Last week reflections: Home time looms

This time next week I will be home. Blighty. Great old Britannia. Or 'Inglaterra' as I've conversed in my best Spanglish of late. 

This time next week I will have swapped my bikini for thermals and air-con for central heating. Hello there turquoise fleece penguin pyjamas and double toggle duvet. Goodbye my old backpack full of a faded, over-worn travel wardrobe. 

Right now, from a sunbed with a hint of sunburn on my legs, I have a confusing mix of emotions as we soon embark on our seventeenth and final flight home next week. It's been a remarkable five months away, a literal once-in-a-lifetime trip that is full of incredible memories and bucket list experiences. If it wasn't for the heart strings pulling to see our loved ones back home, I'm sure I'd have a real case of the holiday blues on my hands. Instead, with Christmas around the corner, I find myself as excited to land back in London as I was when I was last there, about to fly to Vegas at the start of this trip. As the saying goes, 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' and through rose-tinted spectacles I picture roaring log fires, homemade shepherd's pie and Strictly on catch-up. I'm sure by the time I'm sat with my fingers scrunched inside my jumper sleeves to keep warm I'll long for this golden sand and turquoise waves. But such is life, eh? The real test will be how long I'm back in the office lifestyle before I'm longing for a holiday, it sure will be a while before we can afford one! 

Despite the good advice from my sister, who also travelled around South America earlier this year, to not let the 'real world' creep into my thoughts too much in the last days of this incredible trip, I have to confess it's been almost impossible not to. Along with the panic of ordering Christmas presents online from a country where the Internet is heavily rationed (read: non-flippin-existent), the slower pace of this half of our trip has meant more time to let those worries and niggling thoughts creep in. Where am I going to live in January? What will have changed at work? How will I get through a day without spending every minute with Mr A? 

With the finish line is close view, many of the evening conversations over Gin Rummy have turned to our favourite moments, unforgettable moments (surviving a three day hike to Machu Picchu always on the tip of my tongue) and some of the more forgettable moments (surviving a month on a diet of rice and beans!). After four months on the road, there are plenty of home comforts that I'm pining for. Marmite being one of them. A good cup of Earl Grey tea. And I would seriously consider trading Mr A for a face mask and bubble bath. 

The most overwhelming feeling I have following this trip though, is how distinctly privileged I feel to hold a British passport. However you feel about the political decisions of 2016, whether you have been in favour of Brexit or not, we are so incredibly lucky to live in a democracy. Experiencing Fidel Castro's post-revolutionary Cuba, walking through the street art expression of the Argentine dictatorship in Buenos Aires and the fight for human rights of Chilean people against General Pinochet's (corrupt) government, the world has its issues. But I count myself lucky that I don't have to fight for an education or face persecution for the circumstances I'm born into. This is why travelling is so important and I could not be a bigger advocate for anyone considering time out to see the world. It really is an eye opener and not always a comfortable experience, but shedding the cotton wool has given me a reality check and it's always necessary to have a little reminder of what's important in life. My world won't implode if I miss a series of X Factor, forget to dust the house or choose not to work late tackling my never-ending inbox. In 2017, we all have to rally together to keep fighting for what we believe in, keep a healthy balance on work vs play and appreciate our lucky stars for all those simple yet taken for granted luxuries of food on the table, a roof over our head and clothes on our back. 


The Diary of a Digital Detox

Day One...

12pm. Sat in a trailer attached to one heck of a tractor. The most absurd mode of transport on this trip to date and more absurd when you see the crazily tight width of bridges we creaked over and the rivers we drove through when the bridges were yet to be made! For the lack of cars, we replaced the Number Plate game with the Counting Dogs game to pass the two hour journey. The 13km stretch of path to the lodge had us see 31 dogs en route (3 of which were pups!) - Mr A was having the time of his life!

