Blog Content - What's happening?

Firstly, thanks for visiting my blog! Secondly, I should explain the logic behind the posts. Some posts I'm doing 'on the fly' while others are posts relating to past experiences. I'll try to title them accordingly or you can search using tags.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Crazy Peruvians Stole My Purse

We had our first Spanish lesson the other day and before our teacher left  she mentioned something about Peruvians practically invading Buenos Aires. We would have basically brushed off the comment but she persisted in telling us more about the evil Peruvians.

"It's not that Peruvians are bad people in general, it's just that they come here and steal from us and cause trouble; I had my purse stolen when I was walking down the street with my two kids, I hate them."

We're thinking, holy crap we need to watch out for these guys.

"What do Peruvians look like?" we asked.

"They are short, the have very dark skin and they are REALLY ugly. You would recognize them right away because they really are ugly." Below is a picture of your standard Peruvian at the beach.

(my brother Scott)

I was a little shocked at her comments but everything came to light; a few hours later when we took a walk in BsAs's downtown area. The so called 'Florida' street which is supposed to be 'so cool' in this city became part of our plans. For those who are from Ottawa, it's basically a Sparks street on crack; except many blocks longer, much wider and has curious looking people everywhere. Bottom line is that we didn't take any pictures because our eyes were peeled for Peruvians. It didn't take long before we found our first one... our Spanish teacher wasn't lying... damn UGLY and suspicious looking.

We decided to bail on Florida street because it wasn't living up to the wonderful memories of Khaosan Road in Thailand. The thing about Khaosan Road is that at least you don't know that pick pockets are eying you. We made our way back out to one of the main streets and started heading towards a famous cafe that he heard about (not before taking a wrong turn through a Peruvian nesting area... creepy!).

Now the sound of crazy drums beating, helicopters and people flocking in the same direction as us made us turn around once again. I have omitted at this point that we're pushing our 8.5 month old son in a stroller that can barely roll. I'm not afraid of large crowds but I'm not an idiot either; Argentinians are very fond of protesting! The speed at which the crowds were growing across a 9 lane highway were interesting.

We escaped just on time to avoid some huge crowds of people marching up the street. When we finally reached a quiet area we looked up just on time to see a women get her wallet stolen right out of her purse. The victim was an early 40s women sitting on a curb across the street (waiting for a bus or to meet someone). As she opened her purse this Peruvian comes out of nowhere and swipes her wallet out of her purse and takes off. We are frozen in amazement that this kid has the balls to do this in a wide open space. After ten 10 meters the Peruvian looks over his shoulder to see that no one is chasing him... he slows down to a jog with a smirk on his face. His victim sits back down on the curb and starts crying.

I could have easily caught him because he ran towards our side of the road but in a direction 45 degrees away from us; I could have blindsided him. Let's say that if  I was with my brother (see picture above) and not with my wife and baby, things might have happened differently for that little asshole. Not knowing what type of backup this kid had is another issue. So that's the story of our Peruvian encounter... hope you enjoyed! Make sure that if you visit any big city that you're not familiar with you take precautions against thieves!


Saturday, March 20, 2010


I've traveled to Thailand a couple years ago with Vicky and I remember laundry being a constant challenge. Paying someone else to do it is way too expensive, even in Thailand when traveling on a budget so before traveling to Argentina I knew that a proper solution would be in order. I would have totally forgot to look into this problem if it wasn't for a travel guide that I was reading which suggested bring some rope to hang clothes. Well my friends, I've discovered something better...

The 'FLEXOLINE' is pretty cool because you can dry clothes much quicker! Unfortunately, the company I ordered it from didn't have any in stock so I just got regular rope instead. I did figure out a way to create my own variation of the flexoline and now I will remember this trick whether I'm traveling or camping.

STEP ONE: Buy a good length of nylon rope, approximately 1/8 of an inch & a universal sink plug adapter (available in most hardware stores).

