Monthly Archives: January 2012

How much should I learn…?

In the small mountain village we had one bus hauling people to the downhill to the seasoning farms and the small town of Moshi town of approximately 5okm, going early in the morning and come back in the evening for six day a week.  In my culture the best way for adult to deal with child problem is to scare them so since no one want the young to be swallowed in the big stomach of town always the story will be exaggerated and the big literature here is world of mouth there was no proper ideal of why you go to school though most were encouraged to study.

Today as I get enough of bureaucracy avoid to think about the failure I’m facing I focus my attention to the simple things around, take a walk in the well lightened street of Buenos Aires this child hood memory come to me. I remember how I get enough of stories and focus more on the people, who could reason, my teachers, the priests, for instance. I just admire how they were passing their knowledge, it made me less scared so I like what they were teaching and I didn’t have to straggle.  

I remember the day I skip class hid my exercise books under stone, pretend to be with someone and jump in the bus, for the age of 12 I made big discovery of my own none of my peer knew how the town look like in that time. It was thrilling experience but also traumatizing seen how the place operate, as I grew up I didn’t west time so just try to get used to.

Well, probably that couldn’t work; Elvis you can’t get used to it is ridiculous; this was my conclusion when I visit South Africa for the first time.  Today in Buenos Aires is more; if you want to go fast you pass on top of other, the road is passing on top of house the concrete lifted up there.  The buses and taxes never have to stop to wait for customers and their enough to confuse you; I’ll need a proper class to know to use them. As that not enough underneath there are others as close busy as up here. The second day here at the park eating with my friend I felt like the earth was shaken so I thought it is earth quack ‘Don’t worry it is subway’, and that was still confusing ‘Subway’ isn’t that a eating place like Mac Donald?  ‘No it underground electrical train system’ Damn! How stupidly I’m?  So if you’re calculating we have already had three layers of transport, just transportation!

Apart of having three layers it just solve little of the problem, there are millions of traffic lights. I was real pissed off the day I get lost and took the tax, the drive tell me it not far so I shouldn’t worry so he point me to the meter and there we go, I wish to get off and run seen how much time we’re wasting on each traffic light. I just wonder how much have been invested in the city like this, will my country one day be like this, guess if we make it to hear we will be in debt till the end of the world.

I agree that development is good though it make me feel like I’m living in the film and looking forward to the END. My concerning here is the energy consumption just forget about what people use in their house; the amount of water spent in the industries to run this kind of life, the amount of fuel; I don’t see any sustainabilityof this kind of system.   

I’m still learning …

I love animals but I should be honest, I’m shocked by the number of pet especial dogs here. Walk in the streets every after town minutes is someone with dog though different kind of appearance which I have never seen before, guess you can order according to your preference.  I should be clear for my folks back home; these are not just merely dogs! They are not dogs which leave und $1 per day, they are dogs which see doctors … I mean vet. When they are not feel good, I’m sorry to say they enjoy far away better care compare to maasai baby in Engaruka.  They are great possession and huge human company here. I’m learning to say  ‘You have a nice DOG’.

And I’m still learning …

Argentina surprised me with women empowerment before I thought African way of treating women it also influenced by religion but that seems to be wrong here. This is one of these country founded by Christian missions though I’m worry religion it just history here. No Bible neither Koroan  give much power to women but Brazil, Argentina and Chile women have already enjoyed what other women still is a merely dream.  Seems like Argentina set example since Eva Peron took power after his husband who was president at that time passed away and now Christine from the Peronist part she is a president. So women here have their respect and nothing to compare with how their treated in Africa by the way I respect all culture.

I’m not writing this to talk about women rule actual I’m terrible in that subject. I want to talk about the fact that Argentina women or these I have seen in BS they are beautiful. Before I knew much about this beautiful women just for my observation it seem like they were living to their own world, that was conclusion I got when I had a chart with friends. They claim that their ladies are hysterical. The advice I got from this exporters any way may be every man is expert of ladies as ladies for man, they say some spent lot of money for surgery. On top of that there are bad girls and good girls so any one should watch out, what that supposes to mean? If you’re up to that subject you better research!

