POSTCARD FROM CHILE

The route from Argentina over the Andes into Chile is the main trade route between the two Countries.  Hundreds of goods trucks travel in both directions on very twisty winding roads. Our bus journey from Mendoza to Chile was supposed to take 5 hours but it turned out to be a 7 hour trip because of the delays at the Custom Post.

All luggage had to be removed from the bus and scanned in an airport type operation which was in fact a large shed, similar to an aircraft hanger, where everyone had to wait around.  Then the bus was searched with sniffer dogs……they sniffed out our Stevie and found apples which were apparently illegal to bring  from Argentina to Chile so they were confiscated.

We continued on our journey through the Andes with breathtaking views and sheer drops on either side of the road.  Our bus driver took it upon himself to pass out any vehicle in front of him on the downhill run in perilous conditions which kept everyone in a continuous state of anxiety…..huge acceleration and massive braking was the norm for the rest of the journey until we arrived into a very overcrowded bus station in  Valparaiso, which is the second largest City in Chile on the Pacific coast.

As we had no Chilean pesos on arrival Caleb and Stevie looked after the bags while I went in search of an ATM.  I had a small back pack with my wallet  and passports etc and as I tried to battle my way through the crowds someone bumped into me and nearly knocked me down.  I recovered and continued on to find the ATM only to find my wallet gone when I got there.  All my bank cards, some Argentinian money and lots of personal bits and bobs were in it.  Thank God passports and drivers licences were in my bag.  We reported it to a Policeman who didn’t seem too interested in solving the problem.  In fairness to him there were thousands of people milling around this bus station.  Fortunately Caleb had his cards on him and we were able to get a taxi to our Hotel and immediately reported stolen cards.  We later found that they were not used.

We moved from Valparaiso north along the coast to a beautiful seaside town called Concon where we found a really nice apartment which we have rented for a few weeks.  There is a seismic fault line running along the west coast of Chile and earthquakes are very frequent in this Country.  From our apartment we have to walk down about 150 steps to the beach.  There are signs at the bottom directing you back up the steps in case of a tsunami.  In the three weeks we have been here we have experienced lots of tremors the two last night being the worst so far.  They were 5.6 on the Richter scale!  The house shook and the electric wires on the poles outside were like skipping ropes!  When the tremors start here the locals make for the outdoors…..we just crack open a bottle….we’re here for a good time not a long time.

We met a Chilean couple Marcelo and Elisa who speak very good English and have taken us under their wing, giving us tours of the area and telling us the history of the coastline.  We went out with them last Sunday morning and toured up along the coast for about 80 miles stopping at some nice fishing villages and even met an artist named McAuliff who told us his Grandfather was Irish and he had 6 wives and 9 sons.  Obviously  a  small jockey with a big whip!

There is a lot more to Chile….not as third world as we thought, nontheless there is a big divide between the haves and the have nots.  Again as we have seen all over South America the people are so friendly, helpful and kind and I think this is what we will take away with us when we leave, the warmth of the people. 

Buenos Noches until next time

Sheila Caleb and Stevie

 

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LETTER FROM BRAZIL AND ARGENTINA

We left beautiful Natal after exploring the East coast of Brazil for the best part of 4 weeks.  The beaches all around that area are the best I have seen and of course blazing sunshine every day.

We  heard about this famous Healer called Dom Inacio (John of God) who is supposed to be the real deal. He claims to be a medium for God who heals through him and he sees more sick people from all over the world in one week than a western hospital does in one year.

Of course having heard of him we couldn’t not go and pay him a visit so two plane journeys later we arrived in Brasilia the capital of Brazil and from there a taxi journey up into the mountains of Abadiania where the Great Man has his “Casa”.  I had bought the book by Cash Peters..”A little book about beleiving” from Amazon.com and  got the inside story on how it works up there.  Our room when we finally arrived at our Pousada  had 3 beds, very sparsely decorated with a pole, 6 hangers and a tiny ensuite. We had to buy all new gear in white..it being  the colour of high vibration.

 Dom Inacio only does healing at his Casa on Wed, Thurs and Friday of each week and most people come with guides and stay for 2 weeks.  We planned to stay for 4 days and see how we got on. We arrived on the Monday night which was orientation night and then on tuesday we had to whittle all our desires down to 3 wishes and get them translated into portuguese to hand to the great man on the Wednesday morning. However we were told it really doesn’t matter what you ask for as only the Entities  and God know what you need

Dressed like virgins we went along on Wednesday morning with hundreds of others and we all shuffled in slowly from the big hall into a smaller building which looked like a chapel and finally reached The Dom. He looked very ordinary and sat in a chair like a throne.  He put out his hand to me and held mine for just a second.  The man beside him who was a translator told me to come back tomorrow for an operation.  I was in a kind of trance and Caleb says he felt the same in fact Caleb didnt know what the man said and  had to ask again.  Caleb was to get a Blessing the next day and Stevie and I were to get operations.  The following day we again dressed in whites and Stevie and I went to a different part of the building and sat with our eyes closed while all around us  people meditated and prayed, then Dom Inacio walked among us operating on us mentally.  We came out after an hour  and met Caleb who had a number of people walking around him blessing him! All three of us were so tired we couldn’t wait to lie down.  We were told that this would happen and were advised to go to bed for the remainder of the day,which we did. Stevie had been diagnosed with a mild hernia before we left for Brazil and he got considerable pain that night and the following day.  2 years previously I had had a cancer removed from my face and it was on this side of my face that  felt very painful  that night and the following day.  After that our aches seemed to subside but we were told not to lift anything heavy for a week as we had stitches.  As we were leaving the following day we had to give them a forwarding address for the entities to come and remove the stitches. We were  given herbal capsules which we have to take 3 a day for 40 days and during this time we cannot take  pork, peppers or alcohol. 

