Thursday, November 19, 2009

A few picture from South America

Alright, I'm in San Francisco trying to get used to not traveling anymore. I'm trying to organize the 5000 pictures I took on my trip, so here are a few from South America. The order is a bit mixed up, oh well.

Llamas at the crater lake in Ecuador.
At the top of the crater with my Dad.
Hanging out in the colorful Valparaiso in Chile.
Hiking around Peru.
Birds, sea lions, and penguins in Peru.
Trying to blend in at the monastery in Arequipa.

Dressed like locals on an island in Lake Titicaca .
Crazy island made out of reeds!
Caimans in the jungle in Peru.

Machu Pichu! After four days of hiking we made it!
Along the hike to Machu Pichu

Friday, November 6, 2009

Around the world in 298 days

I can´t quite believe it, but its been ten months already. I fly back to the US tomorrow morning. Once I get back I´ll probably write a bit recapping some of the best parts of the trip, but for now I should talk about Ecuador. Its been a pretty quick trip around Ecuador with my Dad, but its a great place. I sort of expected it to be very similar to Peru, and it is in some ways but its also seems pretty different. The food has been great for one thing, lots of fired bananas, beans and rice, fruit smoothies and humitas which are like tamales. We stated off in Quito and walked up lots of hill to get great views of the city. We also climbed up the basilica towers on these pretty crazy rickety latters which was fun. The city is divided up into Old Town and New town and we spend out days in Old town seeing the sights and headed to New town at night for the fun new restaurants. There was even a mongolian bbq with tofu! I was pretty excited. On Friday night we went to Otavalo so we could go to the huge Saturday market where I bought so much stuff I had to get rid of some of my clothes to fit it into my bag, haha, but thats ok because after 10 months my clothes are not in good shape anyways. Otavalo was a really nice town also, much smaller then Quito and therefor a bit easier to walk around. The only bad thing was that for some reason I took my malaria medication before breakfast, which made me feel terrible for half the morning. Thats one good thing about coming home, no more malaria to worry about!

After coming back to Quito for the night, Halloween actually, we headed west toward the mountains to spend a few days at the Santa Lucia Lodge. This was a really cool place. First of all to get there you had to hike up a mountain for over an hour, the lodge was right on top with great views. Its and Eco lodge so they had solar power and composting toilets, which is pretty cool. While there we did three cool hikes moslty looking at birds, but also seeing how they make sugar from sugar cane and hiking to a nice water fall. One morning we got up at 4am and hiked to see the Cock on the Rocks do their crazy mating dance at 6am. It was the craziest thing I´ve ever seen a bird do. All the males get together each morning and make tons of noise and jump around and dive off trees. Plus they look really crazy with huge red heads and black and white bodies. That night was the Day of the Dead which they celebrate more then Halloween here. Its mostly a family thing, but it was cool to be at the lodge because they made (and we helped) all the traditional food. They make baby dolls out of bread and food coloring and this crazy corn and fruit soup which was really tasty. If we had had more time I think we would have liked to stay at the lodge longer, but we had to leave after just two days so we would have time to go to Latacunga which is next to the Cotopaxi Volcano. Latacunga is just a small town, not too exciting but there are volcanos all around it which is cool. Cotopaxi is the biggest but we decided that we didn´t want to hike up that one, instead we went to Quilatoa which is another one with a creator lake inside. It was really cool, we hiked down to the lake and then around it a bit and back up again. The hike up was really hard, but totally worth it for the views of the lake. After the hike the next day we didn´t really want to hike any more so we spent most of the day wandering around the city and I got a hair cut, haha, it had been months. Now we are back in Quito for our flights early early tomorrow!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Last stop!

