Sorry for the big gap in time between posts – rumours of our demise have been grossly exaggerated: neither lost in the desert, nor rotting on a jail floor. Rather we have been hitting the buses, boats and planes hard to complete our journey over the continent in 6 months, the mother of all loops. Now we are in Salvadore, Brazil. It´s a tourist trap (literally since beyond the historical centre, the ´Pelo´ the streets are supposedly littered with fraught situations). Despite being a parody of itself, Salvadore has immense charm. At night samba bands parade up and down the cobbled roads, the bars serve up super strong capahrinas and the church of San Francisco is a masterpiece of wood with gold inlay.
As far as our budget has been concerned, we have managed fine until stopped dead in our tracks by the impenetrable barrier of Brazilian travel costs. It´s a massive country, nearly scaling the continent. To travel down from the Amazon to Salvadore has cost us hundreds of dollars. And we´re only half wayish to Rio. Luckily the credit card has rescued us from penury so far. Nevertheless, Brazil is great. The people, the beaches, the camping, the cheap cane spirits, the availabilty of good smoke all make Brazil one of my favourites. The other day we went to a beautiful white sand beach in Praia de Pipa. It was backed by pink bluffs that had no development beyond sun shades. In the calm blue waters dolphin could be seen swimming and catching fish. How good is that. Swimming in the warm sea with dophins; and stoned as well.
Anyway, I left off in Huanchaco, Peru. Top smoking and good waves, but nothing compared to Praia de Pipa. So to recap, we have a budget between the two of us of $60 a day, which makes 177 Nuevos Soles.
Plazza Hotel = 40
Breakfast = 5
Lunch = 8
Beef = 4
Vegetables = 5.60
Bread = 2
Banana = 0.50
2 surfing lessons = 80
Our instructor was very patient with us. We had big boards and after lots of instruction about how to get to your feet, we hit the waves. Both of us managed to get up and catch a wave of sorts. This was, however, only with the aid of the teacher pushing us off and shouting get up. It was exhilerating but the cold water which penetrated our wet suits eventually made us too numb to continue. I didn´t managed to catch a wave on my own. I went back in the afternoon for the free board and suit rental included in the package and I sucked and soon got cold and came back in. Ignomious defeat in my bid to join the surfer ranks. After that we mostly got stoned and watched cable TV or went shopping for ingredients for dinner.
Beer = 7
Total = 152.1 (24.9 under budget)
08/08/09, Huanchaco, Peru
Plazza Hotel = 40
Bread = 5
Fags = 6
Dinner = 18
Beer, chicha and fags = 15.60
Total = 87.1 (89.9 under budget)
Plazza Hotel = 40
Breakfast = 4.50
Lunch = 8
Veggies & bread = 7
Beer = 7
Total = 66.5 (110.5 under budget)
10/08/09, on bus to Piura
Bus from Huanchaco to Truillo (1.5 per person) = 3
Bus from Truillo to Piura (30 per person) = 60
2 empanadas = 4
Hospadje room in the centre of Truillo we got for a few hours and smoked it up and waited for our night bus = 40
We changed $200 @ 2.94 which puts our budget down to 174 Soles.
Taxi to bus station = 4
Dinner = 19
Tip = 1
Water, biscuits and empanadas = 5.50
Total = 152.5 (21.5 under budget)
Bus from Piura to Mancora (12 per person) = 24
The Point Hostel in Mancora (24 for a dorm bed) = 48
2 waters = 5
Lunch and beer = 13.50
Fruit = 3.80
Wine = 18
Supermarket = 9.10
Beer = 8
Total = 129.4 (44.6 under budget)
Bako Hotel (25 per person) = 50
We moved from the Point because they had over priced dorm beds and the hostel is isolated, far down the beach. Which meant that at night it was dangerous to walk along the beach we were stuck with expensive meal prices and a bunch of college-aged kids getting drunk at the pirate party. It nauseated me. Was I once like that? I never stooped to pirate outfits.
Fags = 8
Lunch = 10
Shop = 0.80
Dinner = 14
Shop = 7.50
2 lighters = 2
Total = 92.4 (81.7 under budget)
Bako Hotel = 50
Lunch = 12
Bus tickets from Mancora to Cuenca in Ecuador (60 per person) = 120
Internet = 4
Supermarket = 18
2 beers, crisps & 2 packs of lucky strikes = 24
Dinner = 30
Gear, bracelet and tip = 32
A timely lucky encounter this as we had just run out of gear. A pleasant artisan bloke showing a friendly and enterprising spirit.
Total = 290 (116 over budget)
14/08/09, Cuenca, Ecuador
Ecuador uses US dollars for its currency (only some of the coins are different to the US). Very handy for changing travellers cheques into the solid lucre of the US buck.
Empanadas = 2.50 Soles
We changed 117 Nuevos Soles into $37.90 at the border
2 chicken and chips = $2
This was probably the meal that made me sick as a dog. Cold chips. Beware.
Taxi from Cuenca bus station to Cuenca Hostel = $2
Perla Cuneca Hostel ($6 per person) = $12
Notebook = $0.35
2 empanadas = $0.30
Shop = $3.50
By the end of this day I was mostly confined to bed with many trips to the shared bathroom for emergency evacuations
Total = $20.95 ($39.05 under budget)
Perla Cuenca Hostel = $12 (private room without bathroom but with guest use kitchen)
Bananas = $0.30
Supermarket = $2.21
Food (not for me), fags and water = $3.75
Total = $18.26 (41.74 under budget)
16/08/09, Montanita, Ecuador
This is surfing paradise equador style. Nice beach but the weather was a bit rainy and cold and what with having the shits I didn´t make the most of the beach. On the plus side we befriended a nice artisan who hooked us up.
Taxi to Cunca bus terminal = $2
Bus from Cuenca to Guayaquil ($8 per person) = $16
Bus from Guayaquil to Montanita ($7.50 per person) = $15
Bus terminal tax = $0.20
2 sandwiches = $4
Coke = $0.80
Fags = $2.75
Montezuma Hostel = $16 (private room with toilet. Dark with mosquito net)
Gear = $15
Tip = $1
Total = $72.5 ($12.75 over budget)
Argentina $1,079 and Bolivia $1,016 and Peru $1,904 and Equador $111.71
Total Spent = $4,222.42
Total Budget = $4,800
Total Difference = $577.58 to the good
These were the cruisey days of cheapdom. Ecuador proved cheap also. Colombia was a little bit more expensive and Venezeula cost a bit more again. Still nothing in comparison to the hits you take for bus tickets in Brazil. It´s all coming soon, folks.
After the bout of sickness in Ecuador we have both been stomach bug free and fine except for an incident where I had to rush Waka to the hospital.
In Venezuela a friendly woman in a local restaurant dropped my digital camera into a bowl of water and beans. It´s never been the same since. Otherwise we have been safe.