Our next adventure…

Happy Thursday! Not quite Friday, but thankfully not Monday either!

G and I don’t have our next trip until September next year. It’s going to take some meticulous planning, sacrifice and saving, saving, SAVING!

Since we have quite a wait until our next journey, I started an @instagram page, just for my travel photos. It’s been so wonderful to relive some of my travels. 

I’ve been posting about Peru and Argentina and next I will be able to post about Brazil. 

I am hoping that given the number of photos I would like to share, if I pace myself – then maybe it will keep me occupied until our next adventure!

If you have an IG account and want to take a look – my name is @the_novaturient_redhead. I would love to see you over there and follow your pages as well!

Anyways, I’m on my commute to work now. We need to fund our lifestyles somehow, don’t we?

Happy Thursday!

X

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil – February 2014

Day 1 – I couldn’t believe the end of our adventure was here. We arrived to Rio quite early. A cleaner in the airport came up to me to ask me if the food had been ok. I said yes, then she asked why my friend has said it was not ok. I had not idea what she was talking about, she pointed at one of the guys from our tour who was eating. It turns out he had said to her “this is the sh*t!”. It took a little bit of explaining to let her know it was a compliment and really highlighted what a stupid saying it is ha-ha.

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We went to Rio’s old cathedral, visited the historical buildings around the city and then visited the Lapa district and other areas. After the orientation we checked into our hotel and then went out drinking. We were staying in a pretty good area, I think. The hotel we were in was super dingey but we were all together and safe – which is what matters!

Day 2 – Today was the day! The day we finally set our eyes on something we had been dreaming of, the Christ the Redeemer statue on top of the Corcovado. The statue is huge and the view is astronomical – it has soooo many tourists though. To the point where you would be physically pushed so someone else could stand where you were for a picture!

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After Christ the Redeemer we headed to Sugarloaf Mountain for the 1300ft climb up to the summit. Again – the views were amazing, so beautiful and camera really just does not do it justice.

We then had free time so we walked around town and hunted down THE havaianas store, big fans of “havi’s” here in Australia / N.Z and I had lost my beloved golden ones year before when they broke. I think we each left with maybe 6 or 7 pairs? I got x2 pairs for me and the rest were gifts – including a little teeny tiny pair for my newborn Niece :).

We did also find ourselves a beach bar and got our drink on, visited the markets and watched the sunset whilst eating McDonald’s (cheap, near our hotel and easy to order). Some people chose to do the favela tours, but it was not really for me – as Jemma aptly worded it ‘poverty tourism’ – so we used the money the tour would have cost and gave it to our tour guide to pass along to a charity in Rio De Janeiro instead. It might just be me, but taking selfie’s with homeless children for your Facebook profile picture to get likes and then walking off doesn’t make you charitable. It makes you kind of a huge jerk.

Jemma went out to the football and I stayed in and ate an impromptu snack plate and watched movies – I was exhausted and needed some ‘me’ time. Also, in South America – Club Social biscuits – oh my god, amazing. I want some now and it’s been years! That afternoon of reading, texting, looking through my photos and at one point napping – was amazing.

I was missing home, missing fresh food, missing my home and missing speaking English. You never want to sound as though you are not appreciating your holiday but I think there comes a time where you are just exhausted and that’s a really long time to spend with people.

Day 3 – It had arrived! Our last day in Rio – not really knowing what to do. We hung around with our travel buddies, ate Mexican food, drank margaritas, went to the beach again. Found out the biggest guys on our tour had been robbed by a kid with a knife – so, we were a little hesitant about going out that night.

Our amazing tour guide from Peru had arrived at our hotel as she was running the Carnivàle festival. So that was pretty cool that we were able to see her but also being able to experience the vibe and excitement of the upcoming Carnivàle.

Day 4 – This was it! South America was over, it was time to head back to L.A before our holiday was officially over. We were in two-minds about this. Yes, we were ready to be home but no, we weren’t really ready to have our adventure end.

When we headed to the airport to fly back to the States, we were lucky enough to be having similar timed departing flights with a couple of our travel buddies. One by one it was our turn to leave though, so there were quite a few tears!

