BootsnAll Travel Network

We’re baaaaack!!!

March 10th, 2007

So I guess the 30 day time frame was a little of an underestimate. Try five months!!! Our apologies to all of our dedicated readers and avid followers who got short changed on the end of our amazing journey. As many of you know we lost (courtesy of Bootnsall server failure) our last two postings and it has taken us this long to get over our (Jeff’s!!) bitterness. Since we have now been back in the “real world” for over five months our memories on the details are getting a bit foggy but here is a short synopsis of our last month on the road:

– Horseback riding and chilling in the mountains of Hacienda Guachala in Northern Ecuador
– Final journey back to one of our favorite big cities, Quito and then off to the sweltering city of Panama City for a full education on the Panama Canal
– A quick flight to Guatemala to explore the environs for a full three weeks
– A trip to the eastern Guatemala to view the hidden Mayan city of Tikal, a “three-hour tour” (think Gilligan theme) down the Rio Dulce which opens up into the blue seas of the Caribbean
– Traveling cross-country on bus to the amazing Spanish colonial town of Antigua
– Enjoying the company of our gracious hosts, Jim and Martha including four days of homemade “Martha” meals, hand-crafted “Jim Gin and Tonics” and warm, just-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies
– Stocking up on all our last minute gifts in the market town of Chichicastenango
– Traveling overland to our final country out of 25, Mexico
– Stopping off in the amazing, San Cristobal de las Casas for some “real” corn tortillas, some more shopping and one last church!
– A KING SIZE BED!! in Mexico City and then our last travel snafu which was our first canceled flight. Can anyone guess the carrier?? That’s right….Alaska Airlines! Typical…..
– Finally, an amazing homecoming to family, friends and, most of all, micro-brew beer with hot wings!!!!

Well what can we say?! We are lucky, blessed, thankful and humble about our experience. Yet, most of all, so confident we made the right choice at the right time in our lives! Now that we are back we have completely immersed ourselves in the “real” world, American style. Being that this is the case we have to run (of course, isn’t everyone always sooooo busy in the real world?) and catch dinner and a movie with some friends.

Please stay tuned as we would like to decompress our thoughts, opinions and ideas while at the same time catch all of you up on what we have been doing and, of course, WHERE ARE UPCOMING TRAVELS WILL TAKE US!!!

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September 29th, 2006

This is not a plea for money from your stranded travelers in some foreign country. Just the opposite actually. We arrived home to much fanfare on the 17th of September after the most amazing eight months of our lives. After documenting the last three weeks of our trip for you all to read the server on the Bootsnall website crashed…..Yes we know, that really sucks. Not only did we lose the documentation of our final three glorious weeks but we lost all our travelogues back to August 16th. Unfortunately we didn’t have access to print all of them off before the crash and desperately hope one of our anal-retentive friends or family members might have done so. If any of you have printed or saved our notes and stories please contact by email and let us know what your ransom will be….just kidding. No really, we will pay anything!!!

If we don’t hear from anyone we hope to recant all our journeys within the next 30 days so please be patient. We can’t tell you how much we cherished all your input and interest over the last eight months. We have memories that will last our lifetimes and strongly hope we have inspired many of you to create your own lifetime travel memories as well.

Love Becca and Jeff


Ups and Downs of Peru

August 29th, 2006

Bus ride after Chevy Malibu ride after bus ride and we are smack dab in the middle of southern Peru and it´s gorgeous capital city of Arequipa. Man….lots of driving to traverse the country of Peru but the positive side is you get to see some amazing sights and Peru has many of those to offer.