2pm. Our first homemade lunch was a very traditional Costa Rican affair; rice, beans, vegetables and pasta. Oh, and a side helping of more rice and beans. 4pm. Carb coma recovery position assumed in a hammock on the balcony and book in hand. Not missing my phone yet!! 6pm. Dinner of you guessed it... rice, beans, vegetables The pre/post dinner glance of social media was replaced by actual conversations with people around us (what is this?!).

7pm. The scene: sundown, ukulele and a bottle of red wine. Tunes of Jason Mraz's I'm Yours, All Of Me by John Legend and Bobby McFerrin's Don't Worry, Be Happy strummed out by our Costa Rican guide, Deonnis (or Deano as we called him). The most civilised non-alcohol-fuelled scene in which I will ever be caught singing in public at this outback's version of karaoke. I’m glad there were no phones in sight for fear of video footage later appearing on Facebook. 10pm. Mosquito net fort erected. A humid night's sleep beckons. Realised I've not missed for one second the internet and kind of wishing we never have to go back to the 'Real World'.

Day Two...

6am. Fan blowing a slightly pathetic breeze and I've awoken early due to the heat. My reflection in the mirror reminds me of the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. scene with Monica screaming "It's the humidity!!!”. My usual early morning bleary eyed check of social media and WhatsApp messages was replaced by listening to the birds outside our window and some light-reading… How blissful! 8am. Breakfast of rice, beans (noticing a pattern yet?), plantain (brother to the banana) and scrambled eggs. My tastebuds continue to adapt to Costa Rica's black coffee and develop a new vice. Uh oh! Again, no neck straining from looking down to see my iPhone and catch up on overnight events. No, instead conversation and, even more scarily, silence. It's so refreshing! 

9am. Prepare to hike a nearby jungle trail to a river for a spot of swimming and diving. That is the whole plan for this morning. Not a phone in sight (or in mind).

10.30am. An hour and a half later our hike concludes. Deano is euphoric that he'd manage to trick so many of us out of bed into the rainforest with promise of a "short walk". Spotted a poisonous red frog along the way, narrowly avoided sliding off the slippery edge of the pathway into rocks beneath and ate anywhere between 5-10 bugs. Soaked with sweat, ankle deep in mud (thank goodness for the loan of wellies!) and hopping over one ant farm later to an incredible crystal clear river. A dip in the refreshing freshwater was utter heaven. Fish darting in between my doggy paddle kicks, and then I get told piranha fish are found here but tend to (tend to!) leave when people swim!!!! A nearby cliff offered two levels to jump into the water for the adrenaline-seeking, the Gravity Falls jumpers in the group finding this a breeze having spent a day canyoning down waterfalls and jumping off rocks. More of a psychological challenge for us novices but I did "the big one" after some encouragement from Mr A (more a reenactment from The Notebook when Ally is hesitant at jumping on a rope swing and Noah shouts, "GET. IN. THE. WATER!!")

12pm. Lunchtime. Guess what we had? Still no feeling of missing my phone though and certainly not missing the plug contest of Rock Paper Scissors with Mr A as inevitably our phone batteries would be warning low on a normal day at this point. 1pm. A nap of epic proportions began. 3.30pm. Woken by the lodge's three bells to beckon everyone down for a traditional Costa Rican cooking lesson. On the menu were empanadas! We've been ordering these since Argentina so it was awesome to get to know how to make them properly! 4pm. Black coffee and empanada feast followed by some more reading and a check on our budget spreadsheet… the latter sadly couldn't be avoided despite the internet ban.

8pm. Bonfire alight. Beer in hand. Marshmallows on a stick and s'mores in the making. After a brief attempt to rediscover GCSE level French with Mr A, we ended up talking about our life's goals and ambitions - you know that stuff that married couples do, right?!  (Or anyone after one too many drinks and when sat around a campfire!) 10pm. Hanging out. In a hammock. Unwinding from a gloriously hectic day of relaxing in the middle of nowhere. Never want to leave. What is a mobile phone again? 


