Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sleeping Under the Stars

Alright, i have done some stuff. dont get too excited, it has still been quite relaxed, but a little more active than before. so i got to montevideo (a fun word to say) and soon found out from the tourist information at the bus station that the bus station--which is also a shopping mall and grocery store, with a McDonalds thrown in (i found that interesting)--is a good 45 minute walk from where my hostel is located. with a backpack the size of mine, that was enough for me to decide to bite the bullet and take a cab. it was in my 10 minute or so cab ride that i found out just how friendly Uruguayans can be. the cabbie started asking me questions and telling me about his life, and when there was a lull in the converstation he would think of something to ask or say. i learned that the man had travelled extensively throughout europe, part of the east coast, and argentina. this tempted the question from me, "why the hell are you driving a taxi in montevideo then?" but i refreigned, possibly saving the man an embarassing and long winded tale of lost love and alcoholism--but i can only guess.

Luise was the man working behind the desk of the hostel i had reservations for. he was very energetic and friendly, making me actually ask myself if maybe he had taken something. and let me say this: the hostels website made it look like the place to be. it was not so. there were two other english speaking guys who i fould quite soon. apart from that it was all spanish or portugese speaking clientele. which is fine. also, the hostel didnt sell booze, which i guess is good because it means they let you bring in your own. so i enjoyed gin and tonics with a canadian guy the first day. i headed out to check out the town later, which only took about an hour, maybe two. and i had booked 4 was so hot the first night that without the air conditioner it would have been impossible to sleep. but it rained on and off the next three days, cooling the weather down. i didnt do much those days. my last day i met a friend of my dads who lives about an hour east of the city. we chatted and i got free lunch and promised to call him when i was in his town the next day. our last night the canadian and the irish bloke and i had a BBQ.

i got to Piriapolis (the town of my dads friend, who´s name is Merlin, which i like) and found a camp ground. threw my stuff i some bushes and set off for the beach. relaxed, got lunch with Merlin again, he showed me around, and i was off after 2 nights of sleeping under the stars, since i have no tent. which is quite nice, although without a sleeping pad even grass can be unconfortable. i got to La Paloma, my next beach town destination, and found a cheap hostel--my body needed a bed. they had the best breakfast i have had at a hostel, homemade bread and jam, cheese, ham, fresh fruit juice, fresh fruit, cereal, it was wonderful. i stayed there a couple nights, and headed into the woods with my hammock for the third night to save a little money. it all went well, except when i woke up my beloved sandals that i paid a dollar for back home were gone. i had hid everything else, so i dont know if someone stole them, or if a dog ran off or what, but i am sandaless, and its not good. i also had my towel stolen at the previous campground while it was drying. damn. i now use a shirt to dry off.

ok, got to a place called punta del diablo, a place described by some good friends i met as the most beautiful place in south america, although i have yet to understand why. im here for 4 days, so we´ll see what the future brings.

Monday, February 23, 2009


The last week has been very chill. I arrived in a town called Colonia del Sacramento, which is a World Heritage site declared by the UN, although i am convinced that that doesnt mean anything. its just a town on the mouth of a river. there is a "ciudad vieja," or old town, with the remains of a church and some other stuff, but nothing really worth seeing is there. Stayed at a very relaxed hostel, avoided expensive tourist scams, and cooked pasta. the plan now is to save money on everything i can, considering that your average hostel in Uruguay is 33% more expensive than your average argentine hostel. im heading up the coast in about an hour, there are supposed to be nice beaches and lots of camping. Thats actually all i have to say. wow. the last week has been very chill.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Ok, spanish speaking sony empolyees suck. they said that since we bought the cameras outside of argentina, they werent under warrenty and they wouldnt replace or fix them unless we paid money. also, cameras in this country happen to cost more than i imagine heroin would back home. a little sony point and shoot camera is anywhere from 300 to 700 dollars, when it should be 150-300 dollars. insane. i also wouldnt recomend to anyone looking to buy a camera to buy a sony cybershot. they take good photos, but they break very easily. Rose´s camera broke in the same way mine did, through no fault of our own. the lense just wouldnt stay open and function any more. upsetting.

