A Travellerspoint blog

Anywhere but here...

...and so the journey continues!

all seasons in one day 10 °C

What are we up to now?

Well, that ol' itch that can't be scratched, that ol' double-edged sword all RTW veterans endure, has now fully shifted from the abstract, to the extremely tangible - July 2010 sees us attempt the infamous Mongolian Rally.

10,000+ miles from Ireland de Norte, through Iran, via ye Old Silk Route and the Pamir Highway, and on through countless other 'Stans out into the Mongolian steppe. In a 1998 Citroen Berlingo van.

Oh dear...

Check out our super dope dedicated blog for the event:

www.charolastra.tv

(...oh, and it's all for charidee too. Yeeharr!)

We are however super stoked to be able to once again partake in that traditional Mongolian cultural activity in Ulaan Bataar - yes, that's right, Ghengis Khan Karaoke down me 'Julies' nightclub. Yessirr!

Posted by rea-neill 12:50 Archived in Ireland Tagged automotive Comments (0)

Enivrez Vous !!!

Carriage take me with you...

rain

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It's official. Summer here in Ireland de Norte is over. Before it started. Today being the first of Autumn (and of a months torture...as we have decided to spend September alcohol and red meat free. Seemed like such a good idea before those final Cuba Libres...)

Thank (God/Allah/Tom Cruise etc.) we decided to extend our RTW shizzle when we did. Has royally f**ked us in the Gary Glitter financially, but worth it to:
1/ Dodge apparently the wettest summer in Ireland de Norte's recorded history, and:
2/ Loaf on RIo's beaches, reflecting upon the previous 11 months 40,000km journey (Almost a third of which was by rail. No idea why. Train fetishists wet-dream.)

So have we learnt anything then? Definitely:

1/ Don't sit beside any S.E.Asians on a boat. For a region where water is vital in terms of transport & fishing, they aint' too good at holding breakfast down when she starts rockin'.
2/ Underwear can last a whole lot longer than you ever thought possible.
3/ Don't buy the Lonely Planet. Take your digital camera into a high street bookstore of choice, and snap the important bits (Macro mode hombre!). Saving you from: A/ Parting with at least 15.00 quid, and B/ Unfunny, self-righteous travel writers. China Williams, you are gonna get your coupon slapped. Deal with that douche-bag!

Oh yeah, and when you're sinking into the depths of chronic depression, don't read Paddy Doyle's 'The God Squad'. As I just did. Where's that rope...

It's been over four weeks back on home turf now for us, and though we scoffed at the concept initially, we have noticed a (mental) struggle to readjust. Seriously. Maybe it's the glaring lack of racial/cultural diversity here? More importantly even practical things, like trying to not sound retarded when speaking English, have been hard. And we're really missing the small things (though huge in meaning to us) such as the gregariousness of Buenos Aires (thank you Manu for the 'Man-Hug' tuition, & Francine for teaching us how to kiss 'properly'*), and the vibrant street life of S.E.Asia and S.America (Tescos, why the resistance to negotiating prices at the check-out?). Maybe it's because we've actually been living in locations more agreeable to our temperament? For example, of the three, maybe four people we met from Belfast during the whole trip, two of them asked what part of the city we were from, you know, to ascertain our religion. We mean, just what the f**k?! F**k off! And we just despair at sh1t like this:

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£120,000 for a logo that's been blatantly ripped off. And an inability to admit the magnitude of it's awfulness. Speaks volumes about this place...

Had to bail out and hit Donegal for a week to get over it all:

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Eh? A typical Kilclooney welcome...

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Nancy's pub, Ardara. (L-R) Rick, Ash, Kong-a-tron, Steve, Isabel and Greg. A place we had been dreaming of on 'the road'. For a fundamental athiest such as myself, the seafood and Guinness in here is the closest I'm going to get to Nirvana. And that's just fine. So it is.

Sh1t! We're Buddhists now. The wedding...

