Journal de bord
June, 21, 2011: Belize - a small trip amidst the jungle
As soon as we had crossed the Mexican border heading to Belize, you saw and felt that we had moved to another world. How amazing is the difference of living between Mexico and Belize!
At the border, the custom employees were so laid-back that they really didn’t care of your stuff and were far more concerned about listening the reggae coming out of the radio that even asking us the basics questions.
Laid back is the buzz. People look like as if they haven’t anything to do all day long. It’s not unusual to see guys walking bare foot or wearing really scruffy clothes. Out here, it’s the land of Rasta men and everybody is fond of reggae music. Don’t even try to catch the words: they speak an unknown language made of African dialect, Creole and English.
Show off’s here are the Garifuna, a population deported by English colonists from the islands of Sin Vincent to Roatland (Honduras) and who moved to Belize. Those guys are a mixture between old primitive Indians living in South American and black people brought to some remote Caribbean Islands to be enslaved. As always they carried their drums with them and those guys are still living with the beaten sound of the drums close to them.
Belize is located just in front of Jamaica and it’s true that we could have thought that we hit that island.
Well, inlands people are more composed of Mayas and there are still people who speak only one of the numerous Maya’s languages. By the way, most people speak English and I would say that they tend to be as close as they could to the North America model. It’s crazy to see how much people tend to be proud because they are labeled as American culture. I think that it’s just because they just don’t even have put a single foot out there to spot the whole mess.
Anyway, the Belize biggest star is the tropical rain forest which covers a great part of the country and where you can spot wonderful wildlife (especially birds) and do gorgeous trails enjoying amazing natural pools and cascades. By the way, we spotted lovely birds and gentle monkeys and we did some wild trails in the middle of the rain forest which is also a mosquito’s heaven.
In conclusions I would say that Belize is perfect for those who are traveling round Mexico or Guatemala and wanted to have a feel of some wild forests.
Besides, cities are rather low keys (although Belize City has some charming little neighborhoods). People are gentle, rather laid back as I was saying, and very welcoming.
Belize is also famous for his Cays (islands) and for his Corals barrier (the second biggest in the world after the Australian one). It is reported to be massive for diving. We didn’t try it here because it’s rather expensive, fairly North American crowded and we expect that diving will be better and cheaper in Honduras.
Chetumal, june 13 – 2011
No me acuerdo de decir que ahora somos capaz de entender, hablar y escribir Espagñol un poco mas que antes. :) Estudiamos mas o menos una hora todos los dias para apprender mucho. Pero no se si puedo escribir en Espagñol porque no se si puede entender lo. Creo que no. Tratamos hablar con la gente todos los dias. No es facile por nosostros de apprender esta lingua nueva pero nos la gusta mucho y es muy agradable de poder cambiar entre Ingles, Frances y espagñol. Ablamos Espagñol frequentement durante un paseo en el coche y despues ablamos Ingles durante un otro paseo. Es raro ! Pero es muy utile de hablar un poco Espagñol para tener tratos con la gente y entonces tenemos la intencion de tomar lecciones de Espagñol en Guatemala o en Honduras. Esperamos vivir con una familia.Es probablemente el mejor medio para apprender.
Estamos a Chetumal ahora. Es la frontera entre Mexico y Belice. Preparamos un recorrido a traves de la America Central. Vamos a atraversar Belice, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica y Panama desde mañana hasta el fin de septiembre.
Envio un beso caliente a todos
Hasta lluego !
Alanos y Nathos
- June, 8, 2011 – Cuba : 53 ano de la Revolucion : « Es preferible el bien de muchos a la opulencia de pocos » José Marti.
We were hanging around in Cuba from May 9 to June 7.
I could really write hours about Cuba since I’ve loved this country and his extraordinary history from my early age.
Let’s say that the past, the present and the future are always unforeseeable and surprising. Cubans are used to saying that” Todo es complicado en Cuba”. That’s probably true for someone who is coming for the first time here and who still doesn’t know the entire history of Cuba which is probably one of the most interesting one.
Every event that occurred on that Island is closely linked from the discovering of the Island by Columbus in 1492 to the Cuban Revolution and his current political regime preserved by Raoul & Fidel Castro.
Firstly, the history of Cuba is the history of a suffering people from the first Taïno indians population almost fully extinguished by the Catholic Spanish Crowd to the African slaves shipped on the island by the Spanish and the French colonists to work in the sugar cane and tobacco fields, through the peasants exploited by the English and American colonists during the neo-colonial era and somehow to the current population who may be suffering because of the side effects of a regime whose revolutionary ideas don’t always seem to match the population ‘s hopes entirely.
Let’s say that in Cuba, the regime doesn’t work for the benefits of some but for the achievement of the whole Cuban society in which every Cuban should give up a part of his own hopes.
Ernesto Guevara wrote lots of thoughts about that and if you were interested in it, you should read “El Hombre Nuevo” in which he explains that the most important thing in the Revolution is to change the individual longings into a collective way of thinking based on the solidarity and the respect of every man making up the social fabric. To sum up, everyone is a intimate part of a social and economic chain and no one should stand out of the crowd. The most important body is the country which is in charge of assuming the wealth redistribution. Consequently, except for the country, there is no concern about a somehow personal achievement.
One thing for sure the history of Cuba is filled with plenty of extraordinary men having written about the way of building a society more egalitarian.
Understanding Cuba is before everything diving into his history, raving about his amazing multiracial society and relishing his wonderful culture. Eventually, the history of Cuba is the story of an utopia that still goes on today.
No-one gets out of Cuba unscathed.
Well, our stay in Cuba was quite fantastic. We really appreciated this country. The charm and the tenderness that come out of this country are unique. There are things that you can only see only in Cuba : those magnificent old American cars, the countryside filled with carts pulled by horses, all those people walking alongside the roads and highways, those sugar cane and tobacco fields, those fabulous musicians, all those boards taking up those idealistic revolutionary mottos concerning the social Cuban revolution. There are so many things we could say and write about “la Isla Bonita”. In any case, it’s a moving country haunted by a wonderful culture and an exceptional history.
We visited La Habana, Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa, Santa Clara, Trinidad and finally Viñales. Well, Cuba is certainly one of my favorite country ever because life has almost stopped here in 1959 when Fidel Castro put an end to the Batista ‘s tyranny and then, the lack of modern industrialization gives to the country an unrivaled charm.
To sum up, here is what we did :
- La Habana : landing in la Habana in the middle of the night, taking an old taxi and riding in those colonial ran down streets is an experience that everybody should do. It gives you the unmatchable sensation to have reached another world. This is almost the end of everything you have known till now. We spent much time hanging around and walking in this town which has a wild beauty. Daydreaming alongside the Habana Malecon which separates Cuba from the rest of the industrialized world is an experience almost mystic and which invites you to a soft and refreshing meditation about our frantic life. The Cuba ‘s narrow streets are filled with old magnificent American cars, with children playing and screaming all the day long, with all kind of pets, with wonderful run down colonial houses that give to Cuba an stupefying and exhilarating world end feeling. The city architecture is fabulous. La Habana is probably one of my favorite cities ever.
We visited the worldwide famous cigar fabric Partagas, the fantastic Havana Club museum, we took up some salsa and guitar lessons in some run down places, we went out in order to listen to some live music, we met some merry Venezuelan travelers and spent a crazy night playing music, eating lobsters in some illegal restaurant and drinking more mojitos that I have fingers in my two hands to count them
We started to speak our real Spanish world with a fabulous Cuban accent.
Remaking the world here with some crazy idealistic artists sweating because of the music and the drinks is something, guys, something…
- Santiago de Cuba is everything. Firstly, this is the town which had the bigger impact on the revolution. Everything started from here.
This is also here that live the more fabulous Cuban musicians. Here the music, the Ron and the salsa are everywhere in the streets, in the houses, in the bars, in the eyes and in the soul of everyone. Here you smoke a big cigar walking down the streets surrounded by the sound of congos, tres, merimbulas, guiris and chekéres. Here there are more black people in the streets than elsewhere and all those guys have all an ancestor who was a slave. So can you guess how they can feel and how they can move in their bodies and souls.
This is the historic city in essence and we spent much time visiting the museums focusing on the revolution events and history. We learned lots about all the history and the people that sacrificed their life for their ideas. That is here that Fidel and his brother Raoul and almost 80 others guys started the liberation of Cuba in 1956.
That is also here where lived Compay Segundo. We took up some lessons of percussion and went out at night in some nice “Casa de la tradition” to dance, drink some Rum and socialize with some really funny Cuban people.
- Baracoa is a little town lost in the middle of a luxuriant valley where everything grows from ananas, cocos, bananas, coffee, cacao, sugar cane to mangos and all tropical sweeties. The mountains are filled with tropical smells and colors. We went to some king heavenly beaches where we drank and ate some coconuts. By the way, Baracoa is the first place discovered by Columbus in 1452.
This is even the first place he discovered in America. The guy though that he was in India…Historically speaking, the arrival of Columbus is also the beginning of a nightmare and a scandalous slaughter. The Spanish stayed here only a little time. They though being able to find much gold here. It wasn’t the case and after a few years, they left the place. Meanwhile they almost extinguished the local Indian Taïno population. They turned the Indians into slaves and forced them to convert into Christianity. Besides, the first Cuban rebel was an Indian called “Hatuey” who was an Indian chief. The Spanish gave him in the choice between being converted into Christianity or being burned alive. He just answered that if Heavens was filled with Catholics like the Spanish, he just wouldn’t want to spend his own eternity there (in Haevens) for the world…and then he was burned alive.
- Santa Clara is a pilgrimage town almost entirely devoted to Ernesto Guevara de la Sierra who liberated the town in 1958 during the battle of Santa Clara. El Che is a key figure in the Cuban revolution and is still really alive in every Cuban hearts. The local administration built here a wonderful mausoleum dedicated to Guevara and it is a very important visit for everyone interested in his live and in the Cuban history.
- Trinidad is a lovely little colonial city. It shows by itself how wealthy were the French, Spanish and American colonists who owned the cane sugar and tobacco fields. We treated ourselves by doing some horse ride and by taking another set of percussion lessons with a very sympathetic teacher. We did some great bicycle rides to the bay which is absolutely wonderful (Caribbean sea).
- Viñales is a little town located in the middle of an idyllic valley which has a supernatural beauty. Rural life still looks like at what it should have looked in our country in the beginning of the 20th century. Those peasants in the tobacco fields, those carts pulled by huge oxes, all those men riding horses, all those pigs, roosters, hens, horses, dogs rushing through the streets in total freedom. It should be heaven for a painter. Here the scenery is simply moving and breathtaking. We did a horse ride into the fields, took the time to visit some tobacco plantations and drank some mojitos while smoking a Havane on the horse back. Gosh, great time! We met a wonderful teacher of Salsa, Omar and spent a week with him taking one hour of lesson each day. He helped us to make some significant progress and he gave us more explanations about the harsh but moving life of those people and their exceptional history.
Finally, Cuba is also the history of a unique multiracial life ensuing from the shipment of thousands of black African slaves by the Spanish Colonists (always them) in order to work and die in the sugar cane and tobacco fields in some inhuman circumstances ; this is also the history of their bewitching rhythms that they carried out with them in order to enjoy their evenings after a harsh working day and that gave an unique African color to the local music; this is the history of a people whose dances are able to ignite and set on fire a whole street; it’s also the history of the sugar cane and the tobacco which are really exceptional products.
Savouring a cigar leaning out of an old American cab in La Habana, walking down the Malecon spotting the sea and thinking that in the other side it’s the Florida frenzied industrial hustle and unrest is a pleasure that should fill you with an unmatchable happiness.
From Merida to Cancun : Nath got a stinking illness
The ride to get to Merida was supposed to be a breeze due to his relative short distance (170 kms). So we walked alongside the “Malecon” to get the outskirts as usual in the aim of finding the best spot to stretch our thumbs.
Fortunately, the highway follows the waterfront so that we could find the right road fairly easily. After having walked almost 45 minutes, we reached the gas station “PEMEX” where we dropped our bags and started to wait for the haven-sent ride.
I saw quite quickly that my young mate wasn’t really in full shape that morning. A couple of day ago, she was so thirsty walking through a kind of street market that she couldn’t resist of buying a cold drink filled with a ton of ice-cubes. The drink was really refreshing. Actually I drank a great part of it. You should know that we hit some very high temperature (around 45°c) and it’s very humid too so the weather is almost tropical down here.
Hardly had she swallowed the last sip that she felt kind of stomach aches. At the very beginning it sounded quite serious but it quickly took a good turn. At least, it was what we thought.
We were picked up quickly and fortunately, our driver went to Merida in one go ! Lucky ride! The car was pretty comfy and we hit Merida after 2 small hours. Unfortunately I lost our lonely planet “central America” while going out of the car. It’s a pity because finding a new one in English in Mexico is quite a pain. Fortunately I got an electronic version of it on my laptop that our friend Ben gave us a few weeks ago.
The sickness of Nathalie took really a worrying turn. She went to the poo many times a day and vomited a lot. We bought some meds but they were quite inefficient so we decided to see a doctor. She got an injection and received loads of meds included antibiotics. Finally Nath spent almost 4 days in bed to recover and I have to say that it was quite terrible because of the heat. It was almost 45 ° C the whole day and quite unbreathable in Merida. Only at night was the heat bearable. Eventually it took almost one month for Nath to recover completely. Consequently I spent almost the week in the town alone visiting all the museums.
Merida is the Yucatan’s capital. Yucatan is a region where one can find lots of ancient Maya’s villages. Even now, the culture Maya is still there and the Maya language is still spoken by children still learning it at school. The Mayas suffered a lot because of the Spanish invasion. I visited the “Palacio National” and the interesting museum of anthropology Maya which ones explain brilliantly how much the Spanish conquistadors and colonists humiliated, tortured and killed the local people. In a way, our travel is following the Conquistadors ‘s road and in order to make a long story short, our travel evidences how the Spanish were responsible of so many atrocity. Mostly they looted the local populated, turned them into slaves, and tried to convert them to Christianity.
Christianity was probably an excuse to justify the vomiting plundering of the local population.
The worst is that they violated ancestral customs, rituals but they destroyed lots of magnificent religious and sacred building in order to build over it their churches. For instance most of the Mayas pyramids were destroyed in order to use the stone to build the Spanish churches.
Here in Merida, the Spanish used to kill in public the Maya who refused to be converted. They were burned, quarter in the presence of the governor Madero, the officials and of course under the eyes of the Church authorities.
Which is unbelievable is that the Madero family used to live in the same Merida’s house in the main square till 1970. Isnt it wonderful to host such a mishmash of murderers?
Too many people were killed because of religions and Catholicism doesn’t fall off the mark.
I still wonder why we are still respecting the work of the Spanish conquistadors. Those people killed thousands of Indians and indigenous people because of their enrichment will and their supposed beliefs. It’s unbelievable how much blood stained the Catholic Spanish Crowd’s hands.
It’s incredible that even now there are plenty of States justifying the use of force in the name of their gods.
Without further ado, we left Merida as soon as Nath had felt a bit better. We went to Chitzen Itza, one of the most famous and magnificent Maya Site. The site was alright but totally crowded and filled with people coming from the Cancun beaches and who hadn’t still realized that they weren’t on a beach but on a sacred site. It was really appalling to see those bunches of naked guys roaring in the middle of the ruins.
The entrance of the site is really expansive and we got the impression that we were more in a fun fair (crowded by naked bastards) that in a sacred place. The spot in itself is quite impressive and it must be absolutely fantastic to wander around there alone at night when the buses had left. If you take the time to imagine what it must have been, then you can perhaps realize that it may have been a very impressive place to live in the middle of the jungle.
I have to say that we were impressed by the buildings, the beliefs and the way of livings of those tribes. It certainly worth visiting but very early (at the opening), hoping that you’ll save one hour before the kangaroo’s arrive.
We went on to Boca to see another Maya, to enjoy a peaceful lake and occasionally to spot some crocodiles filling up the lake. Funny to waive the pretty little pet.
We reached finally the wonderful banks of the Caribbean Sea in Tulum. After having spent more than 2 months in Mexico, we reached the end of this huge country at last. Tulum is very nice and beautiful. The beaches are really heavenly. We went to swim in some astonishing Cenotes (which are natural holes of water in the countryside sometimes of more than 10 meter deep). Their fresh waters (sometimes a mix up of salty water and freshwater) is a god-sent when the temperatures outside hit the 45°C. We saw some wonderful tortoises (very big) and lots of colorful sea birds (like some pelicans). Tulum is a really nice place to stay and enjoy the beaches. We were in a nice and friendly backpacker’s hostel filled with really nice guys. We spent a couple of nights playing the guitar and singing all together before going out to gulp down some “cervezas y otras bebidas”.
Then after a last ride, we hit Cancun where we spent a couple of day in order to flee as quick as possible to the unmatchable Isla Bonita better known under the name of Cuba.
Try this if you are in the mood of...and let the silence fill your brain
Aucun express ne m'emmènera
Vers la félicité
Aucun tacot n'y accostera
Aucun Concorde n'aura ton envergure
Aucun navire n'y va
Aucun trolley ne me tiendra
Si haut perché
Aucun vapeur ne me fera fondre
Des escalators au chariot ailé
J'ai tout essayé
J'ai tout essayé
J'ai longé ton corps
Epousé ses méandres
Je me suis emporté
Par-delà les abysses
Par-dessus les vergers
Délaissant les grands axes
J'ai pris la contre-allée
Je me suis emporté
Aucun landau ne me laissera
Aucun Walhalla ne vaut le détour
Aucun astronef ne s'y attarde
Aucun navire n'y va
Aucun express ne m'emmènera
Vers la félicité
Aucun tacot n'y accostera
Aucun Concorde n'aura ton envergure
Aucun navire n'y va
Campeche, South of Mexico, April 22 - 2011
Here are our fresh news covering a period of almost a month. As usual, the last article is the more recent so if you wanted to get the whole picture, you'd better read from the bottom and go upper and upper
We share a room with Alisa and Sylvan
Finally after we visited the Maya site of Edzna which is really impressive, some of us were brought back to Palenque and the others were dropped directly in Campeche.
We decided to stay for a couple of day with a couple of guys we had met during this trip and currently we are sharing a room overlooking the main square in Campeche which is massive.
Campeche is a nice city which has been enrolled on the list of the Universal Heritage by Unesco. The whole city is encircled by a fabulous wall which was supposed to protect the city against the pirate’s assaults.
Our friends are from the US, State of Washington and are really nice people.
I bought a new pair of sandals and trousers because my only one pairs were really worn out. I was feeling so ashamed to be dressed like a bump and especially here where the people are so neat and all. Moreover we are in the middle of the “Semana Santa” so everyone really is making an effort to dress up.
The biggest surprise ever : Palisdaaaaaa ! Campecheeeee !
One evening while we were walking through our campground in the Jungle Palace, we were approached by what seemed to be some travels organizers.
Surprisingly, they proposed us to take part in a trip of three days offered by the Secretary of Tourism of Campeche to promote to city and the surroundings of Campeche. They were very professional and persuasive. They explained us that the trip would last three days and that all was free including the food, the visits, the transportation on bus and the accommodation.
Our first reaction was suspicious. We thought that it was too honest to be true. So we listened and took the more information we could. They gave us some leaflets about the whole trip and all. I have to say that I was quite suspicious because it is reported that we should stay wary while touring Mexico because of different kind of annoyances and specially kidnappings.
They told us that they tried to get the biggest amount of nationalities in their trip and that they were interested in us because we were the only Belgian people they had met in here.
They gave us their business cards with their email addresses and mobile numbers and asked us to confirm as quick as we could because the trip would leave on Monday and we were already Saturday.
The meeting point was settled in a hotel in Palenque called The Mission Hotel at 7.30 on Monday morning. We took the night to think about it and to check a few things about the organization and all.
Finally we met some people in the jungle Palace who had already had the same proposal and who had accepted the whole trip.
So the day after, on Sunday, we went in the rotten village of Palenque in order to call the person who was in charge of collecting the inscriptions. We were confirmed that we could join the trip.
So we set our alarm clock to 5.30 AM to leave the Jungle palace. Actually we really would have stayed a bit longer in this chill place but we couldn’t miss such a proposal. Unfortunately we had set our alarm clock wrongly and we were woken up by some friends really at the last moment. We rushed like hell, got a colectivo and a taxi to rush trough the town. Luckily we got there on time and we discovered that all just absolutely serious and safe. There was a nice bus waiting for us. The bus was filled with a bunch of young, lively, funny other young tourists and the organizers were absolutely serious, efficient, qualified and all.
We had a really astonishing trip of three day with great food, wonderful visit and luxurious 5 stars Hotels. We visited some great villages and sites in the state of Campeche. One guy of our group has opened an address on facebook so that everybody could leave his memories and all (the name is mundo foto Campeche).
The ambiance was brilliant and all the attendees where smart, fun and lively. It was really a great moment and we were unbelievably lucky to have been selected.
When we got to the Campeche, we participated with the Secretary of tourism of Campeche in some official interviews given to journalists and all. We even did some interviews and broadcasting for the local television.
Personally I even stood next to the Secretary of Tourism during the local television interview. It was crazy!
The whole purpose of the operation was to promote the tourism into the Campeche region.
It was unbelievable but true.
