"I reminisce I reminisce.." gsytom's Profile
My first proper taste of travelling was 2003 - a small bit of Thailand, a glance of Kuala Lumpur at night, shopping in Singapore, followed by some surf in Perth, a trip to Uluru, then the epic East Coast road trip - Cairns to Melbourne, with a spot of Sydney. Then a hop over to Christchurch and a coach trip round the south island of New Zealand, great times!
Bangkok, was hectic but vibrant, a bit of a shock at first but I liked it. Next stop Koh Samui, meeting our friend Andy, aka Jim Morrison due to the hair cut. Then we super-chilled on the beach for a week, though we did hire a jeep one day and drive around the island with a couple of stops for waterfall showering.
Then on to Koh Phangan, more drinking on the beach, partying in Hatrin with buckets of vodka and M150 (redbull). Then goodbye to Andy and our new friends and an epic bus journey down through Malaysia to Kuala Lumpur. Missed the infamous Arsenal vs Man-Who game which made Fergie kick a football boot at Becks by a couple of hours. Then on to Singapore the next day for lots of shopping mall walking, Singapore slings and cheap Stussy T-shirts. What a contrast to Bangkok! Too sterile for a city.
Perth, wicked time @ OceanBeachHostel in Cottesloe, good times with good people. Just above the beach, around the corner from the Cottesloe Hotel and the legendary Sunday session. A great surf trip with some more nice people, camping, sight seeing and winetasting. We went to Denmark, Albany and and saw a big 15ft swell outside the Margaret River mouth, windsurfers and kiteboarders only. Then back to Perth for more beach action, and then on to Uluru.
Hot, hot flies, flies, hot walk around the rock at dawn, pretty impressive. And a walk around the Olgas in the afternoon with a Scottish girl whose legs went from very pale to lobster red in two hours. On to Cairns, more chilling and a trip up to Cape Tribulation - more golden orb spiders than you could shake a stick at! Pretty amazing rainforest on the beach, beware of the crocodiles, though we didnt see any.
Then back down to Cairns, where we bought a van, K-Mart for camping kit, and off we go! Lots of beer, camp sites, road miles, roadside gaffles! We made our way to Melbourne stopping off every night to drink pretty much a case of beer, play cards and eat noodles and baked beans in order to pay for the beer. Noodles, our faithful Toyota (used to be a noodles delivery van) never let us down and the a/c kept us cold for 2 months. We stayed in Melbourne 3 nights and (saw nothing due to poor weather) and then drove up to Sydney to make sure we could sell Noodles before we were due to fly to NZ.
After 5 hours in the Kings Cross car market and sold Noodles for a $2,000 profit!
Most people spend at least a week trying to punt their van to a backpacker, we laughed all the way to the bank! Our new friends in the hostel were not amused.. Spent the last week drinking and mooching around Sydney, and saw Grandmaster Flash and Koolism live at Fox Studios; a great night..
Christchurch NZ the next day, where I fell into bed for a week with a cold and chest infection, including a rush trip to doctor, and the use of a face mask in case I had brought SARS with me.. After a slow recovery we bought a ticket on the Stray bus tour around the South Island, and headed up to Kaikora with a nut case bus driver (Spike, you're a legend!). Then around to Christchurch again via the Wild West coast, Picton, Nelson, Westport, the Milford Sound, Queenstown, Invacargill, Dunedin.
Queenstown was most memorable for the canyon swing, the luging and snowmen and almost hang-gliding, Milford Sound was awesome even in the pouring rain, the Bluff for the closest I'm ever likely to get to Antarctica, Nelson for a great hostel with jacuzzi and a large sea lion somewhere on the coast. Then my first ever parachute jump in Christchurch, absolutely rocking with the sun going down over the mountains.
From there a reversal of ticket and a trip back to sunny Guernsey in the heat of the summer to raise some more money.. 6 months and an awesome trip.
A re-run of Part One, with some different vibes. January 2004, this time the classic S.East Asia loop, Thaliand - Laos - Vietnam - Cambodia - Thailand full moon - Perhentian Islands - Singapore - Cairns - Sydney - Auckland and a coach around the north island - Santiago de Chile - Rapa Nui (Easter Island to us Gringos) - Peru - Buenos Aires - Brasil.
Some big highlights - the Chang Mai trek, Chang Mai in general was a nice spot. Nice to be in the hills. Then on to Laos, a nice country in general, with riduculous amounts of bank notes. Vientiane, Luang Prebang - beautiful temples and waterfalls and a massive old tiger on the Mekong river. Vang Vieng - floating down the Mekong on a rubber ring, drinking beer Lao, very nice!
Bus from Vientiane into Vietnam (!!!), 27 hours of dangerous driving, a very hairy border crossing in the mountains complete with rockfall. Then Hanoi beautiful city of many museums, Ho Chi Mihn's Mosoleum, the airforce museum, the temple of Confusicous amongst others.
Then south to the DMZ- Hue, an amazing bike ride among thousands of locals, a guide tour with a war vet, and a great football match with 100 locals + one Tommy westerner!
On to Hoi An, lots of very nice beaches and a suit tailor made for $50! Nha Trang for good drinking sessions, boat and fishing trips, Dalat for a untouristy feel, Irish bar?! and a random golf course visit. Then on to Ho Chi Mihn city, aka Saigon.
Numerous museums, including the war museum and the Cu Chi tunnels - unbelievable. Respect for the Viet Cong. Also the Rocketship discoteque for the most random night club in the world, the shoe shops for knock-off Nikes Airs and the bootleg CD and DVD stores!
Cambodia next, Phnom Penn. The shooting range fun but stupid, the Killing Fields - horrific, it will teach you alot in a few minutes, like how you don't want to fire any more guns. Skipped the other infamous museum as I'd had enough. Also a trip to the most famous pick up joint 'Margarhita's,' which was not funny at all.
