Thailand – Chiang Mai (‘up north’)

We werent really sure what to expect from the overnight trains. I had used them on my last visit some 10 years ago but, ahem, that was a while back and alot has changed since then. Apart from my youthful looks 😆😆. Haha.

Well, I must admit, I was impressed with the cleanliness and comfort of these trains. Even though we were in second class. And it was a tad noisy. 

Due to jet lag, I pretty much fell asleep straight away – even before the train left the station! But Bella wasn’t fussed as she loves the overnight trains as much as me. Its like ‘where can we go to do another overnight train?!’. 

There was also the excitement of whether or not I’d roll over the tiny barrier on the side of the bed to the depths of the floor. Haha not really – they have two rope-like things on the sides on the bed to prevent this. I did not test the effectiveness of these.

I still have a fondess for keeping my phone so my small backpack also stayed with me in my suite. 

cosy eee

  

jet lagged

 

So after pretty much sleeping the whole 12/14 hours, we arrived in sunny Chiang Mai.

Its soo different to Bangkok  – its much greener and less hectic. You feel calmer just being there, after the Bangkok humidity and madness.

Bella booked our accomodation – obviously – which was a basic twin en-suite room with air con. It cost about £10 a night each, which is tad on the expensive side for here! Hahah – imagine what sort of accomodation you would get for that price in London – or even the UK.

We only had three and a half days in Chiang Mai. Our plans were inspect the town of Chiang Mai, visit the White Temple (I’d seen pictures of it on my facebook and instagram), visit an elephant sanctuary (meaning we didn’t need to do this outside Bangkok) and go to a luxury spa…. After all, all this sightseeing and travelling was exhausting and we deserved a massage… and pedicure.  Hehehe. 

The tours themselves were quite expensive – the White Temple tour was a full day for £45, including buffet lunch, and the elephant sanctuary day trip was £60. Thailand expensive, not UK expensive. Obvs. 

I didnt mind paying more for the elephant sanctuary to be honest, as I feel this may somehow benefit the elephants. Maybe. The idea of the sanctuaries is to rescue elephants that have been used for elephant rides or in shows/circuses and give them a happier life. 💕. I have a bit of an elephant obesssion.

There were quite a few elephant sanctuaries that you could choose from, so we went with one called Elephant Jungle Paradise as the tour shop said this had less people on it. This meant less people per elephant and it was based in the jungle area, which was nicer habitat for the elephants. Sold. 

Once we had booked our tours for the next two days and (crucially) our spa visit, we walked around Chiang Mai. It was gloriously hot and beautiful. 

 

There are many gorgeous temples and a river that goes around the town itself. We took loads of photos and basked in the sun. Our daily step count went off the scale!! I also had a pad thai. This was a tad spicy for my korma limited taste buds, so I cried a little throughout. The Thai Long Island Ice Tea did not help in any way. Sadly, this was not a typical long island ice tea with alcohol in it. This one did not have alcohol (they should really change its name).

Bella also decided that her shoulder bag wasn’t practical, so we shopped for a rucksack to accompany her 20kg suitcase… I refrained from the ‘I told you so….’ look. Maybe I didn’t…

  • Wat Rong Kung – aka the White Temple

Ahhhhh what a beauty this place is. Deffoooo worth the visit. The rest of the visits on this tour were a bit of a time filler if I’m honest, like showing us the Thailand/Maymar border crossing?! or letting us ‘step onto Laos’ for 15 minutes – plus charging us a fee for ‘landing tax’ and selling us alcohol with snakes or scorpions inside. I did not try or buy.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a huge fan of such animals, but killing them to put in alcohol seems a tad cruel and unnecessary. Do people really need such novelties to buy alcohol?! The UK alcohol industry seems to do just fine…. My haunts in particular… 🤔

The bus picked us up EARLY (not at all to my liking) and we set off with a group of about ten people. The first stop was to a hot springs, where you could boil an egg for breakfast in the springs. Mum and I did this in San Pedro, Chile, which we loved. 

None of the group wanted to try this (and Bella doesnt eat eggs) so off I went to cook breakfast. Early starts and cooking my own food – what kind of vacay is this?!

The spring didnt take long to heat up my egg, which I overcooked. Drats. Just as well I guess, as it would have been a bit messy to eat a runny egg without cutlery. 

Can you see the wet patch circling the spring – that is boiling water shooting out of the spring sporadically. Dangerous business cooking an egg here. 

Another lady was making roti’s, which I LOVE, so I ate one of those too. I was hoping to lose a bit of weight on this trip 🤔.

Bella did some shopping (the start of a frequent habit) and then we set off for the White Temple.

The artist is called Chalermchai Kositpipat and he decided to redesign this temple (in his home town) to give something back to the town itself and promote buddhism.  

He has funded the project himself so as to avoid any investors having a input in the design of the temple. However, its still not finished so there is a small entry fee charge to assist with the maintenance. Everyone raves about the toilets – all gold and very plush. 

Especially when you see the public toilets out here. There was one toilet on a vietnamese train that looked like something out of a horror movie. There was green lighting?! I’ll never complain about UK toilets again.

Anyway back to Wat Rong, I cannot describe how interesting or visually beautiful this place is, so I’ve inserted some pictures below. 

Apart from the striking beauty of it (most temples in Thailand are gold) there was also the gruesome trees with heads hanging off them and the bridge of the cycle of re-birth, which I liked. The bridge, not the tree.

Inside the temple itself is interesting too as Chalermchai Kositpipat has designed unusual cartoon-like artwork on one of the walls as you enter the temple.. There are the twin towers burning and ‘superheros’ scattered around like superman and batman (and kung fu panda!). Oh and Michael Jackson and Elvis. The guide said the artwork implied the  leaders of the west and east have created a war and superheroes could not save us. She also pointed out that Thailand, a buddhist country, had not been involved in any wars so perhaps there was something for us to all learn from buddhism. 

Lastly, there was a tree that you could make a wish on by writing on a silver leaf and hanging it on the tree. LOVE THIS. I had lots of wishes as you can see. Oops.

 

I won’t bleat on too much as I appreciate this blog is long (as they all are!) but this was a wonderful day. There were no unnecessary tourist stops and it was just all about the elephants. 

The vehicle we were picked up in was a bit off roady but once we got to the jungle, this made sense. Less roads more dirt tracks. Fun. 

The elephants appeared to have free reign to move around the area as they wished. There was no riding and we got to feed them, get into a mud pool with them and then wash them with water.

Feeding the elephants was lovely, although one of them sneezed, or something like that, right on my ankle. I wasn’t sure what happened but there was a noise and then wet on my leg. I was a tad grossed out but I sort of smiled and walked away, after feeding it. I sort of wiped my leg dry with my other foot. Maybe it was a token of affection…. 

It was a bit weird getting into a mud pool. The mud gets right between your toes and sinks your feet into the depths of mudland. But before I left for this trip, I told myself I would step out of my comfort zone and embrace new experiences. Tara the brave. Haha. So into the mud pool I went. I also got flicked with mud water by another elephant. Or the same one. Hmm. 

We then washed them down with water and this had to be the highlight of my day. There were two elephants rolling around in the water.

Now I’m no David Attenborough but the ones rolling in the water looked soooo happy. It literally made my heart burst.

They also got up and out when they wanted.

 

 We also had a lesson making elephant medicine. And got to try eating it. Lucky us. 

I know its hard to judge whether the elephants are happy or treated well in all the sanctuaries. But I have seen other elephants  in Thailand being ridden by tourists or being chained to a tree by a small chain around its ankle. And these things did not make my heart burst. 

I have created a you tube account so I can add my video footage for you to see. Aren’t I clever. 😊

Again brief. Word count. Wonderful.

For the price of £35, we had an hour long Thai back, shoulder and neck massage and pedicure. Amazing. 

