Day 365 – The proposal, Stratford upon Avon, England

The start of a long old mission

So after a long flight back from South America (we went for the cheapest possible option involving about three different crappy flights and a a lot of waiting around in airports), I arrived back in England, picked up a suit and headed straight back to Heathrow to catch a flight for San Francisco and my new job. Back to reality…..check, new job……check, only thing left was to make an honest woman of young Danielle, the love of my life.

Poor man is about to get himself a whole load of hassle

San Fransisco just happened to have a huge store for the Tiffanys ring she ever so subtly hinted at many moons ago, but I could never afford during our traveller scruff years. Only problem was they didn't have the specific ring she wanted, apparently she needs a child proof ring with no sharp edges that she can't catch in her hair or scratch herself with. Obviously buying a ring for Danielle was never going to be easy.

So close yet so far

I'd emailed ahead long ago though and after a month of searching the salesman finally found the Lucida ring she was after at another store in the states and had it shipped over for my arrival. All good, after finally getting over the flu I'd had all week thanks to my brother, I ran off at lunch to the store on the last day of my training.

Long distance call for 30 minutes trying to get through to HSBC security, they unblocked my card, tried again and still blocked, back in the office for another half an hour phone call for them to offer a half apology and unblock it again. Sales assistants were nice but I could tell they were wondering what the Limey fool was playing at. Thanks HSBC you are awesome as always NAAAAAAT

That's when disaster struck, best laid plans mean nothing to HSBC security and despite using my card all over the world they'd decided on this moment to apply the block on it again. An hour spent on the Tiffany office phone trying to get through to HSBC security at 3am UK time was not what was needed, especially with three snooty sales assistance staring at me. It was also my first week at work and fast approaching a three hour lunch break. Eventually they removed the block but the card would no longer work on Tiffanys till as it had been declined three times already. I had to admit defeat and run back to work with a half paid for ring and a flight at 8am the next day before the store opened. Doh!

Thought I'd better get a photo of this dudes name seeing as he has a small fortune in his till and I have sod all to show for it at this moment

A lovely weekend followed for our friends Si and Lucy's wedding, we caught up with some great friends but hit the booze hard. The week that followed was painful from a hangover/jet lag/new job perspective, but fortunately for this engagament story I was back across in America, this time Chicago. After a lot of begging and pleading with the San Fransisco store assistant the ring had been mailed to the Chicago Tiffanys store for me to finally complete payment. This ring has done some serious air miles.

So this is what the Tiffanys shop in Chicago looks like

The final piece of the puzzle was the trip up the m1 to ask Graham for his fair daughters hand in marriage. Ok so it may have taken me a full wine tasting day, some karaoke and a lot more beers in the Scarborough taps before I finally plucked up the courage but I said the words and got the ok.

I actually took loads of photos of the store, the woman who finally gave me the ring, the earrings I'd brought to cover this all up, the beer I got whilst I was waiting (top service) and various other photos....but they're all on the phone I managed to drop and then run over in my car. Don't ask. It looked juuuuust like this though.

So, we managed to survive 24 hours a day together for well over 365 days, we only just did it, but we did it, and there is nothing we can't survive now.

Only problem is I haven't actually proposed yet, so for the ultimate test of if Danielle actually bothers to read this blog……..Danielle, I love you forever and I would the happiest man in the whole of Nuneaton if you would spend the rest of your life with me…..will you marry me??

#proposalSelfie

P.s I am at the Welcombe Hotel and Spa in Stratford upon Avon for the weekend with your ring and some champagne. Warwick road, CV37 0NR.

P.p.s I've brought you a suitcase so you can come straight from work, can't guarantee there is a full outfit in here but I can confirm there are some clothes

P.p.s txt me if it is a no so I can get stuck in to the champagne

It will be worth saying yes for the hotel, it is a nice one for once!

P.p.p.s finally a few photos to prove a point that we DO have photos together!

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 364 – The end of the road, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Little statue thingys all along our street

Final day in Buenos Aires before we head home and back to the real world. We spent our time squandering our remaining blue dollar pesos. There is a slightly dodgy practice in Argentina where you bring in US dollars and they exchange it for almost double the amount of pesos the official each ha erase is at. Something to do with the Argies wanting dollars because it’s a more stable currency…..not entirely sure but it’s meant our tiny remaining funds have been stretched just enough for us to live it up a little before we head home.

Reni said these two guys are very famous

No idea who any of them are

So glad this has never been available to me

First stop was a free tour of the city and then it was on for more eating and a final trip to la cholita for another unbelievable steak to finish our our trip. Sad times.

