Where am I?

Created this blog to document my travels, experiences & thoughts thru Central & South America but hell plan to blog my travels to where ever. Goofy harmless Free Spirit hoping to spend most of my time with locals & enjoy the world! So hang on as I travel, drink cervezas, raise a little hell, maybe piss off a few people & hopefully not give Canadians a bad reputation! Of course don't do these things on purpose but while having a good time well "Shit Happens"!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

So what have I done since returning home from many months of travelling? Except plan for my next one!!

Once I got over my reverse cultural shock well it was back to life as I knew it! Hang out, eat some things I couldn’t get on my travels, drink beer, smoke a bit and sleep till noon, etc. All the time sponging off someone but promising to return the favor once I got a job! Then I called the one that brought me into the world (no not the doctor & nurse but my Mom) to let her know I’m back! I made a trip to visit later on in the summer!
So then I got back into the swing of life in my home city of Vancouver! Like go for a run on one of the great trails, hike in the mtns, ride my bike, contact whatever few remaining friends I have, etc.
Then after sponging for a month I decided maybe it’s time to get my own place as I may be home for a few months and didn’t want to overstay at ppl’s places!
My choices were keep sponging where I was, find others or family members to sponge, move in a room mate situation or find my own place. Well I finally scored a sweet furnished studio apt that is furnished! It’s close enough to the downtown core so I can walk, run, bike or bus there easily. I lucked into this place as rent it for a bargain http://www.vopenhouse.ca/video/4848_Kingsway/ The furniture came with the condo but not all the flowers & Knicknacks as not really into them!

So after getting my own place by myself I felt hey now I'm able to host Couch Surfers! Cuz have a studio apartment and can let the guest sleep on it and I'll use my air mattress in the room on the floor. Then got an msg from a couple who needed a couch to stay as they were coming to Vancouver for a year on a work visa.

ARRIVAL DATE: 30 .09.2009.
We are a nice couple from Latvia (Europe) and we are moving to Vancouver for 1 year. We will arrive on 30th of September and we still have no place to live. About us: we both like to try out new things, and as we have never been to Canada, we thought - the best way to get to know it - is to live in it! We both are funny :), very active, we love to spend time outside, but we also like to play board games, and geocache.
During our stay at your place, we have to look for a flat to rent, so we hope not to bother you too much. And if you can't host us on the first days, when we arrive, please write the dates when you could host us, so we could plan our stay with different couchsurfers! If you can have us for a longer time it would be great!
Looking forward for your replay,
Valdis and Eva

Also received another email from another couple:

Hi hi,

We, Yves and Sonia, a belgium/tunisian couple (35/30yo) are looking urgently for a couch in Vancouver or its neighbourhood. Sonia has obtained her permanent visa (she is a doctor), so we are leaving to Canada with the purpose to start a new life there on October 16th. I am sure that couch surfing is the best opportunity to get to know friends who can give us tips and stay for a
couple of days, while we are travelling around BC. Do you have couch available from October 20th for
about 4 days if possible ? If not when is it the best for you ? So we can start to plan our trip. We have
just a couple of days left. We couldn’t start to search earlier because we were travelling around.
We’ll explain you our complicated situation by a drink there, what do you think?

Hope to hear you soon.
Thanks a lot

Sonia and Yves

The also got an invitation to what sounds like a wicked Halloween Party in Seattle for Couch Surfers

Seattle's Kick Ass Halloween Party
WELCOME all Ghouls and Gobblins. Ahhhhh yeah it's almost that time of year. Klaire, Glen and Chris are at it again. If you have been to one of our parties before you know what your in for. If not, then it's time to get off you a$$ and join us for a wild night of anything goes at the best Halloween party in Seattle.
Come one come all and bring your best costume and your friends. We weclome all locals as well as all surfers who find themselves in Seattle for the best holiday of the year. Halloween is on a Saturday so there is no excuse to sit at home and be a square. If anything come help me celebrate my 33rd year on this giant rock.

If anyone is up for coming over on the 25th or 30th and helping out with some decrations there will be beer and snacks available for you. We plan on starting around sunset so be ready to party when the sun goes down. There will be some snacks but feel free to bring whatever you like to eat. There will be a keg or two on hand but also bring your favorite drink. Hell we may even have a costume contest. There will even be a lesbian zombie sex show in the garage!!! Now how can you miss that??

