These photos are from different locations around Machu Picchu. They were also taken from 6am, when there is fog covering the moutain, until about 3:30pm. Machu Picchu is one of the best sites to see in the world and a must see if you are traveling through South America.
These photos are from the Temples of Angkor. The most famous being Angkor Wat. Howard and me in front of the lake in the afternoon. I would recommend to be at Angkor wat either at sunrise or sunset. You will get the best pictures at this time
While I was traveling through Rio de Janeiro, Brazil I went to an area call Lapa. It is a barrio that is not too far from the beach. An artist from Chile, named Selaron moved to Rio de Janeiro, and decided to make this his home over 30 years ago. He had a passion for art, and decided to make this stair case his master piece. To check out his whole story go to this site:
This stair case has around 200 steps that have been redesigned by this artist. By doing this, he has changed everything in the neighborhood, and brought in tourism, which also brought back the nightlife! Selaron still lives on this stair case, and you will more than likely run into him if you visit the stairs! Enjoy the video!
In my daily life I never wear watches.I usually have my cell phone with me, and if I need to know what time it is I look at it.So I would have never dreamed of wearing a watch while traveling abroad.That is until I found a sport/travel watch called Deuce Brand!It is like a livestrong band (think yellow lance Armstrong band) with a watch.
I found it on line at www.deucebrand.com.I ended up getting a black one, but the web site has a variety of colors.It was perfect for my recent trip to Brazil!!The watch is inexpensive, water proof, light weight, and I almost forgot I was wearing it most of the time.I would highly recommend this watch for any backpacker or traveler that is traveling overseas, and doesn’t want to wear a “regular” watch.
While I was in Brazil I wanted to go to a brazilian steakhouse.I had heard so many stories of how good the meat is in Brazil that I wanted to experience it myself.There are two main steakhouses in the Impanema area of Rio.The most famous steakhouse is called Porcao and the other one is called Carretao.Hayden, Jared and I had met locals while saying in Riothat lived in Impanema, and told us that both restaurants were the same quality, taste, and variety of meats except that Carretao was half of the cost!So instead of paying 70 Reais at Porcao you can pay 35 Reais for basically the same meal.
The night we went to Carretao we arrived around 11:00 pm.It was about half full so we were able to choose any table in the restaurant.We sat down, and we basically only had one decision to make: what did we want to drink.Then we got right back up and hit the salad bar first.It had everything you wanted to make a salad, had a variety of sushi rolls, pastas, rolls, etc.
Once we got back to the table, they laid down this round circle that controls if you want a serving of meat or if you don’t.One side of the circle is green, and the other side of the circle is red.Braziliansteakhouses have employees walk around with different cuts of meat, and if they see you have the green side up then they will cut you off a slice of meat.If they see the red side of the circle they just pass you by.To add to the already huge amounts of food that we had eaten the waiter also offered us french fries, cheese rolls, plantain, and rice.
By the time we got done eating, an hour and a half later, we almost needed to be wheeled out of the restaurant.I was so full.I do have to admit it was some of the best steak I had ever had!Here are the details on Carretao:
There has been mud slides, flooding, and travelers stuck around Cuzco, Aguas Caliente, and other little towns leading up to the Inca site Machu Picchu. If you are planning on traveling to Machu Picchu in the month of February I would definitely contact any travel agency in Cuzco to make sure your bookings are available, and to make sure the Inca trail or the train is able to get you to see the site.
When I was planning my trip down to Brazil with my two friends, Hayden and Jared, it worked out to where we were going to meet in Charlotte, North Carolina. Once in Charlotte, we would fly direct from Charlotte to Rio de Janeiro on the same over night flight. So when I landed in Charlotte on December 18th, I turned on my cell phone...the first text message I received was from Jared saying that Hayden and him had missed their flight into Charlotte. I couldn't believe it...
No worries, after talking to them they said that they were not going to be in Rio until Sunday morning (24 hours after I land). So I had 24 hours to hang out by myself in Rio and meet some new people. The flight from Charlotte was pretty easy. It ended up being about 10 hours. So it wasn't too terrible...no crying babies, nobody hitting the back of my chair. I only had two problems.
US Airways only played one movie: which was Bridal Wars. Can't they play any movie better than this?
US Airways does not give out free alcohol on international flights. I had never heard of this...
The flight ended up landing at about 10.AM. Once the flight landed, I went through customs with no problems, and then was praying that my bag made it. After waiting about 25 minutes and with only about 3 other people waiting for their bags mine finally popped out!
When we booked our hostel before we left, we had requested that somebody pick the 3 of us up at the airport. We figured this would be the easiest, cheapest, and fastest way to get to Impanema. So after walking out of the baggage area and into the main part of the airport it gets a little crazy. I would have been a little intimidated if it was my first time in Rio (but it wasn't). There are about 3 taxi cab companies, 20 people holding signs with peoples last names on them, random people asking me if I wanted a ride, etc. After 5 minutes of walking around looking for a guy with my friend Jared's last name I realized our ride had not shown up. I decided it was time for plan B.
If I was a budget traveler arriving in Rio de Janeiro (GIG) trying to get either Copacabana or Impanema I would suggest the following:
Change around $200-$300 US Dollars into Brazilian Reais at the airport. The exchange rate is not that bad. Right when you leave the baggage claim area you will see two people in two separate booths that will allow you to change currencies.
TAKE THE Airport Shuttle Bus- Once you walk out of the main doors of the airport you will see signs that indicate a bus stop. There are attendants that are working for the Shuttle that can help you. All you have to do is wait by the sign, and every 30 minutes the shuttle comes by to pick up passengers. Just tell the employee working for the Shuttle Impanema or your destination. It is so Cheap...7 Reais. It takes about 45 minutes to get from the airport to Copacabana/Impanema. Look for bus Alvoeada Z 5 or Impanema on the front window of the Bus.
