A Travellerspoint blog

¡Hola Chicos!

Buenos noches Buenos Aires! *

rain 12 °C

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Anybody got 'wee' Eamon Holmes mobile number? Need to borrow some slacks off him...

Garrapinadas on the street, bife chorizo at the Parrilla, Malbec, Quilmes, Empanadas, Super Panchos, Alfajores...this place all about the chow! Perfect for animal lovers such as ourselves. Lovers of animals dead and cooked. (Slightly concerned regarding the toxoplasma issue in previous post. Maybe it's all tiaras and tantrums from now on?)

You can't help loving a city where the official tourist board info advises, we quote "The night activity is intense in Buenos Aires. A typical night could begin with dinner at 11pm, a visit to a bar at 1.30am, a discotheque at 3am, followed by breakfast at a cafe at 7.30am." Sweet Jaysus, could you see Belfast City Council putting that out, eh?! Thank Christ the DUP don't hold any sway out here...

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Last night. Well this morning really @ Club69.

There is just a staggering amount of coolness awaiting exploration here - from MALBA to milonga, bars to boutiques...reminiscent of London or Paris, but bigger than both and with a tangible 'passion' (For life? Love?). Maybe that's a cliche, but certainly the people we encounter seem more gragarious than in either of those places. Even the Spanish (Castellano) spoken sounds more poetic than in Espana - obviously except when we're mangling it. Though we have 'No intiendo' perfected. Oh yeah, and 'Puto'. ('I don't understand', & 'Man-Whore'.)

But tomorrow the Porteno dream ends. The lease on our apartment is up, so we're breaking for the Brazilian border (Puerto Iguazu to be precise). We're really going to miss this city and the Porteno lifestyle (especially our 'hood Palermo Soho). The novelty still hasn't worn off having cable TV and broadband (and a comfy settee ('couch' is for douchbags) - think we've watched nearly all the Euro Cup games so far, and skype'ed everybody in Norn Iron).

Never did make the Tango lessons though - you get to the milonga too late and you're fakked by locals deftly throwing it down on the floor. Way too intimidating for a pair of left-footed gringos...

So we gotta go. Friday night, theatre performance to attend (featuring our landlord's brother as a mannequin (sounds like a role perfect for Keanu Reeves...), in a b-movie suspense comedy. In castellano. Oh the fun we're gonna have tonight...).
http://www.teatrodelpueblo.org.ar/obras/automaticos.htm

One last hurrah then before we're back 'on the road'. Sixteen hours of coach hell tomorrow...

Buenos noches amigos.

Love,

S&S
XOX

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Argentina v Ecuador. World cup qualifier Sunday 15th June - River Plate stadium. Where we learnt to swear in castellano. Now we can insult people after we tell them we don't understand...

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Us and our 'landlord' Manu. Muchos gracias for the hospitality hombre. Pass on our regards to the ol' man and rest of family. And ta for the, eh, the other...

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Missing out on a Boca Juniors game at La Boca stadium, we just had to go down Maradonna's neck o' the woods for a saunter. You can't go far without encountering the holy handed rakers smiley coupon. Here he is holding a flip-flop. Here's me whaa indeed?

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http://www.fernandezfierro.com/home.php
Fernandez Fierro. 'New-Wave' tango infused...in fact brain freeze even trying to contemplate genre. Probably the most outstanding live musical performance we've witnessed. Surely this is what Gardel would have wanted? Go check 'em...

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The closest we'll get to any Gauchos. A highly camp, fully bizarre, euro-techno cheese-fest drag rendition of 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina'.

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Old dude. In a cape.

  • unlike every other fakking blog (usually American), we made the decision to not:

1/ Bang on about Che Guevara as if we knew him personally.
2/ Feature lots of gratuitous La Boca shots (then congratulate ourselves on being so 'brave' venturing into a 'working class' area). **

  • *Which has just reminded us, maybe another 'rant' post is due soon...T.O.X.O.P.L.A.S.M.A. (Just how long is it since we've been in a Buddhist country?)

