A Travellerspoint blog

Things to remember..

To bring a smile to my face :)

overcast 19 °C

I am finally back at home sweet home, and I am not suprised to see absolutely nothing has changed on the old reliable Isle of Man.
This page is just for me really, everytime I feel a bit miserable I am going to look at this page and remember how much every one of these things made me smile :)

I thought it'd be good to make a list of all the things that stick out in my memory from each country, even though there are at least 1000 other moments that made me smile....

South Africa - Table Mountain & Robben Island in Cape Town, visiting a game park and learning how to throw a proper BBQ in Port Elizabeth
Australia - Feeding kangaroos in Caversham, picnicing on Rottnest Island, kayaking the underground tunnels at Freemantle Prison, Camel trekking in Kalamunda, sailing to Bruny Island in Tasmania, climbing Sydney harbour bridge, swimming at the beach with the whitest sand in the world, visiting the blue mountains
Costa Rica - Swimming in the hot springs at La Fortuna, failed attempts at seeing Volcan Poas and Volcan Arenal, touring the rainforest in the dark in Monteverde
Nicaragua - Surfing in San Juan Del Sur, partying and spending most of the day lying on the floor of San Juan Del Sur, cool springs on Isla De Ometepe, making chocolate in Granada, ashboarding in Leon, seeing the most beautiful church i've ever seen in Selva Negra
Honduras - Partying way too much and getting stuck on the bay islands, visiting treetanic and beach party in Utila, Mayan ruins at Copan
Guatemala - Touring Mayan ruins in the jungle in Tikal, paragliding over Lago De Atitilan (And spending 3 hours travelling in the back of a pick up to get there!), befriending 2 kids in Quetzeltenengo and trying to teach them some new english words
Mexico - Visiting hundreds of markets in San Cristobal, driving golf carts in Isla Mujures, sleeping on the beach in Tulum, watching the sun rise from my SUITE in Cancun!
Cuba - Drinking rum on the malecon with the people of Havana, dancing in a cave in Trinidad, Salsa in the central square :)

All in all quite a bit to make me smile and some memories I will keep for a long, long time.

Also some phrases that won't mean anything to anyone other than the people who said them BUT they still have me howling with laughter every time I think about them...

Diez y media tengo sombrero
Police say the backpackers could not be identified due to the number of geckos covering the bodies
Los chuckles hermanos
There's a grasshopper.... But where's the f**king grass???
It's time to collect the revenue from your snow leopard
Scabbyyyyyy
Would you eat dog food? yeah. Would you eat a coconut? No way man, have you seen what those things look like??
Hey dora
It's not a bird, it's not a plane. It must be Dave who's on the train.
Do I look like a whale shark?
Touch me not spongee
You're waleish
Snail glue?
No that's where HER house is...
So do you shoot many people then?
I left my hat... on a chicken bus
What's upppppppp!
I think he might be trying to say something.... In spanish??

Posted by ThatsLife 02.06.2011 00:42 Archived in Isle of Man Comments (0)

Cuba

Habana Vieja, Santa Clara, Trinidad & more Havana!

sunny 26 °C

Before I start can I just recommend that the next thing you all need to do (after reading this) is book a trip to Cuba.. What a place!! Don't expect to be well fed though.. The supermarkets are very poorly stocked and the food is quite grim BUT it's a small price to pay to see a country with such a lively atmosphere and such cheap rum :)

Getting into the country was a bit of an interesting experience for me.. The people at immigration didn't like the look of me and wouldn't let me through at first and were asking me all sorts of strange questions. Everyone off the plan went through, all my friends went through, even the pilots went through and I was left on the wrong side of the entrance with visions of being detained in a Cuban jail overnight. After quizzing me and filling out some forms they let me through to baggage claim. Then on the way out I got stopped again and someone took my passport off me and left me there wondering what was going on!! I think maybe I just looked like someone they were looking for but I was just happy that I could leave the airport :)

Our first couple of nights were spent in Habana Vieja, the old sector of the capital city. We stayed in a Casa Particulare on the oldest street in Havana which was brilliant and our host was such a sweetheart.. It was like staying with my friend's grandma. We met up with another english girl while we were staying in Playa Del Carmen who was also on the same flight to Cuba so she came along with us for a couple of days and we all had so many giggles. We also met up with 2 Norwegian girls on the flight out so we all went out for a few drinks on our first night. We bought a bottle of rum between us and sat on the Malecon (Like the promenade) by the sea.. We got chatting to quite a few of the locals, it seems to be the most socialable place to drink!

The second day we did a hop on, hop off bus tour of the city which was cheap but we only felt the need to "hop off" once as there weren't so many sights to see. At night we went to Ernest Hemmingway's favourite bar El Floridita for a couple of daiquiris followed by a visit to a salsa bar which was pretty lively.

After that we made our way to Santa Clara (Unfortunately after sleeping through my alarm and missing the only bus that morning) where we saw the Che Guevara memorial and mausoleum. The mausoleum was actually really tasteful and it's obvious how much the Cubans love this man.

The next day we spent a couple of days in Trinidad.. The place was like a ghost town on the Sunday as it was mother's day in Cuba so everyone was spending the days with their families. We basically spent a couple of days just wandering around the town.. It's a pretty place but 2 days there was enough and Havana stole my heart.. I was desparate to get back there!

We then took a 6 hour bus ride back to Havana and back to the same casa we left a couple of days ago. Again, just spent a day wandering around the city and soaking up the atmosphere then sat down by the sea for a couple of hours.. Went home for an early night but ended up chatting to some really nice Canadian people who were also staying in our Casa until about 3 AM.

