Archive for November, 2007

Aftermath

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

Well, I’m back. After travelling around fifteen thousand miles in 31 days, using 9 planes, 5 boats, 4 trains, countless cabs and a whole bunch of buses my carbon footprint is almost as big as the hole Vegas left in my bank balance.

I’ve only glanced at my statement (and quickly glanced away) but it looks like I spent as much money in three days in Vegas as I did in the four weeks leading up to it. And even though luck wasn’t with me I only lost a fraction of that money gambling, the rest seemed just to evaporate as part of the cost of eating, drinking and just being in the place. I’m glad the exchange rate is favourable.

Sadly I don’t have much else to say about Vegas, I went to wind down and spend a few days on my own and it served it’s purpose admirably. It’d have been nice to at least break even, but the city is built on people like me losing a few dollars over a weekend. I’ll go again, but I think it’d be better to have a few more people so there’s a group of you to do stuff with if (when) the gambling funds run out.

I’ll hopefully take time to write about the rest of the holiday when I get a second, but I’m sure I’m still due a few posts about Russia from last year so it may take a while.

Looking back I can say that it was fun, a bit more hectic than I expected but worth doing and with some notable highlights. I realise that I had no idea what the trip would really be like. Now that I’ve done it — and had the chance to talk to people who’ve been on dozens of other trips — I’ve got a much better idea and I’ll be more informed if I’m picking another trip like that. But I’ve already decided not to do something similar next year, it’s too much time and money in one go, better to spread out my time off for a change. I have a faint idea of what to do instead, hopefully it’ll should take shape over the next few weeks.

Having said that I’ve already caught myself looking at a couple of tours on the web this morning, and one of the other guys on the tour pointed me to a site that searches multiple tour companies, so maybe I’ll change my mind.

However, it’s time for a few days of relaxation then I’m going to plunge forward and get the kitchen and bathroom finished before the end of the year.

[AutoPost] Las Vegas

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

At the end of my last long holiday I ended up in Hong Kong, it was a brilliant three days. More by luck than judgement I’d found the perfect place to end a long trip.

Today should, hopefully, find me having the same great time just in a different city, Las Vegas. It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Vegas and I’ve wanted to return since the moment I left.

My plan for Vegas? Gambling, food, booze, maybe some shopping in some order or other. I also have a ticket for Penn and Teller at the Rio which should be fun but I’m mostly here to try and get in some decent sized poker tournaments and see if I can’t make some money.

And in two days, I start the long journey home, almost twenty-four hours of travelling, good excuse to stay up all night …

[AutoPost] Piste

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

So today finds me in Piste mainly because it’s one of the closest places to Chichen Itza.

Some of the descriptions of Chichen Itza describe “busloads of tourists” visiting there each day so I’m not sure what the place will be like. But it’s considered one of the seven new wonders of the world (although that whole site is a bit dubious) and it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site so I thought it would be silly not to go see it when I’m in the area.

[AutoPost] Caye Caulker

Sunday, November 18th, 2007

I’ve never considered myself to be a ‘sit on the beach holiday’ person but, in truth, I’ve never tried it.

So today is my chance as it should, all being well, find me on the Caribbean island of Caye Caulker in Belize. Hopefully I’m going to sit on the beach, with a book and drink something suitably tropical. Of course it might decide to rain all the time I’m here, in which case I’ll just have to find a bar to sit in instead. And considering it’s possible to walk round the island in an hour or two I should be able to thoroughly explore and still spend most of the day relaxing.

I might even overcome my general dislike of water and go snorkeling.

More thoughts …

Friday, November 16th, 2007

It’s occurred to me that my previous postings did focus somewhat on the staying-up-and-drinking aspects of this holiday. Perhaps this gives a bad impression.

The holiday, so far, has been great. I must admit that I didn’t quite expect the 8 am departures why it’s done that way. They manage to pack a lot of stuff into the time there is. We’re also getting some excellent local guides to show us around places, which is the sort of thing you’d not be able to sort out on your own.

