A Travellerspoint blog

On The Road Again

The Subcontinent Expedition 2009

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View Subcontinent Expedition 2009 & Consulting Life on NomadicOne's travel map.

Written: January 12, 2009

Two days ago, I was in the process of catching up with friends at a party when the following conversations repeated itself:

Friend: How are you doing? What's new?
Me: I'm flying off to Dubai tomorrow and will be traveling Dubai, India and Nepal for 1.5 months.
Friend: What ?!?

Even my closest friends were surprised at how sudden my departure was.
So how did this whole idea start? When did I start planning and how did I manage to get 1.5 months off?

I would attribute it to the following 3 factors: an email, a woman and a picture.

In early December, while I was finishing up my previous project I received an email about FlexLeave, a type of leave of absence lasting between 1 week to 3 months (till the end of Feb). The program had many benefits including retaining access privileges, time with the company still count. At first I thought it'd be a good way to take time-off without using my vacation time which I'm saving up. If a new project didn't work out and I run out of chargeable work I could take FlexLeave to keep my chargeability up.

I met this woman at an alumni party and she told me about her travels to India and Nepal. She was the one that planted the seed of traveling India/Nepal in my head. When she told me about her experiences, my mind tied the FlexLeave program to traveling India/Nepal. I thought to myself, "This just may be possible." However, at that point I wasn't 100% sure if I should do it now or later and whether I would get approved for it.

Finally, while reorganizing my travel pictures I came upon my one of my favourite from the RTW 2007 trip. It was the one of me overlooking Machu Picchu in the final days of my trip. Everything came back to me; I caught the travel flu (wanderlust) and became insomniac. I couldn't sleep; I checked flights, Wikitravel and researched constantly.

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I talked to my manager/career counselor about my next project, business needs and determined that I qualified for the FlexLeave program and it made sense for me to take a bit of time off to travel while new projects were getting to start-up. Thankfully, my CC/HR and upper-management were all very supportive and soon enough I had the go-ahead and tickets! I even managed to perform a miracle before departure my getting an Indian travel visa within 1 day by drop-off, which is not allowed for people of non-Indian origins. I pleaded with the official that it was an emergency and I didn't have a ticket within 72 hours to show (a requirement for emergency visas which also only lasts 1 month) since I was going on standby. I wanted to get it immediately since I didn't want to spend my time/money in Canada but rather in the beautiful country of India. Six hours later, to the amazement of the other people of Indian origins standing in-line to get their pick-up, I had a 6 month tourist visa! Wei: 1, Indian Bureaucracy: 0.

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I would have some mixed luck in the first few days of my trip. The night before my morning flight to New York, American Airlines called to say my flight had been canceled due to weather. After a tense 2 hours, I was able to adjust my flight t NYC and the connection to Dubai to a later time. There were 2 advantages to this change; first of all, I wouldn't need to transfer between LaGuardia to JFK since I would now fly directly into JFK. Secondly, I would fly the Airbus A380 from New York to Dubai instead of the 777 earlier. Unfortunately, I had more bad luck and my AA flight was late so I missed my connection to Dubai. This was the first time I'd ever missed a flight and I was pissed since I was delayed by at least one day and did not think I would be on the A380 anymore! However, all was not lost; I had flight interruption insurance so I had $1000 available to spend on hotel, meals and sundry expenses. My flight the next evening was also on the A380 and I used this chance to alter my flight schedule slightly so that I would stay longer in Dubai.

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The A380 was a gigantic plane. There are sleeping rooms with full beds and showers on the upper-deck and a bar! The food of Emirates Airlines was amazing as always and the ICE entertainment system is even better than what I had the last time I flew with them.

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And so, here we go! It's good to be on the road again.

Posted by NomadicOne 08:00 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

6 Weeks Later

There and back again, the summary and conclusion of my trip.

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View Round The World 2007 & Consulting Life on NomadicOne's travel map.

