Archive | July, 2009

The illusive continent

28 Jul

OK, to live and work in every continent of the world before I’m 30. So far it’s going to plan, the last 6 years and 4 months I have ticked off, Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania and I’m currently in South America. I have just over 2 years left to get to Antarctica and Africa. Africa will be easy enough, easy in the sense that I can make my own way there, live in a mud hut and do volunteer work. But Antarctica, that’s another story.

The previous years I have heavily researched how to gain work on the ice. I have annoyed the Antarctic recruiting staff and have completed the annual applications for work at the Antarctic bases, America’s 800 person Mcmurdo Base, the Australian bases and New Zealand’s Scott base. Unfortunately work at Mcmurdo was unsuccessful as I do not have an American work visa (and why would they go through the hassle of getting a kiwi a work visa when there’s 300 million capable Americans that can do the same job), and the Australian bases don’t have unskilled positions, they only hire skilled labour, eg geologists, electricians etc.

That leaves New Zealand’s Scott Base. I have applied there the past 2 years for the positions of cleaner and field assistant, but the competition is fierce. Most people find it quite comical that there’s such fierce competition to clean toilets in -40˚! Last year 100 people applied for 1 position. The position is always filled by a person who is a full-time professional cleaner. Although my application last year and this year were unsuccessful I will continue to apply the coming years.

So with work at the Antarctic bases giving me no love, it was time to be proactive. Tourism to Antarctica has quadrupled in the past decade with last season seeing 45,213 tourists visiting the frozen continent. The majority of these tourist vessels leave from Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. 2 months ago in Thailand I found out my second Scott base application was unsuccessful. After Thailand, most people’s next destinations are Laos, India, Vietnam etc, but it was no coincidence I chose Argentina as mine. As well as Argentina’s friendly people, great red wine, delicious meat and beautiful landscapes, it was also home to Ushuaia, the southernmost city, my door to Antarctica.

So now it’s time for me to find the key that will open that door to Antarctica. I’m currently in the process of contacting people to try and secure work for the upcoming season. If anyone has contacts for the Antarctic boats, or if anyone has any ideas how I can gain employment to the illusive continent I would be very appreciative. At the very least just put some positive thoughts out there for me. As if I get no love from Ushuaia you hear in international news of a frozen naked kiwi guy that chained himself to the pier in a bid to gain attention from the Antarctic employers!

Cheers Hap

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Goodbye Bariloche

26 Jul

Tomorrow I leave Bariloche, a beautiful part of the world that I have called home for the past 5 weeks. It’s been another great chapter living with my Argentinean host family and studying Spanish

This week I have been making the most of Bariloche, visiting the beautiful sights, hanging out with friends, snowboarding and eating asados. It has been a great good bye, and as always a little sad leaving, but also exciting as a new chapter waits in Paraguay.

But before Paraguay, it is off to Buenos Aires where Mandy and I will apply for our Paraguay visas. Once obtained we will we pop over into Uruguay and check that out, couch surfing along the way. Then time permitting will stop off at Spectacular Igaucu falls before arriving in Asuncion, Paraguay. So stay posted.

More disgusting photos!

24 Jul

Yep, here I go again, more photos of disgusting views. Last week with my Spanish school we did an afternoon trip out to the famous Llao Llao hotel, 21 km out of Bariloche (Its just a big hotel that people that look like me aren’t really welcome). Haha, here’s the photos of the lake behind the hotel. You’re probably wondering why we are leaving such a mountainous paradise. By the way it’s started snowing, yahoo, some snowboarding is on the cards!

Top 10 views in the world

22 Jul

National Geographic voted the view from Cerro Campanario as one of the top 10 views in the world. I’m sure there’s some amazing views in the world, for example the view from Everest must be pretty good. But hey if you spent 10’s of thousands of dollars to get there, trained for a year, endured physical hell and risked your life, then obviously you’re going to love the view from Everest, even if it’s storming with only 2 metres visibility!

The beauty of Cerro Campanario is that you don’t have to endure a physical hell to be rewarded with a heavenly view. Cerro Campanario is located only 15 mins by public bus out of Bariloche. You can either get a little chair lift to the 1050 metre summit, or if you’re a frugal backpacker, you can navigate the maze of tracks up through the bush. And if you’re real thrifty you can even take up your own lunch and coffee in a flask and sit at the café on top of the world.

 

The photos don’t really do the 360 degree view any justice, although I must say the good looking fella in the red t-shirt enhances the view.

 

Photos from Buenos Arires

21 Jul

Hello people,

Finally I have got my photos from Buenos Aires posted, click here to see them

Burning ring of fire

20 Jul

You know the song by Johnie Cash? Well I´m pretty sure I found out last weekend how he came about the title. Maybe it was from eating too much Mexican food or maybe it was from his time in prison, or maybe he had the same experience I had.

streets of El Bolson

Last weekend we did a weekend trip to El Bolson, a picturesque little town nestled in a valley between towering mountains, 2 hours from Bariloche. It´s known for its artistic community, weekend market and micro-brewed beers. Anyway, read the guide book if you want to learn more about El Bolson, back to my story.

cheapest room we could find still had a view

We got a hotel room for the night with just another amazing view over the mountains, and a bathroom with a bidet (one of those french toilet looking things that you sit on it squirts water and cleans you).

After living in Thailand, I got use to use to squirting with water instead of wiping with paper after doing number 2´s. I actually grew to prefer the squirting. So I didn´t need encouraging to try out the bidet, and I swear I chose the room because of the view and not because it had a bidet.

My maiden bidet voyage started off well. I sat down and turned on both the hot and cold taps, sending a gravity defying canon of cleansing water into my not so clean regions. The water slowly warmed up and I must say it was quite satisfying, I felt like a king on his throne, I felt like I had made it in life. I was thinking that when or if I ever build a house I will get a bidet, or maybe I´ll just pack one in back pack.

My bidet dreams were short lived as Mandy shouted from the room ¨what are you doing in there, hurry up”. In my haste I turned off the cold tap first, not really thinking anything of it. Next thing I know it feels like a city of fire ants have crawled up my bum and lit a fire because the sun isn´t shining. Oh my god!

So Hap´s travel tip #102, when using a bidet, to avoid 3rd degree anal burns, turn off the hot tap first.

How many times was I dropped on my head as a baby?

17 Jul

It´s not a matter of if I was dropped on my head as a baby, it´s a matter of how many times I was dropped on my head! (Social services don´t worry, I´m only kidding).

Today is my last day of Spanish classes. During my 3 weeks of Spanish classes I have asked myself the above question. Sometimes it seems that I have to hear a word 50 times before it actually sinks in. Oooohhhh to be a kid again where you are surrounded by a language and naturally learn it.

It´s not as bad as I´m making out, I´ve actually really enjoyed it and can now hold a conversation. Although sometimes I may mix my words up like when I was in Colombia a couple of years ago and went up to a bunch of girls taking a photo on the beach and instead of saying ¨do you want me to take a photo for you¨ I said ¨Do you want me to touch myself?¨ haha

All in all it´s been really rewarding and I have improved heaps. Even Agustina the little 6 year of the family I live with has noticed my improvement. She walked into the kitchen where I was talking with Carolina (my Argentinian mum) and Mandy and with all the innocence of a 6 year old, looks at me talking and then turns her mum and says ¨He´s finally learnt to speak¨. It was classic, we all just lost it laughing.