The early nights/early mornings are still a bit strange to get used to but I may as well make the most of it. This last week is an optional extension and is supposed to be a bit more laid back so I should get a chance to relax a bit more. We’ve also lost almost half the group that aren’t doing the extension which is a bit strange, it also makes me one of the youngest people here — although I was always the youngest guy on the tour. Previously we’d all been kinda getting used to each other, but now with the smaller group it almost feels like a new tour.

It’s a bit to hot for me to sit here and think of anything else to write, a few days of rest, then a few more things to see and then off to Vegas.

[AutoPost] Palenque

Monday, November 12th, 2007

Ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted to visit rainforests, jungles, ancient buildings covered with green, exotic noises all that business.

This should be my first taste of it, I’m in Chiapas near Palenque, it’s not the Amazon but does look like it’ll have some of what I want. I did a bit of searching and just look at what I can expect, this:

Templo de la Cruz

or this

Cascadas
(from magnusvk‘s flickr Mexico Set.).

’nuff said.

We’ll see if my pictures compare when I get back.

Further thoughts

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

Well, I´ve been at least partially proved wrong. We were out drinking until at least 12:30 last night — and that´s with a 8:30am start. I think I´ve about sussed the tour now, the early starts make a lot of sense (that way we beat the traffic and the other tourists) it just cramps the nightlife a bit. But I´ve never let an early start stop me before — I am on holiday after all.

Still I´ve seen some really stunning stuff during the days and there are certainly a few others who are up for a bit of a drink of an evening. For the moment it´s all good.

It´s the long drive into the start of the jungle areas tomorrow, this is the part I´ve been looking forward to. Enough of the sand, desert and cactus, I want plants, insects and stuff.

So, I was probably a bit hasty in my initial jumping to conclusions. I doubt I´ll get another post up for a while, probably not until next week when we hit Belize and half the tour group go a seperate way. Sadly that split will take a few of the more adventurous people away from the tour. But I think the rest of the group might have loosened up by then.

Quick Update …

Monday, November 5th, 2007

Only a few minutes to spare but time for a quick update. The wedding was excellent, everyone had a great time and I enjoyed myself throughly. Hopefully more about that when I get back or when I have more time.

And so now I’ve joined my tour group, already it’s clear that this will be no VodkaTrain. Things started with breakfast at 7AM (which I skipped in my Tequila induced slumber). It may all be a bit more organised and respectable than I’m used to.

It seems a nice enough group, only one American — I expected more, but it does skew towards the older end of the spectrum. There are a handful of younger poeple, but just a handful so it may be everyone early to bed and early to rise. I’m told that that’s what the VodkaTrainers thought I’d be like at first, so we will have to see. I wanted to post this now so that I can be proved wrong or right later, I intend to enjoy myself anyway, even if I get frowned upon.

There are a fair few solo travellers, all older, comparing which tours they’d been on and which coutries they’d visited. I can’t decide it that’s a bad thing or not …

At the moment it kinda puts me off doing more of these tours because it makes me wonder if that’s what I’ll be like if I do. Just early musings, we’ll see how it goes, journey of discovery, etc, etc.

[AutoPost] Mexico City

Sunday, November 4th, 2007

Normally I preface these posts with words to the effect of “everything going well I should be in …” but this time I can say that barring complete disaster I’ll be in Mexico City. Why? Because this trip has been arranged around Mexico City so that I can attend a wedding on the 3rd and I’ve allowed a fair amount of wiggle room if something goes wrong.

The wedding should be … interesting … considering I speak very little Spanish and I’m not sure who else is making the journey from the UK. But I was invited, and I was very flattered to be invited, so I’m going. By the now the wedding will be over, hopefully I’ll have recovered and I’ll have joined a tour of Mexico and nearby countries with will take up the next few weeks.

Aside from that I’m not planning the rest of my free time in Mexico City in advance, I’ve got a guidebook and I’m sure I’ll find something to fill me time with.