Written: November 5, 2007
Location: Toronto

Part 1 - Conclusion

I sometimes still wake up and forget where I am.

For the first few days after I got back home, I relished having nice clean showers with good water temperature and pressure, having my own bed, not having to figure out how to get from one country/town/place to another, feeling safe and my mom's home cooking. It wasn't very hard to get used to all of those luxuries quickly and starting new joiner orientation at my new consulting job 2 days after my arrival also kept me busy all day. Yet sometimes, I still wake up and for 1 second I wonder, "Where am I?"

Toronto, St Charles, Chicago, etc.

I got back to Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson airport on Friday at 1 pm. The flights from La Paz to Toronto via Miami through American Airlines were the most boring ones I’ve ever had. The only reasons they weren’t THE MOST boring ones I’ve ever had was due to my excitement to go home and the news that the Canadian dollar (Loonie) reached parity with the US dollar. I arrived in Canada with a broad smile, picked up my luggage and expected to head out and call for my pick-up. But it wasn’t necessary as my mom and sister were waiting in the arrival area and my sister was holding a massive sign with welcome back messages incorporating play on words of my name (yes, even after 20 years, my sister still thinks ‘Hi Wei/Highway’ is funny). After catching up with the family and a feast that my mom had been preparing for nearly 2 days, I slept the most relaxing sleep I had in several months. The realization that I was truly home didn’t sink in until Saturday night when I had dinner with two of my good. We caught up with what had been happening with each other, how our friends were doing, some of my travel stories and it was while we toasted our delicious Canadian beers (Rickard’s red how I’ve missed you), to my return, that I truly though, “I’m home.”

I’ve been delaying the writing and completion of this blog for a long time. At first I planned on writing it 1-2 weeks after my return for extra perspective. But after passing that landmark, it became sheer procrastination and then pure denial. In a sense, I refused to believe my journey was over. Now, after 45 days, I’ve decided it’s time for some closure.

In this 2-part post, I intend to thoroughly conclude and summarize my trip. The first part will be composed of tying some loose ends and finishing with some parting thoughts. The second part will be loaded with lists and details such as countries visited, best/worst experiences, favourite pictures.

Coming back to Part 1, how do I feel now?

Stable is the key word.
My life is now full of routines that I didn’t have during my trip. Get up, get ready for work, go to work, have lunch with co-workers, work, go home, work/relax sleep, repeat. On one hand, it is reassuring and safe; on the other hand, I am lacking the interaction and missing the dynamic aspect of traveling. What is encouraging though is that my work has somewhat alleviated that. I’ve been meeting really cool new people and been able to travel to Chicago for 2 weeks for training where I met and networked with employees from all over the world. I was also able to meet-up with a friend of mine in Chicago I’d met at Cambridge 4 years ago after my training was over. Although I now have a job and work responsibilities, it will at least be dynamic and keep my life interesting. I will also be able to travel and continually meet new people, to a lesser extent of freedom but still engaging.

How have I changed?

This is still a difficult question to answer.
Other than the large weight loss (which I am steadily gaining back), the answer can be broken down into 2 parts:
1) Discussion of complex political and cultural issues witnessed first hand
2) Greater dissatisfaction with materialism and mundane life

1. While it is normal for anyone to talk about their trip experiences (especially when one is asked so often), I've also had increased discussion about my time in Israel and Palestine, East Africa and South America. To many people, their perception is skewed by the media and when I present a contrasting view, it really gets a reaction. Many people inquire further due to curiosity, but some also due to suspicion. It is hard for some people to accept an experience or view point that is not aligned with the media's position. It is hard to understand certain things that are so foreign and unthinkable unless one is actually there, in the location, talking to the people affected, experiencing the culture and environment first hand.

This was the case when I talked about the suffering of the Palestinian people, the warmth and kindness of Ugandans, the friendliness of conservative Muslims in Zanzibar. My experience has enriched me with a greater understanding of complex political and cultural issues in many parts of the world. Perhaps in speaking about them to those who wish to listen, I can enrich them too.

