The adrenaline is beginning to pump as I check off my to do list for a six month trek into South America. I will fly from Miami to Caracas, Venezuela and head south through Brazil and possibly head to Terra del Fuego- one of the most Southerly outposts on the continent.
In order to visit Brazil- United States citizens, need to have a visa stamped in their passports by one of the Brazilian Embassies. I elected to use Visa Express at http://www.visaexpress.net for a total cost of $158.00 I downloaded their visa forms, included a 2×2 passport type photo, filled out a travel itinerary for my stay in Brazil, included my US Passport and used postal overnight for $15.95. I received my stamped Visa inside my passport on the fifth day hand delivered to my door. Now that’s impressive! This is a Brazilian tourist visa which must be used within 90 days of your approval date. When you enter the country you have a ninety day tourist visitors visa. I called Visa Express twice and was treated professionally and could not give them a higher recommendation for any of your Passport or Visa needs There phone number is (1-800) 884-7579 Diplomats and International Businessman use this service because of it’s speed and dependability.
Now that the Brazilian Visa is behind me, I needed to address my vaccination shots which included Yellow Fever ($89.00), Tetanus($29.00) , and Pneumonia($40.00) total $158.00 which I received at the local health center in Florida. A Yellow Fever shot with proof is required in Brazil if you have visited Venezuela before entering Brazil. At any rate you should at least get your Yellow Fever shot and discuss with your local doctor any other shots they recommend for your travels. You receive a yellow booklet: International Certificate of Vaccination as approved by the The World Health Organization which is now a part of your travel package,
I ordered and received my International Drivers license which is good for three years. This is also fast and easy– you only need to download an application and send a copy of your Driver’s license along with a new and different 2X2 inch picture of yourself on a white background which you can get at any passport photo office or local drugstore chains like Walgreens. The cost was $104.00 and was purchased via IDL Services inc. www. International License.com (305-421-7272 It’s a good thing to have when you rent cars, motor-scooters etc.
The next leg requires packing for a diverse trip which I have a small back pack and a larger travel bag which I can leave at a pre-determined destination and pick up on my return trip. The key is to travel as light as possible which for an American is next to impossible. If you don’t have it- you probably don’t need it anyway and you can always purchase it along the way.
I have in my travel pack one pair of shorts, one pair of kaki long pants,one heavy sweater,one poncho rain-jacket, three t-shirts, three pair of underwear, three pair of white socks, several drip -dry safari sport shirts, one swim suit and a clear plastic see through divvy bag for my toothbrush, deodorant, etc., my digital camera in a case and any medications that you will need for the trip. A plastic whistle around your neck for emergencies plus a container of mosquito repellant with deet. One roll of toilet paper. You keep your travelers checks, passport, International Drivers License, and Vaccination Card in the fanny pack with a twist. Use the pack tucked under your front shirt and into your underwear if necessary- so it is not obvious to thieves. Copy all of your credit cards, birth certificate, passport, international travelers license, immunization shots, and your travelers checks and numbers and send to a relative for safe keeping just in case any of this stuff gets stolen along the way.
Use a hidden code for your credit card pin numbers and embed them in your documents. Plan to communicate using internet cafes to update your loved ones or write a blog which is a perfect way to document your trip and activities.
If you want to phone from South America to the United States you can purchase your phone cards from the following website, which is quite a bit cheaper than calling direct. To get a phone card, click on http://www.nobelcom.com. When you buy a “card,” you don’t get a physical card, just several access numbers and PINs to call from various cities (large cities within the country you are calling from.
Last minute tips for travel in a foreign country: Get advice from a travel health professional, let your body adjust once you arrive, protect yourself from disease-bearing insects, make sure your water and ice are purified, consume only well-cooked food, Fruit and veggies? Wash it, peel it, or forget it, prefill your prescriptions, as they may not be available at your destination and take some extra time upon arriving at the airports to orient yourself with a mapped out destination. Don’t jump for the first taxi. Ask the taxi driver what the cost will be before he loads your luggage into the cab.
QUOTE: If you use humor to laugh at yourself you will be constantly entertained!
THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:The Gytrash, a legendary spirit known in northern England, haunts lonely roads awaiting travellers. Appearing in the shape of horses, mules, or dogs, the Gytrash haunt solitary ways and lead people astray. They are usually feared, but they can also be benevolent, guiding lost travellers to the right road.
THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Travel stories! Why be so different from our ancestors? In retrospect they had it all together. I am not so sure this new bunch running the planet has a clue. Should they remain clueless or should we help them out? I’ll let you decide!
ZENTRAVELER SAYS: If you keep traveling you may catch up with yourself!
I want to thank the many bloggers and visitors who have read my blogs and I appreciate the fact that you pass the word via grass roots to any of your friends, family and interested travelers virtual or otherwise. I call this my three way blog- which includes a section on health, Chineese Zen, and travel stories. I also would encourage any feedback or areas that you the blog-reader would like to see in future blogs. My bags are packed– I’ll see you on the internet. Zentraveler