Its totes justifable after carrying my heavy backpack. These are the areas suffering the most. The toilets were also amazing too.

We discovered there was another spa that employs female ex-convicts and trains them in spa treatments in order to help them back into work. Really nice idea. 

 

And then we headed back to Bangkok…. on another overnight train…. Yay. 

What a cutey 💕

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Thailand – Bangkok

Sooo, we arrived all safe and sound in Bangkok. 

We had booked into a hostel – a superior four bed dorm in an area called Sukhumvit – for our first three nights in Bangkok before we decided what to do in Thailand for the remaining days. As explained in my previouso blog, we hadn’t really planned much of this trip except CHINA.

But Bella had other ideas….. I am getting the impression that Bella and I are on different trips. I brought a large backpack, Bella brought a larger suitcase. I brought a rucksack, Bella brought a large shoulder bag. I had my ankle boots (or as Nicky calls them, my ugly man boots) and Bella had her glittery trainers.

So Bella was of the opinion that after our long haul flight, we needed a good night sleep and should book ourselves into a nicer place for our first night in Bangkok. A lovely four star hotel with rooftop bar and swimming pool. Hmm.

To be honest, at 25 pounds a night, I didn’t really see the point in disagreeing with this. And what a JOY it was. I would have even skipped into the hotel and the room,had I not had my 16kg backpack, which sort of limits any kind of movement bar dragging my feet. 

So after room service and not much sleep (jet lag) we again ordered breakfast via room service (this is allllll Bella) and watched the views of Bangkok from our 22nd floor hotel room. 

During the night, when we couldn’t sleep, we decided we would go to Chiang Mai the next day, as we wanted to fit in a day trip to an Elephant Sanctuary. This was outside of Bangkok in Kanchaburi and the plan was to go there before we left Thailand and flew to Vietnam. 

Getting to the main railway station Hua Lamphong Station was pretty easy and we successfully brought our overnight rail tickets to Chiang Mai – all by ourselves. I think it was quite cheap – around 30 pounds return – which was on one of the new trains here CON AIR CON. Ill write about this in another blog, as you all know I can waffle and I have a bit to say on Bangkok-o.

So we spent three days in Chiang Mai and then over nighted it back to Bangkok in an older train with fans. No air con. Its amazing how quickly 14 hours on these things pass. I think its my natural ability to sleep ALOT and daydream ALOT. Bella says that I often switch off from what she is saying and my eyes go vacant – which she finds quite annoying. 

Understandably. Henceforth I am trying not to daydream so much and focus on the present. Its sort of like meditating – staying in the NOW. I think.

We didn’t visit the elephant sanctuary in Kanchaburi, as we had visited the one in Chiang Mai – so this gave us more time in Bangkok. 

Bella again suggested that we return to the posh hotel for another night (ahem) and not one to disagree (ahem), I agreed. Yipeeeee. I had a pool day – on the only cloudy day we have had since we got here – but it was still soooo hot and lovely. I did laps in the pool and even went back again the next morning, before we checked out, to do a morning swim. ITS SO NICE BEING IN A SWIMMING POOL IN THIS HEAT. 

I also had my first alcoholic beverage – since we left the UK. Shock horror. It had only been a week but it felt like FOREVER! Bella doesn’t drink and I had felt like the last few months (aka year) I had been drinking a lot so I thought this break might be a good time to detox. Also its no fun getting drunk alone AND with someone who remembers everything you said and did when drunk. Awkward. 

The pool bar had Fernet on the shelf and I could have died with happiness. But the bottle was empty. So I settled for a cocktail. Alas I live. Still happy.

During the day, its SO hot. Swelteringly so. I think it gets to 35 degrees. There is no breeze. I have a heat rash on the palm of my hands which is a weird place I think. BUT ITS BETTER THAN IT BEING COLD AND RAINING. Sorry UK – I heard about Storm Doris from some fellow English travellers, as we discussed how nice it was being here. Hahaha. 

Also, its mental when attempting to cross the road here. Some places there is no green man so its a free for all and I actually had to ask a local how to cross the road after standing on the side of the road (in the heat) for what seemed like a decade. He did give me a weird look, but allowed us to stalk him across the road. You need confidence. 

Other times there is a green man but the cars and scooters ignore this so I don’t really know what to do there. Its a bit stressful coming from London where I generally speed around everywhere, so having to wait around 5 minutes to cross a road is excruciating. I could be miles ahead instead of watching traffic and breathing in those lovely exhaust fumes. 

Although the Thai people arent overtly friendly (unless they want to sell you something) when you actually approach them for something, they are sooo nice, smiley and helpful. We would still be standing on the side of a road waiting to cross had it not been for Thai hospitality. 

We have so far visited the reclining Buddha (massive), the Grand Palace (beautiful) and Lumpini Park – gorgeous. 

We discovered there was a free red shuttle bus that takes you from Hua Lamphong Station to the Grand Palace area so we used this quite a bit. It was the ricketiest old bus I have ever been on but it was FREEEEEE. The transport system is weird in Bangkok, as it doesnt appear to cover the whole city and the main points of interest have no underground or sky train. Its sort of like ‘get a bus, river boat, metro then walk’ and then you’re there. So we used the shuttle bus a lot. 

It was quite hard to spend a lot of time in the above sites because of the heat. I kid you not, I love sun and heat but this was on another level. Probs because its a busy, crowded city. 

There is no shade unless you go in the temples. And you have to take your shoes off – which in the heat makes taking trainers off seem realllllly tiresome. Hahaha. First world problems – ‘its sooo exhausting taking off my rose gold supergaaaa trainers…’. 

To visit the Grand Palace, you have to have a passport or ID to enter but luckily the guards let us show copies of them using our phones. Thank goodness for technology and Thai chilledness. The Grand Palace also insist on covering up, which I knew but forgot, so I had to wear this fetching shirt. I look such a dag! Hahaha. 

tragic


Lumpini Park is gorgeous – I love eacaping to a park (with a lake) in a busy city. Apparently the lake we rode a paddle boat on is frequented by lovers, but I had to make do with Bella. And a cutie turtle (I think it was a turtle) that followed our boat for a bit. I wasn’t sure if there was a hint of malice in its eyes as it followed our boat or just its natural, squinty look. 


I also took out three plastic bags from the lake so ol turtle matey didn’t get stuck in them. How random as we circled the lake spotting plastic bags and taking them out. Like the litter police. They were pretty gross and slimey and Bella didn’t tell me she had hand wipes until about two hours after I had done this. Thanks Bells. 

There are also a crazyeee number of Thai people running in the park every eve – its like a marathon. We got stuck in the middle of it on our first visit but wised up on our second.

Bella has this app that tracks the number of steps we take each day and we are averaging around 17,000 steps a day – I think. Yesterday was 22,000 steps because we kept getting lost around the park – and generally everywhere. I don’t know if this is a lot of steps but we are exhausted each day. We arent very good at navigating either and seem to go in circles a lot when walking around and end up back where we started. So we are very familar with certain areas of Bangkok. And obliviously avoid others. 

We also went down the famous Soi Cowboy street where they filmed The Hangover 2 and that was an eye opener. This street is amazing to look at and looks lots of fun. But there are a lot of solo white, middle aged (and young) men surrounded by Thai women in bikinis. One older man had about four Thai women sitting at his table smiling and laughing with him. Gross. 

This makes me a bit uncomfortable and due to the lack of non Thai women drinking in this street, we didn’t GO WILD here. Sadly – as it looked pretty cool. Its weird that it seemed to be occupied largely by white, European men..

This street was round the corner from the hostel that I eventually persuaded Bella to stay in. We decided to save some money and get the tube then walk to the hostel. With my 16kg backpack and Bella’s 20kg suitcase. IN THE HEAT. The pavements seemed to have been attacked by tree roots so they are all broken and sometimes you need to walk on the road. Lik Buenos Aires 💕. Hahah. 

