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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Photos of Torres del Paine

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The sign says it all, but the picture cant. Amazing!

Hiking for 5 days

If anyone wants to contact me you wont be able for a couple of days, as i will be hiking around the mountainous Patagonian peaks of Torres del Paine.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Moving digs

Hi everyone, we are still happily in Buenos Aires for the next few days, but moving into a hostel, so not sure how much i will be connected to email etc. The phone number we bought cannot send or receive messages from australia, very handy, so text messages are out. Heading off on Monday, not exactly sure where yet, so stay tuned.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Buenos dias in Buenos Aires

We´ve arrived safe and sound to Buenos Aires, Argentina, after what we were dreading could be a gruelling 40 hour mammoth bus ride from Rio de Janeiro. Check a map, its a long way away!
Instead it was probably one of the easiest, most comfortable trips to date. Travelling past beautiful scenery the bus company really looked after us with breakfast on board, with hot coffee and snacks, and stops at super cheap all you can eat barbeque place for lunch... but one of the craziest things was last night, where we stopped at a normal bus station with a restaurantt and although not very hungry i thought we should eat anyway. Upon entering i put my dormant Spanish language into use by asking the waiter for a menu before committing. He rambled something i didnt understand but we sat anyway. The girl next to me confirmed that dinner was included, a great chicken milanesa AND our first taste of the famous Argentinian wine! AND dessert, but when they brought around the Champagne i couldnt believe it was happening. Without even realising it the restaurant was emptying and everyone was getting on the bus, and there we were sipping away happily. We sculled the last and then jumped aboard to watch a couple of films (even Garfield 2 wasnt bad!) and then slept soundlly, until arriving this morning.
So we are staying with friends of mine in their house (somewhere) in Buenos Aires. the house is beautiful and the family is very friendly, we are very happy. In the next day or so i will buy a new phone number so people can text us, but otherwise i am sure they will let us use their phone to call reverse chargesss if anyone wants to speak to us!
Ok, time to shower, relax by the pool and maybe siesta before heading out as touristas again. Chau, hasta luego, or hasta la vista, baby

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Years 2007

Hello everyone! Hope you all had a great new years eve, just as we did with so many of our close friends here on Ipanema beach... I have no idea exactly how many, but lets just say this was the scene before the hordes of people from Copacabana joined after watching the huge fireworks display. They were, after all, keen to see the Black Eyed Peas perform their free concert on the beach.
We are leaving Rio today for Itacare, Bahia for 2 weeks before jumping on a 3 day bus to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Photos - in random order

Europe: (captions to come!)

Can you guess where this photo was taken: Thats right, in old Paris town. We had a great 4 or 5 days there after spending 2 nights with my friend Sebastien in Brussels. The Eiffel tower was very cool, but the city as a whole was just mind-blowing: every building was beautiful (ok, except our 'budget' hotels), and contrary to stereotypes we found the French people to be extremely friendly.

Here is me hot on the Da Vinci Code trail at the Lourve Museum. Just kidding... but seriously, i did quickly check to see if the holy grail was lying around somewhere in the basement. Strangely enough i couldn't find it, but the Mona Lisa was very impressive nonetheless.

(Not joking) This was pretty much our daily diet in France: bagette, pate, cheese and missing from this photo our sliced ham, yum! Maybe its not so great for keeping those love handles at bay, but you know, we're on holidays.

Across from our room overlooking the Bastille was a sign made from socks, yes, from a couple who were "just married". Needless to say we never saw any signs of life from that room as there were probably 'a-hem...' busy sightseeing all day and night and generally enjoying their honeymoon elsewhere. Either that or their hotel had room service and they will need to come back another time to check off the tourist sights.

And now for some classic shots of us posing in the amazing Venice, a city i have always dreamed of understanding ever since i accidently studied Vienna instead at school.

Here's the boat i snapped up for a bargain in a special deal when i purchased a Lamborghini and ocean-view apartment in the luxurious city/country/whatever of Monaco. Such a beautiful spot and definitely a playground for people with so much money it scares me. After this trip i will barely be able to afford to print this picture let alone live the dream!

Like most millionaire playboys like myself I too have a gorgeous babe by my side, and here she is posing in front of some sexy boats on the gorgeous coastline of Monaco.

...and here she is again with the port of Nice in the background.

