Busy week for the boys – Day 162 – 168 (11th – 17th)

As the last full week of being a temporary Mexican, and the existence of Los Tres Amigos, we found ourselves being filled with an unusual amount of energy, ambition and determination to make the most of every single minute we had left together, whilst also putting ourselves through the most uncomfortable experiences that a teenager can possibly bare without exploding into rage and hibernating for the next few months.The benefits to the week of pain we have endured come in the many unforgettable days, despite my best efforts to remove some of them, and several stories that promise to be rather amusing and entertaining,for the masses, even if it means I have to haunt myself for the next few hours. You had better enjoy.

The morning of day one was full to the brim of a stupid amount of optimism and an extremely surprisingly load of excitement, seeing as it was only nine o’clock and I had already been dragged out of bed and force fed a bowl of shitty fake cornflakes. The reason for our the intense hype came in the form of a new challenge that would demolish all other adventures we had faced and conquered, obliterating the mountains and volcanoes of Chile and Argentina as if they were just little mole hills, and making living in a caravan for ten days without a shower or internet feel like a luxury holiday to the moon. Unfortunately, this meant we were camping again, which in turn meant we had to fill our bags with nine litres of water, three days worth of unsatisfactory food and of course a tent, making putting our rucksacks on for the first time feel like the mighty force of gravity had just doubled in strength. However, there was no going back at this point, so we hopped into the truck and headed into the mountains to the starting point of our mega hike to some dried up laguna that Alec had mentioned a few weeks ago.Once we had got lost a few times and then stopped being idiots and found the right place to park the car, we filled our bodies with as much water as we could fit without pissing ourselve, chucked abit more on a heads for good measur, and then psyched ourselves up for the next few days of ultimate intrepid and extreme exploring. Quite inevitably, we didn’t get off to the best start though, as after walking for about 30 moderately painful minutes, we came across a truck, which then took us back to the beginning and let us through a gate so we could drive to the actual beginning of the hike and reproduce any little bit of motivation and determination in order to succeed. Unfortunately, we didn’t have Mr Thomas (hard core P.E teacher at my old school who could motivate even the most dweeby of students (me) to keep their arms up for over a minute) type figure to fire us up, but we just about managed to continue on the trail, and eventually we reached te beginning of the end of the fairly easy walking. This sounded and to be honest felt like an achievement in itself, but the problem with reaching the end of the easy part of something, is that something much harder is just around the corner. At the time we thought we knew this, so we slapped ourselves round the face, soaked ourselves in some refreshing luke-warm water, and started heaving our monstrous bags up an equally monstrous hill, determined more than ever to face our fears, prove our bodies wrong, and break down the barriers of what is humanly possible for three lads to achieve. We made it just about an hour before we crumpled to the ground and called it a day. We certainly didnt take this decision lighly, but after I had floated ahead without my bag to discover how big the next huge incline was, and we had held a deep discussion about how embarrassing it would be to return back to the house two days early and without having seen the famous laguna, we rolled back down the hill and back to the truck. The nightmare day didn’t end there though, as we somehow managed to get the truck stuck, and had to be rescued by the same nice farmer that we had come across earlier in the day, surprising him more than we had surprised ourselves by making it back to our car in three whole pieces. We did eventually find our way home though, and after one of the greatest swims in my life, we began retelling our legendary story to Alec, minimising the loss of respect as much as we could manage.

The next day was due to play host to a crucial recovery period, or so I had thought when I crawled out of bed towards the end of the morning and then retired to the pool side to relax my troubles away. However, I was sadly prevented from re-charging completely by an impromptu mission to clean the truck that we had gradually jacked up since we got to Mexico, and even more horrific was the way we had to execute the plan, using physical exercise and bicycles to carry ourselves around on whilst the Nissan got a nice spa treatment and full makeover. I was very jealous. We then decided we were ready to breach the boundaries of the functional bedroom by taking the beast down to the nearby beach and camping for the benefit of nothing or no one. I think it was only the cooler full of beers that prevented me from breaking down in tears. Day three continued the busy start to the week, or it did starting from about 6 o’clock when we headed into town to watch Aaron’s young skate crew absolutely shred it up at the same time as fulfilling every single aspect of what I expec, and find very entertaining, from a skate park, but in this case, the skaters were genuinely some cool mofos. We then made our way to Stuntman’s (one of Alec’s Voltron members) gig where we found ourselves enjoying the brutality of Mezcal in the company of some lovely ladies enjoying their ladies night.I think we quite enjoyed the typical gossip and giggling one would expect from girls night, and I even ‘reluctantly’ got ‘dragged’ onto the dancefloor to bust some of my best moves and show the weird guy who was spinning around all night expecting to soak up the affections of some female, who was boss. Obviously we had to pay a visit to the taco central of El Capitan, and obviously we had to travel in full Mexican mode, something I later regretted when I looked on my Snapchat the following morning.

As if this wasn’t enough for the week’s entertainment, the following day we decided to head on a new adventure that would take us back to the beautiful beaches of the east cape, and back to the evil mountains in central Baja. As the walk wasn’t planned until the last day of adventuring, Los Tres Amigos enjoyed the first few days camped on the peaceful white sands lining the Sea of Cortez, snorkeling in the bright blue waters along with the colourful wildlife that inhabited the nearby reefs, cooking some deliciously shit camping food on a next level stove, and even doing some minor rock climbing and posing for photos that nearly resulted in the death of my iconic straw hat. It was truly a very lovely few days, but in keeping with our travelling traditions, we absolutely obliterated our peace by getting up at the crack of dawn, (literally, would you believe) and trundling our way through a nine hour hike that actually took twelve, conquering gigantic hills time and time again to what repeatedly appeared to be absolutely nothing. To make things worse, I had lived up to the my expectations by forgetting my trainers, so I was forced to waddle along in Benj’s boat shoes, eventually giving up and finishing the walk in my socks. It was well and truly the most horrifically gruelling task I have ever had to take part in, demolishing any fitness tests at the hands of the aforementioned Mr Thomas, any week long detentions by the infamous Mr Thomas, and any rendition of jelly on a plate’ by DT himself. In hindsight, these comparisons only demonstrate the level of distress , demoralisation and depression that we suffered to people who went to my school or have had nightmares about torture and the devil, but for the rest of you lucky readers, this trek was nothing short of listening to Justin Bieber in his prime. Everyone must have done that. We did get some running views out of it though, meaning once again I had been brought back from the brink of extinction, and I think all three of us learnt a valuable life lesson for the longest day of our legs lives, which is never to get up at six AM unless it is for a highly paid job, or you are desperate for a drink after a heavy night out. Thankfully, the week ended on a high though, as after waiting at the airport for a few hours, our elusive buddy Tom strolled through the arrivals gate to the warm and extremely mushy welcome of the three of us, meaning the day was spent catching up, telling stories, and eating tacos. Perfect.
As you would expect, I have to give a huge mention to the hero of the week that helped us gringos out twice on the first day of the rest of our week, as without him we may still be in that desertous hell hole, feeling sorry for ourselves and wondering what on earth went wrong. However, the shoutout actually goes to someone I didn’t mention in the blog, who gifted us with three lovely homemade ladybugs all the way from Israel. Don’t worry it’s not as weird and sad as it sounds, as he was actually starting up a project called ‘pass the love bug’ promoting love and kindness by encouraging people to enjoy the beautiful gift for a few weeks, but then pass it on to a stranger in order to spread the message of love around the world. I thought this was a great idea at the time, but after reading the news for the hundredth time this week, and finding nothing but stories of evil, hatred and some seriously depressing shit, I see little projects like this as an absolute necessity in order to fight back against the evil in the world and try and put some good back into it.I have so much respect for that man, but I do now need to find one one to give my bug to.

A adult’s week – Day 155 – 161 (4th May – 10th)

In keeping with our strange weekly rollercoaster routine in my latest new favourite place, the last seven days have been significantly less unique, intrepid and exciting than the previous load, but thankfully our rapid decline from summit to base, peak to trough and high to low has been no where near as traumatic and stressful as the rapid decline on one of those bastards they call an actual roller coaster. Therefore, instead of experiencing unnatural amounts of g-force and powerful face-shifting forces, Los Tres Amigos have spent the week enjoying the luxuries of Mexican life, or our version of Mexican life anyway. Spoiler alert… it’s not going to be the most intresting of blogs.

Day one can be completely ignored, down to Alec’s hell hole that he calls a swimming pool and that big evil ball in the sky that I’ve heard been referred to as ‘the sun’ as if it’s sacred or the only one in the world or some bullshit like that, so I’m going to take you straight to the morning of the fifth when all four of us were stood around Alec’s truck looking like we were trying or going to be productive, but in reality were just thinking about breakfast. This is classic english male ritual when something practical needs doing in order to maximise moral and masculinity, but in the end, the problem tends to remain untouched, however, this time round we struck gold, as an Aussie who was staying in the hotel and who was of course capable of fixing stuff came and advised us on how to fix the roof racks and get on with our days. For us, this meant preparing for our mini vacation to La Paz in aid of Cinco De Mayo, a celebration I knew and still know nothing about, and one that Mexicans apparently don’t celebrate, but we felt inclined to try and party, so after we had packed the Nissan and I had completed my quick swim, shave and something rude, we headed off to the land of plenty with high spirits and a few roadies.

After arriving safely and checking into the hotel after the usual intense search and rescue mission of the place, we headed out into the very unfresh air of the city to check out what all the fuss was about. We walked up and down the front a few times in the hope we would find some entertainment, but we inevitably ended up seeking some fuel, so El settled for an ice cream, and then I gave in to the temptations of a smiling Mexican and got us a table with the worlds sauciest bowl of crisps and two huge extra large beers for the occasion. With them just about polished off, we headed to the shops in aid of Benj’s feet, an activity I would usually despite when not a realistic contender to buy anything, but in the case of an extremely well air-conditioned shop with it’s very own speakers blasting out some sweet reggaeton, I was willing to enjoy the experience whilst Benj desperately tried to get the attention of someone that’s actually worked there. Unfortunately, El then decided he needed to buy a shirt, which required a trip out to the huge shopping centres on the edge to town, therefore involving a lot of standing up, a lot of walking and a lot of not buying anything. Mercifully, El eventually found the pink polo shirt he was looking for, so we headed back to the hotel and got ready to go out.

