A Month in Brazil

In the month we spent in Brazil, we stayed in the Amazon rainforest, visited 5 Brazilian cities, saw one of the 7 wonders of the world, arguably one of the ‘new’ natural wonders, watched all the Brazil games with the locals and yes (I’m not avoiding it) watched England get knocked out of the World Cup in the group stages… Our worst performance since the 1950s. Despite the disappointment, which had to be expected as an England fan, it didn’t put a downer on our trip, infact it allowed us to do some things we weren’t able to do had England progressed – silver lining there!

Manaus

After our stay in the Amazon rainforest, the following day was game day. Thank god it was a 6pm kick-off as midday humid temperatures would have been hard to bear for 90 minutes. The square in Manaus was filled with England fans, it felt like a home game.

This game was my first England game in a competition, we couldn’t get tickets for England games in South Africa so was very excited. We all know how the game ended (2-1 loss to the Italians), but the performance was one of the best in a long time. Hope still remained for the Uruguay game…

São Paulo

We flew into São Paulo from Manaus (a luxury for us as we had no choice than to fly due to lack of roads). We stayed there for 6 nights, which in hindsight we probably didn’t need that much time there, but with 3-4 football games a day we had plenty to keep us occupied!

Game day arrived and there were a lot more nerves this time, as we knew we need to get at least a point out of the game or we’d be pretty much out of the tournament. I’ve never seen England dominate so much and actually have a go against a good team like Uruguay. Though we never looked like winning and who would have guessed it would be Suarez to score the winner for Uruguay… if only he’d taken to cannabilism a match before!

We met up with a Brazilian friend who lives in São Paulo that we met in Whistler, who showed us a different side of São Paulo. Thanks Leo!

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Welcome to the Jungle!

Whilst in Manaus, Brazil we couldn’t miss the chance to visit the Amazon Rainforest. We have just got back from a 3 day and 2 night tour and it was absolutely incredible. What I write and the pictures I will show will not do it justice, you have to visit yourself to really appreciate it.

We had received an itinerary before we left and were very excited by it. Though the schedule didn’t run to plan (don’t expect anything to in Brazil), everything we did was a completely new and amazing experience.

Day 1
After a bus, boat, bus and another boat we arrived at our little village in the Amazon rainforest with lunch ready waiting for us. After a buffet lunch of rice, beans, fish, chicken, salad and lots of fruit (one of many to come!) we were given our rooms. Basic accommodation but surprisingly insect free and the mosquito net kept the damn mossies out.

The afternoons activity was Piranha fishing and pink river dolphin spotting. We unfortunately didn’t see any river dolphins so carried on to do some fishing! Within 5 minutes of setting off a thunderstorm started and I have literally never seen rain like it, let alone sit through it. We thought it might be time to head back but we carried on and I’m so glad we did. It never actually stopped raining for the few hours we were on the boat. After a while a guy in our boat caught a Piranha and then not too much longer I caught one too! Mine was just a little one so we let it back in. The competitive side in Kyle obviously came out then and he caught one too. A much bigger one that we would later eat for tea! Up close GoPro videos to come, once I’ve figured how to upload them!

Despite being p*ss wet through and very cold it was such a good experience. Catching Piranha in the Amazon river – tick!

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Goodbye USA, Hello Brazil!

After another dreaded 20+ hour bus journey from Denver, in which the guy next to us got arrested, we arrived in Chicago for a big McDonald reunion! It had been 5 months since last seeing my mum, dad and brother at Christmas in Whistler and 5 years since seeing my family who live in the states! It was great to be reunited with everyone and even better in an amazing city.

After Chicago and some emotional goodbyes it was time to head to New York via all over the place on the Greyhound bus. We were staying in the Bronx so it took us a while to get to the main site seeing places. We just had two days there so we had to pack a lot in so we could see all the main things we wanted to. We took the free (yes, free!) ferry to Staten Island which gives you a good view of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan skyline – which didn’t disappoint.

In the two days we spent time at Times Square, walked around Central Park, saw the Friends building (disappointed Central Perk has now shut down), went to Grand Central Station, saw the Empire State (didn’t go up) and went to the 9/11 memorial – which was a very humbling and surreal experience.

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19 Days, 4900 Miles, 11 States, 8 National Parks & a Tornado Warning

And the USA road trip part of our travels is over… What an amazing few weeks it’s been! In the 19 days we had the car, we clocked up almost 5,000 miles and more impressively 0 speeding, parking fines or crashes – good job Kyle!

