Exactly one year ago today, we arrived in Buenos Aires and celebrated day one of a long adventure with our first Latin American beer (Quilmes) in our San Telmo apartment. During the last twelve months we have seen and done some pretty amazing things (and drank a fair few more beers along the way).
We have also inevitably missed out on some exciting stuff at home including the birth of a friend’s son (and are set to miss another bub’s arrival in October) and two weddings. Luckily we have Facebook to keep up with how cute Ollie is getting (very), how many Sunday sessions at Melbourne pubs we are missing (many), how our friends scrub up when they slap on some fancy clothes (damn! we have good looking friends) and life in general back home.
So. How to condense 366 days of new experiences, different cultures and exotic places…
Number of countries visited: 10
Total distance travelled: somewhere around the 12,000km mark
H: Isla del Sol (Lake Titicaca, Bolivia), Semuc Champey (Guatemala), La Guajira Peninsula (Colombia), Magdelena/Bellavista (Bolivia)
M: Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia), southern Colombia (San Agustin & Popayan), Colombia’s Caribbean Coast, Semuc Champey
Best dish/ drink:
H: Ceviche in Arequipa’s market; lulada(amazing smoothie from the famous lulo fruit) at the vegetarian restaurant in San Antonio, Cali; bbq prawns in Palomino; tapado (Garifuna seafood stew) in Livingston, Guatemala.
M: Empanadas in Argentina; ceviche in Peru; fried cheese empanadas in Trinidad, Bolivia.
Number of bottles of rum tasted: 34 different varieties (actual number of total bottles consumed unknown).
Best rum: Flor de Cana (in all its various incarnations), Isla N (Tucuman, Argentina), Abuelo (Panama), Botero (Colombia)
Most colourful character: Hmmm, would it be the former Department of Defense employee who was stabbed at the US embassy in Lebanon; who went on to play in a rock band that supported Guns n Roses, who had a penchant for girls less than half his age, and whose resemblance to the original P.I earned him the nickname Magnum??
Or maybe the Northern Californian pro-gun freak who claimed to have been in a Mexican drug gang and gave us a business card which described himself as ‘world traveler extraordinaire and entrepreneur’?
Even with that kind of stiff competition I think the prize would still have to go to our illustrious captain on the boat from Colombia to Panama, Michel, whose theories on the origin of oil (Venus) and various other out-there conspiracy theories earn him the blue ribbon in this event.
Best beer: Club Colombia or Tona from the ‘regular’ beers; Patagonia (Argentina) and Sierra Andina (Huaraz, Peru) from the boutique selection
Worst hangover: waking up at 4200m in Potosi after beer, wine & rum were combined to produce not only the worst hangover of the past year, but potentially the last ten years. Lesson: high altitudes and drinking don’t mix.
Best fiesta: Andean New Year in Potosi, Magdelena’s annual fiesta in Bolivia, five days continuous party on board the Yacht Independence
|Getting loose on the high seas|
Definitive music tracks: Perra by Los Palmeras (played on repeat throughout Bolivia for the entire three month duration of our stay); Bad Boys by Inner Circle (heard from the Caribbean coast of Colombia to the lowland tropics of Guatemala and everywhere in between); Cali Pachanguero (salsa fave of Cali’s feria and one of our favourite tunes to practice to); I’m sexy and I know it (if I ever hear this song again it will be too soon); The Whistle Song (extra points for mind-invading quality of the whistle bit).