Thursday, May 7, 2009

The conveyor belt of Isla del Sol

The island of the sun and the birth place of the Inca creation myth, where the eye´s of the puma can be seen in the sacred rock during summer solstice and where it is believed that the sun was born. It would appear that mysticism does not come for free.
  • Return trip to the island: 20Bs
  • Entry ticket for the museum (that I didn´t go in but still had to pay) and for the sacred rock: 5bs
  • Check point to make sure you had your ticket.
  • Tip for the non-english speaking guide who picked us up ambling around said sacred rock: 5bs
  • Entry to the middle part of the island, and to visit the village that we didn´t visit: 5bs
  • Checkpoint to make sure that you had your second ticket (and another 5bs for the poor girl we were with who had lost hers)
  • Ticket required to leave from the south side of the island: 5bs

I´m sure not all of that was in the small print when I signed up.


On the trail...

A few days ago I left La Paz heading for the clear blue allure of lake Titicaca. On the day I left I swung by one of the myriad of tour group operaters to pick up my free "I rode the world´s most dangerous road and survived!" t-shirt. I then went to the markets and bought a llama wool hoody (orange) and from another shop a few streets down some handwoven llama´s wool socks. I then got on a bus where everyone else there had probably needed an international flight to get there and sat for four hours taking pictures of the pretty scenery through the window.

I might go and get "gringo" tatooed to by forehead just in case there´s anyone left in any doubt.

Monday, April 27, 2009

36

I have just spent the last day and a half in bed either trying to sleep or eventually actually sleeping after a rather large visit to the imfamous club "Maison Ruta 36" in La Paz. This included an hour and a half power nap that extanded in to not leaving the bed for 13hrs.

If you have to ask you don´t need to know.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Right, now all that palava is out of my system back to the post that I was planning on writing a day or two ago...

As I may have mentioned to one or two of you camping out in my hammoch in the jungle is one of the things I have been angling for on this trip, and as I am not sure when I might actually get the chance to do that, when I found myself with a bit of time in the high deserts of the Andes I figured it would be a shame to waste the opportunity.

The day before I had scoped out the area that I would be staying in, nicely out of sight of the village, some scrubby type bushes that could be used to make a fire and a stunning view of a volcano to wake up to in the morning. With the evening half planned I set about planning what to do with the daytime before that. Speaking to some of the others that I had met, there was quite a good tour that went up to the mountains, let you float in the salt lagoons, jump in to fresh water pools and then was rounded off with a free pisco sour as you watched sunset. Those of you that I have been wild camping with before will appreciate that last sentance but at the time I merrily assumed that everything would be fine.


It gets dark quickly in this part of the world and for whatever reason the moon rises late. By the time I had packed a few bits and bobs night really was in full swing and I was struggling to see where I was going. I left the main part of the village and trekked through the outskirts, wandering how the hell I was going to find where I had been the day before as I had just walked out over the desert, no paths, when there was a load barking of about three dogs off to my left. Normally I´m fine with dogs but there was something unnerving about not being able to see where they were, if they were rushing in for the kill or behind a fence in someones house. With the word rabies niggling at the back of my mind I decided that descretion was the better part of valour and beat a hasty retreat.

No problem, thinks I, there´s a road going the other way out of the village I´ll go that way instead. Unfortunately I hadn´t checked out that way before, and as I think it is part of a national park with no camping and a gringo with camping gear late at night is a bit suspicious at the best of times tried to head out avoiding the main, only, road. Not quite sure where I ended up but going on the tracks it was a fairly major thoroughfair for all the bikes you could hire. After a bit of star gazing, and to be fair I think that it was the most stars I have ever seen, decided that I was on to a bad thing and ambled back to the hostel.

Maybe I shouldn´t have been such a pussy about the dogs. Maybe I shouldn´t have assumed that people would have stopped me camping and used either the main road or my torch more. However one lesson that I should have already learnt: making camp after dark is always going to be a bitch.

Away from it all

This morning I decided to have a lazy breakfast at the gingo-ified cafe next door to the hostel where I am staying (I´m allowing myself a few home comforts after yesterdays escapades. Last night even treated myself to traditional Bolivian chicken Jalfrezi and mango lassi). As I sat supping my coca leaf tea and stroking my increasingly long but still somewhat patchy beard my attention was drawn to the TV in the corner, tuned to latin american "E!". I am now aware of Britney´s latest brushes with the law, how much Kate Moss is worth and the soaring popularity of some Britain´s got talent reject´s blooming internet popularity.

