Imagine millions of people on one street - dancing, singing, wearing bright clothes, drinking, kissing... that is Brazil's Carnaval. No exaggeration, it must be the greatest party on this planet. This year I've decided to throw my own little version of it in Oz: Carnaval in July.
Ok, so I may as well admit it, it's for my 30th birthday. I'll blog about my (second) "quarter life crisis" some other time. Today I thought I'd use my blog to provide guests and anyone else who may be interested a Read more [...]
102 days, 6 countries, 3 girls, x boys & 1 kombi named Betty.
So I've mentioned "my book" a million and one times, the travel memoir I've been working on every since my trip to South America some three years ago now. Think Eat Pray Love with a twist. As described in one of my proposals:
"Beginning by following others, and chasing love, Juliet finds herself travelling down a long and winding road to Brazil — through Paris, Japan and Christianity — the so-called “first world” that Read more [...]
In the scheme of things when you spend two hours in traffic each work day, or half an hour waiting in line for a coffee, or forty hours a year gathering together your receipts and filling out your tax return, what % of your life are you spending doing things you don't want to be doing?
[A deleted scene from My Brazilian]:
At a restaurant in Argentina, after many-a glasses of Malbec and chocolate fondue, I found myself in an existentially mathematically reflective mood.
"How many hours Read more [...]
I love it when Spanish words resemble their English equivalent. Madrigal's Magic Key to Spanish, illustrated by Andy Warhol, is a cheat code for English speakers to learn Spanish. Carried out with a sense of humour too. See if you can guess these words: diferente; conveniente; elefante; producto; intereste; nación; universidad; usé... I've been recommending this book to so many people that I figure I should share it on here.
Some the cheat code:
Words that end in ‘or’ are often Read more [...]
Ok, given my travels, my book, and living with Latinos most of this year, I should know more Spanish than I do. And considering the “peace” and "environmentalist" stereotype it may shock you to find out I’m (A) not a vegetarian (which really has nothing to do with this post), and (B) that in Granada I had my first ever experience with volunteer work.
Given volunteering in Granada didn't cost money (in case you didn't know, most volunteering projects do) and the bonus discount it gave for Read more [...]
Colour fills the streets: the houses, the clothes, the people, the air. Excitement. A familiar joy. Why did it take so long for me to return?
Even the smell is familiar — a raw combination of trees, humidity, food, and dirt.
The sound of scooters, olden-day cars, horses trotting, children playing, salsa music and a sea of Spanish words — music to my ears.
Every day is the same: the sun rises at 6, sets at 6, 25-30 degrees — mi paradiso.
It’s been almost three years. I fell in Read more [...]
My sprained ankle had it's benefits - LOTS of time sitting on my arse. And so, one week ago, I finished my first draft of my first novel.
A first draft is a big achievement I suppose. The only problem is that it's far too long and, as I decided once I started editing it, it's also far too shit. As I read I crossed half the paragraphs out. Boring boring boring. The whole 690 page manuscript sucks.
When I finally allowed one of my friends to have a read I noticed something: he was laughing. Read more [...]
When it comes to Brazilian butts, as you see in the clip below, SIZE DOES NOT MATTER. You got it, you flaunt it baby. But according to a drug dealer Rachel and Lola meet on the streets of Lapa, when it comes to something else size does matter...
Here's a funny little snippet from Chapter 28:
'Cool. Ok, so what happened next?’ I ask Rachel, interested in where this story was going.
‘Next we walk up the hill, and meet a young girl in really tiny shorts, a very tiny top and a belly Read more [...]
Brazilian beaches - the best in the world. Coming from an Aussie that's a pretty big call. But seriously, check out the pineapple cachaca cocktail... and the bar tender :P
Oooo and I discovered the magic ingredient to that cocktail! Lucky I took notes. Inside that pineapple you will find a blend of pineapple (obviously), cachaca (a spirit made from sugarcane), ice and... sweetened condensed milk.
Ok, so I recently discovered cachaca is available (at ten times the cost, but still available) Read more [...]
The concrete jungle mega-city where I experienced my very first taste of acai (ah-sigh-ee) - the wild Amazonian berry that tastes like frozen chocolate and is full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidents that give you an energy hit and allegedly make you lose weight. My friend imports it to Oz in pulp and powder, and I happen to be drinking a mixture of acai, banana and ice right now. Mmmmm mmmm! Check out www.riolife.com.au if you wanna taste the purple goodness...