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One of the Dolmen around Kilclooney. Getting up close and personal with a 5,000 year old monument good for a little life perspective. (Desperately trying not to sound Sheryl Crow'esque...) Sarah-Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick were there too. Honestly.

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Isabel. Maghera beach, Ardara. Water chock full of trout, beach heaving with oysters and mussels. Paradise. And the first horse riding since Mongolia. (Thank you Ash for your expert guidance. A little strict mind you...but I bet the Kong is loving that ha ha!)

Carriage take me with you.
Ship, steal me away from here!
Take me far, far away.
Here the mud is made of our tears.

A little bit of Baudelaire to wrap up...

Angkor Wat, Forbidden City, Inca Trail, Iguazu, Lake Baikal, Machu Picchu, Nazca Lines, Rapa Nui Maoi, Wall of China...seem so long ago already. Reminiscing may be a luxury afforded the old, but by God us pups are needing an Eamon Holmes sized portion of it right now!

So, time for us to go deep cover, and generate some necessary greenbacks. (Obviously whilst trying every possible method at our disposal of sticking it to the Man...). This month going to be insane, what with us returning to our previous careers and learning Spanish, plus me commencing my degree (yes, finally). Never mind no fakking alcohol...aaaarrrgghhhh!!!

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One year on, and the game's up son!

So it's Sayonara from us Amigos. Maybe the next time you catch us around here it will be with a new map...he he!

All our love,

Steve & Sarah Rea-Neill.
xox

Just remember:

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The pic of the trip!

  • 3 kisses. Left cheek first. 1 for 'you', 1 for 'me' and 1 for 'us'.

PS: JP thanks for the transport from Donegal. Muchos Gracias Hombre!

PPS: ATTENTION ALL TRAVEL COMRADES, WE ARE HAVING OUR WEDDING RECEPTION IN BELFAST ON SATURDAY 10TH JANUARY 2009. ALL WELCOME. EMAIL US AT THE USUAL IF YOU THINK YOU CAN MAKE IT OVER TO IRELAND. WOULD BE AMAZING TO SEE Y'ALL. STEVE & SARAH XOX.

Posted by rea-neill 08:27 Archived in Ireland Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

GAME OVER

please insert coin...

sunny 24 °C

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...keep your eyes on the sky!

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Mrs. Rea-Neill, a Caipirinha & Sunset over Rio (...and over this whole 10-11 month global saunter/honeymoon/epic-loaf). Rooftop of the Ipanema Plaza, overlooking Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. Credit card took a hit, but hey we think we earned the last few days 4 star baby...

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& Sunset from Arpoador rocks, Ipanema beach.

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No more walking this...

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...past sweet graf pieces like these.

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More local graf. Healthy scene out here, also useful way-points for our sorry map-reading asses!

This time in 48hrs it's back to Tayto cheese & onion, Ormeau sodas and mustachioed teenage glue-begs... oh how we've missed 'Beautiful Belfast'. R.I.P. Jimmy Young.

How do we feel? Really? Ain't got a scooby. Well not that words can express. Not right now. We'll leave that for another day...

Sayonara comrades,

All our love,

To all at home & all on 'the road' who's paths we've crossed,

Steve & Sarah Rea-Neill.
XOX

PS: Written with tears in our eyes...

Posted by rea-neill 16:48 Archived in Brazil Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

Caipirinhas & Capoeira!

...from Morro to the Forro.

sunny 24 °C

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Freaky Brazilian transvestite midget warbler.

Picture if you will a cross between the wee one outta the Crankies and Chucky, then spawned from Amy Wine-merchants womb. Got it? Well it don't come close to this. Priceless bit of Brazilian telly. Scarier than Pamela Ballentine coming at yee with a strap-on...