There are some things I really don´t miss about home.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Some

Cunt (and I feel fully justified in my terminology) has just pickpocketted my camera.

Not a happy bunny.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Touring

The longer I am out here the more I am reminded that there is a constant weighing up between time, money, convenience and flexibility.

I am currently in Salta, in the north of Argentina, and after a few slowish days at the previous two towns that I stayed in, Cordaba and Jujuy, I decided that I´d book myself on a not inexpensive tour that went via all of the main areas that I wanted to see round here.

  • Time: See all sights in one day
  • Money: lots (well 60 quid, but that is a lot round here)
  • Convenience: picked up from hostel, didn´t need to arrange anything
  • Flexibility: Very little, the tour was already 15hrs long, and that was if we sticked to the plan.

In this particular case convenience and time won out for me, getting everything done in a day meant more time to spend elsewhere, however in an ideal world I keep thinking how nice it would be to have infinite time to do these things. There were probably the best part of a dozen times where I thought to myself, or someone else on the tour said out loud, wouldn´t it be great to stop some where for a photo, or I´d spot an ideal campsite for the night. Coming down towards Purmamarca, famous for it seven coloured mountain (see below), there was a beautiful view of the moutain as we came down the road through the valley, ideal to stop off for a few minutes in the serene dusk. 2 minutes after I thought this we turned in to the town itself to be faced with 4 other tour groups and an army of stalls intent on selling us various lama based products. Don´t get me wrong, it was a really good tour and I enjoyed doing it this way, I think I am just playing that old game of the grass always being greener on the other side.

The best way of doing this area if you can, I´m told, is to find three like minded people and hire a car for two or three days. Alas not having 3 people to hand, having left my drivers liscence at home and having an ongoing desire to head up to Bolivia this didn´t really work in my case - will just have to tack it on the bottom of the ever growing list of things I am going to have to do the next time I come back to South America...

Fakin´ it

Argentina has a bit of an issue with fake money and people I have spoken to have even been know to get faked 2 peso (40p) notes. Taxi drivers are reputedly meant to be the worst with such tricks as if you give them a 100 peso note, switching it for a fake and handing it back, saying the one you gave them was fake and demanding another, not that I had any problems with them. However this 50 that I was given in change in a club in Buenos Aries is a beauty by anyones standards:

Note, if you will, the smudge on the 50 in the bottom right hand corner where the "watermark" has been applied following printing. OK it was dark and yes I may have been a little bit drunk but in the cold light of day when you pick it up it is obvious that normal printer paper has been used, about 3 times the weight compared to normal money. I´m keeping it as a souvenier in my wallet to remind myself not to be quite so blindly accepting in the future.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Decisions, decisions...

OK, you were right (you know who you are), maybe I should have done a little planning or reading of the guide book before I left the UK. Maybe. Have just spent the last few hours scouring the guide book, looking at maps and trawling the net trying to work out the best way to go next. I was that close to making making my mind up on taking the 16hr bus to Santa Cruz in Bolivia, that close, when the guide book fell open on the page for Calama in Chili from where there is meant to be a spectacular railway up to Uruyi (unfortunately this is not where I need to be as I am going to be doing it later on the trip with Bee and as a tourist town is going to be expensive). Now I have delved a little deeper the bus from Salta (where I am now) only leaves Wednesday (according to a website that was last updated a month ago, Tuesday according to the German girl I spoke to yesterday) and Sunday and the train from Calama only goes on Wednesday. I had already plannned to do things Sunday and Monday which would mean being stranded in the rather rubbish town of Calama for a week. And even when I get to Bolivia where then? The national park I want to get to is another 34hrs by bus further than Santa Cruz and even then you (allegedly) need a guide to enter, ruling out my intrepidly exploring the jungle, just me and my machete that I haven´t yet bought, for a few days. It´s a tough life being me some times...