Sao Paulo, Read more [...]
Oh man these waters were powerful. Arrgh! We had so much fun!!!
Learn Yourself, The Beautiful Girls
Colours, fashion shoots, tango and a lost bat. Buenos Aires Part 2.
Juanito Alimana, Hector Lavoe
A long long (but fun) bus trip down route 40 brought us to El Calafate in South Argentina where we thought we would see "Climate Change" in action. Glaciar Perito Moreno melted before our very eyes but it is interesting to note that it has always done this and is actually one of the few glaciers that is still growing. We then made our way back up along the East Coast up to Rio Colorado where Rachel sought the secrets to sharing it's water... my favourite moment was the ant at the end... and sorry Read more [...]
Argh! Holiday season had hit. No where to stay, and no way to leave – we learned an important lesson for the remainder of our trip: book accommodation and transport at least one day/night ahead.
Don’t “Do a Bariloche” again!
With A Little Help From My Friends
Jim Sturgess & Joe Anderson – Across The Universe Soundtrack
Climbing volcanoes, swinging from trees, spotting condors, and drinking wine in this Swiss-Alps-like setting.
Honest Goodbyes, Bic Runga
Ok, I know this sounds like a very crazy title, which doesn’t at all suit the video you’re about to see… but when you read the book it will all make sense
Call me, Blondie
Three girls on the road again, this time speeding down the Chilean coast. Regrettably we only spent one night in La Serena as it really was a beautiful little beach town. But voices from Pucon in the even more beautiful Lakes District in southern Chile were calling us loud and clear.
Before The World Was Made, Carla Bruni
Atacama desert at the top of Chile. We didn't spend long here, as we were somewhat deserted out after Boliva. But was still a very funky sandy desert town. And we bumped into some friends we'd met in Lake Titicaca too. And. as you can see, our Brazilian friends we'd traveled with in Boliva were still with us :)
Mmmm mmmm - did you see that crepe? It was filled with Dulce de Leche... it's seriously to die for.
Why I Stay, Black Heart Procession Read more [...]
On a salt-lakes tour with five Brazilian boys, a dodgy 4WD consistently breaks down which synchonistically provided an opportunity to literally dance on clouds (and take some incredible photos). On New Years Eve the girls reunite in a remote conglomerate of hostels and in one small room people from all over the world sing, dance and cheer. The New Year begins with the end of a drought and an explosion of fireworks.
I'm Yours, Jason Mraz.
What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong. Read more [...]
A few bad decisions lead to a few disasters but "don't worry be happy"... there's a miracle or two just around the bend...
A race through Puno and a beautiful sunset on Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) on Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, is followed by another race through the witches markets in La Paz and finally, slicing time to the second, we stepped onto a bus that would soon turn my life upside down.
Nunca say Nunca. Never say Never.
Read more [...]
This was my Christmas Eve and Christmas Day last year. It was absolutely positively fantastically magic. I highly recommend!!!!!
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE xoxoxoxoxoxoxox
This time last year we finally arrived in Cusco having travelled the long way round from Lima through Huacachina (the sanddunes), Nasca (the alien lines in rocks) and Areiquipa (the monastery town of white walls and large volcanoes).
Not sure if it was the excessive number of hours we were spending sleeping (or trying to sleep) on buses, or the high altitudes we were reaching, but by the time we reached Arequeipa I was sick. Very sick. The photos footage was less and less interesting as I spent Read more [...]
Vilcabamba is famous for its people’s longevity (living to 120 on average), its spectacular sky-scapes and normalised UFO sightings. At the Secret Garden hostel the girls meet Mark, an older American conspiracy theorist, who opens their eyes to a whole new perspective of the happenings around the world. A Vilcabamban boy who works at the hostel joins the girls for a glass of regional wine and shares with them the town’s history and secrets. Rachel and Juliet discuss religion, peace and Juliet Read more [...]
Oh man! This was sooooooooo fun!
Aside from the insanely fun sliding down monstrous sand-hills, at this little Oasis in southern Peru we received messages from the universe including a recommended hostel in Cusco that had far more significance than we could ever imagine. Around a campfire a group of hippies shared their experiences drinking Ayahuasca, a spiritual plant, and told me how I too could find the shaman in jungle should I want to experience it to. I want. I want. I want. Read more [...]