Simone and Luis floating down the Madeira River in the Amazon Basin on a four-day boat trip, Brazil (photo by Luis Bastardo)
Well, we finally decided to get started on a travel blog after many requests from our friends and family. A quick summary for those readers who don't know us and who may be interested in following our travels. I'm Simone and my husband is Luis. Our last name is Bastardo and we spend much of our time traveling, hence we have come to be known (affectionately, one would hope :-) as The Traveling Bastards. Most of our travel is what we might call "by the seat of our pants", or what others might call "certifiably insane". We have spent a week drifting down the Amazon with 100 of our new Portuguese-speaking Brazilian friends swinging in hammocks next to us; we have been driven over muddy, rutted roads in rural Bolivia at high speed in a forty year old Buick with no wipers and a serious radiator problem to find a regional airport with unflooded runways; we have woken up in the middle of the night to find a live tarantula crawling a foot above our heads in our eco-hut in the jungles of Peru; and I've spent a screaming, hysterical 30 minutes trying to hold a pillow over my head with one hand while desperately looking up the word for "bat" (baseball? vampire?) in a Spanish-English dictionary with the other after a bat flew into our bedroom window in Buenos Aires (Luis is a native Spanish speaker with a limited English vocabulary...more on that later).
No flights leaving today: waiting at a drenched rural airport, Bolivia
Between us, we've traveled to 42 countries and 82 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and so far have visited every continent except Africa and Antarctica. We just returned from a four day trip to Punta del Este, Uruguay, and last year, a three month odyssey through the US and Canada, Luis' first official trip to North America (not counting his childhood trip to Disney World, hardly representative of the US as a whole). Our next trip starts on April 6th and will last about six weeks or until we are ready to smother each other with a pillow, whichever comes first, when we head up the coast of Brazil by bus. Our first stop is Rio de Janeiro, going on to São Paulo, Brasilia, Ilha Grande, Salvador de Bahia and The Pantanal, the largest protected wetlands in the world. We will be posting as we go, adding photos, stories and tips as well as adding backdated posts from previous trips because you have to read it to believe it. You just can't make this stuff up...