2. Another major change I experienced is the adjustment to Canadian life again. While I do enjoy numerous aspects of having a stable life, there are also many issues that are even more glaringly irritating to me than before my trip. After surviving with so little for a few months and witnessing so many people in poverty, the consumerism and purposeless of mundane life is like a nauseates me everywhere I go. I am possibly eating 2-3 times more than I used to and while I love food and home cooking, I think I feel less healthy now that I'm eating regularly and in greater portions. I also struggled a bit first when I got back in adjusting to the routines of life. I was disoriented a bit by the complacency and lack of movement and exploration. After submerging myself into this society, I started feeling like I was drowning in the waves of materialism and meaningless fears. It really boggled me how much people cared about material goods and wealth. The obsession with getting promoted and making more money in order to impress some people or afford that new expensive car/house/cellphone/clothes disgusted me. I had a hard time understanding how people could truly be so paralyzed with such trivial fears and superficial goals in life. I'm not sure how I will adjust to this in the long term. I can only hope that I don't get totally sucked into that mindset and forget the the experiences I encountered and lessons learnt as well as my own purposes in life.

While I have gone through many changes, I've also realized things about myself I must change more.
One of them is my lack of risk-taking when it comes to human relationships. I am still too complacent and must be more aggressive especially now that I am no longer in University(thanks for the stories and advice Rhett!) It's funny how I barely consider the dangers of going into areas with numerous travel warnings or hesitate to tackle my fears, but when it comes to taking that leap of faith, my stubbornness makes me falter.

Where do I go from here?

I have to find ways to adapt. In order not to get sick of talking about my travels and people of hearing them, I have to be conscious of what I say and not get drawn into one of my travel stories. This is an incredible hard task but it is one that I must do.
My lower inclination to spend money on material goods except for necessity will be helpful since I need to save as much money as possible to make mortgage payments on the condo I'm moving into. Eating 1/2 ration in order to save on grocery bills will also help me physically and financially (Because it's just impossible for me to go back and live under my parents' roof after being away for 4 years of Uni and backpacking around the world).
My consulting work will also enable me to keep living my nomadic life; travel, meet new people, tackle new challenges. This will ensure that I don't kill myself over routine work. (In fact, I was made an honourary Chicagoion after hanging out with coworkers from the Chicago office during training!)

While the sights of my travels were amazing, it was the people I met along my journey that made it incredible. I want to thank everyone that I've met for their stories and hospitality(Erico, I will be visiting you in Brazil, soon!) In return, if any of you would like to visit Toronto, you'll have a place to stay.

Finally, the best cure to those wanderlust blues is to start planning your next one. Going to the end of the earth (Antartica) by motorcycling to Terra Del Fuego and then taking the ferry is an ambitious plan that I intend to make into reality in a couple of years.

I better start planning.

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Part 2 - Summary

Length of travel: 16 weeks and 5 days, 117 days
Number of Continents visited: 6
Number of Countries visited: 26
Number of Flights: 33
Number of Train rides: 5
Number of Buses taken: Innumerable
Number of Car rented: 3
Number of Scooter/Moped/Motorcycle rented: 4
Number of Friends Made: Innumerable
Numbers of Friends met during trip: 9 (Andrew/Dana in Munich, Martin in Munich, Baris in Istanbul, Cath in London, Zab in Ramallah, Thomas in Kampala, Yuki in Tokyo, Jill in Singapore)
Number of items purchased: 7
Number of Photos and Videos taken: 3259, 9.25 GB
Number of Times slept in Airports: 5
Number of Movies Seen: >30

Bests:
Best Countries:

  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Turkey
  • Croatia

Best Cities:

  • Istanbul, Turkey
  • Queenstown, NZ
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Granada, Spain
  • Munich, Germany
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Singapore, Singapore