BA was good other than that. Ilka, the canadian, and i went to the museum of fine arts and saw some cool stuff. this museum happens to be one of the best ive been too. They have work from Picaso, Pollock, and other various amazing artists. as well as some pieces dating from the 14th century and even earlier, like some cool pre-incan works that are more than a thousand years old. the next day i wandered the sunday markets with Rose, Jen, and Jen´s friend Lisa (all UK residents). we then checked out the posh neighboorhoods of Puerto Madero, where all the hotshot PoreƱos (residents of BA) live, work and relax.

I had a ticket to take the ferry across to Uruguay on monday morning, at 9:30, but i had to be there at 8:30. so i set an alarm for early and went to bed before midnight. but i couldnt get to sleep. the most likely cause for this is that at night in BA its about 80 degrees. thats too hot to sleep for those of you have tried. i put a damp towel over me and got a few hours, but woke up when it dried out at 4am and didnt fall back asleep for what i estimate to be about an hour and a half. needless to say, i was suprised when i was awoken by movement in the room, and astonished and upset when i looked at my watch and saw that it read 10:40. there goes $30. so that day i had to buy a new ticket. and it started raining, which was great because it cooled down the city. so i went to a movie, got charged more than i should have, so i snuck into another screen for a double feature. Changeling is intense. i was upset because Angelina Jolie is the main actress, and i think she is fairly worthless, but after the first 20 minutes or so of this movie, she showed some real talent. i would definetly recomend seeing it, if you want to be utterly outraged by Los Angeles in the 1920s.

ok, im in Uruguay now, a place even more expensive than chile and argentina, so my stay wont be long. but im looking forward to some beautiful beaches and some good surf. lets just hope it pans out.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Moonflower 2009

Ok, so i met a bunch more people at the hostel that were interested in going to this electonic music fest in the middle of the woods. which was good, cause 2 of the people who said they wanted to go changed their minds. so now it was going to me, crazy aussie dave, annoying alaska chris, rose from england (who would be coming out the next day, dont ask me how she thought she would find us) and the 7 new people from england, the states, denmark and sweden. we did our last minute shopping and got everybody on a shuttle to the campground. the campground was quite small and trees were everywhere, nothing like the Gorge, for those of you who know it. but the location of this place is amazing. its right on the end of an amazing lake, surrounded by mountains, in the woods, stunning. but we ended up setting up our tents behind someones car, but they said that would be fine. dave, chris and didnt have a tent, but we had a rainfly which we strung up between the two tents. so we all had sandwiches for dinner, started to party (maybe a bit too early, cause apparently things dont get going at moondflower until about 1 am), and sat around the fire laughing and playing music. at 11 or so we headed out and saw this great band playing a funky mix of reggae, ska and dub music. it was so fun. we headed back to the campsite at around 1 to "get some beers" but ended up not making it back out to the music. that was our early night. dave, chris and i slept on the ground, which was uncomfortable, but i wasnt cold, which was suprising, considering everybody else was.

day two was very chill for most of the afternoon. we lay by the beach for much of the day. rose also somehow found us that day, which was good. as night time rolled around we had a late dinner of more sandwiches and put off drinking for a couple hours so we could stay out later. so again we sat around the fire playing music, drinking, singing, having a good time. i left to go to the bathroom at some stage and saw loads of people heading to the far end of the beach. i thought that maybe it was a special party thing over there, so i followed. there was a load generator type thing running though. i asked when i got out there and it was actually a fire. people were lined up in two lines from the lake into the woods passing coke bottles, thermos', 5 gallon jugs, frying pans...anything they had, back and forth to put out the fire. so i joined in and spent about a half hour taking water to the fire out in the woods. it was pretty intense, but after awhile there was a big cheer and it sounded like we got it out. an hour later everybody was back dancing and partying like nothing had happened. it was wild. we headed out to the music but this time there was not an amazing live band, but the DJ at the main stage was pretty good. and despite far too much trance music, it was still fun because everybody there was getting into it. that night we got back later, which was too bad, cause the brits and euopeans were leaving at 8 the next morning.

