A Travellerspoint blog

First half of 2008

Back in Columbus working as a contractor at Honda R&D

As you all know I was back in Columbus, living at FUD's and working at Honda R&D. I had a great time spending time with everyone in Columbus. It's impossible to quantify all the good times we had. A single blog entry to summarize everything wouldn't be just so I won't attempt one.

Posted by Hughes9115 18:22 Comments (0)

Headed home soon

sunny

I returned to Buenos Aires 2 days ago and will be here until the 11th when I catch my 9:15PM flight home. Ill be back in Columbus before lunch on Wednesday December 12th.

See you soon,

Andy

Posted by Hughes9115 04:58 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Christ Statue and views above Rio

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A few days ago I went up to see the famous Christ the Redeemer statue and some views above Rio. It was cloudy up at the statue but a few hundred meters below the views were really good.

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Posted by Hughes9115 15:36 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Photos of Rio from the WEB

sunny

Here are some pictures of Rio that I found on the web that I thought were nice. They show how nice the setting of Rio really is.

Enjoy!

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Posted by Hughes9115 12:25 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

sunny

Here is the Simpsons plane I took to Rio....interesting.
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Of course Rio is very famous for its beaches. It was ridiculously crowded on the weekend as you can see in the pictures below.
At one point a helicopter had to come to save a little boy that had been swept out too far. The waves are huge and crash right on the beach so its pretty easy to get yourself into trouble like that.

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A few days ago I went to the Sugar Loaf which is a famous lookout point in Rio. It was cloudy but we still got some good views.

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The Sugar Loaf is the pointy rock on the right side of this picture.
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Yesterday I went on a tour of a favela (poor/slum neighborhood). I almost didnt go on this tour but then I read about the tour company online and found out that they fund a daycare operation inside the favela. It seemed like a good organization.

This favela has 200,000 people living in it and its the biggest one in Latin America.

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Usually favelas are near rich areas of the city because many people living in the favela work in the rich neighborhoods.
This is the view from the top of the favela.
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The local band.
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The house on the left looks like its going to fall over any minute.
There is no more space for the favela to grow larger, so they are now building UP. Some of the buildings have 3 or 4 foors now which seems quite dangerous because the construction is so poor.
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We visited the daycare center that the tour agency helps out with. The kids were really playful.
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Look how cute this little guy is.
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More favela pictures
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Check this out. Everyone just taps into the power supply illegally. Looks pretty safe!!
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Favela kid and some grafitti.
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The favela is pretty safe with very little crime (other than drug trade). The gang in charge of this area doesnt want the police coming inside the neighborhood so they make sure there is no robbery or fighting.

When we were on our way out of the favela we saw a gang member with a big assult rifle. Woah.. I decided not to take a picture of him though....I dont think he would have appreciated that very much.

Posted by Hughes9115 10:17 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Back in Buenos Aires and then Montevideo, Uruguay

sunny

Back in Buenos Aires (after Rosario) I met up with a friend and we went to La Boca, a very famous neighborhood in BA.
Cool houses!

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA
LA BOCA NEIGHBORHOOD

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A few days later I got on a boat and headed over to Montevido to catch a flight to Rio in Brazil.
Many people told me that Montevideo was like Buenos Aires 50 years ago. I tend to agree. It was much more relaxed than BA. One difference that we noticed was that the cars actually slow down or stop when you are crossing the street. In BA...they speed up like they are TRYING to hit you.

Some pics of Montevideo, Uruguay

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Wandering around town with people from Ireland, Germany and Canada.
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Drinking MATE (hot tea) with some Germans on the rooftop of our hostel.
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This dog looked very sad....poor guy.
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Posted by Hughes9115 07:36 Archived in Uruguay Comments (0)

Rosario, Argentina

sunny

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After finishing up with 1 week of Spanish classes in Buenos Aires I decided to head 4 hours north along the river to Rosario. I had met a guy from Rosario about a month or so ago while travelling in Mendoza and he invited me to Rosario to visit. Guido is the one on the far right of the picture.

