Kia Ora ya big bloomin kangaroo or what ever they say here in New Zealand.
Yes we’ve finally arrived in New Zooland. The sun is shining, we’ve bought a campervan (car with a mattress in it) and we’re ready for some outdoor living. Our van (car with a mattress in it) is called Burman and don’t you even dare say a bad word about him because we love him. Alright? We’re on a bit of a posh campsite at the moment, outside Auckland. There is a beautiful view of the sea with wildlife all around. There is this bird that keeps trying to steal food off our table and I keep saying, “stop it Judith!” Chortle chortle. Its 11am and we’re still in our PJ’s, I’m having a cup of PG Tips and Judith is pottering about around Burman. We had our first night kipping in Burman last night and we slept right through. I woke up at one point and thought I was in a coffin in the back of a hearse, but then I realised I was just asleep in a car with a mattress in it (van). We flew here on a 12 hour flight
from Chile on Friday night and arrived Sunday morning. Not quite sure how that works, but all I know is that we are still alive, a bit tired and unsure as to what day or time it is. We have spent the morning opening Christmas presents that our folks had posted out to us. It was brilliant. We got some kitkat chunkies, huge dairy milk, razors, marmite, various cosmetics, Geography magazines, Viz, Total Film Magazine and loads of other bits and bobs. When I asked my mum for Total Film magazine on Skype she said with great shock, “Total Filth Magazine?” Classic. I haven’t been out to pick up any bread yet so have just been eating Marmite out of the jar, much to Judith’s disgust. We spent the first couple of days since arriving with some of my Mum’s friends, Sophie, John and little George. It was nice to touch down here and see a friendly face and get some proper tea and porridge down our necks. Within a few hours of arriving we went out and bought Burman (my precious) and then spent a few days just monging about. When we bought Burman the guy said, “you need
to drive this car like you treat a woman.” So I asked it to make me a cuppa and went and sat on the couch in my pants. Only joking. There’s only one person that makes all the brews in our relationship. Yes that’s right, Judith. Yesterday we headed over to see Wendy and Gareth (our friends from the UK who’ve recently emigrated here) and their folks, had a slap up meal then headed to this campsite.
Any ‘ow, when I last blogged (I’m getting down with this techy blurb) we had just spent a wonderfully weird couple of weeks in Cuba, left Costa Rica to evade some hefty Yank tax and rocked up in beautiful Boquete, Panama. You’ll be pleased to know that we never got caught for nicking that Soy Sauce out of a hostel in Nicaragua and subsequently didn’t end up in Sonar, Panama (the gruesome prison from Prison Break). I swear down right it was in the free food box and I never killed anyone erm I mean, er, ok lets move on.
Even though the weather was cold and wet in Boquete, we ended up staying a few extra
days purely because it was a nice hostel and I couldn’t be arsed leaving. We took an afternoon trip out to some free, yes free gardens (take that Costa Rica) and then headed up to a café we had heard about which specialised in home grown strawberry related produce. All the way there I was banging on about a strawberry milkshake, “Judith, I’m going to have a strawberry milkshake”, I said.
“Oooo I can’t wait for my strawberry milkshake, Judith.”
“What are you going to have Judith? I’m going to have a strawberry milkshake Judith.”
When we arrived I promptly found ‘Milkshakes’ on the menu. “Judith they’ve got milkshakes, I think I’m going to have a strawberry one.” The lady came over and said,
“Hola, het te te te te, Chris Waddle” so I said
“Una Strawberry Milkshake porfavor” and she said
“We only do chocolate or vanilla milkshakes!”
“Are you kidding me? What kid of strawberry café is this? I could go to the chuffin supermarket and buy strawberry milkshake. Make me a vanilla one and put strawberries in it. In fact give me the strawberries and I’ll do it myself. This
is unbelievable. I’m going to write to my MP about this. Judith we’re leaving.” When I’d eventually stopped crying and turned my frown upside-down I decided to stay and have a strawberry smoothie, which was in fact very nice.