once they left it was just dave, chris, rose and me left to enjoy the festivities. the third day and night passed much like the first too (although without the fire) with the addition of a moon celebration on the beach. there was a massive bonfire and everybody was crowded around it singing and playing moon songs and then we all turned and looked towards the mountains and watched the moon rise, and chanted unitl it was fully visible. then we followed fire throwers and a massive dragon (much like what you would see if you were celebrating the chinese newyear) to the main stage and danced the rest of the night away.

then we went back to bolson, back to the hostel, stayed one more night and i left the next day for BA with rose, jen, and ilka, a girl i met back in mendoza. now we are here and in search of a sony shop, my camera broke during the festival. although it wasnt my fault, so maybe i get some money for it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The New Crew and Refugio Cajon de Azul

So i didnt get to watch the superbowl, but thats alright cause Pittsburg won (for those of you who dont know) and i hate Pittsburg.

I was only in Bariloche for one night, althought it was a very cool hostel and i got the biography of Hugo Chavez from their book exchange. i met an american on the bus to bolson and we went shopping when we arrived and shared a cab to the hostel. i am very very glad i chose this hostel of the many options in El Bolson. after about a half hour of chatting and hanging out i bumped into a canadian girl who i met about 3 weeks ago in Mendoza. 5 minutes after that i saw Dave from austrailia who i havent seen since bolivia. i interupted a few converstations and almost tripped over a small child to get his attention. we then cooked dinner with a group of people and laughed about stories from the last month and a half. dave is my oldest friend from this trip, meaning that i met him in northern peru almost three months ago and 3 countries ago (we´ve met in peru, boliva and now argentina). we formed a new crew with the canadian and 2 brits.

The next day (yesterday) we trekked out to a refugio called Cajon de Azul (blue canyon). it was a fairly tough 5 hours out with a nice swimming break in a mountain river about halfway through. the next day we headed back to Bolson and did it in half the time. it was almost a true workout. unfortunatly dave is headed up to Bariloche for a couple days and hes heading off tonight. although it looks as if we may all reunite for this music festival on friday. i learned that its not just electonic, they also have trance, "chillout", reggae and ska. as well as massage and yoga classes and booths and various other attractions. now we just need a tent...

bolson is a great place to chill out. the hostel has a big backyard with hammocks and swings and people and pets and various animals roaming around. tonight has been deemed "sangria night" by the canadian and british girls, so that will be a new expierence. and for those of you traveling or heading out to travel or even just considering it, please do all you can to avoid americans (if your american). i have met all of four or five cool ones, and the rest are annoying or obnoxious or an even worse combination of the two. there was an alaskan here who "knew everything" and tried to correct the second officer of a large scientific exploration ship when he was explaining the phenomenon of rough waves, how to drive a 300ft ship around Cape Horn, and exactly what the scientists would be studying in the antartic sea, despite never having been on a scientific exploration vessel or having been to antartica. i hope i never see him again.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

36+ hours

So, i went back to the charming people at the office that sold tickets to the 4 day ship ride a half hour before they closed. i had already bought a bus ticket but it was cheap and i was prepared to sacrifice it if i could get on the boat. i spoke with a woman who spoke english well. she though my idea of paying $300 instead of $510 was amusing, and i asked her if her company would rather have $300 or nothing. the dialoge went as follows: "oh, like a last minute offer?" "yes, exactly, i want a last minute offer." " Navimag doesnt do that." "so you would rather have zero dollars than 300 dollars?" "yes." "hahaha, gracias, chau." and i left, half relieved that i would be paying $50 instead of $510 to get to the same place. granted, it ended up being a 36 hour bus ride, followed by a night in a hilarious "hostel" that was really just a room in some womans house, followed by an eight hour bus ride, followed by a free meal at a hostel in bariloche, where i am now. thank god i get to rest for a few days. up until three days ago, 24 hours was the most i had spent on a bus at one time, and bus rides like that suck energy out of you, never mind adding another half day of adam sandler movies playing continuously in spanish.

tomorrow i have a two hour ride to a small hippie town where ill spend four days relaxing and breathing fresh mountain air, preparing for a five day hard core electronic music festival in the middle of the woods. then to uruguay for carnival and back to BA for awhile. wow, im tired. and a bit disappointed that no bar will put on the super bowl in this town.