Posted by rea-neill 16:49 Archived in Argentina Comments (1)

¿Cachay?

Southpark Jesus & the Andean Cross

overcast

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Yeah nerds, the pic is upside down. But check it out. It's only Southpark Jesus (Christian shindig, downtown Arequipa - Peru).

As we have a little downtime right now, we thought we would post up a few pics missing from our previous hasty thread. Once we locate a rifle that is... (to shoot the bastardo of a parrot that's outside our window. The feathered cnut has just worked out how to imitate a police siren.)

As stated, off to Buenos Aires on Friday (30th). Just booked ourselves an apartment:
http://www.sweethomebuenosaires.com/apartamentos_ampliado_en.php?id_Depto=86
One month of bad tango and cheap steak coming right up, yesssir!

Oh yeah, we're in Lima right now. Haven't updated route map, but who really gives a monkeys eh?! 2 days to explore, so we'll see y'all on the flip-side.

Roll 'em...

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Juanita. Incan sacrifice. Looking well...

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...after 500 years buried in Ampato. Sacrificed to pacify the volcano gods. (Pic taken from over 5000m above sea level - think Ampato peak is around 6500m?)

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Desert graves. Nazca.

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L-R: Andy, Lisa, Ricardo (pilot), Steve, Sarah, Adrianne. In front of our little plane, chartered to fly us out over the Nazca desert and the mysterious 'Nazca Lines'.

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And here they are. You'll probably need the high-res pic to spot anything though. 800 lines, 300 geoglyphs and some 70 biomorph animal and plant drawings. That's the Panamerican highway running right through them - I'm sure Maria Reiche is turning in her grave. You may also spot an observation tower down there too - where I got touched for by the gayest dude in South America!

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The 'Spaceman' (or Owlman), carved in rock, bottom left.

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Ica, Peru. The 'Inca trail' team off sandboarding in the desert.

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Looking for the perfect dune...

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Ready to roll...

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Shantytown, Nazca. People displaced following previous earthquake. (You may remember last August's quake? That essentially destroyed Pisco. Really ballbreaking to see the aftermath now - the church on the main square went down taking 400 people inside with it.)

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Random parrot, random house. Andes.

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Our crew for the Inca pilgrimage trail. More than 20 porters to support 15 of our sorry asses over 53km of high altitude exertion.

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Macchu Picchu. Sun temple. Main altar. Unfortunately no virgins handy to sacrifice. Well the missus is from Monkstown...cough.

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Tequile, Bolivia. Kid. Sign.

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Tequile. Archway. More bloody bowler hats. Eh?!

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Tequile. Men in traditional dress. The playa on right in pic is wearing the hat of a single man (you notice the white?), but he's only married. Gangsta.

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Tequile. Mudhouse. Dollhead embedded in wall. Eh?!

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Tequile, Titicaca. What a vista! The ubiquitous Inca Kola (Coca cola's product not competing in the Peruvian market? No problemo, just buy the competition out. Which they did.), and some damn fine quinoa soup.

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Titicaca. Uros women...

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...and the bad bwoy they use for catching fish.

This particular island had an internal dispute, and upon reaching no resolution the aggrieved party(s) brought out the saws and cut themselves off. Literally. Sawed off their part of the island. Floated off somewhere else for the quiet life. Quality.

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Puno. Hotel sign - 'no scruffs'. ('no pirates' maybe?) That's me f**ked then...

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Cuzco market. Anybody seen 'Village of the Damned'?

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A right royal Maoi laptop uprock on the blog machine...

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Raraku, Rapa Nui.

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Raraku. Maoi quarry. Original tool, and half complete Maoi statue in situ.

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Rapa Nui, 'Bellybutton of the Earth'. Strange magnetic stone, completely at odds with the geology of the island...

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Holds a certain 'mystical' significance amongst munchers of the lentil. Here's one...

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Hang on, that's the missus...

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S**t the bed captain, it's a Maoi dong!

