Archive for December, 2012

Happy New Year!

December 31, 2012

It’s been a busy couple of days in Sri Lanka. Well, by busy I mean it’s been three days spent in the most terrifying automobile rides on the planet. My taxi driver splitting lanes on the freeway at 95 MPH in South Korea doesn’t even compare to the crazy of driving in Sri Lanka. The second day here was spent in Kandy, the old Capitol and home to some amazing sites. Beautiful Buddhist temples built long ago, located in a hazy, foggy mountain city.
After walking around and checking out all the Kandy sites, it was back in the car to a spice garden. They’re huge on Ayurvedic medicine, so I got to learn about all the different oils and herbs and how they cure everything. Honestly, I would recommend skipping the spice garden. It was a forty foot walk down a path and back without much reward.
After the spice garden it was on to the elephant orphanage to play with elephants. It’s crazy how big they are, and they’re roaming free everywhere. You can walk right up to them, feed them, ride them, really anything you want to do. It was pretty cool.
New Year’s Eve was spent playing ping pong, chess and drinking some terrible local rum. All in all a successful close to 2012!
I’m sure anyone reading this just wants to see the pictures, so here goes:

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The longest set of flights ever…

December 29, 2012

Please, next time I think it’s a good idea to spend three days flying on four different planes somebody should kick me in the head. But, after San Francisco, Newark, Frankfurt and Doha, I finally made it to Colombo, Sri Lanka. I just checked into my frugal accommodations (no, seriously, the room rates in Colombo start at $9 per night), and the weather is really nice. I had a nice 45 minute conversation with the taxi driver on the way. This beautiful island has had a bad run. Between a thirty year guerrilla war and losing 50,000 people in the 2004 tsunami, I’m amazed to see everyone smiling here. This place has a ton of potential, and I’m really looking forward to traveling around here. Now it’s nap time…

Palm trees without cruise control

December 12, 2012

I arrived in Uruguay the day before yesterday via the ferry service, and was greeted by a crazy tropical storm. Rain blowing sideways and all the fun parts of a mini hurricane. So after watching six hours of crime dramas, went to bed and woke up to blue skies and awesomeness. Both Argentina and Uruguay are not the cheapest countries you can travel to. But surprisingly the rental car rates are not a lot more than cross country bus tickets, so I get to drive while in Uruguay. The car is pretty new, it’s a Chevy Spark, and it’s a little bigger than a backpack. Everyone drives in the tradition of Italian road rules (look forward and don’t hit anything, but people behind you don’t matter). It’s also been really fun driving a stick for the first time in eight years :).
So I made the drive across Uruguay to a tiny beach town called La Paloma. It was about a five hour drive through coastal city after coastal city, including Montevideo. La Paloma has about 3,500 people and a really cool lighthouse. Check out the pics below:

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Don’t cry for me…

December 10, 2012

Okay, okay, I am the laziest blogger ever. I’ve been in Buenos Aires for six days now, and this is my first post. It’s been a combination of keeping busy here (for the most part) and relaxing after the last couple weeks in San Francisco. Buenos Aires is not what I expected initially. At first glance it looks like any major city in Europe. The architecture, terrace culture, late night eating all remind me of Europe. It’s really nice. But any metropolitan area of thirteen million people has its annoyances. The traffic is crazy, and getting to the other side of the city is a long process (the subway makes it easier, but the cab rides add up). If you choose to visit, bring your meat belly. Everything is a meat of some kind. Chorizo is the official national vegetable, and even a side of grilled vegetables has a ton of bacon in it. Luckily, they have this great soft drink called “Malbec” that gives you a really relaxed feeling after drinking lots of it. It tastes like grape juice that’s been sitting out too long, but is cheap and delicious (yup, my beef and wine trip is going great so far). So, to recap the last six days:

Day one – Plaza de Mayo (government buildings, cool square, watched people protest)

Day two – Torrential rain, visited the Evita Museum, National Museum of Fine Arts, drank wine

Day three – Recoleta Cemetery to see Evita’s grave, went on a graffiti tour of Buenos Aires, drank wine

Day four – Teatro Colon, visited El Caminito walking street, had more meat and wine

Day five – visited a Sunday mercado in San Telmo and walked around, took a nap, ate more meat

Today I’m off to Uruguay to see what their wine and beef taste like. It’s a one hour ferry ride to Colonia and then a couple hour drive to the beaches to relax.

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