It’s hard to believe, sat on a terrace overlooking Rio de Janeiro, that just under 6 months have elapsed since I was last here.
In many ways nothing has changed, in many ways everything has.
In June I found the weather hot and my hair and beard long and unmanageable. Now I scoff at my former self. Old Alistair had no comprehension what hot was, nor what long, irritable not to mention ridiculous looking facial hair was.
The city however is much the same, less friendly, less glamorous and less fun that you’d expect. But somehow I have changed, I see the pale skinned gringos just hitting the beach for the first time, the novice cooks who don’t understand that the ignition switch on hostel cookers NEVER works. And the tourists loosely holding their camera while engrossed in a map late at night. I look at then all with a degree of scorn, of knowing better but also thinking “you’ll learn”.
6 months ago I’d sit by the beach drinking a beer wondering what it will be like, whether it was the right thing to do, if I’m cut out for it, and what will be the highlights.
Now I sip the same beer on the same beach and say to myself; “how can I ever have questioned whether this was the right thing to do? Why did I ever contemplate turning back?”. And the highlight, frankly there are too many to choose just one!
The experiences that I have had whilst traveling will last a lifetime, the memories of the good times I can look back on with a smile, and the bad times look back on having made it to the other side.
I will go back home with a new future to look forward to and a new appreciation of all the little things we take for granted; our safety, free healthcare, good public transport, tap water you can drink. Toilets you can flush paper down!
But I’ll also miss South America, the stunning scenery, the vastness, the diversity, the history and the culture.
It’s been an amazing trip and it’s sad to leave but good to go home.
Plus I still don’t like Rio!
The Amazon Rainforest was the absolute highlight of Brazil. I can honestly say I never thought I’d see it.
Peru had so many amazing sights, but for sheer ‘take your breath away’, it had to be Machu Pichhu.
Bolivia was a surprise for me, there was huge diversity of scenery and the people were lovely. Salar de Uyuni was a photographer’s dream.
Chile had far too much to even lost. Torres del Paine National Park was beautiful and spectacular
For me, the whole trip was going to be about Patagonia. I had always wanted to go there and it is one if the few places that was even better than expectations.
Although it was only for a few days break across the Rio Plate from Buenos Aires, Colonia and Montevideo were great cities and the Uruguayans were exceptionally friendly and fun.