Friday, April 3, 2009

Club 69

Those of you that have been reading between the lines of these blog entries, or have glaced at the photos that I have posted on facebook you may have realised that I have, over the weeks become accustomed to one or two of the clubs dotted around this continent. Clubbing can be a little different to back in the UK. When a club is advertised as playing all types of music they do just that - 20mins of hip hop then why not switch to a little bit of electro. Or Brazilian folk music. Why not stop the house music for 10mins to allow 4 strippers to come on to the stage, only because of the various laws they can´t really take their kit off and some of the girls in the club are more scantily dressed (and better looking).

Last night was my last night in the sprawling metropolis that is Buenos Aires and myself and a few of the others from the hostel we were in went out to a place called club 69 for a final boogie and a drink. Welcomed in to the club by transvestites in full get up, why not? Girl on movable stage including pole in the middle of the dance floor, sure. In fact why not break up the evening of mostly electro every hour or so with, first, a troup of, really quite good breakdancers, and then some sort of transvestite-ish berlesque-ish show. I´ve been here long enough now for all this to seem kinda normal in a funny sort of way.


video


video

Monday, March 30, 2009

Spanish 101

Tenes muy lindo culo. ¿Sabes?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Good ideas

Putting the house numbers on the street signs so you can work out which block you are meant to be going to.

Catch up part 2

After leaving Iguazu it was time to head back on the over night bus and head off Urugauy, a country that I didn´t even think I was going to until I checked the itinery the day before I left the UK. Unfortunately by this point it was time for my body to finally give in to all the strange foods that I had been putting through it for the last few weeks and as such spent most of the day, which was meant to be spent enjoying the thermal spas of Salto, in bed feeling sorry for myself. As much as the all over body chocolate treatment that Becky had done does sound tempting alas it will have to be saved until the next time I pop in to South America.

From there it was down to Montevideo, a supprisingly pleasent city with decent park, nice cafe culture and generally good atmosphere. As we had a couple of Irish girls with us and it was St. Patricks day it seemed only right that we should head off in the direction of the Irish bars for a drink or three. I have been to many Irish bars all over the world from China to Romania to Krakow and I think that this is the only one that I have been to that didn´t serve Guiness. I´m not quite sure what it was that they were trying to pass off in its place but as hard as I tried I couldn´t bring myself to finish it. Having said that the places were rammed, despite not being able to find a single genuine irish person, and everyone else having to get up the next day to go to work.
From Montevideo it was down the coast again to Colonia del Sacramento for a fairly lazy day running around the streets on golf carts as we are told this is the best way to explore and then finally on the early ferry over to Buenos Aires which is where I am now. As this was meant to be the final night that we were out together as a group we (or at least that is Becky and I) decided that we really needed to go out and go out hard Friday and Saturday which we managed in inimitable style. However sandwiched between the two the group was booked in to a tango show, which included the meal and a free tango lesson which I like to think, considering the 1hr sleep that I had I did supprisingly well at.


video



And then, as soon as it began the tour was over, and after strolling in from Pacha at 8.30am to pack bags and move hostels things began to slowly reorientate to what is considered to be normal in this part of the world.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Immaturity

Sorry. Really, really sorry.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Catch up part 1

OK, OK, I know that I have been a slack boy and that I have not been keeping this little electronic enterprise as up to date as I ought. But in the great grand scheme of trying to balance going out and having adventures with writing about them I decided to weigh heavily in favour of going out and doing stuff. (And Sells, before you start, I know this is far longer than ideal blog entry length, but I don´t really give a fuck)






To pick up roughly where I left off after leaving Belo Horizonte we returned to Rio to join an organised tour type thing that would take us from there, through a variety of other touristy type places and down to Buenos Aires over the course of just over two weeks. First port of call: Ilha Grande




Ilha Grande is basically a large island down the coast from Rio, full to the brim with jungle, beaches and clear blue green ocean. There are two cars on the island, the police car and the ambulance but even then there can´t be more than half a mile of road for then to use, most places only accessable by walking along trails or by boat. Main highlights included hiking to Lopes Mendes, a stunning beach on the other side of the island where I reminded myself how much more I need to practice my surfing, and the caprihna boat tour. Anything that starts you on unlimited drinks at 10:30 in the morning is going to be a full on day out and amazingly the boats captain only had to dive in to save one person from drowning.




Paraty: Next stop, old colonial town, pivotal in the slave and gold trade futher down the coast. I´ll be honest it was OK, some nice buildings and history but nothing to spectacular. On the second day, more beach time at a beach called Trinadade a short bus trip away including a natural pool created by boulders in the sea discovered after yet another amble along a small path through more jungle. Got the boat back after the fish started biting Becky....