Our stop in Arequipa was inspired by a few factors. Just outside of Arequipa (just outside in Peru means 5 hours and two bus changes) is the deepest navigable canyon in the world and inside Arequipa are its quaint streets and colonial, yet locally-inspired architecture just waiting to be explored. Our first stop after, yet another night bus from the coast inland to Arequipa was the trekking travel agency of Peru Land Adventures. Since we only had five days scheduled for the area and wanted to take a three day/two night trek to the Cañon del Colca (this is the previously referenced deepest navigable canyon in the world) we had to get something scheduled right away. Thank goodness they had room….we didn´t realize Arequipa was getting so popular with the trekking crowd. We booked the trek that started the next morning and headed to hit the hay since the overnight bus ride didn´t allow for much sleep. Sidenote time: If anyone tells you they are a sound sleeper on the twisting bus rides of South America they are either lying or were heavily (we stress heavily) sedated at the time. Since “the 22-hr excursion” in Northern Peru we have smartened up and spent the extra cash for the plushest seats you can imagine….these seats are seriously like the first class seats on an international flight…wow. Unfortunately, you still can´t get what Becca terms “good sleep”. Oh well…..we will catch our catnaps at the hotel that morning.

The next morning started early….5AM! We were picked up by taxi and couriered to the local bus station where we got to meet our guide, Nestor, as well as our six travelling buddies. After introductions we all headed onto the local bus for a three hour trip to Chivay, the midpoint of our journey, and over the passes at 4800m (that is almost 16,000 feet)!! As soon as we hit Chivay the competition began….for bus seats that is. As we found out later the best reason to have a guide for this trek is the employment of another person in the battle for bus seats. The buses are jammed with fellow trekkers, local rural women and their multitudes of children, and others just commuting 3-4 hours to work.(Dad..and you thought the drive to Boeing Field was long!) As most people, we would be happy to give our seats up to the baby-laden, young mothers or weary commuters but the competition is not with them but fellow travellers. Most people are cordial and rational except for those few….who are usually French (sorry Frenchies it is true!) Okay…we won´t get into the unpleasantries exchanged (primarily because most of them were non-verbal) but needless to say Nestor is the man and our entire group was comfortably (well…that might be a stretch on any local bus) seated for the ride.

We arrived around midday at Cabanaconde which not only was the starting and finishing point of our trek but also hometown to Nestor, our guide. He is from the BIG city in these parts of the Andes which constitutes a population of 4500. As we start walking through the streets and heading for the canyon Nestor shares local stories and watches us with a smile as we all adjust to the altitude. Yikes….3300 meters is not easy on the lungs….just wait!!! Our first three hours were spent descending, learning, and in Jeff´s case…..hugging the trail close to the mountain. WOW….a 2000 meter drop doesn´t look that steep when you see it in pictures but when you are putting one foot in front of the other on the trail and are slip-slidin’ around on loose dirt, its enough to make you say “MEATBALLS”! a few times. On the way down we were educated on the ways and paths of the Inca conquerors as well as those that have lived in the area for the last two millenia. It is amazing to learn firsthand about the multitudes of unknown and tasty fruits; abundance of shaman-used hallucinogenic berries and seeds; dangerous acid producing tree; and most importantly to the local economy, the cactus parasite (please don´t ask us to remember all the names) which is sold for mucho dineros to international firms where it is used for cosmetic pigmentations as well as many other interesting uses. As we continue down (about 1200 meters) the Cañon delights us with so many amazing views of the river far, far below and the miniscule villages (always with a giant church) that dot the mountains. As we hit the river bend and adjoining rope bridge the impact of our descent hit us as we glance back up across the volcanic ash flutes and see just what we accomplished. It also hits us that when we were coming down we saw the village we would sleep in directly across from us……which now lies hundreds of meters above our heads!!! Looks like another two hours of hiking…..this time uphill. Well, at least it will get us ready for what´s in store on Day 2.