Enough random rambling. We're back in Rio after our 2 week Bahian 'cultural' field-trip up north. From the Russ Abbot'esque atmosphere of the Forro party to the 'air of menace' on the streets of Salvador we really can say the craic has been around the 90 mark. Last night was pure A-Team, with no milk for the big man, just tequila. First flight I don't remember. Any other country woulda slung us reet oot the door tae fook! (Our soda-holes could not handle another 23hr bus journey.)

Can't get that slaphead Phil Collins' track about not being able to dance outta my scone either. In addition to lowering the tone of the Argentinian Milonga, our shameless spazzy dancing has now graced a few floors out here too. Holy bayjaysus! We. Cannot. Dance. That plan for the first dance at our wedding reception rapidly evaporating... Remember? That Tango idea? Uh-Oh... Though I've been Youtubing instructional videos for the 'Running Man'. Seriously.

Anyway, we made it. The final countdown now begins. We touchdown in Blighty on the 22nd July - then straight onto an Ireland de Norte connection. Right now though it just feels really comfortable being back in Rio. We're loving Ipanema - walking the streets, watching the people (from the corner cafe or the Chopp joint) it's all good baby, yeah. Err, apart from the budget...

So now it's all about us. No plan for the blog. No idea how it will end. With a bang? A wimper? Does anyone really care? Do any more nationalities/cultures need insulted? Dealing with the 'known knowns' (gotta love that Rumsfeld quote) we're getting ourselves chilled to 11 (a la Spinal Tap) and cranking up the loaf to maximum velocity, probably at the expense of keeping this place on the pulse. So there. C'est la Vie baby.

We're off out now to hit the streets. As mentioned previously, so much beachwear wrongness to spot here, so little time. We're also continuing our little pastime of spotting the best gay magazine titles at the kiosks - just spotted 'Sexboys', though our favourite* is the Argentinian 'Gaucho'. As in cowboy. Belter so it is like.

So au revoir comrades, until the next time...

S&S
XOX

Stop. Hammer time. Sorry. Pics...

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Go team Bahia! Us, Matt and Laura. Caipirinha in hand. (How's that hangover guys? Damn those bloody tequilas last night!)

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Bahia. Flag.

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The surf-mobile! Matt, you get an invoice for that remote yet? He He. And yes, it was an almighty pain in the arse to drive.

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You remember we mentioned a Spanish 'lesson' received at the footy game in Argentina? Where we learnt to swear like the locals at the Ecuador fans. Well Concha means shell in Spanish (and Portuguese too by the looks of it), but in South-American Spanish it's really quite the rude word - you know, that 'C' one (quite popular in Mockney gangster flicks). Maybe I'm the only one who found this funny, but that beach is called James Blunt. Ok, so it was only me then...

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No, not rampant man-love. A Capoeira lesson on the beach at Itacare. Groin still fakked.

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Forro band. Itacare. Unusually no accordian player this night. Folk music with a cracking rhythm backbone. Good to get your move on to. Though the high standard of dance (reminiscent in a way of Tango to us) meant the Gringos (us) hid at the back.

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Main square, Morro De Sao Paulo. No cars on Tinhare island, transport options being donkey or wheelbarrow. Great to get back to a place like this, full-on tropical 'Manyana' attitude pervading every aspect of life, roosters waking you up in the morning...

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...and a main street that's sand. You can almost touch both sides at some points with outstretched arms. This place would be awesome around carnival. By all accounts Bahia is the area to be, not Rio.

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There's the taxi. Loving places where the beach forms a large part of the transport network. No, the dudes head ain't stuck in that horses arse.

EDIT: In our last post we incorrectly referred to Morro De Sao Paulo as an island, when actually it's a village on the island of Tinhare, just off the coast from Valenca (& 2 hours by catamaran from Salvador - thank JHC we didn't have breakfast before taking that bad-bwoy).

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Rua Da Fonte Grand, Morro De Sao Paulo. Archway a remnant of colonial past. Our wee Pousada just off to the left. (Pousada Passarte - Mario your breakfasts rawk hombre!) We'll miss our little room there, with hummingbirds feeding outside, and bats swooping around the banana trees at night...