Tomorrow I fly to Ecuador, my last country on my trip (country number 25!). Even thought I didn´t get to see all that much of Chile, I have really enjoyed it. We stayed in Valparaiso for a few days and it was great. Its such a fun and colorful place, even thought there isn´t that much to do it was great just walking around the town. Eric had to catch a flight back home so we both went back to Santiago, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite big cities. After Eric left I met up with Emanuel who is my sister´s friend´s boyfriend, haha silly I know, but it was tons of fun. He invited me to dinner at his house with his family then out to a party that lasted until 5am! Thats how they do it here in Chile. I then headed up north to a beach town of La Serena, which was very pretty. I think I might have picked up some bedbugs there tho, which made me like it a bit less. Either that or crazy looking mosquito bites. Anyways after that I headed back to Santiago where I´ve been doing lots of fun stuff over the last few days. I went to some good museums and went with Emanuel and another girl from the hostel to a futbol game. The game was quite exciting, and we won which was great. The fans sing and do cheers the entire time, everyone gets really into it, its great. I´m a bit sad to be leaving tomorrow, because I feel like there is so much to do in Santiago, but I´m also super excited to meet up with my Dad in Quito! We have all kinds of plans so it should be great fun. I´m going to attempt to put of some photos in a bit here because I know I´ve been terrible at that lately.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mas Peru y Chile tambien

We tried to see the Colca Canyon, but we didn´t really get far enough in to it, though we ended up doing a very nice hike. We stayed right at the beginning of the canyon, where it was mostly just a river, but we did see a condor on the hike so that made it pretty awesome. And Chivy, the town we stayed in, has some nice hot springs where we kept running into people we knew from other touristy places, haha. After heading back to Arequipa for the night (which included Karaoke!) and next day, we took the night bus to Pisco. I had some sort of 12 hour stomach bug, which lasted just about the same amount of time as the bus. After we arrived in Pisco we spent the first day mostly sleeping to make up for the bus ride. The town of Picso had a major earthquake just two years ago so basically the entire town is under construction. Every time we left the hotel the main street we walked down looked completely different, going from mostly piles of dirt to almost a flat road by the time we left. We booked a morning tour of some the islands and national park of Paraques, which was great. The islands have thousands of birds everywhere, in fact Peru collects the bird guano from them every 7 years. They also have Penguins and Sea Lions! I was very excited about the Penguins. Next to the beach is a desert, which was the second half of the tour which was cool also.

From Pisco we headed to Lima just for one day before our flight to Santiago. We stayed in the young and hip area of town which was quite far from the main plaza and churches, so we ended up not even going over to that part of town. We met some other travelers and spent the day wandering around the beach, playing Scrabble in a funky cafe, jamming with every ones travel guitars (well the two of them), eating really good Italian food and then later dancing the night away. Maybe not the typical Lima stuff, but it was a pretty awesome day. The next day we flew to Santiago and Carolina, Eric's friend, picked us up and we stayed at her house for three days. I really really like Santiago, its the kind of city I could see living in even. Its fun and modern, but also full of markets and street food. Pretty much awesome. We were there on Columbus day and while most things were closed, we also accidentally came across a huge protest/ parade thing which was cool to see. Lots of yelling and street dancing, a fun combination. I think they were protesting about indigenous rights. We watched that for a while and then walked around this park on a huge hill, which had great views of the city and surrounding mountains. The next day Eric's other friend Vale took us out to lunch and on a little city tour, which was great fun. Both Vale and Carolina studied abroad in Albuquerque, which is how Eric knows them, and they speak very good English, which was good for me because while my Spanish is getting better Chileans speak soooo crazy fast. Hopefully before I leave I´ll be able to understand a bit more, haha. Today we took the bus to Valparaiso, about two hours away and on the coast. So far it seems like a cute and colorful town and I hear it has a fun nightlife. We are only going to stay a few days before heading back to Santiago.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