The first and extremely necessary task of the evening was to line our stomachs, so we polished off three burgers and three beers to set ourselves up for the night, and then took a wander up what turned out be the most Mexican of lanes. I say this because as we walked along the sidewalk, we were accompanied by several souped-up rally cars that made their intentions and my feelings towards them clear by revving their huge engines without relenting for more than a few precious seconds and metres, and then had to push our way through the crowds watching two young lads expressing their inner Mexican through the mode of wrestling. This entertainment, and the very powerful beer advertising that was just impossible to avoid, got us craving cheap alcohol, so we retreated back to the hotel to fuel up on a non-tourist affected price of beer and then skipped back into town like three teenage girls eager to find a party. However, we soon realised we were far too ill-equipped to even locate any bar, club or bench that could sufficiently host three veteran party animals such as ourselves, let alone one that we actually had the balls to step foot in, but thankfully Lena came to our rescue by appearing along the sidewalk with a group of her Mexican girlfriends, meaning we couldn’t help but look no further, and even better still, they were gathered outside a nice and lively watering hole that we could acceptably stand outside with our beers and look like we were meant to be there. With our Mexican greetings completed (a kiss on one cheek and the utterance ‘hey dude’) we quickly felt at home with Lena’s friends, positioned a nice few metres away from the main pack with a drink and three awkward faces. Eventually we decided we were too cool for this shit and crabbed along the pavement a little further to the next set of outside seating and in front of a club that was entertaining many with their live reggae music and bright, colourful lights. This seemed a little too overwhelming for Los Tres Amigos, and expensive, so we bravely opted to sit outside and wait for the action to come to us, and surprisingly, it actually did just that, in the form of three lovely American girls that appeared to be hitting on us like there was no tomorrow, but in hindsight, they probably just mistook us for three rich young gentlemen that could wine and dine and buy lots of cool shit for them, but we made the most of it. Despite an offer of a taco triple date, the first of its kind, we left the ladies in search for that elusive party, and sought refuge in a rooftop bar that specialised in cocktails and enticing people like me. We got through the ‘routine’ pat down upon entry and dodgy looks towards my ID and my little baby face, and enjoyed some feminine drinks and reggaeton as the Mexicans danced the night away. In fact, I was minuted away from joining them, until our resident old man inevitably cracked under the pressure of alcohol, late nights and severe back pain and ordered us to return to the hotel so he could put his dentures in some water and retire for the rest of his life. That therefore ended the night, but only after my resilient effort to keep the party going by chugging the rest of our beers and trolling social media had ultimately failed.

The next day was your typical hangover day, with some morning tacos, afternoon sleep, and evening boxing match between two Mexicans, hosted at a local pizza place and supported by the dozens equipped with loud voices and cow bells. I of course had to place a stupid bet on the huge underdog that lost, and the Mexican bar had to have some creepy music videos on in the background that included one with people coming out of a woman’s private part, but it was really quality Mexican night nonetheless.
Day four of what was turning out to be a very alcohol fuelled week, was no different to the rest, and yet it played host to a night that was like no other my poor eyes had ever been forced to witness. The event that had got me so shaken up played out on another rooftop bar, but this time in Todos Santos, at around ten o’clock, after we had circled the town many times looking for the young ladies that may have accompanied their parents to the local wine party. This sounds very weird, but I can assure you, in a location where anyone under the age of 25 is part of an endangered species, one finds themselves resorting to desperate measures just to meet some people their own age. Anyway, we had been informed of this after party by Alec and assured that if there was anyone that we could acceptably buy a drink for and not be mistook for a pedophile or a son, this was the place, so we hesitantly handed over the rather extortionate entry fee, and climbed the stairs to what we hoped would be the one and only promise land. It was not. However, despite the average age seeming to be at least 35, and the drinks token system appearing to be, and being, absolute bollocks, we managed to provide ourselves with an hour of incredible entertainment. This was gifted to us by what sounded like a teenage DJ, and the crowd of youthful and rejuvenated group of middle aged characters that we dropping dance moves so hard that my eyes almost popped out of their sockets. I kid you not, there was popping and locking, shuffling and busting, and sadly even grinding, which you’ve probably guessed was when I declared myself scarred for life, but you know what, it has really given me the confidence that my life won’t have become a complete bore and misery by the time I’ve reached my Clooney years.

The last few days of the week were pretty quiet, as the next day I obviously skipped the early trip to Nine Palms, and then the next day the only action was a morning search and rescue for Linda, and the next day we just prepped for what probably going to be the worst few days of my life, but you’ll have to wait until next week’s blog to find out if I managed to get myself out of it.

This week my hat goes off to whoever that was behind those decks at the retirement party we ended up at. I couldn’t see if he too was in his last part of life or was in his prime like me, but all I can say is I salute him for his music choices. He busted out gangster rap, disco music, salsa tunes, some spanish crap, and even managed a slow song or two, playing the crowd, and me, like a puppet, and putting on a hell of a party that we were lucky enough to stand in the middle of and watch unfold. I truly feel honoured, and I aspire to one day play my extensive variety of shit music to my parents and their friends. Thank you DJ

Los Tres Mexicano Amigos – Day 148 – 154 (27th April – 3rd May)

At the end of this week, I feel I have a tremendously great deal of pride and honour filling my small but noble heart, and despite what you may think due to my bold opening line and my frequent and annoying over exaggeration of almost every little thing that comes out of my mouth, or in this case, keyboard after a few drinks, it has absolutely nothing to do with the few beers that have made there way into my bloodstream. In fact, I am actually being rather serious when I say I’m really pleased that Los Tres Amigos have had a very Mexican week, made even more of a spectacular achievement seeing as despite what the nickname I have forced upon the group, we are three pretty white english guys that, at the end of the day, are tourists, even if we, along with every single other young backpacker around the world, like to call ourselves travellers. There is one major difference between us and the usually overweight men in beige three quarter length shorts and ridiculous shades (I’m stereotyping) and the almost always blonde women with stupidly annoying hats and ridiculous shades (I’m not stereotyping), we have no money, which without meaning to sound insulting and out of door, makes us a whole lot more Mexican than the rest. Nevertheless, we well and truly bossed out another week.

The week got off to a slow start, with the only real item of interest on the list (I genuinely have a list on my phone of all the shit we get up too due to our busy schedules and my dodgy memory) being the inaugural Mexican Open tennis tournament at the truly incredible tennis courts overlooking the ocean, featuring the most tired and overheated players ever to set foot onto a court and some of the most entertainingly terrible playing one can be capable of producing. We enjoyed ourselves though, and if you’re a fellow sporting failure, you’ll also be all too familiar with the saying ‘it’s the taking part that counts’. Bullshit.

Dia dos was a whole new level of heat and sweat and fatigue, but with a whole more to shout about. The first action of the day required some walking, not a great deal in comparison to our Chilean experience of hiking, and not even that much more than a stroll around the Cotswolds, but under the intense strain of the sun and in a constant state of relaxation and laziness, the short walk gave us a good enough challenge to merit a long afternoon of nothing. However, the effort was certainly worth it for the fantastic spectacle provided by approximately a fuck load of crabs. The walk took us up and over the cliffs and down to an old loading dock at the side of a beautiful cove, but upon arriving to the fishing spot and then wandering off along the cliff face for some exploration, I soon discovered this was no normal geographical formation that I was about to slip over on, but actually the home of a scarily large family of creepy crabs. To my overwhelming surprise, and maybe yours depending on how well you know me, I managed to overcome my fear of anything that has the capability to move but does not have a smiley face and continue on my quest around the cliff. I even managed to navigate my way around the slippery algae and powerful waves that both covered the rocks, all with no major accidents or moments of severe pain. This meant I could now waltz along the rocks with ease to a lookout point that was a little bit more interesting than the fishing spot, so intresting in fact that I spent a good ten minutes failing to take a timer photo with my phone and some rocks, so in the end I had to settle for a selfie. It was only as I started heading back though that I noticed something in the corner of my eye that reminded of a haunting sound that I strongly recognised from not that long ago; ten minutes in fact. Yep, you guessed it, more crabs, but not just more, oh no, this was no family, this was a fucking army. They scurried along that bolder like it was WW3; regimented, disciplined and intimadating. Thankfully they opted not to initiate a blitz on me or attempt to invade my personal space, but I was quickly out of there and back into the safety of our home territory. Mission accomplished.

We arrived home a short while later, but despite the inevetable discomfort that began take control of our bodies, we were dragged back out for a Voltron fuelled dinner. This didn’t sound too bad though, as the original plan was a nice meal, although it was fish, with Aron and another member of Alec’s crew named Stuntman and his girlfriend Stuntwoman. In fact, the fish was actually really nice, and the restaurant was chilled out and the night was just nicely relaxed to suit our weary soles. So ‘what could possibly go wrong?’ I hear you ask, well… alcoholic beverage, one word, two syllables, sounds like death. Wow, you’re good. Yep, it was Mezcal. If you did’t manage to guess my little game, then you lost, but don’t worry I didn’t know either, and remember, it’s the taking part that counts; not! Anyway, for those of you that don’t know, Mezcal is another Mexican spirit that is very similar to Tequila but due to some differences in the way its made or some shit that the waiter explained in spanish, is called something else and tastes completely different. It is also much stronger at a handsome 50 %. It was even described as having euphoric effects on drinkers, which sounded kind of fun, but me and the guys were certainly only feeling one kind of intoxicated! This marked the end of a normal and suitably short evening, as after sinking a few more beers and discussing the history, politics and drug intake of Ireland, we headed off to the Chill and Grill where our coffins lay in waiting with some live music in the background. The music was actually decent, enough to wake me up to an almost functional level, although the lack of crowd made for an embarrassing sceneario after a few more cervezas had passed through me, due to my uncontrollable volume and insistence on giving the reggae band the applause and cheers they deserved. It was only after a few more of the Todos Santos American population had joined our table, and I had partaken in my compulsory drunk conversation with the almost stranger that was sat next to me (this time it was about music – very interesting guy actually) that the powers that be decided it was time to go home. Of course, this meant one more round, but mercifully it was eventually time to head home via one of the few late night taco suppliers and get tucked up in bed.

The third day of la semana took us over to the other nearby city of La Paz, which was a trip so Mexican that we felt we needed to bring our very own Mexican along with us, and seeing as El Chapo was a bit preoccupied, we ‘settled’ for the slightly less Mexican but much nicer Lena, and after picking her up and grabbing a much needed oversized juice, we were motoring out of town to the sound of Danza Kuduro blasting from the speaker. It was another long journey along another long road, but my queue of road trip tunes kept the squadron rolling on and towards the sacred beaches of the east coast. The only minor scare of the journey came at a police/army/scary people with huge guns checkpoint, an intimidating experience for us innocent Cotswolds lads, but although I went into my usual nervous state of guilt and panic, Lena was on hand to put our minds, bodies and excretory systems by calmly announcing that we were just the kind of people to get pulled over as we were three foreign guys with one Mexican girl, but by the time this had sunk in and begun to send us all into a frenzy of terror, we were passed the blockade and back into the grateful arms of the open road. Of course, no Mexican road trip would be complete without a cooler full of Tecate lights, so we stocked up on beer at the most common shop for the locals, Oxxo, and were quickly heading into rich mans country, full of huge yachts and helicopters, and then burst out the other side to reveal a spectacular beach and the home of the Baja Californian.