STEP TWO: Travel somewhere.

STEP THREE: find a sink, tub or whatever and wash your clothes (or find a place to go swimming and get your towel and bathing suit wet).

STEP FOUR: fold your rope in half (what's the wording I'm looking for here?) and twist it as much as possible before tying the two open ends to a hook, door or whatever.

STEP FIVE: insert your clothes into the twisted rope so that you don't have to fold it over the rope... no need for clothes pegs and your clothes will dry really fast!

Enjoy your dry clothes!



So here's a problem with planning long term travel with a family, in fact it's a very common problem people face when preparing to make a dramatic change in their life. The problem is FEAR created by your own mind to stop you from making the change that you are trying to make. These fears are mostly bullshit excuses but a necessary step to achieving life changing goals. Now that I'm actually in the process of achieving my goal to travel to Argentina with my family for over 1 month these fears outlined in my journal entry below seem completely ridiculous. In this particular journal entry I discuss how my fear of not having enough money attempts to sidetrack my end goal. Money is not the only fear... let me tell you some more that I remember having kept me awake:


1) would if I get sick while out of the country?
2) would if baby gets sick?
3) would if we don't know where to go, where we will sleep?
4) we won't be understood by people (Spanish speakers),
5) would if I go way over budget?
6) what will happen to my job?

OF COURSE, they're all valid fears and the solution is to find the solution to the problem so that you can move forward. There are many more complex problems in the planning process that can arise and they are fully discussed in the book: 'Six Months Off' by Dlugozima (and 2 other authors) which I recommend.

Taking time away isn't for everyone... but if you need a change in your life then a good bit of traveling might be a good transition.

Here is an unedited version of my thoughts from 3:45AM, January 9, 2010.


I supposed to write this entry last night but I wasn't able to because I was too tired. Instead I continued reading the book 'Emergency' by Neil Strauss. Apparently it takes less focus to read than to write. Regardless of my fatigue, this is the second night in a row that I've awakened at 3:45AM to the sound of a howling baby, unable to return to sleep. I'm experience something while laying in bed that probably isn't foreign to most people... rambling thought syndrome. I don't think that's a real syndrome but what the hell.

My strategy is to write things down so that I can feel secure in knowing that I won't forget anything, everything will be okay, etc. The only problem with this strategy is that it's now 5:15AM and I think that I just finished writing things down. The more I write down, the more overwhelmed I feel. The source of my anxiety stems from money (or lack thereof). I'm not very happy about this because my motto lately has been 'I don't care about money' so where has this problem come from?  Oh yeah, traveling to effing S. America for a few months. I suppose my brain (id, ego, whatever) had decided that it's time to come up with every reason in the book to keep doing what's comfortable (stay here, don't move, get a job, etc).  What was that brain?? Get a job?? Screw you brain, Argentina, here we come! I wonder what the exchange rate is between CD & ARD? Damn, there I go thinking about money again.

Saturday, March 13, 2010



I've been meaning to write a lot more before leaving for the next leg of our trip; unfortunately I tried to pull a super-hero workout. The workout left me in a world of pain that drastically reduced my willingness to live. Regardless, being 90% useless doesn't stop the world from turning or my brain from thinking! On a similar wave length I'm wondering how many days into our travels to South America will it take my digestive system to turn on me (leave your guess in the comments)! FYI, our trip to Mexico landing me in trouble after day 3 with pretty standard food poisoning for a total down time of 4 days. After 25 days in Thailand I suffered an intestinal breakdown that forced my hand of antibiotics and 5 days of being fully aware of the nearest toilet.


We're leaving on March 15 for Montevideo, Uruguay and returning to Ottawa on the 28th of April. The trip isn't nearly long enough in my opinion but at least it's not a 2-week (or 'too weak') vacation.

