Jericoacoara to Chiang Mai via Buenos Aires, London & Wales – Days 238 to 244

Thu 27th Sep – Wed 3rd Oct

After a great fun filled week at the beach, it’s sadly time to leave…although I do feel like I cd definitely do with a few days more to just do nothing. It’s an early start and I’m up at 0530 and in the jeep by 6. It’s a different route back but much less bumpy and much prettier as we follow the coast line back to Jijoca. Once there, it’s back on the bus for the 6 or so hours to Fortaleza. We seem to make a lot more stops on the way back and even thou I have plenty of time, with so many pending flights, each stop makes me nervous.

I do however get to the airport with loads of time to kill so enjoy the sun in the car park whilst I can. It’s only an hours flight to Recife with more hours to kill there too before getting my flight to Buenos Aires. I land around 6am and get the Tienda Leon bus service back to América del Sur hostel. Im so glad I booked a bed for the night before as I can now check in shower and nap!

With a full day to kill here, I do the La Boca walking tour and again meet some lovely people. This is a great hostel for meeting people. The tour was ok, but having done so much in BA already, it was quite repetitive.

La Boca is a notoriously poor part of the city. Those that lived on inhospitable land moved here and is an area that Eva Peron and her charity helped out a lot. One of the most famous areas tourists come to see us the vibrant colourful street of Caminito.

As the area used to be a port, like in Valparaiso in Chile, the houses were painted in colourful boat paint.

I ask a few questions on the area and it’s history but didn’t get much back from our guide – just that it’s a poor part of town! It’s awash with colourful cafes and street markets. I ask if these have any resemblance on the past to which I’m told no, they’ve just sprung up due to tourism. It’s quite cheesy in places with tango people chasing you ti gave your photo fine with them! The street comités and art is quite cool and there are a lot of plastic caricatures of famous Argentine’s Evita & Maradona.

No tour of La Boca wd be complete without a visit to the famous La Bombonera..but I’ve already been here before too to go to a game when I first arrived!

With the tour done, it’s time to get down to business n buy some wine to take home. I read about a good wine shop Vino Tango so go there in search of some of Argentina’s finest. 5 bottles later and another Trapiche to replace the one I lost I now have to try and pack it all in my rucksack along with a new pair of trainers and some Xmas presents I bought! This is some feat, a challenge bigger than those set on the Krypton Factor and takes me about 2 hours to get it all in and in a way I hope the bottles don’t smash!

I go to my last parilla for dinner

and call it a night with yet another early start in the morning.

Im back at EZE airport, less than 24 hours after landing there yesterday! I decided to upgrade my seat on Norwegian – I didn’t know how comfortable cattle class wd be and for a 13 hour flight with more still to do after this, I decided the £200 upgrade fee was well worth it. It also gave me an extra 20kg allowance which covered any issues with the wine scenario! We’re delayed an hour and a half due to a thunder storm which means I’ll miss the 0530 bus I wanted to get to take me home for the night. Oh well, I’ve now got 13 hours to kick back and relax, I’m in Row 1 which I have all to myself and the air stewards are super attentive…starting off with 2 glasses of bubbles. The movie selection isn’t great but there’s enough in there to kill a few hours. I’m not sure what service is like further back but here it’s second to none…well done Norwegian. With so much time on my hands and so much to do though, I only wish you had WiFi like Emirates! Having done so many night buses and being in a comfy seat, I thought I wd have slept better but the timings are just too out for me.

We land around 0545 rather than 0400. I scan how to get back to S Wales and the Reading train option has gone, the bus isn’t for nearly 2 hours n takes over 4 and I’m not farting about trying to get to Paddington from Gatwick in the underground. I have an idea of renting a car and run fine to find the rental desks. Hertz was completely overpriced but the nice guy at Enterprise does me a deal…still bloody expensive but I can be home in 2.5 hours so I bite the bullet n just pay it.