I´m in Peru! Ok I´ve been here for over two weeks, but I haven´t had much interent time. First I arrived in Lima for a quick stop before flying to Cuzco. Hopefully we will have time to actually see Lima at the end because all I saw was the hostel. I went to Cuzco a few days before our scheduled Machu Pichu hike so I could get used to the altitude. Its really high there, about 11,000 ft and it took some getting used to, so I was glad I arrived early. Eric and his parents then came and we started our four day trek to Machu Pichu on the Inca trail. It was the four of us plus 5 people from Argentina in our group, which was fun, though we split up a lot and basically had our own guide for a lot of it. The trail was great, that mountains are beautiful and we leaned a lot about Inca culture from our guide. We had porters to carry most of our stuff and a cook, it was fancy and fun. It rained the last day and we were worried we wouldn´t get any good view of Machu Pichu, but the clouds lifted in the end and the view was great. After our tour of the Machu Pichu we went to the hot springs in Augas Calientes, which was great after the long hike.

After heading back to Cuzco on the train, we spend one more day there. We went to the Inca Museum to get some more perspective on Inca society and also went to this crazy dance-play that night that was pretty fun. Eric´s parents then headed up north while Eric and I flew to Puerto Maldanado which is right by the jungle. We signed up for a 5 day 4 night jungle lodge tour that was pretty awesome. You had to get to the lodge by boat and each day we did different boat rides or hikes. It rained some, but not too much so that was good. We saw a lot of really cool animals, birds and plants including monkeys, toucans, macaws, a baby anaconda, it was great. We decided that maybe 5 days was one too many, but the lodge was really nice with cute little bungalows and hammocks which was fun.

Then back to Cuzco, but we went straight to the bus station and took a bus to Puno which is right on lake Titicaca. Puno is a nice little town where we spend a day getting used to the altitude all over again, haha. Its even a bit higher up then Cuzco. The next day we did a tour of some of the island on the lake. We have been doing a lot of tours, but sometimes its the only was to actually see things. The islands were crazy, first we stopped on one that is called a floating island. The people who live there were trying to get a way from the Spanish and they build island out of reeds from the lake to live on. The use the reeds for everything including building houses and boats and to eat. Plus they fish and now have some tourism, it was pretty cool so see. We went to two other islands both which are fairly isolated and have their own cultures. It was really interesting and we stayed with a family on one one of the nights. I was worried about getting veggie food with the family, but it turns out they almost never eat meat so it worked out really well. The food in Peru has been good, sometimes not tons of veggie options but lots of fresh fruit and there is always something good that is veggie. Yesterday we took the bus to Arequipa which is the second biggest city in Peru. We spend today wandering around a huge old monetary that was really nice. Next we are going to try to see Colca Canyon and then start heading back to Lima!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Last Stops in Europe

