Thursday, October 29, 2009

Airport Complications


Our wonderful home in the airpot

Leaving Brazil and off to Peru!  We're in the airport in sau Paulo, Brazil, checking in when they us we need to show an airplane flight ticket back to the U.S., or we will be deported back to the U.S. on the first flight....
1st - We still want to travel for 10 months
2nd - We have no idea where we're gonna be in 10 months to buy our ticket back to the U.S.
We talk to them, and agree that showing a ticket to an onward country will be fine.  We go to the internet cafe upstairs, find a ticket and go to buy it.... Credit Card won't go through, debit card won't go through either... Oh no, we don't want to be deported.  I call my credit card and apparently they thought there was fraud on it because we had been splurging the last couple days... Go that figured out and was able to buy the ticket!  Now we go to pay the internet cafe for the time and the ticket we printed out.  Total comes to 22 R (Brazilian currency)  hhmmm. and we wonly have 12.80 R.  Our debit fcards don't work at the ATM's and after a long time trying to talk oursleves out of it with teh internet cafe, they let us off and we fun back to teh check in are and their GONE!  Apparently all airlines have offices in the airport, so we go to our airline and after numerous phone calls and transfers, the ticket is figured out, but for the following day.  Our 24 hours in the airport weren't too bad; we had restaurants, a booksttore, a tech store, etc...  After dinner, our next mission was to find a place to sleep.  Good thing we had our tent and sleeping bags!  We found a spot, secluded, up the stairs and quiet!  So we set up the tent in the airport, got our sleeping pads, and bags all set up and got all comfi.  We propped teh computer on the inside part of the roof (of the tent) and even had our own flatscreen above our beds!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chillin in Brazil

One very very good thing about not entering Bolivia: In order to go to Brazil, there are certain countries that if you come from, you have to get a shot...(Yellow Fever)  dun dun dun... but because we never got a stamp or visa on our passport, we don't need one!  Anyone who knows me, knows what a huge relief that one was!  I was standing in the immigration line with butterflies and sweating, hoping they wouldn't ask for me to get a shot... and I passed!  We're in Brazil and head on over to Florianopolis (Floripa)  The apartment we stay in is a block from teh beach, mellow fisherman town and the first day we get there the weather is superb.  Jim told us his friends lived there and we hooked up with him.  Andre, way nice, mellow guy.




 For those fo you that are confused: Joim O'Brien, and for those that are still confused: Brendan's, cousin's, husband.  lol as if that wasn't confusing.  Anywho, we did some major relaxing in Brazil and got to see some really cool beaches with lots of jungly vegetation.



We had to splurge on the First day


The beach right by our apartment


To get to the beach, you walked through this! Pretty!\


Javs, we found your shack in front of the beach!







Marble World Championships

Let's get out of Bolivia and head to Brazil!  On the bus ride to Brazil, when we find ourselves in the middle of the bus with a group of kids going to the world cup of marbles...!  Have you ever heard of that?


 We begin to play cards with them (For my dad: I taught them Black Jack, we played Vegas style and even bet with fake money, you would've loved it!)

So, their telling us about the world championships, and tell us to play and be the U.S.A. Representatives... Brazil must wait, World Championships, here we come!  The World Cup was held at Iguazu Falls (Remember those amazing waterfalls I was talking about?)  Bren and I practiced that night and the next day.  We were improving... Day of the world Championships!!!  We get there, get in the courts and practice a little.  People had heard that the U.S. was playing, so there was a crowd of people around us everytime we played.  We get checked in, take pictures with the U.S. flag that they brought out for us, and I even take a pictures with all the coaches in front of the different flags.  haha  I tried to be all serious with my hands behind my back and not smile (wasn't working out)  Side note:  the coach we had met on the bus (must I remind you: the coach of MARBLES!) had on the perfect coach gear - warm ups (the kind that make the swishy noise when you walk) a polo shirt, a hat and my favorite: a whistle around his neck to get his team in order!




Me and Bren being registered to the World Cup



Yeah for the U.S.A. Representatives!