I have to say that we were absolutely warmly welcomed in every village we visited. It was really touching to see all those men doing really their best to promote their region and their villages. We were really hosted and welcome as if we were some really great star. No kidding. It was fabulous. We received some gorgeous food everywhere.
We had a kind of degustation of fish in a restaurant and it was astonishing. We saw some great dolphins and some wonderful birds dwelling on some remote islands (we even had a boat tour!)
Actually Campeche was on our road so for us we really killed two birds with one stone because we reached Campeche without hiking.
Guys, you should have seen the Hotels where we went to. I think that we were almost a bit ashamed to go there because we all almost looked as dirty and smelly hippies but it didn’t matter, we were hosted like princes.
For all of us it’s really a story unbelievable. We read in the local paper that the whole operation had cost 170.000 pesos that is to say more than 10.000 euros…
On the road again : San Christobal de Las Casas and Palenque
One thing for sure after this nice stay in this fashionable backpacker hostel and our latest rides on bus, we craved to get back to a less touristy way of traveling. Even if it was kind of comfy to throw our bones in a coach, we kept thinking that it’s still expansive and boring to get packed in it like sardines. So we decided to get up early and to hike as we are kind of experts into it right now.
To hit san Christobal de las Casas, we had a long ride of around 1.000 km. So we had to prove that we were still good at hitchhiking once again.
We got out of the town walking a half hour and then stretch our thumbs again. First we were picked up by a kind of “colectivo”. Normally this sort of transportation isn’t free at all. It’s certainly not expansive and even rather cheap. But it seemed like the driver had decided to pick us up for free.
The “colectivo” is a sort of old van with two banquettes backward and a kind of roof. It’s rather comfy because you’re in the open air and the banquette is more comfy that being seated at the back of a van. That’s nice because you can feel the wind and all.
Anyway, we couldn’t find a better way to get definitively out of the town and to hit the countryside.
The driver dropped us after 10 km and didn’t even charge us. It’s was certainly very kind of him to have picked us up for free.
After waiting a few minutes alongside the road, a van stopped. To me, it was the perfect ride because it was sort of a scorcher and I really appreciate to travel in the open air.
For Nathalie it was certainly another story because her Coccyx was still aching a lot so she inflated a kind of air cushion that we normally use when traveling by plane. She keeps this bag to feel more comfy when we grab some night buses. So she put the cushion under her butt and tries to forget the pain.
Unfortunately those roads are rather battered and really filled with bumps to slow the traffic down. Our driver was in kind of hurry. For me, it was great because we could move forward more quickly and we had plenty of kilometers to do but for Nathalie it was rather the Stations of the Cross because he speeded so fast and then he stretched furiously when he had seen the goddam bump.
I really could see the fear on the Nathalie’s eyes every time the driver stuck on the brakes. Hopefully he never hit a bump head-on. Otherwise, I really think that Nathalie’s butt would have exploded into pieces.
He rode almost 100 km which was great anyway. Barely were we dropped on the road that another car stopped immediately. We hardly had the time to buy a cold bottle of water. Another stroke of good luck.
The driver, José, was a school teacher and was a very polite and gentle man. He was really interested in our life and was dying for having more information concerning the life in Europe in general. Even if you had some trouble to explain everything in Spanish he couldn’t stop but asking loads of questions about the life in our country. He was certainly smart and it’s always nice to have an enthralling conversation with some educated men.
We tried exchanging lots of ideas. The guy was rather from the left wing and I like that. He was a real soft man and when he wished us the best we were sure that his wishes were really honest and deep. It was a nice guy.
We were dropped near a small bridge. We crossed the lawn to get to the bridge. It was the perfect spot because after the small bridge there was a steep bend and so the vehicles must absolutely slow down.
We waited barely a few minutes and then a big yellow truck pulled over. The driver looked friendly but a bit nervous. He asked us if we weren’t carrying in our back any drugs and all. At the beginning of the ride we did really our best to ease him. I really felt that in was kind of a stress head.
After a while, I got used to us and he figured out that we were totally alright and safe. I think that he was quite alright finally.
Unfortunately, we hit a kind of barricade on the road. We were stuck in a huge traffic jam in this mountain road. We learned that a local political party had decided to organize a strike and to block the road which had been kept closed for 2 days. Fortunately it was said that they could end the strike in an hour and half. It lasted 4 hours finally. So we were all packed in this road and there were loads of different vehicles. The heatt was almost unbearable. It must have reached 40 degrees. It was really insane. We were sweating as if there was no tomorrow. We spent our time eating, drinking and practicing the guitar. I really saw that our driver was really happy the listen to some tracks even if I am a beginner. It changed his own road from the ordinary. It was nice to see him going smoothly.
I was personally glad he felt better because I really don’t like that one of our benefactor could feel bad because of us even for one second. Finally it was an interesting experience to get stuck for at least 7 hours in this little cab and in the end to be able to get to know us gradually and to appreciate us slowly.
We even pull over around 8.00 PM to share a great meal in one of his favorite “comidor”. Don’t picture that we went to same luxurious restaurant guys. We are in Mexico and on the road. It was this kind of place almost indescribable. No menus, nothing but a big pot full of a kind of soup and meat. Delicious by the way. Funny dogs too with nice ears. I do love dogs. Really.
We ate the meal with some tasty tortillas and a large bottle of water. The building was running down and the walls were covered by inscriptions telling how “Jesus Christo” was “el maestro de todos”. Funny! If you didn’t know that we were speaking about JC, you would have thought that you were fallen into a nest of deranged people. But instead of this, those guys were extremely polite, neat and well-educated.
It was getting dark and because of the strike we were late to get Tuxla Guiterez which was our next step and a rather big city where we would have found easily some cheap accommodation. Instead of this, he decided to drop us in a petrol station a little bit in the middle of nowhere and even without checking that we could find a hostel or some accommodation. We were a bit surprised but I don’t feel like discussing with our drivers because they have the right to do what they want after all.
It was around 2.00 AM. We started at 9.00 AM and so we had ridden for 17 hours. We did almost 800 km. You have to know that the trucks are particularly slow in those mountain roads. They can’t exceed 30 km / hour at times and we had lost 4 hours in the goddam strike.
We asked in the petrol station where we could find a Motel. They told us that there was nothing around so we were already prepared to stay awake in the gas station the whole night waiting for the day to rise and for the next ride. We were only at 200 km from san Christobal after all.
We went out of the gas station and asked another man. He told us that there was a hotel 5 minutes walking but it was scary. We didn’t understand what the problem was and he didn’t feel like explaining what he really would mean. So we decided to get there walking. We crossed a few guys and they told us that it was a hotel used for prostitutes.
No way guys. Personally when I want a bed nothing can stop me. We kept on going. We came into a narrow and pitch dark path and we followed it. We saw some men. We came together and exchanged some polite “buenas noches”. They answered politely. I immediately felt reassured.
When we hit the Motel, it was clearly written on a kind of board “80 pesos for three hours”. I knocked on the door. A very young guy rushed and opened the door. He looked a bit surprised what wasn’t too much surprising after all. He asked the price for the night and he told me 120 pesos. A piece of cake guys. The place was quite alright, cheap and quite neat I would say. We had already known fairly worst!
No cockroaches, no used condoms, no banditos, no drug narcos, nothing but 2 stupid tourist lost in this goddam hole. I think that the owner had never seen some goddam backpackers coming in his dump hole so far. If he had been able to take a picture of us, he would certainly have done it. It was so exhilarating.
I really wondered if we would be awake in the middle of the night by some horny couple fucking like ragging beasts.
It was already 4.00 AM and it was safe to say that we’d had our account of emotion for the day.
Fortunately, it wasn’t finished at all. As I was sleeping like a goddam log, Nathalie woke me up suddenly. “Have you heard that noise? There must be a thief somewhere outside or even in our room!” You know I’m not a coward or something but I don’t like being awake and hear this kind a funny sentence.
Actually I didn’t hear anything because of my earplugs. So I took them off and then I could clearly ear the weird noise. It was as if there was a beast or something onto the roof. No kidding guys. It wasn’t funny at all. I promise.
Really I thought that it was a kind of bad dream. I tried to listen much better and I could hear distinctively the sound of an animal loitering with a very heavy breath. I told Nathalie. “Gosh it is a kind of wolf or what?” I got up, opened the curtain and was absolutely convinced the goddam beast was onto the roof and that it was big. Suddenly Nathalie backed to her senses and told me that it was probably an iguana. There were a lots of Iguanas over here she said me. I wasn’t convinced at all. As she looked reassured I supposed she was right. He kept on listening to the noise for one hour and then put my earplugs on again and try to save the rest of my hellish night.
We woke up at 9.00 AM. The sun was already shining. Suddenly we heard the sound coming from the roof once again. I decided to do out and opened the front door. I walked to the yard, looked up and then I saw a goddam female dog onto the roof ! Gosh I really wondered how the poor beast had reached the roof.
We checked out a bit and then came to the conclusion that it was the dog of the owner and it was the only way he holds his dog. We were relieved even though the incident had completely spoiled our night.
What a day and night and day guys !
We had some 200 km to do to get to San Christobal. It was time to get on the road again and to rush to our upcoming bed. I was craving for a good comfy bed.
Our first ride of the day was with a gentle old man. He dropped us to Tuxtla Guiterez. Then we crossed the big city in on a local buses and we walked on the highway to reach another gas station. It was already boiling and we were kind of exhausted.
Fortunately, I asked a man for a ride as soon as we got to the gas station and he accepted immediately. He was an English teacher and he went directly to San Christobal. The trip was nice and lasted only one hour.
Once there we decided to skip the goddam youth hostel and looked for a cheap local hotel. We realized that it was much cheaper to rent a room in a local hostel than paying for 2 beds in a rotten dormitory. We had a very nice hostel, cheap, comfy and quiet guys. We were simply in heaven.
San Christobal de las Casas is a very beautiful small city located in the middle of the mountain in a kind a valley. There are a lot of tourists because the city is recommended in every guide books but it was bearable. We ate some great food and very chap. We could find some meal for 20 pesos for the both of us. A real godsend.
We visited the museum of Maya’s Medicine. Quite interesting. We had some great time in this little city enjoying its narrow cobblestones streets and its wonderful and magnificent churches. San Domingo is probably one of the most famous churches in the whole Mexico and I have to say that the front is gorgeous. Really.
We hit the road one again after 2 days to get to Palenque probably one of the most famous site Maya in Mexico. The trip was supposed to last 5 hours.
We started walking to reach the suburbs of San Christobal. The large and straight road was not ideal because the cars were really speeding away and so it was uneasy to pull over. Fortunately a guy made it and gave us a short ride to drop us on the right road heading to Palenque.
It was not that easy to get the good ride that day. We waited almost one hour and finally a young Mexican couple pulled over. They were going to “Agua Azul” which is only located one hour from Palenque. The dream. So we could do almost 200 km, almost the whole journey.
The road was wonderful and we crossed some breathtaking scenery. We were in the middle of the Chiapas which is the Maya land. We could appreciate all the traditional Maya Villages and spot the whole farming activities. We were absolutely delighted to be hosted in a car and not in a truck because on these steep roads I really wonder how long would have lasted the trip.
We hit some nice hills filled with a kind of jungle. There were all kind of big tropical trees and loads of fruit trees: banana, mango, and so one. Those Mayas have probably the best mangos ever. They are just delicious.
Our hosts were very friendly. We even pull over to take some picture all together. We share our music tastes. It was just great.
Barely were we dropped on the road that we grab another car and one hour after we could hit Palenque.
We took a “colectivo” and got to the Jungle Palace which is a place where there are lots of backpacker’s hostels all stick together in a place called El Panchan. I would say that the place is rather cool and filled with lots of funky backpackers and some kind of surviving hippies.
The place is just located in the middle of the jungle and on the road to get the archeological site of Palenque. We took a cheap “cabana”, the last one and the closer to the jungle.
The temperature was so high guys that we couldn’t stop sweating like hell. We got only one bed in a sort of cabana surrounded by mosquito-screens. I can tell you that we could hear all the noise done by the beats in the forest. The place was supposed to be filled with cougars, jaguars and howler monkeys. What a fuss at night guys. Those animals definitively never sleep. It’s amazing.
The place was really funny and we bumped into really nice and funky people. Kept it cool and took it easy buddy.
We visited the archeological site of Palenque which is worldwide renowned. Palenque is really a wonder and really worths to be seen even if there were many tourists. We saw the museum dedicated to the Maya’s culture which was absolutely interesting.
On the bus : from Mexico City D.F. to Puerto Escondido
We weren’t in the mood for hitchhiking from Mexico City because reaching the outskirts of Mexico City to get on the highway is a real nightmare. The City is probably one of the biggest ever. The traffic is crazy and they have 22 millions of inhabitants. So leave it.
As we saved some dough hiking before, we decided to grab a bus to get to Puebla which is only 4 hours away from Mexico City DF. I really remembered the sweet and happy face of my wife during this trip. It’s good at times to rest your bones on a comfy bus and just have as only concern the fact of listening to your best tracks. She felt so pleased and happy. She looked a bit as a sweet angel. You shouldn’t forget guys, that there is not a single day when we are in the middle of nowhere hiking where I’m not thinking that it‘s not always easy to be on the road in such conditions. After all there are so many scary stories about Central and South America. Sometimes I feel like as if something happened to my wife, I would be filled with remorse for the rest of my live. But on the other, bad things could occur everywhere and is certainly not because you’re living in a wealthy country that you’re safe. Certainly not. I do all my best to take care of her every day, every minute.
We hit Puebla and ate our first tasty “tortas” which are kind of delicious homemade sandwiches. Really great stuff. We went to our guest house. An old one but very nice. I have to say that Puebla is quite a nice city. Very comfy and filled with pleasant streets with lots of trees. The cost of living seems very good in Puebla and the architecture of the town is amazing. Lots of houses are covered with colored tiles and we learnt that Puebla is renowned worldwide for his wonderful architecture. Lots of friendly people. We really do recommend visiting Puebla. The Zocalo (main square) is lovely too. Really great time.
We toured the town in one day and spent most of our time in churches. They have dozen of churches in this town. They all looked like wedding cakes of different colors. It’s funny. I have always been very skeptical about all the dolls which are inside those churches. I really wonder if people realize that they are talking to dolls at times. It really kills me to see people talking to dolls. Sometimes those dolls look really ugly and have some scary faces. It reminds me of some horrors movies where you can see some little dolls talking to kids and all. Really spooky. There are generally full of dust with awful pieces of clothes. The works! As a matter of fact, to say the least is that Dios has an incredible amount of houses in this town. What a hot-shot guys!
We discovered that those churches have a hidden purpose in those countries. Actually it’s quite nice to get there and have a rest and all. It’s much cooler than outside. You can also take off your shoes and put your feet on the cold marble. What a feeling guys! Wonderful!
After two days there, we decided to grab another bus to get to Oaxaca which is worldwide famous for his chocolate and his Mescal. The trip was easy and lasted just a few hours.
We took a kind of youth hostel. Just regular but no more even though the breakfast was gorgeous. A really full breakfast with eggs and all.
The town with filled with a lot of streets vendors that could appear a bit boring. The Zocalo is wonderful. We bought some chocolate and some Mescal. The chocolate was really disappointing (I have already eaten some chocolate ten times better) but the mescal was really alright.
Surprisingly the cost of living in town was quite expensive. It took us a few hours to find a cheap place to eat our “tortas” but when we got it we went there two times a day. The owner was quite surprised we got his best clients but he was so friendly and the” tortas” were cheap and quite tasty.
We spent two nights in Oaxaca and decided the grabbed a night bus to get to Puerto Escondido and so to save some money. We left the bus station at almost 11.00 PM and we got to Puerto Escondido at 6.00 AM. Guys what an awful road. The road went through some very high and steep mountains and was awfully winding. I’ve got my bottle of Mescal with me so I started to sip some swallows so that I could fall asleep. It wasn’t the best idea I had ever had… I put some earplugs and try to sleep a bit. After two hours I got awake and I really felt as if I wasn’t in full shape. Then I realized that the bus was turning in all directions. The bends were terrible. I immediately understood that I was getting gradually sick. I tried not to think about it but it was a waste of time. I started to sweat and I felt as if I was getting white-faced. At this particular point of time I really regretted to have grabbed this goddam bus and my bottle of Mescal…I even tough of asking to step out the bus and to stay on this goddam road in the middle of the night. However, Nathalie seemed to sleep gently. Finally I felt miraculously asleep and I managed to get some hours of sleep.
We got to Puerto Escondido at 6.00 PM. It’s was still pitch dark. We were exhausted and sleepy. Unfortunately Nathalie missed a steep while going out of the bus. She felt heavily on her coccyx. She feltthe pain immediately and her coccyx started aching very soon.
It was pretty warm in Puerto Escondido even though it was only 6.00 AM. We decided to wait for the dawn a little bit. The little bus station was dirty and funny. There was a kind of desk with some papers on it just behind some bars. In a corner of the little room there was a dirty shower. I went in and turn the tap. The water was perfectly cold. A godsend guys. I couldn’t resist from having a cold shower. It was so refreshing and it helped me to take the sleep away. We were alone in this little room wide open on the streets. I was naked and soaked in the middle of the room. I decided to take some papers out of the desk and to dry myself with them. Funny. Then we decided to find a cheap hostel.
Puerto Escondido is renowned for its surf spots, its great beaches and the weather which is particularly hot in there. We weren’t disappointed: it was scorching as hell. We couldn’t move without sweating. It was round 40°c almost all time. Even in the morning or in the middle of the night we were sweating.
There was full of nice and cheap accommodation everywhere but we went to a kind of backpackers hostels we found the address on the net (The mayflower). It wasn’t the best idea we had. It was a kind of fashionable hostel full of show-offy backpackers spending most of their time yelling like hell and drinking like virgin teenagers. Obviously we made a big mistake. We had some hard time to feel the courage to sympathize and really regretted not having taken a kind of funky bungalows near one of the nice beaches around the place.
We visited the beaches which are famous worldwide for the size of their waves. We got to a gorgeous beach, a kind of hidden bay, really perfect for beginning the surf. I had some sunburns so it wasn’t ideal to surf this way and unfortunately Nathalie was suffering from his butt. Anyway, we met a very nice guy who was working in a restaurant on the beach. He was named Jimmy and we exchanged all together some guitars tracks. He was very friendly. We ate in his restaurant two times and got some delicious fish tacos. He was sad when we left. This guy could have been a real friend. He taught us some Spanish basics words.
We really appreciated to live on this beach. The ocean was just perfect and the beach was heaven on earth.
The last day when we camde back on our silly hostel we achieved to get some friendship with a couple of guys. We share our Mescal and ate some food together. It was nice to leave this rotten hole on a more positive note. On our way out we bumped into the guest house’s owner who told us if we had the “guide du routard” just to check whether its goddam hostel was well ranked in the guide. We answered that we hadn’t this guide with us.
Discovering Mexico City D.F.
When we came into the room, we bumped immediately into a really friendly French Guy called Pierre. He was from Toulouse and he went to Mexico City for an internship in a kind of company buying some copters for some other hot-shot people or kind of army monkeys; you never know exactly where this kind of stuff really ends in this arcane world.
If only we knew how we are fooled, we would understand that what seems so important to us is often strictly for the birds. I really lost count of the number of times we learn a long time after an event that actually the truth is totally different of what we were told in the newspapers and all and consequently that we had completely been fooled. Poor goddam muppets of us. Some States or Governments have their own reason which has really nothing to do with honesty and security and so is it for some big companies and all. I was just reading this morning the lastest concerning the catastrophe of Fushihama. One day we will get the whole stinking story as usual and we will discover all the truth that had been hidden by the authorities. All that dirty crap. Don’t even give a damn if people could have been affected or killed or something. As long as money is concerned every qualm seems to vanish in the air or just be a childish concern. I guess that one day the whole planet will slam in our faces.
Anyway, Pierre was very friendly and seemed very concerned about his new internship. He was ready to be sucked by his new big boss. He really wanted to give the best part of him to be sure to leav the best impression ever behind him
That’s how the whole system works. Those companies have so many employees almost ready to killed themselves to get the illusion they really are about to become a part of the giant financial feast. It’s probably one of the biggest lie and illusion of this marketing society.
In the market economy, there are a few people able to earn a really good living but on the other, there are so many other guys spoiling their entire live to get so little things and just to get it they are ready to waste their whole life. Just because nobody has ever told us that they may be very happy without being a goddam dully banker or insurance employee.
Have they only dreamt of selling those craps which filled their whole lives now when they were honest children full of desire and dreams?
It’s killed me to listen to those “executive muppets” who could spend a whole evening trying to convince you that their life is fascinating just because they are working for a phone company or something.
Isn’t it fascinating that not only are those jerks spoiling their own entire life but moreover they pretend to convince you that they are right?
They are dressed like warriors and even their words could sound like weapons at times. If only that kind of speeches could disappear of their phony faces? Do they only know that they have only one life and they are about to die quite soon.
I really dream of restoring the wild and magnificent silence at times if only we could. Do you think that honesty will come back one day in our life? How can we keep on living with such a bunch of liars?