We welcome all of our friends from north of the boarder to come down and join us as well. We will be able to host about 10-12 people for the night and maybe have some tent space outside if needed. Let us know if you will need a couch and if you live near by and can help host people from farther away.. Cheers, Chris, Glen and Klaire!!
FROM: October 31st, 2009 - 17.00
TO: November 1st, 2009 - 11.00
LINK: http://www.couchsurfing.org/meetings.html?mid=47527

I also encountered some different experiences which were different and worth remembering.
Volunteered as a witness to 2 chicks from Arizona who wanted to marry in Vancouver http://free-spirit-guy.blogspot.com/2009/09/hey-was-witness-for-2-chicks-from-us.html

Had a chance encounter with a Hooker without realizing it http://free-spirit-guy.blogspot.com/2009/09/ever-have-chat-with-hooker-well-its.html

Also some Odd & End things that happened to me http://stuffforblogging.blogspot.com/2009/09/odds-ends-i-encountered-while-enjoying.html

Also was able to volunteer and hang at the Shambhala Music Festivals for 6 days which is one of my favourite summer festivals so had to attend! http://www.shambhalamusicfestival.com/ As usual had an awesome time and similar to the saying about the hippie ‘60s “If u remember all of Shambhala u didn’t thoroughly enjoy yourself”. Just had to volunteer for 3 X 8 hrs shifts to get a free $280 entry to the festival! We could camp, make & greet old friends, hang and enjoy the music not to mention party with who ever as the music stages were open 24 hr a day.

Also attended the Africa Peace festival that means a lot to me . Unfortunately I was a bit too late to volunteer this year http://www.thepatrioticvanguard.com/spip.php?article2930

Then there were some other ethnic festivals that I attended.

The annual Latin American cultural festival at this outdoor which was a lot of fun! Cuz I had just returned from Central & South America so could relate to some of the activities taking place. There was also some Latino music that I enjoyed and the food was awesome. But the nicest thing was running across a friend I met volunteering at an African festival in 2008!

The Powell Street Festival. An annual community celebration of Japanese Canadian arts, culture and heritage is Vancouver's largest and longest running community celebration. It takes place at the beginning of August yearly. Various Locations Vancouver BC http://www.powellstreetfestival.com/

The Caribbean Days Festival This celebration of Caribbean culture is presented by the Trinidad and Tobago Society of British Columbia. Events and features include a Family Zone with face painting and a playground, specialty food vendors, a music festival with bands playing reggae, calypso, and Latin tunes, dancers, a parade and more. http://www.powellstreetfestival.com/

The weather was awesome this summer so I spent lots of time outdoors:

Pedal down to my favourite beaches in Vancouver – Wreck Beach cuz it’s a cool place where ppl are chilled and no one cares what a person does and also where I could replenish my 420 stash or make connections as ppl are pedding drinks, smoke, etc. http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&q=Wreck+Beach+vancouver&fb=1&gl=ca&hq=Wreck+Beach&hnear=vancouver&view=text&latlng=6717808961604498257&dtab=0&cd=3&ei=tArAStySJZWejgOa9Z3fDw&oi=&sa=X

Running or biking thru Stanley Park in downtown Vancouver http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=q&source=s_q&view=text&hl=en&gl=ca&q=bike+or+run+trails++vancouver&ie=UTF8&sll=49.203529,-122.999106&sspn=0.277037,0.351848&latlng=7502559596126912053&ei=7QvASpL1Aor4igOP2_DGDw&cd=6&usq=bike+or+run+trails&geocode=FZRO8AIdnfio-A

I also found myself cycling, walking & running thru the city http://www.hellobc.com/en-CA/SightsActivitiesEvents/AirLandActivities/Cycling/Vancouver.htm?media=cpc&referrer=google-adwords&CMP=KNC-NA&HBX_PK=bike%20trails%20vancouver&HBX_OU=50&gclid=CKSiw8aPk50CFSn6agodpTQX_Q

I’m very content with the place that I am in life as I’m free to go & do whatever I want, have no one to account to, no one that depends on me, etc. Shit I have the time, a bit of money to travel and piss around, got a few cool friends, don’t give a shit about much, etc. Hell I know I smoke, drink, party, spend money on myself & others that I shouldn’t but what the fuck like to enjoy life & living it to the fullest! Hell I’ve never had trouble meeting ppl or chicks while enjoying myself! I think the whole world is there to explore & enjoy while I can. So feel I’ve been lucky so why not try to help others but not to get something in return cuz never been that type!