It really was a really pretty beach, with beautiful white sand enclosing a large pool of crystal clear water that completed the exotic and picturesque setting that surrounded us. It was just a shame there was also hundreds of holidaying nationals fighting for space on the beach, leaving us with the stressful mission of locating a quiet enough area to be able to be bearable but yet not so far that a large amount of distance had to be covered and therefore use a lot of precious effort. In classic ‘’us’ fashion though, this didn’t quite go to plan, as the route we selected to guide us to a more peaceful part of this haven required the four of us, all of our stuff, and the cooler around the cliffs and into the water. This was slightly trickier than anticapated, probably because I was stupid enough to wear my flip flops and cared more about the precious cargo I was holding than the state of my feet, and to make things that much morse, the water wasn’t anywhere as near as warm as we had thought and got so excited about. Nevertheless, we set up camp and were quickly paddling around in the water like we had never passed the age of ten. We didn’t last particularly long though, and soon we were heading back to the chaos in search of a new spot, and miraculously we found a spare palapa shelter to hide under, and we even got tacos brought to our doorstep. We were living the life.

We filled the rest of the afternoon in classic Mexican style, listening to music that was competing against everyone else’s speakers within a 20 metre radius, drinking our beers and eating our tacos, and then after a bit of snorkelling, and some sushi in town, we made the journey back to Todos Santos, making it back just in time to make ourselves look alive again and then go back out to the reggae party we had got ourselves into thanks to the mother and daughter that were staying in Alec’s hotel, Phoebe (daughter) and Noy. The party was called the 4.29 party, and if that wasn’t enough to give us a clue of what we were about to walk into, the girl at the entrance that failed to notice me and Benj were even standing there, started to tell us a little bit more about the massive stoner fest that we had arrived at. We were enthusiastic though, especially after the first drunk and high partier we met took a bit of shining to us all and began buying round after round of margeritas, and therefore the entrance fee of 50 pesos was quickly payed off, but to be honest, it would have been well worth the money anyway. The reggae band playing were awesome, the surfing wipeout videos playing in the background were even better, and the quality of drunk dancing topped it all off. However, the night did start to deteriorate temporarily, as after the chilled out reggae band had sadly finished, they were replaced by a very loud, very serious and very irritating rap group that took it in turns to shout at us all until we decided to call it a night. Don’t worry though, we soon had the night saved by some extremely late night tacos at the Mexican version of KFC, and then headed to our much needed pillows.

The last main event of our Mexican fiesta could only come from one place; a place so far and remote that only a handful of english people have ever stepped foot on it, it’s just a shame the Americans have discovered it in their thousands. Yep, we were back at Nine Palms, which didn’t feel like the most Mexican activity we could have done, but this trip was a little different; this trip was a day strike! This involved getting up far too early, prepping the truck with all we would need to withstand the scorching heat, and then waiting for our two new companions from the night before to emerge so they could tail the trundling Toyota. A quick stop for some take away goat tacos, a choice we later regretted more for the inconvenience of eating than the hideous amount of grease and fat that was shining bright on the food, and we were off onto the long open road and nearing La Comer. Me and Benj decided to do the noble thing and guide Phoebe and Noy around the hell hole that called itself a supermarket, but in truth, this was a strategic tactic from myself to hide the fact that I needed to buy yet another pair of sunglasses. With that complete, and the girls ready for their impressively unprepared few nights at the beach, we were back on the dirt road and back where we belonged. It was the usual procedure upon arrival, unpack the track, protect the boards, protect ourselves and then relax, but sadly our methods for shade hadn’t worked out quite as well as last time, leaving me with the very unenviable task of making a den, FOR SOMEONE ELSE! Nevertheless, we soon had a decent set up, I had broken my new sunglasses, and we were all chillaxing by the truck, Mexican style (With a tecate light and a great big truck).

After a while, the inevitable talk of getting into the water began to arise, but despite the horrible condition of the waves, Phoebe somehow managed to drag us all in anyway with the lure of swimming. Swimming? In the sea? It was unheard of for us gents. However, we were no cop-outs, and when a young lady asks one to do something, one tends to just get on and do it. Despite our scepticism, it was actually pretty fun, as due the absence of boards, when a big huge wave comes crashing down on you, very little happens, although during the first few sets I was still feeling like I had a board under my arm and was going to face oblivion very quickly, but I got to used to it. We were all pretty knackered eventually and rode in some waves towards the beach, but it was only then that the three of us amigos re-discovered our early youth with a game of ‘fucking around with waves’, a game that involves body surfing, wave jumping and a lot of sand in your trunks, and a game that really needs a better name. The sensation of flying through the sky as a crashing wave chucks you onto the beach is comparable to nothing, and the feeling of having a big lump of sand somewhere in your trunks that you just can’t possibly find is indescribable, but I would highly recommend getting active and taking part. Not in England of course, you need to go somewhere with warm water and waves, probably Mexico. The afternoon was spent catching some rays once again with Benj, whilst the others attempted to catch some waves in amongst the usual chaos, which was really entertaining courtesy of El on his top form cutting up those waves, and of course a beer to make things that much better. After that, we waved Bon voyage to our travel buddies and headed back to Todos Santos to sleep off the last few days.

That was pretty much all of the week’s Mexican offerings, and barring the night we watched the incredible film that is Shawshank redemption, I have very little more to say about the week, other than it was a proper Baja week and a bloody brilliant one. This leaves me with only one more thing to say before I can finally go to bed, and that of course is the shoutout, which I think can only be fitting if I give it to a Mexican, and who better than the drunk, stoned and mental dude at the reggae party. He bought us drinks, politely offered us weed, bought us more drinks, tried to dance with us, bought us more drinks, tried to drive home, let Benj drive him home, and then apparently taught a surfing lesson the next day. There’s no doubt I will remember him for the rest of my life. What a guy.

Twas’ a touristy week four – Day 141 – 147 (20th-26th)

It’s certainly been a quieter week for Los Tres Amigos, a week more spent trying sooth the soul rather than exercising our desire to explore the very best that this world has to offer. I can’t say I have minded the more downtime filled week though, probably because I have officially managed to change the colour of my skin to a shade that can’t be classified as being anywhere near red or pink, but it’s been fun nonetheless. I’ve still got lots to show and tell though, so be prepared to once again wish you have no current responsibilities, a little bit of dosh, and have already booked a flight out to Mexico where you can forget your previous lives ever existed.

Day one was a complete right off, so I won’t even bother trying to excite you with the details, but the week quickly got more interesting, as in the early hours of the next morning, about ten o’clock, the squad decided to motor back down to the East Cape in once again, releasing the beast from its cage and letting it run wild to the faultless beach of Nine Palms. Although I had the intense constant pressure of entertaining the huge truck with my music, that included the judging Simon Cowell character that is Alec, and the sly but slightly less scary El that could only resemble Louis Walsh, the journey was a much nicer and less dramatic one compared to our last disaster of a trip the last time we came in the truck. This meant, even after we had carried out the necessary war against La Comer and come away with the winning spoils of war that included beer, a load of beans and a pizza for me, we were al parked up by the waterfront by mid afternoon, so Alec and El could get straight out to surf whilst me and Benj watched eagerly over a couple of not-quite-cold-enough ones. The highlight of the afternoon, for me anyway, was getting to climb up on top of the campervan using the dodgy ladder, which has been a dream of mine ever since I can remember looking at big campervans and their ladders and wondering what on earth was up there. As it turns out, there’s not a great deal that would interest the average Joe, but I’m lots of things that really aren’t that, so I absolutely loved fulfilling my childhood ambition whilst failing miserably at tying the tarp onto the top of the truck. The evening was also extremely enjoyable, mainly due to my love of everything small and mini, especially when it comes to food, and because of our weird decision making when it came tortillas, that resulted in the four us eating the next best and up and coming food on the planet… mini fajitas (patent pending). It was only after at least ten little tortillas had been filled with way too many beans, far too much salsa, and some overflowing veg that we could class ourselves as full, and only after we had recovered from the messy and difficult operation of consuming said fajitas that we could realise quite how enjoyable that meal was. Or at least I could. However, the fun didn’t stop there, as during our compulsory ‘monging’ out procedure, carried out around the fire, a bold and brave Aussie politely requested if he could join us ‘pommies’ for a bev or two, so we politely welcomed him into the circle and spent the night desperately trying to laugh at his perfectly typical Aussie vocals. He even said ‘sheila’ for fuck sake! It was class from the top bloke.

The next day was a classic East Cape day, starting with me unintentionally drunk courtesy of my new mate gourd that apparently still had a lot of pisco in it, and ended with me still slightly intoxicated, but this time in a more intentional and suitable manner. My unusual experience led to a rather strange morning spent fairly unconscious in my chair, with my only movements being the short but treacherous walk to my chosen spot for pissing, which I did an embarrassing amount of times, passing the same eagle eyed and bemused campers. We all managed to have a productive few hours though, as I just about managed to break and fix my sunglasses whilst Benj and Alec attempted to fix another broken fin on the legendary Pinky the foam board. I’m also glad to announce that I did manage to shrug off the intoxication and the resulting hangover in time to get out into the water and actually do some surfing, which turned out to be the best session for both me and Benj in our short but turbulent surfing lives. This was due to our masterstroke of tactics that even an evil genius would be proud of, which involved only paddling out a reasonably short distance to minimise effort, fatigue and pain, and then wait for the first wave that was now fairly small by the time it had got to us and ride it almost comfortably back to shore where we were safe from any potential battering form the next wave, and could simply wait for the set to end, and paddle back out when the coast was clear (no pun intended). This created a seriously fun game of surfer ping pong as we bounced back and forth from the beach, and gave us a real insight into how fun being a beginner can be, so much so that I briefly considered dropping my place at university and heading back to the foundation class in primary school, as well as doing grade one again on my trumpet, and signing up to a football summer school along with all the other toddlers. That was a lot of thinking whilst trying to stay afloat on my board, and this inevitably came back to haunt me, specifically when I was being towed against my will by my evil board, whilst being attacked in the face by the salty water and pummelled by the wave that had engulfed me. I managed to make it back to the shore with only minimal amounts of sea life in my facial cavities, but I quickly began to regret my earlier thoughts once again, as a pretty girl had apparently really enjoyed by embarrassing amateur antics, leaving me with the regret that I had never been forced against my will to surf as a child. I knew of only one solution to this particular dilemma; take the piss out of myself until she is under the illusion I’m not mortified one little bit, and my trusty tactics actually seemed to work, as we spent the next 15 minutes or so small talking our way out of surfing. Perfect.