I clearly remembered Amelie. She occupied one beds in our room. She is from London and she was nice. A bit shy but it was a kind of distinction. A very clever and smart girl. Actually she works for the National Geography and she was making a kind of report about some circus performers. She seemed so sensitive and weak in a way. Just the opposite of the raiders I was talking about. It proved that there are still very nice people on earth. It’s obvious. She always seemed so concerned for anybody in the room. A really nice girl. I hope she will get all the happiness she deserves. Angels are not always good at defending themselves and especially if they are surrounded by a flood of sharks.
We had really great time in this hostel. Quickly and surprisingly we all felt as if we were a kind a family. How strange was it! It’s crazy how we could be so human and unarmed at times.
The hostel was terrific. We had a kind of terrace with a breathtaking view on the Zocalo and on his Cathedral. Really those youth hostels are very well located at times. We couldn’t have found a better place to stay.
We had some great time in Mexico even if we walked too much to me. We visited some archeological sites and the national Museum of Anthropology. I would fairly recommend it if ever you went to Mexico City.
We spent also great time through the streets eating some delicious ice creams. We do love ice-creams. We had been advised to visit a particular street to get our guitars. We wanted to buy some new guitar. One of my dreams is to be able to play a musical instrument. I chose the guitar because it is easy to carry and it’s very fraternal. We found two lovely guitars quite cheap and I would say good value for money. Since then, I have been playing at least one hour a day. I try to train even if it’s not easy at all. Nathalie is my own private teacher and is great to learn it together. Nathalie took up some guitar classes 10 years ago and it lasted 5 years so she knows a few things about playing the guitar. I’m sure that when we will be able to play we’ll have lots of great moment and encounters. As of matter of fact, every time I take me guitar out, there is always somebody who asks me if I don’t mind he plays. Sure I don’t, even if I’m someone quite romantic which means that I have personal relations even with my valuable objects. I can give them a name or pat them at times, even talk to them often. I know I’m a madman. But on the other it’s sometimes so difficult to have a honest conversation with our fellows. That’s also why I really adore pets. I’m getting old and dull guys. It’s awful.
We were like two spinning muppets in those stores because as I couldn’t play, it is quite uncomfortable to choose your instrument just because you’re not able to distinguish a crap out of good ones. Those sellers are really used to spot some tourists like us pretending to become good musician one day. They were affectionate and friendly finally even if I couldn’t have been able to single out a crap in a box.
As far as the archeological sites are concerned, Mexico was really great even if I’m not the best walker of the world. After a couple of hours my feet were aching and I have to say that I don’t like being tired in the middle of those huge touristy sites but it was alright and quite interesting culturally speaking. We learnt lots of fascinating stuffs about the Azteques, how their lives, their Gods and all.
From La PAZ to Mexico City
Finally we left LA PAZ kind of 25 March. We didn’t get the sail ride we hoped. It would certainly have been too good in a way. We just didn’t know exactly how acting with those sailors even though they weren’t swanky at all. We were told that it was sort of easy thing to get and that there were loads of ride going from LAPAZ to the mainland. It was just for the birds guys. That’s always the same story with people who tend to act show-offy. They’re always feeling forced to tell you advices that they’ve never even experienced themselves. It kills me. They never even specify that they’ve never tried themselves. I don’t know…probably they’ve kind of big bang out of telling you things that they would be true - but actually they really don’t know whether it’s true or not - just as if they were living a big adventure through you. Those guys are just tiring dreamers. It’s boring at times because you could lose lots of energy trying to achieve what those jerks advised you.
Actually we did all we were supposed to do. We went very early in the morning in the harbor several times and we used the harbor channel radio leave some message at. We also left some note on the harbor board. It was so boring the get up early to get to the harbor and talk at the radio claiming that those sailors would have a real asset if they gave you a ride. What a racket guys. What a mismatch of bullshit! To me it was nauseating even if it was kind of funny to play with this radio. You know I’m really not good at kissing ass so I just told those sailors that they should give us the ride because my bag was full of beers and chocolate – which was a kind of joke because I told them that we were from Belgium….That’s not that I’m proud of it but beers and chocolate are certainly the last things Belgium is still famous for…
You should have read the messages left on the board. There were loads of guys looking for a ride and they had left sort of notes on the harbor board. They all claimed to be able to cook or to clean the boat once on board. It was just hilarious. I’m quite sure half of those bastards must have been so sick once sailing that they wouldn’t have been able to eat even a peanut so let alone cooking! We just didn’t want to be part of this dope so we just wrote that we were ready to help in exchange for the ride.
You should have heard that sailor we met at the breakfast one day in the harbor explaining us how we should have left our message in order to increase our chance to get one. I really wonder if the guy wasn’t a retired teacher. He was such a pain. Just unbearable. They were probably thinking that getting this goddam ride was the time of our live. It’s crazy how people are able to be silly at times just because you value them for a moment. Just tell a monkey how smart he is and you’re sure he’ll believe you post-hate. It’s just as though we really couldn’t stop but leaving in a competitive world where some bastards really get such a bang out of acting like hot-shot guys in order to avoid being taken like pansy guys. Those raiders really make me puke. No Kidding. To me I really think that the more you know the less you know and you just should act lowly because we’re really nothing except maybe some really nice and wonderful guys who are really stand out from the crowd.
We were really sick of being part of this phony atmosphere so we decided to take the usual ferry crossing the Mare del Cortes. We were told that we could bribe a truck driver to go with him and meanwhile saving a few bucks because the truck driver was just supposed to pay just for his truck and no matter the passengers. Another fairy tale reported by some show-offy guys taking their dreams to reality. We asked a truck driver and he just stared at us as if we were sort of goddam green putrid aliens. Eventually the guys throw us a smile making out like he hadn’t got the picture at all. Actually we looked at the trucks for a while and we just didn’t see the faintest shadow of a backpacker picked up by a truck driver. Those jerk storytellers drain me sometimes something awful.
We still had our two survivor bikes and so it was high time we sold us. We decided to write the price on a board and to get to the Malecon to sell them. We thought that one for 300 pesos and both for 500 pesos would be a reasonable price for us and for the upcoming buyer as well. One of the employees of our guesthouse seemed to be interested in “Blue Moon” the Nathalie’s one. This guy was a kind of flit and seemed to be a fan of Françoise Hardy. I couldn’t stop listening a singing some mushy Françoise Hardy songs all day long. He was really a hard worker at times but he was really phony, the real caricature of a flit: soft, smiling and a little bit mushy. I really had a big bang out of trying the bike. You should have seen him riding in circle in the middle of the street, smiling like a jerk and seeming happy like a child he was probably. Finally he decided not to buy it because it was too expensive for him. I hope he was kidding me because 300 pesos made only 20 bucks so if he is not able to buy it he really had better not work and he should wander around the lovely beaches round La PAZ. Finally he asked me what I would do if ever I couldn’t buy the bikes. As we were really not certain to be able to sell it, I answered that we have already made the decision to give the bikes to some poor little kids who should very pleased with them. Then the bastard told me that he had some kind of little nephew who would be very happy with the bike. What a phony! He hadn’t lost all his brains! I told me that he was really funny but that we expected that we could really sell them easily cause the price was such a bargain. So we went down the Malecon full of hope of selling them. We sat on bench in a kind of crowded spot in the middle of the Malecon. Firstly people didn’t even seem to notice our presence and then a few people started to look at us and our bikes. It was promising. Then the questions came which proved a certain interest. Finally we sold Purple rain to a nice guy. He told us that he had just come to La Paz and that he just found a job in a hotel. The guy didn’t seem to have lots of dough and considered really that having a bike could help him to get to work. He seemed really to need. He told us that he had only 220 pesos and he really saw in his eyes that he didn’t kid me at all. I couldn’t refuse his proposal because I really felt how happy he would be with the bike so I decided to let the bike go at this price. The guy was so happy that It really made me happy too. It’s so wonderful when you are able to help somebody who really need it. There are so many people in trouble.
Then a pretty little girl went through us and glanced at the bike. She kept on walking then stopped and went back. She asked if the price would be 300 pesos for the bike left. We answered yep and she wanted to try it. She told us that she came from Spain and was studying I can’t remember what in La Paz and that she’d had a pretty awful day. She looked a bit down in the dump and depressed. She explained how better she could be with this bike because it would help her lot to get to school. She really seemed to appreciate the weird ornamentation of the bike. She told us that this bike would save her day and she looked really happy, better and as if you had recovered some hope for the future. We were really happy for her. She looked a bit lost so far away from home and lonely. She was pleased of having exchange some pleasantries with us who were as well strangers there. She didn’t discuss the price and left with the bike. She was touching in a way. We really wondered what would be her future and if the was some good surprise around the corner for her.
We forget often how weak we are all and how much we need to life in a world more human. I often really feel a raging need to hug some people in the streets just because I feel that they are sad or something. I even really don’t know if they are really down but I don’t know it’s something that comes deep down of me. Don’t ask why. It’s something very odd. You know I even feel my eyes widening as if they would be larger enough to feel the reality that my senses have previously felt. Generally this kind of trance ends up with a big sight of blue and the feeling that I’m perhaps a kind of too sensitive guy. I really don’t know.
I really hope those two guys will have a good life in a way. It was so strange to see our two bikes leaving us freely riding on the Malecon and have a new life so far away from San Diego. In a way we really saved their lives. It’s so special to think that something we were so attached in, something with we had such an experience belongs now to somebody else. Do you really think that a part of us will accompany them till they have those bikes? Those bikes are so charged with our emotion coming from the survival of crossing the Baja. They have such a history and they carry our emotions. Remember that scary night in the middle of the mountains in pitch dark just brushed by those bawling trucks. I ‘m pretty sure those two fellows will give them lots of positive things because they are just charged with our survival love and our boundless pain.
So we climbed in this big national ferry kind of symbol of the almighty of a powerful financial country. What a racket guys. You should have seen the building. Sure you could have put the whole Statue of Liberty in it. The thing was just seven stories high. Take my words guys once up I got such dizziness something awful. You really could wonder how those things are able to float at times. Of course I’m really not a bored specialist in this kind of matter. If I was, I’m pretty sure that the boats would sink once in the water. But anyway we were jam-packed in the thing like sausages in a huge stinking can. What a mess guys. We were told that we could have supper. Supper my a. When finally we decided to grab something to eat, it was already to late because the free supper was available between 4-5 PM. What a racket. Those commercial are really a royal pain. They always throw you some ads as if you were the most stupid man on earth or as if you were some starved auks begging for a sardine as if there was no tomorrow. I really hate those salesmen as much as I can’t stand those journalists only obsessed with sensational articles no wonder the matters. I really don’t know what’s going on for you but as far as I’m concerned I really flee each time those goddam salesmen are 5 miles radius from me. I’m really allergic to marketing stuffs. It makes me puked something terrible. Don’t you get sometimes this horrible feeling that you’re just a target-puppet that all those jerks-marketers are just rushing to get the few bunks that your wonderful job has allowed to save? Those shark-raiders have really no mercy for anybody. Even if you had only one nickel in your empty pocket I’m pretty convinced guys that you would find on your way those stinking washing powder salesman trying to get you one for the holy sake of your starving family.
Do you think that one day we just could get rid of this ads stinking world where everything just exists because it’s valuable? We really should get rid of our commercial needs to come back to our essential needs. It would probably be the end of this goddamn worldwide business but I don’t really give a damn. Remember our latest financial crisis (you know the internet bubble in 2001 and the subprime crisis in 2008) what was really terrifying was not the crisis it itself or even the causes of those crisis, what was really apocalyptic was the population fear for consumption. That was the big cancer of our business world: the slow down coming consequently after a financial crisis. Actually there was no fear of consumption at all but simply the awareness that the slowdown of consumption was kind of liberation for many people after all who just realize that it wasn’t so unpleasant to reduce the process of buying after all because they just realized that they don’t need all the rubbish that they were used to buying like goddam golems. That was the real danger, the real cancer. What about if ever our wonderful puppet full of dough finally understood that there is no need to get the whole Wall mart in your cupboard to be happy or if ever miraculously the human race stops associating driving an expansive car with the fact of having a big cock or being this upper-class manager in a kind of stinking bloodsucker commercial firm. I can tell you that the real panic was really coming from the fact that some of us were becoming fed up with all that consumption and just decide to slow down just for the fun of it and realize that instead of working like dying dogs for nothing they just could slow down in their job life and life just better in consummating less.
After all who has already seen a boss coming to the burial of one of his pretended beloved employee? Who? Who are you trying to get richer while wasting all your life being stranded in a kind of vomiting company: you? your family ? or your goddamn firm or even the state which will suck you up like a insatiable vampire till you stop being a tax payer? Don’t you know that even after your pass away you’re still a good money producer since your heirs will be also suck for paying the inheritance taxes which is probably one of the biggest shame of a goddam working life ! Poor working puppets of us!
As I was saying we were stuck in this wonderful love boat where you could find a ranch of different rooms. The funniest of all was probably the television one. Guys you really must see it just to believe. They broadcasted such a violent movie something unthinkable. I really don’t know what’s happening in this world but each time we get in a coach or whatever we are imposed such violent movies something awful. I really wonder what’s in the empty head of these company managers to allow such broadcastings. Every time we got the same vomiting nightmare: kind of horror movie where everybody is firing at everybody or everything that stands and there’s so much blood wherever. It’s awful. I don’t know who are the bastards in which goddam studios who’re producing such a crap but it’s a shame. Guys I haven’t seen such a violence for years. The straw was that the boat was full of kids (those Mexicans have really plenty of kids which is great) and those kids were stuck in front of the screen like madmen and all these parents were just leaving their yearlings watching attentively this crap. Guys I really spent a few minutes to look at the faces of these kids. Some of them were just terrifying something crazy. I really wonder how those kids will evolve in their personal lives if they are dunked in such a daily violent. This world is beyond understanding to me. I really don’t want to be taken for an old con man but don’t you really thing that those kids are going to evolve like angels after having soaked up such craps.
What’s also astonishing is that most of those companies belong to the State which must normally mean “Public Utility”. You know what I mean? And to think that there are some kinds of manager behind their mottos that they would do something great for the sake of all of us. Hilarious, isn’t it?
So we were stranded into this wonderful feeble-minded movie room with this violence-starved audience absolutely glued to the bawling and blood stained screen. Gosh, I was in a kind of blue funk because I started wondering what those guys could do if they would face kind of scary situation. Would they draw their guns and shoot in all directions or would they switch on their jigsaw and cut me into pieces? Sometimes I really wonder what could really happen if those guys were losing their temper for some reason. Better not thinking too much to this kind of thing. Actually it was getting freezing in the room. We put all our layers of clothing but it wasn’t still efficient. We were huddled up onto several seats just trying to warm up a bit but without success. It reminded me of those lonely nights in the back of an awful greyhound bus or in those long-haul flights where I don’t know why but they always put the heating on the lowest setting so it can be really freezing at times in those thingamajigs.
The crossing lasted sort of 8 hours to go from La Paz to Topolobampo located in the mainland and we were pretty frozen when we went out the goddam floating building. The arrival really looked like the Normandy landings with all the trucks zooming as hell into the deep dark night. It’s such a deployment of blinding lights and bawling noise something scary in a way. In the middle of this howling fury, we were thrown like two lost tramps with nowhere to turn. At the very beginning this dropping did us good because it was far much warmer in the street than inside the floating building but it is such an strange feeling to get somewhere without really knowing where exactly we were and what way we should do to go in the right direction. What direction anyway? Which is the right one? We really feel like lost strangers sometimes landed in some unknown regions. So we walked down the sidewalks without knowing where to go. We saw the ugly faces through the car windows rushing to I don’t know where. Those looks are awful sometimes. You really feel as if you where kind of rare beasts while you’re just wondering where to go a little bit scary already. Those looks are really cruel at times. They just bring you into focus that you are in a tricky position somehow. It’s awful at times how you could feel lonely and blue in the light of those looks. You really would have wanted to have just a bad where to head but that’s not the case. It was already 1.00 AM and you didn’t know just where we were and where going.
So we kept on walking silently with our two small bag packs glued on our shoulders and hand-in-hand. Nathalie and I are often going hand-in-hand and in those tricky moments we are always touching each others in a way. We really feel as if we were the only one for each other at times and our hand-in-hands are often meaningful. Sometimes we really feel like two lost islands in a deep black sea trying the get close together by I don’t know which magical desperate strength. We can really hear hour palms whispering “ I love you so much you know, please be there till the end of the time, I’m so nothing without you, I’m so nothing at all after all and all my life meaning is to love you till the end and I really don’t give a damn of everything else. Really”. In those moments, you really feel that what matters the most and it’s the eternal need of love and having some close people to cuddle up. It’s only those people could only know that cuddling up is also valuable…
So we went to a kind of fence and there was there a kind of lonely cop probably being fed up as hell with doing nothing and craving for the sun rise. We asked the cop where the village was and where we could find a “barrata” (cheap) hostel. He told us that there was a hotel just a few blocks away. We were really relieved because we were in such a dead-and-alive hole we really didn’t know if we would find a place to sleep.
The hotel had already closed his doors and all around was in pitch dark. We decided to knock at the door. A sleepy guy opened the door finally. He proposed such an expansive price because I knew far well that we couldn’t refuse it just because in such a messy situation. We asked for a discount. He proposed us a little discount if we left the room before 6. 00 AM. It was already 2.OO. The bastard would probably bugger his employer and snap all the dough up for himself just before his boss came. He would probably cleaned the room a bit and he would be done. What a bastard. Just because I was guessing the rip off I decide to leave the place without even knowing where to turn. What a crazy dreamer I can be at times. I really act sometimes like Don Quichote or I don’t give a damn.
So I told my honey that I could smell something cooking in the square. It was Friday and the was a kind of party somewhere so the little local hambergesas store was still open. No matters where we could sleep I decide to treat ourselves and we ordered two big hamburgers with papas al la francas and some beers. After all if we had to spend the night outside in this scary hole, we would rather have something good in our bellies. So we appreciated our food as perfect tourists in a place where they probably hadn’t seen one goddam backpacker before. Finally we asked somebody in the streets if he would know if there was a place cheap to sleep for two lonely backpackers. Surprisingly he told us to follow him. We walked in a kind of narrow back street and he reach a very run down house. He knocked at the door and suddenly an old man came. They exch anged some Spanish words we couldn’t catch. The old man asked to follow him and he went to the next house which was a building not finished and which looked pretty ran down too. We entered the place. Everything was broken. There were just only the walls and it was such a mess of tools standing on the floor. For sure if we stayed there, it would be cheap. We went upstairs. We crossed a kind of spooky corridor with different doors alongside the narrow corridor. We reached finally what would be our room. A awfully ran down room with a bed spring, you know a kind of old foldable campground bed. The think that can kill your back in only a couple of hours. We were so happy to have found a place to stay that we accepted at once. As I really hate all kind of crawling beats, I immediately checked under the bed if there wasn’t a big hairy spider or something. But it looked great. All the walls were crumbling but it was fine. We had only one carpet so I decided to explore the corridor and the other room to get another one. Suddenly I wondered what were behind those unlocked doors. Perhaps I would find a corpse or a kind of poor illegal migrant guy or even some wad of dope and a scary narco guy who just found to place to hide a bit expecting that the police would forget him. I was really scary but on the other I knew that my honey wouldn’t sleep well with only one carpet. So I decided to open a door. I act like such a heroes at times guys. Luckily no killers or crap and just another room with another bed or of course another carpet. I grabbed the lovely carpet and went back as far as I could. What a heroes guys!
We slept well like two saved lovers and we woke up with the sun and the lovely song of our favorite pet: the wonderful rooster. I do love roosters guys. You really can’t guess how much I do love roosters. I could tell you so many stories about waking up by those fowls because I guessed I would bore you like hell. Let’s say there’s always some kind of rooster behind our doors. Every time we ask for a discount, we get it and then we discover that behind our door the little bastard is already there ready to sing when the moment will be suitable for him. I guess the little fellow must have had the same pretty good rides as us because he is always there is the same hostels. I would say that finally I’m pretty happy for him because gradually he became a sort of close buddy of us. I really like this little fellow of him. He has always the same clear and proud eyes saying that is so swelled to be the master of his poultry. He is quiet engaging you know.
So we were so happy the see the sun coming out again and for a moment we forgot we were just on a dump terrace. We were out of the night and we were able to survey the wonderful star. Even if the room and the building behind us were terrible, we were just fine.
After a light breakfast in the Oxxo, it was already high time to stretch ours thumbs. There was a kind of funny little bus that could drop us to Los Nochis. We decided to catch it. It was cheap and the driver was really friendly. He couldn’t stop putting some good Mexican music and there was a pretty good ambiance in this local bus filled with kids going at school and their sweet and considerate mothers. Those little Mexicans kids are so lovely in their school uniforms. They always wear sort of white shirt and they are always well capped and very neat. Those people are so respectful for their live. Even if they are sometimes very poor they always try to give the best and there are well dressed, very respectful, very polite. It seems that the poorer the people are the best they are at times. Perhaps, they haven’t been perverted by money and all the stupid desires that can come from wanting loads of dough.