Day One ends with us laying our heads in a very nice mud-hut and enjoying a wonderful, home-cooked meal with our trekking mates. Day Two starts with an even better pancake breakfast (no, these weren´t the crappy little crepe pancakes…but thick fluffy ones) and later we will find out why we needed it. After Nestor provides us with a great review of the small village we´ve just slept in and we encounter some of the friendly locals we start our morning descent to the Oasis below. The two hour hike downhill (yes…again…gosh our feet hurt) gives us a great view of what we accomplished yesterday and the 1000 meter climb that awaits us after our short dip and lunch at the oasis. The climb starts after lunch at around 2200 meters and ends 3 hours later at 3200 meters. The trials and tribulations of step after step and conversation after conversation with our new trekking friends will stay with us forever as we reach the top and realize that we have just completely traversed one of the deepest canyons in the world in just over 24 hours…..Next on our list was a warm shower, cold beer, and the final highlight of the trek….another competitive bus ride to see the Andean condors of Cruz del Condor. This tourist trap is worth it for most as you glance down another deep ravine and across to Mount Mismi (opposite side of the mountain contains the Eye of the Amazon), you get the chance to see giant 3-4 meter wide condors spread their wings and peruse the local landscape for breakfast. This trek from Land Adventures we highly recommend. Couple of caveats….make sure you do the 3 day-2 night trek as the other requires hiking at 3:00AM (yuk) and definitely make sure you like your guide as he will be fighting for seats in your honor…HAHAHA!

The end of our trek signalled the beginning of our sightseeing in Arequipa. The sights are quite unique. The inner-city, yet quiet, gorgeously painted 16th century Convent of Saint Catherine, the tourist markets with great alpaca products, and all the building made of sillar which is an amazing white stone that sparkles in the sunshine. However we didn´t get to see all the sights due to Arequipa Day which their annual parade that lasts from sun up until sun down…..or way after! We enjoyed a balcony view of the festivities and snapped too many photos of the great regional costumes before heading to the bus terminal for…..yes you guessed it…..another overnight bus ride. This time we were headed in VIP fashion for the Sacred Valley and it´s crown jewel of Cusco.

Cusco is one of those enchanted cities of South America. Known for its riches during Inca times the Spanish Conquistadors went after it as soon as they could. As you walk through the beautifully built, cobblestone streets of Cusco and avoid the now, overly-present hawkers of food, goods, and art you really get a feel for the mixing of cultures between the Spanish and South American. Giant European churches built right next to amazingly fitted Incan rock structures……towering colonial building that are overlooked from the hill side by the even more omnipresent Incan fortresses of Sacsayhuaman. Sauntering through the streets of Cuzco and exploring its nearby stone ruins are an experience every one should have….especially if they are on their to Machu Picchu. And of course that was our final objective……

There are many ways to approach Machu Picchu. You can hike the Inca Trail (sorry, sold out), you can take the beautiful Vistadome tourist train from Cuzco (sorry over $200 a person), you can hire a guide company complete with flag-guided tour (not this time…maybe when we are 60), or you can jump on a local bus for two hours head from small town to small town through the Sacred Valley and then catch the Backpacker express (only $44) at 8:00pm from Ollantaytambo. Well can you guess which option your budget conscious (yes…we still have to buy a home when we return) travellers chose? All we can say is WOW…..good choice. The amazingly engineered mountain-side terraces, gorgeous bouganvillea lined streets, and local townspeople of Ollantaytambo make it worth a stop for those heading to and fro Machu Picchu. The 8:00pm train put us in the Machu Picchu staging town of Aguas Calientes (read: get ready for tourist inflation!! really annoying) for the night and we were tucked in early with our alarm set for a sunrise viewing of the lost city itself….Machu Picchu.

This is another one of those worldly sights that everyone must have their own first impression of. Therefore we won´t offer many descriptions, rather advice and excitement. There are few things more amazing than happening upon (that´s how it happens) Machu Picchu in the early morning sunlight. Of course there are other tourists but not even close to the amount in the late morning and early afternoon. The first bus leaves at 5:45AM to wind you up the mountain to the site….make sure you are on one of the first ten and you are guaranteed views and photos with less than a hundred people. Of course….if you take the Inca Trail to MP you get there before that and that must be a sight unto its own. We absolutely loved exploring every inch of the sacred and residential areas of Machu Picchu which were inhabited by less than 300 people up until the late 1600´s. Our favorite view, however, was after the 25-30 minute hike to the Sun Gate (where the Inca Trailers arrive). The sweeping views of the city are amazing and our advice is to start the hike around ten in order to avoid the onslaught of late-rising tourists. Enjoy it all day and bring plenty of sunscreen and a rain jacket….things in these Andes are very uncertain.