I´m in Spain, my last stop in Europe before I head to South America. Last time I updated I was trying to go to Croatia with some friends I met, which ended up working out really well. I took a bus to Bratislava in Slovakia and they all meet me there that night. We had a day there to check out the castle, but it turned out there wasn´t that much to do. Its a nice enough city, but not a very exciting one, plus my three friends all seemed to be sick so we took it easy. Next we hopped on a sleeper train to Split in Croatia. The train was awesome because the four of us has a six person compartment all to ourselves. It made the 15 hours trip a lot of fun. When we arrived in Split we went to the room we booked and it turned out just to be a room in this guy´s house, haha which was interesting.
Split is a really picturesque town because its has a small cute old town with old style houses, mountains in the background and ocean that is really really blue. We hung out there for a day, mostly wandering around the markets and the old town. Next day we took the ferry to the island of Brac about a hour ride away. We decided to go with no plan on where we were staying that night, which actually worked out really well. We were able to bargain down a hostel, which turned out to be a really fun place. We stayed three days mostly hanging out on the beach. One day we went to Bol, a really nice beach on the other side of the island. It was cool because it had small smooth white rocks instead of sand. One night we ran around drinking wine and jumping on trampolines and running away without paying, haha it was fun. On the last day it was someones birthday at the hostel so there was a crazy pirate themed day which involved renting boats in the day and a pirate party at night. I didn´t go on the boats because I had an ear infection, which was really annoying. Later back in Split i went to the doctor and it turned out to be an outer ear infection, very painful, but went away with some antibiotics.
After the island our group split up, I went back to Vienna for my flight to Spain. I spent one more day in Vienna, but it was raining and I had just been on a bus for 12 hours all night, so I didn´t do much at all. The flight to Spain was good, although it was the least fancy plane I´ve taken on my ticket so far, no movies, no drinks, no food, haha. My Aunt and Uncle live in Madrid so I was able to stay in their apartment, tho they weren´t there at the time. And then Kyle arrived the next day and we met up with no problems. We staying in Madrid for two days, on day going on a day trip to Toledo. Toledo is a cute little town with some nice churches with good views. It was a good contrast from Madrid which is huge, but I like it still. We didn´t do too much there yet, wandered around and cooked food mostly. We are going back today for a few days and will do some of the sights I think. We spent the last three days in Barcelona, which was great. Our hostel had an awesome location, right in the middle of things. Barcelona is a great place to just walk around, with lots of bars and cafes to stop in for tapas or sangria. We also did a walking tour and hung out on the sandy beaches. On the middle day we took a train to Montserrat which was an awesome place to go hiking. There were crazy peaks with fun rock formations and great views on the country side from the top. And last night we went karaoking! It finally worked out, haha and I sang three songs, yay. The English selection was small but good enough. It was fun also because we were the only non local people there so it didn´t feel all touristy like a lot of Barcelona did. Now we go back to Madrid for a few days and then I´m of to Peru!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

All Over Europe

I've been in Europe for about a week and a half now and so far its been great. I started off in Vienna and meet up with Clarissa and Martina, who I had met while traveling in Laos. Not only did they pick me up from the airport, but they also showed me around, took me out, cooked me food and let me stay at Martina's apartment, which was awesome. I really liked Vienna. It has sort of an old feel to it, with winding streets and cool buildings, but also great transportation and fun places to go out. I spent a few days seeing the sights, cathedrals and places mostly, and then I hopped on a train to Budapest. Budapest was great also. I was there during their independence festival and they had this crazy plane race over the river so I spent one day watching that and wandering around the castle area on the Buda side. The next day I headed over to Pest and saw a huge Church and also the biggest Synagogue in Europe. I also few a few people in the hostel and we went out dancing one night which was pretty fun.

My next stop was Prague which was also pretty nice. I managed to get a free tour of the city through the hostel I stayed at which was great. It toured old town and new town but it turns out new town is still quite old, haha. Then I saw the castle there, which I guess is one of the biggest castle areas in Europe, though its not just one building, its lots of building all together. I met a few people in the hostel there, but everyone was already traveling in groups so its sometimes hard to just join on. I was going to stay a bit longer, but the place I was staying in a school that turns into a hostel in the summer and it was turning back right a way. So I headed down south to Cesky Krumlov which is like a mini Prague and very cute, which is where I am now. I also met up with 3 other people who are all traveling on their own, which is great. We rented a boat yesterday and did floated down the river drinking beer for like 7 hours yesterday, haha, which was fun. And last night we went out to a great veggie restaurant, which was a nice change from the sandwiches and pasta I've been eating lately, haha. Today we explored the little town and all decided to keep traveling together for a bit. The plan is to make our way down to Croatia, tomorrow we are going to Bratislava. I don't have tons of time, but its fun to travel with people. After that I head to back to Vienna on the 5th from my flight to Spain!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