So Bella was dragging her 20kg suitcase on these streets with the heat beaming down on us (I warned her having a suitcase was not practical if we were travelling around every cple of days for 9 weeks). And I was concentrating on walking and not tripping on the broken pavements. If I went down with the 16kg backpack, I wouldnt be getting back up. 

Also I would be a tad grossed out to land on the streets of Bangkok – they are a tad grimy and I’m not even fussy about things like that! Cue Buenos Aires 💕 warm pavement sloth. 

Coming from the hotel, I’m not going to lie – it was hard going to a six bed dorm with shared shower. It was also a party hostel. Haha. Bella was not happy and has banned me from booking accommodation from now on 🙄. 

But I have managed to book two in Vietnam anyway. Lets see if I redeem myself! I hope we will be staying in hostels along the way – as I still think they are a great place to meet other travelers and make friends. Especially in China. 

As we only had 10 days in Thailand – the time flew by and we didnt get to do the floating markets or night markets. Sorry mum. Or visit a restaurant called cabbages and condoms, which people have raved about. 

But hopefully there will be a next time. 

Thailandoooo (and its people) its been short – but very beautiful and lovely. Even with the heat and crazy roads. 

Off to Nam we gooooo. 

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Lets find some beautiful place to get lost. 

Eek. Im off again. This time with a friend. Yay.

It took a while to sort this trip out. And I had to quit my job… again. 

Yet despite the amount of time talking and researching this trip, we haven’t actually sorted out three of the five countries we are visiting over 9 weeks. JUST CHINA. Dubai wont take much planning – four glorious days of water-parks (free access with our hotel 🙌🏻), desert dune-ing and sunbathing. Sorted. JOY.

Firstly, we couldn’t agree where to go.

Bella wanted to go to South East Asia but I had already backpacked most of these countries (in my younger years) for two and a half months so I didn’t really want to visit the same countries again. Soo compromise. Obvs the world is a big place so Africa, Central America and New Zealand were all hot contenders. Argentina probably did get a mention. 💕 Hahah.

But……China came about when I innocently read a blog about six weeks in China and it sound AMAZING. I mean who wouldn’t want to go to the highest glass bridge in the world, visit a Panda Sanctuary (eek) and eat Peking Duck in Beijing? Oh and the other great wonders like the Great Wall and the Terracotta Army.

The blog words were ‘great place for backpackers’ and ‘easy to travel’ – so China and Japan were added to our list alongside Thailand and Vietnam. Sounded awesome. We were super excited. 

But I’m not going to lie – its been a tad stressful planning China and I am pretty sure I have gained wrinkles and chewed my finger nails to shreds. It has been UN-EASY. DIFFICIL. Most of our route has to be planned in advance and we need to use a third party to buy our train tickets as you can only use a Chinese bank card to purchase them. This has meant a massive amount of organisation and no room for variation. Also, there is no way we can decipher Mandarin… and we cant use google translate. 

But thennnnnn you see pictures like these below and I feel superrrrr excited about our decision. Look at that Panda’s face!! 

 My bro even ‘thoughtfully’ brought me a pack of these below. We werent sure they were the right size…. haha my eyes look so serious! 

So this is our itinerary for the next 9 weeks: 

  • 10 days in Thailandoooo,
  • 15 days in Vietnam from Hanoi down to Ho Chi Minh (VERY EXCITED FOR!)

  • a month in China from Shanghai to Hong Kong to Beijing (this involves a ferry, four overnight trains, three flights and about three long bus journeys so far. ITS SO BIG!) 
asia_6_wks_backpacking_china_map

Largely our route

  • 10 days in Japan. yIPEEEE. I want to see Sumo wrestlers – amongst many other things obvs. Hahah.
  • Then four glorious days in Dubai – recovering.

OBVS I will blog awayyyyyyy for the trip – except in China where I wont have access to the main forms of social media. That will be an interesting experience. 

I have also noticed that I am running a bit low on passport pages! Oops. I have six pages free and will have 14 new stamps by the end of this trip….. I may have to ask the more chilled out countries to choose their stamping grounds wisely so as to allow space for the rest of the stamps! 

Anyywaaaay, im sure it will be fine and we are OFF! 

Here is us looking a tad fresh faced READY FOR OUR 9 WEEK ADVENTURE. Ill post one on the way home to compare whether this trip has done wonders for us or aged us a million years haha. 

Thailandooo next. Xx 

 

 

 

 


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Home. Somewhere you can always come back to and be greeted with love. And alcohol.

I am back Inglaterra. And disillusioned with the UK and how clean and modern everything is. I mean what is going on with our pavements?! Why are they so orderly?!  And why do we not have Fernet here? Thankfully Italy is not far.

I am toying with the idea of heading back to Argentina at the end of this year. Porque I mucho love that place. 😍 The quote in my previous blog about never being completely at home again because part of your heart will always be elsewhere is very true. I sometimes wonder where would I be now had I not started all this South America malarki. Richer (money wise) that’s for sure – but ahhh, poorer experience wise 😉 Hahah.

However, before I commence bull at a red flag about going back to Argentina, its time to kick start my life at home and fall in love with the UK (and Europe again). I miss liking being at home and feeling settled. I want to have hobbies and enjoy all that London has to offer. And not be saving all the time. Importantly, I miss my lovely family and friends. And Betty.

So mission ‘Fall in love with Inglaterra again’ shall commence henceforth. And obvs I shall blog my progress.

Step 1 – get a job so I can afford to do things (and buy these ugly but beautiful Topshop shoes).

To start though.. A clip of my favourites on Britains got talent. Porque – of course it does.

Chau por ahora.

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We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us. Buenos Aires.

Sorry I have not written in a while. I don’t really know why. Perhaps it is because I was too happy just enjoying life in Buenos Aires 🙂 Sorry to rub it in! Ha but remember… I worked 7 DAYS A WEEK FOR 8 MONTHS FOR THIS! I do not think I will ever stop saying this! Haha.. My mum even rolls her eyes now when I say this.

Its a bit hard to sum up 2 months into one blog.. I could not even remember half of what I have done if I tried.. Just sometimes the odd memory will surface and I will smile. Most of the time.

So I have tried to summarise my main memories and favorito things about BAAAAAA. Ha, although I am not one for getting to the point as you know. This, as all my blogs, is long. Get yourself a cup of tea. Or in the case of some people I know, something stronger.

Enjoy – next up Bolivia!! This is when I anticipate my blogs will resume normality 🙂

EEEEEEKKKKKKK!!!

1. People

Being based in one city, familiar with your routine, friends and family, you do not really meet that many new people or engage in new, meaningful relationships. I mean, who has the time!?

However, once you arrive in a new place, amongst others who have also left their lives behind, people are probably a bit open and warm. No one is going to want to make friends with you unless you are. And in an unknown city, making friends is a big part of the experiences you will have.

So basically, you will wake up in a hostel room, say hi to someone, tell each other your names and if you like each other at this point (i.e. quick psycho analysis), telephone numbers will be swapped or a day spent filled with sightseeing. And that is as simple as that. Friendship formed. Or not.

In doing this, I have met some wonderful people. Friends even. Multi-national friends 🙂 And through these friends I have had some amazing experiences.

And not.

The important thing that I have learnt about myself is that actually, whilst I am quite happy and smiley to others (friends/strangers) most of the time, if I don’t like someone… I don’t like them. There is no pretense or politeness here… If I do not think someone is a good, nice person then I do not have time for them. Or if they are just not my cup of tea as it were. And to my suprise, there have been quite a few of these on this trip!

