Chilling in Rio

We’ve been enjoying our time in Rio. It’s just like you’d expect. The traffic is a bit crazy, the beaches are lovely and there are lots of beautiful tanned people jogging along them. We’ve had no problems with beggars and haven’t felt unduly worried about crime. It’s fun just relaxing, having breakfast in a juice bar and shopping for Havaianas. So much fun that it looks like we will be cancelling a side trip to stay in the city and do more of the same…


Sunbathing, shopping and lots of steak!!!!

Rio can be so many places all moulded into one. Hong Kong, Brisbane, Dunedin and yet when you look at the beaches you feel like you are on one of those far off islands in the middle of the ocean where it is always sweltering hot!!! Due to the fact that we have friends living in Rio we went to there house for lunch. Cesar, (the man of the house) who is an extremely good cook, made us a typical brazillian meal of rice, salad, steak and chips. It can get up to 23 degrees but it is not very hot. I hope that all is well at home. louisa 😀

Culture Shock South America

We’re now in South America. The contrast with New Zealand has taken some getting used to. It could have been a bigger shock as we are in Santiago and Chile feels quite European in many ways. (Imagine a version of Spain that took an extra 15 years to emerge from dictatorship and never joined the EU). Santiago is not a huge city by Latin American standards, but it still has more inhabitants that the whole of NZ. It is also quite noisy and busy and our previous stop was in the out-of-season Coromandel peninsula, which is neither of those things. Finally, we’ve got the language barrier to deal with. Our Spanish is mostly based on our knowledge of Portuguese, so it probably sounds pretty odd.

Unfortunately when we arrived here tired and jetlagged the apartment we booked turned out to be lacking in several respects and cold in the night. Put that on top of the culture shock and you have a recipe for some unhappy campers. Once we’d booked ourselves into a nice hotel instead, things started looking up. Now I wish we had longer here so we could see a few more things around the city…

I was struck by the games of chess and checkers going on in the centre of Santiago, with groups of men standing around watching. In this case the competitors seemed to be a beggar and a man in a smart business suit, so I couldn’t resist taking a photo. (Large version to appear on Flickr in due course)

Game of Checkers in Centro, Santiago


Champagne Pool, originally uploaded by Chrstopher.

We are now up in the North of New Zealand. Our first destination was Rotorua, which is famous for its geothermal activity. It’s not half as smelly as it was when I visited as a child. Apparently so many homes and businesses have tapped into the hot energy below the ground that much less of it just comes out of the drains or beside the road. So the place doesn’t stink of rotten eggs quite so much any more. We went to Wai-o-tapu and saw the famous champagne pool (pictured), the bubbling mud, the geysers and so on. But best of all, our motel had a geothermally heated spa pool which we made good use of, sitting in it under the stars while the temperature was only a few degrees.

Snowy New Zealand

Oooh! Those mountains are close!, originally uploaded by Chrstopher.

It’s certainly different in the far south of New Zealand to anything we’ve seen in Australia. They’ve got proper winters here. As you can see, the approach to Queenstown airport was pretty amazing. We swooped in over the mountains and could actually see people going up on chairlifts.

As mentioned by Louisa, we also did some skiing ourselves. You can see some photos of that here.

Croco cruise

We went croco cruising down a mangrove swamp and saw three crocodiles  2 females and the 1 and only male !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Skiing on the Mountainside.

Two days ago we went cross country skiing and had a go at going down, up and flat with skis. First of all we had a lesson so we could learn exactly how to cope and use the sticks and other equipment. First of all we tried going flat (which lead to falling over ALOT!) Next we tried a slope which was defnately the hardest bit. After our full length lesson we were aloud to go freestyle. Next we tried out the Mary’s Trail for Begginners. It involved some hard work and a pit stop for a picnic in the snow. I was eager to carry on unlike Anna so i repeated the trail with dad, while Anna and Mum made a snow man!!! Just a quick note: Following on from Dad’s Post below or on the homepage, another way to keep children happy whilst travelling around the world is to give them an ice-cream every day!!!! 🙂