Friday, 4 February 2011

The Last One - Facts, Figures, Top 5's and the Before & After Photo

As all of you know we are back in the UK now, getting ready to head to Bristol on Saturday and Tony starting work again on Monday.  I thought it would be nice to share some of our highlights with you and also the before and after photo of how we look now and how we were 8 months ago.  We really enjoyed every minute of the trip and wished it could have gone on for even longer!  We are glad to be back with friends and family though, and both really looking forward to starting again in Bristol :)

We managed to total up how log we spent on buses and planes and it's even shocked me!  We both kept a diary for most of the trip so it wasn't too hard to do.  Anyway, here goes:

Time spent on public transport in South America (4 months):

249 hours - that's just over 10 days!  In 4 months!!  

Time spent on public transport in SE Asia (5 weeks and 2 days):

115.5 hours  - just under 5 days! 

Approximate distance driven in New Zealand (64 days in the van):

7000 km or 4350 miles

Amount of peanut butter sandwiches eaten whilst living in the van:

I reckon we had at least one a day, so i'm going to say around 70...each! 

Fish caught and fish eaten:

7 herrings, 2 kahawai and 1 trout (in 64 days of fishing, on average Tone spent 2 or 3 hours a day trying to catch dinner) and only 1 eaten (the rest were 'too small' and not worth bothering with)

We spent a total of around 51 hours on planes from start to finish

Top 10 new experiences and activities:
  • Skydiving over Lake Wanaka
  • Full Moon Party in Thailand
  • Swimming with caiman, piranhas and pink river dolphins (all at the same time!) - just Tony 
  • Learning to surf properly in Brazil and getting into it in New Zealand (Fia)
  • The Tobacco ceremony we did in the jungle in Peru
  • Star gazing tour in San Pedro de Atacama
  • Sandboarding (probably more Tony's choice as opposed to mine)
  • The Cambodian cookery school
  • Living in the jungle for 5 days in Peru
  • Living in the van for 2 months in New Zealand

Our Favourite Food:
  • Thai green curry (and pretty much all Thai food!)
  • The Cambodian Amok (will hopefully be able to recreate this as I learnt how to cook it in the cookery school)
  • Brazilian Rodizio Churrasco - all types of meat they bring to you on a skewer and you decide which bit you want.  AMAZING.
  • Pao de Queijo - possibly the most amazing thing ever, but hard to explain..
  • Chilean Empanadas (specifically the ones from this one shop in San Pedro - I want to learn how to make them!)

Most questionable dishes:
  • 90p Bolivian 3 course meal (made everyone ill)
  • Fried crickets as a snack (although they didn't taste that bad, I question the need to eat crickets...)
  • Chicken hearts
  • Testicles in noodle soup (hahaa!! )
  • Bolivian food in general (always found at least one hair in it, even the fruit salad!)

Most amazing, friendly, warm people:
  • Cambodians
  • Brazilians (specifically Bahians)
  • Kiwis
  • Thai
  • Peruvians
Most memorable monuments/landmarks we saw:

Foz do Iguacu - we'll never look at waterfalls in the same way again.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu - amazing beyond expectations
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni - just weird, but very cool.
Yellow Crater, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
Tongariro National Park - a free walk you can do in New Zealand, and absolutely stunning
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Angkor Wat - cycling around ancient temples was one of the best things we did in Asia
Useless items we bought (and when I say we, I mean Tony):
  • Clay condor - in La Paz, Bolivia
  • Fake fossil trilobite - again in La Paz, they had a lot of useless tourist items on sale.
  • Juggling balls - one of Tony's first impulse buys.  He used them maybe a handful of times. 
  • Lemon and dill herb dressing (for all the fish we were going to catch in nz...didn't get opened at all) - Tony was feeling ambitious
  • Breadcrumbs (same reason as above)

Best beers/drinks:
  • 50 cent Angkor draft beer in Cambodia
  • Sang Som buckets in Thailand
  • Caipirinhas in Brazil
  • Maco Bull Coca leaf spirit "the andean viagra" in Peru
  • Mekong Whiskey in Cambodia ($1.50/750ml bottle!)

Sketchiest transport:
  • Bolivian buses - ALL OF THEM
  • Bolivian jeep ride with a broken exhaust pipe and a car full of fumes
  • Plane to Rurrenabaque (Bolivia, AGAIN!) - we landed in a different air strip on grass through a load of smoke!
  • Taxi journey to Bangkok airport on our last night (150km/hour in a 60km/hour zone!)
  • 16 people in a taxi in Koh Phangnan

We've really enjoyed keeping the blog, even though it was a bit difficult at times with no internet or very slow connections.  It's hard to say which place was our favourite, or what was our best/most memorable experience as each thing you did was totally new and amazing in different ways.  I think we both want to go back to South America to explore some of the countries we visited more, and visit new ones.  We also had to cut our time in Asia short so want to go back to Thailand, and see some other places as well.  We were so struck by the warmth and friendliness of everyone we met in SE Asia, we felt at home at every place we stayed.  New Zealand was so beautiful and again the people were super-friendly, and I would go back there again and again.  One place we haven't mentioned here actually is Sydney, which was great but we were there for only 3 nights. However, I reckon a trip back there to maybe live and work may be on the cards...who knows?!  

We've met some amazing people along the way and want to say thanks to all of them for making our trip even more memorable and special.  

Thanks for reading and big love to you all! xxxxx