So I realise that there is a judgmental side to my personality and this is not necessarily a good trait as sometimes impressions can be deceiving. But….. I am ok with that – hahah! Just as I am ok with the fact that some people may not like me either. Especially when I give them one of my blank, dislike stares. You can’t be friends with everyone. And who has the time!????

Also, I have learnt to like spending time by myself. Whether going for walks or sitting in a coffee shop having lunch. It has been nice. Sometimes. Maybe it is an age thing…

I am, as it were, getting a bit old now. Humph.

2. The people of Argentina

2015-03-10 11.34.43

Last year I had heard that Buenos Aires was quite dangerous and that petty robbery was common. Indeed from people that live here, this does seem to be the case. However, personally, I could not have felt more safe here than had I been roaming the streets of London. And I have spent many nights here leaving a bar at 3am walking home solo – maybe I was just lucky as it were. Touch wood.

The amount of people that have stopped to help me simply because I have a map out.. or even when I was just standing in the street day dreaming and not needing help – just faffing about. Men AND women before you make assumptions! You cannot go too far here without someone smiling at you. Just because. I remember at the beginning of my stay here I bumped into one guy my age in the street and after a brief natter about my being new to BA, we spent the rest of the afternoon in the pub drinking Fernet and him giving me tips on things to do. All innocente. Well on my part anyway and it was 3pm!

The people here are quite similar to Italians, arms flapping everywhere, kissing each other on the cheeks a million times, loud voices (I only noticed this the last few days as I was a bit ill with tonsillitis and everything seemed a bit louder anyway but jeeez Argentine people are LOUD!) and very warm. Nothing is too much trouble. To me the best example I can think of to summarise the people of Argentina is when you say ‘thank you’. Guaranteed the automatic response everytime is ‘de nada’ – which means ‘its nothing’. And thats simply how it is here – its nothing to help others. Its simply a way of life.

Some touching moments of kindness witnessed:

I was sitting in a cafe – picture the scene – sun, empanadas and pretending to learn Spanish. It was muy tranquilo. Then a lady comes over trying to sell me one of her poems – I have English too, she confirms. Naturally, as instincts have taught me, before I even looked at her poems I was like ‘No gracias’. Shoo. She then heads over (slightly dejected) to another table with two Argentine women. They do not read her poem as they are in the middle of a chat but they do hand her some money. The lady then goes to another table with two men and low and behold, they take her poem, discuss it with her and each other! Lord. Well, I felt bad and ran after her to buy a poem. In English of course. It was about happiness and was quite touching really. I still have it.

The care they have for each other was also apparent on the subte (underground to us). Buskers were often there singing and playing music. And the Argentines – how do they deal with this? Well obvs they start singing along, clapping and mostly everyone reaches in their pockets at the end of the ‘show’ to hand over some cash. Not me. I am still wary of being pick pocketed and again, my phone is my most prized possession……

One other thing that struck me was the relationships between men. They are soo affectionate towards each other and often when rushing through the streets of Palermo late for some shindig or another, I would notice many men having dinner with each other. Whether it was a group of men, young or old, or just two men, they looked very relaxed and happy just to sit and debate whatever it was that they were discussing over coffee or wine.

Now don’t get me wrong – it isn’t all fairy dust and Mother Theresa’s everywhere here. Notably the maintenance man who left me trapped in a lift longer than necessary because he couldn’t be bothered to get up off his seat. Karma please. And the waitress in this local Mexican restaurant. I mean I have never seen service like it. No tip. Oh and the girls I initially met in San Fernando when I got here – blog 1. Karma x 2 please. That is all. Hahaha.

3. Spanish

What. the. heck.

Oh my gosh, there are some people that take to languages like a duck to water. Then there are some that drown. Sink. Never to to seen again until Duck Heaven. This is me. I am in Duck Heaven.

I am TERRRIBLE at learning languages!! Awful (and if I am honest, a bit lazy too!).

I had planned to navigate my way around the rest of South America by now with my new found spanish skills. This will not happen and I will be resorting to the latin america phrasebook brought for me last year. Hahaha. Oh well.

Dr Guapo – I need lessons please 🙂

2015-03-12 17.03.19 (1)

Pretty apt 🙂

4. Stuck in a lift x 2 in ONE DAY. Its amazing I am here to tell the tale.

Well…… Its painful to recollect really. But for my art (aka this blog) I will tell all.

So it started in the afternoon. Mum and Shatish (her long term partner, my step dad) went to change dollar to peso on the blue market. Mum was a tad apprehensive as she expected some sort of Mexican cartel thing I think. Anyway, I had been to this place before.. Its wierd. Like an apartmento building with offices inside. You push the intercom, say a codeword and then they buzz you in. Then you come out with a higher rate of peso to the dollar than one the normal market. It is very exciting.

I left mum outside the building as I did not feel cool going with my parents. You then go up in the … lift… shudder.. and ring the buzzer for the flat. Code word again whilst they then buzz you through two security doors until you are in a nice, little office with a smiling young man. This time it was Juan. Again with the Juan’s….

I changed my money, swapped numbers with Juan in case I needed more peso (and he invited me and my friends to a house party) then headed down the death trap. I was a bit nervous as I was carrying 7000 peso anyway. Then thud. No movement. Huh? Ground floor already!? I opened the cage…. and low and behold I was trapped between two floors. Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

Have I mentioned I am claustrophobic and to be honest its only in recent years I started using a lift because at work that is a lot of stairs. And I figured it was either death of two ways really – by life or if I climbed the stairs at work. The stairs was the higher probability of fatality. OR SO I THOUGHT.

So obviously I don’t know the word for HELP in Spanish. I mentioned it has been super safe here so far right. So… ‘Holllaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa????’ is all I could muster in panic to the apartment doors. Silence. No. I checked my phone.. no signal… OBVIOUSLY!!! Mum had texted me before I was in the lift to check all was ok as she imagined me kidnapped for my dollar and never to be seen again. I could imagine her panicking on the street outside. Not good. ‘Hollllaaaaa??’. I tucked at the external gate which was imprisoning me in between the two floors. Sob.

I ran the alarm in the lift but all it was was a bell. Sob. Argentine’s are notoriously slow at getting anything done. Sorry, but its true. I would die here. Mum would have a mini heart attack outside because she couldn’t find me and would then spend the rest of her days (once she recovered from the heart issue) searching the streets of Mexico. ‘HOLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA’.

Then suddenly, movement from downstairs. I could see another lift approaching (they are all in a line with cages etc.. its very old school – like the lifts in the posh apartment buildings in central London). It was a bit scary to be honest as I didn’t know who was in this life and I suddenly felt like prey and the predator was coming in another lift to get me, the trapped fish in my cage. I have quite an overactive imagination I have also discovered.

Anyway, it wasn’t my prey but rather a fish free-er who stood in front of me and stared at me expressionless, like I was a naughty student who got caught breaking the lift. He did not say one word to me the whole time as he yanked open the cage door and then pulled me out of the lift. I think he under estimated my weight as he almost toppled in on top of me when he first tried to lift me out. I did not care, I wanted out as I flung myself at him. I think I must have said Gracias, muchos gracias about a million times. Still silence. Then I realized I had been ringing the alarm and shouting ‘Holllaaaaa’ for sometime before he got off his seat to rescue me. Then dislike filled me. I stared at him like he was prey.

I arrived at the ground floor to find mum panicking and me practically falling on the floor shaking and sobbing. Not quite but we were both quite anxious after this whole experience. I then had my first coffee. Not sure why. I dont think that helps calm the nerves but it seemed necessary.

Anyway, before this whole thing comes to a close. We get to mum’s hotel later and Shat, mum and I get into the hotel life which was cosy for three with my backpack too of things for mum to take back to the UK. AND I KID YOU NOT THE LIFT STOPS MOVING. AGAIN. I looked at mum ‘NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Not again!!! I cant cope with this again. What are we going to do. We are stuck.’ Mum, ever so calm ‘It’s ok, we are here’. Sorry that did not help. I started panicking. How could this happen twice in one day!? WHYYYYY!? Sob.

