Friday, 24 August 2007

Thoughts on life on the road

Faithful followers of our exciting nomadic lifestyle are now fully up to date with where we´ve been, what we´ve done there, and what we thought about it. But we haven´t yet told you much about the logistics and details yet - this is the stuff we could only really learn about by doing it - the unknown stuff that made Debs worry and Ben say "no worries".

It seems like we´ve been away for months now, but it´s only been 3 weeks. We´ve been moving around every 2 days or so, packing a lot of places and experiences into a short time. Our friend throughout this whirlwind of travel has been the amazing Mexican bus service, and the Lonely Planet guide to Mexico, which is as enormous as it is useful.

We planned a rough route using the sample itineraries in the front of the Lonely Planet book, and then winged it a bit from there, talking to people as we go along and picking up tips and ideas in hostels - sometimes going on organised tours, but mostly stealing their ideas and doing it ourselves (not always as convenient, but more fun).

One of the things we´ve got used to is not planning too far in advance and not reserving accommodation at all. Debs absolutely hated this at first! But after a few disappointing bookings where we couldn´t cancel a 2 day reservation in a shit hostel, we realised that the random factor often gets us into cheaper, nicer and more enjoyable places. Since there are 2 of us, and we want to stay in a private room, there´s usually something available for us for not much more than the cost of 2 beds in a dorm. Well, OK, sometimes it´s quite a bit more, but then we do get an ensuite bathroom and privacy.

A couple of the private rooms in hostels have been really good for the price. The one we´re in right now - The Mayflower in Puerto Escondido - is $30 a night and much nicer than many Hotel rooms we´ve stayed in.

We´re also a big fan of hostels with shared kitchens, where we can attempt to make delicious and cheap evening meals instead of spending on restaurants. This doesn´t always work out as planned, as local shops don´t always have the ingredients we need (you can only get chicken stock cubes in Mexico), and the cooking equipment isn´t exactly of the highest quality.

Appeal for help! (Dido, we´re relying on you): please give us ideas for simple but delicious recipes you can cook quickly with minimal equipment. So far we´ve done stuff like pea risotto (tasteless; made from a stock of water, salt, pepper and soy sauce, and undercooked fresh peas), pasta putanesca (made with tomato puree disguised in passata packaging) , and tortillas with black beans and a salsa of toms and onion, avocado, and topped with hot pepper sauce (a success!!). Please mail us some recipes! We can get pasta, fresh vegetables, and some tinned stuff, but no frozen, or herbs and spices. Thanks!

Ben and Debs, x

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