We still had a fair bit of afternoon to go though, which predictably provided me with the perfect opportunity to have a nap, get extremely sun burnt in the process, and then finally resort to a solo kick about and a beverage. The highlight of the day actually came from Alec though, surprisingly beating the shock of me actually entering the water after already being in during the same day, and stemmed from his admiration and slight crush on the a particular surfer and his ‘insane’ board and the tricks that he/it was doing. I kid you not, this wise man who from what we can see, from the gobsmacking picture of him on wave that was five times taller than him, is an absolutely incredible surfer, had actually turned into a super fan, and after meticulously planning out his first move, and then eagerly waiting and praying for the surfer to come past our truck, he intercepted the board and fulfilled his desire to hold the sacred tool. As i happened though, this ‘revolutionary’ board was nothing more than a small kids ‘foamy’ that cost no more than a ‘party’s worth of beer, and yet allowed for some seriously cool backwards action and 360’s on some huge waves. Alec has now ordered said board. The last action of the evening was of course dinner, which was once again a pleasurable experience of fitting as many ingredients possible into an item of food that just couldn’t live up to our appetites, but those burgers were the shit!

Day four was a whole different kettle of fish though, pretty much down to one little thing, and to be honest, that one pretty major event was the only thing to happen that is worth really telling you about. I believe you must know the post expedition drill by now, where we stressfully pack up the broken tent after nursing it back to life, and fill the truck with all our necessary shit and then make the long quiet journey back to civilisation, followed by the equally as painful unpacking that involves cleaning the grotty coolers and salvaging what’s left of our food, and then finally settling back in with a light session of what I like to call ‘ridicule Matt for his amazing music taste that everyone else thinks is crap’. It was all pretty standard, up until Lian offered me my first cup of tea in at least two months, and then took us out to abnormally posh restaurant for an abnormally amazing dinner courtesy of an abnormally generous. Lian. In my view, the food didn’t top Manny’s one pound tacos by that bigger margin, but the amazing French menu, coupled with the jungle paradise that our table was sat in, made for a delightful evening and a nice change too. Normal service was soon resumed though, as once we were home, we cracked open a Ballena, or as you would know it, a big bottle of beer, and enjoyed another instalment of Alec’s impressive movie collection.

The last action of the week came on day five (6 and 7 were just recovery time), when we headed off to the city of San Jose del Cabo for a more alternative kind of exploring, and when I say ‘alternative’ I mean upmarket, as Lian decided to raise the bar yet again and treat us to a day and night living the life of a well off American middle class family of tourists, complete with a posh breakfast on the seafront that redefined the boundaries of what a ‘full english’ is capable of becoming whilst also reminding us of the outstanding capabilities of modern technology, specifically wifi, followed by an afternoon and night at a posh hotel that provided free towels, free shampoo and free bottled water, all of which we made full use of. And this was all in return for a simple lift to the airport. Hell of a woman, I’m telling ya.

We spent a large portion of the day burning our asses off whilst watching El try and avoid and defeat the few controlling and stuck up twats that were trying to dominate the wave and sink El as they did so, something that Lian in particular didn’t take too well, especially as the three of us on the shore were well and truly at the sun’s mercy. I however, took my mind off the pain by clinging onto the hotels wifi and manipulating it in order to FaceTime my parents, but my pain relief didn’t quite go as it had planned, as the stress and frustration of waiting for the screen to in-freeze for the 50th time only made my core temperature plummet even more. This all led to a very quick getaway once El had given up and surrender the territory, and we quickly checking in at the nice hotel, and stood next to a huge REAL parrot and of course trying to get it to talk. It wasn’t long until we had tested out all of the hotels features, including the showers, TV’s and the swimming pool bar, which unfortunately wasn’t open but we were pretty good at pretending during our half an hour of classic water competitions.

Soon it was time for dinner, and the restaurant that El found kept up the high standards of living that we had been ‘forced’ to adhere too for the previous eight or so hours. It wasn’t just the incredible food that made the meal such an occasion though, although the four magnificent dishes that came on sizzling hot plates and included three whole fish that still had their ‘googly’ eyes so they could death stare at me, and a wide selection of Mexican food that came as surprise to me, desire being called the ‘Mexican combo’, was all absolutely incredible. Instead, it was the night’s entertainment that made the evening such an event, as due to the Mexican customary ‘personal’ performances that diners get here, we were gifted with our very own performance by a fantastic four piece mariachi band that even let us choose the kind of song we wanted to hear. Even after the excitement of that Mexican serenading, our dinner continued to reach new heights courtesy of the drunk table next door to us who were lucky (and smashed) enough to bag themselves TWO traditional compositions that gave the heart, and my meal, a rollercoaster ride from a calm and relaxing love song to an energetic and skilful fiesta. It was as we were handing over ever last bit of cash we possessed to the fantastic band that I concluded the meal couldn’t possibly get any better, but then out of nowhere, a.k.a the kitchen, came a barman with a performance of his own, using alcohol and fire, my two favourite things. As it happened, this artwork was actually done for me, as I had ordered a Mexican coffee, which of course had tequila in it, but instead of merely handing me a nicely made coffee that he had prepared earlier, he produced five minutes of skill and precision by pouring flaming alcohol from one jug to another, and doing this made times without any mishaps or burnt down buildings, making that liqueur coffee taste even better.

Surprisingly, the night actually didn’t end there, despite our extremely over-aged stamina, as El had got us three a triple date with some American girls that were nearby on holiday, using an ‘undisclosed’ method of communicating with strangers. Therefore, after a long period of ‘umming’ and ‘arring’, during which time we had walked back and forth down the hotel road a fair few times in an attempt to psyche ourselves up for the long walk ahead, we decided to sacrifice a drinker and drive to the beach where our future wives lay in waiting. The directions took us to a dark and dead beach way off the beaten track, a place that just felt like the location for a robbery or kidnapping, and certainly not a place for a good bit of flirting. We sat and waited for further instructions, preparing for the first in our little Nissan. Suddenly we heard someone approaching, ‘Was it Cartel?’ , ‘Was it the United States federal government intercepting our vehicle before we could carry out the huge drug deal of millions of pounds worth of cocaine?’ I thought to myself, and just as the body came to the window, I prayed for the first time since primary school assemblies that it was neither of the above and was just a petty thief that wanted the shitty truck. However, my mind and pants were soon out at ease, as Benj opened the window to a lovely young girl that just wanted to meet some Englishmen. As it happened, the so called ‘triple’ date was actually a classic Mexican tailgate party, with a bunch of lads, a huge truck, a fuck load of beer, and numerous joints dotted around the place. They did have a table though, which surprised us all in terms of their preparation and ingenuity towards the party life. It was fun night nonetheless, mainly spent with Malika, a Canadian/Russian that loved football, Vladimir Putin and cigarettes, meaning me and her slightly clashed over two of the three categories, but we soon got passed the Russian politics and Russian fags, and the four of us entertained ourselves with the sea, salsa dancing, and beer, whilst the Mexicans prayed on the other Americans. It was interesting night that’s for sure, one that really gave us an insight into the life of the young locals and their addiction to Tacate light beer.

And that was all the week had to say for itself, apart from obviously saying Bon Voyage to Loan the next day, and then 6 hours or so of errands the following day, leaving Los Tres Amigos feeling very positive and refreshed after a really nice week of ‘Mexicaning’ (not a word but it should be). It has made it difficult to pinpoint a shout out for the week though, so I’m going to have to award it to a previous winner, Mrs Lian Hayes, who once again has blended into our travels and made them a whole lot better, leaving us with yet another horrendously difficult task of thanking her enough, but I’m sure we’ll think of something. Who ever said travelling should be done without parents ey?

Our second Mexican week – Day 127 -133 – (6th-12th)

Week two in our own little match made in heaven has flown over our heads as stupidly as the first, possibly even topping the infamous great sleeping week of 2016, which packed seven days of bed, baths and beyond into what felt like no more than 12 hours of non stop fun. However, this time round, we did a whole lot more adventuring, socialising and exploration, and we even managed to do a bit of physically strenuous sporting activity, which I found very strange in a country I strongly believe was put on this earth to function purely as a chill zone, possibly specifically for me and my fellow wise chillers. Nevertheless, Los Tres Amigos have certainly been back at their intrepid best, and wreaking the usual havoc as we go.

The first few days of the trip was spent on an impromptu trip to the east side of the Baja California cape, and when I say impromptu, I mean we decided to set off on the wilderness adventure a matter of hours before we were packed and ready to set off. This was thanks to the brilliant influence of a certain Mr Alec Quevedo, who was determined to lead us into the realms of the Mexican surfer life, and boy was he doing a good job. Our mode of transport for one was so far beyond cool I couldn’t help but look at my life and wonder what the hell was going wrong, but there was no time to feel sorry for ourselves with the strict surf time limit we had set ourselves, so we made quick work of packing the ‘beast’ (a HUGE pimped out V8 ford truck with an equally as huge camper plonked on the back) fired up the monster of an engine, and cruised off into the distance with Alec at the helm of the cruise liner.

The journey couldn’t have started any better, with the tank pulling over for some insane quick pre-road trip tacos that were like a pic-n-mix of ingredients and condonments, and so we resumed chugging along the highway in the highest of spirits. However, to Alec’s surprise, but not really ours as we’re quite used to things going wrong and everything being extremely frustrating and annoying, something went pretty wrong, which we became fairly aware of pretty much as soon as one of the tires completely exploded, causing the whole multiple tonne truck to violently shake and vibrate like a big vehicle really shouldn’t, and me to wake up in a state of bewilderment as to why I had just figuratively wet myself. This caused quite a long delay whilst Alec tried to replace the wheel with a spare that didn’t fit and another that was so much smaller than the other three that it managed to remind me of me and the rest of my old rowing team, so El spent the time eagerly watching, I paced up and down the road praying the next truck coming wasn’t being driven by a drunk that might charge straight into us, and Benj enjoyed his time searching for the remains of the battered tyre. We also had to make a detour to get one of the spare tyres fixed and onto the truck, but soon we were back on track, meaning the next mission could begin, which entailed experiencing and surviving the very North American extreme shopping style. This involved navigating around the maze of things we didn’t need, and searching out the stuff we did we great difficulty and precision, and after mastering the low key supermarkets of Chile, this came as quite a shock to the system, but we did well, and we were soon back on the road, stocked up with the essentials to a surf trip, including beers and a few less important things.

