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Saturday, February 5, 2011

lots of progress made this week on the trip plans!

After several hours on the phone (no exaggeration), Seth managed to secure us great air tickets for our entire S. America trip.  Chicago to Bogota, Buenos Aires, Cusco, Bogota, Chicago.  It took some complicated wrangling to get it all just so, but they’re booked and purchased, finally!  And there we have our 3 South American countries:  2 1/2 weeks in Argentina, 3 weeks in Peru, 3 weeks in Colombia.  I’m really excited to go to such diverse places on this leg of the trip… we’ll be going from a European style city, to Patagonian mountain lakes, to ancient Incan ruins, to cloud forests, to tropical rainforests and Caribbean beaches… hopefully stopping by some coffee & chocolate plantations at some point, too.   Another very pleasant surprise is that we’ve been able to use an airline gift card, a wedding gift from Seth’s aunt & uncle, for most of these flights – making this part of the trip much more affordable.

The Machu Picchu trip is also finally fully confirmed – we booked it a couple weeks ago but it took some time for them to confirm our deposit and get all the details right.  yay!

Today we spent some time doing trip research… trying out different netbook brands at Frye’s (we liked a Samsung and one of the Sony models the best, based on speed and the feel of their keyboard & mouse features). I can’t believe how cheap it’s gotten to buy a tiny computer with a 250 gb hard drive.  My computer from college has something like a 10 gb hard drive… and it’s huge.

After that we headed to a travel store in Pasadena.  They had some great advice and one of the workers helped me “fit” a backpack correctly… but after 1 1/2 hrs there on an empty stomach I couldn’t take hearing about strap adjustments any longer, so we booked it over to Saladang Song, a great Thai restaurant, for an early dinner.  I’m still debating what size bag to buy or bring – I have an old backpack that might work – but I wasn’t ready to make the decision today.  At least the store visit was successful for Seth — he lucked out and got some great deals on convertible hiking pants and a nice shirt that will be great on the road.

One thing I did make a decision on this week is a travel “purse.” I bought this pacsafe bag from ebags (which I do recommend; I think they’re becoming the Zappos of bags) and I already love it.  It’s the perfect size – big enough for guidebooks, a netbook, an umbrella, whatever you need for a day – but not too huge.  and it has some great security features and lots of well designed compartments.

Now that we have our tickets booked, I’m excited to dive deeper into what we’re actually going to do in these countries.  Much of the trip we want to leave loose so we can plan as we go, but I want to do some prep so we’re at least ready for the first day or so in each place.  And I need to learn at least some basic spanish.

buenas noches!


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