New Year in Paraty, Brazil

January 1, 2007

I arrived in Paraty, a popular colonial resort town about 3 hours south of Rio on the coast after a 24 hour bus ride. The journey really sucked but it was the only way to get here in time to see in the New Year. Just as I was dropped off the skies opened to the most torrential rain I ever seen, it was like relentless tropical storms and the streets were waterlogged. But it didn´t stop the Brazilians going crazy for New Year, clearly indicative of their love to party hard on special ocasions and I was well up for joining in the revelries. Thankfully I´d met a superb Dutch guy in the Casa Rio Hostel, a bit of a cramped shithole but it was the only bed available in the town. He invited me to join him, his friend who was dating a Brazilian chap and the Brazilian´s family. This seemed peculiar but apparently normal for a Brazilian family that they should all come along for the couple´s weekend away, (and consequently not much nookie going on as she later told me!). We started the evening with a load of beers in the hostel garden, despite being a dump it has a great view of the river, and then trooped down to the beach at about 11 p.m along with crowds of happy, exuberant, Brazilians nearly everyone wearing completely white clothing which looked incredible despite the relentless rain and now mud under foot, the white is apparently Brazilians way of expressing peace for the year ahead.  On Paraty beach the scene was a frenzy of people dancing, hugging and party mayhem,  we pushed to the front of the main stage and danced along to a kind of Brazilian snoop doggy dog lookalike and the crowd went berserk. A frenzy of embracing kicked in at midnight when the firework display let rip over the main beach and marked the official New Year, an incredible and stunning sight. I was contemplating how lucky and bizarre it was that I was here dancing on Paraty beach with these Dutch and Brazilian people, it was a really joyful ocasion. But it didn´t end there, Martin and I said our goodbyes to the Brazilian family and we continued on the lagers and spirits high fiving all the passing folk and we staggered off to an Electronic rave on the next beach which was completely bananas but great fun; alot of lashed up people trying to rave badly.  A storming New year and fantastic memories, I wonder how 2007 will unfold…


Iguazu Falls

December 30, 2006

Having a great time at Iguazu falls, the falls are incredible

I have been on the pop tonight with a chap from Google.. lots of laughs 

Off to Parati tomorrow, Dad I am still alive 

Peninsula Valdes

December 24, 2006

This arid bleak Peninsula, shaped by two enormous bays is a complete wildlife frenzy, there are animals everywhere. Today I am on the one day Whale-watching tour having arrived in Puerto Madryn last night. Puerto Madryn is a cool Patagonian coastal town renouned for being founded by Welsh settlers in 1886, it has a really superb vibe and it´s hopping with Xmas activity and excitement.

Today I´ve seen Sea Lions, elephants seals, wild llamas, some local rabid rodent the size of a dog, grey foxes, hares, Penguins, armadillos (my favourites) and most unusual of all..Whales. Thats because the whale watching season is over, finished in early Dec, but there´s a couple of randy males still looking to get some late action on Xmas Eve, reminds me of The Plough Pub, Cobham at midnight and luckily I was there to see them. They were amazing to see close up, we took a speed boat right into the bay and the three Whales encircled the boat checking us out for over 30 minutes, the captain was ecstatic having warned us it was very unlikely we´d  see anything.  We continued onto Peuto Delgada to view a large elephant seal colony visibile from the high beach cliffs, the seals just lolled around on the beach unconcerned and seemingly hungover. It wasn´t until a major scrap broke out when a young upstart tried to cruise the Daddy Elephants Seal´s lady, pandemonium broke out and all his pals gave the young fella a bit of shooing..all right infront of the tourists..priceless.

Overall an unforgettable trip and one I would thoroughly recommend. Now I´m off to hit some ales tonight and celebrate Xmas, Best wishes from Patagonia.

OAP bus trip to Chile

December 15, 2006

I´ve ended up in Chile on some OAP, Silver surfer bus tour of the mountains, think I must of signed up to the wrong trip but I´m having a laugh none the less. There´s a real mixed bag of odd balls on this bus, a kind of Adams family for OAP´s, I must be the youngest on board by 20 years. The weirdest fella on the trip is an exact Pinochet lookalike who was supposed to have popped his cloggs on Tuesday…maybe he missed his funeral and took the wrong bus. The Argentinian tour guide is really barking..he keeps telling any English person who will listen that he is the grandson of Dorris Grey from you know her? Um no actually.

