Monthly Archives: September 2013

Spain to Morocco

Spain….
Aren’t we all brothers and sisters?

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In the presentations and interviews it when sometime I got to think about things which some how I take for granted or less consideration. Often I don’t thing where I will pass the night which sometime turn to be into vineyard, hammock in the trees, someones back yard, air condition room with luxury room. When I asked ‘where do you sleep?, What about security? Do you have hotel booking for next city?’ Is when I remember how things work for others.

I had wonderful home in Madrid, hosted with young Spanish friends. Marion is a member of warm shower. He let me stay with him and other two room mate who all turn to be so friendly and supportive. Till the last night of my stay we create such a bond one will not expect. From simply internet connection to a friendly and caring.

20130928-144615.jpgThese friends try to dig information and source of my drive to what I am doing, I end up telling the story of my childhood. It turned to be so emotion which leave them with wet eyes. For me it is just circumstance which permit one to learn but from these friend I had a brief moment to think what it mean for someone who grow up in the different place. It was such caring which make me wonder if the humanity isn’t such strong so we are all brothers and sisters? Well, so far that is what I have experience since I was young more reinforced when I take on the road.

Extramadura…

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Whatever the meaning of this word, I assume it should mean about some tough region. I felt this as I pedal from Madrid towards Mediterenia. It was hot up to 45 C, dry land not sure if it is a result of many Olive trees plantations. If that wasn’t enough there were sierras to go through, most notable one ‘Sierra de Guadalupe’

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The road is less complicated, it will be 20 to 50km before turns, it goes through small towns and villages. In the mid day these town are almost dead as everyone sort for shelter out of merciless heat. They are quite bustle from evening to midnight, youngster into plazas, old folks in the from of bar drinking their coffee, beer and common ‘tinto’ while charting. It surprisingly that quite often will see folks taking on walking and ruining.

Thirdly day from Madrid brought me to Merida, other frontier city of Roman empire. Merida has more visible remnant of architecture left behind with different rules

20130928-145347.jpgRoman, Arabs, etc.

20130928-145724.jpgThe road will also wonder along the pilgrim road of Santiago de Compostela which have crossed on the north as well. Often I and together with Nelson we were consider as pilgrims,

20130928-145956.jpgwe come across real pilgrims some on the bikes and some on foot as Santiago himself.

With Nelson…

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It was so nice to have company on this last part of Europe. Nelson continue with his passion of being on top of budget and chef. While the days will be short of all the memoir of many stories from South America and his crazy self made raft into amazon. Meals were what I will be waiting for; Chicken barbecue,

Your browser does not support the video tag rice and win for the budget of 5 Euro in the middle of dry sierras, it make life so sweet. Conversation will be intensified when I act as pro-Chinese in the case of who circumnavigate the world first? Should Magellan straight renamed? At the end we had wonderful home stay int he beautiful place in Marbella,

20130928-150529.jpgmay thanks to Aida and Hilario family. It was hard to wave far well to Nelson, his my inspirational adventurer and survivor. His staying was great motivation for the last leg down to Kilimanjaro.

‘Bienvenue dan votre pays’

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That was the big sign post welcome me back to Africa. On the one hour boat which leave at 13:00 and and arrive 13:00 there was no time to see and imagine as all the time was spent on the queue to stump passport before arrive. ‘Ca va mon ami’ was a greeting to immigration police, this isn’t common greeting but will be main through out the way as people from horse cart, motor bike buses, students in schools keep on shouting.

I was overwhelmed with the feelings of being back into the continent, it was exciting moment and still high with this excitement. This confirm my deep love for this place. Some will say there are great different from Margheb countries and so and so but so for Morocco gives me that test of East Africa coast and general sense of Africa.

Connection to UN organs…
Although I frankly know about UN and its organs but if you would me what is their real roll I had no clear ideal. From great friend Philippe Gaillard I was linked to my Rabat host Dr. Yves Souteyrand WHO country representative, Morocco. With what looks like five stars room, I am starting to learn what these organs are and do. It was more thrilling experience to share with UNDP members. It was such a pleasure to find out my goals correspond with theirs, the protection of environment and education.

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To the edge of Europe

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It have been five months since I kick off the second leg of Chile to Kili, from Trondheim, Norway and now here at Gibraltar, Spain.

It was long way to convey a mental picture, I was full of anxious and guided with uncertainty but the spirt was high; what to stop the changes we are driving? The motivation and inspiration remain intact though I am far beyond my goal of raising funds. Please if you haven’t or if you have keep on supporting my effort of raising the scholarship. From the snow to the desert, one pedal after another, KIlimanjaro is closer.

It because of your help; your giving, your openness, your actions beyond the inconvenience.

Thank you to all of you, you have my deep appreciations.

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France-Spain-Lisbon

South West France
I use bicycle as a means of transport the fact that is 120% it clan transport add more value. Few years ago in the Tour d’Afrique I was so supprsed to see the dude who was hit by track and his elbow bone out of the skin, insisting to mark the ground where the accident took place so he can come back and resume from there, exactly point. It hard to understand this, is this madness or insanity?, moral, principle or discipline?