After a short stop over in Sao Paulo, where we finally managed to get up to the top of the highest building in the city for the views (we were turned away last time, went at the wrong time apparently) we headed off on the fun 15hr coach trip to Igauzu falls. Despite having been here before the place never ceases to amaze. As a little treat to myself, like I haven´t given myself enough treats yet, took a helicopter ride up over the falls to get a bit of a different perspective on the whole thing. Will let the photos do the rest of the talking. (EDIT: damn that last bit sounds cheesey!)













PS: Goddam this is hard work uploading all these photos with a 1980´s speed internet connection...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Heightened senses

"I think people here in Brazil have a greater perception of colour than most of you westerners" a Brazilian friend of ours tells us. "We can tell the difference between the traffic lights that you might not even be able to see". I nod, slightly bemused.

"You see this light here?" he says, coming to a stop, "this light is red and so we stop as you would in your country. This light however," as we approach the next junction, him briefly glancing around, "this is not so red" and we sail through, closely followed by a bus that, it would appear can also tell the difference.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Back in Rio

This week on Lapa TV: street caporara!


video


Under the arches where all the action seems to happen. Compared to the few bits of demonstrations I have seen in the UK this seemed a lot faster and more focused on the fighting rather than the dancing aspect. I'm told there are two types of caporara practiced in Brazil and I think this was the faster of the two.

The problem with not knowing Portuguese

As a break from Rio, before setting off on the tour that we had booked to take us to Buenos Aires, we headed up north to a place called Belo Horizonte to try and see some caves that Becky had seen in someone elses guide book. While we were there a number of people recommended the waterfalls at the Serra de Cipo national park so on the second day, as there was nothing to do in Belo Horizonte itself, we decided to pay it a visit. There were two bus companies that went that way, the first only had buses at 7.30 and 8.30 and the other had them running through most of the day. As we are on holiday we thought treating ourselves to a lie in was in order and took the one at 11am. It turns out there was a reason that the other company only ran early buses. We arrived at the edge of what we thought was the park, ambled up to a waterfall to have some lunch, carried on up the track to the official gate at about 3pm where we managed to find a lady to tell us in broken english what was going on. From where we were it would take 2hrs to get to the waterfall and 2hrs to get back and so that people are not stuck in the park after dark it stops letting people in at 2pm. The bus that we got was a local bus taking people to the villages in the area and just happened to pass by the entrance - the other company was set for people visiting it. In the end they let us in and we made it as far as a stream with some interesting spiders to keep us company before having to turn round, ready for a 2.5hr wait on the roadside for the return bus to appear. Sometimes I really envy people with language skills.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Favela Tour

With only the slightest sense of hypocrisy we paid someone to go on a tour to look at poverty in one of the largest favelas surounding Rio. In many ways it wasn´t quite what i had expected, though my only point of reference being GCSE geography. As one of the other blokes there mentioned you have almost been taught to think that the houses will be of the tin roof and pallet wall variety and while none of the homes are particularly spacious they are all solidly built and most have running water and electricty (though not alot of it paid for, as illustrated).


Occationally you would glace through the window of a house and some times, contrasting the bare floors and the paint peeling from the walls would be a PC in one corner or a TV better than the one that I had at home. We must have passed 2 or 3 internet cafes.


The streets are tiny and everyone is crammed in one on top of the other though everyone seems to have their own, if cramped, space. On the down side the sewers are still open and houses at the bottom of the hill are cheaper than those at the top as this is where is all flows (yes, the do have estate agents for these places)


It is probably in indication of the way my mind works but I felt safer and more at home there than most of the rest Rio. It is still really poor, some of the conditions rough and generally dirty but there does seem to be a nice sense of community. If it wasn´t that the reason it felt so safe to be was that the drug dealers are protecting their turf (too much crime, who´ll buy your drugs?) I would almost recommend it as somewhere to live.


Flying kites over the roof tops

Standard Touristy style visit and photo

Also standard: "only-cloudy-day-during-our-entire-stay-in-Rio".




Saturday, February 28, 2009

Street parties

The free street parties are where it is at for carnival. Most of the action takes place in the centre of Lapa, a large open area, in one of the less salubrious areas of town, disected by an old arched aquaduct that nowadays is used to carry a tram from one part of the city to another.