 

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There can only be true courage…

There can only be true courage where first there genuine fear. Dr. David Livingstone.

It second week pass bay and I’m still in Buenos Aires imagine that is I could be on the road that is about a 1000km, Tour d’ Afrique cross Africa kick off on 15th and now they have already count down one country. My routine here is very simple; wake up in the morning, raise my spirit, try the best to be happy even though I’m not, take a subway on which now I’m becoming expert. From subway station it few blocks and Chile flag it there; red, blue, white with red star. I before I enter embassy building I always look at it as someone looking at virgin Marry for short pray. Enter in the visa room with Spanish signs hang around, the face I have been seen for week now, my spirit start going down, I know what is the answer. I never go there as they tell me come next Thursday or so instead I pop in every after one day. They will ask me what your name of your country is. Other day ‘what is your last name’, other day ‘do you have your passport with you’ that how it goes and they disappear behind the counter return with fake smile; ‘Sorry Sir there is no answer for your visa from Chile yet’ that why I hate smiling!! I’m very expression less in these moments so my question is ‘Do you have ideal when they will replay?’ before they would tell me ‘not too long just come next week’ but now they are tired with my face so they just give it to me; ‘No’ which means you’re on your own! The explanation visa for my country should take 15-20days which I total understand but I ask them if by chance they could assist since I have bus booking and short time in Argentina. In some point they said my country is very far which make me wonder if we are in the same planet. One day certain dude get enough scream and swear to them but for me I keep my head down since I believe this people in the desk they may not be the one to who are responsible but some of them how they give it to you, it real discouraging.

Now I realize the big challenge ahead is BUREAURACY reasonable amount of time have been spent to deal with this one part. It worried but also make me strong and courageous. The main lesson here is to be patient and ‘take it ease’ as my friend Sharita told me just only words she could say to me regarding the tour.

Couch Surfing getharingAs I do my best to take it ease and try to stay fresh I put more time to improve my Spanish. I recently join couch surfing community which Inever know it such huge and popular, it quite touristic in terms of meeting though at mean while it has lot of benefit for travelers I do my best to fit in. I recently got invitation to visit Rottary Club of Buenos Aires with condition to wear suite and tai. Despite the fact that I don’t have those clothes I can even remember last time I was in that costume. My friend he encouraging me take the offer he will borrow me suit and tai but shoes is different story, I’m not sure if I’ll put on my maasai shoes of cycling one.

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Buenos Aires, Argentina

Reserva Ecologica (Ecological reserve) this name sound very nice when my friend Adrian mention it make to expect much more than what I find I’m worry in these big cities If they have 3 big trees it can  be called park or something like that, established 1918 it went through different status till today to be called ecological reserve. Situated in the shower of Rio de la plata, the park it is just in the corner of large city of Buenos Aires. It is breading site for water birds and host about 30% of birds found in Argentina. Most people come the park for a walk, running, cycling or hang out. I meet 3 ladies with old binoculars try to identify birds that was so impressive. They are just ordinary people with passion of nature something which I find it not common in here, they told me that the reserve it facing lot of challenge since it have been created. Being situated in the rich neigh hood with sprawling long building, rich people scramble to get that piece of land.

Buenos Aires is a living history through it architecture, statures, city scraper, the French influenced boulevard and of cause the churches.  As I take walk to the very ease navigable streets I just simple wonder in the 1600, 1800, etc. I walk a lot here since I’m not use to very organized bus and underground train system, just making sure I understand everything which I know by reading and of cause I see in the Hollywood films.

