The travel bug has bitten. We're just beginning to plan for a six-month trip to South America. Allen's devoured numbers of Lonely Planets and I have started looking for apartments and fretting over how to carry my laptop.
The plan: We leave January 3, 2009, for Brazil (thankful every moment for airline miles). We'll spend Jan and Feb in Brazil (key stops include Salvador, Ouro Preto, Rio, possibly Sao Paulo, Florianopolis, and Iguacu Falls).
We'll spend all of March in a Buenos Aires apartment (Recoleta district), leaving on a 14-day cruise around the Horn on the Norwegian Cruise Lines on March 29. This ship will pass through the Chilean fjords and the Strait of Magellan on its way to Santiago, Chile, calling at Montevideo, Puerto Madryn; Stanley; Ushuaia; Punta Arenas; Puerto Chacabuco; Puerto Montt; and Santiago (Valparaiso).
We'll spend the last two weeks of April traveling through Chile, north to Bolivia. May, we'll travel through Bolivia, and June is reserved for Peru (with a focus on Incan and Moche cultures).
Every museum we've visited, we've found ourselves hovering over the artifacts from pre-Columbian cultures. One example is from the Dallas Art Museum, this foot high sculpture from the Jama-Coaque culture (Ecuador) about the years 200-400 AD. We've seen common motifs everywhere in the Southwest and connections between indigenous peoples in Mexico and the Southwest, so this trip will be a grand opportunity to visit every museum we can and to appreciate the rich diversity of art as well as the grand vistas of nature.