The area is surrounded by bars and small clubs and under the arches themselves there is usually music of one type or another. One of the ones towards the end tends to be where the drummers and singers from any of the parades that have happened locally end up to play through to the early hours. Everywhere there are stalls of beer, caiprihina and some very dodgy looking meat-on-a-stick things. Between the crowds scuttle people picking up all the empty cans from the street, not part of a government initiative for cleaniliness, rather for the R$1 they will get for taking them back to the scrap metal merchants. Pissing in the street isn´t illegal here and one of the less endearing memories of the place is the smell, something how I would imagine the world´s largest urinal. In the final arch there was a bar playing the closest approximation to 'dance' music we could find and on more than one occasion we ended up there until the early hours. Most of the first 5 nights in Rio we ended up in Lapa - my body doesn´t like me anymore but definitely no regrets.

video


Friday, February 27, 2009

Food and drink

It would appear to be all about the sharing in this part of the world. For the first few meals Becky and I would happily go and order our own food, get a few odd looks from the waiter and be presented with a maaassive plate of food each, which was kinda odd as the brasilians aren´t known for their obesity. After a bit of people watching most of our fellow diners would only order one dish between them and share the food out, a far more social way of doing things and a good way of halving our food budget in one foul swoop. A bitch if you don´t like the same thing but you can´t have everything.

I´ve noticed that the same sort of thing happens with the drinks - beer usually comes in the large 600ml bottles but then comes with tiny little 1/4 pint glasses and the beer is usually shared out with friends - again an approach I like, gets everyone together more and far less people seem to end up trashed. For some reason it works here, in the UK you would always get some greedy bastard taking more than their fair share, or people shirking it as it doesn´t allow for the competative drinking style that we seem to have adopted in our green and pleasent isle. One of the other things that I have noticed here is that although poeple like to party, and blimey they like to party, they don´t seem to get that wasted - in the four nights partying in Lapa during carnival, the centre of the action, I didn´t see a single person throw up in the street or generally become a slobbering liability. There was a couple of people even told me I was going to to crazy as I tucked in to my 4th caprianha, but hey, what do they know...?

Rio Carnival - Sambodromo

Carnival - the biggest show on earth! (or at least that is how the posters I have seen all over town translate in my head) and the reason that this was chosen as the time of year to do the whole quitting work and coming to South America thing. After flying in to Rio on the Saturday we headed off to the Sambadromo (a purpose built stadium for Carnival) to watch some of the parades. The party kicked off at 9 and was due to run through to 6am though as we are running on Brazilian time here it was probably even later than that. I have no idea how they managed to build some of the floats, or where they managed to get that many people from (up to 6000 people per school I´m told) however I do understand that it is fecking impressive to watch:












video


As side note we decided to leave early as we had tickets for Sven Vath at the Rio Music Conference which in all honesty was a bit of a let down (though the venue was great). In the end we wound up at the free street parties in Lapa which was a lot more fun...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sao Paulo Street Parade

S 23 33.538 W 046 41.560



video



Warm up for Rio?

Ubatuba

S 23 28.078 W 045 04.158

For a complete change of pace we headed out down the coast to a place called Ubatuba. The hostel was owned by a couple of sweet old ladies and we were the only people staying there. They made us breakfast, drove us to town to the beach and generally treated us as their own. The first full day there the sun came out properly so in true brit fashion went out to the beach and got sunburnt. We hired body boards for an hour and splashed around in the waves.

The second day the ladies took us out to a small village where we got a fisherman to take us out to one of the islands for the day. Again more swimming in the sea, very few people around and generally chilling. Managed to kick a sea urchin and spent a couple of days with spines in my foot which was a bitch but after a lot of probing with a safety pin I seem to have sorted that out. Fully relaxed and ready to head back in to the mayhem of Sao Paulo and carnival.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Karma

Good News!

BAE appear to have overpaid me (it looks like full pay to the end of the month rather than the 18th when I finished)

Bad News!