On reflection, I felt a million miles from any of those "fears" I spoke about pre-trip in The Fears of a Digital Detox. It was utterly delicious not thinking "oh I should be doing this or that". With no option to log-on and no teasingly bad WiFi to wind me up when I want to be efficient, I felt I could get used to being cut-off! And yes, it was only a brief interlude but it was still enough to refocus my priorities whilst I'm on this trip. I'll have all the high speed internet I could want when I'm home but with that comes a state of mind when I cannot stop, cannot switch off and live at 100mph. It's no surprise the number of twenty- and thirty-somethings burning out is so high. If you feel you can relate to this, maybe it's time you had a mini detox too. As much as I'd like to encourage all of you to hop on a plane and visit Costa Rica, something so simple as staying at your parents' house for a weekend sans phone, with hearty and healthy food, a book and a blanket could easily do the trick. Hate to say it but it's unlikely the digital world will even notice you've gone, but the break will work wonders for your inner-computer to shut down and re-boot. 

The Fears of a Digital Detox

In less than 24 hours I will be far from civilisation. 
In less than 24 hours I will be in a place where the internet doesn’t exist.
Cue (minor) breakdown.

Okay… so I’m being a little melodramatic here, it’s only for two days. Yes, a mere 48 hours. It’s not like a lifetime or anything but it is a long period of time to go without the world at my fingertips. Can you remember the last time you were without it? I believe it’s due to my travelling status that the internet is such a valuable asset in the grand scheme of things. It’s my portal to connect with my loved ones, the news and, of course, social media updates.

The place I am heading to is an isolated rustic lodge somewhere towards the Caribbean side of Costa Rica that takes two hours by van from La Fortuna and an additional two hours by tractor, yes you read right, TRACTOR, to our final destination. There we will find our base for the next two nights and spend our days reading literature, playing the piano and taking turns about the room (or perhaps something a little less Jane Austen). Sounds like heaven, right? And I’m sure it will be. It’s the kind of break we all need every now and then but one that life rarely grants us.  Perhaps this is the reason many of us wouldn’t like to admit that our digital addiction has got a little out of hand.

So what’s the big worry?
Having grown up in the social media boom, part of my life, like my peers, has been played out across the 2D social media platforms. At first it was just Facebook, although as a teenager, we all know the kind of havoc it could cause during our school years. But as Kelly Clarkson sang “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and once you’ve had to delete a relationship off Facebook, you’re definitely a stronger person for it! Then the arrival of Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Vimeo, YouTube, the list goes on... Every aspect of life can be documented in 140 characters, image or video.

Going cold turkey with only the 3D world around me isn’t the scary thought. No, it’s how will everyone else know what fun we’re having if I can’t tell them?!? Because let’s face it, that’s why we’re all addicted to social media, right? It’s like our own version of the Hello! magazine spread for those of us who haven’t married a footballer or won a reality TV programme. Therefore, our own glossy version of our lives gets plastered across the screens of social media platforms everywhere featuring the heavily filtered photos (thanks Instagram) and edited to within an inch of its life (like Rita Skeeter’s version of the truth!). Such is the Social Media Game.

So whilst I’m off “finding myself”, humming in a yoga pose and drinking nothing but coconut water, here are my fears of being internet-less thrown out there for all to see. 
Feeling as exposed as this raccoon pictured on the beach in Manuel Antonio's National Park.

Fear 1.

FOMO. (That’s ‘Fear of Missing Out’, Mum).
Whilst I’m away I’m going to miss 500 million tweets a day (yup, that’s 6,000 a second!), more than 160 million Instagram posts and not to mention the obligatory Facebook engagements and baby scans that will be posted amongst my friends (such is the demographic these days, oh yes, we’re in that phase!).

Fear 2.

Keeping abreast of the news. And I’m not just talking about the Mail Online’s FeMail pages here. Of course, I’m referring to the newly-crowned ‘Worst Political Decision of 2016’ after Brexit and the luminously tanned man that rhymes with ‘flump’. I think we’re all keen to see how the decision impacts the world economy and, as the price of the dollar directly affects our travel budget, it’s good to keep abreast of the fallout (and markets). 

