Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Netherlands

 

Laying down in my tent counting on the rain drops while reading my map which is now is like ritual, I have to do before sleeping and for the whole cycling day dealing with small roads. The next country was The Netherlands, one of the striking thing was the size of this country, 41,526km square small than Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania (44,800km square).  This is possible the leading country for bicycle commuter, it said that there are twice the number of bicycle in Netherlands so may be 32 million bicycles. 
 
The kingdom of law lands, if i got the translation write, anyway it should be right since the huge part of the country is below see level. Also known as Holland, the name of big provence which ruled the country. As I cycle from north east to the country cross to south west, I’m so fascinated with what show high ability to adopts environment. The country was more or less mash region, bays and flooded rivers flowing from slight high lands of German, France and Belgium. Definitely, there should have been strong factors which pushed group of people in this corner of continental Europe. It seem like they become water engineers, turn sea into dry land and may be the main commuter before bicycle was canoe and boats into the canals. Today every single drop of water is managed and any miss calculation may cause great deal of damage especial to the old buildings which their foundation are woods.  
 
The territory grew strong and aged with limit of space may be searching for overseas territory was option. I just wonder myself listen to the stories of people who lived in Indonesia, Sumatra and Surname which were Netherlands colonies, my question still remain what could be wrong and right? Is time effluence our morality? 
 
Even though no physical boundary such as Great Wall, past the European Union sign of welcome to another territory, atmosphere, landscape changed like that. In German it was less populated while in the there in Netherlands cities, town, village and field were connected.  In general people are more relaxed, open minded and welcoming. 
 
I feel like there are two distinctive group of people I come across in Netherlands; small town/village in habitants who can also be old folks but not always the case and big city dwellers who tend to be young. The folks from small city who are also minority    they prefer to keep it old ways and traditional which can be also protective and eliminate chances to learn and expose in the new experience. In these places as man of color I feel intensity. The other group is what make Netherlands famous.
 
Netherlands is known for for it liberal policies which I think their are limited i the cities and mainly exploited by foreigner and tourists since Dutchman ought to be bound with culture and tradition to keep identity of beloved kingdom. The liberty can be seen in the streets of Amsterdam where sex is another merchandise displayed in the clear glass window in the day light. As business can be competitive where there is abundant display is very important. I felt so necked as my friend walk me across ‘Red Light Street’, the crowded street with all sort of people stumble their feet looking into woman in the display window. If you find what you want you enter inside, red light will turn on , there you have menu to choose you preference. 
 
In the coffee shop is you can oder you choice of forbidden herbs to many communities, marijuana smoker paradise. Here in Netherlands is where they sit and see it fit now to have a law that same sex can marry without discrimination, what a tolerant community? Yes, it all possible if young Christian, protestant will over through catholic and take over the churches which took hundreds of years to build. If not enough here is possible when the first condom industries was invented. It was in the 1500’s when diplomats from Europe for the first time have to sit to solve their difference in the diplomatic way. The diplomats sour the population or suffer from sexual disease so they invite pig intestine and urinary bleeders. 
 
My highlight on Hollands is reunion with 2011 Tour d’Afrique ride, Bastiaan. A friend with back ground in acting, education in engineering and profession in training people into communication skills et cetera. Strong and avid cyclist decide to take me around Amsterdam carrying me on my loaded bike for sight seeng. Ambitious man who said is inspire of what i’m doing while I’m the one who is inspire by what he is doing. Cycling while screaming in the city to dancing for whole night, sit down and talk all the complex things and explore the opportunity to make different and motivate other to join the world of happiness is what characterize our short time together. 
 
Pedal off just two days again bring me to the city of Gent in Belgium. In this country is where I’m seeng confusing of modem Europe civilization in process. First people will ask you which language you speak, but I think the question should which you prefer? Though the option is limit to Flemish or French. And everything goes like that! It not only African countries suffer.                           

 

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Hamburg….

 

It is flat, the days are sun, cloud, rain though not cold as up north, often with heard winds. The landscape not such of appealing beauty but the patch of forest and field are some exotic lands; the green fields and beautiful and super clean red bricks houses. There always well tend garden with variety of colorful flowers sad to know they will survive just in the short period of year. 
 
The small forest which looks like our miombo woodlands is quite wild up hire, they are small dominated with fields of grass which I lent recent is hay, potatoes and livestocks. As I pedal from Denmark through north German on may way to the city of Hamburg the links of road which looks like delta in the map tame through village which I think they are towns. These are farm communities everything looks fertile, plantation and livestock. For my quick knowledge I though the land should be so fertile.
 