As we plunged into the cactus filled Mexican desert, losing signal as we went, we began too feel more and more isolated and trapped in the wilderness, something I think we have all missed so much since the days of Los Baguales and the lone wolf Lucho, and after a hour or so spent trundling along the coastal dirt track, we were parked up on the beach of Nine Palms, with only a handful of other likeminded Americans near us, creating the most perfect of settings for our first taste of a Mexican/American style adventure.

The second day of our east cape expedition was a long and glorious one, starting bright and early in a beautiful morning of sunshine and waves, and after a regrettable night spent regretting that I didn’t bring a fucking pillow! I was soon pass the disappointment and resulting severe fatigue, and by ten o’clock we were all marching down the beach and towards more impending doom at the hands of a board and an infinite amount of waves. To our extremely pleasant surprise, the water was significantly warming than up near Todos Santos, and to add to my alarming self-confidence, it was practically a gentle cruise out into the depths of the water where, according to the large bunch of surfers that had collected, was where we should wait to catch the scary waves. I waited for a while, occasionally trying to paddle like a maniac to try and catch a wave, but I mostly tried to avoid the crashing waves in order to save myself from the dreaded washing machine. I took a light smashing, Benj probably did too, and I’m not sure about El, but soon we had had enough, and one by one we crawled back to the beach and withdrew ourselves from the water in a manner so horrically similar to three cripples. As it turned out, El had suffered the most from our first outing, as he had been unlucky enough to stand on a sea urchin, empailing his foot as he did so. This retired El for the afternoon whilst we all had ago at removing the splinters, and this took up most of the day whilst the tide was out.

The highlight of my day, despite being a slight disaster, was my little attempt at a session of fishing, which classically was a case of third time lucky. My first try at flinging out the line ended pretty badly, not only because my little fishy on the end of the string failed to reach the water, but also due to the fact I was soon returning back to camp to seek some advice on how to undo the horrific chaos of line I had somehow managed to muster up. Benj and his professional knotting skills soon had me back on the shore though, and I finally had the lure into the water waiting for those hungry fishies. It only took the time for four of five waves smashing into me until my second inevetable crisis emerged, and this time it was my ‘fish’ that had decided to swim away into the great ocean, meaning not only had I lost one of Alec’s lures, I had also officially caught minus 1 fish. I wandered back to base with my head in my hands, but I’m sometimes not one to give up, so I headed back out for one last fling of the line, and to the worlds surprise I completely blew the odds out of the water, meaning I could stride proudly back to the beast with my head held high, boasting a fully equipped fishing rod still in my hand. No fish of course, but I would call that a successful fishing trip.

The afternoon wasn’t the most spectacular of times, with a lot of time wasting necessary to get us through, but after some painful sunbathing, shocking football skills, solo mate session, a few beers, and one large trench, we were ready to hit the waves once more, with Alec leading the line to show us youths how its done. I didn’t last particular long though, and after I had failed at fishing once more by getting the line caught time after time after time (yes, three times) we were all back at the truck in time for a Spanish/Mexican dinner, and a palapa fire display.

The last day of the most credible camping one can partake in was mainly spent making our way back to civilisation, but there was time for one last surf session before we left, which I managed to completely waste by unwittingly sitting way to far out from the beach in the comfort of no waves, but after I strayed back into the danger zone and just about managed to catch a few waves, we went back to camp and packed up. This meant all that was left to do was enjoy the journey back with no punctures and stock up on cheap goods from the gigantic stores in town. It was a long road back, but we made it bag to the comfort of our beds and some tacos in four solid pieces, ending the adventure on a high.
Only a few precious hours passed by before we embarked on our next adventure, as the next day played host to what was supposed to be a relaxing day bobbing up and down on the calm waters of the Pacific Ocean whilst enjoying some easy fishing in the sunshine. I probably don’t even need to tell you that this wasn’t how the days activity panned out. With Benj sensibly deciding he was still to fatigued to tackle the huge breaking waves that we were stood nervoulsy watching, me and El psyched ourselves up and charged into the water like two action men fuelled by some lethal adrenaline and a desire to avoid being crushed by Mother Nature. Surpsingly we made it out extremely wet but still in the boat, and so we set off on a fishing tour of the nearby cliff edges and coves. We ultimately failed in the latest instalment of our continued mission to catch some fish, but just surviving the ordeal of being pushed around and soaked by waves that completely buried us in blue was an achievement in itself. However, we still had to negirtiate the most difuclt part of sea kayaking in these parts, which is getting back to shore with no or very little salty water in ones eyes and mouth, and a kayak that hasn’t snapped in half. As we approached the beach slowly, meticulously planning our escape and praying to the sea gods for just a fraction of mercy, we watched one of the local fishing boats make the manoeuvre look like child’s play, but of course they had a motor to do the hard work for them, but we had to survive on Eliot as the engine and my little arms acting as a temporary burst of nitrous. Nevertheless, we chose our time after an absolutely monster of a wave, which if we had tried to take, I would probably telling this story in a slightly different way, but luckily we waited it out and set off as fast as we could before a wave, riding it like surfers as we went, causing a temporary buzz of extreme enjoyment, soon to be demolished by the next wave which decided to break right on top of us as I leap out of the boat too early to try and pull us in. As I desperate tried to grow a few inches so I could stand up, dragging the boat back as I did so, El saved the day and managed to get to shore and pull the boat and me to safety, meriting a standing ovation from the entertained Mexican crowds.

The day didn’t end there though, as our evening was filled by watching around 20 baby turtles being released into the sea by a charity run by a boy no older than 12, whilst several eager tourists watched on and asked the poor lad some horrificly difficult questions. Despite the painfully touristy environment, watching those little animals desperately trying to crawl to the safety of the water, but being wiped out by waves in a similar way to be when I get sent sprawling time and time again, was a fantastic experience of something only a handful of english people have probably ever seen (it was all Americans).

The last few days of the week were a little more hazy than the first, but I know for certain they were a very fun and youthful few days, to put it politely. The antics started on the 11th, when we were invited to a minor shindig and BBQ at one of Alec’s friends houses who perfectly had two young stepdaughters of a similar age, and a travelling house guest from Spain who was pretty much just a cooler version of me. The food was incredible, and not just because we have become accustomed to eating our ‘make-shift’ (shit) cooking, it was genuinely the best BBQ I have ever been lucky enough to consume, with organic meats cooked in homemade marinades to absolute perfection, and whole onions smoked until even I liked them. The food was only just bettered by the large array of Tequila on offer, but after a few drinking games, including a new one brought to the table by Aron (Alec’s friend) that involved cutting open a can of beer and firing it all down your throat, we were all pretty out of it, and went to bed feeling slightly worse for wear. Of course, the morning after was ten times worse, emphasised by the days activity we had planned with our new friends that meant we had to walk around the art galleries of Todos Santos and trying to look interested and alive as we did so. The first few were fairly enjoyable, but after walking to a gallery that was really not within walking distance, and meandering through an abstract gallery with paintings on show called ‘the gold tree of life 2’, and ‘the twisted juniper under a full moon’, wehad all had enough of being mature for one day, and took some beers up to a fantastic yoga platform that looked out onto the whole of the town and its surrounding beaches, just in time for sunset. After a horrific Chile eating competition, followed by a cucumber eating competition and a crying competition, we were soon back on the sandy beaches, a location that is just perfect to go and chill out in, drinking some cold ones with friends, and watching the waves crash on by under the moonlight. It certainly beats the traditional British culture of heading to the nearest kids park to socialise in, and finished the week off in some seriously mellow style.

There’s a few contenders for shoutout for last week, and no matter how hard I try, I just can’t chose between a few, so they can all have it. First up is Alec’s beast, which I cam honestly say would have to be THE coolest vehicle one can have all over the world, maybe barring a space ship or a Tardis, and it is so worthy of the name that it just demands respect from anyone that sees it. I feel quite lucky to have been part of an adventuring squad with that thing. Secondly, Aron and his family have to get some recognition for their perfect hospitality, perfect levels of alcohol, and perfect amount of perfect food, as for all of us to say that BBQ tops any others we’ve had, and we’ve had a lot, is some feat, and to be honest, I would even pout it up there with Panchi’s assado all those months ago which successfully changed my outlook on food forever. And lastly, I want to show my respect for the beer of Mexico, which has been absolutely essential throughout this week, and fairplay, for that price in Britain, you would leave the supermarket with a single can of Sainsbury’s one percent lager, and yet the drink here is just spectacular, meaning we can buy all the bottles we want without feeling guilty and without burning a great big hole in our wallets, helping to already create some fantastic memories of this place. Respect to them all.

Introductory to Mexico 🇲🇽 Day 120 -126 (30th March-5th April)

The first week of our two month Mexican habitation has gone like the clappers, being filled with a glorious amount of nothing, and a bit of surfing, eating and sleeping in between. I could happily describe to you in detail quite how nice it’s been to finally relax in some proper sunshine, with properly priced beer and sea water at the proper temperature, but that could probably be quite tedious by the end of the first day, so instead I’ve reached deep into my rusty toolbox of writing, and thought of a decent idea that might just be more exciting than a step by step recount of every minute spent under the sun and every inch of the subsequent burns I have received. The result of my intended genius is the idea of gifting you readers with a little introduction to Mexico, or at least the Mexico that we’ve been lucky enough to fall in, and hopefully give you an insight into the extraordinary and undocumented life of a Mexican, by which of course I mean three british tourists hiding out from the real world in this little slice of heaven.

