Holy Crap! It's been more than 3 Months! I made a top 10 list to recap, if simply for my own enjoyment & recollection. There are really many many runner ups, but hey, anything more than 10 would just be weird.
1) Carnival in Rio: This would have been a cultural explosion without the host I had. But with Brian and his family, I spent my days like a regular Carioci, going to the best blocos, meeting all his friends, eating home cooked feijoada, and participating in the official Carnival parade in the Sambodromo. Unbelievable.
All the different colors in the photo really bring out the Carnival/Rio experience:
2) Easter Island: Like a paradise. Free to walk anywhere on the island amongst the roving horses and view the Polynesian plants, see waves crashing against the cliffs, and view amazing sunsets with a backdrop of Maori statues.
Hanging with the Maori:
3) Hiking Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina: Never will I climb on a glacier again with crampons. Incredible scenery. Plus, the freshest water I’ve ever tasted my entire life.
4) Staying with a family in Ushuaia, Argentina: I could not have learned more about the farthest south city in the world without this family. Plus, we went on amazing hikes I would not have gone on, and shared many homecooked meals.
5) Spending 3 weeks in Buenos Aires. Meeting many people in many Rotaract clubs. Making great new friend with Lautaro, whom I couchsurfed with for about 4 days in Feb and 5 days in April (plus who helped me replace my lost credit card!). Staying with and going out with Brian from Columbia/Jersey. Sucking at the Tango on two occasions. Making friends with all the people living at the hostel I stayed at for 10 nights. Wandering the plazas and parks.
Three weeks requires at least two photos:
6) Being taken, 100% unknowingly, to a whorehouse in Sao Paulo. It is #1 for most uncomfortable experiences. It was topped off with the fact that Bruno, whom I had met about 30 minutes prior, didn’t speak 1 word of English, and thought he was doing me a great service. Shopping para mujeres, as he calls it. Maybe I should learn the phrase ‘Get me out of here ASAP’ in Portuguese before I go back to Sao Paulo. Hilariously awful experience.
I have no photos of this or of Bruno (sadly I did not get any with him). So here's my friend Thiago in Sao Paulo:
7) Floods in Montevideo with Gonzalo: I don’t know why , but it was a thing to remember, having to run from the Governor’s palace (which we were inside afterhours, nonetheless) to the car with my friend Gonzalo in Montevideo, getting 100% drenched, then driving home for 30 minutes whilst not being able to see a damn thing, and watching stuff float down the streets. Inundacion.
8) Drinking Mate with hosts: Mate in Montevideo. Mate in Buenos Aires. Mate in Mendoza. Mate in Bariloche. Mate in Santiago. Mate everywhere. Gotta love this stuff and how ingrained it is in the culture of Uruguay, Argentina, and somewhat in Chile.
9) Bus Rides: Truly the best way to see the countries. The winding road between Mendoza & Santiago was the most ridiculous stretch (especially considering that the Aconcagua mountain is the tallest in the western hemisphere).
10) Lima: By far the most chaotic, disorganized, city of my trip. For simply that, I actually liked the city. Taking a bus is truly an adventure there. Thank you Marco & Renzo for helping me negotiate the system and preventing injury when my Spanish sucked royally. It’s a pity every traveler I have met says they hate the city. It has a lot to offer, even if you end up with the runs.
I’m sure once I go to Paraguay, return to Brazil for awhile, make my way back through the Pantanal to Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, & Colombia, the list will double, haha.
*Most terrifying moment: At 3am somewhere over the pitch black Brazilian jungle, the plane started moving violently then did one of those very large instant drops. The whole cabin screamed. I thought I was gonna plummet into the Jungle at that point, haha.
Other really cool stuff:
-Going to a semi final soccer match in Rio at Maracana Stadium. Vasco da Gama vs Fluminese. The subway after was ridiculous afterwards between Carnival & Soccer people.
-Eating Anticuchos in Lima
-Going to a Parilla in Montevideo & a Churrascaria in Rio.
-Feria de Matadores in Buenos Aires
-Visiting wineries in Mendoza
-Going to a birthday party with Ulises in Maipu, outside of Mendoza
-Going to Nati's friends aunt's house in the mountains outside of Santiago, Chile.
-Parque Tierra del Fuego Ushuaia.
-Going out with Brian & his Colombian friends in Buenos Aires.
-Learning to make empanadas twice in Bariloche & Ushuaia.
-Rush Hour subway rides in Buenos Aires.
-Seeing the houses on Ancud, Chiloe & Punta Arenas, Chile
-Seeing people use horses as a method of transportation in Montevideo & elsewhere
-Walter's Birthday festivities in Parana