Once I’ve saved up some more money well I'll go travelling again! Also I’ve been thinking of maybe living for a while in another country just for the hell of it as I’ve always got good old Canada as a safety net! Cuz I figure on enjoying what life has to offer & do different things! Cuz “Life’s a participant activity not a spectator one".

Monday, September 7, 2009

Can U Believe it? Went to Argentina & never made it out of Buenas Aires!!!

Well made it out of La Paz, Bolivia on a flight to Buenas Aires, Argentina with Laura an American chick who worked in the bar but her father lived in BA. Which helped cuz it saved me about $20 on a taxi.

Found BA to be a large city in the same mode as an European one! It was nice and great city to walk around not that saw a lot of it but definitely more than I saw of La Paz!
One night I bought a tkt to a BA premiere league football match. It was more than I wanted to spend about the equivalence of $50. But what the heck I would not be to attend one again & I heard they were an experience! However never having gone to a football match & not knowing the rules I felt I may get bored! So I swallowed a hand ful of weed and downed it with a bunch of vodka before we left on our bus.
Well by the time we got to the game I was starting to feel pretty wasted! We were all to stick together cuz it was easy to get lost and not find the ppl you go with and find the bus after the game! Well we no sooner got off the bus & lost my mates and couldn't find them till the end of the game. I had a tkt but couldn't figure out where I was suppose to sit. But found out later that no one actually sat down but stood the whole game. I found it hard to see the game not cuz I was wasted but everyone stood. Plus I couldn't tell how much time was left in the game or what the score was as they have no clock or scoreboard! I realized that the football stadiums in BA were no where near the quality of the stadiums in the US & Canada!

I decided that I should leave before the game ended cuz I didn't want to get trampled on the rush to leave as I was pretty wasted. But not knowing Spanish I couldn't ask anyone the time left, score, etc. So I guess I left about 1/2 time to find either a taxi or the bus! But couldn't find a taxi driver as they were all busy watching the match! So figured Id have to wait on the bus but had no clue where it was parked. So I wandered around for a long time looking for the bus. Well I knew no Spanish and also didn't know the name of the hostel we were staying.
So after wandering around I finally found where the buses were parked but didn't know which one to get on. So I laid down by a bush and rested waiting for the game to end. I just pictured myself lost in BA and not knowing where I was staying. So that was my experience at an Argentinan footbal match!

It's odd but in BA no one goes out to a bar or club until 1 or 2 am any night of the week1 So we would drink in the bar at the hostel till it closed and then head out for the rest of the night!

Stayed at a hostel which was nice but it was another party hostel so after a few night there 2 of us moved to a chill hostel which was a lot nicer! Met and hung with a couple of Irish, South African and couple of Americans, etc.

When I was at my dentist in Vancouver he had told me about dental implants instead of a root canal and crown as I kept breaking my root canal! He told me that they were quite a bit cheaper in Argentina. So when I got to BA I checked out and found an English speaking dentist who performed teeth implants as I had 2 I wanted done. So I found this nice young English speaking dentist who explained what he was performing and the cost. What is required is to have the implant drilled into the jaw bone. Then I had to come in another day to have a Post added to the implant. Then I'd have to wait at least 6 months to add a crown to the Post. So I got the implant and post added for $1500 USD for 2 teeth. In Canada it would have cost me approx. $3000. Now I have to get the Crowns added but not sure if I'll get it done in Canada or fly back to BA to get it done. I would save about $3500 getting it done there so the money I save I could buy a return tkt there again.

But I realized that in BA it was deja vu all over from my stay in La Paz. Cuz I was still staying up all night and sleeping all day. So I decided to book my flight home to Vancouver and at least enjoy the summer since I was doing nothing much in BA too! No regrets cuz now I have a reason to return to check out Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia & Uraguay & maybe head back to Venezuela to check out Angel Falls (in the rainy season) & Table Mtn. But don't plan too far in advance so who knows!

Got tired of all the tourists in Cusco so left for Bolivia to hang out in La Paz!

Well it's never too late & I'm amazed that I could still remember as I'm finally doing the rest of my blogs on my trip to Central & South America!!!

Peru has so many awesome things yo do & sights to explore that I probably didn't do it justice. But after going to a Jungle village near Brazil for an Ayawaska ceremony, a couple of Beaches, Machu Pichu, Lake Titicaca & Cusco well had enough of so many tourist sites!