The next day we headed to a coffee plantation. They made gourmet coffee in the mountains (hills) of Boquete and distributed it out to posho’s all over the world. As you probably know, me and our Judith are tea drinkers. However since we’ve been travelling (on holiday) we have drunk some of the worst brews on the planet. I don’t know how they can even call it tea. It’s a disgrace. Coffee however in Central America is pretty cheap and very tasty. The coffee tour took us through the process of coffee growing, preparation, roasting and finally tasting. The group was asked what coffee we drank and how we make it?
“Oh yah I normally buy mine from north Africa, that’s low acidity so it’s more delicate on my palate.”
“Oh yah, I only buy the finest 100% Arabica beans, grind them and put them in my Italian espresso machine”
nice and is on special offer and then make it using two yoghurt pots and a sock.”
Yes that was us. The coffee tasting was interesting as you had to drink it black. Kind of put me off coffee. It was ok later though when we did some other tasting and I could fire loads of milk and sugar in with everyone looking at me like I was some kid of charlatan. It didn’t help when we tasted one of their coffee’s which was recently voted best organic coffee in the world and me and our Judith said we didn’t like it. When the guide was talking us through all the flavours of the different roasts he was like, “I can taste hazelnut, chocolate, caramel and fruit. What about you?” and everyone was like “oh yah I can taste hazelnut, chocolate, caramel and fruit” and basically just repeating everything the guide said. Lets be honest they all tasted like coffee.
Book News! I’m up to page 220 of mine. Judith finished her latest book the other day, Ernest Hemmingway – For Whom the Bell Told. A classic book (apparently). Judith said, “I’m sorry but that were
We left Boquete and headed east to Santa Fe in the mountains (hills). The bus on the way there had wifi. In Panama they have free wifi on the buses. In England you get free passive smoking off some chavs at the back. Unbelievable. They also put on ‘Marley and Me 2’. In first film you don’t want the dog to die. In the sequel you really do want the dog to die and the cast and the director and I was actually contemplating suicide myself halfway through. We hopped off that bus and onto our usual standard of death bus and headed up to Santa Fe. Me and Judith were having our usual moan about bus travel in England saying it should be more flexible, cheap and as easy as it is in Latin America. Then we very quickly changed our minds when the driver stopped at the petrol station and stuck two 20 gallon drums of petrol under our seat. Oh yes and then we realised that Judith could have quite easily fallen out of the window next to her.
weather was great and we stayed in a fantastic hostel in the town. We were able to go out and do loads of free stuff (oh yeah!) like walking up hills and swimming in rivers and waterfalls and that. We spent the week with a nice American couple called James and Sarah Joy who lived on a farm somewhere or something and grew weed (probably) and ate fruit all the time (assumingly had the munchies) and he looked like Justin Timberlake. We went on a walk one day and there were some kids playing football right next to the top of a cliff. I said to Judith “I hope they don’t kick their football off the cliff.” Shortly after, whilst we were stood on the edge of the cliff taking in the view, the ball rolled over to me very slowly in absolutely no danger of going off the edge. I used all my footballing skills to stop the ball, it bounced off my foot and into the air careering towards the cliff edge but luckily landed on top of the fence on the edge of the cliff. I say luckily, it was actually a barbed wire fence and it
totally skewered their ball. I was so embarrassed. I haven’t been that embarrassed since I was having an alfresco wee in Puerto Madryn, Argentina and the gale force wind changed direction mid way through and well, I probably don’t need to explain anything more.
We took a day trip out to a farm which this dude called Chong ran for his family. They were so nice and gave us a great dinner. At one point Chong just went and got his massive chainsaw out and started waving it about like some kind of maniac. It was a bit weird. I was thinking he was going to chop us up and feed us to the next set of guests. But he didn’t which was nice.
We left Santa Fe and headed to Panama City, the hottest place on the face of the earth. It was crazy hot with no air movement. Actually I don’t even think there was any air. The bus to Panama City was to be our last Latin American bus journey. In true style it was pretty grim, a bit dangerous and I had a massive sub woofer under my seat pumping
out some Reggaeton radio station with the DJ shouting, “are you ready selecta” and “lets get ready to rumble” every 10 seconds. We spent 3 nights in a suburb outside of the centre of Panama City which was quite a nice break from the hustle and bustle of it all. We visited to Panama Canal which was incredible. The shear size of the thing was crazy big. Me and our Judith bought Panama hats like a pair of tourists. The only people you see wearing Panama hats are tourists. No Panamanians wear them. They are a bit like Che Guevara t-shirts in Cuba. None of the locals wear them yet some fat student from Birmingham waltzes around Havana in it like he won the revolution single handed.