The wonderful coach all dressed up


 To all of those reading this and hoping we would win... We didn't.  We lost the first round; I lost to an Argentine and Bren lost to a Brazilian.  Too much fun and we met a great family who treated us to lunch at the Sheraton!  The family travels, while the dad opens up Sheratons.  And get this the kids speak English, Spanish and Chinese.  All in all, a great stop and now when Bren and I have free time we play marbles (were actually kind of obsessed and really competitive.)  Signing off and as my Aunt Wendy said "Taking the time to smell the roses or "play marbles" that's what life is all about!"


This was the dog at the hostel we stayed at, and he couldn't see, and his tongue never moved from that position


Practicing


Category A
 Category B


Category C


Category D (Also mine and Bren's Category)


Category E (Yep, even a 40 and above for Marbles!)


Me being a coach


Bren and his opponent


Bren playing some serious Marbles


Me and my opponent


Jeez, look at that face...!  And I still lost


He's going on to the next day!!  Category E


Instead of chalk, some of the kids used the dirt, and in this part of town, it's red


Just some of the winner's the first day


Part of the family we met


The winner gets a marble made of solid gold...He was really nervous, in category A, and one of the kids we came with.....He didn't win the gold marble, but he got a solid silver one!

















Saturday, October 10, 2009

Kicked out of Bolivia For Life

After long bus rides to visit Bolivia for a couple of days, we got our exit stamps in Argentina and go to immigration to get our entrance stampt to Bolivia.  We get to the front of teh line and the cop tells us it's gonna be $135 US/ea to enter...

1st - We only have 7 Argentine pestos on us.
2nd - They don't take Visa and
3rd - only reason we were gonna go to Bolivia was to pass through for about 3-5 days and head over to Brazil.  

We  were taken back when they asked us to pay and felt like the cop was being shady because the bus attendant had never seen an American pay for a visa, our lonely planet book said it was free and after he told us it was a new law and pointed us to the poster, the poster said $100, not $135.  After about 10 minutes of going  back and fort, and holdin ghte double decker bus up, we decided to get the money out to not have the bus lag.  Took a taxi to take money out, came back and paid.  As we gave them the money, they then asked for our credit cards... ummmm No.  I then asked for the cops name, and he wouldn't say.  We had begun to fill out the paper work to get our visa, when we decide we felt way too uncomfortable to hand over our credit card and give our social security number, so we went to the cop and told them we would rather go back to Argentina, and at that point they said it was too late and wouldn't give us our money back.  We sat there explaining that after knowing all teh requiremetns we don't want the visa.  We yet had not recieved our visa's or completed an application, yet they wouldn't give us our money back.  Things escalated and people crowded.  A worder came over and said taht we had already started filling out the application so they couldn't give us our money.  That's when I took the paper, rippid it up and said "Now it's not"  The cops eyes grew and they got pissed.  I then heard teh cop say "Take their passports, and I quickly went for them at the same time the other officer went for them.  I pulled them out of his hand, and his eyes were aggressive and so MAD.  After being kicked out of the immigration office, we went to get our belongings off the bus to cross back to Argentina.  The cops came out and locked our exits to leave, and kept pushing Brendan towards what we're pretty sure was jail.  Brendan kept refusing, and we were eventually taken itno teh immigration office.  People came off the bus to fight for our right, which was so extremlely nice; they told us to calm  down and to try and prarticipate and that nothing would happen to us, but that I shouldn't have ripped up the paper (Damn, my hot head go t te best of me.)  The press showed up and recorded an interview between us and a female representative of the immigration office.  That's when she said that we were nefver allowed back on Bolivian soil.  When the press got there, they cops let us go!  Thank you press!  Never we so happy to be on Argentine soil!

Pictures Doesn't do This Justice, You'll Just Have to Make a Trip Here Yourself



This picture is off the internet of a ariel view so you could kind of get the idea of the falls.

Last stop before leaving Argentina...Iguazu Falls. d This park has over 200 waterfalls, but the most impressive that caught both of us by surprise is called "La Garganta Del Diablo" (The Devils Throat.)