Fear 3.

In the words of James Blunt, “Goodbye my lover, goodbye my friend” to all those Instagram followers that will inevitably fall off a cliff. Not literally of course, but as I’m sure every InstaBlogger out there will tell you, without due care and attention, followers can vanish into the night faster than my WiFi connection drops. Without yet finding an app that can automatically post pictures in my absence (thanks to Instagram’s rulebook), my status will have to be declared ‘AWOL’ for the next 48 hours. Rest assured I will be back with beautiful pictures once I’ve visited the beautiful place.

Fear 4.

I’ll be at a loss for the Family WhatsApp group. Having warned all the members that they should expect not to hear from us for a couple of days, I’m wondering how we will survive without knowing what they’ve eaten for dinner, pictures of the log fire burning and what the weather is like back in Blighty. Of course, I expect that they will also be on tenterhooks awaiting the latest updates and confirmation that we’ve not been eaten by crocodiles.

But aside from all that, let’s look at the positives…
I will obviously emerge from this experience a picture of calm... at least that's how the movie version would portray it. A life with a little less digital focus, as Get The Gloss and Career Girl Daily are always preaching, will bring about greater well-being and (here’s the buzzword) mindfulness. I’ll be saving my eyes from the harsh blue light of technology and subsequent disrupted sleep. I will let my arms and thumbs enjoy a little normal circulation instead of defying gravity whilst I’m laying in bed glued to my iPhone. And most of all, I’ll be taking a break from comparing myself. There will always be people with more followers and subscribers, prettier Pinterest accounts or lustful Instagram posts. And good for them, but I shouldn’t be fooled that they don’t experience just the same social media hang-ups as I do. Kotryna Bass and Sian Richardson are both hugely successful in their own right and often ensure they have time away from the rat race to ‘recharge’. They’ll still be there when I come back and hopefully I’ll have a little more perspective (as well content to catch up on).


What if... Wanderlust Strikes

Having worked in London for over six years, I'm sure many of you can relate to the moments when you sit and wonder ‘what if?’. 'What if...' I weren't so tired in the morning that I go to the gym? 'What if...' I had an extra day to potter around the house, to do all my chores without losing the weekend? 'What if...' I had the time to actually cook a meal from scratch rather than just look longingly at my Amelia Freer cookbooks. It's funny the trivial things we fantasise doing with that extra bit of freedom and time. What do you wish for? 

For me it was the wanderlust 'What if...' that came knocking most frequently. Wanderlust, or a daydream of any other kind, is likely to strike many of us during our early careers, often once we've left the comfort of the university bubble (which I mourned for a good two years post-graduation!). Exploring the world is a luxury that most of us can only sit and dream of during the daily grind! I'd always loved travel and there was one massive continent I hadn't yet explored: South America. But between a busy job, London living costs and too many countries to pick from, a two week holiday was never going to scratch that itch. Day after day the backpack at the back of my wardrobe was lurching, dustily, into view.  So, when the opportunity presented itself that Mr A and I could swap the two-week honeymoon for a five month "travel-moon", it was one that we couldn't turn down. With The Trip Itinerary sorted and The Bucket List at the ready, I was about to claim back some of that 'What If time' to get all those things done...or so I thought! Now half way through our adventure, I look back at those desk-side wishes I once daydreamed of and consider whether it has become reality...

Wish One: Get More Sleep
In my wanderlust fantasy that would mean waking up anytime from 9am onwards. The reality? I've had more 3am or 5am alarms set in the last two months than I care to remember. When the alarm isn't fired up to catch a bus, a flight or excursion to somewhere, I wake up around 7am anyway... Damn that body clock! Why doesn't that happen at home?! I'd get so much more done in the mornings! And you know when your mother warns you you're burning the candle at both ends, well, yup, that applies here too as we are constantly on the go. Stopping for any significant amount of time leaves us feeling restless that we're "wasting" wherever we are that day. And you can forget acknowledging the weekends with any kind of a relaxed pace. Life feels as on the go as it did in London, just at a complete loss for any form of routine or familiarity.