The flight was HORRENDOUS. We had the back, back row – which as you know – the seats don’t decline. That and a 5″ nothing guy sat in front of me and immediately declined his seat into me. Also, I am not sure I have seen planes as filthy as American Airlines – just grubby, dirty, slimy. Absolutely revolting. At one point I had several pills ready to knock myself out for the 10 hour flight, as I went to take them – we hit turbulence and they all went down the side into the grotty abyss. Not pills.

2014-03-01 21.55.20I was super uncomfortable and incredibly annoyed about old-mate in front of me. I am sorry but you’re teeny tiny, the seat next to you is free – you don’t need your seat ALL the way back. When he jumped up and went to the toilet I moved his seat forward 2 inches and then locked my legs in behind his seat.

He ended up working it out and stood up, turned and looked at me and said something in not-Spanish and not-English, I’m assuming “please let me continue to squash you into oblivion because I’m an ar$ehole”. Anyways, it didn’t happen. I didn’t move. Jemma went between being super sympathetic to being worried we would be detained haha, so I couldn’t go super crazy.

Then…..Miami – the gorgeous Florida coastline at 6am in the morning. Our South American journey, was over. Thank you South America, you were amazing!

x

Iguazu Falls, Argentina & Brazil

21 & 22 February, 2013 – Iguazu Falls – Brazil & Argentina

Ah the tropics, a nice warm heat, light clothes – maybe a splash of suncream and generally enjoyable, right? NO. Not in the middle of February, in Iguassu Falls! I honestly felt like my body had been placed in an oven, surrounded by steam cleaners. I lived in the Northern Territory as a kid, so familiar with humidity, but this was next level heat. Quite frankly, we had no right being there at that time of the year!

 

Our bus was slightly delayed as one of our tour members had decided it wasn’t really necessary to obtain a Brazilian Visa before her trip (like the rest of us had). To be honest it seems like an innocent mistake but it really isn’t when this same person really needed babysitting the entire trip.

We took our little bus from the Argentinian side – back over the border to visit from the Brazilian side. The falls were amazing – absolutely magnificent in their power. Cute birds and lizards – everything was lovely. The 40-odd degrees and 90% humidity was on the other hand, not so great.

I think it’s crazy that waterfalls can span across two different countries, then again I live in Australia – which you know, has ocean all around it – so it is hard for me to appreciate countries can join each other. I think we spent four or five hours there – there was an eatery but again, too hot. What we wanted was booze – but we were flat out of luck so we must have had 2 litres of water each.

We went back to our cute little hotel, the Hotel del Ray, had some room drinks – FaceTimed our loved ones (first WiFi availability in a couple of days!) and headed out for what was, a unique evening at the Rafain Churrascaria Show. It was what I think was meant to be a tropical/cultural dinner and a show. It certainly gave us plenty of laughs!

2014-02-22 13.46.52Day two of the falls was spent from the Argentinian side and I found to be much more enjoyable! We had all of these different bush-walks to do, rode in these open-roofed trucks out to catch our boat ride out to the falls. Which was fantastic! In such heat, the delicious relief of the waterfalls was amazing :). We got totally soaked which was like having a nice cooling jacket on.

Fun facts about these waterfalls are made up of more than 275 falls, with the most scenic one being the Devil’s tThroat, which has 14 separate falls and drops from a heigh of approximately 350 feet. The rainforest has over 2,000 species of plants and there is a rainbow (which I have a picture of above) which is formed by the waterfalls refraction of light against the mist of the thundering waters.

We were absolutely wrecked by the end of the day, with the bush walks and the heat. We did end up going out that night, to a night-club but it was in the middle of the week and I don’t remember too many people being there. I think a month of drinking and partying had definitely caught up to us and I felt like my permanent smell was suncream.

Iguazu Falls were done! It was time to catch our plane and head up to Rio De Janeiro, the final stop on our incredible Contiki Journey!

That night as we were all drinking on the rooftop of our little hotel, I received a text from home to say my little Niece had arrived, with a gorgeous mop of red hair on her head! Celebratory drinks with the entire crew helped to make up for the home-sickness I had.

x

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina – February 18, 2014

 

Oh my goodness – let’s pretend I have not taken three years to continue my adventure stories! Okay – so our time in Peru was wrapping up, I was really sad, we were really sad to leave – it had been such an amazing couple of weeks and Peru was such a gorgeous country.

