onsdag 5. mars 2008

Thailand revisited

Forgive me blogger, for i have sinned. It's been twenty days since my last entry....
Seriously though, i am now in Thailand, Phuket to be specific. It's one of those places one can hang out with all the comforts of modern living without spending too much money. Thai food is cheap, and thai beer is rumored to be full of formaldehyde anyway...
Why this talk of money? Well, to be honest my finances are a bit low. I am smart enough to use two different banks, one for a savings account and for for a spending account. Before i left, i deposited what i thought was a ridiculously large sum in my spendings account and havn't thought much about it until....well, until i got the bill for the funeral service. We all know living is expensive, but dying is a close second. Right now i wish i had taken the secret decoder ring for my savings account with me. Luckily i have a credit card, so all is not lost. Too bad i had to use it to buy another ticket to Bangkok though. That's right, i was at the airport and got a wee bit surprised when it turned out my ticket was for the 20th of March, not February as i thought i had booked. Well, the travel agent blames me of course. I don't think i could've done such an elementary mistake after spending a few weeks looking for a cheap ticket. But, what's done is done, and i can't prove they made a mistake. In the end, i was responsible for not checking the dates on the ticket closer. It was non-refundable though, so i'm not getting any money back (i lie, i am getting the airport taxes back...big whoop). So, i'm standing at the airport, no ticket and my apartment is rented out. My only choice is to buy another ticket, which is not very cheap one and a half hours before the flight leaves. It was not a happy day for me, i must have been the gloomiest looking fellow on the flight. Everybody else are happy to be going to Thailand, while i'm looking like a clown who shot his whole family, ran out of bullets and had to swallow all his balloons to commit suicide by constipation.
In fact, i still cringe when i think about it. Just writing about it brings back the old balloon-brick in the stomach...
Anyway, my travel plans have to change a bit. I do have enough money left on my credit card to live modestly here before i go home on the 8th of April. I don't have enough to buy plane tickets left and right to go to exciting places. I havn't decided what to do yet, but i can't stay here more than 30 days before i either have to do a little border jumping or go somewhere else. Anyway, i will suffer no hunger, and if i am thirsty, well...there is always thai beer....

onsdag 13. februar 2008

One more funny pic:)

Jedi Travel - We take you where you never knew you wanted to go

* Jedi hand-wave * This is not the place you seek...

mandag 11. februar 2008

Titikaka and Machupicchu


From the famous floating islands of Lake Titikaka. Before a way of life, now a dog and pony show for the tourists. Verdict : Fail. Seriously, don´t.



From Taquile island on Titikaka. The traditional dress of Peruvian women. They are all dressed up to celebrate the Carneval. Although the island is a bit touristy, it has managed to keep its atmosphere and spirit. The locals were marching up and down the island the whole day playing their one song. They really need to practice more, and maybe expand their repertoire a wee bit:)
Machupicchu (means "old mountain" in Quechua - the inka language). The city itself isnt that impressive, at its hayday only about 500 families lived here. Keywords here are, location, location, location. The view is amazing, and although perhaps South Americas biggest tourist trap (it costs 175-190 USD for a daytrip. Thanks to british owned Perurail for their monopoly), it still is nice to visit. Compared to the impressive maya ruins of Central America this is just some old houses and terasses. Come for the legend, stay for the view.
This is my last blog from SA, as i will go home in a few days to attend the funeral of my grandmother. I will only stay a few days in Sarpsborg (100kms from Oslo) before i head out
again to South East Asia this time. I feel i have seen most of the stuff i wanted to see here in SA, with the exception of Galapagos (muy caro, and probably overrated acording to some sources) and the Amazon (amazing for some, a humid mosquito hell for others). Sadly I dont have the time now, and i wont come back here just to do those two things. Not this time anyway.
I do hope to blog some more from Vietnam or Laos or whereever i go, so check in again in March for more sarcastic comments on monuments of national pride.
I`ll leave you with two bangs, one from Copacabana on New Years Eve, the other from Potosi in Bolivia.

For some reason, google wont display the second movie although they are from the same camera and in the same format. Yay!

video

onsdag 30. januar 2008

Bolivia




This is taken in Chile, just a few hundred meters from the border to Bolivia. Its at about 4200 meters if i remember correctly. It was quite funny to turn off the asphalt road we were on at the time. The driver pointed further down the road and said that was the road to Argentina. Then he turned off the road down this barely visible track and said, "This is the road to Bolivia".






This is somewhere on the Altiplano, it doesnt really do it justice. The landscape and colors are amazing, definately one of the most beautiful places i have been. It is really windy and very cold at night though.











The salt flats of Uyuni. They are covered with a thin layer of water this time of year, and thus reflect everything like a mirror. It is a spectacular sight. It is the biggest in the world of its kind, but due to the water we werent able to go fast enough to really explore it. In the dry season you can drive on it like a proper road, so its possible to go further.








Another one of the salt flats.















We werent alone on the flats. These two girls were busy looking at the pictures they´d taken.
I thought it a good moment to take a picture of them:)











On the road from Uyuni to Potosi. It is one of the worst roads i have ever been on. It doesnt really show here, but a trip supposed to take 6 hours took almost 10. The flat only took about 20 minutes. Its hard to see here, but the tire they´re putting on is actually much larger than the flat one. They removed a few parts of the break system to make up for it. That´s using your head.








The train comes here twice a day, so its quite safe to nap.














