You can tell they don't usually go to hostels. They were rude and loud all evening, had the lights on full so late and I just couldn't fall asleep, it was driving me mental - same for everyone else in the room too. I'd definitely say to avoid Magna Lapa hostel, everyone in there is also over 30 by the looks of things! I did find a great cat though and had some cuddles with it before one of the boys whipped it with a towel and scared it off :(.

Today I started the morning by walking to the National History museum. I enjoyed it there as it was very modern and everything was explained well, however, I got a bit bored by the end if I'm honest with you. I enjoyed the walk back though as it was through the central business district and there were just so many things to stare at. After buying some cheap Smirnoff to take home, we called a taxi for 6pm and drove to the airport - it took an hour and a half to get there despite the fact it was supposed to take 20 minutes - so much traffic! 

Flight home didn't feel too long which was good, but we were on the runway for an hour before we took off. I'll never fly with Lufthansa again - the amount of grief they've given me is absurd!

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Paradise Island

So, Ilha Grande was beautiful. We spent 2 nights/ 3 days there. We were supposed to be there for 3 nights however ran out of money and there were no cash points on the island - frankly, I wasn't THAT gutted however, because the accommodation we had chosen was awful and I just wanted to be back to somewhere nice. It was in the jungle (literally the jungle) and so was steep was to get to and full of bugs. I got bitten several times by mosquitoes. Also, when the power goes off in the island (at least once a day!!), there is no natural light from anything nearby so is pitch black and miserable.

On the first day we roamed around the island, chilling in the sun with caipirinha cocktails (as usual), and just saw what the beaches were like - very nice I might add. We saw a turtle too which was really cool. So nice to have sunshine, feels like paradise here. On the second day we got a free ride on a boat to Lopez Mandes beach because some men wanted tourists to be in their promo video. It was actually an all girls trip by the looks of things... so Matt was a bit out of place! Oh well, he wasn't complaining (naturally). The beach was totally stunning, perfect sand, empty and super relaxing. The only thing that was annoying was that the sea was FREEZING cold and the sunshine disappeared behind clouds for a while so there was nothing to do. In the evening we went for dinner and just had some drinks afterwards on the beach whilst watching some child French siblings race each other - super cute.

We left at 1pm for Rio and arrived around 5pm, for a hostel drop-off and boat included it came to 90 BRL (£18). Nice to be back to civilisation, but shame the flight seems so far away still. Only two days to go.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

"I hope you get the chance, to live like you were dying" - Tim McGraw.

Getting up at 10am for breakfast, we booked our skydiving and got ready to go. We were picked up at 12:30pm and got 3 other English people along the way to the jump site. It cost 590 BRL (£110) for the jump. It cost 760 BRL for the hand cam video of the guy strapped to your back. It cost  940 BRL for another guy to jump with you to film the whole thing and take photographs. Lastly, for both videos and photos, it cost 1080 BRL. Unfortunately, being so close to the end of our holiday, we decided to go just for the jump and allow our memories to relive the experience without video. After stepping into a harness and being taught the banana move (a position you have to free fall in) we had to wait 30 minutes till the first load of people went up. Next was our turn. By then, my thighs were already killing me as the harness was so tight it was so painful. We crammed 11 of us into the tiniest plane possible and set off. 

Surprisingly I wasn't nervous flying up there, nor about the prospect of jumping. However, when the door opened, because I was right next to it and just had to swing my legs to the left and fall out the plane, my nerves suddenly spiked. The noise of the plane flying through the wind was exhilarating. Anyway, time came and, tightly strapped to my instructor, I dangled my legs cautiously over the edge, worried I might fall out and drag him with me when he wasn't ready... Then he pushed forward and off we fell. With a quick yelp I lost my breath and began free falling, my cheeks puffing in the wind as my lips were sucked backwards... (Like when you push your face up against a glass door). Before I knew it, the force of the parachute stopped me dead in my tracks and yanked me back to reality, the harness pulling tightly around my legs, cutting the circulation further. The man attached to me decided to spin us round in circles quickly, making me feel rather sick! When we got near the bottom, I had to lift my legs up so we could slide along on our bums to stop. By this point, I could hardly feel my legs the harness was so tight - I ended up having slight bruises... However, still, hands down the best thing I've ever done and I'd wholeheartedly recommend you to step out of your comfort zone and give it a try!

After having a quick dinner we headed to the bus station. From here, we embarked on a very painful 27 hour journey - from 7pm to midday was the journey to São Paulo (195 BRL). We had to wait 4 hours to get a 8 hour bus to Angos del Reis (74 BRL) to get to Ilhe Grande. We thought it was like 2 hours away... So we just had to book whatever hostel was in the town as there was only 1 on hostelworld. It was expensive too at 50 BRL (£10). The two guys who ran it were just so stoned. They were friendly don't get me wrong, but the place was a bit creepy/ shitty.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Argentinan side of Iguazu falls.

