Difficult second blog
This is my round up of our last 8 weeks in South America.
Things I liked
Christ the Redeemer in Brazil was a great way to start the trip. It really was impressive but thinking back, I think looking at it from Sugar Loaf mountain and the streets of Rio was better than actually going up and seeing it. To quote Karl Pilkington "...if it was plonked in a roundabout in Stratford, next to the Arndale centre, it wouldn't get a look-in...". It was also packed up there, with lots of people pushing and shoving to get a photo. This would be ok normally but the South Americans love a pose (see previous blog) so one picture takes about 5 minutes with all the pouting and hair flicking, then when you finally get in position some fool throws an arm into your shot.
Iguacu falls were just amazing. One of the best things I have ever seen. Getting up there early to the Argentinian side when it was quiet was a great idea. It could of easily of been like Christ the Redeemer for photos if we hadn't. In fact the Brazilian side main viewpoint was pretty busy and full of posing.
Obviously another highlight was Machu Picchu in Peru. I would say this is on a par with Iguacu falls. One being natural and the other man made makes them hard to compare. Going in the off season when the inca trail was shut meant we couldn't do the trail itself (don't think we would of done it anyway as I am not sure the converse would be up to it) but it also meant Machu Picchu was quieter and we didn't have to book months in advance.
The conclusion I have made is, I like my big tourists attractions quiet. Which is a pretty obvious one.
Death road in Bolivia was really good fun, it's as dangerous as you want to make it. I bet some egits fly down it and nearly die, actually some do die, the guide said on average 2 people die a year. Wouldn't surprise me if more people died in road traffic accidents on the way to death road than actually on death road itself.
Horse riding in Sucre is also on my list. The scenery was pretty impressive but this was the first time I have been in a horse since I was about 8 (I was in Lanzarote and it was a horse called Angel...it wasn't an Angel. It didn't like to stick to the paths). My horse this time, Hector, was better behaved. I even galloped, well the horse galloped, I just held on really tightly and prayed I didn't bust the baby makers.
Salt flats where different and taking all the pictures was fun
Things I want to come back and see
Seeing a couple of the new 7 wonders has made me now want to see them all. So I definitely want to come back to Mexico (not actually South America but close enough) to see Chichen Itza.
Also on the list is to go to Patagonia and explore there. The south of South America is somewhere I wish we had time to go see. Especially the Perito Moreno Glacier.
Things I miss from home already
Spicy food. We have been craving chilli and curry. We have been making our own as even when we have gone to restaurants and they have said its spicy it's been pretty mild. The food has been ok out here but in general the food has lacked flavour. It's been pretty bland.
Toilets that can take toilet paper. Sick of seeing toilet paper in bins, never a pretty sight.
More finished than unfinished buildings. Some countries in South America seem to find it impossible to finish buildings, Peru and Bolivia were the main culprits. Every town had lots and lots of half built houses or extensions. There was a family who live near my mums who took ages to finish there extension and seeing that year after year unfinished used to annoy me, so this is probably where my dislike for incomplete buildings comes from.
Things I won't miss
South America is built for midgets, all the door ways are low, outdoor market stalls have low plastic roofs and ropes to strangle you on.
Being built for midgets means if you are tall you stand out. Being tall also means I have large feet. Twice in South America people have laughed at the size of my feet. Once we went to stall to try and find a new pair of trainers, the woman looked at my feet, said "grande" and started laughing. The second time the girl wasn't even local, I think she was a japanese tourist, we were on a boat trip in Copacabana and she looked down, started laughing then did the 'large' hand gesture.
Dogs and dog muck. Dogs are everywhere and they just seem to roam about the cities. So because of the large amount of dogs roaming there is lots of dog poop knocking about. One positive of this is I have once again seen white dog poo. I thought this was extinct, as I hadn't seen it since I was a kid, but in Valparaiso I saw it quite frequently.
Not being able to speak Spanish. It's hard work not speaking the local language, especially when people talk a load at you and all you can say at the end is "no entiendo". Even worse when you tell them you don't speak Spanish but they still insist on telling you what they wanted to say anyway.