And this is what the poor people of Europe consider one of their best beaches and holiday playground, Nice in the south of France. Sure its pretty nice, but make she you hire a banana lounge at the beach or else you will be cooking yourself BBQ style on rocks, a bad substitute for the beautiful sands found here in brazil and Australia.

And here we are posing on the esplanade in Barcelona, with a hungry lobster hot on our heels. Its a statue, sure. One of the strangest sites occured near to here where boatloads of Africans illegally sell their wares on the footpaths, anything from Louis Vitton bags and Prada sunglasses to you name it. An even funnier site was a guy in Venice selling fake Prada stuff outside the real Prada shop. When i tried to explain the irony he didnt really get it, but would give me a good discount, and a bad at a great price.

And now onto Spain, although we actually went there before Italy, but oh well. Here's Corrina on the lovely beach at San Sebastien, by far the best beach in Europe we saw, and definitely a place i would recommend.

Here she is tasting some of the local dishes in the tapas bar. We were quite tipsy that night after i made some sangria in our hotel room. From memory the drink included cheap red wine, orange juice and pieces of fruit like apples, but without the fruit we thought we would try it anyway. As disgusting as it was, and embarrassing when we learned what a real sangria tasted like, it did the job, and we bounced around the tapas bars having fun and frivolity and probably spending a small fortune, but definitely a great night out! We left that hotel room very quietly as i had spilled som red vino on the bedspread, and thus begun a string of incidences of me creating wine mess in various hotels across Europe. One such incident was in Rome where somehow i managed to kick a glass off a bedside table and the wine splashed 2m up the plaster wall, soaking in like ink to chalk. Again being quite tipsy we considered our options over more wine and in the morning checked out to another hotel around the corner, not chancing our luck with the hotel owner and a potential cleaning bill i could ill afford.

...and finally here is Corrina trying to hitchhike our way out of Europe. I reminded her we had a plane already booked from London to Rio so dont bother putting the thumb out. The only time we did actually hitch a ride was after a long long walk in Provence, France: along with the hiking mad europeans we scaled a very tall mountain near Aix, admiring the view and with a last drop of water taken at the peak began the descent which was supposed to be much quicker. Although the instructions we NOT to follow the colour coded signage we thought we were following the correct arrows that would point our way down the mountain and onto the road where we could wave down a bus that would take us back into town. Somehow we kept veering right when we thought it was left that we should be taking, and suddenly an hour turned into 2 turned into 3 and with any water and almost completely lost (although there was plenty of frenchies still on this trail) we popped out at a spectacular damn which frustratingly had no drinking water for us dried out sponges. Having high hopes of a lift we sheepishly contemplated our options but chickened out of actually sticking a thumb out. Eventually Corrina walked up to a French couple in their car and gestured that we were going to Aix en Provence and would they give us a ride. Having no idea whether they were going there or not we hopped in. The only conversation we could make was that we werent English, which i felt was a tacticle move. Having said we were Australians we sat utterly pooped in the back seat saying nothing to our driver or his wife or each other, still not sure if they were even going back to Aix but happily taking the familiar ride to our hotel. They even offered to drop us at teh tourist office, how nice!!

South America:

They rolled out the red carpet in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro for our arrival. Well thats what i thought it was for, but it turns out they decorate the streets like this around christmas time every year!
Heres Corrina with the view of Foz do Iguacu behind here. A spectacular view... of the falls too!

This photo was taken just as we were about to be driven in the boat right under the falls (to th left). Altough it was a little dangerous and almost completely suffocating with that amount of water pounding onto our heads i screamed out to the driver for "one more time!"... and then another.... and so on.
With the gushing water raging in the background this gushing couple grabbed an American to ash him to take our photo, the first tourist who could actually make a good photo when asked. Of course when i get home i will edit my love handles out with Photoshop.

Just like a photo of an original beach boy this one is of a person who is actually better at having his photo taken holding the board than riding the waves. As you can see in the background the waves were baby sized and perfect for beginners like us.

Gorgeous beach babe lovin´ her board. One of the most beautiful beaches i have ever been to on this tropical paradise of Ilha Grande (big island). The water was so clean and warm, waves were gentle and beers cold. No wonder it is rated up there!

Here is our wonderful host and friend Carolina. Her family has taken great care of us, sharing Christmas Eve (the day celebrating Christmas, not the 25th) and preparing ourselves for a huge New Years celebration. Get this: penthouse apartment pad overlooking Ipanema Beach where the huge fireworks go off while the Black Eyed Peas pound some tunes to the millions of people gathered wearing all white clothing, and offering all sorts of gifts to the sea goodess. Such gifts like flowers, jewellery and perfume... I might have to go to the beach in the mornining after to collect some belated Christmas presents.

