Well, the big day finally arrived!
After far too many farewells, I’m now on my 12 month journey which currently looks like this:
- February – March 2016: perfecting my spanish at La Mariposa Escuela de Español in La Concha in Nicaragua.
- April – June 2016: Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala
- July 2016: Cuba
- August – November 2016 : Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile (of course 🙂 )
- November/December 2016: Kenya
- December/January 2017: Ethiopia
Here it is pictorially with the current basic stops plotted:
View Full Size Travel Map at Travellerspoint
Yes, there are some crazy flights in there to keep the cost of the airfare down – a million thank yous to Craig Neville at Flight Centre in Geelong – you are a legend! And Taryn for recommending him 🙂 Will update as I go along and it will be interesting to see how much it changes, or whether I simply fill in the details.
Qantas helpfully decided to cancel my direct flight to Dallas and so I ended up having to fly Sydney – LAX – Dallas-Fortworth. According to Qantas my plane was still in London with a missing engine, however, I suspect that they had 2 half-full planes and decided to combine to the two flights.
Synopsis of movies from SYD-LAX flight:
- “The Dressmaker” – really, really good! Highly recommended
- “Everest” – might have lost something on the tiny screen – was OK
- “Sicario” – meh
Surprisingly there was no wait at immigration at LAX, which turned out to be a good thing given the massive queue I joined waiting to get through the TSA checkpoint over at the American Airlines terminal for the flight to Dallas. Why do those TSA lines move so slowly?
Still – made it eventually, got to the Marriott Courtyard Hotel and was relieved to see all 4 parcels from Amazon waiting for me. I had ordered a bunch of camera accessories given they were about 1/4 the price in the US than in Australia (yes, even with the terrible exchange rate). Hotel was nice, and close to the airport – but that meant it was a long way from anything useful. There was only coffee in the room and when I went down to reception to ask for tea … no joy. Good thing I packed some rooibos! Then I asked about plain, no-added-sugar yogurt (they had other types of yoghurt there in a little mini-mart) given I’d also bought some muesli with me … again no joy. So I asked for a small carton of milk that I could see, and they felt so sorry for me about the tea and the yoghurt that they gave it to me for free! Had to make my tea via the coffee pot in the room but thankfully the taste of coffee wasn’t too strong 🙂
Next day at Dallas-Fortworth airport again, I believe I temporarily fell into a parallel universe when there was absolutely no other passengers at the TSA checkpoint. Seriously! Good thing too because I had a) forgotten to take my shoes off and b) didn’t actually know I had to take my jacket (actually just a long-sleeved zip up top) off. What is it with the shoe thing?
Wandering Dallas-Fortworth and very, very impressed to come across the yoga studio – what an unbelievably cool idea!
Also had the best view in the airport out to the planes, so entertained myself for about 1/2 hour following along with the yoga video that is on continuous play. Every airport should do this!
Flight to Nicaragua was uneventful, though was disappointed that the movie “Sherlock Holmes” (from a few years ago) was not as good as I’d hoped. Changed my remaining Australian Dollars at the airport (I didn’t want to know the exchange rate to know how badly I was being ripped off – but I know it was bad) and was met by Josue – one of the drivers from La Mariposa Escuela de Español. The school is located in San Juan de la Concepcion which is about a 45 minute drive from the capital of Managua. We chatted all the way to the school and I was shown to my room in the Eco-hotel — the same room I stayed in 2 years ago when I was here for a month 🙂
The rooms really are lovely at the hotel – very simple but with a private bathroom that normally has hot (solar) water. Very much a luxury in this part of the world.
Was very pleased to have finally arrived and felt immediately like was back in a place I really wanted to be 🙂 It is a very special place this one!