City tour

There are quite a few free ones

They just expect a tip at the end

Ours was really good and well worth whatever tight arse amount we gave him

Madonna



Random flag lowering thing



On the main square

In front of a big pink house



They all march on in perfect unison out of nowhere

Lower the flag

Roll it up

And all get on their merry little way again

Ta Ta.



Another trip to the antiques/tat market



Some good stuff actually and a nice day out

Ok these may actually be antique but they are probably not p.c

The obelisk

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Day 360-63, Iguazu falls, Argentina

Train to the falls, we opted for the 20 minute walk after seeing the hour long queue

It’s a long bus to Iguazu falls from Buenos Aires, another 24 hour effort. Turns out Argentina is huge. We’d read online about luxury buses with champagne and lovely food but of course we ended up on one with multiple servings of dry crackers with apricot jam. Still there was no diarrhea on the seat this time (Danielle’s stomach just happens to be alright again, coincidence?) and there were no borders, bag searches or bus changes to contend with. All in all a pleasant journey and at least a half decent sleep.

We didn't make it to the Brazil side as I'd run out of passport stamps

Argentinian side was impressive enough though

Especially this first bit

A platform where you stand right out over the falls

I’ll let the pictures do the talking for the falls but we were both pretty blown away. I’ve been to Niagara and its nothing in comparison. Beautiful and amazing place.

Pretty amazing being so close

You have to walk out on a little gangway across water for ages to get to this bit

And then it's a close up view of the power of the falls

I was more impressed than I look

Power

Don't remember either of us being scared

But thinking about being on a tiny metal platform a mile out over the water and right next to this I'm surprised we weren't

The highlight of the day though was Danielle kicking her flip flop in to the falls, don’t ask how or why but she did. She then spent the rest of day walking around with only the one on. She almost wasn’t allowed on the boat we’d book that goes right out to the falls, probably would have been a lucky escape actually as it was pretty horrific getting battered by freezing cold water. You can’t see any of the falls as you’re too busy getting pummeled, at least you dry off pretty quickly in the humidity though.

Bit of wide angle action

Still don't really get which bit of the falls this is

When you get further down it looks like a horse shoe round to the Brazil side

Might be this isn't even part of all of that

The whole thing is just massive

Weird butterfly friend, there were loads of them around but this one sat on my hand and then wouldn't get off for the twenty minute walk back to the bottom of the falls

Some more falls on the way to the falls from the top of the falls

Down to the bottom to catch one of these boats

We thought it was cool up top but it got better down the bottom

Full wrap around waterfall

It goes all the way behind the island on the left as well

Some little friends

They are pretty cute and we want one as a pet but they have no fear and will steal the contents of a bag within a second

Best view of the 365 days

Complete with a number of different rainbows

The boat we were about to go on

Seemed like a fun idea

But even thinking about it now, getting smashed by a freezing cold waterfall is not a good idea

Rainbows and waterfalls



Doesn't get any better

About to be soaked

The thirty seconds before we had to hide the camera from the waterfall

Soaked

Moooore waterfall

And more

And more

And more

Think these must have actually been before we went on the boat



Because that's Danielle there doing a little jump

And I've scoured every photo to see if I can spot a flip flop, I can't, but this is where it flew off in to Iguazu, never to be seen again

One down

Not happy

Still did another jump for good measure though

The sad face for the camera

Followed by the actual face I had to look at for the rest of the days whinging. It was as if she hadn't done it herself and someone had stolen her flip flop

Mega rainbow

And mega waterfalls



Little one on the way back up



Croc on the way back up

Sat and watched him for ages hoping he'd bite something

But he didn't move for about an hour

Misery

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Day 356 – 359 – BA days, Buenos Aires, Argentina

We love Buenos Aires

Posh hotels and long walks around Buenos Aires are what we’re all about at the moment. Hotel not as posh as we were hoping considering the price but it is slap bang in the middle of the action. We are on a street with theaters, posh shops, posh restaurants and lovely buildings all round. The huge obelisk thing is at the end of the road. We’ve definitely moved up in the world from previous digs.