More Egypt and Jordan

The last time I updated Cheryl was about to head home and Eric and I were still in Hurghada. Cheryl made it home and Eric and I took the 4am ferry to Sinai, which meant we had to get up at 2:30am, not much fun. The good thing though was that because it was so early I slept through the whole ride and also on the bus to Dahab, which is where we stayed for the next few days. Dahab is a backpackers town, lots of chill restaurants and bars, beaches, bookshops, a nice place to relax. It isn't very Egyptian, but I liked it. We did some more snorkeling and took a tour up Mt Sinai that was petty crazy. The tour was to see the sunrise at the top of the mountain so we started hiking at 1am, haha. It was a long night, but the sunrise was pretty awesome. Its the mountain that Moses got the 10 commandants on in the Bible, so there were lots of people there and singing as the sun came up, which was fun. We also stopped at one of the oldest monastery's on the way down and saw a decedent of the 'burning bush' but it was a bit too crowed and I was way tired by then from hiking all night. We have actually seen a lot of important Christian religious sights lately, which makes sense given where we are, but some how it didn't occur to me when planning for this part of the trip. Also when we were in Dahab Eric and I won a pub quiz! It was very exciting and the prize was 100 Egyptian pounds which is a fair amount considering that out hotel room only cost 60 a night. It all had to be spent on drinks tho and we actually had quite a hard time drinking it all, haha, but ended up taking lots of bottels of water back with us.
After Dahab we headed to Jordan on an epic ferry journey which lasted 13 hours. Mostly the ferry was just incredibly late and there was a lot of waiting around, but we were really tired by the time we finally got to the hotel in Aqaba. We went straight from there to Wadi Musa the next day, which is the town Petra is outside of and we spent two days hiking around Petra. Petra is really quite amazing, its a whole ancient city carved out of the sandstone. And the area around it is beautiful as well so its fun to hike around even thought the ruins are a bit spread out. Its not quite as hot as in Egypt so we were able to hike most of both days, though we were always happy to rest and buy tea from the Bedouin families who sell souvenirs and drinks along the paths. After Petra we wanted to stop at the dead sea but it seems easier to go to Amman and then find a tour going to the Dead sea from there. We found a hotel in Amman and booked a tour the next day. We couldn't find one that just went to the sea, so the one we did made some stops along the way. We stopped at a church with some very old mosaics, Mt Nebo and the place where Jesus was baptized, tho Eric and I decided not to pay to see that one. Really I just wanted to swim in the Dead Sea which we did and it was pretty crazy. The salt content is so high that you float so much, its a lot of fun. Its also the lowest place on earth which I think is pretty cool. I didn't actually swim too much because the salt is quite painful to any cuts and pensive areas of skin, though as a female I seemed to have more of a problem with this then the guys.
The next day we took a bus to some Roman ruins out side of the Amman called Jeresh, which were really nice. There were two theaters and tons of columns and old parts of buildings and there were very few people there which surprised me since its like one of the top 3 things to see in Jordan. That night we also went out for a bit of a fancy dinner, partly for Eric's birthday which is on sunday and partly because the guide book said that they had scrambled tofu. It was quite good, but the scrambled tofu I ordered didn't actually have any tofu in it, haha, just veggies and cheese, oh well. It was interesting to see that part of town though, its very modern compared to downtown which is where we have been staying. Yesterday we saw the Citadel and another Roman theater and also and archeology museum which had some of the dead sea scrolls which was interesting. Then Eric left in the afternoon to go back home and I'm hanging around until tomorrow for my flight to Vienna!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


So I realized I never put any pics up from England of France, but I'm going to move onto Egypt so I don't get even more behind.

Eric and Cheryl and the Pyramids with the Sphinx.

Pyramid and camels.
Islamic Cairo, from above, notice all the Mosques.
Coptic Church in Cairo.

Cheryl and I at Abu Simbel.

