Friday, February 22, 2008


Cusco is.... not fun, unless you want to spend a lot of money on tour groups... we have 8 days to kill, before Machu Pichu...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Why stay in Chile when Argentina is so close....

So the last couple of days in Mendoza Argentina have been amazing. First of all we stayed at the best Hostel ever, the Ritz Carlton of all hostels, if you will... And that's just the beginning...

But before I go into that, lets briefly recap Chile... it doesn't take much time.

Santiago is a nice city...clean, people ar friendly, but not too much to do there. We only stayed 1 day then decided to head to the coast, Valparaiso, to check that out. Valparaiso, is a fairly large beach city, with mansions and shacks side by side, each climbing higher and higher up the steep cliffs. So steep in fact, the city built lifts to bring people up and down.

Our friend Rob, who we met in Santiago, mentioned we should check out Mendoza, and that's how it all started...

We hopped on the bus from Valparaiso the next morning. Had a little trouble there... apparently that entry/ exit slip we got when we entered Chile is really important when trying to leave the country... We crossed the Andes through a steep pass that must've switchbcked at least 30 times, before getting over. And we got a quick glimpse of Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the western hemisphere.

...8 hours with 2 extra hours at customs later we arrived! After checking into the "ritz" we did some exploring with some bikes. The city has a uniquely European feel with the liveliness common of South American cities. People are always out and about, shopping, eating.... except for siesta! Pretty much everything closes from 1pm to 5pm... kind of annoying, but just takes some getting used to.

Yesterday, we decided to tour the vineyards!... with bicycles! Yep, someone thought that biking from winery to winery after several glasses of wine would be a good idea.... it was! We got to try some very good wines, learned about the winemaking process... Argentinians don't pick their own grapes... they get the Peruvian immigrants to do it, and got to see part of the countryside. All in all it was a great day.

And now its a little sad having to leave. Tomorrow, we take a bus back to Santiago, stay there for a night, then fly to Peru!

Friday, February 15, 2008

...A little side trip

... to Argentina! I'm in Mendoza right now. Its a beautiful small city in the heart of Argentina's wine country. We should be doing some tours in the next day or two. They have everything from wine tasting to night time white water rafting adventure tours... this place is amazing... pictures coming soon!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Oi´ Rio de Janeiro

The last week or so has gone by in no time, I can't believe tomorrow will be my last day in Rio. So far its been an incredible experience... so where do I begin...

We arrived Feb. 2nd the first day of Carnaval.

Simply put,, Carnaval is a huge 5 day party before the beginning of Lent that the entire country takes part in. Rio is where its the best. From the 2nd until the 6th the city is constantly singing and dancing, its like nothing I've ever seen before. Everyone dresses up in costume and usually attends the Bloco's, street parties that go on for hours moving through the city.

At the heart of the celebration is the Sambodromo, a parade-like dance competition between 14 different samba schools, held at the Sambodrome. Each school, easily over 500 participants each, has 90 minutes to dance through the entire course, accompanied by parade floats. As the school makes its way through the course, crowds cheer them on as well as sing and dance along in the stands. And its customary for the audience to dress up in costume when they go to the Sambodromo. Here's Will and I before heading out.

Carnaval was incredible, albeit intense, 5 days of partying with a little sleep thrown in. After Carnaval it was time to see some sights... First thing was to experience the world famous Ipanema and Copcabana beaches. Rio is such a unique city, it has beautiful beaches, a huge metropolitan area, and rugged terrain.

Of course it didn't look like this when I went... It was overcast and a little rainy... but you could imagine what it'd be like...

Next was to see the on-looking Cristo Redentor on Corcavado mountain.

After viewing Cristo in the morning I got back to the hostel, picked up William, and decided to hike halfway up Sugarloaf mountain and take the Tram up the top.

This is a picture taken from the Cristo statue, Botafogo (where I stayed) with Sugarloaf mountain in the foreground.

We hiked up the first hilltop through practically a jungle where we saw a monkey and lots of birds. Once at the top we bought a ticket to take the cable car tram to the very top.

The next day I got to see a true Brazilian soccer game... Home team, Flamengo vs. Villa Redonda Flamengo won 2-1...and yes the fans are crazy... The game was played here at Marcana Stadium

The fans were great, no one sat down the whole game, they screamed and sang songs, played drums, and waved huge flags and banners... They're crazy!

And finally today I visited the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Niteroi done by Brazils famous architect Oscar Niemeyer.

And that has just about conluded my time here in Rio de Janeiro, next stop Chile... still not sure where we're going!