I was all packed up and ready to go when they told me my flight was canceled.
Just look at it this way -- every great trip usually always has a wild start!
I got to the airport with my SATCHEL -- yes, we all know Indian Jones has one...I was looking as cute as a button in my keen shoes, binoculars hanging, dry fit cabellas fishing shirt, and hair flying like I was walking down a run way (obviously...airports can get drafty). I got to the check in counter when the Canadian gal at the counter cutely says,
"Where aboooot are you going?"
The service was amazing -- the gal at the counter was exceptional.
However -- my flight was canceled.
Air Canada only flys when the air is crisp and unicorns gallop.
I felt so bad for the poor gal -- there were a lot of upset people because no notification was sent out.
I always feel so bad when people are angry towards someone when it's not THEIRfault -- HELLO she is the MIDDLE MAN -- it's not like she's the one that had a pow wow with the pilots and decided to call it a no go.
"It's been a long one boys -- let's just prop this BOEING three hundo over yonder and call it an early one"
^^yeah she didn't say that -- so those people need to be a bit nicer, don't ya'll agree?!
So word of the day == KINDNESS!
Always be nice.
Anywho -- now what?
My trip has been pushed back a full 24 hours.
Due to this I am going to miss a group of people I am meeting in Buenos Ares -- this back up has caused me to miss my flight from Buenos Ares to Salta - Have to rebook it -- but no biggie.
That's the thing when you travel -- always plan on having LOTS of patience and never set solid plans. Always be flexible :)
I will be taking a shuttle from EZE airport to the other airport in Argentina because the layover look pretty dang long! -- seriously check this out below! The flight is normally a two hour flight due to high volume traffic it takes 30 hours to get there. I mean
I know 1 + 1 = 3
but the math aint right on that flight below!
Traveling can be pricey -- But hey -- if the average person spends 50$ at the bar on the weekend thats $200 a month, which is $2400 a year -- because I am a hermit and very rarely go out -- this is exactly what I have saved for.
Yes this is a bump in the road
A teeder in my totter
A tread on my mill
A cupid in my shuffle
But HEY that is what traveling is all about -- if you don't like unexpected things like this -- then you ain't ready Felicia. Byyye.
Wish me luck guys! Let's pray my next flight makes it!
Argentina - Salta
I finally landed in Buenos Aires! Most people DO NOT speak English – the first things I learned were; hello, how are you, thank you, bathroom, food, how much – bring along Spanish dictionary! I took a bus from Buenos Aires international EZE to AEP airport (flights are much cheaper out of AEP) to catch a flight to Salta. I was a little bit nervous traveling solo; I booked my shuttle service and paid for it in advance, which made things SUPER easy and took the edge off.
Once I landed in Salta I took a cab to La Hotel Candelaria it was about a 20 minute ride and cost 120 pesos.
One thing I learned – make sure you DO NOT take a cab off of the street. Be sure the cab is registered.
There was no time to waste when I got to my hotel. I put down my backpack - changed clothes - and headed out immediately to do a free walking tour with Free Walking City Tour Salta ask for Homero. This guy is amazing – his English was great and was as happy as could be! The tour took about an hour and a half. Don’t forget to tip at the end of the tour!
People in South America eat diner around 10pm at night – If you are hungry between the hours of 5-8pm good luck finding a sit down place that is open!
I went to the Sayta for some grub, I ordered Locro – this dish really appealed to me because it is a “local dish” – the restaurant was gorgeous – the setting was beautiful; however the Locro was hard to get down. I am a meal prep freak – I genuinely have a protein, veggie, complex carb, and healthy fat in every meal. But I always tell myself when in Rome – if you don’t get food poisoning while traveling – you didn’t eat right lol
The next morning I woke up early and hiked to the top of the Salta Mountain – they have chair lifts that take you to the top; I strongly recommend hiking because I am a personal trainer and it’s always better to move!
The view from the top was gorgeous! There was an outdoor workout weightlifting area on the top of the mountain! What a surprise! It was so awesome seeing people weight training in Argentina! It is really cool because although you don’t speak the same language you can bond by smiling and getting a good sweat on!
