Friday, 1 February 2013

Getting started, Part 2: South and Central America & Mexico

I'm not very good at packing for multi season trips, it's so much hard work and I have zero common sense as to what to pack. Having a winter period sandwiched inbetween two hot periods doesn't help my cause either, I'll just have to lugg all that cold weather gear around while walking around in shorts and flip flops. Still, can't be all that unhapy about it, after all it means I'm on the road again and ready to tackle Mexico, South and Central America.

There's the sea and sun in the coastal towns in Brazil, followed by meadnering south from Iguazu into Buenos Airies. From there, relative heat is left behind as I board a flight to the end of the map and explore what Patagonia has to offer and make my way north. Certainly not going to be the warmest of places, not to mention that plenty of places in South America are at altitude so it's cold at night anyway. Throw in Guatemala and Belize at the end of the trip and you've got all sorts of climes to prepare for.

So, after much deliberating, taking out and putting back in of stuff I have a feeling I'll never use anyway, I've got a full 20kg (tent and sleeping bag included) in my big backpack and about 8kg in my small back pack. I just can't seem to pack light, it feels wrong.

Besides the endless T-shirts, underwear and socks I have two pairs of hiking trousers (one has warm lining, just in case), one pair of jeans, thermals, jogging pants, a hoody, a cagool (that gets me wet, should buy a new one really), two jumpers, two long sleeve shirts and a sleeveless jacket. Should be okay for the cold then. Summer weather will be a doddle too, five pairs of swimshorts/ shorts (five, really?), vests (of course I'll buy some immediately), two short sleeve shirts and a beach towel, pointless when I don't even like lying in the sand; give me a deck chair and a big umbrella any day of the week. I just can't seem to leave the house until my bag is full, it's a real problem. Don't get me started on the random nik naks I throw in at the end just to take up space, the bottle opener is the only thing guarenteed to get some use out of that lot.

Anyway, at the start of this blog, on year ago now, I wrote a post with my whole fifteen months planned out (more-or-less). However, even the best laid plans can fall apart and after six months of cross-country trains across Russia, Mongolia and China, relaxing in South East Asia, getting ill in India (nasty street food) and getting up close with nature in South Africa, I came home for a bit.

Now, that glorious time has come again where I can gather everything I need and more, and head out on the road again. Finally, I'm getting to South America where there is a wealth of sights to do, activities and so on. As usual, I'm sure my itinerary will change but that's to be expected, however, here's a list of some of the things I definitely won't and can't miss out on, some obvious choices and a couple not so much.

  • Carnival in Brazil - say no more
  • Iguazu Falls - both the Brazilian and the Argentinian side
  • Tango lessons in Buenos Airies
  • Ushuaia - bottom of the map bragging rights of course
  • The 'W' Trek in the Torres del Paine National Park and more in Patagonia
  • Lounging around at a vineyard in the north of Argentina drinking Malbec
  • Round trip train ride around Salta, Argentina
  • Eat some serious steak
  • Huayhuash trekking in Peru
  • Macchu Picchu
  • Volunteering in the Amazon
  • Diving the Blue Hole, Belize
  • Historical Mayan sites in the Yucatan, Mexico
There's loads more of course, and no doubt I'll do loads of stuff I haven't heard of as yet, or currently have no intention of doing, it just happens on trips like this.One thing for sure though is that I can't wait to get going again.

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