Felucca on the Nile.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Red Sea is really quite blue

Hey time for a real update! When I updated before we were still in Aswan, which turned out to be one of our favorite places. It was much more chill and relaxed then Cairo and Luxor. Also we had a pool which might have helped, haha. We stayed for a few days, spending one of those on a trip to Abu Simbel which is a four hour bus ride, but has some very cool ruins. Since it was further south it was even hotter, which I didn't know was possible. We have gotten used drinking insane amounts of water, finding AC whenever possible, walking in even the tiniest amount of shade, and swimming at all opportunities, haha, all which help with the heat. I decided that if it wasn't so hot I would love Egypt, as it is i like it tons but the heat makes it a bit hard to completely love it.
After Aswan we took a cruise to Luxor which was awesome. We were debating between a Falucca, which is a tiny open boat or a fancy cruise and the cruise won out. If there was a middle we would have picked that, but three days on an uncovered boat with no bathroom didn't sound amazing. The boat we did take was great, we were 3 or the 6 english speaking people, which was actually nice. It stopped along the way at two temples, one of them at night which was pretty cool. Food was included and it had a pool, what more could we need really. We stayed for 4 days in Luxor which turned out to be one day too many, but other then that it was great. There is soooo much to see there, we did a lot but got a bit temples out by the end. We spent one day on a tour with a great tour guide of the West Bank, which has lots of famous stuff like the Valley of the Kings which is where King Tuts tomb was found. We also did the Luxor museum, which is much smaller then the one is Cairo, but also much more manageable because it has less, which I liked. Then we basically saw temples and tombs for the rest of our time there, with a bit of time for eating, napping and smoking sheisha like a local (only once tho because we all decided we were coughing to much to get any more, haha.) The food over all has been great and everywhere, even small local places have falafal which worked out really well.
After Luxor we took a cheap and quite hot bus over to Hurghada which is on the coast of the Red Sea. Its really spectacular when you have been on a bus though the desert and seen nothing but brown dirt to suddenly come upon the sea. Its the most blue sea I've even seen i think in spite of its name. We spent yesterday on a snorkeling trip, which was for sure the best i've ever done, though i'm no expert, but it was way cool. All kind of weird fish and nice coral and by the end I was used to breathing with the snorkel thing which i always hate. Eric got a bit burned so we might not do any more for a little while, but it was a great day. Hurghada itself is a bit of a package tour kind of place, but the beach is wonderful.
Cheryl leaves tomorrow which is sad, but it was great that she was able to come, its always fun to travel with more people. Eric and I then take the ferry across the Red sea and then eventually over to Jordan. I think we will stay on the Egypt side for a few days longer, but we haven't really decided, but the beaches over on that side are supposed to be great also. Maybe I'll even have time to put up some pics :)

Friday, July 24, 2009


A very quick update, but I made it to Egypt!  I met up with Eric and Cheryl very late on Saturday night with no problems.  We then spent 3 days in Cairo which was great.  Cairo is actually not quite as crazy and I had been lead to believe, but it was lots of fun.  And its a very busy city, people everywhere at all time of the day and night.  We started off at the Egyptian Museum, which has so much information that there is no way to see it all.  We hired a guide so we wouldn't miss the important bits.  We spent two days exploring the old Islamic part of the city which is full of mosques and markets and great Turkish coffee, maybe the best coffee I've even had.  We also spent a day at the Pyramids at Giza, which are of course amazing!  We managed to get there early enough to beat most of the crowds and the hottest part of the day.  Its soooo hot here.  I thought Bangkok was the hottest I'd even been but this is so much more.  And its so dry too, which is good i guess, but we have to rest during the middle of the day in order not to get exhausted.  But over all is really good.  We are in Aswan now and doing a Nile cruise for two days started tomorrow and I'll post more after that!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Africa Pics

Baby Lions!

Baobab trees are cool.

Lots of Buffalo.


Rhinos are a bit scary up close.


Empty beach in Mozambique.

Fun Swazi dancers.

Hippos hanging out.

African sunset.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe side.