After the hike I took a one hour car ride to the coolest ranch of all time! The ranch was called Sayta – there were so many horses and an all you can eat organic beef, wine, lunch, and horseback riding. The owner was so amazing! One of the happiest people I have ever met. At this ranch there are people from all over the world. I had lunch that day with roughly 20 people. You meet some really cool people while traveling!
On the way back the taxi driver did not believe in air conditioning. I don’t know how he did it – I called his cab the Fuego Taxi – he couldn’t stop laughing. I interviewed him on my go pro – you will have to check out the youtube videos once I upload them.
I needed money and my card was declined!
The banks in Salta are slammed on Monday! If you need money from the ATM avoid Mondays – unlike the states - on pay day the company you work for does not give you a check or money. You have to go to the bank to pick up your wages. The lines for the bank were out the door and around the corner. My credit and debit card did not work in Argentina! – many people also had the same problem there, and many cards were eaten by the ATMS. I recommend brining American dollars with you when coming to South America.
I was in Salta for a less than 48 hours but I did so much! If you push yourself you can see some of the most amazing sites in the smallest amount of time! Hustle and bustle!
Chile - Passport MIA
Next stop Chile! Tickets for the Pullman Bus Company were bought; I was pumped to go! I was right about to get on the bus when I noticed one of my travel buddies named Jenni forgot his passport at Candelaria Hotel. He ran back to the hotel but didn’t make it back in time. The bus took off, headed to San Pedro de Atacama. Jenni said he would find us there.
One place I would not want to get lost in – is South America -- I was really nervous for Jenni. Later I discovered he was robbed at the Chili Bolivia boarder – his passport and money were stolen.
One thing I think is really important to do – keep your cards, the majority of your money, and passport in a fanny pack under your cloths. Keep a small amount of money in your pockets. If someone robs you – empty your pockets, open your bag – they will take what they want but the important documents are on you. Hopefully they won’t find them.
I got to Chile and puked
I arrived to Chile safely. Once I got to the boarder I needed to go through passport/boarder control. I crouched down in the line – my head was spinning a million miles an hour; my vision started to go black. The next thing I new Maribella (the most amazing woman you will ever meet) dragged me to the mini hospital. They hooked me up to oxygen and told me that I was at an altitude of 4,500 meters.
Being a Wisconsin girl – I was NOT used to this type of altitude!
I bought a ton of Coca leaves. This is what the locals recommended for altitude sickness. Not so sure what is in it – but it really helps. You can also purchase candies that have it, and also tea that contains it as well. Make sure if you are headed to Chile you have Coca near by – you will need it!
I stayed in hostel Puritama in downtown Chile. The city is very touristy, I felt very safe there. If you want a mean breakfast you need to hit up Salon de Te for quiche. It is on the main street – so cute, has wifi, very colorful, and the staff was really friendly.
Chile - Sandboarding
If you haven’t gone sand boarding – now is your time to shine – or should I say burn! I loaded up with spf 50 and got pretty toasty! Make sure you put sunscreen on your lips! My mouth is falling off of my face at the moment hahah! Sandboarding was a ton of fun! Hiking to the top with the altitude was VERY challenging – but totally worth it. It was like riding in deep POW. You have to go fast and pretty straight otherwise you will find yourself at a stop and will wipe out. Sebastian is the owner of the Sandboarding company and is the best! Ask for him and the locals will show you where his shop is. He provides you with the board, boots, and wax – he even rides with you! – where the other companies only gave you a board. He was a gnarly guy and had some sweet sunglasses! PS make sure you have glasses on! You will get sun burn on your eyes from looking at the white sand. I also learned that the hard way. My lips burned my eyes glazed – lol if you would see me you’d be like Da Fawk? I know it sounds like common sense but they were two things that totally slipped my mind when I grabbed my board and headed for the sand mountain. Regardless of my face lol I had such an amazing time – it does not hurt when you fall and you will meet so many awesome people along the way.