The first department of Mexican life that needs to be boasted about is our accomadation, which has been quite unbelievably amazing. For the first few days of the week, due to Alec’s (Eliots dad) hotel being too full, and actually due to our shocking organisational and communications skills, we were living in a holiday house known as the ‘huevos’ which strangely translates to the small oval shaped things that pop out of chickens. However, as we could just about make out the shape of the building in the dark of our first night, we quickly understood why the three oval shaped parts of the house were labelled as looking like eggs. Upon first crashing though the doors of the pre-glassed house we knew coul hear the crashing waves that were obviously not far from the patio of our cottage, but upon making up to the sound of said waves, and walking out towards the lit up infinity pool looking like nothing short of a pile of fatigued potatoes, I discovered just how perfect the location of the huevos was in relation to the incredible Pacific Ocean and the sun that was beaming down on it. This made barbecuing outside around the glass fire pit whilst watching the glorious sun go down extra special, and it may not have had a kitchen, and it may have been part of the nature around us, but the huevos was an incredible place to settle in to Mexican life. However, Alec’s hotel quickly blew the eggs far, far away, as his Mecian style paradise, created with the natural palapa roof tops, and the coconut trees, cacti and palm trees, is nothing short of heaven. Of course, no paradise would be complete with hammocks, a swinging chair, and numerous resident animals, including a horse eating dog and a family of iguanas. It’s only been a week, and I’ve already spent so much time beside the pool and under the sun that i’ve transformed myself into a glistening sun cream covered lobster, and I’m not about to stop. I kid you not, this place is literally perfect.

A huge part of the Mexican life, that we sort of already knew before coming here but are now completely satisfied that the rumours are true after only the first day, is food. As you can imagine, for Los Tres Amigos, this suited us down to the ground, and thankfully the majority of the Mexican diet consists of amazing food that is abosultely dirt cheap. Ever since Alec shared his vast knowledge and insight into the good and the bad of the Todos Santos cuisine during a little tour of the little town, we’ve been quickly working our way around the hotspots, mainly judging each restaurant on the quality and price of their tacos, and whether or not they have wifi. In fact, we are now so obsessed with the unbelievable Mexican food, we now judge everything we buy on how many tacos we could get for that same price. It’s a tough comparison to beat, especially when us three teenagers really cant be fucked to kick dinner and no that just a short drive away is the fantastic restaurant called Los Pablanos where we can bring our own dirt cheap beers, watch some baseball (it’s always baseball) and enjoy some cheap tacos after being entertained by the chefs unique full body chopping style. But this begs the question, what if one would just like a good old game of ‘food poisoning or no food poisoning’? Well, that would be easy, one would simply have to wander down the road, pick up some tamales, which are essentially an incredible creation of dough or masa, steamed in corn leaves, for less than the cost of anything at the pound shop, and then return home after eating one or two or three and sit by the toilet in eagerness to find out whether you’ve hit the jackpot. Luckily for our stomachs, we’ve survived the delicious ordeal, but even if we had ended up exploding at both ends, I know I personally would have marched straight back down to the lady and her little tamale stand, and ordered her to give me a few more. Seriously, the food is actually perfect.

Although the highlight of the first week, for me anyway, has been the regular activity of doing absolutely nothing for hours on end, as three young beings, we have been naturally required to find some sort of entertainment to fill the time in between each session of skin-sizzling sun-bathing. The most common activity of choice has been the compulsory sport of surfing, which even for me as complete amateur and notoriously bad boardsman, has been really good fun. I find myself quite confused as to how I can sit here telling you that I have enjoyed my time getting demolished by huge waves that love to just partially drown me and and fill my body with salt water, but there’s something very strangely addictive about the pain a surfer feels in order to catch the ultimate wave. Fun isnt just limited to drowning here though, and we’ve began stockpiling a long list of shit to do, including kayaking, snorkelling and cliff jumping, and we’ve also heard about a game unique to Todos Santos, which Alec has told us involves frisbying cheap ham from the side of the road and aiming for a dog that lives on top of one of the locals houses. This is a common practice for dogs in the area apparently, however this lucky son of a bitch lives the ultimate life thanks to Alec and his increasingly entertaining friends. I think we’re going to stick to chilling out for now though. Honestly, I already know this place is going to be fucking fun.

The last part of our Mexican dream has been pretty crucial in order to allow us to make the most of the last three elements of life here, and that would be transport. It seems no matter where you go in the world, a vehicle is almost always abosultely crucial, but also manages to add that extra little something to a trip that you just can’t replace. This time around, we have been bestowed a shitty little two wheel drive Nissan, with a tape deck, roll up windows, and a unique locking system. Some would see this as a pointless truck that should be four wheel drive, that is undrivable without an AUX cable, annoying because one has to use actual effort to put the windows down in the common event of overheating, and completely barbaric due to its insistence that every door has to be opened separately. However, after racking up the miles during this first week, mainly between Alec’s house and the deathly surf beach, as well as on many missions to get food, we’ve typically become extremely attached to the little runner. This is mainly down to the incredible and only tape in the vehicle, courtesy of Jimmy Buffet and his class country songs including ‘cheeseburger in paradise’ and my personal favourite ‘get drunk and screw’ that we have now listened too well over 100 times. We have also fell in love with the lax Mexican traffic laws, which allow one (usually me) or several (most of the areas population) to relax in the back of the truck whilst the wind smacks into ones face and ruins ones hair, as well as providing one with a hell of an authentically fun road trip. As with pretty much every vehicle we’ve been lucky enough to drive, break and live in, the Nissan has defied expectations and played such a huge part in our adventures, making the roads of Mexico so much more fun, and a little bit more dangerous. Believe me, transport is amazing out here.

And that’s pretty much our first week of Mexican life put into some words, and I think that’s done it justice, as long as you now understand that this little slice of Mexico is high on the list of incredible places we’ve been lucky enough to stray upon, but is fantastically different to anywhere I’ve ever been. Baja California, shoutout to you, you little beauty.

Plane day – day 119 (29th March)

‌What to say about yesterday, day 119 of our epic journey through the Americas, and the first day of the next huge chapter of our travels. In some ways, it was quite an interesting day, as thanks to our unique method of travelling, we had guaranteed ourselves at least 24 hours either on a plane, or in an airport, which some might see as a very extraordinary, and yes, ‘interesting’, and to those people I say ‘amen’. However, I’m guessing to most people our predicament was just plain idiotic, and that a whole day spent travelling around a shockingly small area, with a handful of airports in between, promises to muster up abosultely nothing of anything that could possible be described as ‘interesting’. Thankfully for me, I still have the ability to switch back to my 12 year old self, and that lad happens to love planes, airports, and anything to do with planes and airports, more than 18 year old me still does. Unfortunately, this doesn’t change the fact that the next few paragraphs really aren’t going to be very fascinating or entertaining, or ‘interesting’ whatsoever, but lets face it, I can’t please everyone.

As I mentioned in my last blog, whilst crushing my eyes out, we made it onto our first of four flights pretty swiftly and easily, and although we were a little confused by the checkout lady that told us we would need to collect our bags and check them in again at Mexico City, we just assumed she was extremely uneducated and had just got it wrong, meaning we could enjoy our free alcoholic beverages, and the pasta, in complete peace and harmony and then attempt to get some essential nap time that could prove vital in our fight for survival over the next horrific amount of hours. However, upon awakening to the painful beams of light that some fucker had turned on, our heart beats were soon gifted some unwanted energy by the news that anyone planning on catching a connecting flight MUST go through the painful experience of waiting for ones bag, checking in said bag, and then must battle their way through security again. We quickly brainstormed but failed to come up with anyway around this, and so with our next flight a matter of hours away, we scuttled our way through the hideously and typically long corridors of the airport, and then attempted to figure out how the Mexican system worked. It was never going to be easy.

As you can imagine, the queues were classically long and moved at a drunk snails pace, but with a good, or bad, hour to spare, we had made it through security and its infamous traffic light system (i’ll talk about that a bit more later) and into the grateful arms of the Mexico City duty free. This called for the first of many lunches throughout the day, and after deciding to play it safe and go with a ham sandwich instead of a Mexican creation, we were chilling out once more with the luxury of wifi. Cue the first of many Snapchats from yours truly. The time went slow, but eventually we worked out that if we considered staying in the airport for another 12 hours and catching our last flight straight to Baja California, and then went on a long and painful search of someone with the power to let us do such a thing, we could pass the minutes like they were seconds, and eventually we were on our next flight, which was to LA.

I won’t bore you with he details, but the flight went as follows: we took off, I enjoyed the incredible views of Mexico City from my carefully arranged window seat, we all enjoyed a nice fruit salad, we passed over some fairly unenjoyable Mexican desert, I enjoyed the fantastic views of the gigantic city of LA, and then we landed. Once again, we had to go through immigration and do the while process once more, but this time we had to face the devil that is the USA’s death squad, or immigration officers as most people would know them. I faired alright, as after getting split up from El, who finally got see some advantage of having the moral burden of an American passport, and then Benj, who got sent into a different queue to me as he had a big fat X on his ‘magic’ sheet of paper, I breased through the system with only a minor accident in the pants department after I had been quickly interregoted by the scariest looking officer of the three that were working for the devil at the time. I then met El and retrieved our bags before Benj had even got through, so we joined cleverly joined the queue in expectation that our third amigo would be joining us very soon. As you can probably guess, he didnt, and as the minutes until our next flight ticked by, and we got further down the queue towards freedom, there was still no sign of him. We were eventually forced to leave the line and go find him, but El was quickly chucked back down the stairs by some officers, leaving us with the difficult decision of whether to ditch our friend and save ourselves, or wait for him and possibly be stuck in the airport forever. Admirably, we waited for him, and just as I had crept up the stairs to the immigration desks without getting caught, I clocked Benj just about to get through, and as it happened, he had just been caught up in a very lions and tedious queue, and hadn’t been arrested and cavity searched by Lucifer himself.

The next mission of this particular section of the journey, which left us with extreme hatred and anger for the LAX airport, involved a very difficult search for the check in desks that had been so awfully signposted that they may as well have been on the other side of the world, and we probably would have still found them easier. A sense of panic soon slowly started to arise, but after a swift run and some professional trolley driving and people dodging, we found the desks and were then ready to face the might of the airport security once again. This really finished me off, and even dented my love for airports quite severely, as the horrible shouting of instructions by the officers, and the violation of my feets rights, was just not a nice experience. Furthermore, as a youth, I’ve come to expect and accept abuse from my seniors, but in front of me was a pregnant lady, with a baby in her arms and another child beside her, and yet the security still felt inclined to make her life hell and talk to her like she was a inferior human being. At one point, I’m pretty sure they asked her to put her baby though the bag scanner. I know terrorism is on the up, and security is absolutely essential, but they just took the piss, and I hate people that take the piss. I’m going to remember you, middle aged man with a fat belly and a soon to be bald head.