Best Activities and Experiences:

Best Hostals:

  • Oasis Backpackers, Granada
  • Mate's Palace, Sydney
  • YHA Brisbane, Brisbane
  • Charlie B's Backpackers, Christchurch

Best Movies Seen: Amazing Grace and The Island

Best Foods:

  • Fish and Chips, Monganui and Kaikoura, NZ
  • Chorripan, Argentina
  • Biftek de lomo, Buenos Aires
  • Bocadillo con calamares, Madrid
  • White Veal sausages, Munich
  • Polish dumplings, Krakow
  • Grilled kielbasa, Krakow
  • $0.25 falafel, Jalezone, Palestine
  • Fergbuger, Queenstown, NZ
  • Night market foods, Taiwan
  • Lobster, king fish, mussels and squid, Forodhani Market by the sea and setting sun, Zanzibar
  • $20 Sushi breakfast, Tsukiji Fish Market
  • Seafood pasta, Split, Croatia
  • Indian buffet, Wellington

Worsts:
Highest number of consecutive overnight buses taken: 3 (Turkey)
Worst Foods: Horse meat jerky, Easter Island
Worst Movies:

  • Turkish space movie
  • Littleman (in Turkish)
  • Nigerian evil mermaid movie
  • Spiderman 3

Worst Hostal: rooftop bed, Backpackers Cozy Corner, Singapore
Worst experiences: (They were terrible at the time, now they're just funny to me)

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Best Pictures: (For complete pictures, see gallery)
IMG_0279.jpg Random black cube in front of museum in Hamburg
Split___Hvar_028.jpgDiocletian Palace, Split
Budapest_015.jpg Shoe memorial, Budapest
Palestine_010.jpgBest falafel ever, Jalezone, Palestine
Road_to_Bunyoni_011.jpgSchool children at Bunyoniy
Stone_Town_055.jpgThe traditional and the modern
Safari_221.jpgGirafe looking at you!
Safari_276.jpgThe long road
Safari_398.jpgRoad to Kilimanjaro
Road_to_Bunyoni_027.jpgPublic transit Africa style
Bay_of_Isl..rth_054.jpgDan on the Dune
Hakone_001.jpgHomeless man in Tokyo
Safari_043.jpgIda looking through binoculars dune_2.jpgIt's sanboarding time!
IMG_0316.jpgGirl with Alpaca
IMG_0287.jpgThat is where I slept in Lima Airport between 11PM-5AM
Tekapo.jpgLake Tekapo, NZ
IMG_0429.jpgThe At the end of my trip in Machu Picchu!

NOTE: I will be creating a "Walking Around the World" video for release in the future. Also, if you have any feedback or questions, feel free to leave a post or send me a message! I'd love to hear what you think.

Posted by NomadicOne 19:01 Archived in Canada Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Mad Dash to the Finish Line

Cardiovascular workouts, narcotic searches and the end of the road

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View Round The World 2007 on NomadicOne's travel map.

Written: September 20, 2007

I'm usually not a paranoid or anxious person. But after reading stories and warnings about pirate/kidnap taxis that rob/mug/steal from passengers, I was a bit on the edge. I think I get that side from my mom. After arriving at Ollyantambo, I hopped onto a bus expecting to leave immediately for the 2 hour ride back to Cuzco. I needed to be back early to catch some dinner and pick-up my luggage, then go to Terminal Terrestre to catch my bus to La Paz and my flight to Miami and home. I needed to be back home in time and get ready to start work Monday! If I missed any of those connections, I would be in trouble.