Wish Two: More Time For Exercise 
Anyone that knows me knows I have a love-hate relationship with exercise. I love the idea of it, hate actually doing it...until I've done it and then I live off the high and excuse not to go for the next week! But no, on the road, I would have oodles of time for morning jogs along the beautiful canals in Paraty/through the tree-lined streets of Buenos Aires/the boardwalk of the Copacabana, discover new types of exercise classes around the world and be a lean, mean travelling machine so the bikini body that my PT worked so hard on doesn't go to pot. It just hasn't happened (sorry Kaytee!). Either it's too hot, we're too tired or there's just not enough room in the schedule. I realise I've replaced the 'but I've got work' excuse with 'I need to make the most of [A or B]'. Bar one amazingly spiritual (and slightly awkward) yoga class in San Pedro de Atacama, several bike rides in North America and the hiking in Peru, walking has been my main exercise to date. Yet, here I am sat poolside planning how I'll incorporate exercise into my new regime once I'm back at work in January. Oh the vicious cycle continues...*guiltily downloads the app 7 minute workout*
A bike ride and hike to the moon and back (well... Moon Valley/Valle de Luna)
Wish Three: Perfectly Painted Nails
This sounds trivial, and it is, but for office workers reading this I expect your empathy here. I'm sure you will know the feeling when you look down at your keyboard bashing fingernails and wish you had enough hours in the day to give yourself a fresh coat? Day after day I would mentally add it to my to-do list and then forget about it until I caught sight of my disgraceful chipped nail varnish again (usually at a time when nail supplies or drying could not be accommodated!). Not a great look when you're in meetings or people grab your hand to inspect your engagement and/or new wedding ring. Luckily, packed in my trusty backpack is my travel manicure kit and it's the biggest luxury to sit and make them look pretty. I even made sure my pillar-box red was chip-free before the Lares Trek (sadly it wasn't by the end!). It's hardly high priority stuff but sometimes it's the little things...
With Cusco in front of me, a beautiful view whilst this Topshop Pillar Red dries...
Wish Four: Read My Bookshelf
I house an impressive chick-lit collection at home and have packed away as many as I physically can within the 23kg weight limit, whilst also having the Kindle app primed for its first bit of activity. I promised myself a Kindle once I'd read all of the books on my bookshelf...I still have about fifty to go so the app on my iPhone is a temporary measure so I still have the incentive to read them all! Now if you're a good car traveller then you will scoff at my meagre four books that I have read to date. (Note: One of those was completed in two days when doing nothing by sunbathing and reading - like a proper holiday, right?!) Despite what must be a week's worth of sitting on a bus, I just can't read for long otherwise I get carsick! In those cases, thank goodness for Spotify. However, the pace of the second half of our trip is expected to be slower with more 'R&R' on the agenda so I expect my page-turning average to increase! Thank you so far to Tracy Bloom (No-One Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday), Harriet Evans (Going Home), Ian McEwan (On Chesil Beach) and Cecelia Ahern (The Year I Met You).
Floating in Laguna Cejar - the high salt content means you can bob around in the water - a perfect spot for page-turning.
San Pedro de Atacama, Chile.
Wish Five: Calm Down and Drink Champagne
Most conventional honeymoons consist of two weeks in a luxury sun-drenched resort with Champagne and cocktails on tap. That is not what we're on. In over two months, the closest I've got to that was a tour of a Pisco factory and eight shots down before lunchtime and a small bottle of Cava on the train from Ollyententambo to Agua Calientes post-Lares trek. Boy did I need it then! Oh and not forgetting the lovely bottle of bubbles my new father-in-law had delivered to our room in Las Vegas, that we subsequently drove through Death Valley and drank warm out of plastic cups in Lee Vining in a wooden cabin. Oh, the luxe life. Hopefully bubble consumption will be on the increase along with trying out the local cocktails along the way. So far I've tried and tested Peru's Chilcano, Brazil's Caiprahinas and waiting with baited breath for Cuba's rum!
There's always time (and budget) for bubbles. Confeitaria Colombo in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Wish Six: Bonjour Spanish
Languages are not my thing. Never have been. My sympathetic French teacher acknowledged my creative talents lay outside of hoarding vocabulary and I was elated to walk out of my GCSE French Oral exam knowing never again!!! So, yes, I'm one of those ignorant British people who has got by on other people's ability to converse in English. However, five months in mostly Spanish speaking countries is too much even for me to get by on 'Ola' and 'Gracias'. Side note: Brazil had to be difficult by speaking Portuguese, though to me this sounded like someone had heard Spanish through a wall!! So I've been on a crash-course learning Spanglish and somewhat unhelpfully discovering in the process that I have more French vocabulary actually in my brain that Madame Hood could ever have imagined! So two apps that are holding my hand are Google Translate - what a lifesaver - and Duolingo, a fun app for learning useful everyday vocabulary (though a wifi connection is required for the latter).
Luckily this sign was written in English...despite being in a cafe in Bolivia and run by a Swedish lady.

