Archive for the ‘Expedition Route’ Category

Grounded

Alex and I had no idea the dramatic changes the next days would bring – how could we. Alex had to suddenly leave South America while I was grounded for a month and a half. It is precisely these challenges that make life on the road so interesting as well as challenging.
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Los Andes

After almost two weeks in La Paz it felt good to be back on the road again – then again it always does. Having cycled solo for almost a year I was thoroughly enjoying the company of Alex; a heavily bearded and rather jolly Austrian. We met at the casa de cyclistas in La Paz. As the only two fool’s stupid enough to be headed north, into the immense mountains of Peru during rainy season, we decided to team up. It’s hard not to like the bloke given how amicable he is. Alex is eight months into a monster ride the length of the Americas, from Patagonia to Alaska.
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Climbing up to Bolivia

In order to reach Bolivia and leave Argentina I had to climb up to 3,800 meters above sea level. The Bolivian plateau, or Altiplano, sits between 3,500 meters and 4,500 meters. Though this is only one of the stark differences between Argentina and its landlocked neighbor. I experienced a dramatic change in the landscapes, people, food, culture and customs. This border crossing must be one of only a few in the world where you cross directly from a first world country into a third world country (based on UN statistics for the human development index). In Bolivia 64% of the population live below the poverty line surviving on just a few USD per day.
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El Gringo

There are many explanations for the origins of the word gringo which is loosely applied to all foreigners in South America. One version is that when the US invaded Mexico wearing green uniforms the Mexicans would shout ‘green go’.  Regardless of its roots the term certainly applies to me.  Once again I am a stranger in a strange land. Only now I am completely alone as Andy returned to London after pedalling into Sydney. I know just one person on this continent; an old friend who lives in Cartagena, Colombia. Cold comfort as that is 15,000km away, the end point of my ride in South America.
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Arrival on The Last Continent

The landing in Perth was rough, the plane bounced a few times before rumbling to a stop; an omen of the journey ahead, perhaps.

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Into the Mix

Our farewell to Thailand ushered in a return to the Muslim world. This time to colourful Malaysia. First stop – Duty Free Langkawi!
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