Living in Latin America 2012/2013

Hello everyone and welcome to my travel blog at DondeEstaElBano.com. Tomorrow  I will be embarking on a journey down south to Latin America. My trip will start with a 6:30 a.m. flight out of my hometown of Vancouver, Canada. I will be flying over to Houston, USA where I will pass time for six and a half hours before I hop on my final flight to Nicaragua. I am due to arrive in Managua, Nicaragua at 10:55 p.m. where I am expecting to be picked up and taken down to the old colonial city of Granada.

Parque Central in Granada, Nicaragua

I’m sure many of you are well aware of my love for the culture and languages of the people  in Latin America. This trip has been something I have wanted to do ever since I brought my mark up above 50% in my Spanish 10 class. A language that I once had no time for is a language that I hope to entirely immerse myself in for the next half year.

Originally, I planned on arriving down in Nicaragua and exploring the different schools in the towns of Granada and San Juan del Sur until I found one of my liking. I have heard you can barter for better prices in person rather than agreeing to a price over the net but decided to play it safe and assure myself a spot in a school immediately. I figured that either way, it is a lot cheaper than studying Spanish in Vancouver. The main concern was whether or not there would be a Nicaraguan family available to ‘adopt’ me while I studied Spanish in their country if I just showed up at 1:30 a.m. in a city I know hardly anything about. Therefore, I have officially committed to 2 weeks at Granada Spanish Lingua (GSL) but if all is satisfactory then I will study for at least 6 weeks before I pack up my backpack and begin my solo trip down towards Peru.

I fly out of Lima, Peru on April 21, 2013 and have very little on the itinerary. I have of course read through a few travel books focused on Latin America but the idea of setting up an entire plan does not appeal to me this time around. I would rather receive recommendations from locals and travellers alike and make sure to keep my stressors at an all time low. Go with the flow. the beauty of traveling solo.

In my dorm room with two of my main boys, Rig and Mike, in Singapore.

I had the opportunity to attend the National University of Singapore as an exchange student during my undergrad travelling to many incredible areas on the weekends and much more extensively following my final exams. My brother actually made his way down to Singapore via a couple of weeks in Australia and met up with me the day before my final exam. We then embarked on a trip through six countries in a little less than two months. It was an eye-opening trip with hundreds of stories that still have us rolling on the floor laughing (I mean ROTFLing of course). I have no regrets about anything within that trip but as one can assume; it felt like we were on amphetamine as we made our way through south-east Asia and east-coast Australia. My objective this time around is to slooow thiiings dooown.

Relaxing on our hammocks after a long day of ‘Tubing in Laos’
Oh yeah, we were also locked out of our room for the night.

Living in Latin America is going to be a lot more about fully enjoying areas before moving on to the next spot. I am starting my trip in Granada, Nicaragua and ending my adventures in Lima, Peru. Whatever happens between November 15 and April 21 is still up in the air and somewhat dependent on all of your suggestions. Traveling alone I won’t need to worry too much about the itinerary of others. This is what the true advantage is in traveling solo. There are many disadvantages to traveling alone as well but my plan is to focus on the positives of which there are many for me in the upcoming months.

I am about to fly south for the winter. I am going to be leaving the cold and wet Vancouver winter and exchanging it for sunshine, waves, volcanos, froggers, plantains, fiestas, and hammocks. Please don’t get me wrong; I love my city but I am ready for an adventure. I promise you that all of my blog entries will not be this long and dry. I just wanted to make sure everyone understands as much as I do with regards to what the future holds for me. I’ll also be writing the rest of this blog from my Google tablet so that will be a huge motivator for me to avoid blogging about boring crap.

Outside our hostel in Byron Bay, NSW

The reason I have chosen ‘¿Donde esta el baño?’ (Where is the bathroom?) as the name of my site is to help paint a picture of what it is going to be like for this happy-go-lucky gringo down south. Although sometimes claiming to be one of two brothers born in Guadalajara (or “El G” or “Guada” as mi hermano Steamin’ Beamen and I will sometimes call it), this is not the truth. I’m just a Canuck that loves meeting new people and is looking forward to the challenge of communicating with others in a foreign language. There are two lines I remember practicing  before my family trips to Mexico when I was younger. These phrases were ‘Dos cervezas por favor’, and ‘¿Donde esta el baño?’. Those lines did the trick when I was staying at massive American owned resorts in Mexico but I think I will need to improve my Spanish skills if I want to do more than use the bathrooms of Latin America while holding two beers. The next half year is an opportunity that I have created for myself  in order to practice the language I have grown so fond of over the years and I look forward to sharing my progress with all of you.

En el baño.. Gangnam style!

Follow along if you would like. This is mainly a public journal to help me remember my trip more vividly and to keep my friends and loved ones aware of the fact that I am still alive. Thanks to all of those who have helped prepare me for this trip and to the others who have wished me safe travels. I hope you enjoy my stories to come and please please please leave a comment if you have any recommendations for me during my travels.

¡Hasta la vista chavalos!

Los voy a extrañar a todos,

(I will miss you all)

Taylor

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