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"By the numbers list to reflect on the journey thus far."

It’s hard to believe that our six months south of the equator are now behind us. Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa: each country offered experiences we’d been looking forward to, experiences we couldn’t have imagined, and truth-be-told, some that we hope not to go through again. We compiled this by-the-numbers list to reflect on the journey thus far. ONE Number of times we had to change our plane tickets. We had to cancel Dubai at the very last minute (see TWO), and re-booked all the way to Athens. A costly mistake, but luckily a lone AirTreks employee was working late and he was able to solve the problem within an hour. TWO Visa snafus. Our friends Chris and Krissy had been

"We were introduced to Argentina’s dollar-hungry, blue-market, ever-fluid economy."

I handed our hostess two stacks of bills, one of dollars, one of Argentine pesos. We’d withdrawn money at the Buenos Aires airport to pay the remaining rent on the apartment we’d rented in the Recoleta neighborhood. She looked at the second stack disappointedly. “Oh,” she said, “I thought I told you I only take cash.” I glanced at Rodrigo out of the corner of my eye noticing that he was looking as confused as I felt. I hesitated, “that is cash.” “No,” she said. “I don’t accept Argentine pesos.” Thus we were introduced to Argentina’s dollar-hungry, blue-market, ever-fluid economy. We learned very quickly that expenses were sky-high unless you could pay in US or Euro cash. Food, lodging, gas,

"South Africa: we are already looking forward to the day that we ­return."

For me, half the fun of traveling is planning the journey. During the three years that we were saving money, I read countless books about the countries we were considering. I sketched out possible routes on a poster-sized wet-erase map and tracked airline ticket prices online. I followed travel bloggers and thought about our budget. Determining a plan for Africa took longer and was more difficult, somehow, than the other countries on our itinerary. Perhaps this was because Africa felt more unknown and dangerous than South America and Europe. None of us had ever been to any African nation, so we had no first-hand knowledge of what it would be like. Additionally, there were times when it seeme

"Go to Greece and make yourselves fat from food, because one taste and you’ll want to eat until

Let’s talk about cooking. In a stranger’s apartment, you have no idea where anything is in the kitchen, whereas in your own, you know where every spice, pot, pan, and plate is supposed to go. Then you think about the food you’re going to make, and how it will taste. When you try it, it tastes different to how you thought it would taste. And then you think, “Wait, this food is not at all like what I eat at home”. I loved cooking in Greece, and if you get the chance as well, I hope you do too. When cooking in Greece, I cooked in a stranger’s apartment, thought about what it would be like, and also how it was different from the food I eat at home. First, I thought about what it was like cookin

"When I first went to the Acropolis, I was excited to see the Parthenon and the other structure

An acropolis is a raised portion of a city, usually at the center. The word acropolis comes from the Greek roots “acro”, meaning “high”, and “polis”, meaning “city”. When I first went to the Acropolis, I was excited to see the Parthenon and the other structures. The Athenian Acropolis has a lot of history, including the naming of the city, the theft of some of its structures, and the unique architecture of the Parthenon. According to legend, when the city of Athens was first created Athena and Poseidon both wanted to become patron of the city. To decide who would become patron, they each gave a gift to the city. Poseidon struck the earth using his trident, making a saltwater spring appear. A

"Langa: what amazed me the most was the sense of community in this town."

We toured a section of Cape Town called Langa. It is a very low-income area of Cape Town owned by chiefs of native tribes and clans. The township was originally a designated space for Black Africans during the apartheid era, and still today, it is made up of 99% Black Africans belonging to native tribes and clans. Langa is the oldest of many governmentally designated areas for Black Africans in South Africa, during the apartheid era. We started our tou in the Langa Community Center, where there are crafts and skills taught, such as mosaics, pottery, painting, and building, as well as a place for people to just hang out and occupy themselves. When adults are unemployed, they often go to the c

"Despite the overages, Chile was a relatively cheap country."

Below are tables that detail our projected costs, actual costs, and the differences between the two. We saved on lodging by staying two full weeks in Las Cruces, a small beach town near Valparaiso. In addition to being easy on the budget, we all appreciated the time to make ourselves at home and relax. Though it doesn’t show up as an overage in our budget, we did waste some money by checking out of our Santiago apartment early to visit the Colchagua Valley. In essence, we paid for two nights lodging twice: the two nights we lost in Santiago and the two nights added in a Colchagua BnB. We also hadn’t originally planned on renting a car in Chile, which we did, so that affected our transportati

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© 2014 by Rodrigo DeMedeiros

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