If you decide to take a taxi. Make sure that you pay for the taxi inside from one of the major taxi companies. Do not take a ride from somebody that is walking up to you randomly in the airport. A taxi ride is going to cost a lot more ...from 60-80 Reais.
I was also able to talk to an employee of the airport that was at a help desk right by where you exchange money. The employee was fluent in English so it was very easy to communicate. She was the one who told me to take the bus and not the taxi! So I would also recommend talking to the Help Desk if you have any questions. Suerte!
This last year I spent Christmas in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They celebrate Christmas a lot different there than in the States. It is tradition to go to church for a Christmas Eve service, and then go back home to eat a big dinner with family. Just like any other meal in Argentina, we didn't start eating until 10 pm (still early by Argentine standards). At 12 am, everybody around the whole city starts to celebrate Christmas by setting off their own fireworks in their backyards or in the streets. Jared, Hayden, and I celebrated Christmas with my friend Eugenia's family. We had a great time, and when people were letting off fireworks we went into the street so that way we could see all of the fireworks around their neighborhood. People were letting off fireworks for more than 30 minutes!
This was very cool to see how a different culture celebrates the same holiday, because where I'm from in the states it is so cold that nobody wants to be outside for more than 30 seconds. That 30 seconds is running from your car to the house...It was great to celebrate Christmas in warm weather! Enjoy the video!
The video of the week comes from Buenos Aires, Argentina. In a previous blog on travelingbug.org, I wrote about a barrio that is called La Boca. This is a really popular tourist destination when traveling through Buenos Aires. Jared, Hayden, and I were walking down the street El Caminito. It is a very cool street to walk down! The buildings in La Boca are famous for being very colorful! La Boca has places to eat, street performers, art work, and people trying to sell you anything they can! Enjoy the video! Peace.
Two friends and I recently rented an apartment for 7 days in the barrio (neighborhood) of Palermo in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We didn't know it when we booked our apartment, but located half a block from where we stayed is one of the most famous pizza restaurants in Palermo. It is called Romario's. This place has really good pizza and empanada's. It is also so cheap (for tourists)! We ended up eating at Romario's for dinner two times during our stay in Buenos Aires. This place was always full of people! You are able to eat inside at a table, at the bar, or even outside at one of the three tables on the sidewalk. The first night we arrived in Buenos Aires we had dinner at Romario's. We landed in Buenos Aires at 10pm, and by the time we had gotten ready to go out for the night it was 12pm. If we were in any other country than Argentina, I would have told my friends that we were going to skip dinner. But in Argentina, 12pm is about perfect time to grab something to eat before going out. Romario's still had a lot of people eating and drinking when we showed up (12:15 am). We took a seat in the middle of the restaurant, and noticed that we were the only "gringo's" in the whole place.
Inside Romario's, it almost felt like a club. The first thing I noticed was the techno music they were playing throughout the restaurant. They also had these reddish lights that were turned down making a little darker inside then normal lights. The atmosphere gave Romario's a cool vibe! The staff there was also very friendly. The waitresses talked "spanglish" (half english/half spanish) with us, and always had a smile on their faces when they showed up to our table.
We ended up ordering a large pizza with two toppings, and had a liter of beer to start. For those of you that don't know the customs of Argentina, you order a beer and have to share the liter. So you pour the beer into these little 8 oz. glasses for you and your friends. It makes it a lot more social to share a drink instead of each having your own individual drink! I like it a lot! The pizza's are made in this giant open oven that you can see from anywhere in the restaurant. In about 10 minutes the pizza came out to the table. The pizza was still bubbling from the heat of the oven when it was put on our table! We were starving at this point in time, but we had to wait a minute or two so that we didn't burn our mouths! The pizza was great! We had a jamon y queso pizza (ham and cheese). There are about 20 different kinds of pizza to choose from if you want something else!
Time has flown by this year. I don't know where the year went. I started out the year living in Washington, D.C., but by the end of February I knew that it was time for me to move on to another city. I some how got this feeling inside of me that kind of reminded me what it was like to travel from city to city. So I decided to move from the East Coast to the West Coast! I am so happy in my new spot in California.
It is crazy for me to think that I have been back from my world trip for a year and half. When I got back from my trip it was so hard for me to relate to life in the States. Everything felt so foreign to me when I returned. I had to get used to driving again, the huge amounts of food when I went out to eat, and the daily grind of working! After talking to so many people throughout my year long trip, nobody ever mentioned to me what it would feel like to be back home, and adjust to life in the "real world." It was hard for me to talk with friends and family about everyday life, because I had nothing to say about the "normal" life. It also seemed to me that a lot of my friends would ask me how the trip was, and would be interested in it for about 3 minutes but then we'd change the subject. But then there were a hand full of friends that truly wanted to know the about the trip...destinations, people, sites and THE NEXT TRIP!
It is so hard to explain the traveling lifestyle to somebody who has not traveled for an extended period of time, but for those of us who have traveled, I can sum it up in one word...Travelingbug!
I have a lot more advantages planned for 2009 so please keep checking out my blog. I just got back from my favorite city in the world, Buenos Aires, Argentina for Christmas. I also went to Punta Del Este, Uruguay for New Years! The trip was so much fun! I will definitely have a lot of new blogs coming in January! Merry Christmas and Happy New Years! T.O.M.
(Picture above is from back stage area of Cirque de Solei in Cincinnati in the costume room!)