A return bus costs 100 ARG (£5) from Iguazu City and entrance for the park costs 260 ARG (£13) - note, park entrance fee must be paid in local currency. We then also paid 270 ARG (£13.50) for a 12 minute boat trip into the waterfall itself. The place is far larger than the Brazilian side with many different routes to take. We wandered around all day and even got on the train to the Devils throat (basically takes you on a long walk over bridges to get to the very top of the waterfall where you get drenched). My favourite part was definitely the boat journey. I mean, we got totally soaked.... I had two raincoats on all zipped up and I still was so so wet. That's because though they take you fully under the falls... We couldn't see anything as the water was so powerful it was hard to open your eyes haha.

Me and my rainbow. 

After getting back to our hostel we jumped on a bus to Foz, the Brazillian side, and checked into Tetris hostel. It's so cool because it's all made out of shipping containers. After dinner we had a complimentary drink and then I headed to bed, whilst, as usual, Matt just sat and drank with others for a while haha.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Brazilian Iguazu Falls

So, after a last wander around Buneos Aires and a trip to the Congress buildings (personally one of he best buildings I've ever seen), we boarded a 20 hour bus to Iguazu Falls in northern Argentina. I must say, I'm imcredibly fed up of all these long bus journeys! There's more to come still though... The bus was our most expensive at 880ARG (£40 using blue dollar). Even then, that was with a 40% discount on the ticket as we bought it last minute. Always go to the station to buy tickets as the hostel we were looking at buying through didn't tell us about the possible discount.

Once in Iguazu, since we couldn't check in yet, we were told to go to the Brazilian side of the falls as its a lot smaller and easy to do in about 2 hours. It cost 100 ARG round trip (£5), and took about 30 minutes to get there, including crossing through the border. It was a very beautiful place naturally... Overwhelmingly huge! Matt went into the Devils throat in the thick of the water spray but I knew I'd get too cold without a coat so am waiting for tomorrow on the Argentinian side. It cost 42BRL (£8.40) to enter on this of the falls, which includes a bus from the entrance gate to the falls. We playfully bickered a lot today but matts past doing judo annoys me as he gets me in weird wrist grips whilst I squeal and hit him back haha. Ugh I hate him sometimes.... Shhhhhh.

Matt likes to get wet.

When we got back we chilled out for a bit and then I had dinner at a restaurant whilst Matt had a BBQ at the hostel. It was too expensive for the amount I knew I wouldn't eat. Matt is slowly turning into an alcoholic and can't seem to go an evening without beer... Despite the fact he knows he can't financially afford it and already said before dinner he couldn't afford to waste another Argentinan peso as the exchange rate is so bad from Brazilian currency... He still managed to get a large beer! Mhmm... I wonder where all his money went..... 

It really irritates me how he always expects me to introduce him and involve him with everything I'm doing, but, as soon as he meets other people - such as at the BBQ tonight - he doesn't think twice about asking if I'm ok or introducing me.... Grrrrrrrr. I honestly was going to leave him behind tonight and just leave super early in the morning, I packed all of my stuff ready but didn't end up waking up before him in the end as I was so shattered. He is irritating me so much! 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

I like my coffee naked.

Also just a side note of something interesting I forgot to mention.

Since the people of Chile didn't really take to coffee when it was first introduced, they did what they do with everything... They sexualized it and called it cafe con piernas (coffee on legs). Waitresses served in tight short skirts and heels to businessmen. As time progressed, their clothing got smaller and smaller. Now, some wear lingerie, or less.... They walk on a raised platform behind the bar to give customers a better view. A very weird concept. You can only get coffee... Not alcohol... They are also only open during the day till 6pm. Get your afternoon kicks however you please I suppose....

Lets go visit a cemetry... Dead fun!

Yesterday, in our hungover state we rolled out of bed around 1pm and walked down to the shops and dock area. It was a very nice side of the city where the rich typically live and all the high rise buildings reside. We stopped in a cafe for a drink and then wandered round aimlessly for a little while. There was a concrete gym thingy on which we had far too much fun acting like fools - made me smile.

When we got back to our room some new Irish people had joined us. We befriended them and then they left for the Tango whilst Matt and I went for dinner. Matt has been thoroughly enjoying his steak out here at a cheap price, so, that keeps him happy. Again, we met the Canadians from last night and played beer pong, hung out with the Irish when they returned, and drank some more!

Today, hungover again.... Yep, a recurring theme here! We decided to walk to the Recoleta cemetery. I didn't really know what to expect and didn't understand why everyone kept raving about this cemetery. It was quite a long walk, but personally, I think it was totally worth it - a far cry from the tombstones I was expecting. They were huge mausoleums for wealthy individuals or families. It had presidents, noble prize winners, founder of the navy etc. It was quite creepy though actually seeing their coffins through the glass. Some of them were broken and you could have entered it if you had really wanted... A necrophiliacs dream! Matt made me jump a few times, it was a weird atmosphere - people stood in front of them and posed with the dead.

We wandered around the neighborhood for a while and came across the Hard Rock cafe. We decided to pop in for a drink and to check out the place. After, we began the trek back and hung out in the hostel all evening, surprisingly avoiding alcohol this time! (Well, I did at least....).