We reached Los Nochis. The bus driver dropped us at the bus terminal. Perhaps, we misunderstood because we didn’t want to be drop in the middle of the town. So we had to walk kind of one hour to get back the right road that headed to Matzaplan. We were a round 1.400 kms from Mexico City D.F. It was such a long drive to get the capital. After around 30 minutes, a car stopped. There were two men inside. They told us that that could give us a ride for about 40 kms. Never refuse a ride even a short one is always a present and furthermore when it comes to get out of a major city. The men, father and son, were friendly. We exchanged some words in English and in Spanish. They son was very interested in knowing more about the live in Europe so we explained him a few platitudes about the life in Europe. How it was getting difficult to find a job, how life was getting hard for the young couple who must work pretty hard if they want to get on the property ladder and stuffs like this. He knew a lot about European banks’ financial troubles and all. The father wasn’t able to speak English and he looked rather suspicious.
They dropped us at a kind of police control. There are plenty of them around Mexico. We crossed the check point walking and went 200 meters further on the other side. There were kind of big trucks parked there. The drivers were busy to grab food and drinks after passing the check points. Those policemen can be demanding at times so I guess that they could feel relieved when all is over. We found a very gentle guy who was driving a rotten truck. At the very beginning he acted suspiciously staring a bit as us as if we were kind of strange beasts. Finally he accepted to pick us up. Gosh what a dump truck he has. We had only one seat for the both of us and the trip promised to be very painful for our poor little butts. I got the best part of the seat and unfortunately Nathalie was poorly seated. I could see that she was suffering as hell but you know when someone pick you up you might appear like a kind of jerk if you start moaning about the way you are just seated. In those moments we have just the right to shut up and enjoy the ride which is already a great present. I have to say that even for me it was painful. We jumped from one buttock to the other ones trying not to be caught red-handed of buttocks sore like two young fledgling backpackers. Unfortunately the driver understood that it was pretty sore. He asked if our butts were alright. We pretended to we were fine, too happy to be seated there.
The driver was kind of intrigued by the fact that we were hitchhiking. He asked us a lot of questions about our lives and our jobs. He was just surprised that European people don’t have enough dough to grab a bus like everybody else. We explained him that all the people are not loaded in Europe and that there is also hard time for people there. We told him that we love hiking because it gave us the chance to bump into nice people, to speak a bit Spanish and by the way learn more about the country and the inhabitants we were visiting. He really seemed baffled by our explanations. I saw that he liked the fact that we were interested in the ordinary people and that I had worked as a criminal lawyer focusing mostly on really poor people. After all even if you’re a lawyer and that you spent your time working for prisoners, it’s get hard to save some dough.
We rode 5 or 6 hours with him. It was a peaceful and quiet ride. He was adorable because he spent most of his time teaching us some new words in Spanish. He told us that in 6 months we would be able to speak Spanish just like him. I really would like he was right bit I don’t think so expect if we would spend all of our time with Spanish people. Finally we crossed with him Culiacan. He was kind enough to drop us outside the city on the right road to get further.
We were stretching our thumbs once again for an hour when a Mexican guy walking came near us and told us that we should take a bus because it was tricky to hike on this road. We really love those jerks, always happy to bore you without being able to give you a hand. We met a lot of those goddamn loudmouths on the road, always ready to scare you but always fleeing away when it comes to giving you a hand. Precious words. I really can’t stand people speaking for nothing, especially when I really need some help. I told the guy to get away and I explained he was wasting our time. He shrugged his shoulders as if we were stupid gringos but he really didn’t care. I really can’t stand those boring advisers spending their time annoying people. They just should open a kind of crap psychic parlor and tell their fairy tales at people lost enough to get interested in this garbage.
We decided to walk toward a truck which was parked 200 meters forward. The truck drver was about to live. I just showed him my board with “Matzaplan” written on it. The driver nodded immediately without even thinking about it. It was a nice guy. He was named David. He was rather quiet and introvert but he was such a very good driver, very professional. We told him that we were heading to Mexico City and as he told us that actually he was driving to Tepic, we asked him if we could stay with him to Tepic. He accepted but he said that he would be there at 11.00 PM. What a ride guys : 6 hours in this huge truck. We crossed some impressive hills and mountains at night. What a driver guys. We really wonder how those guy are able to drive so long distances. They drive 17 hours a day at times. They usually sleep a few hours and then they keep on driving. Most of them have really hard live but all of them really like driving and they seem to enjoy their work. I can really say that they are very brave. That night with David was really fantastic. Nathalie was seated on David’s bed. I got the front seat. He told Nathalie that she could sleep if she needed. We hit the night, we hit some endless strait roads surrounded by a huge and deep starry dark sky. We were like three passengers crossing some uninhabited and surrealist mountains spinning around in those numerous bends. There was such a silent in the cabin. All we can feel and see was this wonderful and dangerous road crossing this even more impressive dark night. I have to say that I wouldn’t have been alone on this desperate road. I really felt like an asteroid rushing through the night as quick as we could to get to the land of promise. You really could feel how beautiful was the world and how stronger the nature is. The Earth with all her wonders so much stronger than us. We were just kept in her hand hoping that we would get out of there sound and save. How great are those truck drivers mastering the night, the narrow road and the incredible feeling that your end can just come behind the next bend. Behind the strong roaring of those huge trucks you just have to right to feel like a kid handing his mother’s hand in a fearful but enchanting clime.
Have you ever put your faith and life into some foreign hands? It’s really an astonishing and mystical experience. You realize that you spend all your live trying to master everything but one day you decide to leave your entire life into unknown hands and suddenly you are able experience your own and deep finiteness.
Finally it was almost 11h00 Pm when David decided it was time he kept on riding on his own. He dropped us near Topic which is a big provincial town. He let us on the main road heading to Guadalaradja which was really ideal for us. We thanked him warmly for this great ride. We found a quite cheap motel easily and we ate some junk food in the local Oxxo shop. We really slept like logs even if the main road was quite noisy.
We woke up early and got our breakfast in the same Oxxo store. We ate some hot chocolate and sort of French croissants which are really not as good as the real French ones but it was alright for a change and I really do love French croissants and hot chocolate for breakfast even if I’m in a tropical country. That’s probably a kind of heritage of my father which was the best baker and pastry chef ever. Even if he died more than 10 year ago and even if we were almost stranger for each other I have always appreciated this rough man with was a real wizard as far as food was concerned. Even now I’m not able to get some exquisite food as he was the only one able to make it.
So we got our first ride after waiting just a couple of minutes. We just asked the people who had their breakfast at the Oxxo shop. Finally a man accepted to pick us up for a short ride and to drop us in a big petrol station where there were lots of big trucks filling their tacks an all. But not trucks for us that day. Finally we were pick up by a van and we stayed backward in the open air of the van. We really like to stay for a short ride in this kind of vehicle. We could appreciate the wonderful landscape and enjoy being caressed by the warm wind. The raod was perfect. We could admire quietly some impressive old volcanoes and see some volcanic rocks alongside the road. We did almost 70 kms inside the van. It was really a great ride. We played the harmonica a bit and we waived some drivers we crossed on the road. The Mexicans are surprised at times to see some Gringos travelling as if we were some very poor Mexicans. It’s true that we didn’t cross lots of others travelers hiking on the road. Because ofr what they said on all this guide books it could appear scary to travel like that but hopefully we didn’t get into any trouble so far.
The guy dropped us in a kind of hustle and grind village. Everybody seemed to run in all directions. It amazing the amount of people they can have in their villages and streets at times. We understood they it wouldn’t be easy to get a ride from here. I mean it was too rural. It’s generally more difficult to get a good ride in some remote place where people aren’t got used to bumping into tourists. Suddenly I spotted the “cuota” sprawling higher in the mountains. I understood immediately why we had caught only short ride till now this day. We were in a kind of back road so that drivers had only driven some short drive. So we decided to walk so that we could reach the highway. It was such a winding street and we had to walk almost 45 minutes to get there. Finally we hit the highway and we saw a few cars rushing away like raging rockets. We were almost 800 kms from Mexico City DF which was our next step. We had to pass through some wide plains and to climb some winding and steep mountains.
We started stretching our thumbs with a kind of doubt in the back of our heads just since we didn’t know whether we would be able to grab something in such a high way. Suddenly we heard the sound of a big truck coming toward us. I immediately told Nathalie to give up because I really didn’t see how a truck could pull over in the highway while riding so fast. She answered “I always tried because after all who knows what can happen”. She was absolutely right. I clearly saw the driver waiving us and he pulled his truck over on the side of the high way. Unbelievable. I was baffled once again. I saw a very little man coming out of the truck and checking a few things outside the trucks while we were running toward him.
Antonio was really a polite, neat, warm and gentle little Guy. He welcomed us as though we were old buddies even though I would say he was rather shy. He just had this distinction and subtle refinement that really simple but helpful people have. With this kind of man, even if the perfectly knows that they are giving you a serious hand they tend to stay so humble and secretive that you really don’t feel that you get a really valuable present. I really love this kind of people. That’s what I call the real class.
He was so wonderful. He wasn’t almost even tall enough to reach the throttle and he looked a bit lost behind the huge wheel. I really don’t understand how those little guys are able to drive those sorts of big riding bombs. If you want to get the picture, we really have to picture those huge and impressive trucks that could reach almost 25 meters long. I swear I really would be unable to domesticate such a monster. Not to mention the roads. We really had better watch hung. You know the roads can be narrow, winding and steep at times. He told us that he could drive 17 hours in a row and that he generally sleeps a few hours a day, 6 days a week. Even in those rough conditions, this little guy was smiling, gentle and seem so pleased of everything he could do or could have. He told us he was completely happy with his wife and his two kids and he really looked so fulfilled.
He just went to Mecico City DF. The perfect ride. In one go we could hit the famous and sprawling Capital of Mexico. We just were over the moon. Perfectly well snug in his truck and feeling totally safe because he seemed so apt to control his vehicle. He seated just on his side and as usual Nathalie went backward on the driver’s bed which is a very comfy way of traveling. He was so friendly never stopping from asking us questions about our life and all. I really like curious people because they are really interested in everything in a way. I remembered his shining eyes because he was so pleased to get some news of us and the life in Europe and all.
He told us that the journey would be long because this heavy truck would have some hard time climbing all those mountains so that we would reach mexico City DF at 2.00 AM. So it was round noon and we were onboard for at least 10 hours. What a ride Guy, what a ride. The real perfect and ideal one with plenty of time to get some new Spanish words and get some new information about the country and all. The road was really pleasant. The scenery was as nice as usual. We talked a lot and slept a little at times. I really wonder how those little guys are able to drive for such a long time and stay concentrated meanwhile. It’s really impressive to me.
We did a few breaks just to go the the banos and the grab a few things but nothing heavy. When we approached Mexico City DF it was already 12.00 PM and the traffic was getting frantic. A five lanes highway filled with fast and raging cars. To me it’s just like “playing” Russian roulette and specially after having driven such a long time. We hit some rain moreover. I really some trouble with staying awake. Antonio had probably noticed it but he didn’t say anything and let me go sleepy. It was funny because he had given me a kind of role. I was supposed to store all the receipts that he had got at the toll. He called me “companero” which meant that I was probably useful to carry out this little and funny task. I hope that we helped those friendly guys at times.
We still rode two hours before reaching the unloading place located North of Mexico. He explained this place was the second biggest unloading trucks place in the world. The first was presumably situated in Asia but he didn’t know where and of course neither did we. You should have seen the maneuver to park the giant truck. There is no power-steering in this kind of old truck so that you really need an extraordinary strength to turn the wheel. He was almost standing up on his pedals to turn the goddam steer. I could almost feel his pain after so many hours behind the wheel. It took almost a half hour to get parked. I did it smiling as usual. This little man really impressed me something amazing. Finally he made it and so we could leave. He told us that we would spend the night at the “pension”. We were both surprised and happy. Surprised because we really didn’t know what would happen and happy because we didn’t want to get thrown down town Mexico City in the middle of the night. Every goddam guide books spends half of their time explaining not to travel at night in Mexico and us young and snooty backpackers we just hit the Capital in the outskirts in the middle of the night. Moreover we weren’t in the mood of paying an motel for a half night and we didn’t know if we could even find something by this late hour. So as two young well-behaved and obedient bogs went on following our master.
We finally entered a kind of huge parking filled with hundreds of trucks. It was amazing to see those monsters parked everywhere. It was massive. I even haven’t noticed how those trucks could have been so beautiful in a way. They were actually. I really guessed that little kid would have been baffled to see all those giant toys. Sure he would have bored his father to get one at the end. Except that those trucks must cost a real fortune.
Antonio didn’t find easily a place to park his truck. The parking lot was already stranded full of giant trucks. So he decided to park his own in front of a previously parked truck. He stopped the engine and started putting some pieces of cardboards on the truck windows. Stupidly I asked him whether we were going to the “pension”. He looked quite surprised and then I suddenly realized that we were already in the “pension”. Actually that’s what they called a “pension” which is a place where all the trucks are parked and all the trucks drivers spend the night in their trucks. Actually they have all a kind of small room behind the wheel with a bed and the few basics and all. So he proposed us to have the two front seats as beds. We were pleased because as I said we didn’t want to pay a room for only a few hours. I guessed that we only slept a few hours but it was quite enough. It was not that easy to sleep like this but in a way it was funny and probably the best solution ever. I really woke up early and took quickly some fresh air. The sun was already shining and quickly and grabbed a girl buying some delicious caramel flan. Really cheap and so tasty. I grabbed rapidly another one and began aware of all the road we did in only two goddam days. We made it. We did 1.400 kms for free in only two days. Actually I was pretty exhausted and my whole body was hurting but no way we made it and it was such a performance.
Antonia woke up too. He had his shower and come back very neat. Those guys are very neat. He had a new shirt and all. I was quite ashamed to look so dirty and all. I supposed we were quite smelly too. I showed us where we could grab a bus to get the first metro station. He even escorted to the bus station and explained the bus driver where we went. He was simply great.
We waved goodbye like old good buddies.
Every time I leave behind me someone like him, my heart almost misses a beat. It just something surrealist to me. Why do some strangers like him act so wonderfully and generously while your own relative and supposed best friends could spend all their time bothering you as hell at times ?
Even if you could be lost or feel beaten in the middle of nowhere, nothing can be a strong as leaving all your gimmicks and stuffs behind your goddam useless life, taking a few basics in a so small backpack, walking just in front of you without even looking back to soak the wild opened lonely road. Widely and spiritually.
On the road, smiles, unexpected friends, endless chats, beautiful towns, tropical beaches, blinding suns, bars filled with all your widest desires are waiting for you. Hungrily and alive.
We took the bus and waved once again Antonio. We hit the metro station and we were soon down town Mexico without even a map or a guide. We asked some German tourists where we could have a map. They gave one extra they had. We reached the Zocalo and found a tourist info kiosk. They advices us a really nice backpacker hostel ideally located on the Zocalo. Piece of cake guys. Piece of cake.
Welcome to Mexico City Distric Federal !
Mexico, Mardi, 29 mars 2011
Salut les loulous,
Ce rapide petit mail pour vous dire qu'on est bien arrivés à Mexico City hier après 3 longues journées de voyage (1 journée en ferry et 2 longues journées de stop en camion). Un très long périple et fatiguant, ceci dit les Mexicains sont des amours et nous ont beaucoup aidé (certains nous ont même hébergé dans leur camion et conduit à la station de métro de Mexico). La ville de Mexico est très jolie et offre une multitude de beaux bâtiments à visiter (catédrales, monuments artistiques, pyramides Aztèques, ...) Ici, c'est le mixage des cultures à l'état pur. Demain nous avons une visite guidée gratuite de la ville par notre auberge de jeunesse et dans qques jours nous allons visiter les pyramides de Tehotihucan. Nous espérons que tout va bien pour vous et vous embrassons bien fort. A très bientôt.
Diaros de bicicletos in Baja California (Mexico)
Dia n°1 – lunes 28 febrero 2011 - San Diego – Playa de Tijuana
- 9h30 : we knocked at the bike shop door to buy some wrenches, a pomp and all.
- Went to Old Town Transit Center on bike(20 min) to catch the Trolley heading to the Mexican Border.
- 50 min trip to the Border in Tijuana, supposed to be the most dangerous border of the world because of the massive illegal migration of South American guys. We were very impressed because of the numerous security measures…
- Crossing the border with our bikes – Surprisingly we had to pay some taxes (in order to leave the country – special mandatory form that you normally pay at the leaving border). So we hadn’t enough dough with us to pay the taxes and furthermore it was impossible to get some dough out of the bank located inside the custom offices. So the officers told us to go out and cross the border to get some cash out of an ATM in Tijuana. So we left our bikes behind!!!! Unfortunately, we couldn’t get anything out of any goddam ATM! Panicking! Consequently we had to return inside the custom to grab our bikes. So normally we had to cross the American customs in order to return to the Mexican customs. But there were a huge queue and it would have taken hours…So we persuaded a Mexican officer to let us cross the Mexican border backward which is something normally impossible! The custom officers were gentle and accepted that we crossed backward. We got our bikes and we didn’t pay the taxes which would be paid in any banks before leaving Mexico! We were terrified and exhausted!
- On the bike: we crossed the town like two fleeing bastards. We were lucky to longue get the right road by accident. It was a kind of scorcher and the road was overcrowded …the traffic was crazy as hell and we were almost the only bikes down town.
- Other surprise: there were lots of hills and the trip was exhausting. We got Tijuana playas after 4 hours following the border. We spotted the wall separating the US and Mexico and also spotted some illegal’s waiting for the night to try the dangerous and maybe fatal crossing. It is reported that the US officers patrolling in copter fire in their legs to stop them.
- Find a cheap Motel, exhausted, and tasted our first Mexican Tacos: wonderfully delicious!
Dia n°2 – martes 1 Marzo 2011 – Tijuana – Essenada ( 100 kms)
- There is only one highway liking these two cities. Unfortunately we couldn’t get on with our bikes…Stroke of bad luck…
- We looked for an another road but the was no other road. So we got into the highway after leaving behind us the post control officer and finally we were on the highway. It was not too scary because there wasn’t too much traffic but…after one hour we got a flat tire.
- We went out of the road to repair. We had to find a screw driver because I hadn’t noticed a special screw which made it impossible to draw to wheel out… Bloody gosh! Finally we repaired and put back the wheel. Relieved! Unfortunately after 5 minutes the tire was flat again. So we drew the wheel once again and noticed that the inner tube was defective. God!
- Had to find a “bicicleteria” which is not an easy thing to do. We got one and bought 4 other inner tubes just in case!
- Back on the highway again and crossing the pay check highway station on bikes! A policeman stopped us and asked us to dismount from our bikes and then nothing…so we kept on walking beside our bikes and after one hundred meters we kept on cycling again! Crazy!
- Finally we noticed that the was an another “free” road going to Ensenada so we left the highway to reach this road. We were relieved to be safe on this “Ensenada libre”
- Unfortunately, this secondary road left the coast and kept on in the mountains. That’s why it was free! The road was nice but exhausting. It climbed up during 20 kms! We were stuck in the dark without any lights in our bikes and we ended up the trip in the mountains in a full darkness trying to be seen by the truck drivers. Fortunately, the Milky Way was beautiful. Finally we reached Ensenada at 8h30 so 2 hours after the sun set! Exhausted, happy to be safe. We ate two pizzas without almost saying anything. We were worn out and absolutely dirty! We went to bed like two escaped prisoners.
Dia n°3 – miercoles 2 Marzo 2011 – Essenada – Sant Vicente (95kms)
- We didn’t even think that we would even have climbed in our bikes again after such a terrifying experience the day before.
- Surprisingly, we had some good sensations and our legs were still alright so foolishly we decided to keep on.
- The road was still climbing so we understood that it wouldn’t be a breeze to get to “La Paz”. The road n°1 crossing the “Bahia California” is much more climbing than expected and seen on the websites. So we though seriously to give up because it is too hard. But we kept on and on the road we bumped into another foolish English guy (Ben) cycling like us. We share the road for a couple of hours.
- Bumping into a delicious restaurant in Sant Thomas. The most delicious Guacamole and “tacos al vapor” ever.
- Kept on in a winding and climbing road to get San Vincente.
- Wonderful village with wonderful people and wonderful food. Paradise.
Dia n°4 – Jueves 3 Marzo 2011 – Sant Vicente : chilling out and resting. Exhausted, we stayed in the municipal park the day long.
Dia n°5 – viernes 4 Marzo 2011 – Sant Vicente – Sant Quintin (100 kms)
- Beautiful road in the morning but which turned quickly into an awful road full of trucks. It was a king of dangerous road and tiring too because of the stupid way of driving of some car drivers.
- We lost almost two hours trying to get some cash out of a bank
- Finally we reached San Quintin where we slept in a nice Motel and ate some delicious home-made pizzas and “queso tacos”.
Dia n°6 – Sabado 5 Marzo 2011 – Sant Vicente – El Rosario (60 kms)
- Nice road but in the end we were short of water so the last hill was a kind of nightmare. We got to El Rosario really parched and starving – really beaten.
- In the evening, there was a kind a feast in the village hall. After diner, we went there to take a peak and a gentle lady invited us to seat down with them. Finally, we got supper (one more time!), dessert and a couple of big cervezas for free. We guessed that the party would be a marriage but actually when we saw the bride and the bridegroom we weren’t so sure because they were pretty young. Finally our hosts told us that it was a big party for the young people aged 15 year old called “quince ano”. Actually it’s a sort of ritual to celebrate the fact that the young people aged 15 years in the village are getting kind of adult. The party was funny. The young people carried out a kind of choregraphy and so on…There was also a local Mexican band playing sort of typical Mexican music. It was pretty funny to share this special moment with the inhabitants of this little village.
