24 November 2012

A new plan. Again.

Plans are there to be changed, or at least I hope that is how it works as my plans have changed. Again.

Sadly the Galapagos hasn't worked out for Gil, which means I get to change what I'm doing too. Instead of spending a few weeks in the Galapagos and then focusing on Peru, I'll be flying from Beijing to Lima (having possibly/probably spent another few weeks in China) and working my way down to Santiago over about 3 months - the reverse of what I'd originally planned with Gil several months ago. Funny how life is circular.

Whilst it is a shame to not do the Galapagos on this trip it is still on the list of places to visit - everything is a trade and this is just another one. This trade has means I get to sample a lot more of South America and that is no bad thing.

The beginning is still fixed, in that I'm overlanding from Istanbul to Mongolia, and I'm still off to SE Asia after South America. If I don't meet Gil in South America then she'll be doing bits of SE Asia with me.  It's all a bit fuzzy.

This change to the plan just changes the entire of what I'm doing in South America. I wonder what the next change will bring.

23 November 2012

Point of no return (part 1)

I've just told my landlord that I don't want my flat next year. A point of no return.

19 November 2012

A mistake I've made before

And one I'm sure I'll make again... the "food" options air-side at Miami International are crap; I really need remember to buy real food before security.  Sadly I suspect it'll be a while before I get to come here again. I suspect I'll have forgotten. Again.

It's hot, it's sticky and...

... There are places selling Christmas trees. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Florida.

Warm (read: hot and sticky) and Christmas (humbug, etc) is just wrong.

18 November 2012

Genius from Air Canada

Dear Air Canada,

Please find the person who thought providing a USB connector, in addition to a normal power socket, to each of the seats and give them the Pure Genius Award of the day, week and month. Brilliant.

16 November 2012

Best kept secret of Toronto

Toronto has a secret that it doesn't advertise (read: I didn't see it, but given that I did not research before going that doesn't actually mean a whole lot) that is probably one of the best features of Toronto International... If you're flying to the USA from Toronto you do all the immigration and customs in Toronto - you just have to collect your luggage when you get to the USA. Given that my recent entry via Dulles gave me a 2 hour wait at immigration (and for a 8 hour flight that's an extra 25%, in addition to the 4.5 delay in departing LHR) doing it here is a welcome relief and means I'm far more likely to route via here if a direct option isn't available (gives me an unneeded excuse to visit Toronto).

Oh, and you can take the tube + bus to/from the airport too. Congratulations, you've just saved $60 on a cab fare.

Pampered pooch's paradise?

Toronto is many things; it's a city that feels like a town, it's friendly, it's a great place to walk around and is, if you are out by the lake on towards the East of the city, a wonderfully peaceful place that makes you forget that you're in a major international city.  It has purveyors of fine Ethiopian and Thai food, and some good coffee (Daisy, I'm looking at you here).  It is also paradise for those who like to fuss over their dogs - counting 3 dog washing & beauty parlours with a couple of miles was unexpected (even for The Beach(es)); finding many more dotted across the city then became less of a surprise.
Getting to walk around the back streets and wonder around the places that locals live has been really nice. Getting to do it with a friend has been even better.
Toronto is a place I'll be coming back to, as it deserves more than the time I've had to explore.
I leave Toronto having spent 2.5 days with someone I'd not seen for far too long and, having spent most of that time discussing travel, full of fire for what I'll be doing.
Onwards to Miami, with that bittersweet taste.  Again.

13 November 2012

That bittersweet tang

This is something I should really get use to, it'll be happening a lot over the next 18(ish) months. That bittersweet taste of leaving one place and all that's there (the people who are there) and going to another. As much as I'm looking forward to my time in Toronto and seeing Jean-François, it is a shame to be leaving Steve and Lisa in DC.

Given how small the planet is, it's far too big at times.

12 November 2012

The local taste (part 2)

Part of the local taste is creating new local dishes, which will be part legend and part folklore. An example of this is the Paco, the pork taco. Slow cooked pork, wrapped in ham. Washed down with a beer.

See also the Paco sandwich: bread roll, slice of ham, slow cooked pork, freshly made coleslaw, more ham, top of the roll, all with a generous dash of Chipotle sauce. Washed down with a beer.

The legend is pictured. Folklore remains for those that were there.

11 November 2012

The local taste

One of the nice things about being somewhere that isn't home is the sampling of new, local, things. In the case of when I visit my friends near DC this means one thing and one thing alone. Beer.

America had a reputation for really bad beer and if you drink the likes of Budwiser: 1) it's true (cue the canoe joke); 2) there are many many other beers you could be drinking which are really very good.

Things to add to the trip

Having spent the last few days in Lost River National Park I've found something I need to make sure I add plenty of to my trip - darkness.

Two evenings sat outside in the pitch black staring at the sky and a field of stars. Being able to see the arm of the Milkyway is really very cool (not a reference to the freezing cold conditions) and something that I'd forgotten just how nice it is. If nothing else it made me remember being in the Namibian Desert and falling asleep out under the stars.  Heaven.

9 November 2012

Oh so glamorous (part 2)

Yesterday I spent about 17 hours getting from my place to a friend's house near DC. An 8 hour flight with a 4.5 hour delay and 2 (yes, two) hours to get through immigration at IAD.

The Beijing to Lima jump is about twice that (excluding delays). That is going to hurt. Lots.

Oh so glamorous.

In related news, the beer and pizza when I arrived tasted *so* good.  Kinda like the breakfast in Lima will.

8 November 2012

Oh so glamorous

A 4 hour delay on an 8 hour flight. This travel lark, it's oh so glamorous.

7 November 2012


I've come to the conclusion that there is very little difference between packing for a 10 day trip and a multi-month trip. The amount of crap you seem to need for either is about the same, where the only real difference is that I'm not taking a sleeping bag on this trip. (and there are plenty of multi-month trips where you don't need one.)
I'll put a little (lot) more thought into packing for a multi-month trip, but I'm willing to bet that the results look a lot like what is currently routing its way around LHR T5 in an effort to find me in DC in about 10 hours time.
In related news, this is the first time in a very long time I've been at an airport and not hated it. For someone who had travelled a lot (with work, mostly) I really don't like airports.

I wonder if I could do my RTW without flying. :-)