Nevertheless, we were soon through security and duty free, and after a few hours we were on the next flight back to Mexico City. This journey was arguably one of the best, as we were in the special seats that meant we had infinite leg room and two windows, although it did give us extra responsibility in the event that the plane crashed and we somehow survived. The journey went fairy quickly though, with most of the time spent filling in yet more immigration forms, and watching a few more episodes of the Big Bang Theory. We were therefore feeling good, but our confidence was quickly demolished in the Mexico airport, as after yet another slow process of going through the same immigration we had trundled through a matter of hours ago, we were then held up by the dreaded baggage lights. This was because Benj had tried to beat the system and strategically waited until someone got the red light which meant that they had to be searched, thinking that it surely wouldn’t be red twice. He was wrong, and had to unpack his expertly packed bag whilst me and El enjoyed watching him unpack his expertly packed bag. This didn’t take too long though, and we were then back in the same spot we had sat in during our last tedious wait, eating yet another lunch, this time from Subway.

Despite our impressive success in getting this far with no massive problems, the inevetible drama soon came, in the form of a lost immigration form that is essential when traveling anywhere other than into the dangerous city of the Mexican capital, but surprisingly it actually wasn’t me. El had left it on a book shelf whilst browsing the latest in Mexican literature, but accidentally let it fall down the back of the shelf, rendering it lost forever. Whilst he went off in a slight panic to get a new one, me and Benj went through the standard procedure of deciding whether to leave him behind in aid of our own travels in the case he didnt make it back in time, but thankfully we didnt have to make the horrible decision to abandon him, as he came joyfully trotting back with a good half hour to spare. This meant we got on our last flight with no problems, and after possibly the best nap I have had/will ever have, we made it San Jose and pretty much our final destination. We went through security and immigration one last time, we found Eliots dad, Alec, we flopped into his car, and we drove to our beds for the night. We arrived to our incredible temporary accomadation in a few sleepy hours, and Ill talk about the ‘huevos’ more in my next blog, but the important thing to know was that we had made it in all three pieces to our beds, and had finally reached Baja California.

The whole process of travelling had took pretty much 30 hours, spread out over four flights, three countries and four time zones. We had gone though customs and security eight times, had about five different lunches, I had posted nearly ten snapchats, and we had altogether got no more than five hours sleep. And yet, against all odds, we had made it to Baja California and the next chapter of Los Tres Amigos’ big adventure. And for that reason, I proudly present the three of us with the shoutout for this day, although we only just beat AeroMexico, as fairplay, their planes are pretty nice and make British airways look pretty shit. Take note, Mr Ownerofbritishairways.

Santiago 2.0 – Day 117 and 118 (27th+28th of March)

The time has come at last people, the time that means Los Tres Amigos are finally leaving Chile, and time that I have been dreading, as it means I have to come up with a fitting goodbye to the country that has become our second home over the last four months, and sum up the whole time in a short enough paragraph so that I don’t breakdown mid way through the sentence ‘I fucking love Chile’ and end the blog with ‘I fuck’. However, I still have the last two days to tell you about, so sit back and be prepared to enjoy/tolerate my last blog in Chile, Santiago 2.0.

Unlike any other morning on our four month old trip, we awoke into the surroundings of a bus, and a very comfortable one at that, which meant that when the time came to vacate the vehicle, at seven o’clock in the morning in a dark Santiago, it was a really personal struggle to bring myself to leave the warm haven of my blanket covered chair. Annoyingly, it wasn’t an option to stay where I was, so we retrieved our bags and found a seat in the depressing darkness of the bus station. The next stop of the morning was the hostel, and after ‘umming’ and ‘arring’ for quite some time, we decided to give our backs and legs a rest, and give the Santiago taxi scene another attempt. This took some serious bollocks, g9ven what happened the last time, and we really couldnt afford to be losing another 100 quid this time round, but we sensibly asked for the price before stepping into the drivers hovel, and kept a close eye on the meter, which it turned out wasn’t even on. Nevertheless, we made it to the hostel a good seven hours before check in time, and so wandered into the bright pink building in the hope they would take pity on us and let us free ourselves from the slavery bestowed upon us by our bags. The first worker we saw was extremely ruined and completely ignored my ‘hola’ so as we approached the desk I in particular was very unsure on the place, but funnily enough it just so happened that the Chilean I had said hello to was actually a manakin, and the worker at the front desk was nice enough, and spoke enough english, to let us put our rucksacks in storage and chill out in the lounge until we could go to our room. This gave us a brilliant opportunity for some much needed napping time, so we each grabbed a sofa, plugged in our devices and passed out, all within seconds of entering the room.

Sadly for me and my weary eyes, Benj and El recovered far quicker than me, and as the rule of the group is two against one, we all headed out of the hostel to find the days entertainment. Although it kind of felt like new city, the warm and dirty air felt very recognisable, and we were quickly back into the rhythm of the big city, easily palming off the strange people covered in flour that felt they deserved money, and fairly successfully navigating our way through the hectic maze of beeping cars and confusing traffic lights. We even managed to find the big covered market this time round, but the strong smell of not so fresh fish, and the constant harassing from restaurant staff that assured us they could offer the best food in the whole of Chile, didn’t quite live up to the hype, so we found a bench to catch some much needed smoggy air, and began brainstorming in order to fulfill our need for entertinament. At first this didn’t go too well, but as I looked to the side in a motion full of fatigue and exhaustion, I noticed the big, tall building that towered over all the others like me and an army of ants. It was pretty far away, but this couldn’t stop us, and so we trekked off into the distance to attempt to climb the skyscraper.

It was a pretty awful walk, I won’t lie, and in joggers, a jumper and a jacket wrapped around my chest, with no drink to my name of any energy left in the tank, I felt very proud of myself and was ready to reward myself with a nice long sit down. But no, instead, the guys felt the need to go up and down the escalators in the shopping mall that we had discovered was in the building, and look in almost all of the shops, whilst knowing none of us had a spare bean to our name. It was just damn right rude. I therefore started to initiate my classic operation moan, and soon I had their ultimate weakness, food, on my side in the search from supremacy and a seat. Of course, the whole act of eating took a whole lot more energy than I had anticapated for, but after a full two circles of the food court, we settled for the most expensive restaurant of the lot, but that chair was worth every penny.

After El had polished off his fish, and me and Benj had finished my chips, we went about trying to find the route to the top of the skyscraper, which was easier said than done, so much so that we were already hungry again and had to buy a Cinnabon, but after a while we managed to stumble upon the entrance, and were soon shooting up the high speed elevator with our ears popping and our our legs wobbling. The opening of the lift brought us out onto the viewing deck, complete with binoculars and free wifi, not to mention an abosultely incredible view of Santiago. Despite the smogs best efforts, we could just about make out the huge mountains of the Andes that surrounded the city, and from up there we looked down on the huge hill that we climbed on our previous visit to Santiago, meaning we could laugh at our previous selves in mockery that they had to walk to get good views, we just had to walk, shop, eat, shop, eat and stand to get an even better sight of the huge sprawled out city.

After seeing enough of the views, and making the most of the reasonable selection of chairs on offer, we headed back to our hostel, via the huge park that ran down the side of the main road. It was here that the reminiscing of past times in Chile really began, as the numerous people making out on the grass, and the rest of the Chileans sat around smoking spliffs, really reminded us of pretty much the whole of Chile, as this practice happened in Natales, Punta Arenas, Pucon, Puerto Varas, and probably most of the other big towns in the country. It was trip down the memory cycling lane, but soon we were too tired to continue, and so saw no reason at all that told us we shouldn’t/couldn’t have a siesta in the busy park. It wasn’t the best sleep in the world, but it certainly did the job, and after waking up, realising we had all fallen asleep in the city that we used to think was the danger capital of the world, and the laughing that we just napped in the middle of the hectic town, we completed the last few kilometres of the journey, and finally got back to the hostel with abosultely nothing left of any of our muscles. This called for a beer.

The evening came with it’s own little adventure, and as per usual it involved food. As it was our last night in Chil, we all agreed we should treat ourselves to a nice meal out, but this type of decision always raises questions over where we should go, questions like ‘what type of restaurant?’ and ‘how far should we go/walk’, both of which had to answered last night. We started off at a cool fish restaurant that was themed as a submarine, and fairly they had done a cracking job making us feel extremely weirded out and confused as to what kind of establishment it was, but sadly this was too much for us to handle, and so we drafted up some new ideas with the help of trip advisor, but they all seemed to be too far away. It was only once a drunk hobo had waved a glass in front of El’s face whilst accusing him of speaking more spanish than he was letting on, that we decided on a Chilean meat restaurant, and stuck with it. In typical Chilean fashion though, it didn’t let us down, and provided us with a fitting last meal that marked the end of a string of brilliant, decent, and pretty poor meals out that we’ve had in this wonderful country, with a satisfyingly excellent one. It also marked the end of the day, as once we got back to our beds, there was no stopping us from shutting down and hibernation for the night.

Day two of our Santiago round two, and our last ever hours in Chile (until the next time we come), was a very different day to the usual format of our travelling routines, but a really nice one at that, and finished off our Chilean adventure in a serious amount of style.

The beginning of the end started off with one of the stranger showers of the trip, and my whole life in fact, as due to the very ‘chilled out’ vibes of the hostel, they had forced themselves to oblige to a similar style of washing, which involved showering behind half a door of sorts, only after you waited your turn in a room of confidently naked male travellers. Thankfully, due to our typically late start, and my typically long shower time, once I had finished there was no one left waiting to welcome me out of the cubicle and into the world of no clothes.

Once we had all recovered from our rather traumatic experience, we headed out into town once again, in hope that we would once again come up with some pure tourist genius, and find ourselves some entertainment for the day. The first port of call was the unexplored Bohemian area of town that we had intended to go and check out for a long time, so we began the long trek into the centre of town and then the long trek to the edge of the city where our destination lay. In my eyes, and if you value whatever relationship we have, then yours as well, this long journey desperately called out for a short cut, so I guided my fellow amigos using my trusty phone maps and no so trusty sense of direction. I was full of confidence at the beginning of my route, but I had forgotten the first rule of google maps, which is that it doesn’t tell the user if they are about to stray into the shady ends of a city, so we did just that. We could tell we weren’t where we were belonged as soon as the string smell of urine began to flow beautifully into our noses, and as we looked around to scan for possible escape routes, we quickly realised we were a whole new species of human to the locals in the street, and we were soon upping the pace to get to the haven that we believed to be the other side of the town. As it turned out, my short cut had indeed been a quicker version of the original route, and we were soon in the trendy area of the city that was covered in bars and restaurants that were just too hard to resist, so inevetiably we grabbed some lunch.