Dia n°7 – Domingo 6 Marzo 2011 – El Rosario – nowhere…(350 kms)
- We decided to catch a bus with our bikes to cross a desert and a range of mountains because Ben had told us it would be terrific.
- The road was probably one of the most beautiful ever, filled with giant cactus and giant rocks.
- We had bought a trip to go to a village where there was absolutely nothing, even a Motel. So we could have been dropped by in the middle of the desert. Therefore we asked the bus driver to keep on driving to the next motel on the road, really in the middle of nothing. Sometimes, there is anything on the road for miles (150 miles).
- Finally we hit a nice motel in the desert. Funny! The owner told us that it was not usual to see cyclists there. You bet, we trust him!
Dia n°8 – lunes 7 Marzo 2011 – Nowhere – Guerrero Negro (40 Kms)
- Still on the bikes despite the fact that we swore we would stop.
- After a easy and quick trip we reached Guerrero Negro easily
- Good local little hostel and good food nearby.
Dia n°9 – martes 8 Marzo 2011 – Guerrero Negro – Vizcaino (74 kms)
- Smoothly trip accross « Reserva de la Biosfera El Vizcaino » (kind of desert)
- We finally spot our giant cactus and a bunch of « torros ». Great moment.
- Saw a couple of vultures tearing a dog killed by a car for dinner. You really would have tough you were in a kind of western movie. Actually there were plenty of vultures everywhere in this desert.
- Nice and cheap little hostel with even agua caliente!
- Una hawaï personal y una peperoni personal watching “El Ombre Arana” on TV : wonderful!
Dia n°10 – miercoles 9 Marzo 2011 – Vizcaino – San Ignacio (75 kms)
- Woke up at 6h30 and departure at 8h00 as usual after a lavish breakfast : we bought supplies for what we expected to be a hard stage;
- 40 first kms without any problems even if we felt we were having heavy legs: wonderful scenery amidst the cactus. However, the heat was terrible in the middle of this dry world filled with stones, cactus and sand. We expected a temperature round 35° C. So luckily we had enough water with us
- After the second break, nasty surprise: a very strong wind rose and blew just in front of us. Every cyclist knows that riding with an opposing wind is a very different story. The last straw, the road was getting gradually up. The wind was really terrible and we did these 20 further kms in 2 hours. Nathalie told me that this stage was likely to be the worst one ever since we started and that she understood quite better what it is like to cycling with an opposing wind. I have to say, guys, that Nathalie is very brave in this bike tour. Don’t forget that our bikes weight kind of 35 kgs, we have only one gear on these bikes (there are not adapted to climb mountains at all), our bags weight 8 kgs and the temperature is around 35 ° C during the day…and that we haven’t any specific outfit to ride. We’re dirty as hell all along.
- Wonderful arrival in San Ignacio which is a charming little village surrounded by old volcanoes no longer in activity. There is a wonderful huge oasis in the middle of the village which is why the village is famous;
- Nice Motel a bit plushy because of the village notoriety: wash our things in the sink and Nathalie felt asleep after having a regenerating shower. We can tell you, guys, that we do appreciate our food, beds and shower as ever. What is lovely here, I mean in this kind of little remote village is that we are almost the only tourists. Everything is beautiful, the people are very gentle and astonished to see us cycling the way long, and the food is exquisite and cheap. It’s certainly worth the effort and the adventure. Everything goes smoothly so far.
- Nathalie is sleeping now. Really worn out.
Dias n°11 et 12 – Jueves y viernes 10, 11 Marzo - San Ignacio
- We decided to take a peek into the village and there we had the surprise of our life: we went across a magnificent oasis. The sight is absolutely lovely. We have never seen such beautiful palm trees. It’s probably one of the most beautiful place I have ever seen in my whole life. A wonderful lagoon encircled by thousands of gorgeous trees, palm trees and all. Full of sea birds. A place quiet as ever. Guys, it’s heaven on earth. In the middle of a goddam dessert. Really knocking out! You couldn’t even guess it without having seen it. Sure the nicer place we have seen since we stared. In the middle of the village stands a rather large and quiet square surrendered by magnificent trees and an old colonial Spanish Mission devoted to Sint Ignace. It’s really a peaceful place and we understand easily why those Spaniards settled their roots down here.
- What a peaceful atmosphere in those villages, there are kids running everywhere on their tiny bikes. You could hear laughs bursting everywhere. People look all the same. They are dressed very lowly and humbly. They are very polite. People are used to waiving when they bumped into each other. The life is quite basic in comparison with what we know in our lavish country but life seems absolutely delightful. What scenery, guys, it really knock us out. Really. No kidding.
- So it’d be such a dopey thing to have left such a place in a hurry. As a matter of fact, we have also some pains to heal. So we had some beauty sleep, you know, some long sleep-ins. What a pleasure to shack up here. Waste time to horsing around, just wide –eyed, and reading, watching people and life in general just rolling out…
- By the way, we met two gentle American guys travelling in their camper van and they advised us to avoid San Jose del Cabo which is located at the very end south of the Baja. Those places are full of Americans and they have turned the place into a kind of Miami and all. Everything is far more expensive and the only Mexican guys that you meet are working in the bars. So leave it.
- In the evening we bumped once again into Ben (the English guy) I told you before who is crossing the Baja California in Bike too. It’s always nice to meet an old guy that we had already met before. We caught up on the recent days we were biking. We shared a meal and he treated us a wonderful Margarita. Lovely. We spoke a bit about Kerouac and Salinger. Actually I’m reading “Catcher in the Rye”, really great stuff. I’d recommend it if you want to improve your American slang and distinguish a gentleman from a bastard. Those two links are not related by the way…
Dia n°13 Sabado 12 Marto : San Ignacio- Santa Rosalia (74 km)
- I got it, guys ! Not the 6 numbers from the lottery, but the thing that all the goddam tourists catch when they are abroad. Probably the goddam ice-cubes from the Campe. It was enough to spoil my night and I was lucky that Nath had the famous immodium in her pharmacy. It was painful but after two of these pills I was almost alright.
- I was not two proud in the very morning but we decided to go anyway because we are running out of dough and it’s fairly time we bump into a cash machine. In those little villages it’s hard to get money unless you’ve a local account and a local bank card.I was almost not hungry the whole day which means that I’m quite sick.
- The road was alright. We followed a wonderful volcano before hitting some nice mountain and a breathtaking valley. The heat was getting oppressive because we’re heading Southbound obviously. I really don’t know how warm it is. I’d say 40°C.
- I was not in full shape because of the sickness and because I almost ate nothing.
- Before reaching Santa Rosalia we had a downhill as hell called ‘la cueva del Inferno”. Gosh even in bike, it was frightening. I don’t know how the bastards who drive their trucks do in those foolish roads. You must know that every 200 hundred meters there is a cross beside the road with a kind of little chapel made out of bricks and some false flowers. No kidding. It’s scary. Riding at night on those roads is almost like jumping out of a plane without any parachute.
- 1O kms before hitting Santa Rosalia, Nathalie had a flat tire. It’s our third one since we started which is alright. I changed the inner tube.
- We finally hit Santa Rosalia and “El Mar del Cortes”. It’s something to have crossed the Baja from West to East crossing this desert in bike. It’s good to shoot the crap for oneself once in a while.
- Gosh, the hotel owners are a bunch of thieves in Santa Rosalia. They all’d like to charge us high fare alleging that the “Mar del Cortes” is warmer. Bastards. When we hit the coast at the very beginning, it’s was like reaching a rubbish can that even I’d let my dog dabble into it so let alone us. Leave it. So we must’ve done almost ten hotels to find a cheap one. Really the dumber one ever but at least the owner was not a crook and we should know, guys, that we hate kind of giving our dough to crooks. It’s a question of balance, you know.
- So Santa Rosalia is amazing. It looked like an old town, made all of wood. We’d not have been surprised to spot John Waynes and all. Really an old colonial one and a famous Church made by Gustav Effeil for the Brussels Universal Exhibition. Isn’t it amazing? How happened that Eiffel drew that Church. I really have no clue. It doesn’t matter anyway.
- Impossible to get some cash there once again so we ate almost nothing and spent the night hearing the dogs barking as hell. I didn’t have a blanket on my bed so I froze as hell and I joined Nath in her little bed to finally fell asleep. Second night spoiled in a row. Big deal.
Dia n°14 Domingo 13 Marto: Santa Rosalia – Mulege (60 kms)
- My rear tire seemed flat but no puncture. My tire is getting as tired as us after all.
- Great scenery as usual. Terrifically warm.
- I guess I didn’t tell you yet about the different bastards that we crossed on the road. Some of them really felt in love with their goddam horns. They can’t stop honking when they cross us. I suppose it’s a kind of cheering. It’s so stupid. Every time my heart misses a beat and I almost fall off my bike. So please, guys, when you cross bikers on the road, leave your damned horn out and keep on listening to your music peacefully. Anyway, they should’ve called the highway n° 1, the Americans highway because this road is packed with American trailers. You can’t even guess, guys, how impressive are those trailers. One guy told us that his one weighs 10 tons! There are kind of big big house with everything inside (washer, dryer, so on) and the straw, sometimes they have their car and their motorbike and bikes fixed behind. It’s crazy. You’d say that they need all their stuff to be like at home. You should’ve seen them. Sometimes they travelled like a kind of camel’s caravan. They traveled like this as if they’d expect a “banditos assault” or a kind of war. I wouldn’t be surprised whether those guys have kind of machine guns inside their fortress. In a way, it’s funny to see all those guys riding such a long road to be exactly as if they were just at home. People are so funny in a way.
- The saddest thing with that story, guys, is that those guys are crossing the whole Baja without even stopping in the magnificent villages and so without spending even a goddam peso for the local people who are working in here and who most of them are very poor. It’s a really a pity because their villages are so sweet and the welcome are most of the time charming. The food is the cheapest ever and delicious. We’ve lost count of the number of dogs knocked down to death by those guys. All in all it gives food for the wonderful vultures but it’s sad sometimes to see this crazy caravan trundling down into the village as hell and seeing those poor people staring at them waiting for a goddam customer. Only God knows, only God if ever we could put your trust into that sort of thing.
- We hit Mulege after a long and dangerous downhill. No cash machine once again. Bad news. So would you mind another sandwich with some poor and local cheese. Delicious by the way. Mulege is awesome. There is an old Mission overlooking a huge oasis which is located in the middle of the village alongside the river. Lovely, guys, really charming. The end of the world. It’s a pitty not to be able to eat some great stuff in a place like this !
Dia n°15 Lunes 14 Marto: Mulege – Baja Buen Aventura (40 kms)
- Finally, we reaching the breathtaking beaches or lagoons I’d say. It’s awesome and the water is far much warmer. The temperature also. We’re almost cooked in our bikes. It’s crazy guys. We are exhausted and I’m very proud that Nathalie and I don’t quarrel each other more often because it’s getting very hard. We’re aching from every part of our body and my lips are burned as hell. It hurt me even at night. So we’ve decided that tomorrow would be our last day riding. We’ve almost did 900 kms and tomorrow we’ll have another 100 kms.
- Today, I thought that Nath’d eat her bike and me by the same way. She was swearing as hell that she was bored and fed up with this goddam expedition. It was funny in a way because I know far well that tomorrow she will be on her bike smiling. I’m proud of her. She’s nice. I love her.
- Today (I love this word today) we bumped again into Ben. He had been picked us by a hipster couple of rider, a Mexican girl and an Italian guy. Ben had decided to give up the ride tour because he felt a bit bored all alone on his bike and he was probably exhausted too. So he is going on to La Paz with those guys traveling in an old van with kind of flowers on it and some peace colored signs. We had a chat together and the Italian guy told us he was alos bored with the European system and all that stuff. It’s good to meet people like this, I mean, you know, not even interested in their Goddam car or house. Really it knocks us out to meet other fools like us. If you want to know the truth, it makes me breath. I’m not the only one said John Lennon. Remember?
- So we hit Playa Buen Aventura which is just a playa with a rotten hotel almost destroyed by the Hurrican 2 years ago and there are also a campground and a restaurant runs by a heart-kinded American guy, Marc. When we went into the restaurant, I really must’ve looked as if I came from hell. All we only needed was just a large bottle of water or two actually. I almost didn’t say anything to anybody. I could’ve bitten even a dog if the beast’d have been in my road to get the goddam bar. We drank the bottles right down the hatch without almost breathing. Hell, guys, they must’ve taken us for two furious beasts coming from hell. Funny in a way. We were just beaten and dirty.
- No cash one again in this little beach. Next town is Loreto in 100 kms. If you don’t find some dough there, we’ll eat our shoes. In a way it’s ironic to see two guys like us with our visa card running out of money in the middle of nowhere. When the goddam modernity stops, we’re almost all the same. Puppets or something. I’d like this idea. It gives me a sense of freedom. Freedom. You know the real one.
- Fortunately, the Canadians exist. Those guys are awesome. I don’t know why, guys, but those guys are always spending their times wondering how they could do something good for their neighbor. Those guys are basically gentle. So these ones are like the others. They just prepared two wonderful salmon (from British Columbia guys, from British Columbia, Lord!) sandwiches for us with a couple of fresh oranges. Just Charming.
- Finally we rent a trailer just in front of the sea. We negotiated the price with the owner who was as gentle as the others, explaining that we’re running out of money. We got the thing for almost nothing. Just a trailer in front of a lovely bay. Wonderful. Right now, we got our two burgers with French fries and we’re contemplating the mysterious getting dark sea in this café filled with Christmas garlands. A kind of peace full view. It’s so wonderful sometimes to be really at the end of this world surrounded by a couple of friendly unknown people just smiling at you because you’ve decided to flee just like them and that’s exactly why we are here. This night we’ll see the moon beams lighting up the mysterious sea and tomorrow, we’ll eat our shoes til reaching Loreto.
Dia n°16 martes 15 Marto: Baja Buen Aventura – Loreto (El Capital historic del California ) (94 Kms)
- It was our last day on the bike for what we expected to be a very hard day because of our current very bad shape. However, a couple of guys told us that the “camina” (road) would be kind of flat.
- Flat my a…It was awful. A scorcher day as ever. It’s was boiling. We’re just like two poor chickens roasting in a huge oven turn to the highest setting.
- Woke up at 5.30 for leaving asap. We begged two cheap breakfasts since we had only 300 pesos that is to say 20 €. We had two awful donuts, two bananas too ripe, two oranges and 1,5 liter of water. Gosh those Americans are really weird. All they can eat is just burgers and donuts. If burgers are alright at times, I hate donuts. I really hate. You don’t even know how they are made out of. You can taste it, it’s a kind of awful dough full of sugar. It’s always far too sweet. Needless to say, that isn’t the kind of food recommended for such a physical effort. We bought those things for 70 pesos which is terrifically expensive for the country. The thing was that we’re in a kind of campground without “mini market” so that we had to buy the food directly from the “Bar-restaurant. The bar restaurant is run by an American guy called Marc who is charming. He got married or I don’t know, he is just stuck with a Mexican girl. The problem with the local people is that when they catch a loaded foreigner guy who want to settle down in their country, is almost as if they had won the lottery. They almost forget where they come from and they align their prices with the foreign prices, no matter for their own countrymen. Moreover they tend to act conceitedly as if they definitively forgot where they come from and finally how lucky they are to have found a way to get out of their poverty. It doesn’t matter anyway. We bought our supplies and went on the road with empty pockets and an awful donut in our bellies. Big deal!
- We had just ridden 15 minutes when I got a flat tire. Actually I had already noticed that my rear tire tend to deflate but I thought I hadn’t a puncture. But I got one. Great stuff for such a ride.
- People told us that only the first miles would be steep so we weren’t surprised to see that the first 20 kms were kind of exhausting. As a matter of fact, it was horrible. The heat was unbearable and we hadn’t so much water with us. I really felt that my legs were worn out and it was high time we stopped this road trip. We did the first 20 kms in 2h30…Fortunately the 20 next ones were better and we hit many down hills. So we gulped down those ones in 1h30. We had still 50 kms left. Unfortunately the next kms were just a row of sharp climbs and short down hills. Exactly the kind of road that kills your legs as hell.
- We passed through a military control once again. There are plenty of them everywhere and I don’t think I’ve already told you that we bumped into kind of military jeeps everywhere. We could think that the country is right in a middle of a sort of war. You should see those guys in their jeeps. They are sometimes 15 in one vehicle. They look like kind of “Play Mobil” in their jeep if you know what I mean. They always carry machine guns much taller than themselves. Even when they get inside a store or something, they have them with them. It’s crazy because there are plenty of kids everywhere and I really wonder what those kids think about those huge guns. Those soldiers really don’t care about that. They just act as if they’re in state of emergency. Well, those heroes searched our bags to see if we didn’t carry kind of drugs or something. You known with my bike just saved out of the 70thies and my beard, I look like Gandhi, guys. Even though I really don’t think that Gandhi would’ve ever been interested in drugs. Neither would we. After a quick routine check they wish us ‘Buen viaje”.
- The road was terrible and I guess we were feeling the real lack of food. We had been eating really little things for a couple of days. So we reached the road board 20 kms (we had still 20 kms to get to Loreto), when we stopped to stretch our muscles a bit. Personally I couldn’t almost seat in my bike due to a kind of big boil that hurts my bottom. Kind of think that bikers understand easily. Really painful. I really got fed up with the bikes, guys. Furthermore, remember, I took some Immodium for my little problem. Consequently I hadn’t gone to the poop for 4 days and I lastly felt it was high time I found one. Great stuff.
- So we stopped in front of the sign board 20 kms and I saw that the road was still climbing. I really hopped it’d be the end but I was afraid it wouldn’t. Suddenly an old car passed near us hooking as hell. You know the driver had 4 different kinds of funny horns except they we weren’t in the mood of laughing at all. I told myself what a jerk he was. Suddenly the driver stopped and was waiting for us. Nathalie told me she’d accept the ride immediately but I wasn’t too crazy about this idea because I wouldn’t drop the bikes off. It’s not even for the bikes, it’s only for the local people. They were just poor as hell. They’d never imagine we could drop our bikes for 20 kms. It’s totally insane. I’m sure they’d never have tough such an insane thing, but for us, loaded Europeans people, it could be kind of normal thing to do. I’d never do a thing like this, even if I’d had to crawl to get to the Goddam Loreto.
- It’s was my best ride ever, guys. This man taught me a lot about mankind. The driver was with his wife, they were poor as hell. The car was just a rubbish you’d never put your butt into. The windshield was broken into pieces almost as if we could barely see through it. He had a very small car and he fixed the two bikes out of his trunk with a single rope guys. He was amazing. I’m sure if we had tried to hike and stop a big trailer, those guys would’ve told us that they were short of room but this guy with his little broken car took the both of us and our bikes leaning outside the car. And you know what they were poor as hell. Everything was broken inside. It was insane but he had his extraordinary horn – 4 different settings – they were funny as hell and each time he bumped into some workers in the road, he horned like a madman. This guy was extraordinary. He was a kind of angel. If he had been sent by a god, I definitively put my trust in him. But I really don’t know so I’d rather put my faith in mankind. Even in his car, the road was terrible. We were just tired looking the climbs. We’d never have got to Loreto by ourselves. It was too exhausting. A really goddam road. Flat they have said. Those guys have never put their bottom on a bike. I’d have kissed the guy. I really would. I really don’t know how we would’ve reached Loreto. Gosh, this guy was an angel. I couldn’t stop talking to us trying to form a friendship, even if we were unable to get the picture at all.
- He dropped us off in Loreto so that we could find a bank down town. This guy gave us a wonderful lesson of live. We hadn’t asked him anything. We couldn’t even understand him. There was no room in his car but he picked up us like this. I really would let my place in heaven for this guy. How wonderful to see that those people who often have nothing but their lives, are able to help their fellows as if it was absolutely natural. We should never snob a poor man, they have much more things to give than ourselves. I swear I hope that one day we’d be able to help people like this man did for us.
- When we reach Loreto down town, we probably looked like those Chilean miners getting out of their well after 3 months. The local people seemed have never seen two gringos as dirty as ourselves. We were a bit ashamed guys. You should have seen our outfits. We were as dirty as hell. My hands were full of oil and crap. We stank like dirty hobos. Fortunately, we got some cash because Loreto is a much more a touristy place. We crossed a bunch of Americans who probably think that they are in the States, but it’s an another story, guys and I don’t want to bored you with this kind of stuff. Anyway, we grabbed some food and we ate it outside the super market, sitting on the floor. I found urgently a can because I was about to explode, guys. When I got into the café, I scared the guys with my look. We were as red as a beetroot, guys.
- We finally found a cheap hostel with plenty of dough in our pockets. Guys, it’s good not counting all along. We ate 3 times in the same afternoon. The shower was a kind of miracle. Nathalie was quite alright. She really gave everything she had. She was terrific. I think that she’s learned to grip her teeth as ever. She told me that she’s never pushed her limitations so far. I really think it’s a great thing to stop complaining for nothing and to learn what enduring can mean sometimes. Every man should experiment sometimes to face a terrifying wilderness to see what really matters in live.
- Finally we got both of us on the same wavelength. We are absolutely delighted to have done this bike trip - we met so many wonderful people – but we are happy to leave the bikes behind us and just chilling out like other guys.