OK, i didnt actually catch this Cayman myself, that was done by our trusty Steve Irwin-esque guide, but i did manage to get a quick photo taken while i held its head. Corrina also had a go posing with the scaly critter only to drop it into the boat where it scuttled around near our delicious toes, giving me a heart attack and laughs to the rest of the crew.

Trail riding with a pack of stubborn mules. Although they promised my 'horse' had a bit of "go" in him i couldnt get him out of second gear no matter how much i thought i was in control and showing him who was boss. All i got was sore feet from kicking him loads and a saddle bum from bouncing along to his annoying trot.

This time the cayman was held tightly enough to get a photo and return him to his mother eyeing us off from the muddy swamp. It was a pretty good tour in all, we saw and heard from Howler monkeys, giant rodents, cayman, plenty of birds including a toucan (!), deer and various other non exotic animals like goats and cattle. The only slightly dangerous activity was actually leaving the Pantanal in the 4WD... we were sliding along a mud road when the steering cable (or whatever) broke and we went off the road. Nothing serious but if we were a further 10m down the road things may have been different as there was a bridge with a cayman infested swamp below. Really mum, i am just adding this story for dramatic effect, all was fine.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Phone number here in Brazil

OK so i have a mobile now, but contacting me might be tricky. Apparently Brazilian telcos are unreliable, but please try anyway, and i will reply. If you get no reply, the company i am with sucks.

00 55 21 82057061

Thursday, November 30, 2006

At the copa.. copacabana...!

Oi tudo bem, gente! (Or hi, how are you everyone.)
So after a lengthy flight from London to Rio de Janeiro we have arrived safe and sound to my friend Carolina´s house in Ipanema, in their new apartment in the fanciest part of town.
Already we´ve had our first tastes of great Brazilian hospitality and of course the famous Caipirinha, the local rocket fuel-like alcohol to get these balmy nights rockiñ´.
So its not exactly beach weather, but what better way to spend some time than go shopping and enjoy the delights of new clothes that dont require a sniff test to see if they can be worn.
We managed to upload some photos of our fantastic time in Europe, so please check them out on Corrina´s website: http://corrinafleur.blogspot.com/
Well, i had better go, and updates will be coming soon. Hope everyone is well.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Arrividerci Italy

Well we have had such a great time here in Italy and its going to be sad to leave tomorrow, and will having to get the early airport bus things we might be tired and emotional and shed a tear for the eternal city.
OK, so i still havent got my photos sorted, but hopefully in south america, or even london i will post some of our great holiday happy snaps.
We are both very well, healthy and looking forward to more amazing travel adventures in South America.
Ciao bellas and bellos,
James and Corrina

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Ciao bella

Umm, where did i leave off? I know, its been so long, and this whole blog thing isnt getting the attention my avid readers deserve, but at least its a way of telling friends and family we are still alive and kicking!
Ok, so we are in a lovely lil' town in northern Italy called La Spezia, staying in a cute B&B. Today was the big Cinque Terre trek. Actually for less fit people it might have been challenging but for us youngsters it was a breeze. Lovely scenery of course and yummy pizza along the way, so who can complain.
Just before arriving we spent some great days in Nice France, visiting Monaca too, which was absolutely great. Must earn a few trillion dollars first before i can afford the apartment and yacht, but surely worth it. What a place, and with such a great acquarium too, so so good. Lots of Nemos to laugh at.
Ok, so i wont bore anyone with teh price of internet, just to say its a little pricey so i am gunna go. Hope all are well, arrrivaderci.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Leaving Barca

Hi all. This is going to be another entry where you really don´t learn much about what is going on because i´m short of time and there´s lots to do! Just thought i´d let you all know i´m alive and kicking in Barcelona, a great city. Off to Provence in France tomorrow (yes yes, life is hard) so if i get the chance i´ll upload one of hundreds of our photos of us posing in front of the worlds greatest sights, ok. Adios

