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Happy Holidays!

Hello everyone!  It is so hard to believe that Christmas is almost here, and we are already in South America.  We are looking forward to spending the holidays with our Chilean friends.  There really is nothing better than quality company, delicious food, and pisco sours to drink!  This will be our first Christmas in the southern hemisphere, so it will be a hot and sweaty one for sure! 

I can´t say enough good things about our time spent in Australia and New Zealand over the past month. It was wonderful to break out the camping gear and put it to use.  I really had no idea that we would camp for almost the entire month, but it actually worked out quite well.  Living outdoors was a welcomed change after spending five weeks in marginal guesthouses throughout Southeast Asia.  I would much rather watch out for snakes and spiders in their natural settings than to be sleeping in a rat infested room.

We established a very normal routine during our days of camping.  We woke early in the mornings and breakfast ALWAYS consisted of sugarless oatmeal and black coffee.  Why we chose not to spend $1.50 on sugar I still do not know.  The morning/early afternoon was spent involved in some sort of outdoor activity.  When lunchtime rolled around, we had the option of powdered soup and rice or pasta with tomato sauce.  Sometimes this appetizing meal just didn´t manage to fill our bellies, so we might make a peanut butter sandwich or bring out the sardines and crackers.  (I have really grown to love sardines, a trait that would make my father a proud man!)  The afternoons were full of swimming and hiking until we had exhausted ourselves and managed to head back to the campground to wind down the day. Provided the weather was cooperative, evenings were always pleasant.  We usually dined around 8-9pm and ate whatever we chose not to eat for lunch.   Fortunately we always had plenty of boxed wine on hand to wash down our food, but more importantly to get us a bit tipsy for bedtime.  I have learned that it is most essential to get a wee bit tipsy to sleep adequately when camping without an air mattress.  It really is a must! 

The showering opportunities were most interesting along the way.  We usually tried to stay at a campground with proper amenities every 2-3 nights so that we could take nice hot showers.  Sometimes the local information centers provided outdoor showers, which I suppose was a good thing.  It was fun to bathe outside for everyone to watch as we battled the freezing cold water in quite frigid weather conditions.  You know you´re a budget traveler when this is how you roll, but it really does build character. 

All of these experiences have made us most thankful for things that we typically take for granted in our daily lives.  We did manage to meet up with friends along the way during the month, so it was nice to sleep in a bed, eat fresh foods, and spend time with quality people.

So this holiday season, I suppose we have a pretty basic wishlist.  We wish for hot showers, a big plate of fresh vegetables, a cozy bed, and wine that is not from a box.  It is all about the simple things in life!!  Merry Christmas!!!!



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