Anthony on the Gringo Trail 2005 travel blog

Me in Laos 2002

Me in Tiger Leaping Gorge, China

Shea - my younger son - Iceland

Marc - my elder son, resting between jobs (again!)

The lovely Erica with the remains of the last boyfriend who didn't...

My passport, just in case

My travel insurance, just in case!

A few pics of me and mine, for me to look at and for those who may be interested. Ignore 6 and 7 which are just my documents.

31st August: Nearly packed and ready to go, and at last with time to get excited. I have just booked my first two nights in Lima, making it all feel more real. It has been a stressful few months, but I've left the job behind, and hopefully left my finances secure enough. I'll be meeting Erica in Cusco in a few weeks time, and my youngest has faithfully promised (again) to turn over a new leaf, so fingers crossed there.

I've finally got a rough idea of what I'm doing, which is basically heading straight to Ecuador until coming back to Cusco in Peru to meet Erica. Colombia will have to wait, possibly for quite a long time, as it sounds a bit bad for one's health, and I'm not sure I could rely on my kids to pay the ransom. Ecuador is within acceptable risk limits (let's hope). Erica and I will trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, swan around Lake Titicaca, and get as far into the Amazon as we can in the time available and within our budget, preferably after I get my Yellow Fever booster and without picking up Dengue Fever, though there are cases of that in Lima as we speak.

Then back to Lima with Erica, finish off Peru, then over to Bolivia, then into Chile, and then backwards and forwards between Chile and Argentina as I work my way down the Andes in search of the natural wonders of the world, like how American students always want pizza wherever they are in the world and however wonderful the local scoff is. By then I should have a clearer idea of how much time and money remains. I can't afford the Galapagos (Ecuador) nor Easter Island (Chile), but most distressingly I can't afford Antarctica (two days from Tierra Del Fuego), and probably never will be able to. Still, can't do everything (though I can try). And there are some great waterfalls on the Argentina Brazil border that are a must. I decided against crossing the Amazon Basin east to west, mainly as it sounded mostly boring and uncomfortable in the extreme, and I don't have the time to spend nearly two weeks on river boats reading crap novels and catching unnamed diseases.

Hasta la vista!

8.15 local time Lima. A great flight over the Amazon, but after 22 hours travel I am very tired, and this keyboard has even more blank keys than Chinese ones, so just to tell you I am here safe until I can get to a proper keyboard!

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