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Leatherback turtle. Sanctuary at Praia Do Forte. These things are huuuge!

(Speaking of the 'Manyana' attitude on Morro, we have never witnessed so much overt Cheech and Chong activity anywhere, as we have in Brazil. That piney bud smell is everywhere. Witnessed a cleaner in Itacare mopping up the floor with a fat one in her gob. Quality!)

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Any of you happy-clappers know what this is? A doddery old women gave us this last night. Motioned to pray with it between our hands. Gotta be a RC thing, yeah? L.L.B. you any ideas?

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Guarana drinks. Real popular here. Damn nice too, think they've knocked the Incan colas off our taste top spot.

::Loving about Brazil::
-The racial mix. Described by a Brazilian we spoke to as the 'biggest milkshake in the world'.
-The sabores. Especially the drinks. Agua de coco, the guarana and of course the caipirinha. And how can we forget the Acai fruit?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A%C3%A7a%C3%AD_Palm
-The music & dance. What's not to love about the Forro?
-Ipanema beach.

::Not loving about Brazil::
-The perceived 'danger'. Real or what? We've only felt something tangible in Salvador (hence no pics - really frustrating because the colonial architecture there is really beautiful). Just read that 1% of the people own 50% of the land in Brazil. Holee sheet!
-The economy. Not good for two skint travellers.
-The per-kilo restaurants. Always eat too bloody much!
-The language. A head-melt getting to grips with, after being in so many Spanish speaking places.

PS: Dave, sorry we missed you over the twelth 'festive' period. We'll try and shoot up to Belo Horizonte and grab that pint with you & the missus. A stand off with the Brazilian filth woulda been nice on Saturday. He He. Get us prepped for our Norn Iron return. Oh yeah, and you certainly put a different slant on the fireworks activity here...

PPS: Dallas, where are you?

  • Bloody American spell-check on my Mac keeps flagging this up! Here's me fakking whaa?!! It's NOT fakking 'favorite' you concha!

Posted by rea-neill 07:05 Archived in Brazil Tagged gay_travel Comments (0)

Thong, thong thong thong thong...

...yesssirr, shameless Sisqo reference!

sunny

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Her name was Rio...

''Those who do not like Samba are suspect; they're either sick in the head or lame in the leg."
Dorival Caymmi

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Cao.

Present location Barra, Salvador (Brazil) - right on the mouth of All Saint's bay. (Not Rio, as per crapola route map.) This Bahia area being the Afro-Brazilian centre of Brazil (over 85% black - slave trade heritage), and home to the Candomble religion and Capoeira martial art. Also an abject lesson on the massive disparity of wealth in Brazil (World's 8th largest economy) - yesterday was spent feeding the beach homeless. OBE recommendations welcome! All joking aside, the government ain't going to help these people, and unfortunately we don't think Yemanja can do much either, regardless of Caymmi's words. Starving in paradise (& getting beat by the fuzz for kipping on the street) is surely the same as starving anywhere...

Being the only white faces most of the time is reminiscent of Asia. So maybe we'll get to add another country to our list of those we've been racially abused in! (But hey it's all good, especially for two chancers far from their cossetted western existences - being called 'Falang' or 'Gringo' is all the same to us, we can now empathise with the Chinese community in Sandy Row. What's that joke, something about the Chinese getting driven out, and Sandy Row starving to death?) Was it Jacob Holdt (of 'American Pictures' fame) that said 'You expect the worst in people, and that's what you will get'. And if we sound like that hateful bint Alannis 'Ironic' (no you twat, it's called bad luck) Morissette, please feel free to shoot us on sight... But we still aren't carrying the camera around. No sir. In fact I'm not even wearing my cheap-ass digital watch. If we're gonna get jacked on the street, then this really is the place. (Perhaps the first culture shock of this 10-11 month saunter? Is that ironic, being on the last leg? Must email that lentil muncher...)