Then Shat pointed to something on the wall which apparently meant stop. He had learnt this from his short 10 day stint here. I did mention above that I am terrrrrrible at spanish and that even my step dad was picking up words faster than me after two months here. He said we should push that button as it might have stopped the lift.

‘DONT TOUCH ANYTHING’ as I feared plummeting to our deaths. It was not even that tall a building. Three floors. Overactive imagination. Not sure why I feel travelling is good for me. I am clearly not a calm person in the face of danger. But after ringing the alarm and having nada response I grudgingly agreed to push this button. Viola, the lift started. I looked at Shat in disbelief. He smiled, he knew it meant stop and thought the backpack had pressed on it when he leant against the wall. Half of me wanted to kill him but I was too relieved that the lift was moving and I ran out of it.

I do not use lifts by myself now. This is the moral of this story. Stairs. Also, my step dad was here 10 days and picked up spanish faster than me.

5. Pavements

Oh my days. I do not mean to offend because I love Buenos Aires and it is my favorite city. But seriously what is going ON with the pavements here!?

It started last year when I kept tripping on them. But this year, I noticed a distinct lack of pavement slap bang in the middle of a normal street (Calle – one Spanish word I have learnt. Pronounced cashay in Argentina). It is like an earthquake has happened or some kind of bulldozer has landed on parts of the pavement.

This was especially interesting to me when drunk as I repeatedly pointed out all the missing or broken pavement slabs to my friend Joann. Poor Joann. I also took a few photos but not many so as not to offend and also so as not to get my phone stolen. But seriously, I cannot get over how this is just a normal thing here. It is not as if it is in the poorer areas either but ALL areas – even in front of the President’s Palace – as mum noted.

There is also a serious amount of dog poo on the Calle’s of BA. This was worrying for me as I anticipated walking around drunk, at night, in the dark with flip flops. Hmm. Thankfully touch wood – nada.

Lastly, the pavements that look normal but are not. The ones where you tred on them and the underneath has sort of disappeared so there is a pond underneath of still, mucky, warm water. Never heard of these types of pavements? Neither had I until I got here. These are the worst because you cannot anticipate them and you will be blissfully walking, jumping over poo and missing pavement slabs only to land on a pond pavement and then sludge alllllll up your leg. Its amazing how far up your leg it will go. Just after you have showered and are on your way to Spanish class. Urrggggggh. Then you have to wipe it off with your hands. Urgggh. Because obviously I do not carry tissue paper.

pavement 3

Like seriously!?

pavement 2

How does this happen?!

pavement1

Speechless

6. Osaka

LOVE THIS PLACE. Pan Asian food. So expensive. But so worth it. I will die happy remembering this place. If you are ever in Buenos Aires EAT HERE – and bring lots of pesos. It was my most expensive meal to date. But who’s counting when you’re eating these bad boys… I think the way I am looking at this pudding pretty much sums up my dining experience here… And with great company too. My lovely friend Johannes.

osaka

You’re MINE!!! Actually I had to share it because it was so expensive.

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Die. Heaven. That is all.

7. Medialunas, empanadas and Fernet – but these are a few of my favourite things.

LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.

Maybe I am secretly Argentine?! Most people it is alleged hate Fernet (raising my eyebrows in suspicion). My mum has a theory that people who hate animals are horrible people. I have the same theory about Fernet. I have spent muchos time (and money ahem) drinking this wonderful beverage. I have researched and they do in fact sell this in the UK. Saves me having to ditch my clothes and fill my backpack with Fernet instead.

Medialunas are small croissants and these, alongside empanadas (and Fernet) have been the SOLE cause for my weight gain. But I dont care because they are worth it. Every time. I will miss you. But not Fernet because we will be reunited soon my love!  I have also learnt to make empanadas so I should be ok with these back in the UK too. Phew.

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Ingredientes! Plus a sneaky bottle of Fernet in le background!

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8. La Bomba de Tiempo

Its quite touristy – like anyone who is anyone in the backpacking world – will go to La Bomba because ‘it is sooo cool man’. Well it is cool. And they serve the biggest Fernet I have ever seen. Sold.

(I borrowed this link from a friend – I was a bit busy holding my massive Fernet to film……)

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9. Overnight buses

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE. I mean, what is not to like? Doing nothing for 14-20 hours. Just sitting in a comfortable, reclining chair watching the world go by listening to Ed Sheeran. And you get food and a blanket. And sometimes you even get wine and bingo. Say no more.

On these I traveled many miles – Mendoza, Salta and Iguazu Falls. I have to say Andesmar and El Rapido are my favorite by far.

10. Palermo Parque (that is Spanish for Park!)

Oh my – where all the beautiful people hang out. And me.

I have spent many hours in this park just listening to music and watching all the men… ahem and women I guess… run or roller blade past me. I am sorry I did not take any pictures…. I did want someone to shout at me in Spanish.. although I guess it would not have been so bad as I would not have had a clue what they were saying. But beautiful park with lakes and shizz, beautiful people and great weather. Many happy memories. One with Joann and wine. That was a particularly nice afternoon.

Also more recently with the Dr Guapo peddling on a peddle boat. Well, I pretended to peddle. He has strong legs.

2015-03-31 15.00.59

11. Launderette

Well, some might say its not too indifferent from home (i.e. when living with my mum she did all my laundry) but as most people live in apartmentos… washing machines are not common place. So there are launderettes around. Ok but nooooooooooooooo! They wash your clothes for you and iron them! Well now…. all under a tenner. Bargain. Everything needs cleaning….. Even if I have only worn it once. Ah, this is the life of a backpacker!

12. Soria, Dubliners, The Burger Joint, Niceto, Don Julio, Ice Cream parlours, Cafe Tortoni

Oh, this is one of the reasons why I wanted to stay in a place for some time rather than skip through. You can get to know a place and all its finest qualities. Here I refer to the eateries and refineries.

Soria was recommended to me by my housemate Jose in the first week this quickly became a regular for meeee. It also hosted weekly language meet ups for those that wanted to practice their newly learnt language skills. I tried and got ‘next’ confused with ‘fish’ so kept saying ‘fish week’. Yes…. that is what I meant to say. Everyone loves fish week…… Best to stick to what you know, speaking English and drinking Fernet. Many happy times in this bar. Or ‘bare’ I should say.

Other lovelies – Don Julio for the best steak EVER

IMG_0441

The burger joint. Oh.My.Burger. How many times have I eaten in the Burger Hut in Palermo?! A disgusting amount of times. Amazing atmosphere, amazing burgers and fries AND amazing price. Muy bueno! (aka very good!). Hahaha.

Cafe Tortoni – Mmmmm Submarinos. Another favorito. Hot milk with a chocolate bar dipped in. Hot chocolate. SO YUMMY.

God I will miss Buenos Aires. But my waist line will not.

13. Franks Bar

Just worth a mention because I have never been to a bar that you need to know the code word for (thanks Katy) and that you enter by typing in another four digit code into a telephone booth keypad to gain entry to the bar. SUPER COOL. Ok inside. If you like watching older people (Ahem…… borderline….) make out and drink expensive cocktails. Although I was so excited by the prospect of having to type in a number I forgot it. Oops.

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Darnit.. what is that number again??

