Saturday, 30 January 2010

DIARY - BRAZIL Londrina


Trivia question - which is the worlds oldest airline?
TUESDAY 26 JANAURY – Alex has bought us tickets for the 0955hrs Garcia bus to Londrina, R67.30 (£24).   Some roads are closed due to flooding so we leave in plenty of time but the traffic is worse than expected.  Luckily all Brazilians drive like Grand Prix drivers so with Ayrton Senna (Gisele) at the wheel we make it through arriving with a couple of minutes to spare.  It is a more comfortable coach with a wider gap between seats and leg and foot rests.  Again the countryside is much like England but much more of it.   Drinking water is supplied and although there is a toilet on board we make a couple of stops.  Each time entering the building you are given either a sheet or plastic card on which to record purchases before heading to the check out.  Even just to go to the bathroom you must take a card, walk all the way through the restaurant and shops and hand it in before leaving.  This time we are only 30 minute late arriving in Londrina at 1830hrs.  The bus station is

Friday, 29 January 2010

MOTORHOME Mexican camping Part 1 Brownsville to Playa Palebot

Trivia question - Where does tanzanite come from?


Information on the places we motorhome camped in Mexico last winter.  Whilst many are mentioned in the trusted Mexican Camping book others we found ourselves.  Part of the journey we travelled with our friends Kevin & Ruth feeling that in some locations it was safer with two vehicles. As much as possible we followed the coast south.  If we stay at a Pemex we put gas in our vehicles.

Brownsville Wal-Mart was our starting point - FREE


217 miles to Pemex, about 15 miles south of the Tropic of Cancer sign - FREE
(1/8 mile further on is a fishing camp where owner Kevin says he will

DIARY - BRAZIL Sorocaba

Trivia question - Which is the only continent without an active volcano?

MONDAY 25 JANUARY – Cassiano is at work but Edilene has taken the morning off. She watches as I prepare the chilli pasta for lunch. We take a walk around town and visit the clinic where Cassiano is working. The waiting room is crowded and young children are using pieces of cardboard to skate around on the tiled floor. His lunch hour is 11 – 12 so we eat very early and invite Eva to join us. Afterwards we sit, watch and thoroughly enjoy the movie “UP”. Cassiano nips back from work to take us down to the bus station for our 1430hrs Viacao Calvipe bus to Sorocaba, R19.55 (£6.50). No air-con but

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

GENERAL TRAVEL - How to make a baby, step by step picture guide

Trivia question - How many North American states border the Pacific Ocean?








Melt a plastic mixture and add a little candy perfume to make it smell nice.












Pour into a mould then cook in a hot oven for 7 minutes





DIARY BRAZIL Laranjal Paulista

Trivia question - Which three countries border Iguazu Falls?



THURSDAY 21 JANUARY – A great start to the day when we hear that Claire has passed her next lot of exams to be a chartered accountant, this means she now has a diploma.  Luiz walks home at lunch time and tells us the city is in chaos, with cars at a standstill, due to all the flooding after it rained for most of the night.  Unfortunately Luiza does not arrive back in time to share the delicious fish and prawn stew that the maid has cooked.  Fortunately Luzia makes it back in time to drive us to the subway to connect with our coach.  We are booked on the 2pm Valle de Tiete http://www.valedotiete.com.br/ bus to Laranjal Paulista, R32.77 (£11.50).  Our journey takes us through very green countryside much like England other than a few fields having termite mounds.  There are many problems on the road and

Monday, 25 January 2010

LIFESTYLE - Good luck

Trivia question - What is the only man made feature visible from the moon?

It is nice when good luck rubs off.

Whilst many people consider themselves either lucky or unlucky we consider a lot is what you make of it.  Our glass is always half full!  When we were mugged we felt we were lucky that Steve did not have worse injuries and set out to learn from the experience, others would simply have said how unlucky they were.

When backpacking across Borneo we stayed with a hospitality club host.  He was a friendly Chinese man and took time off work to show us around during our 4 day stay putting other things on hold.  Many times he commented on what lucky people we were.

After we left he sent us a text message - you have left something behind.

Followed by a second message - your good luck. Today I went to the store to buy my new kitchen appliance, I was the 1 millionth customer and won a whole new kitchen of appliances.

Trivia answer - The great wall of China

Sunday, 24 January 2010

CRUISE - Ports of call

Trivia question - What is the longest river in Australia?  Answer at end of blog

 PORTS OF CALL

Rather than do an organised tour how about contacting a Hospitality Host to arrange to meet ashore for a personal tour and insight into the area.


Try to gather your own information on the things to do at the ports of call, many ships have travel guide books that can help with this.


Attend the shore excursion lectures as they often offer tips for independant travellers and give out maps.


