Chronicles

Trip reviews and journal entries.

Samaipata, Bolivia – Markets and Ruins

We arrived in Samaipata late at night. The chill of the night reminded us that we should be finding accommodations quickly, preferably somewhere that had central heating… Then we remembered, finding central heating in Bolivia is about as common as spotting a jaguar at a national park (Jaguars are hard to spot if you didn’t catch my drift)… Click on the title at the top of this page to read the entire...

Santiago de Chiquitos – A little town with a big view

Santiago de Chiquitos is stuck fifty years ago in time. But it’s not a bad thing. Come to think of it, outside of the major cities (Sucre, La Paz, Santa Cruz) most of Bolivia is beautifully stuck. Cows and donkeys have as much right to the road as cars.  Laundry is often done in flowing streams and horses are a valid form of transportation.… (Click the title at the top of the email to read the rest of this...

Making the best of a travel delay in Chapada dos Veadeiros

I arrived shortly after 6 pm. The sky was a haze of red, yellow and blue, punctuated by wind swept clouds and palm trees that dotted the horizon. Although it was a nine hour drive from Uberlandia to Chapada Dos Veadeiros, a table top mountain near Brasilia, I looked out over the expansive landscape with satisfaction. I was happy that things were working out. After the World Cup ended, my plan was to join two Brazilian friends on an epic road trip across South America. Ahead of us lay Bolivia, Peru and Chile. Unfortunately, beaurcratic documentation issues set road blocks in our path. Our trip would be delayed by a week so that everything could be sorted out. There was little I could do from my side. I don’t speak Portuguese and these were matters with the Brazilian state. Wheels needed greasing, and when gringo hands are involved, the cost of lubricant increases significantly. So I reviewed the surrounding area, picked a place that I had never been before, rented a car and 9 hours later I was in the Chapada dos Veadeiros. I had done minimal research on my destination. I made it to my hostel in the town of Alto Pariso, located on the outskirts of the Chapada, shortly after 8pm. I parked opposite my accommodations near an open square the size of a suburban back yard, mostly brown, with patches of green, a seesaw and bouncy horse. To my surprise the park was inhabited by a score of hippies. Was some jam band having a concert in the immediate vicinity? I strode over to gawk and investigate further. Dreadlocks, sundresses and Rastafarian colors were...

What’s it like to attend a world cup match: part 2 of 3

Bosnia vs. Nigeria You arrive at the stadium in your Duplo rental car. It’s not the sexiest car in the world, but it does the job of transporting you and your 5 other friends to the stadium. If it gets you from A to B, what else matters, you always say. After you park your car, you realize that the car hasn’t done it’s job completely. A lock on the door isn’t working. Have a friend return the car to the airport, while you and the others scope out the bars near the stadium. Easy to get along In the bar you are at, you count at least 7 different nationalities. Your group accounts for 3 of them. Bosnians, Nigerians and Germans all want a picture with you. Your not sure why it is so easy for everyone to get along at the World Cup. It’s different than club soccer, where the pride in a team can turn violent much quicker. You think about it long and hard. Why is the atmosphere at a World Cup game so inviting? What is it about the event that makes people buy you beers, give you jerseys from their home country and want to learn your nation’s chants? And why is that guy dressed up like a nun? You figure you have drank too much beer, so the answers are not going to come to you now. You instead, learn a Bosnian chant, forget it five minutes later, down your last beer and walk on towards the stadium. Stadium security You approach the security line. It snakes back and forth through 10 rows...

World Cup Memes: How Brazilians take the piss during the Cup

Ah, the World Cup. A time of fierce competition, where heroes are created and unknowns become household names. The World Cup is a time for people to come together to watch games and show their patriotism. It’s also a great time to take the piss. And Brazilians seem to be quite good at it too. Below is a selection of Brazilian World Cup Memes currently circulating around whatsapp, forums and blogs. 1) Useless Fred World Cup Memes Fred is a player on the Brazilian national team that gets dissed so often, I am starting to feel really bad for the guy. Generally, they think he is useless. It’s not that he plays bad, it’s just like he isn’t playing at all. Translation: Fred being carried off the field   Translation: Good one, Thiago Silva   Translation: I’ll go directly to the club… didn’t even sweat.   2) Neymar getting hurt Neymar’s back injury (broken vertebrae) is certainly a topic that everyone is talking about in Brazil. Can Brazil win without him? Shouldn’t the player that injured him from Colombia be suspended? (Ok, so these memes are also about Fred, but now they incorporate something new: Neymar’s injury.) Translation: Campaign – Fred, donate a vertebrae to Neymar   Translation: Brazil already had Hulk, also had the Invisible Man and now we will have Professor X (This Cup is already in our pocket).   3) Making fun of Dilma Before the World Cup, there was constant chatter about Brazil “buying” their 6th championship. In the game against Mexico, Brazil failed to pull out a win. Thus, a thread of memes came out...

What it is like to attend the World Cup: part 1 of 3

Arrival and Pick Up of Tickets You arrive in Natal, Brazil after 35 hours in a plane.  Your flight itinerary was rerouted due to bad weather and you flew: Denver to San Franciso to Mexico City to Panama City to Sao Paulo to Natal (It was the only way to make your first game, USA vs. Ghana).  You are exhausted, but hey it’s the frickin’ World Cup. You share a cab with a pair of American brothers from the airport to Ponte Negra, Natal where your Posada and the stadium is located. Along the way, the cab driver gets lost. It shouldn’t really be a surprise; the airport has only been open for 5 days, and the road that takes you directly along the coast to the innards of the city from the airport isn’t ready yet. No ques to pick up tickets Now it’s time to pick up your tickets. You’ve been dreading this moment. You picked up tickets in South Africa and had to wait 3 hours in a stuffy, non-airconditioned room in a que that moved slower than a trail of ants trudging through molasses in January. Be surprised. 5 people are in line in front of you at the pick up location inside the shopping center, Cidade Jardim. Swiftly you make it to the front. Pick up your tickets and you are on your way. USA vs. Ghana You glance down to check your itinerary. You have tickets to 8 games (USA vs. Ghana, Colombia vs. Ivory Coast, Bosnia vs. Nigeria, Colombia vs. Japan, Portugal vs. Ghana, a second round game in Brasilia, a second round...