Then up to Siam Riep, Angkor Wat - truely amazing including the dawn watch + a blind massage and giving blood for the children, a good night out on the beer avoiding pick up girls.
Then back to Bangkok, down to Koh Samui again for a week doing nothing, followed by Koh Phangan for the full moon party - random funnyness with body paint attached!
Bus into Malaysia, the Perhentian Islands. Absolutely beautiful, similar to the Thai islands, but almost unspoilt. Great snorkelling, heaps of fish, shark, stingray and a big turtle.
Then overnght train down to Singapore, more shopping and fly to Cairns.
Live funk gig in Cairns which was pretty good, go-karting, trip out to the reef on a private boat, didnt compare to Malaysia. Got circled by more sharks though, and massive Maori wrasse.
Lots of cheap wine every night + memory loss in Sydney, surfing (trying) at Manley, DJ Melo-D @ Melt, a trip in the jet boat on Damo's birthday. Good times. Then flight to Auckland this time..
Another Stray bus tour - around the north island, sandboarding at 95 mile beach, a trip to Cape Reinga, quad biking in Paihia, surfing in Raglan, volcanos and hot springs in Rotorua, skydive no 2 in Taupo, learning the hukka with some Maori kids in Tauranga. Another great trip, good people, happy days! NZ rocks..
Chile - Santiago, smoggy city. Good random night out on the beer. Then over to Easter Island - absolutely epic! Go! Amazing Moai statues, the Birdman cult carvings and deep Polynesian history and folklore. Historic highlight of all travels so far..
Back to Chile, much better overnight buses!! Villaracia - out of season and quiet, Volcano climb which was hard but well worth it. Then on to Peru, (I can't believe I didnt go winetasting!!)
Peru, Lima. Not very nice I'm afraid. Stayed in Mira Flores. Then down to Ica and sandboarding and sand buggying in Huachachina, quality fun! Then on to Arequipa, and a real mummified body. Then up to Cusco, winter solstice festival, June 21st, drinking lots of hot Milo to counter brass monkeys, and a very funny motorbike hire trip.
Then train up to Machu Pinchu, (no time or space on walk due to festival time) pretty amazing site, though wish I had done the trail. Pretty surreal place..much respect to the Incas.
Flight to Buenos Aires - great party city - beer sessions, gay club randomness(!) 2 weeks of spanish lessons, Boca Juniors stadium tour, Evita's grave, shopping, some great meals and lots of hanging out. And sighting beautiful girls..
I did mean to see more of Argentina, but was sucked in by the night life, and the fact that it was winter meant it would have been even colder down south, Torres Del Paine, etc. I'm a warm weather person, so on to Brasil.
Igacu falls, pretty incredible and well worth the trip. Vast amounts of water and a very wet boat trip + random night out with some Argentinian girls! Then down to Floranopolis off season, had a quiet time eating out and exploring with a mate.
Sao Paulo, vast city of hecticness. Went to a record shop, met DJ Marky by accident who gave me free entry to Lov-e that night in Sao Paulo (happy birthday Tomo!), great night!
SP too intense, headed north to stay with friends in Recife, thanks guys! Nice week in beautiful apartment and a free tour of Olinda.
Then up to Natal wandering around on a solo tip, learning Portugese, Porto Seguro with some Italians and Mexicans, random nights! Attempted surfing not too good!
Down to Maceo, quiet beach time - then on to Salvador. Pretty, colonial city, lots to see, amazing percussion bands and capoeira shows. Pick pocket central, moved on to Morro de Sao Paulo.
A week spent on the beach again, drinking beer and some truely random nights!
Then down to Itacare, surf bum central, more beach time, hanging out with some cool locals and learning Portugese on the fly. Some VERY random nights out..
Then finally Rio, city of contrasts. Beautiful scenery, beautiful people but stacks of poverty clearly on show. I love the place but couldn't live there. The thing is, you can't blame a poor person for wanting your money if they can see your wealthy enough to be holidaying around the world. I didn't get mugged until I got back to London though!!
Stayed at Magnus' apartment on the Copa, lots of randomness and partying, between trips to the beach, Help nightclub (amusement value only), hectic night in Lapa.
Few days spent in Ihla Grande, beautiful and one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen.
More nights beering, a green crab and some interesting locals. Lovely island..
Then back to Rio for a few days spent pretty quietly, and home via London. In full depress mode...
8 months, another excellent trip..
South America has less of an established backpacker trail than SE Asia, meaning you get to meet more locals and have to work harder to get around. But you can blend in on the streets as a dark featured caucasian, (Swedes and fair hairs maybe not) which you can obviously never do in Asia.
December 05. Man I needed some more of Rio.. Beach, bars, beautiful women, samba and a spot of hang-gliding. And plenty of reals for your pound..
Just what you need after a year in an office. I fully recommend the Ipanema Beach House, www.ipanemahouse.com. Friendly peeps, good breakfast, must be one of the safest parts of Rio - Ipanema - round the corner from the jewellery stores, 3 blocks from Ipanema beach, about 5 or 6 from the square, 1 or 2 from the lake.
I don't recommend flying on the cheap with Iberia, stop off in Madrid. Spend the money and go direct!
Spent the time on the beach at Ipanema and Leblon, and drinking Capirhinas, Vodkarinhas and Skols in the back yard or in and around Ipanema. Very heavy night out Mexican bar with some Italian guys, Absinthe encounters, Copacabana BBQ, very funny night with the Irish fellas, some funny nights out with Danny, Giselle and others, a cool night at a Samba school, a great hang-gliding flight over Leblon, altogether a great holiday..
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