This time around, we made our decision on the location for our last ever fodder in Chile in a much more professional manner, picking out the best exterior advertising, and sticking to our guns like real men should, and boy did it pay off. The fantastic menu included an array of sharing platters, cheap combos, and fantastic deals on food that was made to look quite spectacular in the illustrated booklet, but it was the rocket beer that was on offer that completely stole the show. The drink that we split between the three of us came in a massive tube, complete with an ice pack in the middle and a little tap so that one could poor their own beer and truly feel like a real man. It was pretty cheap as well, which is always a good thing, because no one likes leaving a restaurant in a sate of severe depression and hatred towards life and the world around them, which was how we usually felt after receiving the bill from a restaurant in Patagonia.

It was only once our food had gone down, and we could stand up again, that we came up with the fantastic plan of going to the local zoo, which we assumed would be a fair amount of money, but probably just about worth it to see a few farm animals and maybe even an insect or two. I couldnt have been more glad to be wrong, even if my prediction that Donald Trump is going to begin his takeover of the world in a few years, mutating into a being that came only be likened to Hitler. Ok, maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point. For the equivalent of about two pounds, we got to see elephants, monkeys, penguins, snakes, bears, no pumas unfortunately as the whole cat section had been closed down, guanacos which were just as annoying as when they were destroying our fences, kangaroos, giraffes, wolves and even the back of a hippo. It was quite incredible, despite most of the animals looking scarily sad that they were stuck in this prison of smog, but at the end of the day, we’re all inmates in this polluted basin of death. With our tour of the zoo sadly coming to an end, all that was left to do in Santiago was get back to the hostel, pack our bags, and call a cab, which we managed to do in a surprising amount of calmness and expertise, but also extreme anger and frustration that we were leaving such an incredible country via four deathly flights in only a couple of days.

We arrived at the airport in an expected solemn state, but the fantastic price of the cab, which was five times cheaper than the evil taxi we got back in November for the return route, combined with the top quality entertainment from the Chile football game playing at the cafe with its shouting supporters, soothed my aching heart perfectly, and soon we were though customs and sat watching the game from the comfort of a cafe and it’s mediocre burgers. Our flight soon came around, and we were quickly boarded and settled into our comfy seats, with some food, a beer, a glass of wine, meaning all that was left to do in Chile was sit back, put on our complementary eye masks and headphones, and pass out.

I think I’m predictable enough that you know I’m going give Chile the shoutout for this particular blog, so I’m not going to try and do some big build up and reveal in attempt to shock the nation (anyone that is reading this) into a media frenzy. However, I am naturally obliged to try and convey my true emotions towards this incredible country and as best way that I can, but honestly, I don’t really know quite how to do it. How can I sum up a country that has provided us with such an unbelievable four months of action, adventure and exploration, friendship, family, and love, and pictures, videos and memories, all that I will remember for the rest of my life as the some of the best moments I will ever have. It’s impossible in my view, but I what I can tell you with complete certainty, is that you, yes I’m talking to you stranger that has accidentally stumbled upon my blog and now can’t help but read on, must come to Chile, and note the use of my modals of certainty, as you now have no choice but to come and experience this wonderful country. Adios Chile. Adios amigo.

Pucon- the adventure capital of Chile – Day 114 – 116 (24th-26th March)

The last three days have flashed passed Los Tres Amigos like Usain Bolt pumped up on adrenaline, so fast in fact that I can barely remember what we’ve done during the past 72 hours. However, although my memory does tend to a bit dodgy from time to time, I know for fact that in all honesty, we haven’t actually done that much. This is surprising, as not only do we expect a high level of adventuring and exploring from ourselves each and every day, but we have actually been staying in the dream town for both adventuring and exploring, in the insane settlement Pucon. From here, one can do kayaking, canyoning, sky diving, rafting, hiking, and the prized activity of the Volcan Villarica hike that takes involves whacking on a gas mask and hiking to the very top of an active volcano with lava bubbling in the crater, and yet we did none of this. We did have good reason though, as I can speak for all of us when I say we were all just completely wiped out form the last ten days of extreme travelling, and although we did intend to do the volcano hike, we were happy to spend three days monging out. This does mean I don’t have a great deal to write about, but each day fittingly seemed to have it’s own little short story that I think you might enjoy.

The first day was the busiest of the three, which is expected, as a lot of time and effort is consumed whenever three lads are required to travel anywhere, and it also tends to come with a significant amount of drama. Typically, we were up at the crack of dawn, shovelling down cereal like there’s was no tomorrow, and desperately squeezing in the stray garms that had somehow managed to hide themselves from our bags when we had originally tried to be prepared and pack the night before. I failed in this part of the morning, and so I concluded it was the right time to part ways with two items of clothing that would soon be rendered useless in the hot and sunny lands of Mexico. We were eventually fixed into our seats on the bus, and of course this meant only one thing for me, nap time, but in classic bus tradition, I was quickly engulfed in the most irritating of chaos, featuring the classic seat problems between the locals, which always seem to unfold in either the two seats in front of me, beside me, or behind me. As usual, this involved a lot of moment, and although I may sound like a grumpy old fart with an ancient grudge against fellow bus users, but I will always maintain my view that it is impossible to sleep when other humans around you are doing there thing, and this thing always seems to break through my personal space, and no one else’s, keeping me awake during the times that I would give up anything to be asleep. To add to my misery, and everyone else’s on the bus to be fair, there was a constant beeping noise that was repeating throughout the journey, and only paused for brief moments, and very sporadically. I could ignore it when listening to music, but every time I took out a headphone, the beeping appeared to start again, ticking over again and again, and eventually getting inside my head to the point that I couldn’t forget about it. The only remedy to this was to work out where it was coming from, and although I originally thought it might be coming form a device of mine, my high quality detective skills soon came in to play, and I quickly had the beeping pinned on a suspect, which turned out to be ther speedometer that the bus had installed, which for some unknown reason, was programmed to inform every passenger that the bus was exceeding 100 KPH every single time it did so. I was not a happy bunny.

The rest of the day was spent getting to know the town of Pucon and settling into our surroundings, the first of which was our hostel. The warm welcome from the hostel owner and her funny trousers set the trend for ther place, which was complete with a pool, rooms on a terrace with balconies, and showers that just refused to get warm. It was a very cool place. The town of Pucon itself lived up to our high expectations, as although we couldnt actually see the nearby volcano due to the shitty weather, the huge plaza de Armas with it’s million seats and huge Chilean flag made for a brilliant spectacle, despite the frightingly young age of kids smoking that we watched skip on by on their way home from primary school. This didn’t retract from the place though, as on our compulsory tour of the area, we found the artisanal market with the usual goods of key rings, clothes and bongs, some strange live music on the waterfront, and hundreds of restaurants that all offered the exact same food but at incredibly varying prices. Therefore, we just decided to cook our own food that evening, but that decision seriously came back to haunt us, and me in particular.

The first issue of the night was the absence, or so we thought, of supermarkets, which meant by the time we had scowered the shops for some dinner, we were left with nothing more than rice and some veg, and absolutely no motivation to get any other ingredients, or cook the ones we had. This called for some drastic motivation, so I braved the big city, and followed some directions to the nearest supermarket. Surprisingly it all went to plan, and although I accidentally ended up following an innocent civilian and scaring him so much he felt the need to run away, which was then followed by me running away from a hobo asking for money I honestly didn’t have, I returned home with the goods, which meant we could hopefully cook a meal worthy of the effort. However, this was of course easier said than done, as it always is, as that night we had managed to collide our dinner time with six or seven French girls that were also staying at the hostel. This caused a little competition in our group, which involved taking it turns to cook for the shortest amount of time possible in order to escape the packed kitchen and avoid any serious embarrassment in front of the shockingly attractive group of females. As you would except, I managed to lose said competition, and so I faced the punishment with a brave face, and battled through the cooking of the chorizos whilst the frenchies danced around me with their pots and pans. I can honestly say there is not worse experience possible for a man to face than when being imprisoned in a small room with multiple very attractive females, especially French girls, whilst desperately trying not to drop any bits of sausage out of a pan and embarrass yourself in the process, all whilst the girls in question are probably laughing at you in their incredible French language, and talking about how funny and stupid you look. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, it was not fun.

The next day was literally spent doing nothing but living, which included a few trips to town to retrieve food and alcohol, and not much else, but the entertainment of the day came from the evening, with the help from some drunk Chileans and a bottle of pisco. Due to my insistence on finishing a drink, I had stayed up a little later downstairs, slowly sipping away at my pisco and ginger ale that I really didn’t want, and praying the French girls didn’t arrive back and come and surround me with laughter. I was on the verge or retiring to bed when I one of the hostel owners friends, that’s a there for the BBQ, started talking to me about football, and thanks to the magic of the sport, I was soon being fed beers, lamb and the special local delicacy (wink wink), and being entertained by the various Chilean guests that had no idea who I was. It did get a little weird at times, mainly when one the gay friends of the owner started dancing in a very unorthodox way, and then followed this by jumping into the swimming pool, but I genuinely met some really nice people that spoke english, and once again the natives had so generously provided me with a night to remember.

As for the third day, the evening meal was really the only thing of note, as after a long search for the right venue, we settled on a quiet but cool looking restaurant that had a decent menu for a good price. We sat down, ordered our food, ate the complimentary sopaipilas, drunk the two beers that had come instead of three, and then sat and waited for our food whilst being entertained by the restaurants huge TV’s. It was only then that the waiter decided to break the news to us that the kitchen was almost completely broken, and that the only options we had was fish, and nothing else. This caused a few problems, as not only did we have to find a new place to eat, we had to do so, and order and eat and pay, all in an hour, as our night bus was due to leave very soon. Thankfully, the place opposite was on form, despite not having a valid alcohol license, but after a speedy jog back to the hostel to get our bags, during which our stomachs temporarily became washing machines, we made it to the bus on time and settled into our comfy seats for a casual ten hour bus journey through the spine of Chile.

It’s a difficult one for the winner of shoutout this time, as I have a few contenders on my mental shortlist. The very cool hostel and it’s lovely owner are certainly up there, as is Pucon itself, which I am defiantly going to return to for at least a week in order to complete every single activity available there. The plaza was also extraordinary, especially for place to people watch and let the world drift on by, but I think I’m going to give it to two people that I had a great time with at the Chilean BBQ. Not only did they love football, Onofre and the women that I can’t remember the name of but who I think was his girlfriend, had a great taste in music, including Queen and The Beatles, and insisted on gifting me beers, even when I began to insist that anymore would force me to vomit on every square centremeter of a two meter radius. That’s what I call true friends, and I they will never be forgotten. Respect.