Random Travel Thoughts

Discussion in 'Salser@s Anonymous' started by bailar y tocar, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. bailar y tocar

    bailar y tocar Clave Commander

    I had been trying to convince a friend to join me at the French Quarter Festival (FQF) in New Orleans (NOLA) in April. 20 stages, 8 hours per day, 3+1/2 days = 500 bands wasn't enough.

    She said she didn't have enough money and was saving up her miles for a European trip.

    Then it all came together.
    A mutual friend who used to live here and moved back to Australia decided she wanted to visit Paris in February. My friend went online and found a flight for just 60,000 miles RT to Paris. Our mutual Australian friend had already booked the hotel room and she has a large extended family that lives in Paris. Both of them will be making the rounds for lunch, dinner and welcome parties with the extended family all week long (its a Lebanese tradition, they party all the time when visitors come).

    So now my friend had a virtually free trip to Paris in February and so she booked her flight and hotel for FQF in NOLA in April.
     
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  2. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Sonero' Lavoe

    Nice. I hope I can start making timba trips again in 2012.
     
  3. bailar y tocar

    bailar y tocar Clave Commander

    Packing for travel:
    3 pairs of dance shoes (outdoor, club floor and studio)
    Extra shirts, lightweight, cotton only
    Extra pants, lightweight, cotton only
     
  4. bailar y tocar

    bailar y tocar Clave Commander

    Taxis in Cali Colombia are metered. The meters work and are accurate. If a taxidriver wants to cheat they would have to drive a detour which can become obvious once you know your way around and let them know you do by listing some of the main streets on the way as you give them your destination.
     
  5. azana

    azana Super Moderator Staff Member

    Backpack for Africa - hiking gear and boots, whitewater rafting gear and shoes, check, tent, check AND I got a pair of dancing shoes in there just in case!
     
  6. bailar y tocar

    bailar y tocar Clave Commander

    Its funny how even Caleños tell Extranjeros how dangerous Cali is and that one should not wander beyond the barrios of El Peñon, San Antonio, San Fernando, Granada and Versalles. These barrios would fit well in any large Spanish city, except that the people are friendlier, the women are prettier, the food is cheaper and the music is much much better aka its salsa.

    Its not a big deal in daytime to travel between the Feria venues which are in different parts of town and not on the list above. Its even ok to take the buses which are air-conditioned and drive very fast in dedicated busways whereas most taxis are not air-conditioned and one is stuck in hideous traffic jams. Riding a taxi is like going on a roller coaster. Its amazing that they don´t have multiple traffic deaths of motorcyclists on every street corner. There must be some sort of evolutionary selection going on that removes the inattentive and incompetent motorcyclists.

    The only downside of taking buses is that they don´t publish the route map at the bus stops so one has to rely on geographic senses and mine are not as good as GPS. I was only off by about 8-10 blocks on my first attempt, which ammounted to a $2 taxi ride to cover the distance. One could attempt to use GPS but internet roaming is hideously expensive, its about $20/MB so taxi ride is better in that case.
     
  7. azana

    azana Super Moderator Staff Member

    Suggestions welcome...

    Have a week to spare in Windhoek at the end of the month...don't want to spend any more time here and will have seen most of Namibia. Am thinking of either bus-ing to Lusaka or trying to get to Angola. There doesn't seem to be any public transport heading to Luanda and the border isn't well set up for travellers, but it would be fun to drop in to Angola. Or...I've already backpacked Zambia and Zimbabwe, but never made it to Lusaka, and the easiest way to get there would be to bus via Vic Falls. Although I've been to Vic Falls, whitewater rafting the Zambezi is awesome; I'd totally do it again. Not as good as the Misahualli in Ecuador, and I don't know that the main trips on offer pass Class V rapids, but...still damn awesome. Hmmmm, don't know what to do! Don't want to get stuck like I did in Botswana with buses suddenly not running and having to wait hours in the desert to hitch a ride, and risk missing flight to Jo'Burg, but can't sit somewhere for a week, need adventure!

    what to do, what to do...
     
  8. olamalam

    olamalam El Sabroso de Conguero

    DC is freezing cold!
     
  9. Sabrosura

    Sabrosura El Sabroso de Conguero

    It is freezing in NYC as well today. It's supposed to get a bit warmer in the next few days though, just in time for your return.
     
  10. olamalam

    olamalam El Sabroso de Conguero

    Hopefully it'll get warmer, yes. tomorrow i'm leaving DC 8.30 in the morning.
     