There are 4 Loki Hostel located in Lima, Cusco, Mancora in Peru & La Paz in Bolivia. It's strange cuz I never really want to stay in the Loki in the first place cuz it's a bit more expensive & a party hostel. So my French buddy Thomas & I stayed in family run hostel the first time we went to Lima & it was cool! But I was to meet up with Martina, a Polish friend of mine, & she was staying there, so I stayed there too! Now it's a cool place with a bar & happy hour every night so u could say drinking & late night partying is the norm! The problem is when a person stays in 1 Loki Hostel it's so easy to have them book u into the ones in Cusco or La Paz (stayed in another hostel in Mancora). So stayed in the Loki Hostel in Cusco & got right into the scene! It seems everyone enjoys the Loki bar until it closes & then head out to whatever bar or club!

But after Machu Pichu well I parted ways with my 2 English doctor friends and headed to La Paz, Bolivia to check it out! My thought was to check out Bolivia but my mistake was staying at the Loki Hostel. Cuz met a lot of cool ppl who led me astray ha ha!!

La Paz is not a bad city as there is a lot to do there and in the surrounding area. However by now I was losing interest in doing the touristy sites, etc. There was the bike ride down Death Highway which was a big attraction. But I thought it was a bit expensive and the highway had been changed. It wasn't as dangerous as before as the on coming traffic was no longer concern. So I thought it was a lot of money to pay for a ride which wasn't as dangerous now!
There was also the trek to the jungle but I had spent time in the jungle in Peru! The trek to the Salt Flats was another trip I wanted to make but it was farther south in Bolivia so thought I'd take it when I headed south!

So what did that leave me but to spend 10 days in La Paz! during this time I only left the hostel 3 times during the day! There 2 times going to 2 different markets & one time for Indian lunch (which was my breakfast as had just woken up at 3 pm) with ppl from the hostel
Matter of fact I usually slept from 7 am to 5 pm to eat dinner at the bar. Then we'd all hang out with other travellers, drink until we closed the bar in the hostel. Then a bunch would head out to different after hr bars or clubs!

One thing I really enjoyed was ppl I met there in the Loki Hostel! I got to know most of the travellers working in the bar. They all worked in the bar to get free board and room! There was Olga (she was always smiling & so friendly) from Poland, Laura (was on the same plane as me to BA) & Justin from the US, Marcus from Sweden who had stayed there so long that he finally took a job at the bar & a bunch of other cool ppl from Aussie, UK and other countries.

One of the highlights to me was watching a Bolivian Pink Floyd copy band & enjoyed it so much we went 2 nights in a row! Marcus had organized it all plus was the source of some good weed! He had got a Ki of it for an awesome price & didn't mind sharing it. So we spent a lot of time on the roof as we indulged. Also met Rob a fellow Canadian who was about to start his medical career! Well for a doctor he liked to indulge and party like a rock star! There was one night we both decided to not go to a late night bar or club! We should have cuz we stayed in the hostel with a few others. Someone supplied a little C, someone some hard liquor and finally to add to this was Robb and a oxygen bottle! This bottle had ended up in the hostel as the night before one of the girls had an Epileptic Seizure after drinking too much at a bar. So I guess they use oxygen to revive her & also La Paz is located at a high altitude! So when we combined all the necessary ingredients we ended up having one hell of a party that carried on until 7 am.

But I decided that I needed a change of scenery to get out of the sleep all day & party all night routine! So one day I decided to leave La Paz and fly to Buenas Aires as I didn't want o spend 3 days on a bus!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Well since I was in Peru it was time to check out the touristy places!

Well after checking out the northern beaches of Peru I thought hey why not check out the well known places you've always heard. It would be crazy to go to Peru and not at least check out some of the touristy highlights like Machu Pichu, Cusco, Lake Titacaca, etc. Don't get me wrong it's not like I didn't or thought that they weren't worth checking out! Hey Machu Pichu was one of the main places I wanted to check out.