Reni and Danielle

Outside eating in a lovely neighborhood

Worth the twenty minute taxi from the centre



Chimichurri, a mixture of loads of herbs and spices and masses of oil. Tastes amazing and takes steak to the next level

A bad picture of the biggest plate of meat I've ever sat in front of

Busy restaurant, the amount of meat they cook per person I'm surprised it's not chaos down there



We got through 90% of it but the humongous bowl of chips just out of shot finished us off

Out door eating is great until a complete torrential downpour



Pint of rainwater for table 2

Probably should have just had the normal steak as it looked amazing, the girls didn't help me out too much with the cows intestine

Making me hungry looking at all of this again. Hungry and slightly ashamed

We celebrated our first night by hooking up with Danielle’s friend and heading over to Palermo, a bit outside of the center to a lovely restaurant with a huge outdoor seating bit on the street. We ordered a dish to share, neither me nor danielle are big sharers as we are too greedy, we needn’t have worried though. Pretty much the entire cow came out on a hot plate. Various cuts of steak, ribs, black pudding, various chorizo sausages, liver, kidneys and finally a big fat slither of stomach. All of it was amazing and I don’t think we even managed to finish it all which is a worlds first. Throw in a few bottles of wine and I don’t think it even came to 30 quid.

Oldest cafe in Argentina apparently. Swung by to book a tango show for later in the week

Market meat

The Argies do a mean BBQ

Meeeeeeeeeeat

Actually looks underdone in this photos but it was so good

Nowhere near as good as Danielle's BBQ pork and chimichurri roll though

Bit of random street tango

Why not

More meats

Empanadas, the best in South America

Buenos Aires is like a spanish version of London. Busy and bustling but still with a bit of Latin american flair thrown in. We moved from our nice hotel to a probably nicer but much less expensive hotel a bit out of the way. It was however close to a huge antiques market that was more like a craft market with a few old bits thrown in. It stretched for miles but we were mainly interested in how many empanadas we could get through from the many different sellers walking around. We also got through the Argentinian version of a pork roll at another street market the following day and rounded off our food adventure at a recommendation from our friends Matt and Dawn, the cheapest, largest and best steak I’ve ever eaten.

Time for some rest and relaxation

Thought the glass bottomed swimming pool on the roof

And the glass stair case and glass elevators were pretty cool

Until Danielle saw online that it used to be a gay hotel. Shudder to think of the sights that have been seen looking up at this pool

The end of our BA adventure was some shopping for dreaded work clothes and a tango snow at the oldest coffee shop in the city. We are both agreed that Buenos Aires is the best city we’ve been to on our travels, such a shame we haven’t had the time to explore the rest of the country.

Huge antiques market in the city, not sure these count as antiques

Our days of carrying around shitty plastic bags and cobbled together luggage are over

Wine tumblers not glasses round these parts

La cholita, top recommendation from some friends for some seriously good steak.

Perfect

Napkins required

Malbec is the main drop round here and you can polish off a few bottles with your steak and still walk home with money in your pocket

Argie car

Shoe shopping

Cheap leather stuff in Argentina, cool shop as well but ultimately we are buying these shoes for our new jobs. Booooooooooooooooo.



Clothes shopping for the first time in a long time, happy girl



Tango night, wasn't too fussed about going, they should advertise the bums more as it was actually a great night!



Really great!

The cafe upstairs, old school



Followed by a few wines on the road home afterwards

We love Buenos Aires!

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Day 353 – 355 – Mega bus to Buenos Aires, Argentina

Trans Americano, the much less smelly bus number two

A 12 hour, followed nicely by a 34 hour bus to get us to Buenos Aires. Had enough of pissing about now and just want to get away from the scene of the car abandonment.

Time for a day of kipping, movie watching, eating and more kipping

First bus was amazing, best ever, with huge fully reclining sofa chairs and massive Telly's. Amazing until we started to smell shit. Amazing until Danielle started to realize her seat was soaking wet. Amazing until we investigated further and it turned out someone had done either a diarrhea or sick all over danielles seat which she had then sat on. Amazing until the bus driver suggested we place a towel over the offending area and we just deal with the stench for the next twelve hours.

Meatballs, tastier than they look

Now apparently this is just a huge coincidence but Danielle had a bad stomach, aka diarrhea, at the time that this happened. I am just going to leave it at that as she swears blind it was not her and I have absolutely no opinion on the matter. Just reporting the facts as I know them.

Bus wanker

Lunch stop before the border

Moving on, the rest of the journey was pretty much a breeze considering the length. The next bus had equally huge but diarrhea free seats and after a couple of separate bag searches within the space of an hour on the Argentinian side we were swept away to a very nice looking Argentina and Buenos Aires.

