I made an impulse buy of a $30 Elvis suit 3 weeks before leaving Australia in Jan 2008 to travel for a year.
It's crap....and now it's coming with me.
I don't sound like Elvis, look like Elvis, or sing like Elvis.
I am Crap Elvis.


World trip montage - Crap Elvis in 25 countries

Monday, April 28, 2008

Crap Elvis in La Paz, Bolivia

Originally nervous about arriving as people kept warning us that if our bags were going to be stolen anywhere, it would be La Paz.
They were wrong...one of our bags actually got nicked at the bus station waiting to get to La Paz.
So there!

Anyway, loved it.
Where else can you buy a dead llama foetus to bury under your porch?
Where else does your rail trip get cancelled because someone has stolen some of the tracks?
Where else does someone looking very dodgy come up to you, open his jacket, pull out an old rock, and say "psst, wanna buy a fossil?" ?
OK, granted Manchester, UK may be the answer to a couple of those, but only La Paz can proudly say "here" to all of those.

What?...as if you've never seen a man in a bad elvis suit getting a shoeshine before...

Sod corruption, poverty, and the drug problem...taxpayers money in La Paz is far better spent on employing people dressed as zebras to help the corrupt/poor/drugged-up cross the road at zebra crossings. With such a literal approach at road crossings, I was extremely concerned at what might happen when the green man starts flashing.

Determined to seek out some culture. Unfortunately the bloke with the big stone head was no help at all.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Crap Elvis does The Death Road - it´s unboliviable!

So initially I was hesitant about doing a 65km downhill bike ride on The Death Road near La Paz in Bolivia. However my search for The Slightly Bruised Knee Road or anything else that sounded a bit less life-ending failed to turn up any other options.

They call it "the world´s most dangerous road"...because it is. Approx 300 deaths a year on it until a new safer bypass was opened a couple of years back taking most cars/trucks off it.

First 30kms are on tarmac before it becomes the actual Death Road, and then to make things interesting it becomes 35kms of loose rock and gravel with 500m drops off the side. Starting at around 4600m above sea level, you gasp for air before descending approx 3600m of earpopping, constant-braking, vertigo-inducing madness. And just to make it educational, your guide constantly stops you to point out another place where anywhere from 1 to 100 people plunged to their death. Then you check your brakes again...and again...and again...and then continue downhill.

One of our "support" vehicles carefully making it´s way down ahead of us. "Support" as in "we´ll notify your next of kin if we see what happened"

Breathtakingly gorgeous. Nice scenery too.


Oops, I think I just dropped my keys.

Are we nearly there yet?

Running uphill at 4000m above sea level. Don´t try this at home. Patient now doing fine.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Crap Elvis in the Bolivian jungle

Well, the thin air of La Paz (3600m above sea level) is still providing a good enough excuse not to think of lots of words to write, so again, mostly pics until my head clears enough for proper accompanying words and vids. (wordy bits have now been added to the Buenos Aires post though somewhere below)

Anyway, here we go, stuff from a 3 day trip into the Bolivian jungle. One day we looked for anacondas in the morning and went piranha fishing in the afternoon, which made a nice change.

So it took a 40 minute flight from La Paz by Amaszonas airlines (¨now capable of 19 passengers each flight¨ the ads boast!) to nearest jungle village where obviously jungle fever has set in on a few long term residents. This is the local mobile baker.

then 3 hour trip in 4wd....with added stuck in the mud in the middle of nowhere experience...

then 3 hour boat ride in wooden canoe type thing...

to finally get us to our ecolodge (fancy way of saying dodgy huts on stilts with no running water or electricity)

Oh look, there´s an alligator outside our toilet. It didn´t rate a warning when we arrived so it was a nice surprise.

Shout out to the jungle crew...

Oh look, there´s an alligator outside next to our living room...

Waking up early for sunrise boat ride.

Worth it.

ooh look, today he´s outside our kitchen...and if he´s quick enough he gets the scraps the piranhas aren´t quick enough for.

Crap Elvis storms the Bolivian border

A 3 day amazing/nightmare trip from San Pedro, Chile across the Bolivian border into the Bolivian desert and Uyuni salt flats (world´s biggest).

Full words and vids to follow soon...only photos for now (and strange ones at that)

Bolivian border immigration and customs. Full cavity search on request.

With some Bolivian amigos.

I hope the 4.15 to Chile is late.

¨Fish Island¨in the middle of Uyuni´s salt flats. No fish.

Mini Crap Elvis in the Salt Flats

Crap Elvis with mini friends.

French Crap Elvis: The first person ever to ask to wear the sacred $30 suit. Aubert from France. (see, they do have a sense of humour).

Crap Elvis in northern Chile

On the Pachamama bus trip thru northern Chile (www.pachamamabybus.com).
Words and vids to follow soon. Photos only for now..
In the Atacama desert, Chile. Ooh look, more sand.

Salt flats in the Atacama desert, Chile. Ooh look, more salt.
Where trains go to die in the desert.

A giant hand in the middle of the desert. It would look silly anywhere else.

San Pedro salt flats, Chile. More salt than you can poke a stick at. Unless it was a really long and wide stick.

Crap Elvis in Southern Chile

So back to Chile after a brief visit at the start of our trip to Easter Island (no eggs, just statues).
We'd been recommended a backpackers bus (www.pachamamabybus.com) which has 2 routes out of Santigao - one around the south of Chile, and one around the north which diverts off the normal roads to take in any strange/interesting sights.

The south included a stop at one of the best surf spots in Chile - Pichelimu. I had a great session but was surprised at how cold the water was (first time I'd seen a penguin wearing a jumper). We also went to Pucon where we didn't climb the (still active) Villarica volcano, twice. Having been fitted with all the gear (ice pick, crampons etc) the night we arrived, the next 2 mornings the climb got called off because of the weather. Despite it being a notoriously tough climb, fortunately I know in my head that I would have done it easily and would have been the quickest and bestest in our group, so it didn't really matter.

Another 2 volcanoes in Southern Chile that I didn´t climb.

After returning to Santiago, I managed to catch a really important football match between Chile's biggest team Colo Colo and Argentina's biggest team Boca Juniors (see videos in previous post) at L'estadio Monumental. It was a lot more mental than monu. More of a survival course than a football match. It was also in a very dodgy suburb and I'd caught the subway to it. However when it finished, I found the trains had stopped so I tried to ask a riot policeman how I could get back to the city centre. He asked me where I was from, and when I told him Australia, he told me to ride a Kangaroo back. I told him there was no need to be rude to someone from a different culture who had come a long way physically and mentally to be at that game, and that he could shove his baton up his Chilean arse.

Oh hang on...no I didn't...I just laughed nervously as if it was really funny and walked off and got a taxi because he had a machine gun and lots of other big policeman friends in full battle gear laughing at me
Silly me, I only smuggled in green fireworks.