The best bits of the Americas

In no particular order other than chronologically.

McSorley's Irish Bar

“...36 beers stagger us but not as much as the $90 bill...”
Our first night on our first day in our first country of many to come found us in this Irish bar whose history dates back well over a hundred years. Presidents, poets and paupers drank here and now so had we two peripatetic Englishmen. Conversation was struck up with locals on the timeless and ever novel subject of differing nationalities and backgrounds, a scene to be repeated again and again on this trip. We staggered home happy, drunk and with empty wallets, a scene to be repeated again and again on this trip.

Snorkeling in Belize

“...I felt as if part of the ocean.”
I must confess to an apprehension of the water borne of watching a particular film as a child, I believe the medical condition is known as 'Spielbergian scarring'. I didn't realise though that Mike's watery inhibitions put mine to shame. But he did it and he loved it and little did he know that it was to be the tip of the (defrosted) iceberg.

Scuba in Utila

“The best left turn I ever made.”
Though I hesitate to rank these experiences, if someone put a gun to my head (which surprisingly hasn't happened on this trip yet) I would say Utila is primus inter pares. The bubble of our brief existence there reflected in the bubbles floating up from our breathing apparatus. The joy of the unexpected, the unplanned, suffused the two weeks and we took away great friendships, description-defying sights and fond memories of the time we became divers.

White water rafting

“The raft bounced, yawed, pitched and....flipped.”
I generally make a basic, and flawed, assumption of instant aptitude at any activity (sporting or otherwise) that I am about to try for the first time. I also exhibit a reliable irritation when it turns out I am no good at said activity. On the downside I was no good at white water testing. On the upside I was so bad it didn't leave a spare second to indulge in annoyance, I was too busy trying not to drown.

Quad biking in Nicaragua

“...roads whose condition could only only have been worsened by the addition of landmines.”
It's not that I can't drive, it's simply that no country in the world legally recognises my ability to do so. Thankfully quad bikes come with no such restrictive licensing conditions putting one at liberty to climb on with minimal instruction and be endangering pedestrian lives within minutes. If only it were so easy with cars...

Horse riding in Colombia

“We were disappointed not to be supplied with Stetsons...”
Sweeping vistas at a canter and a bit of Inca shit thrown in for good measure, this was a delightful morning spent in the hills of western Colombia. If there is any theme about the best bits I have listed so far it's that most of them could, fortune being cruel, have resulted in serious injury or death. I'd have to say though that any part of this trip that didn't result in serious injury or death was a best bit for me!

The Journey to Macchu Picchu

“...it was scenery you could not tear your eyes away from.”
Alright it didn't have the physical endeavor of the Inca Trail but the bus journey over the Andes providing awe-inspiring scenery and a reverence for Mother Nature in her rugged glory.

Jungle trekking

“...an inner bellow to the jungle at the sheer bloody masculinity of it all.”
It was hard but it was real...ish. Alright we would have probably died if Pedro wasn't with us but we did our own walking, caught our own fish and sweated our own sweat. I loved every torturous minute of it. In retrospect.

Santiago

“...fueled by Heineken and Clos we rolled back the years...”
It wasn't big, it wasn't clever, our parents wouldn't have been vastly impressed but we had the craic in Santiago alright! We also did nothing for the reputation of the English and Irish abroad, of that I can be sure.


And what was lacking...

Cider
This drink seems to have entirely failed to penetrate beyond England, Ireland and Northern France. A minor tragedy.

Rugby
Okay the Argies have it but no other countries seem to appreciate the glory of this sport. As for trying to watch the Six Nations...

Curry
South America, it's better if you just stop trying in all honesty, my tastebuds may never forgive you.

Quilts
17 blankets vs 1 quilt. Embrace the duck-down will you?

Good sandwiches
See: Curry.

Beer with gas
Chile, Argentina, I'm looking at you.

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