Eric went Bungee jumping! 111 meters!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I saw London, I saw France

I spent the last week walking all over England and France, at least it feels that way haha. Its been a lot of fun though. After my parents arrived in London we stayed at Pieter's house for the weekend with his parents and sister. We hiked a bit and swam a bit, the usual fun. I also went into London with Pieter to meet up with Anne which was great! After that my parents and I went to South East Sussex and camped. It was crazy hot at the campsite so we ended up heading over to the beach almost everyday we were there. We hiked along the South Downs Way, which is a great hike along huge chalk cliffs over the sea, hung out on the beach and also hiked to an old Priory which was cool. One night we went to a pub quiz in a tiny town, haha and didn't do very well but had a great time. It was right before July 4th so they conveniently had an American round, and that round had a question about New Mexico! It was crazy. The next day we went back to Leigh-on-sea and stayed the weekend with the Cordwell's again.

On Sunday I flew with my parents to Montpellier, France which is in the South of France. Its a cute little town full of winding tiny roads and old Cathedrals. The Tour de France had one of its races here yesterday which was pretty awesome. It started and ended in town, which i guess is unusual, it normally ends in a different town. It was a team time trial and Lance Armstrong's team won and since he is the only person I knew anything about that was pretty exciting. It was also just a great atmosphere, tons of people all excited about the races, the sponsors giving out free stuff, everyone lining up to watch the race, it was fun fun. We saw the first teams start, each team starts 7 min apart, and then walked the mile or so down to where they end (after they ride in a huge loop outside of town). It was a long day with lots of standing in the sun, but actually a lot more exciting then I thought it would be. Today we drove up to Nimes, about an hour away and spent the day there. They have one of the oldest preserved Roman amphitheater there which was really cool to see. It had an extremely comprehensive audio guide tour so I learned quite a lot about gladiators and the kinds of events the Romans held there. We also wandered around some markets and saw some other cool Roman ruins. And ate great bread, cheese, fruit, and chocolate croissants which I've been doing everyday for lunch, haha. Tomorrow we might go see the beach or more cathedrals or another Roman town or all three if we can fit it in before we have to head back to London the day after that. I then have 5 days after my parents leave to hang out around London and since we haven't really done that yet I think I'll spend them doing London museums and stuff like that. If anyone has know of any great London spots I should hit up let me know!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Off to London

Well I have left Africa and arrived in London, got in late last night. Last I wrote Eric and I were about to go to Botswana to meet up with his friend Sean. We were in the capital Gaborone for three days and it was a lot of fun. It rained a lot of the time there, so we didn't do that much out doors, but I liked the town a lot. Sean is there studying for the summer so we got to hang out with him and some of his classmates, we went out one night which was a lot of fun. We also checked out some of the local museums and went to a village that wasn't to far away. After Gaborone we drove back to Joberg, returned the rental car and hopped onto our flight to Victoria Falls town in Zimbabwe! I wasn't sure what Zimbabwe was going to be like since they have had a lot of trouble there lately, but in Vic Falls town it seems very safe. They really only take US dollars there now which is a pain, but other then that, and it being pretty empty, it was a nice town. The falls were amazing! I couldn't believe how much water was coming down every second, it was crazyness. And just standing somewhat near them was like being in a rain storm! So much water. We also crossed the border to Zambia and saw the falls from that side, where the views are maybe not quite as good but you can get much closers which is fun. We also rafted the Zambezi, the first time i'd ever been rafting, so much fun. The water was very high still so only the haft day trip was open, but I thought it was great. And Eric went bungee jumping! That was crazy, but he seemed to enjoy it.

After a quick three days in Zimbabwe we flew back to Joberg so eric could get his flight back home. The Zimbabwe airport gave us hand written plane tickets, haha, i'd never seen that before. Back in Joberg we did a tour of the Cradle of Humankind, which is a cave were they have found lot of old human remains and stuff like that. It was a good tour but way over priced for what it was so we were a bit grumpy after that. Oh well. Afer Eric left i took the bus to Durban which is on the east coast. I still had 5 days before my flight and it seemed like the most interesting city that I could get to in one day. I really liked it, but i was there during a huge rugby game so it was packed! Like every room full everywhere I called, so i was luck to find a dorm eventually. It was a fun few days hanging out on the beach, and I went to this water park with a girl I met at the hostel. The only bad thing was that once I got to London I realized that someone had stolen all of my credit card numbers. I think it was from the hostel which I locked up my money belt in their safe while I was at the beach. I still have the card but all of them have been used in Durban in the last few days so I had to cancel them. A bit of a pain, but luckily nothing else was taken and I can get them replaced. So now I'm in London at Pieter's family's house and my parents arrive tomorrow!