It’s a strange phenomenon driving again after 8 months, even more so when ur in busy Gatwick n don’t know the roads. With the help of Google Maps n best buddy Steve, I finally make it to the M4 and with my reggaeton playlist blaring, it’s plain sailing from there! I surprise both my Mum and Sister – both of whom were expecting to fetch me from the bus station in 3 hours time! It’s lovely to see them and see Mum getting a roast ready for dinner!

It’s so weird being back…my bathroom, my bed, ALL my clothes at my disposal, normal food, a proper cup of tea! I love travelling but there a lot of home comforts that I miss. I’m asked what I want to do – that’s easy – go shopping!!! New Look, River Island, H&M…woo hooo! Lunch in Marks and the humble baked beans on toast and by god it was good!

I get 4 loads of washing done (rather my Mum does), have an awesome Sunday roast dinner and get to spend quality time with my Mum, Sister, Brother in law and my gorgeous nephews…whilst enjoying a bottle of 2 out if the 6 I brought back with me!

It’s lovely being surrounded by my family but I am struggling and bed is calling. This is a welcome treat! Unfortunately, I have to drop the car off at 8am so there’s no lie in for me…with my growing to do and packing list thou, an early start isn’t such a bad thing!

Finally sorted, I go for lunch with my Mum and sister and tuck into another British classic – a fishfinger sarnie! These meals are rally hitting the spot!

My trip home is over quicker than I thought and it’s time to hit the road again and I’m off to Heathrow. A straight forward run down, checked in and a look around the shops – travelling for the next 3 months is a good deterrent to stop me buying anything. Can’t be going round with little blue Tiffany boxes hey! I therefore treat myself to a much anticipated bag of pickled opinion monster munch and a pint of dark fruits cider!

At 8pm, it’s take off time and I’m bound for Singapore!

I always thought British Airways to be one of the better airlines in the industry but I’m really not that fussed. Even on the new A380, economy feels quite cramped, the food wasn’t great and the film selection was diabolical! Good job I downloaded some stuff on my tablet this morning. Once dinner is done, I curl up and sleep for pretty much 8 hours!

I arrive in Singapore and my body hasn’t a clue what time it’s on. I go to the Myanmar Airline desk to check in for my last flight only to be asked where’s my visa… what! What visa!? Are u kidding me…?!?! Due to a cock up on my part I’ve had to buy this plane ticket twice and now I can’t board the bloody thing because I don’t have a visa!!! Ive been travelling for 4 days, I’m tired, I don’t need this…surely there is something that can be fine…right? No! Myanmar is now off the cards! Again my fault but after travelling 9 countries in 8 months and not needing a visa for any, it didn’t once cross my mind. I’m taking this as a sign….I’m just not meant to go! I can’t be arsed to deal with this, but I need to work out where I can go from here and without a visa. Thailand! I’ll just bring Chiang Mai forward 2 weeks. A quick rekkie on Skyscanner and im in a different terminal buying my Air Asia ticket to Chiang Mai via Bangkok. It’s another long night ahead but the end is in sight!

I seem to have been hanging around and waiting in airports for hours, days even. I kill time in Bangkok watching tv and finally, finally I’m in my last flight to my new destination. I fall asleep before the safety briefing! 2.5 hours later I’m in Chiang Mai. Luckily I opted for my guest house to send me a taxi so I don’t have to think and just look for the man with a sign with my name. I do however nearly breakdown when I can’t check in to my room. There’s a comfy sofa in reception thou and after curling up on that, I pass out for a few hours until my room is ready. Apart from a quick trip out for lunch and to go to the shop, I have a massive comfy bed (what a heavenly sight). The owner gives me this at a discounted rate too rather than the bunk bed I had reserved!

so I do very little on my first day here except sleep!

The last 6 days have been far far too much. It all seemed like a great idea at the time but this much travel was a killer! It was great going to Jeri and seeing my family but 6 flights and other modes of travel in 6 days nearly broke me! The sadness of leaving South America behind didn’t help either.

However, I am now in Asia, time for the next part of the adventure and after catching up on some much needed sleep, in a room on my own, with no travel and no plans, I’m ready to go out and explore…and of course eat…Thai food is the best in the world!

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