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Buenos dias, esta estupendo

Hola from Grenada, España. We just arrived here today on the bus from another Andalucian city of Seville, home of the Flamenco dance. Last night we were treated to an amazing performance of the dance/music/singing in a little club close to our Pension. For days now its has been raining (and i mean raining, with some days only minutes escape from the downpours!) so it was with soggy jeans but a belly full of tapas (my god, so yummy, the paella...and the wine!) that we arrived early to the club to secure a good seat. We got front row, right in the centre. We were having sweat spilled on us! Even better was the heckler next to me shouting obsentities to heighten the already strange atmosphere. It was really was a moving show, and being in high spirits we approached the lead man and had a chat about the dance, and in my drunken state i think i complimented him on his great hand clapping, haha. As well as the moves from teh woman of course, which turned out ot be his ´woman´ or wife as i finally deciphered. So that was definitely the hightlight of our time in Seville as the rest of the city seems to be under heavy rennovation (much like the whole of Spain, the economy is booming!). The rain really put a dampener on things, boom boom.
So, where were we before then.... Immediately prior we spent a couple of days in Cordoba, which was a little disappointing, but still we had a great time. Each town here seems to have an old quarter full of ancient buildings, some restored and othe left as they were, but each with some spectacular sights to amaze.
We buzzed through Madrid (just a big city) but for me the highlight of Spain so far has been the beach resort of San Sebastien. Not only a beautiful setting with surf beaches, but inside the old quarter were myriad tapas bars all with different house specialties to entice. Upon a recommendation from our lively Pension owner/operator the few we visited were fantastic, though the sangria from our local bar was much better than the budget version i tried making in our hotel room. I won´t even bother explaining what ingredients were used but needless to say it was not authentic!
Whoa, its been a while since I´ve written here, and realise that Paris and the rest of France has not even been covered. I guess Corrina and I have just been having too great a time to drag ourselves into a net cafe. So now i have, here´s a brief glimpse into our Frence affair:
Arriving in Paris we quickly found a nice hotel and treated ourselves to a romantic dinner, with a tasty (and yes, very expensive) bottle of wine. That wasn´t the last restaurant we´ve visited but with a daily budget easily blown on accommodation, travel and munchies the Aussie Peso doesn´t always extend to the high life, especially in fancy France.
OK, so times up for net sesh, i will update soonish.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Hola from España

Hi everyone, sorry its been a while but as you can imagine i´m having far too much fun here in Europe to be sitting in internet cafes. Corrina and I have been having an amazing time, seeing some fantastic places together: Paris, Tours, Bayonne, Biarritz and now into Spain here in San Sebastien, which is so beautiful. Tonight we are doing another round of tapas and sangria, which after a long hard day lounging at the beach is just what this backpacker needs.
Hope all is well, and will post some of our great photos next time.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Au revoir Belgique

Well we've had a great time in Brussels staying with my dear friend Sebastien in his apartment. Though we only saw a little bit of the city Corrina and I had a lot to catch up on!
Off to Paris now, until then.
Here is a silly photo of me at a famous landmark in Brussels, Mannekin Pis. You'll get it! We obviously have nicer photos, but my camera is packed away now.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I wont waffle on...

... mainly because it will take me so long to actually type anything on this French-layout keboard. I look like a technophobe typing with 2 fingers and watching exactly where each one presses.
OK this image is obviously pro but just wanted to show everyone what we will be indulging on this evening in Brussels. I arrived safely greeted by my friend Seb at the bus station having crossed the English channel by ferry via Dover from London, another 8 hours on top of the 23 already spent watching a true movie marathon on the Qantas plane from Melbourne. With 7 or so hours in London to fill before boarding i headed for Hyde Park to sit and read but couldn't find a dry park bench as it had just poured with rain, and then was lucky enough to catch up with Kirsty at Victoria station for a 'coffee' and (Klara you'll be happy to hear) hot chocolate.
So in a few hours Corrina and I will finally meet at the train station and thus begin our 5 month adventure together!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Hello BlogWorld

Well after so many months of planning, waiting and saving money my leaving day has finally come around. Having had a great day on Friday with all my friends from work with leaving lunches and drinks at Federation Square into the evening I feel great to be leaving. Though everyone will be missed of course I'm too damn excited to be getting on that plane, train, and automobile (bus) to meet up with Corrina in Belgium to feel too sad. I've still got a long day today, with my plane leaving at 11pm, but at least I've started packing, working out what i still need and will be busy enough with that, breakfast with friends, lunch with family and general last minute rushing around so my time will fly by.
So for everyone that wants to keep informed of where we are and where we'll be until March '07 stay tuned to this blog.