Our flight from Lima was relatively early and we needed to travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina. As this was part of our Contiki booking – those of us who were travelling beyond Peru were all booked onto the same flight, though our seats were randomly assigned.

 

I was sat in the middle seat of the middle row – with Jemma I think a row behind me and Claire a row across. This tiny little chick sat next to me and I breathed a sigh of relief thinking I would not be squashed or have my personal space invaded.

Wrong. You know those news articles of flying nightmares and feet on seats? WELL –

this chick took off her Birkenstocks and lifted her right leg (I was on her left) up over her knee and played with her foot and toes for 5 hours – her foot was near my face. Also, now I may as well mention I have a bit of a foot issue. It was horrendous. Funny now but then I was absolutely #triggered and so annoyed.

Anyways, when we landed in Buenos Aires – we were met with a much bigger Contiki bus and a new tour-guide. It was sad that we no longer had Monica with us, but we were ready for the new adventure. We had also said goodbye to some really amazing tour-mates so it was bitter-sweet.

When we got to our hotel – we were blown away, considering we had slept in a jungle room without walls and other really budget/basic places – we were not expecting a giant hotel room!

Our first (and quite frankly most important stop) was to find hotel supplies, as in snacks and booze. Especially after our 6-ish hours travel time. We found a shop and then found a booze shop and, well – it took us a while to work out the conversation price but what we did buy cost us $17 Australian dollars, and yes – that is a bottle of vodka included (bad vodka but vodka all the same). We were nearing the end of our holiday so any saved $ was a good thing!

What I do remember about Buenos Aires is that we were completely out of our depths language wise, we had only just gotten a handle of Spanish so we kind of just, gave up – because in Argentina they speak soooo quickly. We ate and drank whatever we could pronounce. We did find a very strange restaurant near the hotel and I think it was meant to be Italian but I cannot be certain.

We did a tour of the city on one of our days – my favourite part was going through the gorgeous cemetery – Le Recoleta. It was absolutely beautiful! The Le Recoleta Cemetery is located in the Recoleta neighbourhood and has graves of Eva Peron, m

any presidents, Noble Prize winners and the granddaughter of Napoleon. It is one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world and it is easy to see why.

We had an absolute blast doing tango lessons and then went to dinner and a tango show. Again, completely out of our depth language wise but had a pretty good time.

The highlight for me in Buenos Aires though was when we went to The Argentine Experience. Hands down, the funnest night for me. Drinking wine, choosing your steak, making empanadas’ and then the delicious dessert. It was like one big dinner party and was relaxing and fun and I think I nearly had an out of body experience when we got to make and eat our alfajor de maicena treats (corn starch biscuit, dulce de leche and grated coconut). Plus red wine and you had three very happy and content Australian girls.

We also got to wear adorable aprons and chef hats and make empanadas’ for each other. Jemma did make hers to look like my head and then stabbed it with a steak knife though…to much red wine, or too much me? 🙂

We only had 2 or 3 nights in Buenos Aires and I don’t seem to have too many pictures, I think after going snap-crazy in Peru I was a bit over carting my camera everywhere. What I do know is the morning we were meant to fly from Buenos Aires up to Brazil (for the border Iguazu Falls), we: A) missed our alarm, B) missed the phone calls from reception to get on the bus and C) missed the bus to the airport.

We woke up in an absolute MAD panic – we had never missed a fight – even that disastrous first night in L.A we still made the flight. We packed like maniacs, called a taxi and prayed we would make our flight (which was leaving in 60 minutes). We also found out one of the other girls had left their passport in their safe, so thankfully we were running late. We got out taxi, absolutely freaking out and then the taxi stalled on the motorway every 40 seconds and the taxi driver was screaming at the car in Spanish. We only just made it and I mean just made it. The girl who had left her passport behind barely even acknowledged us and actually made some sarcastic remark to us about having almost missed the flight (not sure she realised she almost missed it as well?).

Buenos Aires was beautiful, but it was time for the next part of our adventure!

