Countries Visited

Svalbard Spain United States of America Antarctica South Georgia Falkland Islands Bolivia Peru Ecuador Colombia Venezuela Guyana Suriname French Guiana Brazil Paraguay Uruguay Argentina Chile Greenland Canada United States of America United States of America Israel Jordan Cyprus Qatar United Arab Emirates Oman Yemen Saudia Arabia Iraq Afghanistan Turkmenistan Iran Syria Singapore China Mongolia Papua New Guinea Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Malaysia Tiawan Philippines Vietnam Cambodia Laos Thailand Myanmar Bangladesh Sri Lanka India Bhutan Nepal Pakistan Afghanistan Turkmenistan Tajikistan Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan Japan North Korea South Korea Russia Kazakhstan Russia Montenegro Portugal Azerbaijan Armenia Georgia Ukraine Moldova Belarus Romania Bulgaria Macedonia Serbia Bosonia & Herzegovina Turkey Greece Albania Croatia Hungary Slovakia Slovenia Malta Spain Portugal Spain France Italy Italy Austria Switzerland Belgium France Ireland United Kingdom Norway Sweden Finland Estonia Latvia Lithuania Russia Poland Czech Republic Germany Denmark The Netherlands Iceland El Salvador Guatemala Panama Costa Rica Nicaragua Honduras Belize Mexico Trinidad & Tobago Puerto Rico Dominican Republic Haiti Jamaica The Bahamas Cuba Vanuatu Australia Solomon Islands Fiji New Caledonia New Zealand Eritrea Ethiopia Djibouti Somalia Kenya Uganda Tanzania Rwanda Burundi Madagascar Namibia Botswana South Africa Lesotho Swaziland Zimbabwe Mozambique Malawi Zambia Angola Democratic Repbulic of Congo Republic of Congo Gabon Equatorial Guinea Central African Republic Cameroon Nigeria Togo Ghana Burkina Fasso Cote d'Ivoire Liberia Sierra Leone Guinea Guinea Bissau The Gambia Senegal Mali Mauritania Niger Western Sahara Sudan Chad Egypt Libya Tunisia Morocco Algeria
Map Legend: 28%, 75 of 263 Territories

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Obsessed: Central America (and the rest of South America)!

If you check out the labels, or tags, on this blog, you will see that Andy has written 52 entries so far and I have only done 45. Maybe that’s because he writes all the obsessions and finance posts. Well, no more—it’s my turn to tell you with what things the countries we visited on the last leg of our trip were obsessed!

South America:

Peru – Coca leaves. Old men chewing them, breakfaster-eaters brewing them…the dried leaves of the coca plant (which, after a whole lot of processing, can become cocaine) are everywhere in Peru (and Bolivia) and illegal to grow or possess in most other South American countries. In their “natural” state, they’re supposed to be stimulating and help fight altitude sickness. I did try a cup of coca tea one morning—not bad, it tasted like green tea, but it had no noticeable effects on me.

Ecuador – The Galapagos. Based on the number of posters you see at travel agencies for Galapagos trips, you’d think that Ecuador has nothing else cool to visit. That is definitely not true—we didn’t make it to the Galapagos, and Ecuador was still one of my favorite countries!

Colombia – Cheese bread! Or maybe that’s just my obsession when in Colombia. Still, there were many different varieties, and you could find it just about anywhere. There were even people baking it in a hut in the middle of Tayrona National Park!

Central America:

Panama – The United States. With US dollars, English-speakers, and Dairy Queens galore, Panama felt more like America than anywhere else we went on the trip. The canal may be in their hands now, but let’s just say that our cultural presence is still felt.

Costa Rica – Not being like the rest of Central America. The government? Stable. The volcanoes? Quiet. The hotels? Expensive. The public buses? Not school buses, and definitely not blasting salsa music, either. Does this place even still qualify as part of Central America?

Nicaragua – The Virgin Mary. Nicaraguans actually invented a whole new holiday that consists of carrying a giant doll of Maria around town and lining up to sing songs to her. Need we say more?

El Salvador – Malls. San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, has more fancy shopping malls than we have ever seen before in one place. We have no idea how they all stay in business, because the last time we checked, El Salvador wasn’t such a big country, it’s populace wasn’t exactly the richest in the world, and it didn’t have a whole lot of tourists! Still trying to figure this one out…

Guatemala – Volcanoes. They’re everywhere, and they’re erupting RIGHT NOW.

Honduras – Throwing trash out the window of a moving bus (arrrgh!). OK, that’s kind of unfair—I think that every country in Central America is obsessed with doing this. It gave me and Andy little strokes each time we saw it happen (and, even worse, when we saw people encouraging their young children to treat the road like it was a garbage can). But I feel like people did it even more than usual on the buses we took across southern Honduras, and I can’t really think of anything else that country seemed obsessed with (no one was talking about the whole election/coup thing in the more rural areas where we were), so Honduras gets the rap for this one.

Belize – Cruise ships. Apparently, cruise ships have started docking in Belize, and no one can decide whether this is good or bad for the country. Belize City seems pro, as it has set up a whole tourist village in which to sell expensive souvenirs to cruisers, while the people who run the awesome ATM caving tour in the west of the country are con, since they think that cruise excursions there would ruin the delicate artifacts in the cave. The folks at the jaguar reserve seemed conflicted—they’d like the extra revenues, but will more people disturb the jaguars? No, because there aren’t actually any jaguars in the part of the park where people can go!

That’s it for obsessions! If you’ve been to any of these countries, what do you think of our choices?

1 comment:

  1. Ecuador is one of the most beautiful countries of South America. The weather, the colonial cities and the people are just fantastic. Nothing compares to the landscapes of the Highlands, the lush of the Amazon Rainforest, the exotic Beaches of the Coast and the mystery of the Galapagos Islands.