Wish Seven: Speak in Code
The rise of digital and all that, I've been rather surprised at how many of my friends and peers can read and/or write code. Given that this blog thang is my new love and ones CV is always in need of new skills, I felt it would be a vastly helpful skill to learn. I've had the Udacity app downloaded for some time and after failure to integrate into my London life, I figured travelling would be the time. Turns out I can't here either. Wifi isn't South America's strong point so between my social media addiction, the hilarious family WhatsApp group and keeping abreast of celebrity gossip, this one has fallen neglected. Must. Try. Harder. 

So the half-time report is in: I need to do more exercise, have more lie-ins and attempt to test Central America's wifi and become a coding genius. But let's be honest, what I've been up to these past two months is far richer life experience than I could ever dreamed of! So, I'll have to pass on getting the washboard abs for now and accept that I'm trading up for helicopter rides over Iguassu Falls, eating my way through Argentina's steak restaurants and taking tango classes in Buenos Aires. These are the memories that will make me smile when I'm toothless and eighty. And in truth, that's what wanderlust is all about; living for the moment and creating memories! 

What would be on your wanderlust wish list? 


Buenos Aires: Exploring the urban art scene

We all know that feeling of the unknown when arriving in a big new city - not knowing where you’re going, using a dodgy-folded tourist map to locate your hotel/hostel and unsure where the best places to eat, drink or shop are (because you don’t want to use your expensive phone data). And that’s why walking tours are great! A chance to literally 'find your feet', learn about the place you've landed in and get an understanding of the local environment and history. You can find a decent walking tour in most tourist hotspots, the majority of which rely on guides doing a good job to earn their tips but don’t necessarily give you insight into what goes on under the surface – the day-to-day life, the culture and the real feelings of those who pound the streets. In Buenos Aires, I discovered a new way of exploring a city – a tour with an artistic twist - I introduce to you Graffitimundo: a not-for-profit organisation that offers a deeper insight into the rich history and culture of the Argentinian capital through the expression of street art. 

Formed in 2009 by two English girls who, when travelling through Argentina, were fascinated by the local street art covering the walls of the city and became passionate about communicating the political context behind the urban art scene. Embraced by local artists and art lovers, Graffitimundo quickly grew into a network of galleries, museums, universities, charities and media outlets, sharing the inspiration and meaning to murals around the city to locals and tourists. Kudos, too, as it's the first of its kind in the world (apparently). 

