Tag Archives: backpacking

The Amazon for Western Idiots

Ask yourself: What should I see in South America? If you are a normal person who is home to a normal brain, the first words to pass through your lips should be ‘The Amazon’.

We’ve been in South America 10 months. We’ve seen plenty of stuff – enough, it seems, to think it deserved its own URL. But somehow, somehow, we haven’t managed to check out the Amazon.

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A Miner Detour to Potosi

I like small dark spaces. Sometimes I get told I look like a hot mole so I suppose I’m just playing to script. When I was a kid I used to crawl head first down the end of a sleeping bag and try to do a tumble turn at the end to get back out. Kids are idiots, I was no exception. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU REFUSE TO BUY A NINTENDO MUM.

This did however put me in good stead when we arrived in the Bolivian city of Potosi, a town of about 130,000 that is where it is because there’s a big-arse hill next-door. This big-arse hill is choc full of silver and zinc, which have what economists call ‘value’. People dig the stuff out of the hill in order to make money, and these people are referred to as ‘hill-diggy-sorts’ or ‘miners’.

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The Plentiful Pluses of Overnight Buses

Overnight buses are a way of life for the South American backpacker. Not only do you spend bugger-all money getting to a place, you also save cash on a night’s accommodation.

That may sound like the most tight-arse thing in the world, but it’s moments like this where you have to remember that the bloke who owns Jim’s Mowing asks for a doggy bag for soup and still buys toilet paper and glad wrap in pallet-sized catering packs to save 2c per metre. I saw it on Today Tonight so you know it’s a watertight fact. He seems like the sort of bloke who you’d run into at a party and immediately regret running into at a party.

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Family Reunion – Fish’s Brother Joins Us!

Today is the first day I’ve been alone in 8 months. Eight months. And perhaps it’s not a great idea because I ate a chocolate brownie for lunch and have drunk so much coffee that I’m bouncing off the walls like a pinball.

So why have I been left unsupervised? Well, Fish’s brother, Peckers, has been hanging out with us for the last couple of weeks and Fish has just popped out for a couple of days to escort him to his next destination (Uyuni, Bolivia). I was so damn over long-haul bus trips that I politely declined joining them and opted to stay in the quaint northern Argentinian town of Salta instead.

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The Shit Hiker’s Guide To The W Trek

Patagonia. It’s a word that firms the groins of any outdoor adventurers that hear it. Endless wilderness that is just waiting to be penetrated.

The hiking hub of Patagonia is the majestic and terrifyingly named Torres del Paine [pie-neh] National Park. With the literal translation being Towers of Paine, we were expecting a far bigger metal band presence, but maybe those types just look different in North Face gear.

I love walking. I walk from my car to the supermarket. I walk from my car to the beach. I sometimes walk from my car to friends’ houses. Can’t get enough. So when we heard about the W Trek, a trek so majestic they named it after a letter of the ALPHABET, I was one keen bean.

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Oh My God I Can’t Believe It – Winning the MamaMia Women’s Network Writing Competition

If you’ve had a conversation with me you’ve more likely than not heard me say ‘I read this article on Mama Mia…’. It’s got to the point that if I start a sentence with ‘I was reading an article…’, some of my friends will finish it with ‘on Mama Mia?’. The answer is always ‘yes’.  MamaMia is my go-to website for news, current affairs, The Bachelor recaps, everything. If you’re not familiar with it, do yourself a favour.

When they announced that they were holding a writing competition there was no way I wasn’t going to enter it. The prize included $1000, lots of books, and the opportunity to be mentored by Mama Mia’s senior editorial staff. $1000 goes a long way when you’re unemployed and trying to explore another continent, but it was mostly the chance to connect with the MM team that got me super excited. It kinda felt like Willy Wonka and his chocolate factory announcing that they’d open to the public.

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These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things – Colombia (again)

For the last two weeks, we were back in Colombia. We didn’t do anything particularly special, or see anything particularly special, but it was a bloody great two weeks because we just friggin’ love Colombia.

We started our South American travels in Cartagena, on Colombia’s north coast. At that point we spoke bugger-all Spanish and didn’t have any other South American country to measure it against. Having spent the last 4 months in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, we are confidently calling it – Colombia is our favourite.

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Highly Evolved – The Galapagos Islands

From Fish’s posts about our time in Ecuador I’m sure you can imagine how pissed off I became over the last month. From Mike’s Palace Of Misery (Fish didn’t mention my least favourite thing about Mike: he’s a raging misogynist who believes that women shouldn’t use shovels because it’ll cause irreparable damage to their ovaries) to generally getting the sense that Ecuador is going to hell in a hand basket (there’s not one person we’ve met in the last month who hasn’t either been robbed or been in a hostel that’s been robbed), I was ready to tell Ecuador to go fist itself and then run away in tears.

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Ecuador: The Good, The Bad, The Even Worse

I was super pumped to get to Ecuador. Jumping out of my little Fishy skin. There was something about the joint that just spoke to me. I’d obviously never been there, and in reality, I knew bugger all about it. It just seemed cool, you know?

It straddles the equator. That’s cool. It has some super fine beaches. Mint. It’s cheap, but still uses the American dollar, so there’s none of this ‘Oh, 2 000 000 Souvlakian chestnuts for this bust of Michael Bolton yep that sounds fine’ business. Rad as heck. It just seemed like a sound choice in ideal destination.

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We Need To Talk About Mike

Siz and I have spent the last few weeks volunteering in exchange for a free stay in the little town of Puerto Cayo, Ecuador, which is home to a sliver of beach that is piled high with aging American pensioners who thought that spending $13,000 on a beachfront property was worth leaving behind everything you know. And all power to them.

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