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My first night there was a Wednesday and Guido´s friends took me to a VERY interesting bar/club called Roswell. I cannot describe this place very easily. Ask me about it when I get home and Ill try to explain it.
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Here are some pictures I took while walking around a monument in Rosario.

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The next night Guido had planned a big Asado (BBQ) at a friends house. He was the cook for the night and it was cool to see how they cook it up Argentina style.

Here is Guido working his magic as the Asador (grillmaster).
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They use charcoal and cook with low heat. I think the steaks were on there for over an hour.
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We had a great time and I met a lot of Guido´s friends that night.
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Rosario is on the banks of the Parana River and there is a small but very nice beach there. These pictures were not taken on the weekend, but I went back on Saturday and it was packed. Yeah!!
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I saw an ad for a drifting competition with cars brought from Japan. I thought that this was strange for this area so I went to check it out. The track was pretty weak but the cars were cool to see since they are very hard, if not impossible, to get in the United States. After the competition I was feeling adventurous so I decided to hitch hike back to town. I stood there with my thumb out for about 2 min and the 5th or 6th car that passed stopped and took me into town. No problems....I should do that more often.

Nissan Skyline
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Nissan 240SX (S15)
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Ernesto (Che) Guevara was born in Rosario. The first picture is near his house and the second is a monument/painting nearby.
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There was a huge cultural festival in Rosario for the week. There were tents from many different countries with their local food and many had a stage with some traditional dancing too. I walked around the fair with 2 lesbians from Buenos Aires for a few hours. Good times!

Near the fairgrounds.

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I tiny little bar in the middle of a park that I thought was cool.

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Rainstorm rolling into Rosario.

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If you are ever in Argentina I highly recommend a visit to Rosario.

Posted by Hughes9115 07:02 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

La Bomba de Tiempo

Ciudad Cultural Konex

sunny

Last night I went to a percussion concert with some people from my hostel. The ticket to get in was about 2 dollars and the show was amazing. It was set in a really cool venue, an old factory had been turned into a cultural center. After the show was over at 10PM about half of the crowd went out into the street to play some more. Everyone was joining in to play whatever instrument they could come up with. There were people playing beer bottles with stones, a guy playing a big tomato can with a stick, a guy playing a brick with an old lighter, and even a guy playing his bike with a key. Crazy.
The party continued until about 1AM in a nearby park. It was a really fun night and there were only a few tourists there so it was a really good find by one of my friends here.

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Posted by Hughes9115 11:09 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Creamfields Buenos Aires

sunny

Last Saturday a group from the hostel and I went to a big electronic music festival here in Buenos Aires.
It was called Creamfields.

Best perfomers (in my opinion)
1) Carl Cox
2) Chemical Brothers
3) Dubfire
4) Hernan Cattaneo
5) Zuker XP

27) Digweed

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Posted by Hughes9115 20:16 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

First weekend in Buenos Aires

sunny

Here are a few more pictures from my first weekend in Buenos Aires (stolen from Scott´s camera).

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We went to the football game shown below, but without a digital camera. But Scott found these on the web to show how crazy the fans are at these games.

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Posted by Hughes9115 20:10 Archived in Argentina Comments (1)

Map of my route through southern Argentina

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Here is a crude map showing the locations I visited in southern Argentina.

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Posted by Hughes9115 05:29 Archived in Argentina Comments (1)

New Backpack and Sin triki triki no hay bang bang

sunny

I never had a chance to post a picture of the backpack that I bought after mine was stolen. I got it for 3 dollars in the miners supply store. I was only going to keep it for 2 weeks until I made it to Chile, but now I´m attached to it so I decided to keep it.

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A safe sex public service announcement from the health department that is posted all over Buenos Aires.

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Posted by Hughes9115 10:15 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Patagonia

El Calafate and Chalten in Argentina and crossing over into Chile for Torres del Paine Park

The main attraction near El Calafate, Argentina is the Perito Moreno Glacier. It was amazing so the pictures speak for themselves. I didnt take the first 2 but the rest are mine.