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And where it all started. The first Polynesians arrived here, Anakena beach on Rapa Nui, several thousand years ago. Also where that crazy Finn Marko Kulju tried to steal a Maoi ear: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/26/7?gusrc=rss&feed=networkfront

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Santiago, Chile. Ice cream van. Or military vehicle deep cover...

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...on the Pio Nono, Bellavista. Real nice bohemian part of town.

Okay, we're gonna sign off now. But before we do, we gotta show you one of the sweetest things of the trip...

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The above mentioned porters from Inca trail cooked up me and the missus a kick ass wedding/honeymoon cake. I mean, this is on the Inca trail. And they cooked a cake. For us. Sweet Jaysus this was a magnificent gesture.

As the Andes are now becoming a backdrop to our lives (in much the same way as the Mekong river did for so long in S.E.Asia), from bathing our feet in glacial pools to sleeping above the clouds, let us introduce the Andean cross:

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Andean Cross, Macchu Picchu. Potent Andean icon. That particualr stone only forms the full cross on Solstice - the shadow on ground completing the symbol. If you look closely (maybe on the high-res pic) you'll notice my own smaller talisman resting upon the stone. Many theories - the triple step on each side representing the 3 layers of life (reminiscent of the 3 tiered Buddhist Wat roof), perhaps memorable Incan wars, pyramids, the 4 sections representing important ancient Incan territories, the 4 points representing the Southern Cross constellation...and so on.

And so it is that we are starting to feel South America getting under our skin. A certain je ne sais quoi we haven't felt since S.E.Asia. A more 'passionate' people for sure (did I mention my wedding ring and the sink incident in Santiago airport? Got a real 'passionate' bollocking from an airport official for taking apart the sink plumbing - you can guess what happened!). My thoery: http://scienceblogs.com/loom/2006/08/01/a_nation_of_cowards_blame_the.php (Well not mine, but Mr. Zimmer's. You know what I mean.) The fermented corn juice ('Chicha') tastes so damn good we just don't want to leave. (That Rio-London flight looking ever more likely to get moved...he he!)

But alas we must do one. We'll kick this place into shape when we settle in Buenos Aires. Until then, as always, all our love,

S&S
XO

EDIT: Maria Reiche devoted the latter part of her life to researching the Nazca Lines. Check this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Reiche We would strongly advise visiting the Maria Reiche centre in Nazca before viewing (that p45 in the post for our researcher!). Also you get a chance to fit in some star gazing via their telescope - on the night of our visit we got to see a pretty damn flawless Saturn, rings and all! Result!

Posted by rea-neill 14:52 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

They haven't gone away you know!

Yes Gerry...

sunny 23 °C

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Holee sheet! Right now we're in Arequipa, Peru. So much has happened recently that we just don't have a scooby where to start (Only realised that between Bangkok, Thailand and La Paz, Bolivia, we crossed 13 time zones in 11 days! Lost 24 hours over International Date-Line, so now we're behind GMT for the first time).

Just finished 53km of the Inca pilgrimage trail (Highest pass 4200m above sea-level. In context, the highest British peak is Mt. Snowdon at a piffling 1200m). Explored the pristine 'lost' Incan city of Macchu Picchu amongst Hummingbirds and Butterflies (Missed by the Spanish conquistadors, now full of fat, loud Americans). Watched Andean condors glide on thermals above the worlds second deepest canyon, Colca (Which absolutely dwarfs what should now surely be renamed the 'Not Quite Grand Canyon' in the ol' U S of A. By the way, the deepest is also in Peru, 90km from Colca). Poked around some pre-Incan tombs (and found some pre-Incan pottery!) at Chivay. Home-stayed with Quechua speaking villagers on Isla de Amantani, Lake Titicaca (the worlds highest fresh-water lake). Played a footy match at over 4000m above sea-level. Danced the night away at an 'Inca-theque', in full traditional dress! Huffed and puffed our way around the world's highest capital city, La Paz. Strolled amongst the Maoi statues on Rapa Nui (Easter Island)...