Well…we are back in Cusco and headed back north for Ecuador after conquering most of Peru. After many countries travelled and many sights and cities seen Peru ranks right up there for experiences and culture. See you all soon….we´ve only got 4 weeks left…..boohoo!

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“X-Games” Zanatta Style

August 16th, 2006

Entering South America we had been warned of one thing… out for the long bus rides. Well being that we were in tiny Ecuador for a few weeks we got spoiled. The Welcome to Peru bus ride initiated us in flawless South American fashion…..22 hours of pure, unadultered, bus riding fun with a capital F. We boarded the bus in the sleepy border town of Tumbes, just through the miles and miles of banana plantations from Ecuador, and headed off to Lima. The trip was scheduled to take 16 hours but at 3AM (yes that´s the morning folks) after a full day of sitting and listening to badly pirated DVDs of American movies in Spanish, we all heard a pop. Can anyone guess what that POP was? Yep….one of the 75-year old tires. After an hour of fussing, pounding, and not moving an inch we began to roll again. We use the term, roll, because it appears the new tire would only allow us 1/4 of the speed that we were previously travelling at. Oh well….on to Lima!!

After all we´ve read about long S. American bus rides we feel a mental picture description is in order since that is never included…..(During this description please keep in mind that we UPGRADED so we weren´t taking the usual backpacker Economico bus but the Business Class bus.) The bus is nice looking at first…double decker, plush seats, on-board washrooms, uniformed attendant donning a big smile….that´s at the beginning! Now picture the end….22 hours later….garbage from meals scattered across the cabin; your legs numb because they have been just inches from fully extended (damn short people) the entire trip; your nostrils accustomed to the people-ly stench that has developed from lack of proper ventilation; your eyes bright red from lack of any meaningful sleep; and your ears so sick of the combination of Spanish voiceovers and people in definite need of deviated septum operation….that you are just about to your breaking point. Brings back memories of that hellish Guangzhou – Yangshuo bus ride that you all experienced second hand with us almost seven months ago. All we can say is that we actually had smiles on our face this time as we de-bussed and headed for the hotel. What a difference seven months of travelling experience makes!

Heading towards Lima we were told by many travellers not to expect much and watch your wallet. For that reason, in combination with the 22 hour bus ride, we decided to upgrade to the comfy confines on the Inka Lodge and stay in the swanky Miraflores area…..kind of a Lincoln Park (or Bell Town) part of this giant city. Nice call Becca!! Our first of two days in Lima was spent enjoying the modern areas of Miraflores and Larco Mar; frequenting the local pollerias (South American Chicken Huts!!); laughing at the drunk American service men (we use that term loosely) on shore leave; and taking the next step towards conquering Jeff’s fear of heights…..paragliding!! That’s right, the cliffs that drop off from the parks of Miraflores to the Pacific Ocean and roadway below provide an ample climate of wind and weather for submitting yourself to running off a cliff with a parachute fully-inflated above your head. Even for those with no fear of heights it is still quite a trip to run towards a 200 meter cliff and just jump off with nothing but a Peruvian “expert” and a parachute strapped to your back. All we can say after the experience is DO IT! Not only do you get to sail hundred of meters above the surfers and drivers below but as the wind takes you higher you glide like a condor ten stories up between the magnificent Marriott and other skyscraping buildings. WOW!! After our Mountain Dew (get it?!) day we decided to take it easy the next day and get to know the colonial sights of Lima. The public transport is not for the faint of heart but it works very efficiently (still not at rush hour) and is very cheap. The sights of central Lima are like many of colonial cities conquered South America…churches, more churches and governmental buildings. Although the buildings are beautiful we are a bit “churched out” so we poked our heads in a few but we must say DO NOT MISS the Monasterio de San Francisco. The “Worth It Factor” on this one is a 10+! As you might be able to glean from the name it was home to Franciscan Monks dating back to the Conquistador invasion. The 3 soles ($1) English guided tour takes you by gorgeous halls lined with frescoes, a 17th century library complete with authentic books and spiral staircases; the monk’s chanting room; multiple Moorish influenced rooms from the 17th century Spanish influence; and finally the underground catacombs that stretch the length of the building and hold the bones to many of the Peruvian’s that made Lima their final resting place. Check it out…well worth it!