There was the cutest little girl who was 16 from Argentina – she was speaking to me in Spanish. I would smile and nod – she had a one hour conversation with me. Not sure what she said lol but she was as happy as could be. We’re friends on What’s app now and she is going to come stay with me in the states. Absolutely adorable!
Chile - star gaze with Maya Tours
The star gazing tour is something that you must do! I went through a company called Maya Tours. It is a husband and wife who own it and are genuinely passionate about what they do. They taught me how to use the sky as a map. I now know the names of the different galaxies, learned about the stars, and know how to find north, south, east, and west. The woman led the tour in English and had the cutest accent. They provide you with wine and also grilled sausages while you are there. After you eat you spend time looking through multiple telescopes. I was never a big star fanatic but I am now!
Chile - Valley de Luna Maxim
The tour through the Valley de Luna with a company called Maxim was amazing! The tour started at 4 and ends around 8:30pm. You will see the sun set on top of a cliff and will get some really amazing photos throughout the tour. Put loads of sunscreen on and don’t forget your hiking boots. Keens have seriously saved my life this trip! They call parts of the tour the “moon on earth” because it really looks like you are on the moon in some spots. Very neat.
Headed to Bolivia! I was in line for the passport control when I discovered I needed a slip in my passport that was given to me at the last boarder crossing (at the last boarder crossing I was in the mini hospital, and hardly remember even getting my passport back). I didn’t know where the slip was -- I checked my bags! I grabbed a taxi back to my hotel and found it at the Puritama on my nightstand. When I made it back to the boarder, everything went smoothly.
There are a lot of stray dogs at the boarder. Some of them were fighting – get your rabies shot – I ran to the dogs shouting trying to separate them. So many people were laughing at me. It breaks my heart to see an animal suffer! I have a soft spot for doggies!
We drove for an hour when we had to go through immigration in Bolivia. Rumor has it Bolivians dislike Americans -- If you are American you have to pay 160$ at the boarder. Need to fill out an application. Also need to have 4 photos of you and need your whole itinerary and hotels written in spanish. If you forget those things – you will not enter the country. I researched everything before I got there so I had a stack of documents.
Initially I tried to obtain my Bolivian visa before going to South America. I sent the application, money, photos, ect to the Bolivian Embassy in Washington D.C. – if you do that good luck getting it back. They sent everything back to me a month and a half later untouched. If you are going less than 30 days bring the documents with you and get your visa at the boarder.
Bolivia - Lagoon Tour
Once I got into Bolivia I did the Lagoon and volcano tour. Brace yourself for some beautiful sites! But also be ready to sit in a car for 9 hours each day.
I was very sick during this tour because of the altitude – however what you see will stay with you forever!
I traveled this tour with a company called Tours Bus. I rode in a “four by four” an off road Toyota – it was quite the adventure. They play amazing music and were so nice when I would frequently ask to stop to pee. I drink a gallon a day and do not have a bladder made of steel. Get comfortable with popping a squat! Also don’t forget to watch out for snakes!
Bolivia - Salt Flats
After crossing the desert we made our way to the Salt Flats. The Salt Flats are SO beautiful – you can take so many amazing photos here! I stayed in a hostel called Tambo Coquesa. It is in the middle of no-where; it was so freaking cool. I strongly recommend staying here. There were lamas all over the place and the sunset was gorgeous!
Be careful with the Lamas. They are very territorial, and also will spit on you if you get to close. Lol
Call me a wimp – although I was doing and seeing amazing things I was REALLY missing my boyfriend and the athletes I coach.
Bolivia - Samay Wasai Uyuni
We made our way to Uyuni. I saw how salt was made – They charged 1 peso to check out the room where everything goes down. It was very interesting. From there it was 20 min to the Hotel Samay Wasai – which was VERY nice! They had water and running showers. I think I stood in the shower for a solid 15 min; enjoying water.
They had atms that worked (I recommend using the Western Union) – you can only take out $500 at a time but they did not charge any fees.
Seeing how the people live is remarkable. Having working water, food, and transportation – IS SUCH A FREAKING BLESSING. Going on my excursions really make me appreciate what I have. I think it is so important for people to do something like this at least once in their life. It is such an eye opening experience.