The bus didn't leave for 35 minutes due to 3 indecisive Japanese tourists and another bus blocking our path, unloading supplies from its rooftops. Honestly, nobody has ever heard me curse so much or so violently, chaining together as many swear words as possible. My heartbeat was elevated throughout the ride due to anxiety and altitude. Miraculously, I made it for the hostel dinner, picked up my bags and faced my greatest anxiety: the taxi to the bus station. After hearing stories of people driven to the middle of nowhere and then muggers jumping in to rob them, I was determined not to let that happen. I chose an official-looking taxi, confirmed the destination and fare, locked all doors. Throughout the ride, I was ready to unlock my door, open and roll out of it if it looked like I was getting out of town. When we passed through a deserted part of town, my heartbeat raced and I was totally ready but then I saw signs and recognized the way to the bus station.

1 more taxi ride to go.

The bus ride to La Paz was long and uneventful except for the border crossing. While this crossing took half as long as the Chile/Argentina one, it was more interesting because of its hilarity. Little boys with pens offer to help you with the 3-part crossing process (for a fee of course) and at one point I saw our driver give a bag of bread to the Bolivian guard who waved him through; that's how you get the express treatment. After walking back towards the bus on the Peru side after taking care of the Bolivian entrance visa, a Peruvian guard waved me into the guard house. "Oh man, here comes the bribe request", I thought. But I was mistaken, he checked through what I had in my pockets and money belt for narcotics and then thanked me, shook hands and waved me through, all without taking a sole! Unfortunately for the girls, I think their breasts were checked, for narcotics of course.
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My last taxi ride from the bus terminal to the airport also gave my heart another workout. Halfway through the trip the driver indicated he needed more gas, turned off and went through some sketchy looking neighbourhoods looking for a pump. I felt suspicious and once again was in escape-ready mode. Fortunately, we didn't get much further out and he found a pump quickly. After a brief ride, I was at the airport.

Numerous posts ago in Krakow, I was with another Canadian who was on the last day of his his trip and I wondered how I would feel or how I would change? I thought of that again on the overnight bus.

How do I feel?

Anxious to get home, see family and friends. Anxious for clean machine washed clothes, my own bed/bathroom, familiar foods with stability are all things I look forward to. On the other hand, it's balanced out by fears: of monotony, stability, responsibility, relationships, mortgage, career.

How have I changed?

Other than being physically lighter and older, I am not sure how to answer that. Months ago in Palestine, my friend remarked that I was quieter, more contemplative and less anxious to please others. While that may have been how I looked at the time, that is a facet of my responsibility I've always had. One of my biggest issues has been how to unify my multi-faceted personalities and histories into my own identity. For so long, I have chosen to keep them mutually exclusive and nicely compartmentalized. In a way, this trip has helped me draw them together and be connected to my core identity. I have gained new perspectives on many issues especially many in my life.

I didn't go on this trip to seek a life altering experience or find the meaning of life. However, these past 4 months have shaped me. Other than being good at living cheap and having a good nose at not getting ripped off, I believe I've become more focused and aware. The diverse environments I have witnessed also gives me a more relativistic perspective on life. It's still too early to tell how this experience will mean to me in the grand journey of my life.

Though I may enjoy the stability and predictability of my life for the next few days, weeks, months or years. I do hope, perhaps in a little while, to be on the road, again.

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Author's Note: There will be one more post to summarize my trip.

Posted by NomadicOne 21:57 Archived in Bolivia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Machu Picchu - The Lost City of the Incas

Last post before the journey home

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View Round The World 2007 on NomadicOne's travel map.

Written: September 19, 2007

Being at Machu Picchu feels like being in a distant land back in time and history, or a fantasy land. It didn't feel like that at first with the ridiculous legions of tourists each trying to snap as many pictures of the ruins and themselves. But as the afternoon wanes and crowds die down, the wonder and amazement sets in, especially as I write this sitting on a ledge overlooking the Inca city.