We plan on spending a week near Montevideo (beaches, countryside) followed by a boat ride to Buenos Aires, Argentina. We're hoping to last a couple of weeks in the metropolis before jumping on a bus to Mendoza. After a couple of weeks in wine/olive country we'll jump on another bus ove the Andes to Santiago, Chile for some good food, mountains and relaxation. We'll then head south to Patagonia for the remainder of our trip before flying back to Montevideo for our return flight.

The specifics are subject to change of course but at least we have some type of plan right? Hopefully this info will give you something to look forward to reading about!

Stroller's fit on planes! Who would have known that leaving our stroller (aka, The Tank) at home was a mistake? Apparently, everybody with kids except for us. It turns out that all 5 airlines we'll experience this trip don't have any restrictions on stroller size. They even have it available for you when you step off the plane. We did buy an umbrella stroller for $18 US, hopefully it will survive the trip.

Shopping online for plane tickets sucks. There is a lot to know! Start with Expedia and Orbitz. Find the cheapest fare that works with your schedule and then check prices with the airline directly (checking multiple carriers prices with multiple connecting flights isn't worth your time though). Also, flights are typically cheaper on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and if you purchase 2 months in advance or 1 week from departure. Kids under 2 years are practically free if they sit on your lap (but if you're lucky you'll snag an empty seat on the plane). There are other tricks as well... let me know if you're interested in learning more...

From Duggleby's Travels

Reciprocity fees. No, not recipe fees... these are fees that some South American countries charge us for visiting because we charge the same fee to them when applying for Canadian visas (United States, Australia, U.K. Also apply). The fees vary by country and you can mostly avoid them by finding ways around their international airports. This is why we're landing in Uruguay and taking the 3 hour boat ride to Argentina... (savings: $75 USD per passport) and a bonus experience in Uruguay!

Babies make a lot of noise when they sleep. We hope that we'll have a 2nd room for Jack for at least some of our trip. He makes a lot of noise and moves a lot when he sleeps! Another reason to bring ear plugs with you on a trip! Not to worry though, a baby cries at louder than 40 decibels so you'll still wake up if the baby needs you! 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Travel Stage 1 - Crazy things in Florida


Jack's first flight from Ottawa to Newark, New Jersey went quite well. I don't remember anything but smiles and that twitching thing he does when he's really excited. He spent most of his time staring at people across the isle, playing with his bording pass and his favourite activity of all which is staring at the lights on the ceiling. The descent wasn't a problem on either flight... but I really don't know what the altitudes were. I suppose the 8 hour flight to Uruguay is going to be at higher altitude which means a longer decent and likely more problems with the tempanic membrane (ear).


We took a little drive over to the Home Depot today looking for a 'universal sink plug' and a 'retractable clothes line' called a flexoline, which are both pivotal items to have when traveling overseas on a budget. The sink plug will fit in almost any sink so that we can do our our laundry. The clothes line is brilliant because it's elastic, can stretch to 7 feet, has hooks on both ends and you can pull apart the elastic fibers to insert your clothes, eliminating the need for clothes pegs! Unfortately the 'flexoline' was nowhere to be found so we had to settle for regular rope.

At Home Depot we found the sink plug which was right around the corner from the 'Holy Shit!' isle. Vicky tells me ...'You have to see the next isle!' Judging by her excitement I probably should have had the camera ready but I was still upset about not finding my flexoline. The next isle was the width of 2-3 regular isles with the entire ceiling covered in lights!

You must be thinking... "HOLY CRAP BRUCE, REALY? LIGHTS?" Please don't close your browser yet... when you have a baby who loves staring at lights and ceiling fans, combining the two could cause some type of stimulation overload, and you'd know that things could get interesting.


And now for my 'WTF' moment of the day, I spotted this dog sitting on the back on a covered pickup truck going down the highway at approximately 65-70 MPH (close to 120 km/h). I figured the guy was driving this fast because we were doing the speed limit and he passed us. I imagined how horrible I would feel seeing even a minor accident. Click on this link to watch the video!

