In the first evening I made to small town quite relaxing, the hills ware me down. I pull in the small cafe which happened to be run by young Italian guy, Ivan. Ivan help me out with packed dinner and breakfast and good recommendation to the place for illegal camping.
I checked my position on map just to realize that I was about 50km out of central London, this is not very couraging while I spent whole day in the saddle. I vow to by GPS which I will use with my shimano hub dynamo and USB-WERK. I am now equipped with Gemin though make me lazy but save hug amount of time.
Dover was rather stunning this time compare to last time when I arrive here when it was grey cloud and raining. This time it was clear blue with white patch sky reflecting crystal clear sea. After my last dinner of Chips and Fish I climbed to the top of hill for another illegal camping. This hill give amazing view of the random green hills with highways wondering into valleys. I shared the camping with young Latvian man who have been hitch hike from Latvia on his way to London where he plan to work and save money to pay his school fees in the coming winter. We made fire, sitting in the hill with panoramic view looking the flame consuming the woods listen to the stories of former soviets union It seems to me as the our ignorance is fire consuming as well as the humanity.
Back to the mainland cycling was rather ease compared to island, I enjoyed the small traffic less farm roads with tail winds. In France I was so suppressed t find out that town were almost abandoned, everything is so quiet, I learn later that this is vacation month. The whole country is in vacation and seem like they take this moment very serious.
I sort camp after dark not very far from the road. In the morning I was awaken with call ‘Bonjour!’ half sleeping I was wondering where I was. The call continue, now with long sentence I realize I am in France. I emerge out of my tent half necked to be greeted with three polices semi cycle my tent with reasonable distance. They ask me to to come out and approach them, I felt very bad since I hate this kind of treatment. They asked what I was doing while the see my bike and tent. Before I search for my French one of them answer ´´passing´´ so I had to say yes. They wanted to see the ID, I handle them my passport which they spent good amount of time, unfortunately there is no French visa. After asking what is my name,my community and realize that I am poor cyclist passing by. They were friendly enough to recommend less hill road though not sure how I could get to Lile without using high way. I wonder if they were at all embarrassed with their military approach to a sleeping cyclist.
In the late morning I passed Lile just like most of towns up here are characterized with a lots of North Africa immigrants. Stop to refill my water in the cafe I end up testing real social life of old French. The cafe is run by old French man half Morocco half French, there were bunch of other old people, farmers, tobacco seller and whose not . I’m not sure how the conversation start but I end up spend two hours with this old folks. Subjects were flipping like pages sometime with intense defiance of agenda, it feel like House of Lords.
One subject which last long was about the system. Here are folks which lived the high optimistic times of Social Democracy, Communist, and now in the peak of Capitalist and imperialist.
This conversation remind me what I have seen in different. Again it remand me about UK which was recent experience. I am overwhelmed with the thoughts of what is the effect of civilization of this big island has to hug part of the world. The system which evolve from here was introduced and enforced in the places like India, Africa, Carribian. With what seem to be selfishness and greed, the system kept on exploitation and denied all other facts which determine the growth and progress of humanity. With example of where I come from, we are trained direct or indirect to become part of this system. Majority migrate to follow the root the rest remain in their respective areas to maintain it. In the west I see more misery than I have seen in my village. I am convinced that this sort of system will not sustain and allow growth of our humanity. In’t the time to do something about it now…?
I was glad to improve my French though with real intense vocabulary which are accompanied with physical motion, probably the best way to learn language is to live in the area where they speak it. I excuse myself and cycle of with burden of questions but soon I remember Gandhi said; ‘Imperialism, like dictatorship, sears the souls, degrades the spirit and make individual small.’ ‘But in the history of the world this system which based in the exploitation have never live long’.
With the time frame set for Frankfurt, my route wonder with rivers up stream from France to Belgium; no different at all especial here where is French Belgium. It was quite pleasant cycling, folks are quite enthusiastic , I received more ‘Bonjour’ than ever before for such small region.
I was able to make it on time to give the talk at GIZ, Eshrborn Frankfurt. Thanks to all who helped to make this possible, all the energetic participants and my host family (Sabina and Michael)
Next leg Paris…