Old Pictures

I know these are quite old, but I never got a chance to put them up while in Africa.
My sister arrived in Thailand. This is in Ayutthya.

Squeezed on a motorbike with Erica!

Then we met up with Pieter in Hua Hin.

At the beach in Hua Hin!

The view from our beach hut on the island of Koh Tao.

Anjali and Pieter, Koh Tao.

Me, Koh Tao.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

All over Africa

Well I've been a lot of places since I last updated from Nelspruit. We went to Mozambique for a few days which was great. Driving was a bit crazy, in the cities there were people everywhere on the streets, but outside of there cities it was really empty. We went to Xai-Xai beach which was really beautiful, but a bit cold for swimming. The beach was completely empty tho which was fun. I guess it gets crowded during the holidays, but it was fun to basically have a whole beach to ourselves. After that we went to the capital Maputo, stopping at another beach on the way down that was equally empty. Maputo was cool, we had some good Indian food and went to an art museum. The food so far in Africa has been alright, but not great for vegetarian options. Lots of french fries and cheese sandwiches so it was nice to find some good Indian. The art museum had some crazy art in it, but unfortunately the power went out in the middle so we couldn't see all of it. Oh well, we left and that gave us time to check out a huge market which is always fun.

Next we crossed the border into Swaziland, which is a tiny country. We basically drove across the whole place in about two hours. Its a cool place tho, very rural and desert like. We went to a cultural village and saw how the Swazi people used to live and also saw some really fun traditional dancing. The dancing was possibly made better by there being about 100 Swazi highschoolers there who got really into the dancing. It was quite entertaining. On our way out of the country back to the South African coast we ran into tons to road construction, but eventually we made it to the coast at St Lucia. There we did some more animal park driving stuff and saw rhinos, hippos and lots of different types of deer. We also went to another beautiful beach full of awesome shells that I ran around collecting. Then we took an afternoon boat tour and saw so many hippos, it was great. The boat tho broke down at the end of the tour and another boat had to come rescue us, haha, but it all worked out.

Then we slowly made our way back to Joberg to pick up a bag that had been left at the hostel in Maputo. A nice guy was coming this way anyways and brought it with him, that way we didn't have to go all the way back. On the way we stopped in Ladysmith (the place the band Ladysmith Black Mumbasa is from) and Kestell. Kestell is on the edge of the Drakensberg mountains and we were going to do some hiking but it rained and snowed all day so that didn't work out too well and we could stay any longer to wait out the storm. We picked up the bag today and tomorrow we head to Gaborone, in Botswana for a few days to hang out with a friend of Eric's which should be fun. Some of my later plans have changed a little bit, I'm heading to London on June 24th now. My parents are going to meet me there and we plan to go to France for a few days as well as traveling some in the Uk, which should be nice. My trip is almost half way over, its crazy how fast time goes, but the last five months have been great!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat pictures.

Angkor Wat just after Sunrise

Bayon, one of the other temples.

Look at the awesome faces up close.

Yay elephant statues!

Tree roots taking over the temples.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Laos pictures again

I have so many good pictures of Laos!

Erica teaching Pieter to ride in Vang Vien.

Looking for caves!

Gas station.

Fisherman in Vang Vien.

Crazy sculptures in Vientiane.

More sculpture.

Anne and I having fun at the temple.

Pieter in Savannakhet where I was sick forever.

Bubble tea!