Worst of Traveling: Airports

Flying over the Amazon Rainforest

Over the past 50 days, I have flown on so many different airlines and have been to so many different airports. And somehow, EVERY single one of them has been late, delayed, or changed.

Having visited and spent (too much) time at so many of these, I thought it’d be fun to share some first impressions…and also doubles somewhat as a travel journal. [To qualify for the list, I had to at least spend 3 hours at the airport…so short layovers don’t count.]

Airports/airlines visited (in order…italized means it was a repeat):

If you’re keeping track that is 14 different airports and 7 different South American airlines.

It was interesting to see the South American airline industry in action. One thing I realized with all my travels…free, easily accessible wifi is a must. It  should be standard because it is so critical, especially since coordinating cell phones is hard/impossible (with roaming and carriers), things are always changing at the airport (flights, weather, cancellations,etc..), and between smartphones, netbooks, and laptops, wifi is the most common denominator to communicate.

Hopefully in my next South American excursion, my airport/airline reviews will be far better.

Home

Back to the States after traveling for 50 days. Back to snow, school, and the English language. I have so much to share, as it was toooo difficult to keep the blog update while I traveled. (Hopefully) In the coming weeks I plan to share as much as I can before I forget.

Sights of the Amazon Rainforest

Before I forget my experience in the Amazon Rainforest, I wanted to share some thoughts and some photos of new friends. As a general theme: “Everything is bigger in the Amazon” is an understatement.

Harpy Eagle (hard to see, but this was the highest tree in the area…and this is a beast for an animal, it apparently can pick up and eat monkeys!)

Tarantula (yes it made that hole you see in the picture)

Poison Dart Frogs (these were all over the lodge…cute but deadly)

Piranahs (click link for separate post)

Caimans (aka Alligators)

Monkeys (pictured is a school of monkeys running around the trees)

Other Travelers and Rainforest Guides (the biggest animals of them all =)

Beautiful Horizon: Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Belo Horizonte, the capital city of the Brazilian state Minas Gerais, and where I will be calling home for 3 weeks.

Being surrounded by mountains, hills, and plenty of parks, it’s a beautiful place. The people are great, and there is so much good food here (and in Brazil as a whole). There’s a great saying here: Já que Minas não tem mar eu vou para o bar! [Translation: Since Minas has no sea, instead I will go to the bar!]

The G-Lab company that I will be working with is Samba Tech, a fast growing tech startup. The employees are smart, motivated, and such good/fun people. So far it’s been a joy, and time is flying by way too fast here.

Look forward to sharing my adventures in Brazil later on.

The Most Interesting People in the World

When travelling, something always goes wrong, there’s always those funny moments that you remember forever, beautiful sights, amazing food, but I gotta say the most interesting part of travel is always the people.

Not only the locals at each location, but also the other travelers that you meet. And usually very nice, welcoming, and helpful.

I thought traveling for 50 days was a pretty big amount, but I met a couple traveling for 5 months (see their blog here), and the next day I met a person traveling for 5 years! (his blog here).

Pretty awesome…I wonder if I’ll ever have the guts (or the funds) to ever do something like that.

Super Far South…Punta Arenas, Chile


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Today I’m in Punta Arenas, one of the gateways of the Patagonias. I will actually be taking a bus into Puerto Natales first, then heading into the Patagonias to hike the famous “W” trail.

This is the furthest south I’ve ever been, and maybe for a long time. Because it’s summer here and so far south, even at 11pm you can see the sun. It was so bright…pretty crazy. Below is a picture I took flying over the Patagonias at 10pm.

Man vs Beast: Doug vs Piranhas

This may seem like a nice peaceful lake in the Amazon Rainforest, but in fact, it is FILLED with piranhas. FILLED. It’s crazy.

We threw some bread into the lake (all over the lake), and it was instantly devoured by the piranhas. See video below.

In my idiocy, I decided to put my finger into the lake to see what happened (see resulting video):

=). Luckily, nothing. My guide assured us that Piranhas only bite if there is blood, and I wanted to test the theory…

Eco-Tourism: a Journey into the Center of the Amazon Rainforest

Like a scene from the Heart of Darkness, 3 hours by boat upstream the Rio Tambopata from Hell (literally the town is called Inferno), traveling through a rainstorm, we arrived in our beautiful lodge. Our itinerary was set by our guides from Rainforest Expeditions (highly recommended).

Being off-season, we had a nice small group and a chance to explore the Amazon jungle. We got to see tons of insects (ants the size of your finger, grasshoppers the size of hands), spiders (poisonous ones, and huge tarantulas that dig holes in the ground), caymans (alligators), tropical birds (macaws), a harpy (massive eagle), and even a family of monkeys.

Our lodge was beautiful. Being in the middle of the rainforest, you could hear monkeys, all sorts of birds, see lizards and frogs all about. And being in the middle of the rainforest, we also had very limited electricity…only from 5pm to 9pm. Just enough to charge those camera batteries.

Everyday our group would wake up and take various excursions into the Amazon, morning, and in night to see the amazing variety of critters and vegetation that only the Amazon can provide. This was Eco-Tourism at its best; a way to learn more about the Amazon, become educated on the threats to it (logging, animal poaching, etc…) and have fun all at the same time. I would highly recommend this (to most people =).

South America Adventure thus far…by the Numbers

Some interesting numbers so far on the trip

Days in the Amazon Rainforest: 9

Days without internet, electricity or hot water: 9

Total Days in Peru: 14

Days in South America: 18

Days left in South America: 32

Weather in Boston: 25F

Weather in Argentina: 86F

Number of times I ate steak/ice cream > 2 x days in Argentina

Words I know in Spanish: 40 (mostly food)

Days without a haircut: 57

Years without shaving: 27 + years

An Engineer MBA Exploring Sports, Technology, and Life