- We’ll try to keep our bikes with us til it is possible. If not, you’d hire one to spot the beautiful things which are close to the cities. Freedom, guys, freedom is the thing.
- We’ve decided to spend a couple of day in Loreto, just to chill out and to heal our pains. This morning we had a hot chocolate with croissants – it was delightful – Can we imagine that?
Dias n°17-19 miercoles-jueves 16-18 Marto: Loreto
- We heard of the quake and the tsunami that hit Japan a few days ago. An American guy had told us but we were without any internet connections or any papers in those tiny low villages. So we really had the news in here checking all the websites and all. We feel very sorry for the Japanese. This catastrophe is terrible. We hope that those guys who are as clever to build such a nuclear plant will be enough smart and concerned to stop the whole crap and to avoid lying to their people. We met a couple of Japanese on the road. There are really gentle people. Smart, polite and smiling, sometimes a bit too much but pretty alright though. I remember one couple that pull over for us in Santa Barbara and picked us up. They were crazy as hell. We were in a goddam ramp trying to be picked up. It was really a bad spot to hike but it was the only one we could find this day. They screeched as hell, they even pull over in the middle of the road and went backward to pick us up. We were blaffed. They were so friendly and funny. They were only spending 2 weeks in California but it doesn’t matter , they really wanted to share their drive. They spoke English as hell but they were so funny. I really hope that those two guys are still alright, right now. It depresses me so much when I figure that people would die in a way. I really hope that one day we’d slow down our goddam race against technology and all and perhaps come back to something simpler. I really would but I’m a goddam dreamer. I really am. Anyway, we turn our attention to those guys and hope that they all will get help from their government and all. It’s pretty depressing to be here thinking to this kind of stuff.
- Anyway, Loreto is such a quiet village. It’s a kind of familial place filled with lots of retired Americans guys. Besides, it’s rather funny to notice than lots of local people are trying to sell their household to those guys and they probably would buy an another cheaper after so they gain a bit of dough with the difference. Not dopey those local people.
- Guys, we’ve been eating and sleeping since we got Loreto. It was high time we let our butts kind of quiet. It’s wonderful to be lazy at times. Our muscles are quite alright. My lips are still burned and aching anyway. I had kind of cracks in them or something. It hurt a lot and it still does.
- We’ve been hanging around cycling through the village and we like eating their “hamburgesas”. They’ve pretty good burgers in here due to the quality of their cattle. I don’t know if I’ve already told you about their food. It’s quite delicious. They’ve plenty of different Mexican meals (tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tortas, …). They cook it very well and it’s not at all as fatty as we could’ve believed. We’re in a quite poor region so they prepare it quite cheap but it’s alright. Anyway, people are quite fatty around here. We’ve been told that Mexicans were the second fattiest people in the world after their American neighbor. I’m not sure it’s because of what they eat. I think it’s more because of what they drink. They almost drink only sodas full of sugar. ‘Coca cola” has almost taken over the whole country. It’s a pity to see this awful American drink be kind of an indivisible part of this country. You can even guess how hard it was to get water on the road. Everywhere when we stopped and were kind of parched (we could’ve drunk two bathtubs, guys), we asked in their little remote “market” some water, all they could answer was that they only have “cervezas” and “Coca”. Cerverzas, I can understand but Coca, It really killed me. They even didn’t have any water. We stared them as if they were crazy. So that’s the thing, they’re mostly getting fat because of their sodas. Anyway, I’ve to say the people are still good-looking. Girls even if they’re kind of fatty have good shapes and if you’re not too obsessed with slenderness, they’re still desirable. Guys are rather kind of real men if you know what I mean. They mostly wear a pair of boots, a pair of jeans, a large leather belt buckle, a nice leather jacket (at night of course) and a kind of large cow boy hat (rather white). They’re funny in a way but I really think it suits them very well. They look great in this outfit. They are kind of mannish but they are always kind and rather low, so it’s alright.
- We had some great time yesterday after our meal, we got the village square (which is rather lovely) and listened to a guy playing the guitar in a touristy restaurant. It’s was rather phony playing like that for those loaded guys while eating but he made it very well. He played some tracks from Pink Floyd, The doors, The Beatles and so one. We sat close to him in a bench so we enjoyed the performance without wasting a peso. It was quite relaxing. We left when he started playing “Les jeux interdits”. It was quite a weird choice to play such a depressing song in there but anyway if he liked it…
- We took some information to catch a bus to get to La Paz tomorrow. Unfortunately, they always push their luck with their goddam bus fares. They know it’s almost for tourists so they don’t hesitate to charge you as hell. The fare for two tickets is equivalent to 5 nights in a cheap hostel or 10 cheap meals. Leave it. We really would’ve been felt comfy and put our butts in a nice little touristy coach full of “happy people” but we really don’t want to waste our dough so we decided to hike one again guys. Comfort is really not for us in a way. It’s just that we’re tired sometimes to feel uncomfortable but we’d rather to stay true to ourselves. So let’s go on the road again tomorrow to get La Paz. If we’re lucky, we’ll bump into kind of “pick up” which would even pick our two goddam bikes up with us. Who knows?
Dias n° 20-22 : sadado-lunes 20-22 marto 2011 : La PAZ
- We woke up fairly early, had our breakfast and cycled a bit to hit the road where the village ended. It was our first real experience of hiking in Mexico and you should know that every good guide books strongly advice not to hike in Mexico because there are lots of “banditos” and all on the road.
- I have to say that we’ve been crossing the whole Baja over in our bike for a fortnight now and we didn’t find that the people looked weird or something.
- As a matter of fact, we were hiking for an half hour without success when a van rode backward to us and stopped near us. It was a American couple driving southbound. There were pretty smiling and all. They seriously warned us that the road was very dangerous and that it was not safe to hike over there. “You’re in Mexico” finally added the guy. They had done it before and you know, they knew the country like the back of their hand but unfortunately there we too busy to pick us up. What a big deal! I only answered the guys and I knew that we were in Mexico! If only those guys knew that we had done the whole crossing in bike, they would’ve known that the danger on this roads are trailers and the vans like he had and not the Mexican people. The man even advised us to go back in Loreto, knock on the door of some fancy hotels, find some American guys and just ask for a ride. Those are Americans are really funny at times. They only consider that they are the only safe people on the road. If he only knew how many bastards we bumped into when we were hiking in the US. In California, we couldn’t almost find a ride without some drug dealers inside. Most of the people in California are stone and ask you if by any chance you’re not interested in buying weed, pot or whatever. You should have seen all those guys their bodies really painted with tattoos, dressed like stinking hobos just talking alone in the streets or in the coaches. I’ve never seen such a bunch of deranged people in the streets. For me, The Us is the most dangerous country I’ve ever visited so far. No kidding. I wouldn’t let even a buck wandering alone in the street. We were always kind of harassed to give some change. We’ve never seen such dirty people in Mexico. Even if they are very poor, those guys are proud and always try to dress neatly. They are polite and all. There is no comparison.
- So we let the guys leave and I’ve to say that firstly we were a bit dampened. You know I really start to listen to people giving some advice when they’re able to demonstrate their opinion with some real facts, but a saying like “You’re in Mexico guys” is just a crap and I think its’ even shocking for ourselves and for the country. Let me give you a good advice guys: never listen to bastards saying goddam generalities like that. It’s crazy the number of people pleased with themselves just only because they think they know something about anything. Those people really kill me. If we had had listen to those people, I probably would still be in my lawyer firm working like a goddam slave for peanuts.
- Furthermore, Can you picture us going door to door into the posh hotels and awakening all those guys just to get a ride. Those guys probably would’ve told us to come back in two days just the time they finished their lavish breakfast. So we let the two American guys barking in their van and kept on hiking.
- Only 10 minutes after they had left, an old Mexican van pulled over. It was a pretty nice Mexican fellow and he picked us the both of us and our dear bikes. We have now a kind of tenderness for them and we wouldn’t let our bikes behind us til we could. The ride was absolutely nice and we exchange a few words. The guy dropped us up to “Constitution” which is a little town located 150 kms from Loreto so we had only 200 kms left to get to La Paz which normally is just a breeze.
- We ate some juicy oranges and went once again to a nice spot to hike. We had been waiting for just an half hour when another Mexican guy pulled over. He hadn’t such a big car but it doesn’t matter, he also picked us and our two bikes. Those guys really don’t give a gaddam hood about their car and how clean they could be or stay. They really just don’t care about this sort of things. So we were comfortably seated in his car with our two bikes behind. So can you picture that guys, we did 350 kms in 5 hours hiking with two bikes. It really knocked us out. No wonder to say that we didn’t cross any banditos and all, even in Mexico, guys, even in Mexico. Leave it.
- I had really forgotten how those local drivers could drive. They are so accustomed with their roads that those guys are really able to drive while they are text messaging, drinking and all. This kind of thing really scares me but I have to say that a rather yellow chap concerning driving a car in general. So I was fairly nervous but I tried not to concede it. I started deducting kms from the 140 one so you could imagine what a long journey it was for me. Although the old driver was just pretty good but he couldn’t stop taking pills. In my mad mind, I started to picture that he had a heart problem and maybe he would had a stroke or something and that we’d go in the ravine. I’m such a stress head at times. It’s certainly funny except for me. No worries I’m able to laugh at myself now.
- So we hit La Paz peacefully with our two bikes, I’d say. We crossed the town over biking and found a nice backpacker hotel. I would’ve said that Nathalie spotted it. She really got the hand with this kind of stuff. No wonder, she is reading “On the road” by Kerouac and she got the picture easily. It’s a nice backpacker’s hostel filled with gentle fags. Even the owner belongs to them. I really don’t want to classify people but there are just nice in general. It’s a rather dump room filled with mosquitoes but we have aqua caliente, a lovely patio, free drinking water and internet. The works, guys.
- La Paz is really a nice and quiet town by the sea. It’s beautiful and rather familial. The city is by the sea so we had some lovely sea baths and we really appreciate it.
- The first evening we saw kind of religious rock concert. It was funny. I’ve never seen a rock and roll band performing song about God and all. The lyrics were phony, guys. They were encircled by a bunch a fans waving sort of gold flags and always staring at the sky as if they had spotted the Almighty or kind of angels or perhaps Santa Claus. I really don’t know. You’ve to know that we are approaching the “Semana Santa” which is something rather crazy in Mexico as it’s in Spain. A man even felt on the ground, he was in a kind of trance crying all alone. His fellow friends hugged him and then he got up smiling.
- We bumped once again into Ben and Erica and Nico who had picked Ben us. It’s great to come up with them. We went to a live band bar where we got some tasty Pina collada. Really nice.
- Right now, we’ re trying to get a sail ride to cross over the Mare de Cortes to Matzaplan which is on the mainland if you spot a map. It’s about 4 or 5 days sailing. A man on the road told us that it could be a good way to get Matzaplan for free and moreover to have the time of our live. We really bet. So we let a message on the board of the yacht club asking for a ride in exchange of some pushes to help doing the dishes and all. We saw a few sailors but nobody seems to leave La Paz heading to Matzaplan. I really don’t know if those guys would be ready to get bored with a couple of backpackers horsing around in their boat. But our contact told us that they are some lonely sailors that craving for crew at times. I really wonder. You know people are used to say so many dopey things when they’re not really concerned. If not we could get the trucks harbor and ask a truck driver if he’d take us in his truck for 2 or 300 Mexicans bucks. Those guys pay only for the truck so they really don’t mind picking you up and making a few bucks on the other. That’s a good way for each of us to kill two birds with one stone. The crossing is reported to last 19 hours, guys.
- We spent the day on the beach yesterday. We haven’t had se baths since we left Spain in September 2010. It was wonderful. The temperature of the water is rather chilly but it’s perfect because it’s so warm outside. We were on a popular beach, rather familial. It’s crazy how those people can spend their time eating and drinking awfully sweetie sodas. As I’ve already told you there are lots of fatty people in here but on this beach it’s was crazy. They just came on the beach with their chairs, table and all their food but you know it’s a big mess of crisps and sodas. You should see all these kids compulsively eating crisps and all. I remember a teenage girl: no sooner had she finished her crisp bow that she started an ice-cream, the whole while drinking a synthetic soda. Eating such craps it’s a real pity when you know how many delicious fruits are growing in this country. Actually I was feeling a bit tired and dizzy so I was sort of asleep on the beach but I couldn’t really sleep because I was surrounded by loads of eaters and I couldn’t stop hearing those crisps and all. I had really the feeling I was in a middle of a giant crisps box and all the cracks were coming to my ears and really drove me crazy. I was just feeling sick just looking at them making a pig of themselves.
- Perhaps you just don’t know but my wife is a super star in Mexico. Those Mexican guys aren’t really their goddam eyes in their pockets. It’s crazy how they can give her the eye at times. Even if I’m close to her, they can stop checking her out. Hardly turn I my back that those bastards are trying to chat her up. It really kills me. Even if I stand by her, they just stare at her as if I wasn’t there. Obviously they have no blonde at all in their country and furthermore Nathalie is so slim. Moreover she is such a beautiful woman. I’m not jealous you know, they are doing it gently. For me it’s a bit strange at times because there have loads of beautiful women too and they are rather good-shaped if you want to know the truth. But as a matter of fact, people are always attracted to what they haven’t. So guys if ever one of you friend was a lonely blonde, you could send her here in Mexico. She’ll probably have the time of her life, if you know what I mean. Actually I think that travelling alone could be very harassing for a girl because I’m really not sure they could give up easily.
- Today I feel rather sick and dizzy. According to the first symptoms I could’ve caught “Denge” which is an illness that arises from mosquitoes bites. I’m rather sick, I’ve got fever (not that much anyway, 37, 8°), I really feel tired and my muscles ache as if I have flu. I can’t even eat anything and I’ve a hard time to digest anything. I spend almost my whole day sleeping. I took some aspirins and I guess I’ll fell better in a couple of days. No worries it’s not a big deal.
San Diego, February, 27, 2011
Diarios de Bicicleta - Viva Mexico Libre !
We're leaving the US tomorrow, ready to come into Mexico and Central America. The thing is that we've taken such a decision today. We bought two wonderful and old bicycles and we've decided to cross over the Baja California Cycling !
What a crazy decision could you say ! 1700 kms cycling ! What made us take such a decision. Answer : http://terredeveil.free.fr/oldterredeveil/voyage/cdr09.htm
Leaving the US had added some pepper in our trip. we are really craving for going outside the cities in order to live a wilder adventure. We'd like to be free for a couple of weeks and be able to enjoy the road as much as we want. I think it 'll be a wonderful experience and certainly such a challenge for Nathalie. We're going to cycle from 5 to 6 hours a day so that we'd be able to cross over in 17 to 20 days.
I could comfort you saying that our bags are now as big as purses. They weight around 4-5 kgs right now. we travel pretty light. You'll see the photos as soon as we'll be able to post them. it high time we went off the beaten track !
Hasta luego companieros - estoy de camino a Cuba !
Viva el Comandante : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dr_g23qi9hg&feature=related
San Diego, 2011, february, 24
From Los Angeles to San Diego crossing the ineffable Las Vegas
« L’éternité n’a rien à voir avec l’au-delà…C’est maintenant. Si vous n’obtenez pas ce que vous cherchez en ce monde, ne le cherchez pas ailleurs, vous ne le trouverez pas. L’expérience de l’éternité ici-même et maintenant constitue la fonction de la vie. Le ciel n’est pas un endroit pour vivre des expériences. C’est ici que nous prenons la mesure de l’être humain qui est devant nous. Maintenant. » (Joseph Campbell)
So... we left Los Angeles three weeks ago now. We had a ride to Las Vegas ! We went there especially to ride around the canyons (the great Canyon, and so on).... We got there with Paco, a spanish friend of us, previously met in Los Angeles. The trip - which lasted 5 hours - was fantastic since we went through an amazing desert. So, all around Las Vegas there is nothing but a desert. So we rode through this countryside during 300 miles. When you cross through this you understand easily why they decided once to build a city like Las Vegas. Nevada is such a barren state that it is certainly not easy to generate some incomes. So they invited a place where you can buy alcohol 24 hours a day, you can gamble and play for money, and of course where you can pay for whores. That's probably why Las Vegas rose up.
So Las Vegas looks like a giant Disney World but for adults. I have to say that at the very beginning you could really feel amazed because of the buildings. A fistful of the biggest and the most luxurious hotels in the world belongs to Las Vegas (Just see the pictures). At night, it's very impressive. and also funny. You spend your time looking around you opening wide eyes as if you were just a kid. It's safe to say that it can be enjoyable for a short time.
The life in a casino is just crazy. It's hard to say whether you're just in the morning or in the middle of the night. Actually, people never stop playing and we guess that they are losing a awful lot of bucks. But on the other, hotels are absolutely cheap even if they are luxurious because they expect you'll play in their casino downstairs and so lose a lot of money. Clever dogs...! But we didn't play !
To cut a long story short, I'd say that after a couple of days, you could get quickly fed up with all that mess. In a certain way, it's fairly appalling to see all those guys drunk, dressed like sort of ruty cowboys, seeming to have the time of their life making really pigs of themeselves. We felt a bit different quite like some fishes out of water.
Finally, we found out to hire a car but unfortunately it was fairly too expensive (round 500 bucks for 4 days) so we decided it was more reasonable to skip it even if it's reported to be wonders that you couldn't miss.
Anyway, the main aim of our decision to travel is to experiment an another way of living and not especially to be obssessed with some kind of sightseeing which could be boring and exhausting too.
Consequently, we took the road again down to San Diego and we were lucky enough to be picked up quite easily in Las Vegas and dropped in LA where we booked a short trip with our dear Greyhound company to get to San Diego.
We've been here in San Diego for nearly 2 weeks. We worked a very hard week (10 hours a day) to end up our English lessons. Thank God, it's all over now so that we could only concentrate on reading, speaking and so on. We are preparing our descent to Central and South America. We gonna plan to go in Mexico, Cuba, Belize, Guatemala. If you're a addict of our website, you should notice that we've changed a bit our plans. It's just that we are a bit fed up with the winter and that we're trying to catch up with the good season. We definitively don't want to be In Peru and Chili in the wintertime. So we gonna cross the Central America from now to july in order to reach Equador in July when it's the dry season which is warmer.
We gonna crave for reaching Cuba or Costa Rica. we really want to be out of big cities and plunged into countries and cities less industrialized.
So as we're leaving the US very soon, we could say that it's not a country for us, even if the wild is absolutely breathtaking. We're sure to come back here to see Hawai, the Canyons and San Francisco. As a matter of fact, we'd say that we couldn't settle down here permanently. However, we keep very good memories and sensations of the people who crossed our trip. Even if it's a kind of wild country, I'd underline that people here are very open-minded in the way they approach a foreigner. It's already a country where the socio-diversity is wide and where you can feel easely free from the social pressure such as we live in Europe. That's certainly a wonderful asset. God bless America !
San Diego, Tonight or a kind of...
My thoughts are dedicated to a friend of us who is currently flying away out of here.
Someone I'd bumped into his smile on some kind of corners...
You could be my unintended
Choice to live my life extended
You could be the one I'll always love
You could be the one who listens to my deepest inquisitions
You could be the one I'll always love
I'll be there as soon as I can
But I'm busy mending broken pieces of the life I had before
First there was the one who challenged
All my dreams and all my balance
She could never be as good as you
You could be my unintended
Choice to live my life extended
You should be the one I'll always love
I'll be there as soon as I can
But I'm busy mending broken pieces of the life I had before
I'll be there as soon as I can
But I'm busy mending broken pieces of the life I had before
San Diego, 15 février 2011
Nicolas nous apprend le départ de Frans. Nous sommes très tristes ici et nous avons des pensées remplies d'émotions pour Françoise, Sandy, Ines et toute la famille.
Nous sommes tristes de ne pouvoir être aux funérailles pour être proches de lui et de sa famille dans ce moment de receuillement.
Nous nous souvenons avec beaucoup de tendresse de la présence de Frans et Françoise à notre mariage et à celui de Gaëtan et de Carine ou nous l'avons vu pour la dernière fois.
Il nous manquera à tous.
Nous souhaitons beaucoup de courage à toute la famille pour surmonter cette épreuve.
Los Angeles, 6 february 2011
Salut tout le monde,
Ceci est un message d'intérêt général et de franche amitié.
N'hésitez pas à vous inscrire sur SKYPE pour que nous puissions de temps en temps nous téléphoner et nous voir. C'est facile, gratuit et franchement hyper sympa. Arrêtez donc 5 minutes les pendules et faites la petite procédure.
Le seul truc est d'avoir un micro et des baffles (souvent intégrés au PC) et une webcam (souvent intégrée aussi dans les laptops)
Los Angeles , February, Friday 4 – 2011
City Of Angels ?
Welcome to LA ! Probably the biggest city in the US, the craziest too. Here all is contrast, from the unbelievably luxurious houses down to Beverly Hill to the flurry hustle of Hollywood to end up to hundreds of hobos moldering in her streets, a kind of cancer inside a city almost entirely devoted to money, everything gets crazy.
So to land in the city of lights, why don’t you have a go on this : lien
Amazing isn't it ?