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Fridge magnets. Market stall. Pelhourino, old town Salvador. Couldn't believe it either...

So, Brazil see's for us our final language (Portuguese a right bugger! Just when you think you're on to something, bang, it's off on another tangent - like a crazed Welsh/Arab hybrid to our retarded ears!), final economy and final visa (our passports are completely battered now - running out of pages). Hard to comprehend, but in the words of Run DMC, that's the way it is. Three weeks today until our flight back to London (we seriously cannot believe Boris Johnson is mayor! What. The. Fakk?!), before we connect to Belfast. AND WE'RE STILL NOT D.I.V.O.R.C.E.D. !!! (Yes we know we said we wouldn't capitilise for emphasis, but surely that statement is worthy? We've spent more time together in the last 10-11 months, than most married couples probably do in 10-11 years. It certainly feels like it... Marriage, eh? Each day is better than the next...)

In the meantime it's all about the humps, lady lumps and suspect beachwear! Next stop, the car-free island of Morro de Sao Paulo. So for now we'll sign off and roll some pics... Ciao hombres!

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Welcome to Rio! (And a surliness not experienced since Paris.) Copa-copacabana, the very beach. Pão de Açúcar (Sugar-loaf Mountain) visible.

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Copacabana pavement. Distinct wave pattern. Visible everywhere in this country.

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Spot the tourist! Only coco juice in the 'nut, but an idea we might borrow for our wedding reception back in Blighty. Serve up those caipirinha's, oh yes!

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Another national beer to sample. Starting to feel like work now... Actually, no.

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Pão de Açúcar (Sugar-loaf Mountain). That's the cable-car from 'Moonraker' by the way, where 'Jaws' bit through the cable (and where I filled my britches). Oh, and for the kids, 'Moonraker' is an old Bond flick.

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Worth the laundry bill for the view. That's Red Beach, and Copacabana in the distance...

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...and Botafogo, overlooked by that famous statue of the holy bearded one, 'Christ the Redeemer'. (If you're getting all Chinese eyed, it's the couple of pixels on top of that mountain to the left.)

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Our little home in Ipanema.

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'The' cafe - birthplace of 'The Girl from Ipanema', by Antonio Carlos Jobim & Vinícius de Moraes. And where we got acquainted with the national drink, the caipirinha. Nice.

Though we think we actually prefer the Peruvian Pisco sour - sampled by us in the sublime Astrid Y Gaston, Lima. Anthony Bourdain famously necked twelve in there over lunch, I was speaking Peruvian after only four... Yes, I sit down to piss...

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'The Girl from Ipanema' team in the studio...

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Even the mannequins here got big ol' booties! This place all about the lady lumps. And the man lumps too actually. A Lot of too tight shorts, made with too little material. 'Budgie smugglers' we believe you call them. Ipanema beach really has foisted some quality beach-wear wrongness on the rest of the globe! (We didn't realise it's also the main 'gay' beach hangout - got touched for again! Well I think he was putting out - haven't ever encountered a dude fully thonged up doing the splits right up in my grill. The budgies almost had an eye out. We should have realised the rainbow flags weren't representing Cuzco/Peru independence...)

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Iguazu Falls. Argentina/Brazil border. (Brazil left of river, Argentina to right). Looking straight up at the 'Devil's Throat'...

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...and up close.

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Isla Martin visible to left.

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Smiley levitating snake alert.

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Bad ass condor. Sitting on a rock beside falls. Not apparently giving a monkeys about our camera stuck up in it's boat-race.

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Random tropical bird. Any twitchers out there know what this is? Looks like a 'blue-couponed' Magpie to us...

Game over.

More tomfoolery from Morro de Sao Paulo.

All our love,

S&S
XOX

PS - Almost forgot, Bahian independence day tomorrow. Yee-harr! Samba time!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bahia

Posted by rea-neill 13:40 Archived in Brazil Tagged gay_travel Comments (0)

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