Anyway, its the first stage of my Patagonia tour. Great fun so far and lanscape is just incredible. More to come.

Reading: The wind-up Bird,  Hirushi Murakami, great so far

Listening on my Ipod, The Best of Burt Bacharach, just the right vibe

The women are beautiful in Buenos Aires.  There are striking, statuesque, uber- babes gliding around the streets with poise and confidence all over the place. The great news for any pasty white male from London is that they are everywhere, hip babes hanging around, smiling and doing their stuff. The bad news is that the fellas, known locally as the Portenos, are sharp operators. The Portenos are described as being hot headed, opinionated and emotional. Buenos Aires is a place where a Portenos losing his rag and throwing the kitchen sink out of the window for..well stepping on an ant… will get serious lady points and loads of bedroom action. Not only that, the local Portenos hold the major ace card with the ladddiiiiess, they are are simply awsome at Tango. Apparently, Tango originated from a 1900´s dance by pairs of men waiting for their favourite prostitutes. I decided to observe the Portenos-Tango- smooze kings in action at a local San Thelmo bar; a small  dark intimate Tango venue called Bar Sur, renowned for encouraging participation from outsiders.  As I glugged down a couple of jugs of pop to loosen up the nerves, I watched the slick Portenos smoozing the local beauties on the floor in their full DJ attire, the tourists clapped in appreciation. These fellas are a troupr of refined souls; tight trousers ( and no doubt a couple of coconuts strapped to his undercrackers!) pointed leather shoes and clipped small talk give them the air of being bloody brilliant at Tango and the females love it. Now it was my turn, the female hostess clapped her hands smiled and asked me Vamos A bailar, Shall we dance? I calmly excepted the invitation as the slick male tango boys stepped back and I stepped up to the centre stage with the main female tango babe. The simple yet fiendishly complicated key to tango is not to volunteer in the first place….it is a shortcut to a tourist buffoonery award. To everyone watching me, I didn´t possess the slick Tango gravitas of my BA couterparts, years of Pogo dancing and Jacko impersonations at weddings had left me with two left feet! Within minutes the slick Portenous stepped back onto the dancefloor and rescued the lady from my hapless buffoonery, .I returned to my seat as a feeling of Tango defeat crept over me but I had shown the local Portenos one thing; How to look good being bad at Tango.

Smooze language tips for impressing B.A Ladddiiiiies

Would you like a drink?    Quieros una Copa?                     

Do you mind if I sit here?  Te importa si me siento aqui

Shall we get some fresh air? Vamos aTomar el Fresco  

Do you have a boyfriend? Tieno Novo                             

Can I take you home?     Peudo llevarta a casa

What she is probably saying back to you (translated)

I´d rather not old bean    mejor que no                     

I´m here with my boyfriend Estay acqui con mi novio   

No sorry, I´ve got better things to do Losiento pero  tengo  otras  cosa mas                                                     

Stop hassling me por favour dejae de molestarme

Excuse me I need to go now! Lo sinta pero tengo que irme

Buenos Aires, City of light

December 11, 2006

I arrived in Buenos Aires safely in the early hours, mega excited, didn´t really sleep at all through the flight and somehow got the arrival times wrong, its Monday morning instead of Sunday night, o well. The city is pleasantly European in style, it feels a little like driving through the back streets of Barcelona. I checked into my guest house in down town San Thelmo, a kind of semi smart, funky part of the city and had a look around. Its a really exciting vibrant city just to wander around on foot, downtown is busy and its the most amazing bright blue sky and beautifully warm. I spent the afternoon chilling out on the roof top pool of the Crowne Plaza Pan Americano Hotel, a kind of Uber relaxation zone for city hi rollers except or course I´m just paying to use the pool and enjoying the incredible panoramic views from the 23th floor. The question is how do I make this trip the holiday of a lifetime.

Argentina Bound

December 8, 2006

I’m off to Argentina and Brazil  on Sunday for some well earned rest and adventure. As usual I’ve organised nothing except a sketchy route and 3 nights in a Low Budget guest house in downtown B.A. I did of course check the current odds of a Tsunami hitting Argentina and Brazil at the time I am there which is curently about 3 billion to one so I’m not taking any chances this time. I’ve bought all kinds of quick disaster strategies should that fucker of a wave follow me all the way to South America.

I will be updating my blog over the four weeks and  please feel free to leave any useful travel tips or suggestions below. Have a good one.