Well, there is a lot to be said about Los Angeles. First of all, there is simply no winther here guys ! Can you believe that ! No winter at all ! It's 20 °c and yes we are in February. Roads, streets, beaches are filled in with palm trees and magnificent flowers. Malibu Beach is simply laid back. We visited today Rodeo Drive and Beverly Drive down to Beverly Hill. Pure luxe ! Here there are what I call some loaded people. You know it's not those little chicks out of the Bois de la Cambre or from Knokke. It's something else, something massive, something indecent, something obscene and smelly. We cross more Rolls Royce than trees.
Further more, there is Hollywood. Hollywood Bvd is what mankind can perhaps do when the ridiculous is pushed off his limitation. Simply pathetic. You cross everywhere those poors men dressed as superman, or Charly Chaplin and so on ...begging for some change in exchange of a picture of you. It's Eiffel Tower thousand times.
Los Angeles is big, very big. To see something, you usually have to grab 2 buses and the journey lasts 1h30 one way ticket. Los Angeles is about 100 miles from North to South.
But Los Angeles is also Venice beach and her peaceful canals. Since the sixties, Venice has always been the place to be for artists, painters, writers and musicians and also every kind of freaks. Even right now, you can still feel this wonderful sensation to live there. It's perhaps one of the most famous cradle of the counter culture in the world. What's done here is supposed to mark the whole world. The canals are simply enthralling. This is a kind of little Venice. Houses are magnificent. It's haven on Earth. You should see the sun set from the waterfront. The range of colors lighting up the facades. It's wonderful. And those palm trees peeling off the dark blue sky. Unbelievable sun set.
By the way, it's also here that some crazy surfers once invented the roller skates to kill time on unwindy days. Those guys on their skates are probably the best ever worldwide.
This is also here that in 1965, a young student from UCLA, called James Douglas Morrison, rented an apartment (Westminster street just by the sea) and met other stone and illuminated friends and afterwards founded The Doors. The two first album were written here. His shadow still seems to be hoovering under little Venice Beach. Sunday evening we're attending a tribute to the band perfermed in a small Café of Venice. It's a bit a sif Jesus Christ himself was coming back to Jerusalem. Got the picture ?
"Well, I just got into town about an hour ago
Took a look around, see which way the wind blow
Where the little girls in their Hollywood bungalows
Are you a lucky little lady in the City of Light
Or just another lost angel...City of Night
City of Night, City of Night, City of Night, woo, c'mon
L.A. Woman, L.A. Woman
L.A. Woman Sunday afternoon
L.A. Woman Sunday afternoon
L.A. Woman Sunday afternoon
Drive thru your suburbs
Into your blues, into your blues, yeah
Into your blue-blue Blues
Into your blues, ohh, yeah
I see your hair is burnin'
Hills are filled with fire
If they say I never loved you
You know they are a liar
Drivin' down your freeways
Midnite alleys roam
Cops in cars, the topless bars
Never saw a woman...
So alone, so alone
So alone, so alone
Motel Money Murder Madness
Let's change the mood from glad to sadness
Mr. Mojo Risin', Mr. Mojo Risin'
Mr. Mojo Risin', Mr. Mojo Risin'
Got to keep on risin'
Mr. Mojo Risin', Mr. Mojo Risin'
Mojo Risin', gotta Mojo Risin'
Mr. Mojo Risin', gotta keep on risin'
Gone risin', risin'
I'm gone risin', risin'
I gotta risin', risin'
Well, risin', risin'
I gotta, wooo, yeah, risin'
Woah, ohh yeah
Well, I just got into town about an hour ago
Took a look around, see which way the wind blow
Where the little girls in their Hollywood bungalows
Are you a lucky little lady in the City of Light
Or just another lost angel...City of Night
City of Night, City of Night, City of Night, woah, c'mon
L.A. Woman, L.A. Woman
L.A. Woman, your my woman
Little L.A. Woman, Little L.A. Woman
L.A. L.A. Woman Woman
L.A. Woman c'mon"
Los Angeles , February, Friday 4 – 2011
The Cabrillo Highway from Frisco to LA crossing through Big Sur
Eventually, we spent 10 days in San Francisco which certainly is our favorite city in the US by far til now. To save money, we decided to hitchhike down to LA (as usual) following the wonderful highway n° 1 alongside the Pacific Ocean. Anyway, we didn’t have an another useful choice since every buses company doesn’t take this road but the highway n° 101 or the n° 5. The n° 1 is much longer and winding. So the only way we got to spot this Highway n° 1 was to hitchhike all way down. That’s not really a breeze, guys, because the road is 450 mile long and it’s fairly pretty unusual to see hitchhikers hanging around there. Besides, the only places to stand were often the highway ramps which is rather uncomfortable. Never mind, we decided to go this way.
We were pretty fortunate to gobble up that road in 3 days which makes grossly 180 mile a day ! As usual we bumped into wonderful people. The very first day we went from Frisco to Monterey crossing wonderful scenery, mostly beaches. We were picked up by an Italian man, very funny. Afterwards a Russian guy. This one seems to be active in the pot trade…It was a bit scary but fortunately the ride was quite short. By the way, you should know that marijuana is legal in California but for medical reasons only. By the way, it’s reported that physicians are fairly lax in the way they deliver their prescriptions. California is thought to have an urgent need of bucks. So you should see in some streets those physicians advertising their wonderful activity. Money does not smell and certainly not in California.
The second day we went from Monterey to Santa Barbara (250 miles). We were fortunate enough to have a ride in a Mustang. It was simply great. The man was fantastic and he drove us in a state park by the see where we did a nice walk. Then we hit finally Big Sur. Big Sur is a magnificent chain of mountains which overhang the ocean. It’s said as one of the most beautiful spot of the area. We weren’t disappointed. We had enough time in our hands to visit some nice beaches and to spot those giant elephant sea lions. They are hundreds alongside the beaches because of the birth season. So we could even spot the cubs. Finally we were picked up by a charming couple of Israeli people.
No sooner had we landed in Santa Barbara that I caught a serious cough. Actually Nathalie was a big sick too and she put me her illness through, I guess. As a matter of fact, we crossed lost of sick people in the Hostel in Santa Barbara. So my cough turned into a painful sinusitis. Actually I’ve been feeling sick for 10 days and I’ve been taking antibiotic for 3 days. I feel a bit better today and that why I can spare the time to do my blogover. Well we were forced to stay and recover in Santa Barbara for 5 days.
Santa Barbara is a lovely, pretty and very well off city. On the other, that’s where that we noticed a numerous rise of hobos everywhere. Lots of them go down in California hoping better days because of the warm weather. There’s absolutely no danger with them but to be honest is sometimes annoying to bump into them everywhere in the streets. The US definitively needs a social politic. It’s awful to see those smelly guys in such bad conditions stuffing the streets, the lawns and the benches.
So we went to LA crossing through the wonderful beach of Malibu. Spot the pictures guys, not bad actually. I even ran after Pamela Anderson and when she recognized me, She stared at me and said “Alan where ‘ve you been gone for god sake , I ‘ve been waiting for you for years. You definitively are the most beautiful man on that f….g beach”.
San Francisco, january 18 2011
“We were all delighted, we all realized we were leaving confusion and nonsense behind and performing our one and noble function of the time, move. All of life is a foreign country.
No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength.” Jack Kerouac
The unrivalled Frisco
We got to Frisco a few days ago.
We are just baffled.
We visited New York a few months and we found NY extraordinary but there is nothing compares to San Francisco.
Guys if you decide to get to the US once, get to San Francisco. You won t be disappointed. The city is just a pure beauty. To us, the whole city is a piece of art.
We have never seen such lovely streets dotted with so many unbelievable houses.
The atmosphere is pretty laid-back and you can still feel the prints of the several artistic movememts born here. We believed that the peacful lifestyle was all but finished but surprinsingly here you might feel yourself getting relaxed and free. The different neighbourhods are more lovely each other. There are 40 hills into the Town so you have a lot of nive views of the surroundings bays. Furthermore, the wilderness around is fantastic and the coast between Frisco and Los Angelos is said to be one of the most beautiful in the US.
By the way, the weather is nice (sunny and 65 F, 18 C).
Hangind around is just a pleasure because of the city beauty. By the way it was high time for us to throw away some of our dilapidated pieces of clothes so Frisco is definitively the place to be if you want to cool your style. Get hip Guys : indian shops, flowered shirts, etc....
Stop kidding, we really do recommand Frisco : a week at least.
So throw away your skis for once and spend a week here. Sure that we will see things that you havent seen elsewhere.
San Francisco, january 18 2011
Walking down from Oregon to California
Hope you re well. Have you recovered from your Christmas get-togethers eventually ? Apparently, it seems that the weather settled down in Belgium finally. Your situation appears to get better which is not too bad.
From Portand we decided to explore the Gorge of the Columbia River which is just around Portand. The scenic road of the Columbia River starts 25 miles from Portand and goes to 60 miles away so this trip seemed to be uneasy without a car. We took a local bus which dropped us 22 miles away from Portand and we walked a few miles to get on the scenic road. We saw a few lovely falls. We started to hitchhike but it seemed to be pretty hard on this touristic road. We were almost sure to miss the magificent spots which were too far to get there on foot.
Finally we saw a car alonside the road and we asked the man to drop us a little bit further. It was Lee, a charmimg man, nattive to Germamy who was just hanging around with his 2 lovely dogs. Lee was just on the Columbia River to kill time with his 2 boys and after a little friendly chat, Lee picked us up and made us visit the whole road and all the wonderful falls (see the pictures). Lee even showed us a hidden place of him where he used to go. We were a bit concerned for him because the hike was pretty tiring and Lee is about 70 years old so you know...But Lee really wanted to share this place with us and this 2 beautifuls dogs. I think that he just decided to offer us a present for the whole afternoon and he though that is was just heartwarming to spend the afternoon with 2 strangers as we were for him.
You know being with him was as if we were spending our time with a cheering father and being alone with him and his 2 dogs in this impressive widerness of the falls was a special moment.
Yes, this earh is still not a cold dead place. We met a man who took his entire afternoon for us and dropped us in Portand on our way back, just for the beauty of the gesture.
The day after it was high time for us to wave goodbye to Portland. Walking down the Oregon Coast is not an easy thing to do. It s almost 500 miles from Astoria to Brookings. We wanted to see this coast which is said as one of the loveliest in the US. We spent through Ocean Beach, Ocean side, Yahacht, and finally Brookings in 4 days ! We spent 2 nights in Ocean side in a bugalow above in in front of the ragging sea. Beibng there almost alone was just a wonder. Beibg there off-season has some advantages. You are almost alone and the rental is affordable even in usually wonderful places.
Vendredi 14 janvier 2011
Hello les ptits louloups,
Juste un rapide petit mot pour vous dire qu on est arrive a San Francisco. Cette ville est une vraie splendeur ! Alain et moi sommes d accord pour dire que nous n avons jamais vu une aussi belle ville, aussi variee et aussi forte en atmosphere ! Les petites maisons victoriennes colorees perchees au dessus de ses 40 collines, les cable cars, les ottaris du ponton 39 et l histoire chargee de la creation de la 'beat generation ' et du mouvement hippy rendent San Francisco exceptionnel ! Nous profitons en plus d un climat tres favorable ( 17 C) ce qui rend nos visites encore plus agreables !
Nous pensons bien a vous et ne tarderons pas a completer notre site.
Grosse bise a tous et a toutes !
Nath et Alain
Portland, January 03 2011
The happy crossing of the Mount Olympic Peninsula
« S’aimer soi même est le début d’une longue romance qui dure toute une vie » (Oscar Wilde)
Dear Parents & friends,
Let us wish you a very happy New Year once again. We hope you had some cheering family get-together meetings and you spent really some peaceful holiday spare times. As far as we’re concerned, we spent our New Year eve at Portland Hostel International we got in December the 31th. It was great time because we bumped into a couple of French friends that we had already met several times in our travel which is always a good feeling. It’s just as if we met some old friends. It’s nice to meet people you already know from time to time. So we played dices and drank a couple of Rum Coca together. Not that bad after a long ride on the road.
Indeed, we were on the road from Seattle and we crossed the Mount Olympic Peninsula which is located Northwest from Seattle. We really had some wonderful moments there. We visited Hurricane Ridge and we bumped into some beautiful frozen landscapes and it was the great come back of snow (See the picture - it was lovely). We visited after Lake Crescent and the west coast to Cape Flattery located in the middle of a tribe reservation. We were picked up by a couple of young Americans and they made us visit all the west coast in their car. We rode at least 70 miles together (sorry guys I begin to think in miles!). They were charming.
The next day we reached the shores located in La Push, which is another Indian tribe reservation. We were there at dawn and we saw the sun rise. We had some mixed color, a cross between pink and blue ones. It was simply moving (see the pictures). There were kinda of Indian beaches with big rocks into the raging sea. Breathtaking! We did several hikes with our back bags into the rainforest to reach the shores. We were exhausted but gosh! Those beaches were every time more beautiful than the previous ones. So it was worth visiting them. After the last hike we came back on the road (I was worn out, guys) and after a while we were picked up by a “pick up” van and were at the back into the wide open air. Jez, It was freezing and I was a bit scary but Nathalie had never stopped laughing because she found the experience funny. It was but, we were so scattered that my mind wasn’t at rest at all. After the driver dropped us off I ate a big sandwich to please myself! Ouf!
Afterward we visited Ruby Beach and we spent the night at Lake Quinault. An absolutely wonderful place: quiet, beautiful, and old Indian reservation. The spot was lovely. I guess the pictures speak for themselves. We enjoyed this spot very much
Finally we ended up this road trip with Top Gun, an old hippy who turned himself into a truck driver and yes we did our first lift into a truck, a lovely yellow one. The driver, called Top Gun (because of his hat!) was fond of rock and roll and so he showed us what a rock and roll trip was. He was charming and funny and dropped us off to the next bus station in Aberdeen with a huge horn so that everyone could see us arriving. We really hugged ourselves wishing us the very best for the rest of our live. A very good encounter.
Exhausted, we decided to catch a greyhound coach to end this road trip up and to get Portland before the sun set.
A few words about Portland: that’s a lovely town. Portland is reputed to be the nicer and the more comfortable city to live in the US. That’s true that the city is lovely, full of charming trees beside each side of the sidewalks. There are some beautiful parks and the avenues are well broad and brightly. Down town is posh with a range of nice stores a bit as if we were in a European city. We’ve seen lots of theaters, cinemas, and concert venues. The public architecture is amazing and very artistic. It is safe to say that European people could feel at home in Portland. Portland has probably got one of the lower taxes rates of the US. We are just in the process of preparing our upcoming departure right now. We are planning to go down Oregon by the coast line to reach California! It is said that the waterfront is wild and astonishing.
Seattle December 24 2010
Here is our special present for Christmas. Enjoy.
How can we keep on watching that fucking TV?
We're so bored we don't even care what we see
Takes our strength away
And never, never show us the way, no
We love this movie and all the characters. There are so many things to see.
It's just great stuff. As far as I'm concerned, Fred is my favorite movie's hero ever.
How can I keep on smiling at there disguise?
When I know nothing good ever comes from lies
My heart is no beginner
but still I can lose my temper
How can we keep on watching that fucking TV?
We're so bored we don't even care what we see
Takes our strength away
And never, never show us the way, no
But I think I know the answers
It's only mystery and I like it
It's only mystery and I like it
It's only mystery and I like it
It's only mystery
How can the banks of a river meet?
Sitting on her bed staring at her feet
She thinks life is water
And love, love is a river
but is a child the answer?
It's only mystery and I like it
It's only mystery and I like it
It's only mystery and I like it
It's only mystery
We could dream of a grand evolution
Where we wouldn't ask anymore questions
There will be no, no more pretenders
Use the love that I offer
Dreaming is not the answer
It's only mystery and I like it
It's only mystery and I like it
It's only mystery and I like it
It's only mystery
It's only mystery
It's only mystery
It's only mystery
Don't know nothing but I do know that it's a mystery
It's only mystery and I like it
It's only mystery and I like it
It's only mystery and I like it
Seattle December 23 2010
A stroll on Vancouver's island
We spent our last days in Canada on Vancouver's Island which is as big as the Netherlands. We took a vessel from Vancouver' s harbor and we did a wonderful crossing to Shwartz Bay. The crossing was amazing because we could spot a flock of sea birds and...plenty of killer whales (orca) from the boat. They just were at 15 meters off from the boat. We saw at least 20 different ones. They just go down from north to spent the winter in those much cool waters. Afterward we spotted some lovely tiny islands situated between the main island and the country. Vanvouver' island is a dramatic place : a true paradise for wilderness lovers. It is filled with bears, wolfs, cougars, seals, sea lions, whales, killer whales, loads of wonderful sea birds, and most of all the scenery is just breathtaking all around the Island : we can spot the Olympics national park which is located near Seattle.
Unfortunately it's the rainy season on Victoria (main town and capital of British Columbia). it is reported that it rains less in Victoria than in Vancouver which seems to be probably true. In spite of it, it rained almost every day so that we made the decision not to explore the island and instead of it to stay peacefully down town Victoria.
We met a very gentle man (Jim) in Reverstoke (near the Rockies) a few weeks ago. We made quickly friends and Jim just told us that he had a good friend of him living near Victoria. He asked her if she would put us up for a while. So he recommended us to her. So we just gave her a couple of calls to announce our arrival. Regine was simply wonderful, she hosted us for free in her lovely cottage near the sea (15 minutes). We had a great stay there. Regine offered us a room with a king size bed and all the conveniences to fell just like at home. Regine was great, discrete and lovely. We spent there a true resting time. As the weather was rainy, we took advantage of the situation to study our English a bit more. We did some walks down town once and again.
Eventually we stayed with Regine a week and when we had restored our energy we decided it was time to leave behind Victoria and the Canada.
Thank you again, Regine, for this moment of true sharing. We did have a charming experience with you which has learned us a lot about life and people. We wish you an happy Christmas time and an happy New Year !
Seattle December 23 2010
Bye bye Canada
We had plenty of wonderful moments in Canada. We met so may friendly people and the wildlife and nature are simply wonderful. Canada is worth the visit. it's such a amazing country. Perhaps summer would be a better season to travel because the roads can be very dangerous in winter and some sites can be out of reach because the roads are closed.
Driving would be certainly the best way to visit Canada as the country is huge and the distance between two spots can be very long too.
The Canada requires also deep pocket full of bocks because life is rather expensive I would say and it' s hard time for backpackers once and again. Hitchhiking and saving money are not always easy things to get there but with a bit of imagination we did it. We wouldn't have got it if the local people hadn't been so friendly with us too. We got some free nights in exchange of work of for free.
In conclusion, we meet loads of friendly people there very open-minded, rather easy-going, very sociable, curious, talkative. There are loads of things to do there and Canada is definitely the place to be if you are looking for a wild road trip. Don't hesitate to ask for advices. We have plenty of them for you.
Seattle December 23 2010
Welcome to the US and to Seattle !
We have been living here for only a couple of days and we don't know exactly why but we feel absolutely relaxed in Seattle. One could say lots of platitudes about the US and the Americans but we find out lots of smiling and easy-going people in streets. People usually talk to us quickly and propose gently to help us where we are plunged into our map.
The atmosphere in the streets are rather cool. We could spot beautiful scenery from the town : especially Rainier Mountain and the National Olympics Park. Seattle is surrounded by the strait of Juan (plenty of tiny Islands) and by huge chain of mountains.
We found an extraordinary home stay : the green tortoise. Wonderful address. Perfectly located down town close to the Seattle covered market. They offered everybody free breakfast, free lunch and free supper. Actually we pay for the nights only and that's all. They offer also free nights in exchange of work hours...They organize parties, visits, and so on...we went to a live music performance 2 days ago : cover charge 3 dollars and a glass of gin tonic for 3 dollars too. Can you imagine this ? We are in Seattle, city of Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana. The performance was pretty good and a small headache in the morning was kinda a proof of it.
So a very good atmosphere here and plenty of interesting travelers to meet in.
We re planning to stay here for the feasts...(would be good dude) and we are going to be on the road heading to Olympics National Park to breath our brains in a couple of days.
In the meanwhile let us wish you a wonderful Christmas time and the very best for the upcoming New Year !
Seattle, December 19 2010
"On n' est pas encore revenu du pays des mystères"
On n'est pas encore revenu du pays des mystères
Il y a qu'on est entré là sans avoir vu de la lumière
Il y a là l'eau, le feu, le computer, Vivendi, et la terre
On doit pouvoir s'épanouir à tout envoyer enfin en l'air
On peut toujours saluer les petits rois de pacotille
On peut toujours espérer entrer un jour dans la famille
Sûr que tu pourras devenir un crack boursier à toi tout seul
On pourrait même envisager que tout nous explose à la gueule
Autour des oliviers palpitent les origines
Infiniment se voir rouler dans la farine
A l'envers, à l'endroit, à l'envers, à l'endroit
A l'endroit, à l'envers, à l'envers, à l'endroit
Y'a t'il un incendie prévu ce soir dans l'hémicycle
On dirait qu'il est temps pour nous d'envisager un autre cycle
On peut caresser des idéaux sans s'éloigner d'en bas
On peut toujours rêver de s'en aller mais sans bouger de là
Il paraît que la blanche colombe a trois cents tonnes de plombs dans l'aile
Il paraît qu'il faut s'habituer à des printemps sans hirondelles
La belle au bois dormant a rompu les négociations
Unilatéralement le prince entame des protestations
Doit-on se courber encore et toujours pour une ligne droite ?