As I’m forced to save the few days remain on my Schengen visa, I had to hop on the train from Paris to Bordeaux. Though the situation is clear enough but still I felt unsatisfied with my own decision. I can now start to understand that dude who want the ground to be marked though I’m not certain if is moral or principal.

And so Paris fall back rather quick, the tourist and expensive city. Pulling people with it architecture, food, wines and many other things which fascinate people. I was luck to be hosted with Angelica and Eric, Half Tanzania and half French family,

20130911-145617.jpgit was such great test of home away from home. Asante sana for facilitating the interviews and meeting. Two interview with 24 France Television and radio; France 24 TV
RFI

20130911-145744.jpgBordeaux, weather change dramatical it is family heat, nights and mornings are not cold as it was further north which make it hard to catch up with day momentum. In the north I manage to get out of tent around 8:30-9:00am , I peak up my cycling speed around 1pm as the sun remain I will pedal till 9pm. The first night in Bordeaux hang my hammock in the urban park I raised up with sun which was horizon at 7am. The morning was clear with fresh air, this is real energizing weather.

There is cycling path of quite long distant which wonder into pine forest and the small beach town. Though hot the ocean breeze make it ease, blue sky with crystal clear ocean made cycling here to be such exceptional after long time into crowded cities.

At certain point there was quite a long sand dune, there was lot f tourist so I decide to carry on but the dune cover huge area.

20130911-145844.jpg I lock the bike in the pine tree and hike the dune which reward the effort with stunning view of ocean and sand beaches. The coast seem to be wild but there is lots of caravan camping full of tourist. To find camp I just had to carry my panniers and bike into sand. The effort was rewarding enough as the beach give amazing view of sun down and clear night sky a rare view in Europe so far.

At Urrugne there was home with fantastic host, nice home close to the ocean and the begin of Pyrenees mountains. Touring cyclists, Jan and Ingrid tought me a lot about basik people and their county. Proud though it country without severity between France and Spain, offering other linguistic diversity in Europe with ration to Welsh, Garlic and possibly Irish. Though due to complex politics seem hard to preserve these threatened diversity.

Spain…
First day in Spain prove to be total different culture and country in Europe and later I will come to thing the Mediterenian countries are in between big distinctive regions. With casual observation seem like in mediterenia there is lot of influence from Middle East (Arabia) with evidence on culture, traditions as well as geographical. But at the same time it is Europe in general.

Social life is that of tropic, family/social tire is that one of desert life. Language is used in the fullest here, folks talk ofter loudly. People start conversation every where, this conversation can be very simple but of amazing emotion and intimacy. I think if you are not from here or spend good amount of time you may end up be a listener like me. As I ask directions, information is given with such enthusiasm but I had to pay close attention because it ease to loose track. If in Latin I experience that child amazement of being a black man on bike here it twice though everything is cut short due to the size of knowledge and understand.

In Madrid for visa application the structure of embassies is different of simplicity and unpredictable atmosphere. At Morocco consulate as welcomed with cheerful Arab man asked if I was footballer. I was instructed to search for visa room in the crowded building full of cigarette smoke. Visa man looked quite relaxed and seem like he never miss his 5 prays per day. He was kind and he maintain personal contact rather than professional one. After he consult his superior with sympathy he told me that I will need later from my government or ambassador. Thanks for Tanzania embassy in Paris for quick respond. Though when I had everything the working time was over the visa man took time to sort me out. No work behind the counter, he just type down the visa information ask me to verify and print out, Salaam alekhum!

At Mauritania embassy I couldn’t predict as there was no expression apart of filling long forms it seem like payment was what is important though it will take 5 days to process. It is most expensive visa fro 2 months, 93 Euros. Lucky after long wait it was granted.

In the waiting time I got ride to visit the peninsula country of Portugal which became impossible to cycle through. It is the country I wanted to see for long time, apart of my fascination on it history with the great contribution to awake of Western Europe the other reasons were more pressing feelings than facts.

20130911-150927.jpg As I arrive in Lisbon and through all my few nights stay the feelings were that of randevour. As it immense contribution goes, I think the county has many to offer for the insight of human social development, growth and sustainability. If previously I was blindly convinced that Portuguese succeed Spanish, I found out I was wrong. It hard for Spanish to master Portuguese tough as it is for French to master English. Though borrow a lot from Latin Portuguese also carry lot of Endo-Europia remnant which makes it hard to be masted even to their colonies such as Brazil , Angola, etc.

From Madrid it is about 600km before set foot into mother continent, Allah Akhbar! In this last stretch I am looking forward to share with a friend, Nelson Santos; trans Americans cyclist and only person I know who attempt to descend might Amazon river with self built pedaling craft. Ambitious adventure was terminated with life threat from Brazilian drug deal who will take him as self employed dealer. We support each other in the juggle of Bolivia last year;

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