The First Month


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Published: June 21st 2015
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Hello!!

It´s my turn! Shin and I agreed that I would write the fourth blog of our trip to round up what we´ve been up to in the first month to any of my fans, I mean friends and family who aren´t up to date with Shin´s blog. I´ll also bring you up to speed with what we´ve been up to since Shin last wrote, which includes me edging one year closer to my retirement from unemployed life by reaching the grand old age of 26.

I´ll keep things conventional by starting at the beginning, which was many moons ago in the far off land of Argentina, and more specifically the country´s capital city; Buenos Aires. After a tense wait in Rome to see whether we had missed our thirteen hour connecting flight we arrived completely fresh and very awake in the city, where we were unceremoniously dumped on the side of the continent´s busiest avenue by our airport transfer vehicle and left to fend for ourselves as we hunted for our hostel.

We found it eventually and settled ourselves in before deciding that a walking tour of the apparently questionable La Boca neighbourhood would be a good thing to do on our first afternoon. Unfortunately the guides of the tour had other ideas though and were conspicuous by their absence. We didn´t let this stop us from visiting what is supposedly one of Buenos Aires´dodgiest areas though, finding our way there by mistake on three seperate occasions. All of these visits ended with a quick march back out again as fast as we could manage.

We interrupted our stay in Buenos Aires with a visit to Montevideo, effectively travelling to Uruguay´s capital city for an unprecedented amount of meat and an afternoon nap before returning across the Rio de la Plata.

When we got back the ´25 de Mayo´ Labour Day celebrations were in full swing and at one point we found ourselves at the head of what seemed to be a political protest, complete with drums, banners and countless Argentinian flags. The fun continued on the day itself when we attempted to see what was going on in the main plaza, only to spend over an hour battling the crowds to get to the edge of the square, getting stuck, admitting defeat and turning around to go home instead.

As ever with travelling there have been a number of confusing and awkward situations connected to the travelling itself, for us mostly involving the beloved buses which we´ve been using to get around. So far we´ve seen Shin get stuck in a door as we trundled along, a ridiculous last minute mad panic when the departure time of one of our buses passed before the bus had even appeared on the board and my Spanish letting me down slightly when I accidently called a bus driver a pig.

The most extreme bus story is probably when the one we were on in Buenos Aires let on a huge number of raucous Boca Juniors fans. As I looked up and saw a swathe of yellow shirts charging towards the bus and banging on the outside to be let in I assumed that we were under attack. Once the driver allowed them on they proceeded to bang on any available surface, including the outside of the bus as they hung out of it as we moved along, singing and chanting as we went. I later found out that their team had lost 3-0 that day... I look forward to Little Mat and Aled providing the locals of Llanymynech with a similar experience next season.

When we had seen all of Buenos Aires which we wanted to see we headed north to visit the majestic Iguazu Falls. These were a devastating display of nature as the water thundered down over the edge and sent spray billowing back up to where it started. When we returned to the hostel that night our evening meal was comandeered by a friendly Indian man who improved things significantly by adding some flavour to our plain pasta after the blandness of our creation had offended him and he felt obliged to intervene.

Salta was our next stop, where we ate the nicest steak of our lives and came face to face with a 600 year old mummy. As well as this we also taught Fernando, an Argentinian man who worked in our hostel, quite a lot of Welsh for him to try out if he gets any more traellers from Cymru passing through.

We crossed into Bolivia from here and began a three day tour of Salar de Uyuni; the world´s largest salt flat. This tour is the stand out highlight of our trip so far as we visited the salt flat on the first day and then spent the next two taking in a huge number of incredible landscapes and beautiful ´lagunas´.

The tour ended with us crossing into Chile and visiting the small city of San Pedro de Atacama, which can be found, somewhat unsurprisingly, in the Atacama desert. Whilst here we cycled to the bizarre landscape of the Valle de la Luna to watch the sun set. However, we misjudged dramatically how quickly it would get dark. Basically straght away, for those who haven´t worked out where this story is going. This meant a one hour bike ride home. In the dark. Through the desert. In our shorts. With no lights. It was every bit as stupid, ridiculous and fun as it sounds.

The following night we had a more legitimate night time visit to the desert as we did a Stargazing tour. The tour was all over the place as the two guides showed us whatever they fancied in the telescopes, in no particular order, before the crazier of the pair was unleashed on us at the end to give us a demonstration of all of the irrefutable evidence that he has come across that there is life on the moon. We remain slightly dubious.

We travelled to northern Chile for a day in the town of Arica before we crossed back into Bolivia. This involved a change of buses and a wait in a bus station where we had heard that "everybody gets mugged". To avoid the fate of certain muggment we opted instead to sit in an empty Chinese restaurant for two and a half hours, spending thirty pounds on food that we didn´t really enjoy, but remaing unmugged at the same time.

We arrived in the sprawling city of La Paz, high in the Andes last Saturday where one of the first things we did was order a pizza each which required its own stool as they were too large to fit on the table. I wasn´t that much of a fan of La Paz (we get to head back there in a few hours time), as its steepness and high altitude made it seem very inaccessible. However the Sunday market at the top of the city was chaotically impressive and seeing the city from above in the cable cars was undoubtably a very cool way of taking it all in.

The aim at this point was to get somewhere exciting in time for my birthday, which we succeeded in doing when we caught a flight to Rurrenabaque to start a ´pampas´ tour on the day of this wonderous celebration. The tour was very good and we spotted many wildlifes, including an anaconda, pink river dolphins (too quick for my photographic capabilities), monkeys, piranahs and a caiman that lived underneath our accomodation.

Unfortunately Shin got ill during the tour and we missed the final day´s activities and had to spend a few additional days in Rurrenabaque as she recovered from an intestinal infection. After an injection and some antibiotics she is feeling much better, although her mood was darkened when her plan to gorge herself on nice food after two days of nothing but crackers was scuppered by the doctor returning and telling her she had to eat soup. Hangry...

That brings you up to date with some of the happenings of our first month. In conclusion; it´s been good!

The End.

Until next time.

Hope you are well. You in particular!

Speak soon,

Simon

p.s. Scroll to the bottom for a few more pictures. They are hiding!!


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17th August 2015

Yay love these posts, ha ha Sinead you're hilarious! love both your writing styles, so fun! I've finally got my new computer and a touch of time to get on reading about your adventures, so nice to see how your whole trip has been! wishing you two the best, and i hope we cross paths again somewhere down the line! much love Brittany

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