For most, you'll think of graffiti as a) gang tags, b) vandalism or c) illegal. But there's a difference between graffiti and street art. Whilst according to Argentinian law both are, indeed, illegal, street art is 'tolerated'. How so? Well, in Argentina many of the political parties often commission street artists to paint their campaign propaganda around the city walls and use popular district hotspots to promote their slogan or party name. With that in mind, the police have bigger fish to fry. Interestingly, by law, large-scale buildings (such as the one above) are required to have one side left completely blank reducing windows and sunlight for residents. In the process, they’re creating huge canvases for artists to bring the city to life through colour – perhaps the city planners are secretly big art fans?! 

In 2001, there was a huge economic crash with the majority of Argentinian services being nationalised and the peso falling to $1 USD = 1 PESO. Add to the equation five different presidents within two weeks and Argentina saw 50% of its 37 million population fall below the poverty line overnight. In that situation, street art blossomed as an expression of political unrest and economic distress. It's not vandalism that homeowners despair at; it's admired by residents and even paid for by local businesses to renovate their premises' exterior, transforming the dull social outlook with bright, vibrant artistic flair.

Commissioned by the local football team, Boca Juniors (or La Boca), this mural depicts the heritage of La Boca when back in 1884 a volunteer fire brigade - the first in all of Argentina - was formed after a harsh fire broke out in the barrio.

So why choose Graffitimundo?
Having been highly recommended (and with time on our side), we chose to see the best of both sides of BA and booked onto the North and South City tours. We were accompanied on the North Tour by Benjamin, a photographer by trade, and the South Tour by journalist Anna, both of whom got involved in the project through their love of street art (and their city!). Both tour guides were incredibly knowledgeable sharing the historical, political and artistic background to the creative backdrop in front of us and spoke with real passion. With four tour options to choose from, you can explore multiple areas of Buenos Aires; it's the perfect way to see the city through the eyes of the locals (plus a minibus to save your feet). Check out their tour options here.

You can book online and pay by card so no worrying about carrying cash or running all over the city to find an ATM that actually has funds (welcome to Buenos Aires). Planning ahead is advised as spaces are limited. Book a second tour and get 20% off!
Anyway, enough of the talking. Now for a sneak peak of some of the fantastic artwork you'll see...

An incredibly lifelike piece by Martin Ron for the recent Color BA festival de art in barrio de la Boca.  Can you believe this is all created with spray paint? What precision must be required.
Can you see spot the three symbols that make up the Incan Trinity?
1. Snake. 2. Condor. 3. Puma
Art-in-progress. On a bank holiday Monday, it was quite a treat to stumble across two artists in action. Late arriving to the 2016 street festival, these two artists (one from France and the other from Japan) often collaborate but prefer to improvise on arrival rather than pre-plan a creation. 
Magee Homeless Man. Painted in January 2014 (one of the more recent pieces we saw, although the scene is ever-evolving!) to represent the struggle of flooding in the artist's life. Pictured carrying a 'Queenslander' - a typical Australian home for the poor - it represents the struggle with flooding that plagued his childhood. The impression is brought to life not just in the subjects drawn (including the tree from the very footpath in front of it) but also with a dripping effect created from the paintbrush being submerged in water. Poignantly, the location of this mural was chosen as the landlord had evicted its long-standing tenants as Palermo's rising popularity drove rents above what the locals could afford.
Gaucho (the name for an Argentinian Cowboy)
Created by a British artist, Jim Vision, who flew into Buenos Aires to embrace the art scene during the 2011 street art festival 'Meeting of Styles'. Back in London, he owns a creative agency in Shoreditch. The piece was completed in three days and required over 200 aerosol cans.
Teta and Salta. The artist, Jaz, completed this in three days and didn't agree that not having money was a reason not to paint. Therefore, this piece was created from the cheapest paint mixed with tar and gasoline - the literal meaning of "street" art.
So, there you have it! A sneak peak into some of the amazing pieces of street art that Buenos Aires has to offer. What is your favourite piece? Have you been on a similar tour elsewhere or do you know of any other cities with incredible street art?

© Rose Tinted Spectacles

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