About a year ago, someone back in theU.S. had showed me a picture of the waterfall and I knew that I had to go, but never did I imagine what we saw.  As were crossing a bridge to get to the Devil's Throat, you hear the roar and know you getting closer.  The closer we got, the louder te roar, but yet you couldn't hear a peep from the tourists.  We catch a glimpse of the waterfall... "No Way... Oh     My      Gosh.  We arrive and watch an overwhelming and intense amount of water fall to the bottom of the devil's throat.  SPEECHLESS...         Oh. My.... Speechless again.... Such a high and rush going through our veins and then it happened; permanent smiles plastered on our face.  We just stood there watching nature, and then we sat and watched, then stood and watched...Wow.. how does God do it!  As if that couldn't have kept us happy for the rest of our lives, we took a ride through the jungle and arrived to a boat that went up the river to get a closer look at a different waterall (not the Devil's throat, because I'm sure we would have died)  With a rainbow and butterflies all around, ge got closer to the waterfall and just when we thought the boat would head back, instead the boat went closer and closer!

We felt so tiny and about to get swallowed, and then that rush and high came back, and took over us!  We were soaked with those smiles plastered on our face, uncontrollable giggles and of course us kissing wasn't left out of the equation!




The background looks fake



That's my hottie!










These guys were EVERYWHERE






Still on my natural high!



Bren gets a picture of a Tucan on our way to the boat ride



On the boat which was WAY fun!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Just Another Monday

Our Argentine friends were traveling in a Volkswagon, and ended in El Chalten, Patagonia where we met them.  On Monday a group of us friends got in their Volkswagon and started our ride to a lake called, Lago Desierto.

On the way to our destination, we passed waterfalls, horses, water rapids, and of course, the beautiful scenary of the Fitz Roy.  Now Papa G, I wish you were there, because the amount of trout in the river was incredible!  The water was crystal clear, and there was groups and groups of trout!  We found a good spot, parked the Volkswagon, and began the long, yummy process of the Argentine asada!  A group of us were preparing the food, and cooking, while our friend who brought a fishing pole went fishing right by us with a couple of other friends that met us at the river/lake.  Right as the chicken, chorizo, potatoes, and sweet onion were ready, we hear a loud cheering, and excited voices...Our friends had caught 8 trout in about an 1 hour and 1/2, and they were BIG!  We added some of the trout to our asada and had way more than enough to eat!  Just another Monday...





This is the Argentine Asada...They literally just throw in the potatoes and onion straight into the fire, without a pot or anything.  The skin gets charred a then you peel it off and viola!





MMmmm


Just a view of what the road was like.


A Picnic on the Glacier


Right before the hike/camping begins

A 3 day hike to the glaciers in El Chalten, Patagonia with backpacks that aren't necessarily the lightest.  We start the trek the first day, and by night find a perfect snowy place to pitch our tent.  It was great with all the snow all around us, because we had endless water supply!  The next morning we wake up to a late start, make breakfast and are off again.  We find a good place by the river to set up camp, set down our big backpacks, and walk only with what we need: harness, caribeaners, cramp ons for the ice glacier, and warm clothes.  On the way to the glacier we find our selves with a tyrol and traverse and cross the river with our harness and caribeaners.  (Way too much fun)                                        

We keep walking, and walking and walking through beautiful scenary that continues to change every 30 minutes.  Up the mountain, down the mountain, and we start to see the glacier closer to us!  We walk downhill for a good 30 minutes, and I can only think, what a work out it's going to be to go back up that mountain.  Wwhheww, makes me tired just thinking about it...  We finally begin to walk on the glacier, and walk towards the middle; we sit and stare in awe of the beauty around us.  We are sitting, with our sandwiches out, surrounded by walls of rocks, sitting on glacier, and the sun is peeking out just perfectly so that it all felt magical!  I felt like we were in a movie, and me and Brendan should be kissing, while the video camera did the 360 degree look all around us.  haha, it was a great picnic!



1st day, 1st few hours


Still the 1st day, very cool hike!


                                                                                         2nd Day, Second Camping stop


2nd day, on the glaciers


On the way back from the Picnic on the Glacier


Dinner that night... MMM very much needed


View from the tyrol and traverse


Us