GLACIER NEAR EL CALAFATE, ARGENTINA

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Look at the people in the lower left hand corner. They help give you the scale of this thing.
Its huge!!
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After the glacier I headed a few hours north to a national park. The plan was to stay there for about 5 days of 1 day hikes. However, the weather was bad for the first 2 days so I just did one hike and then decided to leave. As far as I could tell there was absolutely nothing to do in the town except go hiking. It was the off season so there were not many people around to hang out with.

EL CHALTEN, ARGENTINA

Cool shop with a climbing wall in the side
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Beginning of hike in El Chalten
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End of hike in El Chalten
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The mountain that I couldnt really see because of the clouds.
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People that I met on the trail and hiked back with.
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When I left El Chalten I headed back over to Chile to see the Torres del Paine National Park. Its the most famous park in Patagonia. I stayed in a really cool hostel called Erratic Rock. The owner also writes a local newspaper about hiking in the area so they had a lot of information and a huge movie collection for rainy days. I met an English guy there who was finishing a trip from Vancouver, Canada all the way to the southern tip of Chile.....on a motorcycle. Actually, he was a mechanical engineer who was working as a designer for the last few years and then decided to go on a long trip. That sounds familiar for some reason. Anyway, he offered me a ride from Puerto Natales to the Park on the back of his Triumph motorcycle. I put on 3 pairs of pants, 4 shirts, 2 coats, my miners backpack, and a helmet and jumped on. It was freezing cold but it was cool because we could stop whenever we wanted to take pictures, unlike the people on the bus. Plus it was free.

TORRES DEL PAINE NATIONAL PARK, CHILE

Geared up.
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Tom gassing up the bike
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First view of the park and the Torres del Paine
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Classic shot (not a setup)
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If you see this guy on the side of the road someday with a broken motorcycle, please help him out. Cool goggles!!
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More views of the park and its lakes during the 2 days I was hiking there.
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It was really great to be able to drink the water from any moving stream in the park. It was perfectly clear, cold and tasted amazing.
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After a grueling 30km (about 17 miles) hike over the course of 8 hours on the 2nd day I was dead and half insane. I think I was talking to myself for the last 2 hours trying to stay motivated to keep going. I thought it would be a good idea to hike the extra 10km to avoid having to take an expensive ferry ride back to the bus. It wasn´t exactly worth it because I paid for it when I got sick two days later.

After the trek I went back to Argentina and caught a flight to Buenos Aires.

Here are some shots from around the city. There are some pretty nice parks and a lot of people come out of the office for an hour or two at lunch time and hang out and eat there. Really nice atmosphere.

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA

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Ive stayed in a lot of hostels in the last 5 years but this is the first I´ve seen that has triple decker bunks. Crazy.

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Posted by Hughes9115 09:14 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Argentina

Mendoza, Bariloche, Puerto Madryn

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When it was time to leave Santiago and me free place to stay in Scott´s apartment I decided to catch a bus across the boarder to Mendoza, Argentina. One of the main attractions in Mendoza is the wine industry there. I met some friends in the hostel, one of which I knew from Bolivia, and we organized a wine tour for the next day. It was a bike tour so we headed out on some below average bikes to check out how they make the wine. We were expecting to get to try a lot of different wines throughout the day but the winerys were quite stingy only giving us about a half a glass to a glass each (we went to 3 winerys). There was some intersting information but the one I liked the best was the organic winery. The process that they use to make the wine sounded better and it actually tasted a bit better as well, in my expert opinion. I dont have any pictures from the tour because I didnt have a charger for my camera....oh well, it wasnt that spectactular so no big loss there.

I spent a lot of my time in Mendoza figuring out how to get my new Bank card sent down and waiting to pick it up. I also managned to find a new camera charger near the end of my stay there. One night I managed to meet up with a friend that I had met in 2005 in in Morocco, we have been in contact through email sporadically throughout the last few years so it was cool to see him.

I liked the town of Mendoza but it wasnt spectacular by any means. Below are a few pictures of random things from Mendoza.