A lot of other things happened today like Jack cutting his finger on my beer can when I looked the other way. I wouldn't have known if I didn't see the blood because he didn't even flinch. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Jack also hummed something in response to Vicky's humming. He also hit someone over the head when they tried to play 'peek-a-boo' with him. Apparently, he was smart enough to know where the person was hiding.

Thanks for reading, don't forget to subscribe!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


FAMILY MATTERS (Written January 6, 2010)

At this point we haven't bought any plane tickets to South America but a surprising number of things have happened over the last 48 hours: 1) Vicky, my wife, completely supports my ideas, 2) we've been pre-approved by the bank to not only purchase a new house but to keep our existing house as a rental property, 3) we've gone to visit a house that is for sale, 4) I've actually been productive for the first time in quite a while (ouside of caring for my son Jack), and 5) I've met a guy named Brad.

So, if you've read my last blog post (also my first blog post) you'll know that I left the story with a bit of cliffhanger. Well, it turns out that the 'next morning' actually came much quicker than I thought it would... 10 minutes after finishing up my writing, Vicky is awake and I start the conversation off with, 'Do you know how long I was just in the bath for?'.


What you all want to know is what I was thinking when I woke up the day after my big epiphany. I think it went something like this, "Oh f--k. What have I done now?" You see, after my glorious self realization the other night I told wifey everything about it. She gave me the, "It's about time" sort of response, as if to say that she was going to hold me to it. So I woke up feeling good, a little scared but good. The first thing I needed to do was improve the quality of my task lists. I really like carrying them around with me but since I don't have an iPhone, I'm relying on a pen & paper. This wasn't going to do, not with all the stuff I now have on my plate. I visit a website called '' that I remembered reading about in the '4HWW'. This website completely blew my mind (take note that this is the 2nd thing to blow my mind in the same number of journal entries / blog posts). I can't measure it precisely but I think my productivity has increased immensely in the last 48 hours. The result is that I no longer need paper.

Now to my experiences over the past couple days. None of them are really all that important to write about. We looked at a potential new home and we got a mortgage pre-approval. Did I mention that I met a guy named Brad? I met him because I'm giving away my computer desk and he's the guy who picked it up. Coincidentally, he's the CEO of a company that does a lot of stuff that I'm interested in. He was interested in talking to me for two reasons 1) he saw my cross country skis and wanted to tell a story about skiing nakes in Gatineau park, 2) I wrote instructions in pencil on my now dismantled desk so that he could put it back together easily. He asked me, "Do you really work for the government?". Keeping in mind that Vicky had emailed him earlier in the day my response was something like 'Hell no, my wife does'. "Makes sense, you're way too..." he used some word that made me sound smart and non-government like so I took a liking to him. We talked business and I soon realized that he's in the game and I'm nothing. Nonetheless, I wore my 'humble-hat' (is that even an expression!!??) and he offered me some amazing advice for a project I'm working on. I might have arrived at the same conclusion but he just helped with getting there a little faster. I guess that's the point of networking... I probably should have figured that out a long time ago.


I wrote back in January but right now it's early March and only those who 'follow us' know that we're in Florida... one step away from our departure to Uruguay. Anyhow, if I had to summarize what I learned prior to writing that last journal entry it would be: 1) if you're going to make a big move make sure to consult your husband/wife and try to get their support (I was lucky), the conversation will help to justify actions taken later on 2) take immediate action towards your goals, it will help you from not looking like 'douche bag failure' down the road 3) be proactive in all areas of your life to reveal things or people that/who are hidden just under the surface (like Brad). As it turns out, nothing is as easy as it seems as you'll find out in a future post.

Most importantly, I should probably mention that part of the reason it took me so long to start this blog is that I didn't want to share our plans with my little world... in case they failed. They still could fail... so at least I'm not a total wuss.

Oh, and just to be clear, I have plenty of respect for people working for the government (I'm obviously still married to one of them). That occupation is just not conducive to realizing the goals that I have for my life.