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I arrived early from Cuzco to Aguas Calientes by a 4 hour train ride. After getting tickets and a bus ride, I entered Machu Picchu national park and feasted my eyes on the new World Wonder. Unfortunately, instead of doing the Inca Trail and arriving at dawn when the crowds of day trippers haven't arrived yet, my schedule only allowed me to do a day trip from Cuzco and in fact take the overnight bus to La Paz and fly out. This is the result of my extensions in Africa and New Zealand, unfortunate but not regrettable. It is truly amazing to see the structures and engineering work of the Incas constructed so long ago. Even in Cuzco you can see examples of their superior engineering compared to the Spanish. There is a joke from "The Motorcycle Diaries": In Cusqueña, there are two varieties of engineering: Inca or Incompetent.

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I arrived at the Buenos Aires airport about 5 hours early. In that time, I entertained myself by looking at the prices of airport duty free goods and the beautiful Argentinian saleswomen. The only incident to note was that at one point, a Chinese kid came up and asked me whether I was Chinese.

Me: No, Canadian ... Taiwanese!
Him: Do you speak Mandarin?
Me: A little, why?
Him: Can you help me?

He and his friend were going to Caracas via Lima but their flight to Lima was overbooked. Since neither of them spoke Spanish or English, they were pretty useless and clueless. Using my limited Spanish, I helped them confirm that they were indeed leaving the next day. Two hours later, one of them found me resting and asked me to help translate again. However, this time there was Chinese dude, myself, another man (who spoke English and could translate)and the airline staff standing in a circle answering/asking questions. We probably looked like we were playing telephone.

What really pissed me off the most was the ineptitude of the 2 Chinese kids who traveled without any knowing Spanish or English. At one point one of them asked me, "How come they don't have Chinese translators?" I briskly replied, "Because English is the world language and you don't even know that!"

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After sleeping in the Lima airport on the mat provided by London Heathrow Airport, I took a flight to Cuzco in the early morning. My eyes hurt but I wasn't sure if it was from tiredness or air pollution. I spent half the day running around to get tickets to Machu Picchu and ensure that I arrive in La Paz in time to fly home. I then spent the rest of the day getting familiar with Cuzco and going to bed early. Unfortunately, the headache I was developing from altitude sickness assaulted me all night and it was only after chugging 1L of water and 2 ibuprofens later that I felt better. Being at 2500m really takes it out of you. Your body feels tingly and you get out of breath really quickly. It was also discouraging and humorous to see see the locals just strolling or running the steep roads.

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Cuzco is amazing. Even with all the tourists, you can't help but feel transported back in time. Locals wear their distinctly patterned Alpaca-wool made clothes. Some of the older women wear Bowler hats on top of their braids. This tradition originated when a European shipment of Bowler hats were given to locals since they were too small. I didn't get to take a lot of pictures but was greatly reminiscent of the end credit scenes of The Motorcycle Diaries.

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In Cuzco, I walked around the Inca walls, the 12-sided stone, checked out the cathedral that had a very interesting version of The Last Supper. I suppose even religion isn't above advertisements as a big juicy cuy (Guinea pig) was the centerpiece. Imagine the captions: "Jesus goes to Casa Mama and has cuy with his mates when he celebrates! Where do YOU go?"

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Headed to La Paz tonight and then flying home. Only 3 more taxi rides away from safety!

Ciao!
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Posted by NomadicOne 20:24 Archived in Peru Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

To Buenos Aires with a bus full of Peruvians!

Food, 24 hour bus trips, love from Peru and order amid chaos.

overcast
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Written: Sept 16, 2007

I woke up at 2:43 AM to the sound of snoring and occasional shifting. I was on a semi-cama bus going the 14 hour trip from Mendoza to Buenos AIres. I´d left the day before on a Tur semi-cama bus from Santiago to Mendoza, a 7 hour trip including 2.5 hours at the border for customs. That trip was comfortable due to the ample legroom, semi pullout and the fact that the only spare seat in the bus was the one beside me. I was worried that I'd have to spend the night in Mendoza if I arrived too late and the ticket sales agent in Santiago was useless at explaining anything. I immediately went to the Tur bus counter after picking up my bags in Mendoza and got the bad news: No bus to Buenos Aires tonight, I then went to talk to CATA, none tonight as well but a 7 AM. I dejectedly paid $39 USD for it before looking at my map for a hostel since the station would close at 1 AM; disallowing me from camping at the estacion for the night. However, before I left the station, I passed a double decker "El Rapido" bus with the sign "B.Aires". It looked full but I had to ask. The driver saw me approach and a attendant came out.
Thankfull, I knew some basic spanish.

