Havana, Cuba (Day 352)

IMG_20140815_141940I’m writing this blog post while still in Havana, Cuba because I’m very bored and hot. The heat here has been crippling the entire time with short reprieves each evening when the A/C in my room is turned on, which was advertised being from 10PM-10AM but is closer to 11PM-9AM because the hostel owners wanna save a few centevos. One of several little money taking techniques my hostel has been pulling on its guests. I haven’t had internet the entire time except for a few minutes given to me by another guest as they were leaving Cuba. It costs anywhere from $4-10/hour for internet here and I am not interested in paying that much.

IMG_20140820_164936I’ve grown quite tired of being asked if I want to buy cigars or take a taxi or just being scammed and lied to in order to “win” a few CUC as a Cuban “friend” told me. CUC is the more expensive of the 2 overlapping currency present in Cuba, the other being CUP. Its an odd way to do currencies and opens the door to another scamming method for the unscrupulous populous of Havana. A week in Havana during the summer is more than enough and I will be happy to be back in Canada in less than 2 days.

IMG_20140816_082632I have had fun though as I was here for the last weekend of Carnival which was 3 evenings, 2 of which I got seat tickets and had a great time. The food that CUP gets you is quite cheap and even the meals you buy with CUC are usually decent quality for average prices. Buses here are cheaper then anywhere I have ever been at 1 CUP which is only $0.04 CAD. Although buses were free in Perth so I’m not counting that. I’ve also done a lot of walking which is the main thing to do in Havana. I’ve seen many old cars from the mid 50′s to early 60′s and taken a taxi ride in a few of them for 1 CUC ($1 CAD). Also had some nice Cuban rum and fake cigars for relatively cheap by Canadian standards.

IMG_20140819_144240As I write this I have exactly 2 weeks left till I land back in Saskatoon which means I’m also on week 50 of my trip. I have CS hosts setup for all of Montreal and Ottawa including an invite to a CS’ers birthday party on the 31st. Hopefully everything is still good to go with that because I have been out of contact with my Gmail, Facebook & CouchSurfing since arriving in Cuba on the 14th.

One last update that could change but as of right now feels like it will happen is that I have decided to move back to Santiago, Chile to be with the same girl that came to visit me in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She is very sweet and has invited me to live with her and learn Spanish from her. I hope to find a job there as well and I think it will be an interesting next step in my life. I am very much looking forward to it. I won’t leave Canada though until my debt is paid off and I have some money in my pocket so it will likely happen after the new year in early 2015. Wish me luck. :-D

Sao Paulo, Brazil (Day 342)

Maca & MeMy last few days in Rio were uneventful as I prepared to leave for Sao Paulo. It was a nice short bus trip and the city has been very nice and easy to navigate. It doesn’t have much of a center so I have been going all over the city this past 10 days. I stayed at a really chill hostel on my first night with some cool people. Then spent the next night in the international airport waiting for my amazing friend to arrive so we could have a week here in the city. She rented us an AirBnB apartment in the East side and it was a perfect 8 days with her. Every day was great and she is such an awesome person. I hope to see her again soon but for now I need to make my way back to Canada and pay off some of this debt that has been adding up ever since leaving San Francisco.

Mortadela CompletoDuring our week together we had nice picnics in parks, went to an art museum, walked around many parts of the city and checked out a few nice markets. Also we spent a lot of time hanging out around our apartment, ordering pizza and just enjoying each others company. She has since gone back to Santiago, Chile and I am in a new hostel for my last 3 days here before flying to Havana, Cuba. My flight is actually on the 14th around 3-4 AM so I will spend the night of the 13th at the airport because it’s just much easier. I plan to go to a CS meeting tomorrow that has 60+ people signed up so hopefully at least 15 show up and it will be a fun time. I may not have much internet in Cuba because it’s very lacking there so my next post may be from Montreal which is my next stop after Cuba. I have CouchSurfers setup for my week in Montreal and hope to have the same in Ottawa before I arrive. Goodbye for now. :-)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Day 329)

Me @ Cristo RedentorFlorianopolis was a fun time, ran into some Canadians and had some good BBQ. I can’t understand a word of Portuguese but I can read a bit of it because it has some similarities to Spanish. Been in Rio for 5 days now and in my 2nd hostel after deciding to mix it up a bit here. Brazil is pretty cool but I am still getting over a cold so that has been my main focus the last couple days. Went to a football match with some Brits that was a lot of fun at a very large arena. It rained the last 3 days so that has also put a damper on my outings. On my first few hours here I decided to see Christ the Redeemer because I couldn’t check-in at my hostel for another 4 hours. It was nice to see but smaller then I expected and very busy. The better part of that trip was the view of Rio you get up there.

View of the gameI am finally getting some laundry done after waiting almost 3 weeks to do it which is pretty long for me in South America, but the opportunities have been slim until now. I have booked my flights all the way back to Saskatoon now which will be on September 3rd which will be exactly 1 year from the day I left. I will be in Sao Paulo in 2 days for 2 weeks before flying to Havana for 8 days. Then I fly to Montreal for 8 days and bus to Ottawa for 4 days before flying back home. I am sure I will have a few more posts before I make it home so I will keep everyone posted on anything new. Ciao for now.

Florianopolis, Brazil (Day 321)

Me @ Gran Torre SantiagoWell its been a few weeks since my last post and they have been very enjoyable weeks indeed. After Santiago I took a bus to Buenos Aires in Argentina where I CouchSurfered with a cool father & son host. The father had a busy week but I got to do lots of fun things with his son Federico, including wall climbing at Technopolis and seeing the final match of the World Cup between Argentina and Germany downtown. It ended in a bit of rioting sadly when Argentina lost and I left a little early. I also hung out with other CS’ers a few times and their friends which was a lot of fun, including playing some CoD and going to a club at 4 AM.

Free stuff from TecnopolisNow when I started writing this post I was on my 2nd day in Montevideo, but my host at the time pointed out to me that international buses to Brazil left only on a few days a week and so I decided that day to pack up and keep moving toward Brazil. I didn’t get a lot of time in Uruguay but my day in Montevideo was active and I got to see quite a bit of it. Now I am writing this post on a bus with WiFi which I think is the first time I’ve done a travel post while on a bus. While in Buenos Aires I got my Brazil visa which was actually quite easy to get, it cost me around $115 CAD and took only 1 day for the consulate to process. I had followed a few blog posts online and prepared many documents but all they really wanted was my bank statement and an address in Argentina which I made up.

Me at the aftermath of the finalI will be in Brazil for 3 weeks before flying to Havana, Cuba on August 14th. I already bought the tickets a few days ago, including the ticket out of Havana 8 days later for Montreal. That’s right, I’m coming back home! I should be back in September at some point. I’m going to spend some time in Montreal and Ottawa and may even stop in Winnipeg if time works out. I will have been gone over 365 days by the time I get back which will mean another 1 year of travel milestone which is always fun to get to. I booked a hostel here in Florianopolis for 2 days before I will bus to Rio where I may CouchSurf for a week or hostel or a mix, not sure yet. I plan to see Christ the Redeemer within the first few days of arriving. Then I will bus to Sao Paulo for 2 weeks where I will be spending a week with a lovely girl I met in Santiago who actually decided to fly to Brazil and get a hotel to spend more time with me, which is very flattering and we will have a great week. Thanks for reading, more posts to come.