Leaving Lima we headed south to the middle coast of the country and yet another extreme sport experience. Really!…we aren’t searching for them but Peru is full of fun-filled, action-packed day trips. After an easier bus than the 22 hour debacle..only 12 this time we arrived in the quaint desert oasis of Huacachina. The town (if you can call it that) is basically an oasis set in the middle of giant sund dunes surrounded by backpacker hostels. The reason to go here…..sandboarding and dune buggy rides. We chose the sunset option and after an hour of sandboarding (not easy at all!!) and an hour of dune buggying (crazy drivers!) we settled back in the buggy to watch an amazing sunset over the gorgeous sand hills of coastal Peru. A little out of the way but worth the novelty experience and beautiful views. After Huacachina we were determined to continue south and get our “trek” on. We were a little worried how to catch our bus south to Arequipa, that was until we met the Grandpa Mafia. These Peruvian 60-70 year olds run a fleet of pieced together Chevy Malibu which for the uninitiated are termed ‘collectivos’. Grandpa Jorge collectively finds six to eight people, shoves ’em in his Malibu and steps on it. As long as you are ready for it (four to five deep in the back of a Malibu), it is a great way to travel and fun way to meet a few of the locals that obivously do this everyday. Onwards and upwards (explained in next blog post) to Arequipa!!

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The Lips Don´t Lie…..

August 10th, 2006


That is what we heard as we pulled up to the bus station in Quito. Quite funny for us at the time but as we will come to know over our adventures in South America this is how efficient bus travel operates. Before our adventures begin we must explain these intriguing factors of South American local bus travel…..They don´t believe in bus stops, official pickups, and last but not least coming to a complete stop. As they pass by and yell Riobamba, or Quito, or Cuenca (wherever you are going) you wave your arm and start scampering for the bus. If you are lucky enough to be lugging a 15kg backpack they will actually stop and pack it away. BUT if you aren´t carrying stuff, get ready for a 5mph rolling stop where women and children are whisked by the arm onto the first step and men must fend for themselves. It´s really entertaining to watch once you are riding the bus and is commonplace for the many local bus travellers in Ecuador and all of South America.

Okay…now back to our journey. The bus ride south from Quito to Riobamba took us through Volcano Alley or what they call part of the Ring of Fire. No, it´s not an Ecuadorian Johnny Cash themepark, its the name of the string of volcanos that run through most of Ecuador, Peru and out into the Pacific Ocean. The ride is filled with sights of green lush farms and valleys while volcanoes and huge Andean mountains loom in the background. As we make our way into Riobamba we find it is one of these picturesque villages (or towns) you picture when thinking of Andean South America. Quaint streets lined with pollerias, barbershops, and (of course) churches that all sit at the bottom of the Andes Mountain and, more ominously, only a few kilometers away from Tunguruhua….the currently active volcano!! Now not to fear as we are three towns away and none of those town have evacuated yet but still we are less than 30kms from a REAL volcano. Is this safe?!!! Probably not but it seems to be a part of everyday life (just like the buses) for the locals here so we will adjust. The city of Riobamba is primarily used as a launching pad for hikes up the tallest mountain in Ecuador, Chimborazo, as well as the starting point for the crazy train, Nariz del Diablo. This train is reknown with tourists visiting Ecuador for the unique engineering it employs to descend through the Andes as well as the fact that all tourists can ride on the roof. Initially we were excited to take the tourist rite-of-passage but after waking up at 4:30AM (yep that´s when you have to stake a claim to a roof seat) and hearing the heavy rains and snuggled away in the most comfortable beds of our six months on the road we both looked at each other and said “So…the bus it is!” After six months of 24/7 interaction at least we are both on the same page!! The bus ride to Cuenca was much faster than the train and included the enticing option of Arnold Schwarzenegger starring in the Latin American version of Commando….they love him here!! Of course by using local bus transport we were also entitled to riding with the indigenous locals and their crates and crates of guinea pigs. Yes, they are a delicacy here and favored for soups, BBQs and everything else by the indigenous cultures that live in the mountainous communities.