14. Manu Chau

My first and only (Ed Sheeran I will NEVER forgive you for holding a concert here 5 days after I leave. Never) concert. I did not know his music and there was no alcohol in the grounds but it was a cool, open air concert experience where you could get high on all the weed floating around in the air.

manu chau

Stole this image from Johannes

15. Grafitti tour

Love graffitti. And BA is full of it. So I did a tour with Graffitti Mundo. Very good although it was three hours long and I did not have time to do all of it. More importante matters to attend to. But very interesting and indeed as I am now in Bolivia, I can see that there is not so much of it in the same way as BA.

http://graffitimundo.com/graffiti-street-art-tours-buenos-aires/

16. Love Buenos Aires

I said I couldn’t remember all the things that I had done during my 2 months here but these are some of the memories that will always make me smile.

– Meeting Rahul. Lovely guy (even if he is a pervert. Haha he is not but it annoys him so mucho!) and I hope we will remain friends for a long time. I met him in my first week and he really helped me settle into BA.

IMG_0435

Rahul. Sigh. 🙂

Hanging out with Argentine people. Here I again hot footed it across BA to the Tigre area at 3/4am to party with Facundo and co. So exciting. However, there was not just the partying aspect. I also saw a different side to Buenos Aires as the Tigre is about half an hour out of BA and it has a river, is more greener than BA itself and was just a breath of fresh air really.

I also made friends with a lovely girl named Dany in Salta and to me, she was the epitome of how typically nice Argentine people are. She also brought me a Llama key ring.

– Meeting Joann

Ah the lovely Joann. My time in BA would not have been what it was without her. Too many memories to list them all but sitting on her balcony drinking fernet, attending Soria, Mendoza and noteably our last drunk night together singing and dancing to Bruno Mars in the street to cure her hiccups. I will miss you my dear. Until Copenhagen. And remember ‘Follow the Llama…’.

– Meeting Dr Guapo

Ah – Ariel. Annoyingly I met him in my last week so getting to know him was short lived. Probably for the best or I would never have left BA! Hahah!  Mum would not be happy. I hope to keep in contact with him – not because he is beautiful (he is), or that he is a doctor (and I am a hypochondriac) but because he was lovely and despite him not really speaking muchooo English and my not really speaking any Spanish (his English was much better than my Spanish.. obvs) we managed to get along really well. We shall see I guess.

Not the most flattering picture of me but I was busy pretending to pedal….

– My housemates Jose and Quincy

Ahh, such a great couple. I could not have asked for a better apartment to stay in and such lovely housemates. They were so relaxed, Jose even took me bike riding to the muesum to help me ‘get creative’ and write my blog. It did not work but the muesum was fun. Many fernets shared with them and one night when I was a bit down – they took me to a cool house party. They also taught me to LOVE salad – they make the BEST salad.

Conclusion (unless I remember more things)

So to summarise…… BA you have been magical. You will always hold a place in my heart. Despite the lift incident and your pond pavements.

I hope to be back soon because for some reason I am very happy here. Not that I dont miss each and every single one of you in the UK or the UK itself. But there is something about this city that makes me not want to leave. Well actually, it is alllll of the above and moooore.

Darn my rubbish ability to learn Spanish. Why is there not just ONE universal language!!???

love a city

Chau amigos – until my Bolivian blog. Where I experienced the worst pain known to mankind…

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A nice thought for the day as I start my spanish homework…



It can be frustrating sometimes not having a clue what is being said around you for most of the day. But then, all it takes is a smile with a stranger and you dont feel so out of place 🙂 

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‘dont let your dreams be dreams’. 

Oh Buenos Aires. How you feel like home. Have I said how much I love this city?! 😉  Cue thought to check in man’s comments ‘you will not want to overstay in Argentina’ …. and this wierd ‘mwahaahahah’ cackle like noise enters my head. Wierd. 

Soooo I arrived at Buenos Aires International almost one month ago. I think as I had been here before, I was not apprehensive or worried. Calmesque was I. And it was nice and warm. Thanks BA. 

I went to the overly priced taxi office and got into le cab. It was 11pm. Cue silence. No entiendo. Then I arrived back at On the Road hostel in Palermo Hollywood – where I stayed last year. The owners had changed which was a shame as one of the previous ones was dating a british girl I wanted to befriend. Never mind. I have learn that having no expectations on this trip is the key to happiness! 

I then went up to the rooftop bar and ordered a vodka and coke. Good times. A guy started chatting to me and it turned out he worked in Buenos Aires but lived a bit far out of the city so stayed in the hostel a couple of nights a week. He also was a tango dancer. How cool thought I.  However, bless him he did not have much enthusiasm – it was like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders to be honest. Perhaps he did. He also knew the girl that dated the previous owners and gave me her number. I just remembered this now. Oh and what was his name? Facundo! Easy peasy to remember! 

That evening I also met one of my roomates and gosh what a joy she was. ‘I am not really here to make friends with english speakers – I want to make friends with spanish speakers’. ‘Alright love – mucho gusto’ was my initial thought followed with I can easillllllly not speak to you. However I was quite disheartened by the lack of chirpiness in le hostel – last time I made friends with a lovely german guy (whose name I could not remember) and Sara from Taiwan who is now living in london! 

Anywayssss I was pretty tired having had little sleep partying the night before in Cancun so off I went to LaLa land. 

The next morning I awoke in the form of Facundo with his bright yellow speedo like pants jumping off my top bunk in front of me. Jeeeeeez, too much, too bright. I closed my eyes quickly. 

I then awoke and another guy was standing there staring at the top bunk. Jeez can a girl get NO peace or privacy?! No, it was a 5 person dorm. 

His name was Rahul and he was to become the bane of my initial weeks in Buenos Aires. Hahaha, only kidding – he became a friend of mine and I miss him not being here. Even though he was a tad annoying and a pervert. He will literally kill me for saying this – or sue me (American). I guess I had better retract that statement- he is not really a pervert. Ahem. Moving on. 

As well as getting attcked my mozzies on my first night whilst I blissfully drinking my vodka and coke, it turned out that something else had bitten me in Mexico – just before I left – gracias Mexico. So my svelte ankle was slowing getting swollen and purple. It had been a bit painful on the flight but I WAS TOO EXCITED TO THINK about it. 

So I limped around the city with Rahul when eventually he said ‘er you should probably get some treatment from the pharmacy for that.. I didnt wanna say but…..it looks pretty bad’. So off we went as it had sort of transformed into three islands of purple and a rash like thing spreading up and down my leg. Very sexy. 



Sorry I appreciate its ugly but this is necessary to demonstrate what I am referring to!



‘Ooooooohhhhhh!! That is ugly’ said the kind pharmacy man. Si. Ugly. You need to see a doctor was his main concern but ah that seemed like too much effort for me. Ha – if it aint on my face – I aint interested seems to be my mentality. So he gave me some antihistamines and another ‘please see the doctor’ warning before I limped out. 

The next day, the antihistamines hadnt done much but I soldiered on as we did a free city tour (it was the same tour/woman as James and I had last year – I had pretty much summarised the tour for Rahul but he still seemed enthusiastic). Its a good tour http://www.bafreetour.com/english-home for your information and I would whole heartedly recommend for when you come to visit me when I move here 😉 Hahaha. Kidding. But you should do this when you are here. 

After the tour, a visit to la hospital was made – private may I add and suprisingly not that expensive – and the doctor inspected, frowned a lot, called her superior in to stare at it and then they confirmed that I had been bitten by a poisonous spider. There was two puncture marks about 5cm apart. See above picture. 

Now as we know, I am not one to question a doctor’s knowledge (ahem) but seriously?! A big spider bit me?! Jeez. So extra strong medication was given to me – one set every 6 hours and another set once at night. Plus some strong antihistamines. There is a saying that my nan used to say ‘turn me upside down and shake me – Ill rattle’ ( from all the pills she had to take – in case that wasnt clear!). This is how I felt at this moment. She then also said ‘You need to come back tomorrow for us to monitor the bite area’ as it was getting darker daily. She explained that the skin may go black and die!!! Gross. But on a positive note, it would grow again. Joy. The doctor then got up and kissed me on the cheek! ‘Oh my god – she thinks I am gonna die from this bite and she is kissing me goodbye’ was my initial reaction. Then confusion at how the medical profession appear to interact with their paitents on this side of the world. 