And we still have to fly above the mysterious Nazca Lines, see mummified Incan human sacrifices, eat chevice (marinaded raw Kingfish) and guinae pig (already tried the Alpaca), drink pisco sours in Pisco, sand-board on the Pacific coast...and all just before we leave Peru! We're sure you can now understand our predicament with the blog. Too much mayhem. Too. Many. Pics.

So we promise once we get settled in Buenos Aires, Argentina, (Presently apartment hunting, thinking of staying there for at least a month - you know, learn the Tango, work on our (dreadful) Spanish) we will take a time out and properly update this place. We need to get our asses up to Lima for a flight on the 30th, so for now it's chao from us.

All our Love,

S&S
X

Chao!

PS: Watched the Champions League final here last night. Couldn't believe it. F**cking Man U wing it again! Laughed our asses off at that twat Ronaldo. Tool! Gavin, tell me your not polluting the little J man's mind with this Manc lot? He He...

Okay, some pics:

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Canned Fanny fish. Cuzco, Peru. Worth the whole trip...

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Here, Jesus! Get off them snouts big man!

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Descending on the world's highest capital city La Paz, Bolivia. Landing strip top-middle, below Andes. By the way, flying from sea-level, directly up to 4000m not a good idea. Walked straight off the plane into some quality altitude sickness. Appearing intoxicated whilst trying to get through immigration in a major cocaine producing country not advised. Trust us.

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Coca leaves. Break off some of the chalk-like stone (alkaline), wrap about ten leaves around it, and chew. You'll be up the Andes in no time! Seriously, good for altitude sickness and digestion. Bad for drug tests.

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Andean Condor (world's second largest bird) gliding on thermals above Colca canyon, Peru. In fact we should say Condors, as there was a family of three in that pic. Couldn't believe our luck!

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Macchu Picchu. Pronounced 'Ma-choo Pitch-oo'. Not 'Pee-choo', as this translates as cock.

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Us, with our guides Victor (l) and Henry (r), at 4200m above sea-level. Deadwoman's pass to be exact. (We actually have broke 5000m since this trek.)

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Welcome to Peru! Bolivian border crossing. And a damn persistent shoeshine-boy!

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Us in traditional hats on Isla de Amantani. Our new 'parents' (Hepolito and Deomicia) made us wear them so they could recognise us, as all us whiteys look the same.

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Sarah and her new 'pop' Hepolito throwing shapes at the Incatheque. To steal some Jack Kerouac, out side that night was just the most magnificent firmament. Probably close to the only truly profound moment of our lil ol' trip - you could see the Milky Way!

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And previously the same night, a kick ass storm closing in damn quick on the island, with big ass lightning strikes hitting Titicaca.

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Amantani, Sarah playing football. With so little oxygen at this altitude (well over 4000m) you can understand how we got completely hammered by some local ten year olds!

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Our new 'Mama' Deomicia, with Sarah in traditional dress.

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Andean village. Alpacas, Llamas and only a local cackling away on her mobile!

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Cuzco backstreets. Dog people watching.

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Cuzco backtreets, pizza wagon.

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La Paz, Bolivia. Side street. Women wearing bowler hats still taking some getting used to!

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Floating islands of the Uros people, lake Titicaca.

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Lake Titicaca. Pedal-boats. Who's taking the one on the right then?

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Sunrise over the Andes. 6am and full moon still visible, the sun starting to paint it's rojo gamut on the mountains.

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The Rapa Nui (Easter Island) RTW route-map we prepared (Blue Peter stylee) earlier.

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Rapa Nui. Hand-drawn map.

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Us at Tongariki, Rapa Nui. Thanks Francince for the pic.

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Tongariki. 15 Maoi statues. The one in foreground the only one of two that face out to sea (though arguable that they all actually do).

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Rapa Nui. Mighty Pacific ocean.

All for now folks.

  • Apologies for slackness of this post (and not developing on the Rapa Nui section). As stated we've been kind of caught on the hoof.