In the one cloud afternoon sitting by the road eating my cheese sandwich, my main dish now. I was looking into big farm of plantation and livestock of cattle and horses. I was wondering after two John Deer tractor equipped with amazing equipments which for my quick calculation is 10 able man plus enough time. I travel quick back home imagine someone having this may be a milioners  in few year with double population. Driven with curiosity I work towards the house pretend to ask for water since it is so difficult to start the conversation here. I shout hello to the man in the field, he seemed to be stocked with my present but he resume quick, wave back and continue with his work just like I wasn’t there. I shout again showing sign of drink water, he walk towards me bit disturbed. People a very focused here may be more than those in front of computer screen. He took my bootle and went in to fill it with no express exchanged. I thank for water give compliment though he claim ‘No listen English’ which I said neither do I, we had quite formal or business conversation  by using our limits words. 
 
I learnt that the farm is just family farm I quick imagine the farm I grew up in, this will be enough for almost a village. The land have been used for hundreds of years so forget about your volcanic soil, it chemical fertilize and biological modification. The health or fat livestock are well supplied with antibiotics. 
 
I pedal off analyzing my new found information, wasn’t such pleasant subject on long biking day. Pharmaceutical provide us with plenty and cheap food! But is the any connection with cancer which I’m told it increasing ?  Well pharmaceutical provide medication! With only ‘Mama Sita’ to conversant with I found myself lost 30km into these delta roads but dark is far it actual the ‘Summer Solicits’ the longest day light. 
 
Hamburg, the river hobour which is second largest in Europe, pitch low in the see leave, i guess it was suppose to be hot and humid. With bursting life of students and tourist, it could be like inland Brazil, my friend said if it wasn’t German. The red contain I saw in Argentina with sign ‘Hamburg Sur’ they are here, the world is small place. It just like Hollywood movie how the habour operate so effective, contain moving themselves! Machine save jobs. 
 
I end up in this city as just part of my route plan, effort to try to rise fund on my dwindling goal with lots of frustration. I was luck to have amazing and enthusiasm friend, Tobias. Tobi is among  exceptional German friend, fluent in three language and broad minded, he contribute a lot to effort to understand German culture. I have just seen small part of the country but I think this is exceptional place, it will take a will for me to comprehend the culture, let me learn more few words to make may way. 
 
Community in the community…
I left Hamburg cycling towards went heading to The Netherlands, into the fields decorated with giant wind mill which indicate permanent wind. In the nice and smooth bike path link town to town I straggle with heard wind. There is lots of touring cyclist pretty nitty and well equipped, first I though they were long way travels, well long way but domestic so my enthusiasm of say hello is turn down with ether silent or stare. Anyway, international cyclists are still interesting to meet as it such excitement for both part. A French cyclist with fun looking bike give out big small just to say ‘No English’. 
 
In 120km I made it to Bremen in the late evening, the city is big more than I excepted. Delay charting with immigrant searching for work; Romanian, Italians, Spanish, Togolese, Senegalese, Armenian, Turkish,Polish lots mix folks. These are people who are welcome and open for simple conversation, occasionally they will invite me for food or drink. I wonder into the outskirt of the city around 10pm searching for camping sport, I come across nice forest park by the river. The park was packed with quite interesting people though no room for outside. These were folks with long hair, bunch of pissing in their bodies, seem to have all what they need in the daily. There was electric music, guess that is a name, anyway it also sound like electrical. The atmosphere was that of festival, music, drinking and smoking. People were divided into small bound few seem to notice the loud music, few try to dance what I think it non danceable. These are people who seem to break trough the normality to form their our community, leaving on the left overs which are ofter quite valuable things. I visited one of this community in Copenhagen, Christana. They end up having their our neighborhood legalize marijuana anyway now is another tourists paradise.
 
I found camping sport into the small wood just by the railway, the wet ground wasn’t smelling good, the decaying seem to take ages here. The music peak up for whole night, there was no variation of songs at least for me. I think you will have to be in the certain mental state to passive it as music.
 
Next day with my short sleep I heat road again enjoy the good weather on the smooth road. In the Sundays it quite relation in the farm folks on the sunday special, church bells rings, family having barbecue in their garden. Good number of people on the bike path especial old. 110km here is The Netherlands, no border just EU welcome sign. Thanks to Marienne for wonderful hospital and work shower and bed!                                 

 

 

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Scandinavia…

Before I wrote about the experience in South America and even North America whereby I encounter people who doesn’t know the country called Tanzania, it was more surprising for Peru where I couldn’t secure visa but I brought into their attention the existence of Tanzania. In Norway it was very different lots of old people remember Tanzania very well with memory of Mwalimu Nyerere visiting their king time to time. Nyerere end up adopting social democracy which he blend with his philosophy, ‘Ujamaa’. I think no matter what was short come but this help Tanzania to attain national institutionwhich luck in so many other African country.