The next day – it seemed better already! I mean – it had not gone black and died! Whoooo hooooo tablatos! I didnt really want to go back to the hospital – it was far… But a guy at the hostel Nigel accompanied me so I figured I might as well. 

It was a different doctor this time and she inspected it but couldnt really say whether it was getting better or not. Luckily I showed her the many photos I had taken to send to my nearest and dearest – and she agreed it was getting better and to continue taking my medication. 

The kind pharmacy man had confimed that I could drink alcohol with this medication so on arrival to the hostel – fernet and coke (the main drink here in Argentina which alot of tourist dont like strangely but I love!) I hit it hard. It was 6pm. By 12pm I was a bit like ‘yawn’ but nooooooooooo the night doesnt get started until 2am (bars) and 4am for the clubs. Hmmm. 

I tried. I tried so hard but as Nigel insistently tried to buddy up with Rahool and everyone was flirting with each other, it was time for me to call it a night. Plus I was moving to my apartmento the next day. Double Plus I was meeting up with Facundo no 1 (from last year) as he took me out with and his friends for a boat ride in the Tigre.  🙂 

So the next day I needed to move – which was literally down the road from the hostel and I met Jose – one part of my housemates. Part 2 Quincy was out working. They are both sooo nice and chilled – there are no rules or requirements etc! More about them later. The apartment was lovely. 

So in order to meet Facundo – I needed to venture onto the subte (underground to us) and then walk about 20 mins to an overground station which would take me to the station I needed to go to – San Fernando. Terrified? A bit. Especially as I had no map. Or internet. But I managed to navigate myself and yay I met up with Facundooooo. He took me to his house where he was having bbq with his friends. ALL SEMI NAKED ARGENTINE MEN. 

Now had I not been so overwhelmed by the situation (and been drunk) I would probably asked if I could take a selfie with them all – that would be the BEST selfie ever – except perhaps one with a Llama. But darn it I forgot. If i see them again I will definitely do this! Hhaha. Just so you ladies can see what I am talking about! People always look better with a tan…. Althou Obvs Facundo is my favorite one. 

So after having an asado, we then drove to his friends boat and OMG visited his girlfriends house (not Facundo’s girlfriend but his friends girlfriend). It was gorrrrrrrrgeous, soooooo grande. Like being back in London by Richmond or Hampton Court! Anyway cue jaw dropping scenery and more people joined us. Howeverrrrrrr they did not speak English at alllll! Like my no espanol. It was sooo wierd being stuck on a boat not knowing what an earth was being said around me. So what was one to do? Get drunk on fernet obvs. 

Hours later and it was sunset time. 



you can see Buenos Aires in the distance



Then suddenly there appeared to be an issue as the spanish voices rose. ‘They have lost the keys for the boat’ someone kindly explained. Cue hot men jumping into the Tigre to find the keys…. An hour later nada. Now this was my first insight into Argentine culture as everyone laughed and seemed very chilled about this fact. No worries. They werent even bothered about the fact that the keys had been accidently thrown in the river. They  will try to start the engine themselves was one of the few English sentences spoken to me. Ah thats ok then as it got darker and darker. However their calmness did make me feel calm. Ish. As I glugged quickly on my remaining fernet. Two of them remained in the water drinking and singing (in espanol obvs) whilst the others tried to start the motor with a piece of rope. It was one of those ‘is this really happening moments?!’. 

Cue hours later and it is 11pm!!! The engine wont start (darned ropa) and Facundo’s dad is on his way. With the water police to help. Wonderful. We are all a bit cold and the alcohol has worn off for some of us. 

An hour later we are back on land having been towed back. What an adventure 🙂 The mood had gone a bit quiet after this. Although not for Facundo, his friend (who I love as he was sooooo nice and tried to speak in English to me as mucho as possible) and I and we went to another friends house for a bbq. Muchos amigos. Another asado 🙂 all I remember about this party was that I was the only female and there were lots of questions about life in the UK which i cant really remember now. But theY were all so nice and friendly – as are most of the people here. And mmmm asado…. 

We then went to another party?! I know right?! (4am) and by this point i was shattered. I think it had been a long day of an overwhelming amount of spanish, fernet, strandedness, the realisation I was alone in BA and at a house party without my friends to get drunk with. Also there were a couple of girls there that seemed a tad bitchy to me. Maybe they were not I dont know. No me gusta mucho.

So I was in a bit of a bad mood at this point. Poor Facundo.

I then returned to my apartmento which was lovely and relaxing.  Cue mucho momentos on the balcony drinking fernet. 



The next day Rahul and I then went to a steak restaurant called Don Julio. Cue beautiful steak…. Cue heart attack prices. More my double vodka and cokes. BUT yum. Its so popular there is always a mass of personas waiting outside but they give you a free glass of bubbly while you wait so not so bad 🙂 



We also walked around the city mooorrre and I introduced Rahul to the Recoletta cemetary which I love. I blame my best friend Hannah for this as when I lived with her my bedroom overlooked a graveyard so I associate such  happy and comforting memories?! Anyways.. They do a free english tour there a couple of days a week to explain about the different cypts and personas there which I will go on and report back before I leave. Sob. Sorry back to le blog. 

We also popped to Cafe Tortoni one of the oldest cafes in Buenos Aires. It is sooooo vintage in there – like an old theatre. 



The tour guide had mentioned that it sold an awesome hot drink called the submarine. She had mentioned this on my last visit uno anos ago so in my head I have been wanting this drink for one year! It was worth the wait 🙂 you basically dip a chocolate bar into hot milk and voila you have a hot choco dream. 



 

I think my smile says it all. 

Next up… More walking and ahem cocktails in Puerto Madero. It seems all I do is walk, eat, drink and sleep! But what a great city to do it in. 





So that was my first week in Buenos Aires. 

Next up… The start of my painful spanish lessons and settling into life in Buenos Aires…..



🙂 

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‘The tans will fade but the memories will last forever’. 

Gosh so after months of dithering, umm-ing and ahhh-ing, WORKING 7 DAYS A WEEK and planning.. I am back on the road.

Needless to say, I did not learn spanish as I planned nor did I take the zumba world by storm. Nor did I look for other jobs or date. I attempted the spanish and zumba but they required time that one just did not have. (Ahem I do sort of regret the spanish bit now I am back in spanish speaking lands….). Oh well, best not to dwell on le past…. hola to le future-O!

My travel plans ranged from including New Zealand, Japan to Africa … But I ended up just in South America again. Its a grande continente. For the last time…. Or not…..!? You never know.

 Sooooooooooo where does one start?! Did I break down and cry at le airport like last time?! No. Well I guess I had been planning this trip for so long I was happy it had finally commenced. This time I was in a kafuffle to get a visa thing that we needed to enter Miami whilst stopping off there to get to Mehicko. Our kind travel agent who booked our flights failed to mention this….  THANK GOD FOR MOBILE PHONES AND INTERNET ACCESS!! Cue last minute buying visas at the checking in desk….

We then got chatting to a lovely checking in man called the ‘magician’ who managed to wangle Nicky and I the extra leg room seats 🙂 Feliz dias…. 

The flight was uneventful… no Juan this time to swoon at – just Nicky Chalmers ;p Although I didnt swoon at her. I got to watch Gone Girl too which was good. No hunger Games or free alcohol though – disappointing American Airlines. 

We eventually arrived at Mehikoooo and our hotel was sooo nice. They upgraded us to a beach view room as we explained we would need a room with twin beds and not a kingsize. It is not that kind of relationship…. 