  11. olamalam

    olamalam El Sabroso de Conguero

    btw this trip is going really fun. I learned that my host is lesbian and I knew another couchsurfer from DC who is lesbian too. I organised a dinner to introduce them to each other. wish me luck :)
     
  12. olamalam

    olamalam El Sabroso de Conguero

    it seems it's working :banana:
     
  13. bailar y tocar

    bailar y tocar Clave Commander

    A 2-stop flight itinerary must be avoided even with a significant cost.

    4:15am (Eastern time zone): wake up in hotel in Cali Colombia.
    8:15-11:50am fly from Cali to Miami.
    Flight from Miami to Chicago is delayed by 1 hour which means I miss my connecting flight from Chicago to Minneapolis and have a 5 hour layover in Chicago.
    1am (Central time zone = -1): go to bed 22 hours later.
     
  14. azana

    azana Super Moderator Staff Member

    This is why you leave plenty of time when you travel in Africa...Haven't been able to find any transport going south to the Fish River Canyon. I've been stuck in Windhoek for a week looking around. No point hitchhiking - traffic is too sparse :( So I'm heading north with tent for ten days, and when I get back I'll try to get south again. I'll take the local combi van bus to Keetmanshoop or Luderitz and try to pick up transport. So I won't be able to raft Vic Falls again :( Rafting the Orange River in Namibia = Class II rapids. Omg, can't control my excitement.... (being sarcastic here if you're not a rafter!) Oh no, will have to sacifice a 27 hr African bus ride to Zambia. Damn. It was a "Luxury Coach", too. (i.e. the windows are still intact...)
     
  15. bailar y tocar

    bailar y tocar Clave Commander

    Game On

    So I noticed that women in Cali Colombia flirt with guys when the guy shows up with another woman. Otherwise, no eye contact whatsoever even while dancing together. So...I talked a (female) friend into traveling to Cali Colombia with me for La Feria de Cali 2012 as the decoy. She dances salsa too so I can demonstrate my skillz in the clubs. This is plan A.
     
  16. DJ Ara

    DJ Ara Clave Commander

    No plan B necessary, my friend.;)
     
  17. bailar y tocar

    bailar y tocar Clave Commander

    I am changing my European travel dates from June 20-July 4 to June 27-July 9. According to timberamayor there are 3-4 music festivals around July 5-8 and the chance of seeing a Cuban band live is high.

    P.S. I am mapping out travel plans through February 2013!!!!!
     
  18. azana

    azana Super Moderator Staff Member

    I'll be in Tokyo in July - want to come via Japan?

    Oh no, you forget when you look at maps in my part of the world that something called the Atlantic Ocean exists...

    February 2013...ever heard of Sydney Latin Festival? We're not getting enough of you coming!

    I'm planning Rwanda next summer and thought I'd then overland west to the coast and bus south. Once Angola gets its bus routes sorted you could easily hop buses all the way from West Africa to Cape Town if you wanted. However, just wouldn't have the time :( ... You can fly Kigali-Malabo direct actually. That means I'd miss out on CAR, Cameroon, Congo...and why does EG's capital have to be on an island? Such a hassle. I thought it would be fun visiting an African country where I speak the language, but did you know that Equatorial Guinea has just about the worst human rights record in the entire world? I wonder how they got the African soccer tournament...? Or I could visit part of West Africa, but do you know how much it costs to fly to Accra (starting points are pretty much limited to Jo'Burg/Addis/Dubai)? It's insane...

    I also have an invitation to Medellin at that time I'm trying desperately to resist...
     
  19. azana

    azana Super Moderator Staff Member

    This always happens. You start reading about a place and discover so much you want to see, neighboring countries you could get to...okay, must put Central Africa on hold until I have a bigger block of time (or maybe I should just quit my new job - got my allotment today and it is horrible! i.e. mostly Year 10 English; will spend the entire year grading essays...I move from Japan as I'm sick of teaching all English and want to teach content classes, and, just get more English! :headwall: whatever...)

    So I'm re-entertaining thoughts of West Africa. It'll just depend on if a reasonable airfare can be had, which they really only can be from Paris, which doesn't help much. I could start in Liberia, cross into Sierra Leone, hit Mali (via Guinea) and go on to Ougadougou (MUST go there! I wonder if there is a Timbuktu - Ougadougou bus?) thus through Burkina Faso to Ghana. Then to Cape Town for salsa. Now THIS sounds like a plan!! Can it be accomplished within a month? Hmmm...shorter if they move the Sydney Congress back to January, as I'd want to be back in time.
     
  20. bailar y tocar

    bailar y tocar Clave Commander

    Thats it, I am done with roomies at salsa congresses. They get sick, infect me and then I get sick.
     

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