It’s hard to believe that we have been gone from Canada for almost 6 weeks - this is easily the longest that either of us have ever been away from home! While we have each had some bouts of homesickness (mine being a little more severe!), we are still as excited as ever to be doing this. It also helps that our family and friends have not forgotten about us entirely and we get to speak often with many of you (including the odd video conference with our beloved cat Oscar)!
While we had originally planned to stay in Bolivia for three months in total, we are both itching to see something new. Every time that we meet fellow travelers and hear new tales of where they have been, we become anxious to see more ourselves. So, in three weeks, we plan to have everything stuffed into our backpacks and be on our way again.
We are wrapping up our Spanish classes this week, a little earlier then planned. It has gotten to the point where we are both overwhelmed with the language, and we have decided to take a break and let it all “sink in”. Our priority now is to practice, practice, practice what we know and then pick up more classes later in our travels if we feel it is necessary. Our professor has said that we have learned all the “basics” that we need.
This will also free up some time for us to actually relax and enjoy more sights in Sucre as well as focus on the volunteer work we are committed to for the rest of our stay. I will be scaling back on the swimming somewhat (more help has arrived and thus I am only needed a couple of afternoons a week), which is good because then I can also help Pete with his English classes.
So, now that we have entered the final days of our stay in Sucre, the big question is, where to next?? We have heard many tempting ideas from our friends here – everyone consistently raves about Columbia and Argentina. We need to consider the items on our “must do list”, and the weather this time of year in each part of the continent. A lot to think about!
This decision was too hard to make on our own. Thus, we went to a higher power.
Yes folks. We consulted The Magic 8 Ball (via iPod application).
We went through every country. For Peru, 8 Ball told us it was “very doubtful”. For Brazil, the response was “reply hazy, try again later.” Others were equally pessimistic. And then we came to Chile. Our 8 Ball friend gave us this answer:
So, Chile it is!!
We have picked up a Lonely Planet book on Chile and have started mapping our route. We will enter the country in the north-ish, after spending a few days traveling through one of the must-see spots in Bolivia (more about that later!). We will continue to head north, spending some time in the numerous national parks and various small towns along the way, but heading specifically to the city of Arica, which is about 30 kms below the Peruvian border. We are in need of some beach time, and Arica has many to choose from! It is also one of the only places in Chile where the coastal water is warm enough to swim in, thus we hope to spend a couple of weeks there learning to surf! From there we will either bus or fly down to Santiago and spend some time exploring the city and area (and perhaps over to Easter Island?) before escaping to Patagonia and visiting the southern-most tip of the continent.
That is our rough plan so far, which is always subject to change at our whim - or the whim of our good friend, 8 Ball.