Tall Matt's Travels

South
Matt - Fri Apr 13, 2007 @ 03:13PM
Comments: 9

Well, I've put another continent in the books.  South America was incredible. I was of course excited to hit the highlights - stroll around Machu Picchu, lay eyes on the mighty Andes, stand under the arms of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio, visit Ushuaia and "the end of the world"... I found a lot of great experiences in between as well. Having lunch with three great kids on an island in Lake Titicaca, finding a contemporary church in the old town of Quito, seeing the sun set along the cliffs of Lima...  It was everything I thought it would be, and, of course, more - for better or worse.  

In short, I learned a lot about the cultures, and a lot about myself.  There's still much I'd like to explore, and much more to see. I'll be back to a few of these places at some point in my life. However, spending nearly three months in Central and South America, I was ready for (and probably needed) a change of cultures.

So, without further ado, here are some random notes and observations of my time in South America. Unsurprisingly, you may note some similarities to the list from Central America

  • I need to learn Spanish.
  • I can see why a friend of mine is moving to Quito. The people are lovely, and the city itself is absolutely beautiful.
  • Much to my dismay, everyone loves soccer, and it's always on.
  • The popular national beers of each country pretty much all taste the same.
  • The National currency of Ecuador is the US Dollar.
  • There's something very cool about setting foot on the equator.
  • U.S. Government offices in Argentina are just as slow as back home.
  • Some bastard in La Paz has my camera.
  • The tourist police do a pretty good job of helping out dumb American tourists.
  • Santiago, Chile is a good place to get well - and has some pretty good movie theaters.
  • Watching the Super Bowl at a bar in Quito with 50+ fellow Americans was a great experience.
  • It's really hard to send a package over two kilograms in Argentina.
  • Having your bus break down in the middle of the Atacama Desert sucks.
  • Machu Picchu is indescribable.
  • The pilots of the Nazca Lines flights must have graduated from the flight school in Miramar.
  • I hate the song "Fergolicious". This probably could have made the list by itself, but it's here because it's unfortunately absolutely played everywhere in South America.
  • They put creamy, smooth caramel (called Dulce de Leche) on everything in Argentina.
  • Ushuaia is one of my favorite places on earth. 
  • The Tierra del Fuego national park is infested with long-eared rabbits.
  • I missed all of March Madness.  Not a huge deal, but strange to not talk about it at all.
  • Meeting someone on the top of Pichincha in Quito who knew friends of mine from Imperial, NE was unbelievable.
  • You can get a tasty banana pancake breakfast at Norton Rat's in Cuzco.
  • Buenos Aires is a great town, provided it doesn't rain every day, you don't have roommates that do cocaine and you don't have to get a visa to Brazil.
  • In Montevideo, Uruguay, you can get pancakes at McDonalds with chocolate and caramel vs. syrup.
  • Rio is beautiful, but predatory.
  • The countryside of southern Uruguay isn't all that dissimilar than Missouri.
  • If you've no other alternatives, the Sao Paulo airport is a good one to spend the night in.
  • Waterfalls don't get more impressive than Iguazu.
  • There's a place in Ushuaia that makes a really good plate of King Crab ravioli.
  • You get to play bingo on some buses in Peru.
  • I didn't find one Mountain Dew in all of South America.
Comments: 9

Comments

1. ryan r.   |   Fri Apr 27, 2007 @ 04:27PM

i've never taken a lengthy bus ride and, outside of 4th grade, never really played much bingo. however, the idea of enjoying both together sounds pretty fun. for some bizarre reason.

keep on keepin' on.

2. Kady Chandler   |   Sat Apr 28, 2007 @ 05:53PM

Hi Matt!
My name is Kady and I'm in a business class at Southern that requires me to go to your website...but let me tell ya, I sure as hell wish I was your traveling companion!!!!! I'm so envious of your nerve to leave your job and travel. I've always wanted to travel the world and see new faces and cultures. I hope you are having the time of your life right now, and it would be an honor to meet you after you get back and hear ever detail! Good luck!

3. Arch   |   Tue May 01, 2007 @ 05:56PM

Hey man - love the above photo. Shark cages are the best, worst idea in the world. Looking forward to hearing about it! Looking good in the wetsuit, we need to get you to SoCal in one with a 10' fun board and some gnarly 4 footers. Maybe at the end of the trip, when you need a vacation.

C and I will get you a photo for the library soon!

4. Cindy   |   Tue May 01, 2007 @ 08:12PM

No Mountain Dew - how are you surviving my friend!!! I know how much you love that stuff:-) I love keeping up on your travels, I'm ready for the next continent.

5. Doug   |   Wed May 02, 2007 @ 10:33AM

That is a mighty large bass in the picture behind you, too bad couldn't catch him.

6. Holley Goodnight   |   Wed May 02, 2007 @ 01:36PM

Matt - Sorry it has taken me so long to send you a message. What an incredible time your having. I'm so jealous. YEAH, YEAH, YEAH for you. I can't wait to talk to you in person and see the expressions on your face when you are telling these stories. I think you need to write a book! Take Care and HAVE FUN!

7. karen   |   Thu May 03, 2007 @ 07:38AM

All in all, it sounds like the good far outweighed the bad ... even though some of the bad really sucked. One fun fact you didn't share: honestly, how many times were you either 1. asked how freakin' tall you are, or 2. asked to pose with locals for a pic? I'm pretty sure for every story you've taken from SA with you, there's at least two circulating Ushiah, Rio, Buenos, and more about a mysterious tall gringo. :)

Looking very forward to the African adventures!

8. Conley   |   Tue May 08, 2007 @ 04:54PM

Was there any Diet Moutain Dew in South America?

(There's still a chance I might visit ... pending your answer.)

9. Dustin   |   Mon Oct 08, 2007 @ 02:01PM

How do you know your roomies in Buenos Aires were snorting cocaine? When Doug Gillispie and I were in grade school we would grind up Smarties and snort them. I've never sneezed so much in my life. And having a deviated septum really sucks. Anyway, give your roomies the benefit of the doubt. After all you WERE hiding under your blankets.

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