Saturday, 23 January 2010

DIARY BRAZIL Sao Paulo


Trivia question - Which city has more canals than Venice (Answer at end of blog) 
 

SATURDAY 16 JANUARY – Sergio, Lisete, Gabriel and Beatriz all pile into the car to take us to the bus station.  We have a bit of trouble finding a bank that will accept our visa debit card, (Bradesco does), so arrive at the bus station as they are boarding for our 9.20am departure with the 1001 bus company.  Our expensive tickets include a packed lunch and newspaper but the seats themselves are no better than the ones in the other South American countries and in fact have less leg room.  It takes about 1-hour to clear the suburbs of Rio but soon we are travelling in areas of jungle with flooded muddy rivers.  This is the region that was hit by heavy rain over the new year with a couple of coastal cities getting bad mudslides.  The lunch box is so good that we spread the 4 snacks out over the journey, 2 packets with 2 crackers in each, 1 packet with 2 sweet biscuits and 1 other filled sweet biscuit – it is a bit harder to make the small drinks carton last though!  The bus stops for about 15 minutes part way through the journey.  Our driver is a bit of a mad man travelling very fast and overtaking many other coaches. 

Friday, 22 January 2010

DIARY BRAZIL Rio de Janeiro


Trivia question - Where is the deepest underground in the world? - Answer at end of blog
PLEASE BEAR WITH ME AS I FIGURE OUT THE BLOG POSTINGS, I AM NOW THINKING IT BETTER TO PUBLISH THE DIARY IN RELATION TO EACH CITY OR AREA THAT WE VISIT.  THEREFORE THE FIRST PART OF THIS DIARY IS A REPEAT AND THE LAST PAGE OF EACH DIARY WILL PROBABLY ALSO END UP BEING THE FIRST PAGE OF THE NEXT ONE.
SATURDAY 9 JANUARY – My little sisters 50th birthday, boy if life flying by quickly.  This morning we arrive in Rio and the Captain has said it is a spectacular approach.  I wake at 5am, put the TV on to the bridge camera and wait.  It is still dark and Rio is lit up in the distance so I will linger in bed until it is worth getting dressed and going out on deck.  I keep glancing up at the TV but there is little to see, until I wake again at 8.30am to see all the containers in the port!  Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL, is somewhere we have always wanted to visit, having seen so many pictures of Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain.  We can actually see the statue on the hill from the dining room but it looks smaller and less impressive than we expected. 

Thursday, 21 January 2010

BRAZIL Carnaval and Samba

Trivia question - What is the 3rd largest metropolis in the world?

 Being in Brazil during carnaval is a big thing, although Rio de Janiero is the most famous Salvador is gaining popularity as it is aimed at the local people with more of a street parade and Olinda is also popular.  However almost all the big cities have some sort of festival.

Our travel plan meant that we would not be in Brazil during carnaval but that did not  prevent us from getting a taster.

During January and early February there are many rehearsals that you can attend.  We tried to go to one in Rio but arrived too late, parking was impossible and the main stands were all full up so if you want to go to that one you need to arrive very early.







Tuesday, 19 January 2010

CRUISE - GET MORE out of your cruise.

Trivia question - Where in the world is the highest ski lift in the world?

Here are some suggestions to helpyou to get more out of your cruise.

Arrive on board as early as possible to start enjoying the on board food, often you can board ealier than the promoted time.




As soon as you get on board take the spa tour as they often give out freebies or have raffles, (as most people are still getting settled in the odds of you winning a prize are quite high, we have won a full body wrap on an RCI cruise).




Monday, 18 January 2010

DIARY 8-14 January BRAZIL Rio de Janeiro

Trivia Question - How many countries have borders with the Mediterranean (answer at end of blog)

FRIDAY 8 JANAURY – After breakfast in the Rotterdam we partake in the departure meeting which includes some of the questions raised by guests such as, is the water in the ships toilet sea water or fresh – why do they need to know. Do the crew sleep on board? Is there an elevator to take you from the front of the ship to the back? Do we have to leave the ship to do the shore excursions? After partaking in a few games we sit by the pool learning the card game of hand and foot with Michael & Sally and Pat & Beth, very much like Canasta. Steve comes 3rd in the Olympics and wins a picture frame, mug, key ring and luggage tag. The evening show is excellent, Live Wire, and act from England with Claire on the electric violin and Mike on the guitar. The final quiz of “Are you smarter than the Explorations Team” is really funny and our group of 10 come out winners but no prize.

HAL 19, AT SEA

Saturday, 16 January 2010

BACKPACKING Chile using public transport

Travel Trivia Question  - Which river has the most islands?


 We arrived in Northern Chile from Argentina.  This is an account of the public transport we used in Chile but for information on accommodation and other things check out my travel log.

SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA TO CALAMA San Pedro de Atacama is small enough for you to be able to visit all the bus companies to get information for onward travel.  We book the 16,15hrs Frontera bus to Calama, CH$2500 (2.80).  It is a fairly comfortable but obviously old coach and the journey takes about 1 1/2 hours.  Most of the bus depots are close to the city centre in Calama with the exception of some of the long haul ones.