We´re off to the silver mine in Potosi. First we have to stop and buy the miners some gifts. Coca leaves, alcohol and dynamite. Those bags are full of Coca.
Read more about the mine on wikipedia :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potos%C3%AD










I bought a stick of dynamite as a gift. It was only 10 Bolivianos, which is less than one Euro.
We spent the better part of two hours walking and climbing around the mine. Its not made for tall people, and the work is extremely hard.
The miners are divided into 3 classes. The 3rd class miners do the dirty work and earn 50 Bolivianos a day. The 2nd class handle the explosives and drilling, while the 1st class generally oversees the work and owns the equipment. A lot of children also work here, i saw some which cant have been older than 7.





She´s not a miner, but she works separating the minerals from the piles of rocks the miners bring up. She´s 77 years old and loooves her Coca. Spry as a mountain goat, she jumped and half ran down to the road below.
















It´s true, "More beer for more friends"!
A handy 5 litres of friendly beer for those special moments.





mandag 21. januar 2008

Buenos Aires

The Capitol building, modelled after its American counterpart. It is very nice, and hard to get a picture of due to the fence behind right behind me. Hope i'll get a better picture of the real thing when i go to DC in March.













From the Necropolis in La Recoleta (the richest part of BA). This is a cemetary for the rich and famous, and is full of tombs and sarcophagi trying to overgo eachother in their opulence. In short, it's a pissing contest for the dead. It feels very weird to walk around here, specially if you go early before all the tourists arrive. I was pretty appalled by the whole thing, some of these graves are bigger than houses and must have cost more than most people earn in a lifetime. With all the rich people lying here, you'd think they would have enough money to care for the place. Nope, they have the gall to ask tourists for donations and to buy maps and stuff. Guess that's how one becomes rich in the first place, by spending other peoples' money.







Another one of the "graves". Can you believe the hubris of some people?




















Rows upon rows of little death boxes. Sell your car and your house, and you might afford one too.

















This one is obviously modelled on The Tardis of Doctor Who fame. I like the modifications to the original design, lets in more light and gives it a nice modern look. Cudo's to the dead guy for brightening up my day.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tardis














For the footie fans. I didn't go to the stadium on purpose, it was on the way to the harbor so i stopped by to have a look. There was even a look-a-like of Maradona walking around on the next street trying to stiff tourists for a picture.
He didn't fool me, he didn't look at all like he'd done a few kilo's of cocaine over the years.

fredag 11. januar 2008

The amazing Iguassu

After an almost 25 hour bus ride from Rio, i am now in Iguassu falls. There are actually two cities here, one on the Brazilian side called Foz do Iguacu, and one on the Argentinian side called Puerto Iguazu. I´ve spent a few days in both, and seen the falls from both sides. They are truly spectacular, and the pictures do not do them justice.


A part of the falls seen from the Brazilian side.
See the little boat down in the left corner? I took one of those rides, and they take you under the waterfalls. It`s all very touristy, but it was fun anyway.











The "Devils throat". I took a lot of pictures of this from different angles and positions, but they`re all foam and spray so it´s hard to see how insanely cool it really is. On the Argentinian side there is a platform up on the left which let´s you see right down the falls. You are literally standing on top of it, being sprayed by cascades of water. Great stuff:)






More falls, this time from the Argentinian side. The Brazilian side gives a great overview, while the other side is more "hands on water in your face". The Argentinian side is also much more elaborate and takes almost a whole day to see it all. They even have a small choo-choo train to take you to the different parts. With the queuing and all, it was actually faster to walk.








El Cocodrilo! Not too big, but it was chilling under a bridge so I had to take a shot of it. Some children were spitting on its head to make it move. I wanted to throw one of them over the edge, but i hear that sort of thing is frowned upon here.









I was walking to the bus station after having lunch when this trailer was taking a turn too fast. Its whole right side ripped open and spilled out a few tons of paper. Now you know how traffic jams start...










I also visited the Itaipu dam just cause it´s here and it´s the biggest of its kind in the world.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Itaipu

It has 20 of these generators, and half the power of one of these is enough to supply Paraguay with 95% of its electricity needs. The rest goes to Brazil and supplies about 23% of its needs (these are numbers from the tour, Wikipedia says differently). It produces 1400MW, which is a bunch. Certainly enough to charge your phone and keep the AC on at the same time. Notice my flashy shoes, flip-flops aren´t allowed so i got to borrow some extremely warm workshoes. The hat i would´ve worn anyways, just because:)



Humans on the right, snakes on the left. They actually have a program to teach snakes to read signs here. It´s good to know the entrance fee is put to good use.

tirsdag 8. januar 2008

Fun signs aren`t so funny without the pictures...

Saw some more funny signs on the road, but unfortunately i didn`t get any pics of them. You gotta wonder if those brazilians have a sense of humor, or if they just don`t understand english that well. I think it`s a bit of both:)


Love Time Hotel - Hotel in Catete in Rio. Wonder if it`s possible to rent by the hour? The place actually looked kinda nice though.

Fire Nights Motel - This was on the road, so there weren`t alot of other buildings around. Maybe they supply the fire themselves?

Wimpy Combustion - Probably won`t be a big hit outside Brazil

Fatalsurf - Neither will this brand i believe. Don`t know if they just sell clothes or equipment as well, but i might buy a t-shirt just for fun. Kinda like the cigarette packs with skulls on them, except with pictures of surfing accidents and things like "Surfing can kill!" , "Saltwater in your lungs may impair breathing, damage your health and cause premature death" or "Coral reefs can be really really sharp"