Cusco, Part 2

IMG_5463Cusco, Peru

February 14, 2014

Day 1

This morning there was a small group of us up early ready to head off for our horse riding! I had ridden a horse once when I was 14 and I’m pretty sure I enjoyed it. There was about 8-10 of us and we were packed up and driven up the mountain. Soon enough we were taken to our horses and there was the prettiest ginger horse with a latte coloured mane and I HAD to have her. Saddled up, we took off and my horse decided she was basically the best and HAD to be at the front.

IMG_5446No amount of direction would calm her. Then after ten minutes of trying not to panic (Jemma told me it makes it worse then, the whole they “can smell your fear” nonsence. Which, by the way, in no way could possibly make people fell less terrified. The tour guide came up and told me that this horse was known to be kind of a huge bitch and I promptly and not at all glamorously slid off the horse to safety. They found me a slower horse (in gait and in intelligence) for the  remainder of the morning. To be honest, horse riding is not that bad. It is slow, you’re in nature, horses are quite pretty (if you’re into that kind of thing) and it was nice to be out of the hustle bustle, continuous car honking city centre. We were out and a bit for a few hours with the horses, poor Karen had a biting horse, sneaky shit would get really close to other horses and then bite them on the arse. It caused some problems. Albeit, hilarious problems. Poor Karen copped the flack which in retrospect was poor form on the rest of us.IMG_5460IMG_5468

It was a few hours in when my horse all of a sudden developed this amazing sassy attitude, overtaking other horses, strutting around etc. When we were done and we jumped off the horses, mine kind of took off. I think forever. It just ran across the road and completely ran away. Sorry buddy – I am not sure what I did but I am completely to blame for that!

After our horse riding, we had bike riding! Almost the entire group was ready to go mountain biking down the mountain and through Cusco. I am not entirely sure why it took over an hour to get people ready to go, but it was annoying as hell (I know, tourist gripe #4546) and our American buddy was flying out that afternoon so he eventually had to bail and head off, we were losing family members at a rapid pace and it sucked. Our Peru family was amazing, it was small but it was amazing. The mountain biking eventually started and it was amazing, we had been told that it was completely down hill and some of us were still pretty sick and we were still at altitude and I was still breathing like some emphysema stuck-in-space Gravity extra.

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These were stuffed peppers. Stuffed PEPPERS. Dear Lord.

We did have to go uphill at one point. I am not entirely sure what happened but the breathing difficulty and then the altitude and the going up hill on a bike somehow, I found myself freaking out. I couldn’t breathe. At all, as in could not get air into my lungs and I knew that if I calmed down it would get better but I couldn’t. Which escalated into a full on panic attack. The worse one I have ever had. It was absolutely terrifying. One minute I was walking up the hill laughing and smiling and then it changed. Jemma saw me from probably 20m away and she knew what was up (you’re the best Jem xx), she acted pretty quickly, rallied the troops. I dropped the bike and dropped to the ground. Jemma was in front of me telling me to breathe, Monica was behind me and Hannah, oh Hannah, my lifesaver!!

IMG_5472Hannah was a paramedic and she was QUICK! The breaths weren’t coming, I was crying, I felt like I was choking and I was in the middle of a panic attack. Hannah had me answering questions which were kind of working. Then she asked me my Mum’s name, which I responded to but then (and this was almost like slow motion), she asked me my Dad’s name, Jemma’s face dropped, she did the “no – not this q”) face – cue brand new anxiety attack and tears! After a simple 1-10 counting exercise, it was all well and good.

IMG_5474We finished our bike ride, we ended up finishing the ride in pouring, I mean POURING rain and it was the most fun any of us had had in over a week. It was amazing, we did accidentally forget Claire – that part was terrible. When we all made it to the end we were high-fiving and cheering and basically acting like an American football team which has won some college football thing (we road bikes in the rain, look-out!). We took our group photos (wish I had one!). As we started to pack up, poor drenched Claire appeared. Oh my god, the feeling of group-guilt was palpable – so we took more group photos, but it felt wrong, it felt dirty and cheap haha. Sorry Claire!!!

We got back, five of us decided that irish car-bombs were in order (where CAN’T you find an Irish pub I ask you? Not Cusco!) and then off for our last Cusco dinner!