Once we arrived in Cuenca we could tell it would be to our liking. The city is moderately sized and includes an old town with cobblestone streets and beautiful buildings; multiple local markets for shopping and perusing; a new town with a cool museum and nice internet cafes and finally an endless supply of pastelerias filled with every bread and pastry product you can imagine. We took our first full day to research our Spanish language class options and coincidentally came away with a decision to study for a week at the Abraham Lincoln Cultural Center. No…its not because it´s American but because the cirriculum seemed adult-education oriented and the school was filled with Spanish speakers learning English. Obviously this has got to be a good place to learn a language. Well, we weren´t disappointed when we met our instructor, Raul, for our first afternoon of learning fun! Over the next week and 20 hours of intense 2 on 1 instruction we got an EDU-MACATION in Espanol. We learned everything from conjugating verbs to names of foods to everyday questions and answers we would need for our next 50 days in Latin America. It was extremely intense and we have to thank Raul for his patience as Becca adjusted her French “es” to a Spanish “es” and Jeff forgot the two words of Japanese he had studied and adjusted to learn a new language at the ripe old age of 31. We studied (maybe not learned) in one week what Raul normally takes 4 weeks to teach. All we can say is we wish we could just stay in Cuenca and study for three more weeks. We both agree it is the perfect type of place for a student studying Spanish in college to stow away in for a semester or three!!

Not only does Cuenca have great learning centers but the sights are rich as well. Our home for the week was Hostal Santa Fe, a new budding family owned place on a quiet (very important) street with delicious fresh juice breakfasts (yumm…jugo de Papaya) and a friendly family atmosphere. It is located in the old city which gave us quick access to many of the fun sights and sounds of Cuenca. We took the weekend (no school) to venture around the local flower market, in and out of the New and Old cathedrals, down the cobblestone streets passed the Panama hat makers, and along the river where many of the locals still partake in the free laundry service. On our last few days before heading south to Peru we figured we better bone up on some of the local culture as well as learn a bit about the city since it was home to Huayna Capac, one of the strongest Inca leaders. Again, we weren´t disappointed! After months of travels and quite a few museums we were pleasantly surprised by the quality and diversity of the Cuenca Cultural Museum……they even had an exhibit on the head-shrinkers of the Amazon, complete with real shrunken heads!!! The museum, not only, provided us with a fun-filled afternoon but their attached auditorium was offering a free (we like that!) Cuenca Symphony performance that night. Well we gotta hit that up! For a small country and even smaller city this symphony was impressive complete with featured hometown pianist that had studied in Paris and Italy. Yea…we know…who would have thunk!

After our extremely relaxing, educational and enjoyable time in Cuenca we figured we better start heading south to Peru in order to see Machu Picchu before our world tour is over….Yep that´s right after four continents and twenty countries we are down to 40 days left in our journey. By the way in explanation of the title to this blog over those four continents and 20 countries every other song we have heard playing is “The Hips Don´t Lie” by Shakira. Is it popular in the States because it seems to be the International Anthem worldwide?

Off to Peru….talk to you all soon.

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World Map Revisited

August 3rd, 2006

Okay everyone we are just about ready to post a new blog entry about the last two weeks in South America. Unfortunately, we can´t finish it as we are stuck between multiple double digit bus rides. Enjoy the NEW and IMPROVED World Map for some photos while you wait.