La Boca (the mouth) it also in the shower of Rio de la plata, it here the first Spanish commander don Pedro de Mandoza land in 1536. The old port still function pretty much, the street it decorated with different colors particular yellow and blue which represent ‘La Boca’ football club, the club which produce world famous Maradona. It also home of Tango music,  restaurants and bars blear lovely music as tourist encouraged to dance and take photos of Tango dancing. Football here it has great part for locals, my friend is great supporter of Racing so the second day here he tell me that will be also my club. For the first time I though it wasn’t a great deal but as I kept on introduced to other dudes that become main question, to make it worse now they gave me scarf, I have couple dude want me to support La Boca but I choose Racing.

Argentina politics it one of the things you will like actual ordinary folks doesn’t seem to be very informative in this field, I had conversation with one activist. He told me most of Argentina cant keep track of how manypresidents they have every had while in Tanzania we had four so far and we fill it a lot already.  There have been good number of coups and revolution but no matter the country still enjoy the patriotism, politics is well connected to economy and improving life.  Argentina found in the most southern part of Continental America, pre-Columbian history showed that the mountain kingdom of Inca lived in the north west, it was surprise to find out that 86.4% of the country population is European descendant , it new country just like USA or Canada, though I think Argentina they have less sense of European.  Got it independent form Spain 1810, use it rich natural resource well particular agriculture potential, it actual produce lot of food during second world war. In some point Argentina raised to among of 10 rich countries in the world benefit from agriculture export economy as well as British and French investments  in the mean time it population grow but now it just grow for 1.7% with life expect of 79 years.  Argentina has market oriented economy with abundant resources a well educated population, export oriented agriculture sector and relative diversified industrial base.

Different from Africa where you will find more cooked food here I’m just learning how to consider bread as food, which more often goes with meat. I also learned how to enjoy ‘Mate’ a traditional drink, for the first time it test like sort of medicine plant which remind me of my grand mother medicine she used to give me when I was young but now after I while I’m used to. It actual involved small rules but quite important eg; never stair it when your given since it has the dry plant you may be attempted to stair it, make sure you point the straw to the person and last but not on the list never say thank you before your satisfied.

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Chapter 2: JHN-EZE, Buenos Aires

Man can not find the new ocean unless he lose the sight of the shower’  Christopher Colombus

‘Sir you need the hotel reservation or passport information for your final destination, flight company requirement, if you don’t have you can cancel your trip till you provide them’.  Problem number; fixed after couple of minutes, how come someone

can ask such document on the time of check in? Any ways I didn’t pay much attention to such fun procedure.  Problem number 2;  ‘ Sir, you need to pay for extra 14kg’  good 30-45minutes lost in this process of bouncing from one to another, thanks Aman was still with me. 3ominutes to go through security and immigration and run around search for boarding gate. Late for 5 minutes, threatened to be thrown out of craft. My window seat is claimed by Indian dude on nice yellow yoga suit, meditating, I decide to seat in the middle hopping the ‘monk’ prayers will save this huge fleet. Boing 777 took of from A. Tambo, Johannesburg heading to Dubai, behind my seat I can just follow the fleet progress on touch scream, what a high-tech!  Thanks that there were no time spent in Dubai air port,  cross Atlantic start. The view of Arabia peninsula and desert was stunning. Seen that we were passing close to Addis Ababa, looking how far I’m going, I start to realize that I’m a little bit scared

. I’m going very far from what I have known as home, probably non from my entire generation have been such far of cause they have never being slaves that why we remain in mother continents. I though may be I should ask this guy to stop at Addis and let me off so I could cycle down home and forget about everything but before I did it I remember what Steve Jobs said;

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to haven do want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that as it should be, because the death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s changing agent. It clear out the old to make the new. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary

Remember this buddy made me change my mind to ask for emergence stopover in Addis, and thanks that every single kilometer will bring me close to home.

Travel with sun, start when it was raise in Arabia and arrive as it was setting down in the lush green high lands of Brazil. Stopover in Rio de Janeiro was breathtaking view from above, the lush green high lands, island and well built city.  2hrs30  from Rio we arrive in Buenos Aires.

I’m different?’ 

