Out of all the places I am going to on my round-the-world (RTW) trip, South America and Central America are least familiar to me.
For me, South America’s allure is its mystery and affordability. (Sort of what western tourists think about South East Asia.)
I’ve wanted to visit the continent but never did because it’s expensive to get there for no reason. Since I’m doing a RTW, I might as well visit South America along the way. Besides that, South America is most likely cheaper than Europe or the United States.
I have only 2 months in South America. That’s very little time so I won’t be visiting some countries.
For example, I won’t go to Brazil because they speak Portuguese there. (A rather strange reason but I want to practice Spanish and not get muddled up.)
I’ve put Central America into the blog title, but I’m only visiting El Salvador. My flight from Lima to Los Angeles had a stopover at San Salvador so I requested an extra 7 days there.
I stop at Buenos Aires after a transit at Dubai airport from Istanbul (yes, the connection is terrible). I don’t plan to spend too much time in the capital because I’ve heard that things can be as expensive as the US or Europe.
I want to be able to speak Spanish so I might take a week or so of lessons here. I’ve read that Argentinian Spanish is very different from the rest of the Latin American countries but it would be quite cool to speak differently from others.
I didn’t know of Bolivia until I started reading up on South America. I fell in love with the name Bolivia and want to visit the place very much.
Another reason I want to visit here is because I’ve heard that living expenses here is really really cheap. If I can handle the high altitude, I might even take Spanish classes (if I haven’t done so in Argentina).
[Side note, while in search of La Paz, I found a photo of this posed skeleton.]
Can you go to South America without heading to Peru? (Well, technically yes but my plane leaves from Peru so I must be there.)
Top on my list for Peru is MACHU PICCHU!!!!!! OMGWTFBBQ!!! I haven’t made any bookings for the site. I wonder if I will be able to get into the place when I am there.
I have a week in El Salvador to recover from my 2-months in South America. Since my flight from Lima has to make a stop in San Salvador, I requested Airtreks to let me extend a week here for an extra US$60.
I have no plans for San Salvador but I will probably stay in the country for the whole week despite it being the smallest country in Central America. (It might even feel like Singapore without the tall buildings, great public transport and airconditioned malls.)
What tips do you have for South and Central Americas?
I’m travelling to South America some time next year and I want to be able to speak Spanish to help me go through life easier.
I went to a Spanish language school a few months back and quite enjoyed it. My four semesters of French made it easier to pick up the language compared to my other classmates who were were thrown into the deep end of the Spanish pool.
Even though the language school has higher level classes, I don’t think I am want to spend about S$300 to improve my Spanish.
Self studying Spanish
What will I do then? I plan to self study.
I’m a fan of self-proclaimed language hacker, Benny Lewis, who evangelizes speaking from day 1.
While I probably won’t be as hardcore as he is buy speaking from day 1, I plan to learn from his methods and do a lot of self studying.
I’ve borrowed some language books and CDs from the library which I can practise reading and listening from.
For more listening and vocabulary practice, I can check out Spanishversions of pop songs (although I’m not that sure of some of their accents).
Even though it’s still too early, I have a Spanish version of Bridget Jones’s Diary which I bought second hand while in San Francisco. I have the English version, maybe I can do a side-by-side readings? My goal is to understand at least 50% of the content by the time I leave for South America.
To end this post, I bring you the only Spanish song I know all the lyrics to.
Week 43 of the Indie Travel Challenge is a challenge to start learning a new language:
Q: Do you speak two languages or more? What are those?
A: Fluent English, Mandarin Chinese and Malay. Conversational Japanese, French.