July 25th, 2006

Ah…..Andalusia! What a change it was stepping onto European soil after predominantly touring the developing world over the past 150 days. Even though most of the major European countries had a profound (not always positive) impact on many of the countries we travelled through as Dorothy says “There´s no place like home”. Well not our home exactly, but when you step off the boat from Morocco; breeze through immigration; saunter into the quaint town of Tarifa, Spain; check in to one of the plushest hostels we have experienced and literally walk right into a knock-off Texas Star Fajita Bar complete with genuine fajitas and margaritas, you can close your eyes and almost imagine you are back in your own surroundings. If that wasn´t enough when you look at the bill you definitely know you are back in the ´real´world….$3 beers….seriously when is the last time we paid anything over $1!! Well at least we can get beers now!! Two weeks in Morocco was a good detoxing after South Africa. As you might be able to glean we are getting a little bit worse for wear and this insertion into the West was just what the Doctor ordered. Time to let loose and enjoy Andulusia like the Europeans and British…..consume, consume, consume without any regard for prices!!

There´s no better time to do that than Becca´s birthday month!

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The Public Outcry!

July 19th, 2006

Hello from Caracas, Venezuela. We are back on the left side of the world. After a few great weeks in Spain and Portugal we have many stories and experiences to share…..but first we must respond to our public. Gulliver Swenson, our resident Howie Mandel, has posted a few questions and we thought it was time to ask others for questions as well. We will post our answers to Gulliver’s questions here but to read other’s questions and our answers please view the posted comments. By the way we are up to 3000 unique viewers and almost 30,000 page views. Congratulate yourselves on enjoying our trip right along side us!!! We thank you for your interest.

The public has some important questions…..

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Life On The Road

July 14th, 2006

Well…..after five months we have finally made it to the developed world…Europe. As we were reading the other day we found a diatribe that perfectly encompassed the way we are feeling after almost 200 days on the road. We should be able to relay many of the adventures we have recently had in Andalusia in the next week so stay tuned for Flamenco Dancing, wine tasting, beach bathing, and most importantly, Becca’s birthday. Those of you who have travelled like this you know the point we are at and those who haven’t you should all enjoy a good chuckle at our current state of mind!!

“There’s nothing worse than the working-stiffs back home giving you hell for traipsing around a foriegn continent living a “carefree” life on the road. What they don’t know is that it’s not all “Mangoes and Sunshine”. The road means getting up at the crack of dawn to catch a bus after being kept awake all night by the blaring bar downstairs and squeaking bedsprings in the hotel room next door. It means sucking dust on a long bus ride while manically trying to guess which of the towns you keep passing through is the ONE you intended to visit. It means blissful relief when you finally arrive and find your pack still on the roof. It is the sight of begging children, the arduous haul to the hotel, a screaming bladder and the excitement of a new town all catapulting your mind from one emotional extreme to another.

The hotel manager says the showers are hot, but the water hitting the skin is as cold as the bottom of Lake Titicaca. There’s no seat on the toilet (at least the bowels are behaving)….You call that a FAN?!!….sounds like a helicopter! OK – now for food. Leave the pack in the corner, get out the map, locate the market, grab the passport (or leave behind?) and go! The sun feels great, then you get lost, your mood turns sour as your blood-sugar crashes, you find the market, smell the mangos and try to haggle but have no clue what the fruit seller is saying. You finally had over the cash – Did I just get ripped off? – and walk out to find a good place to eat. Is this easy? Travelling the world certainly has its trials, but that’s why we do it. And it sure beats working!!!”


Rock the Kasbah!

July 7th, 2006

Welcome again to North Africa and the warm Mediterranean climate of its most western country….Morocco. We arrived in Casablanca after what can only be described as the longest travel day (because it was actually two!!) of our trip. As we looked at what lay ahead of us in travelling from Cape Town to Casablanca we both cringed, looked over at each other and said “Did we plan it this way!?” Here’s a brief look at what we were about to undertake: two hour flight from Cape Town to Jo’burg; five hour lay-over in Jo’burg; eight hour flight from Jo’burg to Dubai; two hour lay-over in Dubai; eight hour flight from Dubai to Casablanca; one hour train ride to Casablanca from airport; 15 minute cab ride to hotel; three flights of stairs to our beds; finally, 19 hours of sleep after 30 hours of travelling. Wow….sleeping has never felt so good!

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