Well, here we go again. Every two years or so, Jamie and I pack our bags and leave lovely McKinney to go to two distinctly different kinds of places.
The ones everyone knows.
A few no one has heard of. Often for good reason.
Luckily, this eight month journey maximizes the former and minimizes the latter.
Unlike previous trips, we have not included anything as adventurous as our past train trip across Siberia nor as stomach-turningly (is “turningly” even a word?) poverty-stricken as Madagascar.
This was supposed to be the trip on which we saw Venezuela’s awesome Catatumbo Lightning and visited awe-inspiring Angel Falls. But that is not to be, because in the words of former British Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher, “The only problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” Venezuela has somehow transformed itself from the richest nation in Latin America to the poorest. The people are starving. Inflation is rampant. And so is crime. So visits to those incredible sights will just have to wait until sanity and prosperity return to Venezuela. I fear that may not happen until the clock has run out on my game.
We will also be tantalizingly close to Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia — so close that we’ll be able to see them in the distance, but not close enough to actually set foot across their borders.
But enough about where we’re not going. Let’s hit a few of the highlights on our itinerary.
We’ll make our first stop at Iguazu Falls, a remarkable chain of waterfalls found right at the border of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. They dwarf Niagara Falls (and almost any other waterfall you may favor).
That’s followed by a visit to Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost town in the world. It sits at the edge of the Beagle Channel in Tierra Del Fuego and is the hopping-off spot for cruises to the Falkland Islands and Antarctica.
(I love to say Tierra Del Fuego. It just sounds so damn exotic. I’ve wanted to go there ever since we studied South America in sixth grade at Alice Birney Elementary School.)
After a brief stay in Buenos Aires, we’ll work our way up to Chile’s Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth, where it hasn’t rained in 400 years and the TV weatherman’s job is to look into the camera and say, “Sunny tomorrow” 365 days a year.
Then we begin hopscotching across the Pacific — to Easter Island, Tahiti, the Cook Islands, overnight in Auckland, New Zealand, and on to South Australia’s Eden-like Barossa Valley.
I would say that we’d be on the road for eight months, but Jamie would surely correct me and say that Angaston in the Barossa is now our home away from home.
I’m sure we’ll have fun everywhere we go and we’ll try to relay that fun here at JimandJamie.com. Even if we don’t have fun, we’ll try to laugh about it.
Talk to you soon.