The weather forecast had said rain and thunder for the week we were there so imagine our suprise when we awoke to a beautiful sunrise and clear blue skies. Yipeeeee! 



Thank you sun god. 

We rushed down to the pool and lay immobilised – like we had never seen the sun before. We also treated ourselves to a number of cocktails. Mmmm strawberry daiquiri…. Could life get any better?! No. 

The beach was Ammazzzing.. The sea was a tad rough though… No blissful gliding through the waters like watermaids – more like a body slam and dunk by the waves. Salty water in the eyes and falling over. Not as classy an image as one would have liked. But it was the seaaaaa. 

Our sunning actions on the first day had consequences for the next few days as Nicky suffered some random allergic reaction to her sunburnt forehead – cue forehead and eye swelling to the point she couldnt open one eye. It was not good. 

Now anyone who knows me would know that if such had happened to me, drama/panic/devastation would have ensued and an urgent visit to le doctor would be made. URGENT. Nicky, on the other hand, not so much. We even agreed that it was probably for the best that this had happened to her as opposed to me to save extra drama on the short trip we had together. She was very calm about the matter and said she would simply take antihistamines and put cold water over her eyes. Hmmm. 

The next day, such had not helped and my insistence at a doctor attending was approved by Miss Chalmers. Cue randy like doctor attending our room to tell Nicky she was pretty (he then gave me a cursory glance and said you too as an afterthough which I would not have minded except Nicky did have a swollen forehead and eyes….). 

He then said that as well as needing a steriod injection in her ‘pompa’ (this is how I remember the word for bottom but I could be wrong ) but that we also needed mexican boyfriends. Thanks doctor .. In his professional opinion perhaps this would have helped with Nicky’s ailments?! We did not follow his instructions re the mexican boyfriends. 

I then concentrated on my spanish words whilst the doc proceeded to inject Nicky with steriods in her ‘pompa’. Now I must admit at this point I was trying to act sensible and caring at this predicament Nicky found herself in… But once Nicky lay with her pompa out and the doc said ‘what a lovely pompa you have’ … I could take no more and burst out laughing. Terrible friend. It was the same with mum last year and her many ailments. I am a wicked person. After telling Nicky she could not drink, needed to stay out of the sun and have no spicy foods or salt (everything she loves in fact) the pervy doc again recommended mexican boyfriends and left our room. To which Nicky wailed loudly at how much pain she was in due to the steriod injection. Bad times. 

The next couple of days we stayed away from the outdoors to allow Nicky’s reaction to die down. The mexican sun at least had the decency to leave at this time for a couple of days so we didnt miss too much sun bathing time – aka important business time. We jaquzzi’d and went out to a restaurant opposite the hotel – you know to get a bit of ‘culture’ like and leave the hotel grounds. We walked 5 minutes across the road to Captain’s Cove. 

After being seated in the outdoor area, people started getting up and peering over the edge into the lagoon. I asked the waiter what they were staring at thinking it would be some cute turtle or fish…. But he calmly said it was a crocodile. Hahaha I chuckled, I would not be so gullible (like that time a guy told me he was a dolphin trainer in London and I was gullible enough to believe him! Tut) and asked him ‘seriously what is it?!’ . Straight faced he insisted it was a croc. I got up to check and low and behold there was a crocodile staring up at me! 



Like I was dinner. Shudder. I got ill after this experience for one day. Apparently the lagoon was full of them… Were there any signs warning about this?! No. I was then extremely glad we had been upgraded from our lagoon view room to beach view… I could not look at the lagoon in the same way after that. Shudder. If I close my eyes I can still see his eyes staring at me… or hers. 

Nicky then got better as did I. And it was sun time again. And strawberry daquiris. The good times had come back. Just to make us appreciate them more. Important business was back in progress. 

We decided that whilst we needed to sunbathe – it might be worthwhile to do a trip or two. See some ruins?! Nah we were on holiddddayyyy! So we decided to do a trip zip lining as i had wanted to do this for a while. It wasnt that great….. Once you have sky dived and white water rafted – other things just arent as exciting. Modern day problems 🙂 

But we had fun driving this wierd truck like thing on muddy roads and singing ‘let it gooooo’ freestyle whilst kayaking in a cave. We also swam in a cave with bats overhead. Fun?! Not so much for me – i dont like bats and crocodiles. They sort of dampen my enjoyment levels. Nicky liked it though. 





Nicky then wanted to swim with dolphins so we did this. Tooo cute! Although people have said dolphins can sense if you are ill so I was a bit nervous when the dolphin appeared to be making repeated eye contact with me! Alas she did not hit me though in a body part which is what they do if they sense illness…Apparently.. We did feel a bit guilty as the dolphins are not free…. Cue free willy thoughts…



As we had not really partied… The penultimate night we decided to hit Cancun. Howeverrrrrr fate did not want this for us and we ended up chatting to these two british guys for most of the evening in our hotel bar. Not so cultural. We also experimented with a special shot….



It got to 1am and we decided it was a no to Cancun town and hit the sack. Such little old ladies! 

The last day was of course sun bathing and I started to feel nervous about my plans ahead… Solo Tara in Buenos Aires! Eek. We sunbathed, swam, strawberry daquiri’d and jaquzzi’d. The british lads then persuaded us to meet them for a drink in Cancun town…… ‘Just for a couple….’. Hmmm. This did not happen and we stayed out until 3am – which would have been fine had I not had to fly out at 6am the next day. 

So we partied in Cancun, had copious amounts of alcohol and one of the guys proceeded to show me how to loosen up and dance! Hahaha! Muchos gracias! I then had one hour sleep before going to the aiport and flying to my favourite place – Buenos Aires. Good times. (This also happened when I flew to Rio so I may make this part of my flying ritual – get drunk before I fly!). 



Mexican headwear



hilarious monkey named Bob



At the airport they asked me how I was going to get out of Buenos Aires to Peru as I had not yet booked my flight out. The guy looked worried and said I may need to book the flight out at this point. I did not want to do this as I wasnt sure whether I would overland or not. After a 10 minute discussion with his superior – he said ‘ah it should be fine, you are from the UK, you wont overstay in Argentina’. 

I chuckled and smiled as if to say ‘of course’ and skipped onto the plane for the next part of my journey. All the while thinking OF COURSE I WILL WANT TO OVERSTAY IN ARGENTINA and you have let me in!! tee hee ;p 



Sorry – should have warned you about the unnessary close up photo! 🙂 Much love mi amigos. 

Posted in Author: TH, Travel | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

There is so much to see!

There is so much to see!

So I have decided to go travelling again in November. The saving shall commence. Dont expect me to buy you a drink.. (Humm, I dont think I really did that anyway!). I know I was going to see how this year went and I still will (obvs) but the need to keep on seeing new places IS TOO MUCH!!

BUT WHERE!? This is my new quandry…. I want to live abroad.. this is one thing on me ol’ bucket list as it were…But I shall be a single, white female on the loose and common sense is not something I seem to possess much of.

I still heart South America ALOT but Spanish is not that easy to learn! I shall perserve though.. At some point it will click.. And if not, ‘they’ teach you spanish abroad.. Also there is the ‘what will I work as in South America’ issue?! Can I just do bar work? I feel like that would be going backwards career wise. And I am not very good at it either. I suppose there is the teaching English thing. Thats one thing I do know! Although do NOT ask me about grammar… Also WHERE in South America!? Its so big.

Oh well, plenty of time to decide (and learn about grammar and master common sense (aka life saving) skills…..). The world is my oyster as it were. Amd I have 8 months to perfect and save.

So for now, I’ll enjoy the English summer (ahem) and all that comes with 2014. Like Ascot, my best friend’s wedding and a holiday to Europe. Yay. Althougn on a budget. I am saving after all.

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I LOVE this song and album x

Posted in Author: TH, Wanderlust | Leave a comment