Yes, I was told that I’m not a Green-Go! (gringo=mzungu), I’m‘tourista negro’.  That was conversation with a old lady who take a good deal to speculate me in the long queue to stamp in Argentina.  Different from others who do very well to avoid eye contact, this old lady from Brazil who claim to be black which for me seem less, she keep on staring till I start up conversation. After short conversations with local, I found out I’m different, tourists ask to take pictures with me! Some just like my maasai shoes.  OK but no culture shock. Then my will need serious tongue practice before heading out of city. 

 

 

The Spanish here is twisted  just like Caribbean English, and local speak with tremendous speed, guess this is what give them exception from their descendent Spanish in Barcelona. Often I replay with ‘Porfavor! Like idiot. I hope I’ll be able to give presentation on spanish before I leave latin America.

 

So far my discovery is Campo de Mayo, Av, Rivanavia, Av, 9 de Julio, with it sutures  Don Bosco, Roca,  Eva Perez etc and old building transfer me to 200 years ago, someone was surprised when I tell him ,my country got ‘independence’ 1961 and there are some got it late than that. This country got independence 200 year ago! All it all but I’m in the different world, everything seem so different and I’m just yet to see more just as Columbus said. For now as I’m waiting my Chilean visa which I was told the process will take not less than 20 day, I just become ‘tourista negro’ but don’t ride in the tour buses which are quite a scene Cool girl who though I was Brazilianhere as they rush folks equipped with cameras from one museum another. I just one in this old boulevard inspired by French, Argentina leaders create them and erect their statures, dating back to 1880 or so.  

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Chapter 1: Arusha to Johannesburg

It have been 6 months of serious preparations for this project; emails, phone calls, meetings, presentations, begging /asking, sleepless nights, officials, and what not. It wasn’t an easy time, there was time I mentioned to one of my friend ‘this is harder than biking against pantagonia wind.’  It was also at this time when I faced so many challenges, that some of my volunteer support team suggested that maybe I should postponed for a year or so. But how did I feel? This is how it is. There will always be challenges when planning such an adventure. This is one challenge, just like cycling in the Ethiopian highlands or kids bothering you and demanding your attention while the climb also demands all your energy, determination and endurance. In this moment if you share with your friend back home, in the sofa, nice coffee, TV, etc and suggest you want to quit most will ‘Yes why not?’ 

Luckily with a flexible support staff, I was able to create Plan B.  I’m very grateful to Precision Air, for understanding my situation and agreeing with my plan B. They flew me from Dar to Johannesburg for free! Thank you Precision! This meant a 650km bus ride from Arusha to Dar, after which I was exhausted and had lost some enthusiasm, but I told myself ‘don’t think about it just go .

Dar – JHB, On board we had his excellence…. President of Comoro (it is a country on an island near Zanzibar and recently there was an attempt of an army revolution but the Tanzania army re-install his excellence). I sat with a fat Indian dude who ordered a ‘coke and brandy’ as soon as the flight attended had finished explaining about emergence  and giving chance for Q&A. When we hit some turbulence, my new friend said it was the Comoro army try to assassinate the president. Anyway I liked him. He has huge recycling farm and owns a  game farm as well, so he will definitely support my cause. He added that if I ever visit India I should sleep in shiek temple since it’s free and travelers are always on a budget. He claimed this is the only religion in India which doesn’t have a beggar!

In the JHB airport Hennie, my old buddy, is waiting for me. I like to address him as ‘the oldest person to do freedom challenge tour’ (a demanding bike ride across 3 African countries). He is actually going back this year to defend his position. A 66 yearsold doing www.freedomchalenge .co.za.  Despite him being extremely busy he always has time for me. We had a good time in Joberg; talking about bike, birds, nature, taking small walks in big malls while making  fun of modern world.

My time to wait for the long flight to Buenos Aires through Dubai, Rio de Janeiro seem to be short as my family here seems to make me forget the past 4 months of preparation, but they never stop talking of climbing through the Andes and the mosquitoes of northern America. I can’t wait. I fly out to Argentina early this week.        

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