My card has stopped working so I can´t get at any of it (I think the magnetic strip has gone - all the cash points keep telling me I haven´t put it in properly). Bugger.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Jungle Rave


The plan had been to head off to Pacha here in Sao Paulo last night (Saturday) however plans often change and after chatting to a chap called Mazen that we met in the hostel this particular plan changed to getting a taxi 30km out of town to go to a psy-trance rave on a farm in the jungle. I have to admit that I wussed out early and called it a day at about 9.30am - there were DJ's lined up to play until 6 in the evening and there were probably still over a 1000 people still going strong when we left. Coming back in the daylight was spectacular, I didn't realise when we arrived because it was dark but it really did look like were in the in the middle of the rain forest. Unfortunately my camera's battery died about half way through the night, however I did manage a few pictures:

Becky and Philippe



Remember kids, drugs are bad, mmm-kay

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Finally here!

7.30 Thursday morning I set off on this little journey to the other side of the atlantic. 8am Friday I finally touched down and all things concidered very little went wrong. No internal cavity searches by american security, all my luggage arrived (even the sleeping bag that was only loosely tied to the bottom of the bag ) and even managed to get to the hostel without getting lost more than a couple of times.

Fortunately the time difference here is only a couple of hours so was in reasonable shape to head off and have a wander round Sao Paulo. 6hrs of wandering. However after all that me and my inprepid travelling companion now know the best way to the coast, have a dictionary to give us a fighting chance of understanding the menus and feel like we've achieved something for the first day. After which a few drinks were in order. Hence my slightly sore head - roll on Pasha tonight...

PS Happy valentines Bee xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Monday, February 9, 2009

Note to self:

Trying to fit a weeks worth of moving house and packing to go away in to two days is not the carefree stroll in the park that I, for some reason, imagined it would be...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A note on malaria

Many moons ago, for better or for worse, engineering won out in the battle for my affections, leaving medicine unloved and ignored. Because of this I ended up just before Christmas discussing malaria with my GP and after running through the various options available for 3 months in and around the jungle asked which of the four or so tablets on offer he would recommend. After a noncommittal scratch of the chin he said "well most people tend to go for Malarone, it's a bit more expensive, but it's the newest and with the least side effects". "Hmm", thinks I "a bit more expensive. This means there must be a cheaper option" and after a little bit of sweet talking left his office with 2 prescriptions, one for malarone and one for doxycyline and some advice to shop around a bit as prices vary.

As with 80% of my life I ended up in the arse end of Tesco's:

Malarone: £272.80

Doxycyline: £26.36

Needless to say that I went for the latter of the two options; a factor of ten is a lot when you are on a budget. This has two minor downsides.
  1. Some bright spark decided the best, most convenient way for these to be packed for going away travelling would be in 19 containers with 8 tablets in each.

  2. The warning one the side that says"avoid the sun"

However, having spoken to my girlfriend who had malaria three times while she was growing up in India and who has come through it relatively unscathed, my enthusiasm for the subject has taken a bit of a beating anyway.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Equipment Trials

As with all good tales this one is going to start at a point that most definitely isn't the beginning. Over Christmas my rather lovely parents bought me a new rucksack to take away with me over my forthcoming travels. Last weekend I got to test it out for the first time along with one or two of the other items I've been gathering in the Breacon Beacons, South Wales, and wanted to write it up before my memory degraded completely. This is us in the Brecons:


And this is Rio:


With such striking similarities it would have been rude not to saddle up and head in to the wild.

After a thorough test that ended in an unceremonious retreat to somewhere warmer to drink whiskey I reached the following conclusions:

Positives:
  • Despite being "ladies" fit rucksack as a whole it was generally very comfy
  • The clam shell opening made it really easy to get to things in the bag when it was on the ground. Not so great when on your back but I guess that is what the day sack is for.
  • The gortex jacket I have is great - completely dry despite being blown sideways by the rain.
  • Headtorches. Brilliant.

Negatives:

  • A gortex bivvy bag is only waterproof for so long.
  • Fleece gloves are not waterproof
  • If you are going to create a shelter with a mate out of ponchos to try and weather a bitch of a storm check first to make sure they actually fit together properly and don't leave a gaping hole directly above where you are planning to sleep.
  • Whiskey is important for any activity involving the outdoors
  • If you're planning on sleeping out allow at least a couple of hours to set up camp before dark. Although this is unlikely to be the case while I'm away it's a useful lesson to have anyway.

All in all a successful, if not entirely focused on the job at hand, test, however next time I must remember to bring the hammock.