Me: Asto libre?
Him: Si, uno.
Me: A que hora sale el autobus?
Him: A hora!
Me: Cuanto cuesta?
Him: Cien pesos.
Me: Dolares Americano?
Him: Treinta y cinco.
Me: (pause for 3 seconds) Okay.

After taking my bags, he showed me to the only seat available in the whole bus beside a very annoyed looking woman in a white coat. THis bus was drastically different being a double decker, dirtier and a lot noisier with people drinking. I had barged in on a party uninvited and taken someone's joy away; it was a rough start. However, thankfullu I took SPAN 010 because things would change for the better. Although I was kicking myself for paying $39 extra for a common ticket, it was worth getting to Buenos Aires early. Also, as soon as I sat down, I heard "japonais" being whispered an that's when I replied, "No estoy Japonais. Yo estoy Canadiense!" The girl next to me then turned and said, "Ah you speak English?" Within minutes after some conversations about where I was from, I was offered a beer by the gyu in front of me, some pineapple juice by the girl in white coat, chips from the guy across the aisle and an invite to visit someone in northern highland Peru. The girl next to me was a tour guide in Peru and the only one who spoke good English. She explained to me that they were all Peruvians coming from all over Peru going to Buenos Aires as tourists. Now I am not sure what everybody thinks of Peru, but I thought that except for the select few rich people, Peruvians were generally poor and perhaps uncouth. However, sitting there in the early hours of the morning, I realized it was the other way around; it was in fact them who were rich in friends, family and company, food and generosity and I who was poor, with nothing to share except my gratitude and appreciation.

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After arriving from Easter Island to Santiago, I bought a ticket to Mendoza fom the useless man behind the counter and then checked into a nice hotel/guesthouse where I got agood single for $14. I then walked about before having a $2 USD dinner with the locals; a bottle of coke and 2 completos (hot dogs smothered with avocado sauce and mayo). Eating them were quite tricky as I didn't want to make a mess or leave sauces all over my mouth after everybite, like a milk mustache or worse for those with their minds in the gutter. I observed the locals and settled on just shoveling it horizontally and biting. I then caught up on travel blogs at an internet cafe for $1.25/hr.

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After walking around for half the day, I went to catch my bus to Mendoza. While on the bus, I watched the baggage man, an old balding man wih a blue overcoat, carefully analyze and place passengers' luggages in the 2 small compartments. He was a specialist and did it for our bus as well as the other ones beside ours. I realized that he and I were in fact quite similar. While I use mathematics and engineering to analyze and design, he performs the same tasks with luggages and compartment spaces.
In a way, we both seek to find order in chaos.

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After checking into the hostel and taking a shoer, i explored Buenos Aires. I visited the Palace of Congress, the Casa Rosa (Presidential Palace where Evita addressed the people) and then walked around Av. Florida to scout potential deals. While I saw some things I liked, the only thing I bought was $0.75 steak sandwich (chorripan) that was heavenly. I also treated myself to a great dinner at La Mejor Parillada de Argentina where I had a lomo de biftek, big bottle of beer and helados mixte (like gelato). It only cost me $15 and was quite a steal!

I will be heading to Lima where I will spend the night in the airport instead of venturing out at 11 PM into the kidnapping capital of the world and then fly to Cuzco at 5:40 AM.

Hopefully the connetion to La Paz won't be too bad and I will stay safe in Peru and Bolivia.

Less than 1 week!

Posted by NomadicOne 10:31 Archived in Argentina Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

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