 I cycle with Tanzanian flag, yes I love it colors. In may cases I have to clarify to people that is not Jamaica and neither South Africa this lead to other questionsI end up explain about this Tanzania something which make me start to feel my strong conviction with this community. It is the community which influence me in different ways, it is this community inspired me to do what I’m doing now.  It iin scandinavian countries I find my connection again, Norwegians remind me we can add amazing value to the resources which will lead to quality life and hence health environment though in some point we will have to be nature fanatics! Swedish, the second happiest people in the earth! note sure about the qualification and measure but I find out that the trust and assurance is so high no matter how less or more the have. Denmark with politics growing more sophisticate, I had encounter with may who has lots of thoughts in the social-economy which I think it is great option for developing countries like Tanzania.

 I enjoyed the cycling awareness which is amazingly developed in the cities, extremely in Copenhagen. In this city cycling is just another modal of transportation which enjoy the same recognition the same as car. Two lane for bike each side of road, fast line and slow one, there is even traffic light just for bikes! About 60% of people in Copenhagen are bicycle commuter, to control this bicycle traffic there is number of laws which are well enforced. Crossing light when it red or other violation will lead to € 100 fine.  

Hospitality..

Due to the high life quality and economy system of scandinavians the prices of nearly everything are so high. Without a help of so many friends and strangers who turn to friends it could be impossible to travel in these countries. I’m grateful for each and everyone of you for your kindness and invaluable support to me and my initiative. You are hospitality has lifted my spirt when I faces weather and other challengers, your material support had give me the strength to pedal. Together we are making changes!  

 

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The meaning…

The meaning…

The beauty and weather challeng comfort of home stay with old friend Erik and sun shine into fjords of west Norway. On this short stay away from stink and wet tent my spirit was once again lifted.   Oslo is small city but still bother some Norwegians, lucky the city is surrounded with mountains and forest and partly fiords. This is first capital/city which have been very ease to cycle out due to it size.   Hundred kilometer out of Oslo I was luck to be be hosted with  a Norwegian writer who is living in the wooden cabin in the woods. The former owner of the cabin he was also a writer who collected  priceless books which are most in latin language. The stay with Arne was one of the highlights in Norway. Two of us in the wooden cabin in front of the lake which is recovering from ice savor and discus about these written words. Alcohol and music made the soul floating in the higher wavers which heart the discussion and move from one subjects to subject till was almost morning. Arne is avid touring cyclist, adventurer, walk the distance of north Norway to south, cycled continental Europe,now e is working on his book about his cycling in Americans and Europe. He has one poems book in the market.   

The day out of Oslo weather wasn’t promising. I have never imagine that it will come that the weather will play such big roll in the daily life. In the gray cloud day or cold rain I’m not very enthusiasm to cycle but I have to, in this case I inflict pain n my body as I push had to resist cold. With practice of positive though, things never get too bad.   This is moment when I also sink deep into my though no matter how may times I have done it. In the several occasion when I stop for coffee or in the casual charting people will ask ‘So why are doing this? apparent it is not the question only in Africa or in the highlands of Bolivia. I have answer it so many times till now I start to hear myself the act which now influences my lonely moments in the clod pedaling. I’m take on this as a manifestation of my straggle to attain education, for my conviction of nature and for the quest to inspire those I have came across to. In one instant one man after listen to me very tentative while puff on his cigarette and sipping coffee, he finally ask; ‘who do you think care about this?’. He ask it so plainly with quite a naive tone the facts that made me continue with this conversation in the cold evening into deserted plaza with my new Norwegian friend who couldn’t hide his distant to what sound quite obvious and worth to me.   I wrote about this before, it can start as depressing but it fascinating to see that how things we value, believe and think they are worth can be just absurd to others. I think it only by tolerant and patient we can learn and understand these. For me it because of circumstances I was born in the certain place where the environment surrounding me influenced my knowledge. With the need to learn more and luck of formal opportunity I had to set off on bicycle to learn more, this brought me into contact with may more others with similar challenges with little inspiration to take action. Nature have remain my central focus and integrate my ideas.                                

 Sweden…

Second day in Sweden things take different course, sun was out again. I was suppressed who the sun shine improved my state of mind, all over sadden I was feeling strong and energetic to cycle and sing. The fatness of west coast make things even better. I think this weather has effect to everyone as people changed as well, smiles,weaving and chatting once increased. In this time is when I come across the family which surprised me with comfort of bed, worms of generosity, rich dishes, family and friends long summer evenings, even vacation; sailing trip. This not to mention a present of Tuskers beers from Kenya which will last my days in Sweden!. Thanks to Lina and Kerstin family and many more to Josefen a young girl who take pity on poor cyclist.  

 

 

In Copenhagen now take a break after long and tire some bus trip to Brussels, Belgium for the bicycle awareness event/conference. Thanks to Cactus and Co for consideration of Chile to Kili.                

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