For us, Patagonia started from above, in the plane. It was almost empty and we had secured a window seat. Huge mountains, rivers of ice, snow, clear blue lakes… The wind was very strong and the ride was rough. We flew above the Pacific Ocean as the pilot was trying to land and we dropped dangerously low. I kept my eyes open, half amazed and half scared. We made it.
Monthly Archives: January, 2009
We took the bus from the airport, still half sleepy. I felt like I was in Europe: cobblestone alleys, streets names like “Paris” and “London”, newspapers and cigarettes kiosks, parks, fountains, kids playing around… An overall relaxed atmosphere, which made the city very welcoming.
Travelling is always an adventure. Whether you are across the world or just across town, there are little anecdotes to be told. Let’s share them!
I’d like to ask a few travellers to tell me their best anecdotes on the road or abroad.
After La Paz and the Bolivian highlands, Arica, our first stop in Chile, was quite a shock. Imagine a city, actually more like an oasis, bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the desert. Imagine, 30C all year round. Imagine quiet streets, cars that actually stop at red lights and a supermarket. We were in shock, after Bolivia.
We got up at 4:45 am, cold and tired, having slept barely a few hours. We packed in the dark. I brushed my teeth quickly and decided to skip washing my face with some expensive French product, for once. The water was freezing and of course, no hot water.
We got to the bus station sleepy and cranky. Once the “use of bus terminal” fee paid, we had just enough bolivianos for a bottle of water. We boarded the bus, still dark outside, leaving La Paz behind us. Crossing the Andes, again, to Chile.
I’m cold, I’m tired, my clothes are dirty and I can barely breathe. One of these days I guess.
Soon enough, our bus was blocked by a demonstration. A common occurrence in Evo Morales´country apparently. We stayed stuck for a good hour before the driver finally gave up, parked the bus and let us go. Feng and I took a few minutes to read the map and figure out where we were (hint: in a dodgy neighbourhood).
The scenery was beautiful. The huge lake, 3,800 meters above sea level. The clouds, so low, us, so high that we feel we can touch the sky. The burning hot sun during the day and the chilly nights. The local dish, trouts, huge fishes cooked with lemon and tomatoes.
Our bus stopped in the middle of nowhere (literally) and we had a chance to take pictures of the lamas and the alpacas, as well as flamingos. We could barely breathe: at 3,000 meters, oxygen is scarce. Just walking a few meters is hard (smoking not, funny enough – yes, I know).
We drove away at sunset, observing Lima´s suburb, mostly slums built on sand hills. What a strange city, caught between the desert and the sea. We followed the Panamericana Sur, along the Pacific Ocean, passing through Pisco and Nazca, a vast coastal desert, arid lowlands and sand dunes.
We enjoyed Lima these last few days. We walked around the historical center and went to Miraflores, the newer (and posher) suburb. The beaches are not that nice (nothing compared to Costa Rica) but it was fun. Southern hemisphere… here we are!
Observing people in Central America is really interesting. First of all, there is a true melting pot of cultures: Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, indigenous people such as the Kuna in Panamá…
We went to Panamá (in Panamá City, David and Boquete) and then to Costa Rica (in Quepos, Playa Coco, Playa Tamarindo, Liberia, Monteverde and San Jose). We tried to cross to Nicaragua but could not make it.
There is no way we are coming back to Canada now. So we bought a plane ticket to… Perú. We will arrive in Lima, and travel in South America for quite a while.
We were in Monteverde, in the Costa Rican mountains, where this is a popular activity. Basically, we were attached to a steel cable with a harness, attached itself to a removable trolley. Plus the cute helmet, of course. We were taken deep into the rainforest and left on the first platform, on top of a tree. There, we were taught to use thick leather glove (to brake) and… that was it!