When I got back to Lima I met up with a couple of cool English doctor friends. I had met them earlier and enjoyed their company so was glad to meet up with again. They had made plans to fly to Cusco the next morning at 5 pm so they invited me to join them. So the reception at the hostel offered to book me a flight. Well to save money I didn't take a bed and stayed up all night. Unfortunately after sharing an expensive cab ride to the airport at 3 am well I found out that the flight I was booked on was the next day! What could I do but say goodbye to my 2 companions and I'd meet them in Cusco in a day. Unfortunately I never got any sleep that night and stayed up again that night to go catch my flight at 5 am. So when I met up with my friends in Cusco they told me they had booked a tour trip to Lake Titacaca for the next day and a Jungle bike/hiking trip to Machu Pichu. The reason for the urgency was 1 of the girls had to return to England in 5 days. Well I don't normally like or go on tours but didn't have any better plans to check out the places so decided to join them. But this meant getting the similar tickets, meeting my friends who were on another tour, meeting them as were leaving that evening at 10 pm. This caused a bit of a problem cuz I didn't get the msg correctly and didn't know where to meet to catch our bus. So I was wandering around for a hour trying to figure out where my friends were. It was about 10 mins to 10 and still couldn't find my friends or the bus. In a final attempt I had the tour operator's number so I got a hold of him. Luckily he was able to get me to the bus station just as the bus was pulling out. It was an all night bus ride to Puno by Lake Titacaca in Peru. It had to be one of the coldest nights I spent on the bus. There were a bunch of Polish tourists on the bus who kept going to the bathroom and left he window and door open. So it was real cold, smelly and windy in the bus cuz I was sitting at the back cuz got on late! I think they finally got the hint when I told them in a loud voice to close the fu*king window & door cuz it was F**kin cold so to hell with the smell!

The highway was very windy and the altitude was high. So when we got there one of the 2 doctors I was travelling with got altitude sickness! So when we got to Puno we waited for a doctor to check her out and get some oxygen. Then we headed for a boat ride to check out the lake. It was a real chilled ride on the boat to a couple islands. The lake and the islands made of straw were so cool to see! We stayed overnight on one of the islands with locals. Also hiked up this hill to see the sunset which was great. So overall I'd have to say it was a real chilled place to visit especially on the boat as had time to sleep on the roof of the boat!

Then we returned to Cusco which is the city near Machu Pichu! So what happens just before we'r were suppose to go on a 3 day Jungle Trail bike & hike to Machu Pichu but a bus strike! Dam hate strikes and unions (tho this one wasn't brought on by a friggin union trying to make itself appear important) but that's another story! So what the hell did this mean to us? Well we missed out on the 1st day's bike ride as we needed to take a bus to start of our trip but couldn't get there on time. So 2 of us had to take a late night ride to the start and missed out on the bike ride. It kind of turned me off so I didn't participate in the hike either. But took a taxi for $5 and got to the next town & met a couple of cool American chicks who got there on their own. So we hung out and had a couple J's to enjoy the afternoon. Hell as far as I was concerned it wasn't the trek to Machu Pichu that makes it a world class sight. Like it wasn't the journey there that was awesome but the destination of Machu Pichu which makes the whole thing impressive! But I wasn't as stoked about seeing Machu Pichu cuz of all the hype and tourists in the area. Hell they had trains, buses, taxis, cars, etc taking ppl there. But could we miss out on seeing this site cuz would regret it if we're in the area!

I made it up to the gates to the site which had to be 7 am. Then everyone (who wanted to hike Wynu Pichu) had to hurry to the gates to hike up Wynu Pichu it's neighboring mtn which ppl climb to look back at Machu Pichu to take pics! But hell there was a long line to get up Wynu Pichu.
I had met up again with these 2 American chicks and hung out with them as couldn't find my friends who I came with! While we waited to get into Wynu Pichu it reminded me of getting in to Disneyland as everyone would run to get to the rides! All memories that I disliked then and did at this site. But had to do and glad I did cuz the sights were awesome and one I'm glad I didn't miss. But must say that Machu Pichu is a bit over rated to me! Cuz enjoyed Ankor Wat in Cambodia & Petra the city carved in stone in Jordan more probably cuz less tourists! They had cleaned up Machu Pichu which is understandable but they made it seem too unreal with all the white paint on the buildings which u may notice in pictures. Like nothing that old could be that white & new looking!!!

Other than those 2 sights well probably got carried away partying and hanging with friends so never made it to many other sights. But when a person travels for a while well we get kind of lose the WoW factor when we check out touristy sights! Hell it was starting to get really hard to be impressed! But found it didn't take me that long to be impressed with the ppl and partying!

But hey there's always another country, area or place to check out! If not in Peru it may be another country or continent as there are awesome sights to check out on this planet!