Posts Tagged ‘south america’


Days: 151

Countries: 7

Cities: 27

Kilometers trekked: ~320

Hours spent on a boat: ~170

Bus hours: ~290 (Yowza, that’s 12 days!)

Longest bus ride: 33 hours (El Calafate to El Chatlen, Argentina – also knows as the dreaded Route 40)

Plane hours: 24

Train hours: 0 (South America really needs a rail system)

Highest elevation: 6088m (Huayna Potosi)

Number of rice grains consumed: 7,942,855

Nights spent in a tent: 8

Nights spent in a hammock: 9

UNESCO World Heritage sites visited: 11

Tour guides who carried a machete: 3

Number of robberies/thefts: 2 1/2

*The two weeks we spent in Panama were also included in these calculations. We wouldn’t want them to feel left out…


  1. Pink Dolphins in the Amazon river
  2. Gato Negro boxed wine on sale for next to nothing
  3. Active volcanoes
  4. Millions of empanadas (empanadas for me)
  5. The Bolivian Salt Flats
  6. Colombian butt implants
  7. Camping in hammocks
  8. This monkey
  9. Making it through without getting bed bugs from crappy hostel beds
  10. Trekking in Patagonia


  1. Celine Dion on the Pan Flute
  2. Locals throwing trash in the Amazon River
  3. Guerillas boarding your bus
  4. Rice and chicken. Rice and chicken. Rice and chicken.
  5. The flooding of Macchu Picchu
  6. Loooooooooong Bus Rides that break down, don’t have AC, are overcrowded, and carry chickens
  7. Trying to get your check at a restaurant
  8. The beer. Tastes like water.
  9. Toilet paper (lack thereof, actually. anywhere.)
  10. Mosquitoes

IMG_1742 Adios, South America. You treated us well.


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Argentina vs. Canada friendly match – the last home game in Buenos Aires before the Argentinean team headed to South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.




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Argentina beat Canada 5-0, even without Lionel Messi, their star player (and my new favorite soccer player. Not that I had an old favorite soccer player…)

Woot woot!

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Asociacion Madres de Plaza del Mayo (The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo) is an organization of mothers who united in the 1970’s to look for their children who disappeared during the Dirty War.

During the Dirty War (1976-1983), the Argentinean government was responsible for the disappearance of more than 10,000 people – mostly political activists, students, and guerillas of the People’s Revolutionary Army. (The Mothers claim this number is more than 30,000 – the actual number is hard to determine given the circumstances.) The majority of these people are still unaccounted for.

Today, Los Madres, donned in white scarves, unite every Thursday in the Plaza De Mayo of Buenos Aires for a peaceful protest – demanding information on the whereabouts of those missing.


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For more information about the Mothers, check out their official website… or check out the documentary – Las Madres Del Plaza

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We took a walking tour through San Telmo, one of the barrios in Buenos Aires which is well known for its street art. The roads are lined with graffiti and there are art galleries on every block – it’s a really cool place to wander around with a guide to get some great info on the local artists.

I’m really horrible with remembering names of artists and I should have taken better notes… but I’ll work in filling them in as I find them.


Our guide





My favorite gallery showing was artist Javier Lodeiro’s Wild Child exhibit:


Check out the ArtWalk blog at juanele.me (The archives from May show a lot of the galleries we visited if you are interested…)

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Buenos Aires, the largest and most metropolitan city in Argentina, is where The Khalerias ended their five month stint in South America.

Not unlike any other large city, BA is divided into 48 ‘barrios’ each with a style all their own:


Waterfront of the Puerto Madero district.


The Puente De La Mujer (Woman’s Bridge) in the Downtown area


Palermo – the most populated district, and where most tourists stay

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Recoleta – home to a giant Mausoleum where Evita is buried.


San Telmo – the arts district

Buenos Aires offers a lot more than most cities in South America – cuisine variety, parks, countless markets, tango, and serious nightlife.

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The most popular drink is Fernet, a bitter spirit drank with cola. You’ll have to ask Lina or Ryan for a positive recommendation – I think it tastes like Vodka mixed with dirt.

Besides eating/drinking/tango-ing, we spent some time taking in the local art scene and catching Argentina’s last futbol match before the World Cup…

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On a whim, and perhaps after one too many glasses of wine at happy hour, Lina, Ryan and I decided to jump out of a plane in the middle of Argentina; we made a reservation, and went the next morning.

Our Skydive company wasn’t too into technology (?) – so we don’t have any of those rad pictures that everyone else gets when they skydive… Here’s what I’ve got:

IMG_0153 The plane.

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Closeups: the sign under the pilots window, and of Ryan’s jumpsuit.




We all went in a little skeptical, and a lot nervous – but came out debating whether or not we wanted to make an appointment to jump again the next day.

Skydiving is pretty incredible.

**A sidenote: Our Instructor made us watch an ‘informational DVD’ before we went up, which mostly highlighted a really strange young guy screaming U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What Im Looking For – the ENTIRE time he was coming down from his jump. This prompted a lengthy discussion on the perfect skydiving song. So far, the best we have come up with is Lets Ride by The Bone Thugs & Harmony. Please Advise.

*** New frontrunner: Broken Wings, by Mr. Mister (which might be the best band name. ever.)

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The city of Mendoza is most well known by backpackers as ‘that city in Argentina where you go on bicycle wine tours’. For me, it brings back memories of endless bottles of Malbec, giant steaks, and vicious games of Backgammon.

Most travelers come to take a bike tour through the wine country of Maipu, right outside Mendoza city limits. From there, you can rent bikes on the cheap and ride around to the different wineries… which is a pretty novel idea if you aren’t from California and do that all the time anyway. We decided to spice it up a little by renting a tandem.

(The Khalerias recommend Mr. Hugo for all your bicycle needs. They run their rental business out of their home, and are inexpensive, friendly, and will serve you lots and lots -and lots- of free wine before and after you take your bike out for a spin. Perfect for riding on a busy main road at rush hour!)

I was having too much fun with Lina and Ryan to take many pictures while we were here… but you get the idea

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A bike tour was pretty much all we accomplished while we were in Mendoza, besides stuffing our guts with giant steaks every night. Extra thanks to the awesome Hostel Lao, which was so comfortable we felt right at home.

Scratch that. We managed to jump out of a plane (!) the last day we were in Mendoza – before heading to Buenos Aires. More on that next post…

(We’re about to board a charter boat for four days along the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Be back on the 23rd!)

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