So, you may be curious as to what we get up to on this wild wacky South American journey. I will be the first to acknowledge that Facebook albums can sometimes be misleading. I think photos can sometimes show just the good times. And honestly sometimes it's hard to capture moments when it sucks or you're sad.
So I decided to document what we got up to, one of our days in Paraguay, so you can have a more realistic look behind the photos. It had been raining for days, and not just rain but I'm talking the sky-shallt-have-no-mercy-upon-thee kind of days. We were staying in a national park that allowed free camping but, because it was raining so much, we had to camp under a big shelter. Not exactly the breath-taking view you'd expect but, hey, beggars cannot be choosers.
Mr. Human and I start the day with a small tiff. I forget the reason now but it was probably one of our recurring tiffs: that Mr. Human loves the internet more than me. I know, I know, it sounds so silly. But I believe the following photos will speak for themselves:
And I wasn't even able to capture the moment when he raised his laptop to the skies, closed his eyes and started chanting 10110110111011.
Anywho, we take some time apart and luckily the heavens have heard our cry and ceased their downpour for a moment. I go for a walk through the deserted national park, listen to some music and discover a walking trail among the canopies.
Upon my return, the bottom of my jeans are all muddied and disgusting from the walk. Mr. Human wins back my love by offering to clean them for me. And when we say 'clean' in the vanlife, we mean 'painstakingly handwash'.
Ha ha. Anyways! We finally have a day of delicious food! We are starting to get the hang of this cooking-in-a-van-in-a-new-country thing. This is our kitchen station for the day. Our fridge doubles as a handy table. So does the floor.
For lunch, I decided to try out a quinoa salad my friend made like 2 years ago and I’ve always wanted to make. But they don't sell homebrand quinoa in Australia so unfortunately I could never attempt it.
But here in South America!! Dreams are reborn!!! Quinoa is produced in South America so it’s not too expensive. The old owners of our van left us a bag of the stuff. On top of that, beans and avocado and sweet potato are cheap as chips here. Dreams really do come true.
The dressing is a special one of my friend's invention. The cast of characters: Mustard, Lemon juice, Olive oil, Salt and Sugar. It is simply scrumptious!!
Now I'd like to take this moment to discuss two of the above items as I think they really reflect some part of our life here.
The olive oil is the cheapest we could find (more than half the price of the next competitor!). It doesn’t even taste like olive oil, to be honest. But who cares, is what I say! I don’t even use a lot when I mix up the dressing. Gotta have a light hand with your olive oil when all your life savings is in your van!
And the lemon juice... it's not even lemon juice! It's from the last campground we stayed at. I spied some orange trees and made a grab for some when no one was looking. Unfortunately they were super sour so I just cooked the juice up with some sugar to use as lemon juice! This was a handy dandy tip I learnt from the German family we volunteered with.
Next up, we get to some work. We'd recently finished building our kitchen set-up at the back of the van but needed to varnish it before we could use it. Every day there is always something to be doing for the van. I don't think I've done this much handiwork in the accumulation of my whole life.
And yes, I know, the job doesn't look very good ha ha. But rather than a varnished kitchen, I think of it more as a caterpillar in its cocoon, waiting to blossom into a beautiful kitchen.
After, it is peanut time. A while ago, we were driving down the highway and ended up buying a big bag of unshelled peanuts from someone selling on the side of the road. Who can say no to highway peanuts? Certainly not Mr. Human - peanut fan extraordinaire. Ever since, a little part of each day is dedicated to working our way through our baby-sized bag of peanuts.
Soon it gets dark and cold. Really cold. A huge difference to my life in Sydney is that van life is one predominantly outdoors.
This night, it is so cold that Mr. Human thinks wistfully of a special, warmed wine called "Gluhwein" that him and all the European youngsters traditionally drink after a big day of skiing. Of course, the English name is "mulled wine". We are so cold that we look up some recipes and decide to give it a go as we happen to have all the ingredients.
The first step is to pick an orange from the orange tree I spied earlier in the day (I have a gift for spying orange trees). And it must be fate because as we're looking up at the oranges all the way up high, wondering how on earth to get them - we see an orange picking device!
Mr. Human having a little lounge here, the mulled wine really transports him back to the ski slopes.
Soon, we begin to get a little hungry. We decide we can't be bothered getting out of the van though, let alone cooking something complicated so we decide to make boiled eggs. Luckily, one of the perks of vanlife is that we have water inside our van so there's no need to brave the cold and get water from the taps outside! Who needs to walk when you have 10L of water at your disposal, is what we say!
The boiled eggs are a great success! And as they always say, a little salt can't hurt you right! Right!
And now you're probably thinking... how on earth do we enjoy the delights of toasted bread while in a van with no toaster? Well, sir, feast your eyes upon this! Another overlander who was cleaning out their inventory gifted this to us. Needless to say, they made my day. Maybe even my life.
Breaking Bad van-style: On top of a box on top of our fridge. Mastered feng-shui, we have.
And so concludes a day in the life of! Hope ya enjoyed haha. :)