Another year in the life!

Trip Start Jul 31, 2005
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Trip End Sep 05, 2007


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Flag of Peru  ,
Wednesday, August 1, 2007

To think that it was a whole year ago that we wrote our "A year in the life" is unthinkable really! Where has the past year gone? We have of course had another amazing year, we have learnt lots of new things, had fabulous experiences, met lots of new people and made some very important decisions.

So, here we are in Peru writing our "Another year in the life", a blog to celebrate our second year of travel and to think about our last thirty five days of travel, because that is how long we now have until we arrived home - phew - it has all gone so quickly!

Just a day or so after writing this time last year we headed across the border into Laos.  We were introduced to this magical country by spending two solid days seated on wooden benches, observing life along the Mekong river. It was a long but incredible experience and onece again on this trip it left our eyes wide open. In Laos we met some of the kindest locals, visited beautiful temples, saw amazing scenery and ate some delicious food. Oh of course in Laos we also saw weed and joints actually written on the menu! And watched most episodes ever made of friends!

We soon made our way across the Friendship bridge and back into Thailand, this time we headed south.
Southern Thailand was very different from the regions we had already visited. The islands ranged from over commercialised to just us and a few others. We spent almost a month on the islands eating seafood, snorkelling, swimming and reading.

Malaysia was next up where we had a few treats in store! We crossed by ferry from Satun in Southern Thailand to the island of Langkawi. Matts parents met us the very next day and we spent two weeks travelling in Malaysia with them, being treated to delicious meals and a gorgeous hotel room in Kuala Lumpur. For us, Malaysia was modern and western, it also rained almost the whole time we were there!

Singapore was our final stop in Asia, now I have been three times to this city and Matt twice we knew where to go and what we wanted to see. We spent time exploring the citys interesting quarters and hopped across to Sentosa Island for the day, we ate each night in Kovan Hawker centre with the locals and ran to our room to recover from the humid Singapore air.

Australia - a dream come true for both of us. We landed in Perth and froze as we were so used to the hot Asian weather! We stayed that first night in a hostel and the next day picked up Clara our campervan who drove us up the west coast, across the north, into the outback and down the east coast. Australia was fabulous, we bbqed almost everyday, saw sights so amazing - we snorkelled bothe the Ningaloo and the Great Barrier Reef, we watched the sunset over Ayers Rock, climbed the Sydney harbour bridge and drove along the spectacular Great Ocean road. We also met up with one of my best friends from my college years - it was so amazing to catch up.

All too soon we were flying to New Zealand. We will never forget that nervous feeling we had! We landed and our work permits were stamped into our passports, we spent two unsuccesful weeks job hunting in Christchurch before we decided to head off in our car Polly and camped around the south island for a month. That month was amazing, we climbed glaciers, hiked along coastal parks, saw dolphins, got pissed cycling around vineyards, saw lakes and mountains in abundance and then got ourselves jobs in Queenstown.
Queenstown was a beautiful place to live, we made a lot of lifelong friends there, we made a home, we settled in and for six months life was like normal!

Some cheap flights to Fiji beckoned, and we headed off in search of the sun just as the cold New Zealand winter started coming in. Fiji was fantastic! We snorkelled with a shark, sat on the same beach as Tom Hanks once did, drank Kava until it was coming out of our ears and partied with the locals on the beaches by night.

San Francisco was a quick break in the long flight across the Pacific from Auckland, we loved that city. The cosmopolitan feel, the exotic atmosphere, the sun and the gorgeous people we met.

Mexico - North or Central America was the question! We are in no doubt now that Mexico is most certainly North! A modern country, with an element of danger, stunning colonial buildings, different food to what we expected, decent roads and luxury coaches!

Guatemala was an interesting country. The indigenous peoples there make it a special small country, we remember being on the bus through the highlands and it was so cold, we walked along Lake Atilan staring in amazement as the volcanoes surrounding us!

Honduras was much more modern than Guatemala, the infrastucture was much better, things were a little more expensive, the beaches on Roatan were fabulous as was the snorkelling and the atmosphere on the whole island, which even though is Honduras their first language is English!

Nicaragua was a gorgeous country, pretty untouched by tourism, with absolutley gorgeous buildings, excellent value for money and friendly locals.

Costa Rica was much as we expected. Touristy and expensive.We did manage to extend our initial few days to a whole week on the Carribean coast! Trekking in jungle along the coast, cycling 30 odd kilometres down the coast and seeing beautiful beaches and involving ourselves in the whole Carribean culture. 

Panama is one of those places that does not sound so enticing.
But believe us Panama was probably our favourite country in Central America. We chilled in hammocks in Bocas Del Toro, hiked around small villages and coffee plantations in Boquete, checked out the Panama Canal and enjoyed big city life in Panama City. It was a modern country, but felt somewhat untouched by tourism, it was cheap and it was very different in each and every place we visited in the country.

We jumped on a small sailboat from Panama and spent a few days eating fresh crab, lobster, tuna and barracuda, looking at colourful starfish in the clear waters and walking along powder white sand beaches in the rain!

We arrived safe and well in Colombia. A country just opening up to tourism and despite its past will be a big hit with travellers, in fact it already is! We did not have a huge amount of time in Colombia but we loved the time we did have. The people are so very helpful and friendly, colonial Cartagena is beautiful and bustling Bogota is an up and coming city.

Just last week we jumped on a plane which took us three hours south from Colombia to Peru. Another country we are just in love with! Lima is a great capital city which manages to blend the old with the new perfectly, Huacachina is a gorgeous desert oasis where we just loved sandboarding down the dunes and wandering around the lagoon, Nazca was a very special place too. The Nazca lines are incredible and our visit to Chaucilla Cemetery was an eye opener and taught us a lot about the ancient Nazca culture. Today as the sunrose we were passing high through the Andes, passing rivers, small villages and snow capped mountains, arriving early afternoon into Cuzco.

Of course we could go on forever about our past year, about our experiences, our loves and our hates. But as we said before we are flying home in thirty five days anyway so you can ask us all about it then!!

From now until we go home we are planning to visit Bolivia and Argentina with a few days in Brazil before our flight home.........it has all just gone so fast......!

Hugs

AlinMatt
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