Roadside shrines between Calama and Caldera 

CALAMA TO CALDERA   You can get a shared taxi from the centre of Caldera to the bus station, CS$500 (65p) pp. We take the Pullman bus to Caldera CH$14,000 (£17.50), but when it arrives it is

Friday, 15 January 2010

DIARY 1-7 January 2010 ANTARCTICA CRUISE, FALKLANDS, BUENOS AIRES

Travel Trivia Question of the day - What is the second longest river in Africa?

FRIDAY 1 JANUARY 2010 -   Happy New Year- Having stayed up until 3.30am seeing in the new year I am not surprised that Steve does not want to get up and join me for breakfast at 8,30am.  His wake up calls is the start of the games at 10am.  We are doing really well with the games and so far have won 1 sweatshirt, 2 hats, 6 t-shirts and 2 mugs.  Unfortunately the trivia is a different story and the team Steve goes with consistently come in second. At computer classes a lady next to me has noticed my blog and asked if we could meet up for lunch as she is a “lifestyle coach”.  Steve & I meet up with Yvonne & Jim at the Rotterdam.  She asks many questions about how our lifestyle evolved in order that she may help others and asks if she can link her clients to my blog.  I am rather amused by all this as I don’t

Thursday, 14 January 2010

CRUISE Transatlantic 12 nights $399 is this a good deal?

TRAVEL TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE DAY (Answer within next blog)
In which American state is it illegal to pawn false teeth?

Today I had an E-mail from our friends and fellow travellers Kevin & Ruth asking me if I thought the Travelzoo top 20 cruise deal of the week was a good one.

Enjoy a 12-night Transatlantic cruise, with stops along Portugal's coast, for US$399 per person.  Plus receive US$150 shipboard credit. That's US$33 per night for a vacation that includes all meals and endless entertainment options. 

So what constitutes a good deal.  Well everyone has their own idea of what a good deal if but I can certainly

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

DIARY DECEMBER - CHILE, ARGENTINA, ANTARCTICA

iN THE FUTURE I PROPOSE TO POST THE DIARY EACH WEEK SO THAT IT IS NOT SUCH A MAMMOTH READ!


200912


TUESDAY 1 DECEMBER 2009 – Gabriel has left by the time we get up but Juan Carlos is home and prepares us breakfast.  He goes out with the girls who have visited Santiago to do their Christmas shopping.   We leave late morning and walk to the city centre where there is a nice main square with the old cathedral surrounded by modern office blocks.  The nearby market is famous as the roof structure was made in Birmingham, England last century then shipped here and assembled.  Inside the market there are restaurants all round the edge with way too many people trying to persuade you to visit theirs.  We order from the special menu as you get your main course plus soup and an after dinner drink.  First they bring the main courses; Steve enjoys a local seafood speciality Paila Marina whilst I have fish.  Next they bring our bill but we explain that we have not had our soup.  After the soup they try again with the bill and we have to ask for the free after dinner drinks before paying it.  Across the river is a fruit and vegetable market with low prices so we buy some cherries and a fresh fruit juice.  We stroll through the riverside park then head to “Cerro Santa Lucia” in the centre of the city for nice views.  It is a strange hill with lots of walkways and terraces and really interesting.  On the way back we detour to the streets called “Londres” and Paris where there are some nice buildings.  Taking our first journey

Monday, 11 January 2010

GENERAL TRAVEL - Ecuador - Food glorious food

Trivia- Which country has the largest number of islands?

A picture log of some of the food we ate in Ecuador


   Otis Spunkmeyer danish pastry, guess what the white stuff is on top!

Patty's $1.50 (90p) breakfast, fried cheese in platanos and scrambled egg

It was Steve's birthday during our Galapagos Cruise on board the Gran Poseidon and they made him a huge birthday cake 
















 Galapagos, San Cristobal, Cows innards on the BBQ












Banos, Steve waiting for his $2 (£1.20) lunch, unfortunately it turned out to be pretty rough











Alausi, 50c hot herbal drinks for sale.  I had an upset stomach so a special mixture was made for me.  Almost all the drinks contained aloe gel.












 Cuenca market, Steve buying his $2 roast pork dinner











Cuenca market, juice bar 50c a glass












Trivia answer - Finland 

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

BACKPACKING Northwest Argentina by public transport

Our journey in South America began in  Ecuador, then down through Peru and Bolivia to get into north west Argentina then into Chile.  We arrived there Villazon in Bolivia. You walk over a bridge which is the border. Full information for the trip can be found on my other diary travel log whereas this is mainly information relating to public transport.




LA QUIACA TO HUMAHUACA Put your watch back 1-hour at the border. Taxi's will be waiting to take you to the bus station. AR$10 (£1.50). A couple of blocks down from the bus station and 1 block to your right is a bank with an ATM Take extra care at the bus station, keep a hand on your bags at all times as