Our last day in Havana was spent on the beach at Playa Del Este. Not an amazing beach but it was a good way to save a bit of money.

The last thing to mention was our taxi ride back to the airport... In a bright pink chevrolet!!! We felt like the queen :)

Havana

Havana

Havana 2

Havana 2

Santa Clara - Che Guevara

Santa Clara - Che Guevara

Trinidad

Trinidad

Pink Chevrolet

Pink Chevrolet

Posted by ThatsLife 12.05.2011 18:22 Archived in Cuba Comments (0)

Mexico

Tulum, Playa Del Carmen & Cancun

sunny 30 °C

Well it has been a little while since I last wrote so I am struggling to remember what has happened since then!

Tulum was lovely but apparently the beach is nowhere near as nice as it once was. The sea was great though, really clear. We stayed in a beach cabana which was very basic but nice for the experience! All the room had was 2 beds and 2 mosquito nets and one light.. It was so peaceful in the evenings though and great to fall asleep listening to the sound of the sea. We stayed there for 2 nights then made our way to Playa Del Carmen which was a bit of a culture shock - Pretty much like an America within Mexico! It's a cool place though and would be great with a holiday maker's budget.. I think you could make the most of it that way. Playa Del Carmen and Cancun seem pretty similar but I have only arrived in Cancun today after returning from Cuba and I spent one day passing through Cancun on the way to Isla Mujeres. The beach at Playa Del Carmen was another beautiful beach and well worth a visit if you are passing through.

We have a good couple of days planned in Cancun now.. A few drinks tomorrow night to sample the Cancun nightlife (I am assuming lots of American students on spring break) and a little visit to the Hard Rock Cafe on Saturday night.. Another one ticked off the list for me and Wendy :)

Posted by ThatsLife 12.05.2011 18:19 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Mexico

San Cristobal and Isla Mujeres

sunny 30 °C

We had a bit of nightmare journey from Quetzeltenango to San Cristobal... We were supposed to be on a chicken bus up to the border but when it actually stopped it had brought us a little out of the way to Huehuetenango... So a journey which should have taken 2 1/2 hours ended up taking over 4 as we had to change buses and get on one of the most crowded buses I have ever been on! I must admit, riding on a chicken bus is a whole experience in itself... Basically a repainted US school bus around 20 years old where they will seat 3 adults in a space made for 2 7 year olds. They cram as many people on as possible and there is a space for EVERYTHING - Inside the bus, behind the seats, on the roof.. For luggage, furniture, and of course chickens. Anyway, chicken bus time is now over as we have arrived in sunny Mexico!

San Cristobal was really nice.. Hundreds of markets which were really pretty, and Semana Santa was in force while we were there so it was crammed full of holidaying Mexicans and other tourists. It was a beautiful place though, unfortuately I had a few accidents on the wet cobbled streets but anyone who knows me wouldnt expect anything less :) Saw a Mayan play and didnt understand much of it but the music and costumes were still great to see. After a couple of days there we took an overnight bus to Cancun first of all to get our Cuban visas. We went to the embassy, who sent us to a travel agent. We went to a travel agent who sent us to the airport. We went to the airport who managed to issue the visas in less than 5 minutes! So we now have our visas... And we have booked our flights!! Yay! So we are off to Cuba from 5th to 12th May which I am very excited about :)

After we managed to get our visas we took the 20 minute ferry over to Isla Mujeres (The Isle of Women). Its also really nice here but there is a totally different feel to of Central America. I actually feel like I am on holiday now rather than travelling... Difficult to explain the difference but there definitely is one. There are a couple of nice beaches here and our hostel has its own little spot of beach with a handful of hammocks which for me is heaven :)

We are heading to Tulum for a couple of days tomorrow and hoping to stay in a beach cabaƱa... Fingers crossed we can find one :) A few more days to chill out before heading to Cuba!

Posted by ThatsLife 29.04.2011 10:47 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Guatemala

San Pedro La Laguna & Quetzeltenengo

sunny 26 °C

My last blog entry from Guatemala chicos before I move on to Mexico in the morning...

San Pedro La Laguna was brilliant! Such good fun.. and as it turns out, great for a bit of a party. We ended up frequenting a british pub quite a lot for all the food we had been craving since we left home and also for some cheap moscow mules!

In truth we didnt get up to much while we were there but it was nice to chill out a bit after moving around Guatemala so quickly. We went paragliding on Sunday which was a bit of an adventure! We first of all had to drive up A LOT of winding roads up to the Indian Nose where we were originally going to jump off but there was not enough wind. So we ended up having to sit for another 2 hours in the back of the pickup for the drive to Panajachal where we did eventually get to jump! It was terrifying, my legs turned to jelly and I didnt have the strength to run off the cliff while the wind was pulling the parachute so poor Stephen had to pull me off the edge of the cliff while I was crying! The views were amazing and I do think I would do it again.. It wouldnt be as scary now I know what to expect!

We had a very bumpy chicken bus ride to Quetzeltenengo this morning and it seems like quite a nice little city.. I was expecting it to be similar to Guatemala City but it is nothing like it! A nice central plaza and we have just been to the market.. Judging from the looks we have just received I dont think gringos normally venture out to this market.

We are heading up to the Mexican border tomorrow where we will be sitting still for a few days and waiting out the mayhem of semana santa. I am excited about Mexico and it finally means we can get our tourist cards for Cuba and get our flights booked!

Posted by ThatsLife 19.04.2011 13:57 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

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