It was a very spiritual experience for the three of us and we have all benefitted from it in different ways.  I would love to go there again….maybe next year.

As inflights are very expensive in South America we decided to take the bus journey down to Iguacu falls…one of the 7 wonders of the world before we headed into Argentina. Unfortunately the bus had a minor accident with an articulated truck and we were delayed for another 2 hours  until the police came and took the details, seemingly an everyday occurance in South America! It ended up being a 26 hour journey with reclining seats which are comfortable enough but we still felt the need to sleep for another 4 hours after we reached our hotel!

The Falls were like nothing we’ve ever seen before and are divided between Brazil and Argentina.  You can see some of the pics and judge for yourselves. The noise  was deafening, 275 waterfall in all. We stayed there for a week and visited Itaipu Dam which is another jaw dropping attraction where they destroyed 700sq km of rain forest to build it.

We felt we had seen enough of Brazil at this point and decided to go on down to Argentina….back into the bus for another 24 hours this time down to Buenos Aires  which is a magical City ….huge, vibrant and a great buzz there.  They say that more women  get plastic surgery here than any other place in the world and if you have private health insurance you get 2 free procedures at the end of each year…the Argentinians have a saying …there is no such thing as an ugly woman just a poor one!  We thought about hiring a car  but of course the driving is just crazy.  We tried to book a tour of the City 3 times and had no luck  but we found a lovely  taxi driver who’s grandfather was Irish, she spoke perfect English in a Dublin accent and  gave us the grand tour which was brill.  We also did the Sunday antique market in San Telmo which was amazing.  After a week it was back into the bus to take us to Mar Del Plata which is like the Kilkee of  BA but bigger.  We stayed for another week there and then decided to come on down to Mendoza which is just the most amazing City built in the middle of the desert.  This is the wine growing region of Argentina and the Uco Valley is where they grow the malbec.  As its a desert they have to irrigate the  City from the Andes Mountain range which tower over mendoza and its neighbours, Chile. We took a tour up into the  snow clad Andes and I think this was the highlight of our trip so far….I can only describe it as being on another planet…. the only sounds were of the mules who carry provisions to the base camps and the Condors flying above us.

We decided to stay on here for Xmas and New Year and rented an apartment just outside of the City.  Even though we have not yet finished our herbs we  couldn’t but enjoy the tastings at the Wineries and are now lushing it… just as well we are moving to Chile on the 3rd. I am writing this on the 29th Dec and we spent a lovely Christmas Day in the sunshine in the Park of Independencia  with hundreds of other families  eating al fresco and a Jazz band playing in the background!  We are looking forward to seeing in the New Year here and then we are off over the Andes once again into Chile where we hope to stay for 3 weeks along the Pacific Coast. 

Wishing you all a Very Happy and Joyful New Year

Love Caleb Sheila and Stevie

 

Posted in Brazil | 60,802 Comments

LETTER FROM BRAZIL

So here we are in Brazil after an uneventful journey, sleeping tablets worked a treat and we just sailed through from Lisbon to Fortaleza…its the only way to fly.  As we arrived late Sat night it was Sunday morning when we walked down the neverending prom on Iracema beach and it was just mad there.  So many people , it was like walking in New York, vendors on every corner selling their wares and the smell of meat being barbequed  even though it was only 11am.  It was a kaleidescope of colours as the Brazillians love to wear all the colours of the rainbow…together.  Samba music  playing everywhere and the sun was up….thats the other thing about Brazil everyone is up and out at 5am, the sun is shining at 7 and its pitch dark at 5.30pm.  The temperatures are between 27-30 degrees day and night, all year round…..heavenly! and the water in the ocean is warm! Fortaleza is just under the equator and on the south atlantic coast.  Not the nicest of Cities, its a mass of concrete skyscrapers in the inner city but has this great beach where the whole City seems to congregate at weekends.  People are friendly and helpful but speak no english at all outside of the Hotels.  We are making our way with sign language and obscene gestures.

After two days in Fortaleza we decided to rent a car and take off down South.  This tiny Chevrolet was delivered with 4 doors no power steering and no radio.  Off we went with Caleb wrestling the steering wheel at every corner  Stevie  holed up in the back seat and me navigating.  Stevie drew crowds around us on the promenade with his white cane. They thought we were a circus act!

Driving outside of the City was like going back in time. The roads are a bit of a nightmare with pot holes the size of footballs and some roads seem to fall off into dirt tracks in places  As Brazil is getting ready to host the World cup  in 2014 they are rebuilding the roads but its a work in progress at the moment.  The ox and cart is still going strong in rural parts and we saw one guy with his mobile number written on the side of the cart! Lots off dudes hanging around holding up the walls and most rural houses are just huts. We arrived in Natal 2 days later after getting 3 punctures and 2 new tyres.

We rented an apartment here in |Natal overlooking the beach and at the moment we are just chilling out and finding our way….would you beleive it we found a Carrefour here yesterday and spent a few hours there, its exactly like the one in estepona!

Hope everyone is well at home and if Martin McGuinness becomes President we will definitely stay here.

Boa Noite from Brazil

Sheila Caleb and Stevie

 

Posted in Brazil | 45,493 Comments