Russell and Jane

Russ and Jane

Russell and Jane

I'm easily distracted, frequent maker of mistakes and avid trouble getter intoer. Luckily Jane's along for the ride to keep an eye on me.

Two recently married 30ishers making the most of the world while we can.

Central America Caribbean » Belize February 2nd 2013

Sooo...... 7:00am we left Flores and headed for the boarder of Belize. We had changed our plans and were entering Belize early as well as heading direct to Belize City and cutting out San Ignacio, an inland town at the top of the country. Neither of us particularly felt great about the prospect of Belize City so after a very spontaneous decision didn't get back on the bus once we crossed the border into Belize. Having somewhat discussed the options with the locals we chose Placencia, a seaside village in southern Belize. We took a taxi to Belmopan, a town nearby where we were told that we could take a bus to Placencia... which wasn't completely untrue we just thought it might have been direct. In total the day involved 3 buses, a taxi and a ... read more
boa constrictor, Belize Zoo
Bus sign
Cave tubing in Belize

For those of you who follow our trips you may remember that we visited an orphanage in Agra, India last year making a donation of clothes and toys that we had carried from New Zealand with us. The premise of this was twofold. Firstly we feel that we take so much from a country by way of experience that we are compelled to give something back. Secondly the level of poverty that we generally see is hard and most people would want to help, if only out of compassion. The problem is how? We are commonly confronted by beggars however everywhere we read advises against giving money as you don't know where the money goes and probably more importantly it is unsustainable. Proof of this was in India. We were commonly propositioned by children who asked ... read more

After a 4-5 hour bus ride, we arrived in Flores (Flore-ess). Well just outside of Flores which is an island connected to the mainland by a 600m causeway. The mob of taxi drivers awaiting our custom informed us it was a 3km walk to the island, they seemed surprised when we said we would walk, it turned out to be about 1.5km. We ended up in a small but clean hotel room, at $60 US, one of our more expensive rooms, but the hotel had a pool which was a bonus. Flores is the gateway to the Mayan archeological site, Tikal. An early morning start the next day and we were on our way out. The archeological site is impressive, it is set in lush deep rainforest, populated by wild animals; we saw deer, monkey, a ... read more
Cuba Libres
Muscle People!

So.... we left Antigua. Next planned stop was Flores or Tikal - undecided. Our options were bus to Guat city and fly which we determined was too expensive or take an overnight bus (dom dom dom). Depsite our last experience not being too bad we looked for an alternative and found a small place where we could stop over for the night and spread the bus trip across two days. So we booked our bus ticket with a local travel agent. When we were handed the ticket which only took us to Guat city. I questioned where the additional ticket was that would take us to Rio Dulce to which we were advised the first bus driver would issue a new ticket - the first bus driver was good for it however his definition of covering ... read more

For our first day in Antigua we took ourselves on a Lonley Planet walking tour, Antigua is a beautiful city, apty called Guatemala´s ´show piece.´ There is street after street of colourful character buildings, churches, convents etc. The people are incredibly friendly and helpful. In Guatemala, if you enter a restaurant or board a public bus, it is polite to greet everyone with a ´buenos dias or tardes´depending on the time of day, and people do! They must find foreigners quite unfriendly. One of the activites we wanted to do in Antigua was climb a volcano. We opted for a tour as the warn against tourists trekking up volcanos alone (mainly due to opportunists). Turned out our tour was just us and after being driven to the volcano, we were met by our guide ´Carlos.´He was ... read more

Coffee represents 25% of Gatemala´s exports and one in four Guatemalians work on coffee plantations during harvesting. Given the significance of coffee to the nation we couldn´t help but visit a coffee plantation. Whilst we went into this more with the mind of something to do it was one of the most incredible learning experiences of the trip - despite the fact that neither of us drink coffee. So to all you coffee drinkers.... here is where you coffee comes from. Internationally there are five types of coffee plants (Dont ask us what they are). As coffee is not native to Guatemala they imported the plants originally for the purpose of decoration as they are very beuatiful. Coffee plants however did not initially survive as the conditions and some of the local pests in Guatemala were ... read more

We departed Palenque at the very civilised hour of 9am, embarking on a 5 hour bus trip to reach our next destination, San Christobal de las Cases. The scenary on the way was incredible, we were high up in the mountains so it was foggy with lush forest and small villages and settlements dotted around. Lots of animals too and Mexican cowboys! It looked pretty cold outside and our arrival in San Christobal confirmed this. We are told this was an unseasonable cold snap but it was colder than we liked - we even stopped and purchased hats and scarves from a street stall. We imagine they made a killing as they refused to negotiate price - why would they... buy it or go cold. Hmmm ... tough decision. The cold snap disapeared the next day ... read more

North America » Mexico » Chiapas » Palenque January 17th 2013

Weve made it out of Cancun for good this time. Currently it is raining. Like raining raining. Constantly. It started in the night and has been going all day so far thus we have resorted to being stuck indoors. We had plans to go for a horse ride today in the hills but thats been swamped. (Written after the fact: In total it rained for about 18 hours and went into the second night. The temparature dropped immensely taking us from mid 20s down to putting on pants and a jumper) Whilst on Holbox we made a list of all the items Jane needed in order to carry on. On recommendation from the staff at our resort we went back to Cancun on the basis that this would be the best place to obtain these items. ... read more

North America » Mexico » Quintana Roo » Isla Holbox January 12th 2013

So here we go.... I think this is day six so some of you might have wondered if we fell off the edge of the earth. Just a warning this will start with a rant.... so procede with caution and feel free to skip the first part.Also note that we dont have bad grammar its just that you cant do apostrophes on spanish key boards. Just in case you ever use a Spanish keyboard also note that @ is CTRL, ALT and Q. That should save you 30 minutes trying to figure it out. To get here we needed 4 flights which we meant to take around 32 hours with stopovers. We have never flown Air NZ internationally and we did through to SYD - which was amazing. But thats where the amazing stops. The rest ... read more

Asia » India » Maharashtra » Mumbai » Aksa Beach January 3rd 2012

So the days are numbered now..... We've just arrived in Mumbai and it was probably one of the worst experiences of the trip. We planned to take an overnight train but couldn't get a ticket for the date/times we wanted. So we opted for an overnight sleeper bus which took a little longer and suited our plans. The website advertised the bus as brand new. This could probably have been the first warning sign..... and you could also say this is where we had the first difference of opinion. In fairness the bus wasn't new but it was reasonably modern - just not all that clean and maybe a little warworn. I think everything needs to be easy to clean. All of the cushions were this vinly, the curtains were brown (presumably not to show the ... read more

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