Posted by rea-neill 18:39 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

From the Khyber Pass to the Dog's Bollix...

R.I.P. FLAPS...

rain

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Current location, New Zealand. (As you can see our cheap-ass route map runs out of planet before N.Z.)

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Preparing to land, North Island...

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...in a bloody wet, grey Auckland! (Skytower.) So I suppose we'll have to put off calling the local branch...

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Looks like we might now be needing something (anything!) to get over the shock of leaving the B.E.A.C.H.L.I.F.E. behind for good.

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Camp Cove, Sydney. What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours... (that surf blew the bloody cobwebs reet'aff, following the previous *Anzac day session!)

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Rufus and Sunna, swimming at Coogee beach, Sydney. Closer inspection of facial expressions will give all necessary information regarding water temperature.

In a few hours we take to the skies once more. Destination Rapa Nui (Easter Island), via Santiago, Chile. Can't wait to see these guys...

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(Apologies to the non Norn-Iron contingent, and also Rapa Nui inhabitants for Moai abuse inthat pic.)

Anyway we'll keep this brief. Thanks Rufus, Sunna, Steve (and the rest of the Newtown team!) for making our return visit to Sydney such an enjoyable and chilled time. Goodbye Aussie surf, fish 'n chips & quality vino. And au revoir Auckland too. Still can't believe the first bloody people we run into are from Belfast! Richard and Lydia, see you in Belfast this summer for that pint.

Tomorrow then marks the start of our final leg - South America. Holee Sheet! Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Brazil...kicking off on Rapa Nui (3700km west of Chilean coast, and 1900km from the nearest inhabited land mass. Pitcairn Island to be exact geography fans. Cough...remember that recent legal action?)

Before we shoot the crow, I suppose we better explain the post title a little further...

[EDIT 31-08-09]

So one thing we won't miss is Australian airport security. Hard to take you chipped-shoulder minimum wage monkeys seriously though when you're surveillance techniques consist of...

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...'concealed' roof mics. Fingers crossed those hi-jackers don't look up when they're chatting amongst themselves, eh? (Sydney International airport.) And I'm glad our bag of peanuts didn't make it into your country and, mmm, threaten, mmm, stuff. Enjoy. Cnuts.

  • Anzac day. Australian national holiday. Remembrance day (Gallipoli). Legal gambling on the streets ('2up' - heads or tails on steroids), and the Aussies doing what they do best - getting completely mullered!)

So, this is the end, my only friend the end...

Adios, y buena suerte,

S&S
X

PS- My Thai mobile is no longer functional (Steve). Will pick up a new sim card in S.America, in meantime send all spam/smut to Sarah's (+44 (0) 7725 841 399). Cheers.

PPS- Happy Birthday Rufus! Will give you a shout before India comrade.

Posted by rea-neill 06:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)

Happy Songkran! Happy 2551!

...blog post 543 years from the future!

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Songkran mayhem on the streets. Didn't have the cajones to take camera out into the crazyness (which may seem a surprise after the underwater photography malarkey of previous post - recent budgetary review has certainly instilled a hitherto unknown financial prudence. Basically a food versus camera choice!) So we stole this shot from the Bangkok Post. Breakin' the laaaw!

So, the 15th marks the first day of the Thai new year proper. The Buddhist Era calendar being 543 years ahead of the ol' Christian one (Maybe mentioned in previous wedding post(s)? Our own official wedding date is now 31-10-2550). Means we get to celebrate the 3rd new year of our R.T.W. (including the Chinese one). Any excuse accepted around here for a partay!

Right then, we're aff the marra. Shooting back over to Koh Samed for some R&R, after all recent strenuous, err, R&R. Last few days in Thailand, so we're gonna rip the shorts reet aff the beachlife.

Trust us, things will change big-time in approximately 2 weeks, when we hit S.America. No. More. Slacking.

Until then,

All our love,

Steve & Sarah
XO

Posted by rea-neill 23:24 Comments (1)

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