The border, everyone off, all suitcases scanned, bus searched and just general pissing about for ages in extreme heat

Decided to book ourselves in to a posh hotel after almost three days without a shower. Huge hassle getting from the bus into Buenos Aires as they dropped us miles away and then paid for our taxi half way to the hotel. Understanding this was what was happening was the difficult bit. The rest of the taxi trip was fine and peppered with extremely broken English/Spanish stories about the injustice of Newcastle Uniteds last two games against Liverpool and Manchester United respectively. Very strange ending up in a taxi with Argentinas biggest Newcastle fan and then turning the tv on in the hotel to find Geordie shore on with spanish sub titles.

But we made it to Argentina!

Well I was happy about it

Random stops on the way to Buenos Aires. Don't know why they are so obsessed with full bus and bag searches but they took forever and it's the last thing you want mid bus induced kip

After pretty much a year and a half we are finally here, Buenos Aires. Treated ourselves to a bit of luxury and a nice hotel near the famous obelisk.

 

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Day 349 – 352 – Sorting shit in Sucre, Bolivia

Sorting shit out aka eating loooooads of food

Spent a few days chilling out in Sucre after our car disaster. Not a lot to report other than eating a lot of very nice Bolivian food, drinking nice Bolivian coffee and trying to figure out what to do about a car called Cav.

Dirt cheap food from the local market



Simple but tasty good

Danielle had a chat with the lovely manager of the hostel we were staying in. Strange place. It’s more like a big family house that they’ve started to let people sleep in. There is hardly ever anyone around and the manager is actually just a teenage lad. Turned out he is a teenage lad who is right up for rescuing Cav though.

We pretty much just walked around the town for a few days

And ate

The plan was for him to go out with his mate and a pickup truck and tow Cav back for us. We would then let him have the car as we haven’t got the time to get it repaired or money to get a garage to tow it the three hours over some very bad terrain. Ultimately we just want to get off to Buenos Aires on the bus and enjoy the few remaining days we have left on our trip, whilst making sure we’re doing the right thing by not blocking a mountain road with a knackered old car.

More walking

This time we happened upon a random market

Not sure if it was a special reason or if its on all the time

But it was just an excuse for us to eat more food

Three days later though and he still hadn’t been, turned out his mum had got involved, started asking questions and ultimately thought we were trying to scam them in some way. Basically an interfering old biddy body, still not sure how our offer of a free car worth a small fortune in Bolivia, the handing over of all documents and the offer to sign it away with their family lawyer can be seen as a scam but I guess some things must seem too good to be true.

Danielle thought it was because of international kids day or something

There were a lot of kids about

As such after three days of wandering around and pigging out in Sucre we had a bus booked and left town without knowing the final fate of our once trusty steed. We’ve got the lads email address so hopefully we’ll get a report of him being rescued and living out his days as the coolest car in town, I’m hoping he gets some kind of boy racer paint job complete with go faster stripe. Either that or he stands forever as some strange monument to stupidty on the middle of a mountain in the middle of nowhere.

Sausage sizzle

South American stylee

Probably the best sausage sandwich I've ever had

Old school fifa

More gluttony

Unfortunately this lad didn't get the day off from graft even on international kids day

He made a good if slightly strange kebab though



Cakey goodness

Ronald causing mayhem in the streets



Few thousand people marching through the streets on a Wednesday afternoon

Time for some more food

Just a big stick of pastry covered in sugar, nice

Pigeons going mental

The culprits

Topping up on movies for the big old bus ride to come, ten DVDs on a USB for a fiver

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Day 348 – Abandon ship, somewhere on a mountain in Bolivia

Back to being bus wankers again

No sleep on the mountain side last night.Stop.Neither of us dead.Stop.Danielle’s hysterics calmed slightly this morning.Stop.Waited hours in freezing cold after sunrise with no one but a local walking by.Stop.Local didn’t even speak Spanish just some mountain language.Stop.Managed to flag down a local bus eventually.Stop.Abandoned all possessions other than two bags.Stop. Everyone on bus staring at us.Stop.Bus/people absolutely stink like nothing we’ve ever had the displeasure of smelling before.Stop. Five hour bus ride to the nearest town.Stop.We would never have made it.Stop.Sucre is nice.Stop.Not worth killing Cav for though.Stop.Cav is all alone on the mountain and it is making us sad thinking about him.Stop.

Indescribable stench on this bus

Nice cafe we stopped at when we finally rolled in to town for some much needed breakfast. Chilli sauce on fried eggs, the future.

Sucre

Nice

Not as nice as having a car

But nice none the less

Now time to chill out and figure out our next move

Initial suggestions are no one will go that far to rescue cav from the mountain



Sucre, final resting place of Cav

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