Welcome to my travel blog. I hope these entries will help to keep you informed of my whereabouts and doings, as I bumble my way across Latin America for what promises to be a spectacular journey. Check in when you like, drop me a line when you can, send me suggestions and thoughts and warm feelings from wherever you are.
So now I'm at my parents' house in Sutton, where for the last couple of weeks I've been preparing for my trip. For those of you who don't know Sutton: Sutton is an outer London suburb with a train station, a bunch of chain shops, and a bunch of chain pubs. Nothing special really. It was recently described as 'seedy' by a friend in Brighton - which isn't entirely fair, but for lack of a better one 'seedy' is an adjective that might help you visualise the town centre. Proximity to Croydon may not help this image. Then again we do boast one of the best town libraries in the country and, having said that Sutton is nothing special, I saw a wizzard in Waterstone's today. He had a long white beard, a black cape, elaborate metal rings, and a live cat reclining across his shoulders. The cat looked calmly on as its master ranted to a veteran Waterstones staff member about how myths and legends are based on fact! So there are some colourful characters around here. There used to be a guy who dressed all in white, called himself Jesus, and fed pigeons who followed him down the high street like disciples. A few years ago the local papers reported that 'Jesus' had died, only to follow it up weeks later by saying that he and his pigeons had once again been sighted around town. So either reports of his death were premature or...he had been resurrected. I think something funny happens to you if you stay in Sutton too long. Anyway I'm leaving Sutton.
RIGHT, LATIN AMERICA
First stop: Buenos Aires, Argentina. After seventeen hours of flying (yikes) beginning at Heathrow and changing in Sao Paolo, I land in Buenos Aires around midday. The plan is to jump in a taxi and go straight to my friend Brian's flat. Brian is an old friend from Newcastle who's been working and travelling in South America since October. After I've dumped my stuff we'll go for a cafe con leche, and in the evening Brian has promised to take me to some sort of drumming event at a club nearby. I'm very excited about experiencing the live music in Buenos Aires. My fascination with Latin America stems in part from my love of Latin American music, which I discovered whilst I was living in Germany: Brazilian bossa nova, tropicalia and MPB, Argentinian folky stuff. I'll be aiming to broaden my musical horizons all round and probably come back with a bag full of CDs. I may also learn to Tango. We'll see. I am essentially a clumsy Englishman with two left feet.
There is no plan beyond the first week or two in Buenos. At least there's nothing set in stone. I've done my research and drawn out a number of potential routes, but so much is left flexible. I'd quite like to get the ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia del Sacramento in southern Uraguay, bus it across to Montevideo, and then up into Brazil, possibly swinging by Porte Allegre on the coast. The Iguacu Falls are one of my priorities. It'd be great to make it up to Sao Paolo and Rio. Then who knows what I'll have time for and where my two left feet will lead me. Bolivia? Peru? Two months could go very quickly. At the moment it's all pleasantly mind-blowing. Missing you already England - Newcastle - London - Sutton?!