MENDOZA, ARGENTINA

Quilmes is the most popular beer in Argentina.
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Guido from Rosario, Argentina and a girl from the Netherlands.
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An interesting type of truck I´ve never seen before.
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A cool car about the size of a Mini Cooper but I think its a Fiat.
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The next generation of race tires from Kumho (the same brand I used to use while racing the Integra). The Power Racer 2 is supposed to be some pretty advanced stuff....haha
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After Mendoza I headed down to Bariloche, Argentina which is on the northern fringe of Patagonia. We were there in the off season but it looked like a pretty cool ski lodge town that would be really happening in the middle of winter (June). I was travelling with a guy named David from England at the time and we decided to rent bikes and ride to the base of the ski slopes and see if we could get a cable car to the top. The views were great and the pictures are below. I used to snow board about 10 or 11 years ago on the little hills in Ohio. Visiting this resort made me want to pick it up again. Maybe I will......

BARILOCHE, ARGENTINA

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Below are some of the pictures from back in the town of Bariloche. There is a big lake there, which is pretty nice. Even though the weather wasn´t great we went for a long walk in a national park nearby. A few dogs from one of the hotels found us and followed us for about 2 or 3 hours. There were were 3 of them and 2 of them were pretty smart. At one point we went the wrong way and the smart ones just stopped in the middle of the road and refused to follow us anymore. The young ¨dumb¨one followd us for another hour or so. When we got on the bus back to town at the end of the park the dog looked so confused and sad. We felt bad about leaving him there but had not choice.

Lake shore
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View from town
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Lake
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The dogs that followed us all day.
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David getting ready to cook dinner. He loves to cook, can you tell?
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After Bariloche we took another LONG (maybe 16 hour) bus ride towards Puerto Madryn on the East coast of Argentina. I decided to leave Bariloche a few hours early and stop in another town about 4 hours south to break up the trip. When I arrived at the bus station I checked my backpack into a storage facility and was about to walk around town when two plain clothes police officers came up to me asking if I had any drugs. I didnt believe they were real police so I just walked away, then one of them grabbed me pretty forcefully and kept talking in Spanish. I said if they wanted to search my bag we had to go to the police station. One guy pulls out his cell phone and calls someone to come pick us up. They wanted me to give them my passport but I didnt want to give it up so I gave them a copy instead. Then I´m thinking, wait a second, I dont want to get in a car with these guys so I tell them Im not going to the station unless we can walk there (it was a really small town). When I said that they asked if I had any drugs again. I said no. Then they let me go. Sounds strange but when I saw a police officer in uniform later on in town I asked him and he confirmed that they had guys doing searches at the bus station. I think I handled it alright...not to toot my own horn or anything.

The main reason to go to Puerto Madryn is to see the Southern Right Whales and some Penguins there. The whale trip was a lot different than the whale trip in Ecuador because the whales werent jumping out of the water, but they were curious and swimming right up to the side of the boat. At times they were almost touching the boat. I think they are the only type of whale without a dorsal fin and generally speaking they are pretty ugly and have strange crustaceans on their bodies. Either way it was pretty impressive to see them so close to the boat.

PUERTO MADRYN, ARGENTINA

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David was wearing his life jacket around on land all day. What a strange guy.
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There were also huge elephant seals on part of the trip. Cool, huh?
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You cant see it too well in this picture, but the whales are very close to the shore.
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Some penguins....Scott was excited when he saw these pictures. For some reason he loves penguins.
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While in Puerto Madryn we also managed to find a bar that would allow us to watch the final Formula One race of the season. It was an interesting race to watch so I´m glad I didnt miss that. After the whales and the F1 race, we were read to move on. Oh yeah, I got a haircut there too.

Me after travelling for 4 months without a haircut.
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When we left Puerto Madryn we got on another LONG bus trip, this time about 24 hours in total to get to El Calafate. The road was long and straight and there wasnt much to look at. But the sunset was amazing. I slept most of the time and attempted to read a magazine using the electronic spanish translator that I had my dad send me.

Sunset headed south along the east coast.
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Random Pic:
Race car parked out front of a house.
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Posted by Hughes9115 09:01 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Pictures I´m currently adding to some old posts.

Valparaiso Port
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Typical Bolivian city bus. Looks like a school bus from the 60s or somthing.
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Posted by Hughes9115 13:06 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

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