We met the rudest people we have met so far on our trip in Panama City, mainly in shops and taxis. They’re not a true reflection of Panamanians which on the whole are really friendly. We made light of the situation by calling really rude people ‘sweet cheeks’ and ‘sugar lump’ which is quite funny when they don’t know what your on about.
head to Santiago, Chile for a few nights before picking up our flight to New Zoomland. We took a taxi to the airport via the post office to post some of our winter gear home. Not the wisest move we’ve made as it took ages in the post office and then the taxi driver had to drive at literally 100mph to get us to the airport on time. We arrived in good time and had a short while to hang around the airport. Why do people pay extra to get their bags wrapped up in clingfilm in the airport like some kind of bag bondage? I don’t get it. Maybe their bags are full of delicious treats and they want to keep them fresh. The flight to Santiago was irritating as usual. How can people not know where their seat is on the plane when they get on? Seriously some people should be locked up on the account of them being too stupid. I spent the entire 6 hour flight wrestling for position on the shared armrest with the bloke next to me (I won in the end). There was a weird mother and son combo in front that had
a relationship that Sigmund Freud and Norman Bates would be proud of. Weird.
We arrived in Chile and went straight out on the vino. The time difference was weird. We were 3 hours behind the UK which, considering we were 5 hours behind the UK when we were in Argentina and that’s further East, it just didn’t make sense. But what it did mean was it didn’t get dark till about 10pm so going out on the pop was class. It was dead warm and the hostel we stayed in was ok I suppose. Me and Judith decided that the 3 second rule does not apply when dropping food on the floor in hostels for obvious reasons. We had a nice toby round Santiago which is a really cool city. I have never seen as many people with broken arms in one place in my entire life. What is wrong with this country? Within the period of 24 hours I saw about 20 people with their arms in slings and pots. We visited a few art galleries and museums (yes I’ve changed). Apparently putting a load of old pans in a glass case or putting a pigs
We were really sad to leave South and Central America after travelling (being on holiday) for 5 months. We’ll miss the crazyness, weird smells, dangerous buses, people, food, landscape, culture, well everything. It was great. But we are now extremely excited about heading off on the next stage of our adventure around New Zebraland for the next 10 weeks or whatever.
When we leave this luxury campsite we will probably be heading off to some more remote, basic and subsequently cheaper sites for the remainder of the trip. That means no internet (bugger I’ll have to read my book), outdoor cooking (I’ll do that because it’s more dangerous when you’re outside and you have to drink beer whilst cooking otherwise it upsets the balance of the universe) and having cold showers (but we’re used to that). I am sure we will get to a stage where we will miss the electrocution showers in South America or the Cuban fire shower which I forgot to tell you about last time. When we were in Vinales Judith was having a shower and she said, “can you smell burning?”
I said, “No.” Then I had a shower and said, “can you smell burning?”
Then Judith said, “Yes there’s smoke coming out of the top of the shower head and the shower’s on fire.” We went and got the hostel owner and he said, “yes that’s normal.” Yes but it isn’t is it? Having a shower that is not on fire is normal. Having a shower that is on fire is the most un-normal thing I’ve ever heard of. Good old weird Cuba.
Right it’s half 1 so I’d better go get showered. Actually sod it. I’m going to have some yoghurt pot sock coffee and a kitkat chunky with some marmite on it.
Me and the wife have gone travelling for a year. We're from Yorkshire, England. It’s our mission to travel the world to see if there is anywhere that does better chips and gravy than our local chippy. First stop Argentina, last stop Bangkok and a whole lot of gubbins in between.... full info
With US backing, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903 and promptly signed a treaty with the US allowing for the construction of a canal and US sovereignty over a strip of land on either side of the structure (the Panama Canal Zone). The Panama Canal ...more info