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RTW 08/09

On the road again!!

BRAZIL | Thursday, 19 February 2009 | Views [604] | Comments [2]

Hola, sorry it took so long to update on here but the past few weeks I have been relaxing and trying to get my enthusiasm back for travelling. I lost my mojo for a bit after getting my gear stolen, especially all my pictures. But as the title says I´m back on the road again :-)

Last update I was in Cuzco, Peru. Cuzco is such a nice town with its huge plaza, old buildings and cobbled streets although it´s a bit touristy. We spent a day there and then planned our trip to the mighty Machu Picchu. Two buses and a train took us to Aguas Caliente were we got a quick sleep and then up at 4am to catch the buses to Machu Picchu. What can I say, a trip to Peru or SA isn´t complete without a trip to this Incá wonder. We spent a few hours exploring the ruins. A few Cork lads who had just completed the four day Inca Trail were running around after a llama trying to drape a Peoples Republic of Cork flag over it.

We got a few nice pictures when the mist rose up from the valley below adding an errieness to this World Wonder. 

The next day Claire and I got a bus to Arequipa where she stay for two days and I continued onto Lima to sort out a new passport.

Walter the guy who I ran the Buenos Aires Marathon with is also from Lima and he looked after us very well. One Sunday we went to the most amazing Peruvian seafood restaurant. Walter introduced us to some traditional dishes and I have to say it is the best food I have tasted in South America so far. So good that I returned two days later for lunch, I would have went the next day only it closes on Monday, what a shame :-( It´s called Punto Azul by the way if anyone is ever in Lima.

On the 19th of January Claire got her flight back to Ireland and I left Lima two days later.

I bused it back to Arequipa and then onto Puno where I stayed the night. The next day I crossed back into Bolivia but not after having to pay $25 to immigration for having no entry stamp for Peru. When I got to the Bolivian side the immigration officer only gave me 5 days in the country as I was on a temporary passport. To be honest I can´t blame him as the temporary passport is just a piece of paper with my photo stuck in and a few stamps from the Consulate.

It looks really bad and the one year emergency passport that I now have isn´t much better.

The past couple of weeks I have been staying in La Paz in the Wild Rover PARTY hostel. I stayed there over Christmas and New Years and there was still a few people that got stuck and were still there when I got back. Its such a nice hostel and the craic is good that I got in a bit of a rut while I waited on a new camera and credit card to be sent from home.

I got my one year emergency passport sent to La Paz from the Irish embassey in Mexico, they deal with all the SA passports. I could have got a new one sent from Dublin but it could take at least a month and I didn´t know where I would be. 

When I got to immigration I was two days over the five that I got at the Bolivian border the two guys sitting in the corner of the immigration office didn´t give a hoot and stamped me in for 90 days.

I finally left La Paz on Sunday 8th Feb and got the overnight bus to Santa Cruz in the centre of the country. I planned to stay for a night but there was a bus to a town on the Brazilian border two hours after I arrived so I decided to continue.

The worse bus ride of my trip so far awaited. I knew it when I saw the state of the bus and the amount of Mosquitoes that lived there it was going to be bad.

We left Santa Cruz at 5pm and after about an hour we left the safety of the tarmac and onto an unsealed dirt track for the next 15hours.

An hour on the road and then the craic started. I fell asleep only to wake when the bus stopped. It was lashing down with rain which made the road turn to mud. A couple of lorries and cars had slid off the road or were stuck in the mud. We spend the next couple of hours fishtailing along in the dark.

As we were sliding along we had to avoid a lorry that was stuck when the back of the bus decided it needed a rest and we slid off and into a mud bank. Thankfully it only took about 20mins to dig the bus out. Another bus past us when we were stuck and a few of the locals on it had a good laugh at us. But we had the last laugh 40mins later when their nice yellow bus also ditched.

The bus then broke down about 5 times, once for over an hour on this seemingly never ending journey. We were suppose to be in Quijarro on the Brazilian border at 6:30am but didn´t arrive until 12:30pm.

I was expecting some hassle at imigration as the one year paspport looks like I made it myself and sometimes immigration will ask for a yellow fever certificate which I dont have anymore, but all formalities went smoothly and I got my exit stamp and walk across the bridge onto Brazilian soil. I had to get a taxi to Corumba just inside Brazil and go to the immigration office for my entry stamp which was also no problem.

I met an oldie from Spain in his 70´s traveling on his own at immigration and after dinner and a few beers we decided to get the bus together the next morning to Campo Grande.

From Corumba to Campo Grande we had to travel through the Pantanal. The Pantanal is a Tropical wetland and UNESCO World Heritage Site that is mostly located in Brazil but portions spread into Bolivia as well as Paraguay. It is the largest wetland in the world covering almost 75,000 sq miles. The drive through the Pantanal held some nice suprises and my neck was sore with trying to look out both sides of the bus. As well as the many bird species that I spotted I got to see my first Toucan as it glided past the bus. Also from the bus I seen a lot of Caimen basking in the sun by pools of water. I also spotted a deer which I didnt expect to see in a tropical environment. I would have loved to stop off for a few days as there is so much more to see but I hadn´t got the time so it´s on my to do list :-)

I was trying to bus it all the way to Salvador for Carnival but when I got to Brazil I realised I hadn´t got time so I booked a flight from Sao Paulo to Salvador on the 13th of Feb.

I left La Paz on Sunday night and made it to Sao Paulo on Thursday morning after 60hours on buses.

I booked into the hostel I stayed in in November and got picked up the next morning at 5am by Zete, Renato, Renata and Vaguinho and off we went to the airport.

Salvador and Carnival awaits!!!




Hey Paul,
Good to see your back in action again!
I'm touching down in Rio on April 18th. Will you still be around then? If you are we should meet up. Where do you recommend I stay when I arrive?

  Stephen Feb 19, 2009 3:29 AM


Hardly read what you have written,thought you were dead... sorry, dramatic as ever..

good to hear from you.


  Anne Marie Feb 22, 2009 12:51 PM

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