USA road trip

After California it was onto Vegas baby! I had been to Vegas about 8 years ago with my family so I was looking forward to visiting again and taking advantage of true Vegas now I’m of age. As much as we were excited, we were almost just as nervous…. about our gambling tendencies in the big city. Our gambling wins once paid for us to go on a ski holiday! As tempting as it would have been to blow our daily budget in a couple of hours minutes, we were well behaved. We actually came out about $100 on top. I say we, but it was Kyle that did the winning to cover my overall losses!

It was a flying visit in Vegas as we only had 2 nights there. The weather let us down and we didn’t get the ‘lazing by a pool’ hotness that there was before and after our stay (this seems to be a reoccurring theme with the weather – read on), but we had a great few days.

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California Dreaming

The road trip part of our USA travels has begun, we are now in Utah after visiting Vegas and the Grand Canyon but I’ll leave that for the next blog. I started writing this on the way to San Diego, so the next issue may be a while!

After our stop offs at Seattle and Portland, the next stop was San Francisco. We had a 21 hour bus journey from Portland to Seattle, which suprisingly wasn’t too bad, apart from a 5 hour stop at 2am in Sacramento. For the price we couldn’t really complain and it saved splashing out on a hotel for a night… every little helps when you’re on a budget!

I loved San Fran. I don’t want to make a hasty decision but it may just have made it to the top of my favorite city list…. For now! (Vancouver is now second FYI!). In the three days we were there we walked across the Golden Gate Bridge, visited Alcatraz, went to the Golden Gate park, spent time at Fishermans Wharf, went to a baseball game for a bargain of £4 each and saw the house of a childhood hero of mine – Mrs Doubtfire!

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So the USA Journey Begins…. First Stops Seattle & Portland!

‘We’re not interested in the travelling/backpacking thing’ said Laura and Kyle a mere 7 months ago… We are now owners of backpacks and I’m currently sat writing this from a hostel about to travel for another 6 months-ish! Ah, how things change!

Our first stop was/is Seattle, where I am currently writing this where I started writing this (We are now on a 21 hour bus journey to San Fran, but I’ll get to that!) We had planned to take a trip to Seattle whilst we were in Whistler but never got around to it. So, Seattle was always going to be our first stop after Vancouver plus it made sense logistically.

We made a decision to not visit Vancouver Island (on this trip) as the weather wasn’t looking great and it’s best to go in summer to take advantage of the beaches and activities. So the day after deciding this we headed to Seattle. With it being a very last minute decision, our choice of affordable accommodation was slim pickings. We found a hostel, The Green Tortoise for $38 a nights in a great location, we couldn’t pass this up.

I’ve been somewhat of a sceptic of staying in hostels but we were both surprised how good it was. The free tacos been served an hour after arriving definitely swayed us! The rooms were pretty good, although we couldn’t get in the same room due to booking the previous day and the bathrooms for a hostel were great. Highly recommended. We even bumped into some people we knew from Whistler!

Seattle was good, we saw the main things we wanted to – The Fishermans Market, The first Starbucks and The Spaceneedle.  The Fishermans Market, as become a tourist attraction (Google – Seattle Fish Market videos), so that was really cool to see. Although there wasn’t quite as much fish throwing as seen on the video. The Space Needle was also cool to see, albeit from a distance and the ground.

We met up with a fellow travel blogger who lives in Seattle, Kimberely from On This Trail. It was great to meet someone from the blogging world and even better a local who could show us some of the sports not all tourists would get to see.

 

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A Whistler Season in Numbers & Photos

*Geeky post alert* I like a good stat, but working in a no brain required job for 6 months hasn’t given me the chance to do any ‘number crunching’.

I really should be packing or doing something useful with my time, as we leave tomorrow (eeekkk)… but here are some stats from our season at Whistler Blackcomb:

Number of days up the mountain – 65 (63 snowboarding 2 skiing)

Distance boarded – 570 miles

Number of marked runs completed – 60 ish

Fastest speed – 41.4mph (13mph on skis)

Vertical Drop – 338,621 feet

Days worked – 113

Number of people validated – 50,000

Value of amount of tickets sold – At least $500,000 (i.e a pittance of what I’ve earnt – about $3,500!)

Highest amount sold in one day – $24,000

Amount spent on food at Whistler Blackcomb stores – $510 – Kyle spent £190

Times staff discount used – 125

Amount of Kokanee drunk – Undisclosed

Number of photos taken – A sh*tload

Views of my blog – 4,500 – Thank you for reading :-) I’m always surprised when more people than my mum read my blogs!

It’s so difficult to pick just a few photos which sums up our season, but here goes…

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