South America

In 2011, I took a trip …

round South America,   5 months off & in the trail

I landed in Rio, it was April; I remember that being the first time I really felt I had left everything behind, whatever that was exactly I don’t know, but I was alone now in the wild that was for sure.

I worked me up through Brazil, Salvador, Belem & then I took a riverboat to Manaus; at the centre of the Amazon and named after the indigenous Manaós peoples. It took us 5 nights to get there. A tiny boat filled with hammocks. On the last night, a well-mannered thief whom I had been sharing smokes with the whole trip, did a number on me like a Ninja as I slept in the swinger. That sly trickster had unlocked my small backpack which was zip-tied and hanging above me as I slept; taken my Olympus PEN E-PL2, the iPhone 4S & some cash;   but kindly left my passport   & jumped off at the stop just before our final destination.

I only realised what had happened just before we got off the boat, which was a most anticipated event beelive me … I took my bag off the hook, felt its weight & then days & nights of sleep deprivation kaleidoscope into the realisation of robbery.

There was no time to waste, we had to go; & there was another traveller I had been chatting to the whole trip in the hammock opposite, who watched me kinda flip out knowing I had lost my shit man.    She was really cool.   & I didn’t know what else to do but kiss her.

We went different ways, I was gutted; I had to go try and report it, get some cash-back or bullshit excuse I dunno; she had another plan anyway huh. I remember her name as an old scar, you know.

That night in Manaus, fuck knows where; I was miserable.

And drunk. I ate some fish for dinner, I only had a mouthful I swear.

A few hours later, I almost dropped dead, my whole body; shutdown.

I was locked in a room, with a potty opposite in the jungle for at least 10 endless nights; with a wise kid who would drop by, to help me, giving me root brew or something.

By the time I could stand up again, I was now on a trip to the police to report the stolen goods, just to get a note for the insurance. A nice fella from Salvation gave me a ride on his bike to help me negotiate; it was two hours to the closest police station, I remember thinking on the back of that bike; I’ll never make it.

[ Sips coca ]

Anyway; [ … ]

  Colombia was next, Leticia, Bogota, Santa Marta, Cartagena & then Medellín; the City of Eternal Spring. I was stuck there for a month deep in the stuff. There are many Paisa slang words to make you sound like a local, or maybe just a tourist; one of them is; Leave if you can.     It took me two attempts, the first ended with smoke & flames coming from the front bonnet of the taxi I took for flight one. I went back to my hostel, where my mates were happy to see me again, as we began the reunion and real farewells in powder plays for happy strays. 

1st edit; { Note: “Decriminalized since 94′ …

2nd edit; “I bought an Asus laptop while I was there, loaded with all the software I wanted; standard; [ I still horde it as a relic in my drobes of archaic memories ]

                      … Colombia is a really cool place to live for digital nomads, Colombians are lovely & spake great Spanish; there bees some unrest there recently thowuh.

The next day; I remember going through Medellín airport to fly to Quito, Ecuador, one of the few flights I would take here and there instead of the long bus. I was heading to the Galápagos Islands. I watched the security flip through my book; then they were waiting for me just before I boarded the plane, and searched me again; backpack and all, I was spooked. But found myself boarding the plane.

When I arrived in Quito, I had to spend a night; took the book out & watched a bag fall out of the pages of ages, with Colombia’s most famed in international underworld trade still waiting for me at the end of the lines I thought could only have been written by the charm of stars or even dark angels in my mind, novelty, something got signed on my way there who cares. I felt lucky to still be alive at this point.

[ Downs it ]

9th July; I touched down; headed straight for a ship to take me aroond. I had a big budget for it; was with a Swiss friend at this point & we by chance found the SS Mary Anne.

It was a Barquetine, or ‘Bark’        it has three or more masts; designed specifically with environmentally friendly operations in mind. One of its kind in the islands. can accommodate up to 16 guests in her 4 double and 8 single cabins. It was luxury as fuck.

We took Zodiac boats from her to various lands over 15 days.

I think one of the most vivid memories off the ship, was meeting a very old wild one indeed. Lonesome George, Solitario George; a male Pinta Island tortoise (Chelonoidis abingdonii) and the last known individual of the species & known as the rarest creature in the world.

George Hatched circa. 1910.

& Died in 2012;    a year after I had the honour of meeting him.

              [ є∂ιт 3; “Cαи уσυ ιмαgιиє нσω мαиу єуєѕ ωє ѕнαяє∂? ]

[ Lights a smoke ]

There’s much to be said;      

     for the reptilian spirit.


Leading Elephants through Arcadia
The debut book & street rat autobiography by David Araeva


16 Apr ’11 6d – 22 Apr ’11 Rio de Janeiro Brazil 22 Apr ’11 4d – 26 Apr ’11 Salvador Brazil 26 Apr ’11 2d – 28 Apr ’11 Sao Luis Brazil 28 Apr ’11 7d – 05 May ’11 Belem Brazil 05 May ’11 20d – 25 May ’11 Manaus Brazil 25 May ’11 2d – 27 May ’11 Leticia Colombia 27 May ’11 6d – 02 Jun ’11 Bogota Colombia 02 Jun ’11 14d – 16 Jun ’11 Santa Marta Colombia 16 Jun ’11 4d – 20 Jun ’11 Cartagena Colombia 20 Jun ’11 17d – 07 Jul ’11 Medellín Colombia 07 Jul ’11 2d – 09 Jul ’11 Quito Ecuador 09 Jul ’11 6d – 15 Jul ’11 Galapagos Islands Ecuador 15 Jul ’11 1d – 16 Jul ’11 Guayaquil Ecuador 16 Jul ’11 3d – 19 Jul ’11 Lima Peru 19 Jul ’11 6d – 25 Jul ’11 Cusco Peru 25 Jul ’11 4d – 29 Jul ’11 Machu Picchu Peru 30 Jul ’11 6d – 05 Aug ’11 Lago Titicaca Peru 05 Aug ’11 10d – 15 Aug’11 La Paz Bolivia 15 Aug ’11 5d – 20 Aug ’11 Salar de Uyuni Bolivia 20 Aug ’11 5d – 25 Aug ’11 Salta Argentina 26 Aug ’11 4d – 30 Aug ’11 Cordoba Argentina 31 Aug ’11 4d – 04 Sep ’11 Rosario Argentina 04 Sep ’11 6d – 10 Sep ’11 Buenos Aires Argentina 10 Sep ’11 8d – 18 Sep ’11 Mendoza Argentina 19 Sep ’11 4d – 23 Sep ’11 Santiago Chile 23 Sep ’11 3d – 26 Sep ’11 Valparaíso Chile 26 Sep ’11 2d – 28 Sep ’11 Santiago Chile

“Oh wow, another scything commentary on ‘service’ design, advertising, entertainment & politics …

– The Daily Fox

“A radical cosmic rebel’s first-hand account of a corrupt & poisonous global industry; served with a pint & packet of ‘mon-star’ munch …

It’s enough to turn Krishna

              into a bad boy.

– The Holy Hippy

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