Prière pour trouver les grands espaces entre les parois d'une boîte
Serait-ce un estuaire ou le bout du chemin au loin qu'on entrevoit
Spéciale dédicace à la flaque où on nage, où on se noie
Autour des amandiers fleurissent les mondes en sourdine
No pasaran sous les fourches caudines
Vancouver, December 4 2010
Vancouver, the ideal city ?
We’ve just got there for 4 days. We must say that Vancouver is an amazing city. The city in itself has nothing extraordinary but it is surrounded by a breathtaking nature that you could see everywhere from the town. So you can pass from sea to mountains in almost 2 hours. It’s simply fantastic. Vancouver has a lot of advantages to offer to his visitors and inhabitants. Immediately got there and we felt the laid back lifestyle there. We don’t know how to explain it but we felt rapidly that people are rather relax, easy-going and sociable. It is as if the whole city could escape to a stressful life style.
In our opinion, Vancouver is undoubtedly the most comfortable city in Canada. It’s where we would live if we were staying in Canada. Today we did a wonderful walk into the Stanley Park. It was sunny time and the temperature was around 2 or 3 °C. The scenery all around Vancouver is unique. There are a lot of things to do everywhere in terms of nature . Not even to mention all you can do heading further to North : Alaska is so closed…No definitively if you want live in a modern and cosmopolitan city close to the wilderness, Vancouver is the place to be.
Culturally speaking, there is an artistic wind that blows on Vancouver. We saw plenty of prints of an alternative culture that is not so hidden in the streets. We are not so far from Seattle after all.
Yesterday we visited the Anthropology Museum of Vancouver which is rather devoted to the culture of the first nation, the Indians. They had an amazing range of Indian objects from clothes to Poles.
It’s really awe to see how they had so beautiful piece of clothes.
So Guys I’m getting worn out right now and it’s safe to leave you now. We’re gonna to Victoria on Vancouver Island when we get fed up with Vancouver which won’t never happen I guess, so…
Vancouver, December 4 2010
Whistler : Haeven or hell ?
Whistler is one out of the two cities which organized the Winter Olympic Games in 2010 with the city of Vancouver. So we spent only one night in Vancouver in order to reach Whistler as soon as possible. Needless to say that we went there hitchhiking once again. It did fit our needs perfectly. We were there in one lift and safely thanks to a gentle elderly man driving so slowly. We did love it !
So we wanted to stay in Whistler one month and spend the Christmas time there. Whistler is a wonderful village. The mountains around there are amazing. The ski spot is probably one of the best worldwide. It has already lots of snow there and a few people during the week but a lot during the week-end.
Unfortunately we couldn’t find a room affordable and after 5 days we decided that it was sensible to leave the place to get back to Vancouver. In any case, the weather was awful. It’s snowing time over there and it was not interesting to waist so much money with such a bad weather. Fortunately we had a sunny day and we walked round the valley to the village. It was lovely and we really wish we could have found something affordable to nest there a little bit.
Vancouver, December 4 2010
« Le problème qu’il y a à vivre dans la jungle qu’est notre société c’est que même lorsque l’on gagne on est toujours dans la jungle » (Lily Tomlin)
« La Grande Vadrouille » or « The highway to Hell” ?
Sorry guys for not updating our blog regularly but we’ve done a lot of things recently and especially the crossing of Canada from East to West. So we made it finally. Can you imagine a ride drive of around 5.500 Kms? It’s called the ‘TransCanadian’ and it’s the Highway 1 from Montreal to Vancouver. You can go further Westbound if you want to go to Anchorage. So we did it hitchhiking.
Firstly we did a car sharing. We inserted a car sharing proposal in Craiglist which is a website well-known around Canada and US. We were lucky to get an answer of a guy who had decided to move in to Whistler (British Columbia) so that he could find another job and restart a new life. The guy had apparently a great need to share the gas fare before all.
Unfortunately, the experience was quite unpleasant. It stood out quickly that the guy was careless. He drove far too fast and rather carelessly. So he didn’t sleep enough before and during the journey. He drank too many energizing drinks to stay awake. He handled his Ipod to select his favorite tracks while driving. We really bumped into very dangerous roads. It snowed a lot and the roads were really icy and scary. Not to mention the incredible amount of huge trucks on the road. Those drivers are fool. They drive usually like devils and you know, speed limitations are against business matters, especially when it comes to trucks. Such a shame.
He would say that the Canadian roads are rather dangerous and especially in the winter. It was sometimes breathtaking and we had many incredible views but most of the Canadians don’t cross it in one go. The distances are too long and the roads are rather scary due to the amount of trucks riding too fast.
So the first day of our journey we did Niagara Falls – Thunderbay in one go which makes 1.450 Kms….
The second day we reached Regina (1.300kms). The third we went to Banff which is located in Alberta. Banff is a wonderful and lovely city in the middle of the Rockies. It’s fashionable ski station. The scenery was awesome and the nature was wild and huge. The Rockies are really impressive. We saw lots of Elk and goats everywhere and the frozen lakes were full of mysteries. We spent 2 days in Banff which is obviously far too short but we were tempted to follow our crazy driver which was a big mistake.
Fortunately, this story had had a happy end. We were pretty sure to argue and finally we did it. So we decided to leave out this sucker just in time before he would crash the car and the both of us.
Trust me this journey with this guy was probably the worst experience in a lifetime and our decision to let him down was the best thing we ever did in this trip.
So we were about 1.000kms from Vancouver, exactly in Reverstoke and we decided to hike to Vancouver in a snowy day. Everybody said that we were crazy. The roads were terrible. It never stopped snowing at this time. Finally we did the last step in only three lifts and 9 hours which is unbelievable.
The lesson to drawn from that story is never again a car sharing. Generally one meets people only interested in money and not in people. On the other, all the people who picked us up where extremely friendly and had all quite a similar experience in travels and knew exactly what we could feel when you are on your own on the road, quite in the middle of nowhere. Very impressive !
In conclusion hiking is a wonderful experience because that’s a great way to meet interesting, kind-hearted, and generous people. Believe me, most of those who picked us up where very modest and lovely people.
I will probably never forget those faces, those smiles. They just welcomed us in their car as if we were old members of their family. There are still a few humans on earth guys. We have seen them !
Finally we were pretty happy to reach Vancouver safe and sound. Trust me on that ! We won’t ever certainly do the same journey. Crossing the Canada from East to West was a unique experience which will stay burned into our mind for ever and which has strengthened our couple an incredible way!
Niaraga Falls (Canada), 2010, November 14
From Hélène to Alan
We just got back in Canada (Niagara Falls) yesterday after hanging around almost 2 weeks in New York thanks to the warm welcome of our friend Xavier who let his apartment to our entire disposal (it was absolutely find of you). We spent some lovely moments there. It was the first time for me in New York and when I got out of the subway on Time Square my legs were shaking and I had wide opened eyes. We did some awesome walking there. Especially the sky line from the Brooklyn Bridge is a kind of wonder. We surely recommend it to every new comer of course. I never thought that those skyscrapers would be so interesting (nice should I say to be honest) in terms of architecture but I must say that the architecture of Low Manhattan is a unique piece of art craft. We spent also lots of our time walking around in Central Park which is lovely, especially the Conservatory Garden (best moment ever). We did prefer North Central Park (near Harlem). There are mobs of lively artists and musicians inside Central Park and its always great to sit around listening to their performances. We visited the Met Museum and the Moma (their collections are really impressive). There are lots of things to do in NY and there is always something for every one of us depending on what you like. You would prefer the hustle and bustle of Fifth Avenue, looking at those businessmen running around wasting the money they have just earned so painfully or we could seek for meeting the softer and cooler part of New York. You won't ever lose your time. There are loads of astonishing people there. We really do prefer talking to black people in Harlem (Their accent and expressions are funny - a good way to learn some slang).
So yes, NY definitively is worth the visit: there’s no other city like NY. On the other, there are lots of homeless and poor people. So I wouldn’t say that I’m impressed by the quality of life. Finally, surprisingly NY is not more polluted or crowded than some big European cities. Its rather nice to life there regarding this concern.
We saw Bruno and Jo the latest days. It was great to see you there, guys and we did appreciate the meal we shared together in this pretty cool restaurant. Hope seriously to see you again elsewhere as it seems too short for us. We wish you the very best for the next.
We visited the Niagara Falls yesterday which is one out of the seven world wonders. Well, its famous and awe. On the other the city in itself is rather dull. There are lots of touristic attractions (even entertainment complexes) and tourists are considered more as cash machines than human beings. So yes we stay in our HI which is comfy as ever (fire pit, sofas, snooker, keyboards, TV, dvd player all kind of cds,).
Today is special. I learnt why people did look at me strangely when I told my name. I was used to pronouncing it with an H before the A. A bit like “Halan” which makes that people often understood Hélène! So now I’m getting used pronouncing it properly and I can finally say that’s a kind of re-birth: today I’m Alan at last. Don’t you get the picture, do you ?
New York, le 2 Novembre 2010
Juste un petit mot rapide pour vous dire que nous sommes bien arrives a New York. Nous avons ete tres bien acceuillis par Xavier. Merci encore a toi Xavier de nous loger si gentiment dans ton appartement. Nous sommes situes sur la W 86 sth a cote de central parc. Nous avons deja decouvert la vie New Yorkaise by night et avons fait un bon resto Thai ensemble. Bises et a tres bientot pour plus d'infos.
Montreal, le 29 octobre 2010
Hello tout le monde. Nous sommes rentres de la Gaspesie hier soir. On espere que maman a bien fete son anniversaire le 27 ! On part ce lundi a NY pour 10 jours chez Xavier. Apres nous retournerons au Canada vers l"ouest. A tres bientot, on pense bien a vous !
Montreal, October 28, 2010
« La vie c’est ce qui vous arrive quand vous êtes occupés à planifier d’autres choses » (John Lenon)
Hi guys !
Hope everybody is doing well. We’re back in Montreal which we’re leaving tomorrow for Big Apple. Thanks Xav already for hosting us in your apartment near Central Park: lovely!
Back for a moment in Gaspesie. Yes we did it. Can you imagine touring the Gaspesie Peninsula ( round 2.000 kms) hitchhiking ? I knew right from the start it wouldn’t be a breeze and so it wouldn’t!
Before going further, we really would like to thank the warm and friendly people we met on the road for lifting us, helping us, and simply sharing together those wonderful moments (Thomas, Anne, Nicolas, Brian, Laura, Gilles, Alexa, Lisiane, Mariane, Eric, Lyn, Marc, Roland and so on… I’m pretty sure to forget someone, please forgive me about that).
You know, meeting people, sharing some piece of life and listening each other to those pieces of history that make our life is definitively the best part of the trip. Gosh, one day, we met about 9 different people in the aim of doing only 250 kms. It was crazy and those characters, you guess, were unbelievable. So we surely wouldn’t have done the same trip if you weren’t on our way. One thing for sure, guys, we can say that we know now the road 132 crossing the Gaspesie Peninsula from east to west.
So we left Montreal the 3th October heading to Quebec which was our first landmark. That was our first real contact with the Saint-Laurent River which is wonderful and awe. It really looks like a sea. Quebec city is a lovely little town. We spent there only 3 days and we really wish we had stayed a bit longer. Quebec looks as though you were in France. For sure, Quebec must have loved her French origins because you really have the sense that you are back to France. There we decided to stay for the first time in a Youth Hostel and it’s safe to say that it was a pretty good decision. Firstly, it’s rather cheaper than elsewhere and in addition, we did find all the conveniences we would need such as advice, information, internet corner, maps, and…encounters. There is nothing like meeting other travelers and swapping our experiences. So we quickly realized that we would rather travel this way all the time we would be able to. It’s likely to be the best solution for being integrated and of course for saving money. Furthermore, Lots of Youth Hostels offer some jobs.
Afterwards, we caught a lift at the Montmorency falls directly to Tadoussac which is famous for the whale observation. We weren’t disappointed! Indeed we saw beavers, seals and whales (blue roquals) from the banks ! We’ve stayed there for 2 days which is frankly too short.
After, we left Tadoussac to Bic which is a small village and also a nice natural park. We weren’t used to walking but trust me, we get used to it now. We usually walk 3 or 4 hours a day in average.
At this time we were traveling with Brian and Laura and they gently dropped us at Saint-Anne-des- Monts which is at the foot of the national park of Gaspesie where the summits can reach more than 1000 meter heights. Effectively, we did some wonderful walks in the middle of the snow. We climbed Richardson Mount among the foot prints of bears, mooses, caribous. We were the only guys to go there with such a bad weather. Fortunately, it’s was a lovely sunny day and the walk was delightful. We might have reached the top if we hadn’t seen such heavy back clouds at the top sharing the empty space with a majestic caribou: gosh, what an atmosphere!
We stayed at the sea shack Youth Hostel where we worked a bit as maid and logger. I really did appreciate to chop woods up. That’s a trying job but I was amidst the nature and I did love the smell of woods. In counterpart, we got some free nights, some shots and a couple of quebecian beers. Cheers !
After 5 days there, it was time once again to leave in order to reach Gaspe and the Forillon National Park. We were warmly hosted by Gilles and Alexa. We got some jobs. Running the business a little bit to welcome news comers was a lovely experience. The Gaspe Bay is amazing. The morning lights are fantastic. Gaspe is really a nice place to stay and the wild live is astonishing: bears, beavers, seals, lynx, wolfs, fascinating sea birds (gannets, sea gulls, and so on). If we had arrived sooner we might have seen much more but the hibernation had already started for many animals such as bears for instance.
We spent a few days in Percé which is famous for his rock (Rocher percé) and for the Bonaventure National Park (the biggest colony of gannets of the world).
We finally decided to come back by the south road (la baie des chaleurs). The weather has started to turn bad and it was high time we moved in. Fortunately we met a couple of Swiss people Marianne and Eric who picked us up in their huge and lovely camper to drop us firstly at Riviere des Loups and afterwards at Montreal. I won’t ever be grateful enough to them to have picked us up. Once again thank you very much : you were really wonderful with us; If you hadn’t been there that rainy day, we would surely be completely soaked and ill.
So that’s all we have for today. After 3 resting day in Montreal hosted by Anne-Claire that we h aven’t ever met (she let us stay in her apartment) we are going to reach NY tomorrow.
Cheers everyone !
Cap aux os, Gaspésie, le 19 octobre 2010
Chère Famille, chers amis,
Ca fait trop longtemps que nous ne vous avons plus écrit ! Désolé ! Il faut dire que nous n'avons pas arrêté et que les connexions internet manquaient sur la route... En guise de résumé de notre trip, nous vous proposons d'aller voir nos photos commentées. Allez directement à la dernière page et remontez ensuite, vous serrez ainsi dans le bon ordre (les premières photos du site sont donc les plus récentes). Nous avons donc vu d'abord Québec puis les chutes du Monmorency puis remonté la route de Charlevoix avant d'arrivé à Tadoussac. Ensuite, nous avons pris le traversier des Escoumins au Trois Pistoles avec deux amis, Bryan et Laura. Nous avons continué la route avec eux et nous nous sommes baladé au parc du Bic; Enfin nous sommes arrivés en Gaspésie. Nous sommes restés 5 jours à Sainte-Anne-des-monts, où nous avons fait un peu de bénévolat, ce qui nous a payé nos nuits. Là, nous avons fait beaucoup de rencontres et avons fait de belles randonnées au parc de la Gaspésie. Voyez les photos, c'est tout simplement sublime ! Actuellement, nous sommes à Cap-aux Os, toujours en Gaspésie, dans une super auberge avec un couple d'aubergiste super sympa : Gilles et Alexa. Nous tenons l'auberge le soir et avons également nos nuits gratuites. Gilles est un ancien guide nature. Il nous emmène donc voir les phoques, les castors et ce soir : les ours noirs ! Nous faisons de superbes balades au parc Forillon. Vous verrez la suite en photos prochainement.... C'est sans aucun doute la meilleure adresse de Gaspésie ! Allez voir leur site : www.aubergeforillon.com. Gros kiss à tous et à très bientôt !
Tadoussac, le 7 octobre 2010
Hello chers Famille, chers amis.
Nous sommes partis le lundi 4 de Montréal pour Québec city. Nous avons eu un temps splendide : soleil et feuilles d'automne flamboillantes ! C'était fabuleux ! Nous avons été au chutes du Montmorency puis avons remonté Charlevoix. Nous sommes vraiment dans la plus belle saison pour voir les parcs nationaux. les paysages de montagnes avec feuilles multicolors sont superbes ! De là, nous sommes remontés en stop par deux charmants français qui faisaient leur voyage de Noces à Québec. Si vous nous lisez, encore un grand merci à vous deux pour cette superbe remontée jusqu'à Tadoussac, nous vous souhaitons bcp de bonheur !!! A Tadoussac, nous sommes arrivés dans une super auberge de jeunesse où nous avons rencontrés plein de gens sympas : belge, français, suisse, néozélandais ! Nous nous sommes fais plein d'amis ! Nous avons eu la chance de voir des castors, un phoque, une baleine et des ours ! Nous mettrons les photos bientôt sur le net ! Demain nous partons avec des amis français voir le parc du Bic puis nous remontrons avec eux en Gaspésie ! Le Québec est vraiment un pays fabuleux, la nature est splendide et les gens très chaleureux. Nous pensons bien fort à vous et nous nous demandons souvent comment vous allez. Donnez nous de vos nouvelles, cela nous fait plaisir ! Gros gros bisous et à bientôt sur le net !
"All we ever wanted was everything
All we ever got was cold
Get up, eat jelly
Sandwich bars, and barbed wire
Squash every week into a day
The sound of drums is calling
The sound of the drum has called
Flash of youth shoot out of darkness
Here I’m again. We touched down in Montréal a few days ago. Woah! This is far cry from Spain and I have to say that the very first days were quite difficult for me. The weather is quite similar to Belgium. Today, it’s raining cats and dogs. So you get the picture.
Fortunately, we are hosted by some friends, Josiane and Jean-Loup and their three lovely kids. These are funny and cute. It’s always charming to encounter the accent from Québec and their different way of speaking. I have to say that the people we’ve meet are particularly friendly and you know natural, spontaneous. They are simply cool. They generally behave far less factitiously that we used to in Belgium. Here everyone says “salut” et “’tu vas bien” when you enter a shop. It’s very amazing but very refreshing too. No really Quebec people are very cheerful. They love eating and drinking and they mainly do love finest food and wine. We’ve discovered any of their beers today. They are as good as ours. Have you ever heard of “La belle gueule”, “la fin du monde, …” ? They are delicious : you must try it if you can.
Then, it’s a mixture between French and American culture. It’s strange because you could feel as if you were at home but although is quite different. That’s very confusing. There is always something remembering you that you’re in America: long avenues, big cars, and of course the dollar even if it’s the Canadian dollar.
Well right now, we are planning our trip in the rest of Quebec and in the whole Canada. It would be big because there are so many things to see, the distances are very long and we are feeling that the adventure is going to start soon. Well, we are expecting that it won’t be always easy because the life is rather expensive here so we’ll have to find any cheap solutions. But that’s what it’s called backpacking and I don’t know why but I feel that we’ll definitively start to change soon. Mysterious, isn’t it?
Hope you’re feeling top notch. It’s been a very long time since I drove a line on our website. Sorry about that, mates. Hope you weren’t getting too mad at me. It’s just that we’ve spent a few lovely days hanging around in Spain. Daydreaming in the late summer in the south of Spain could help anyone to forget his duties; huh?
Backpacking requires also lots of time. You know one need to find a lovely and cheap accommodation, to understand how to get in, out & around, to discover the best tricks to eat without going too quickly though our money, to read our book and select which of the landmarks we’d discover, to change our mobile and so one…
But anyway, I really wonder how many of you are following our tracks on our web site. Please don’t ever hesitate to let us a word in our ‘livre d’or”. It’s always delightful to feel getting in touch with any of our friends. So let us know sometime if you’re connected.
So these last few weeks, we visited Spain and most accurately Barcelona, Grenada, Sevilla and finally Cadiz. I must say that it was fantastic. Barcelona deserves his fame. It’s perhaps one of the most alternative big city I’ve ever seen. The town is definitively a big financial place in Spain but on the other hand, culture and art can easily find also their place. The youth seems very unconventional and they are mostly keen on art matters. We spent the vast majority in our time visiting any museum (Picasso, Miro, and any buildings of Gaudi). Sunbathing and swimming every morning or evening before or after your job it’s a real hit. Everything is almost perfect in Barcelona : people are friendly, the town is lovely, the food is delicious & tasty, the nightlife is absolutely awesome, the old town is charming, the sea is at your door and the spirit is wide open-minded : sharing tapas with any unknown buddies and even though everyone begins quickly chatting as though they were old friends. In fact in Spain people do love the life and you can really feel it.
Afterwards, we’re lucky enough to visit Grenada. Lovely town again, my God! A mixture of Muslim and Catholic culture. The Muslims did here fantastic art crafts and there buildings are impressive. The Alhambra is a wonder. I often have the same feeling that the Christian worship looks grimmer in comparison with other wonders coming from the Asian culture or from Muslim culture. In this former, unlike the Christian one, the builders seem have fund their inspiration in a close link with the nature whereas the first worry of the Christian builders seemed to build huge buildings in order to show us the power of God (see the Cathedral of Seville or the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona). In my humble opinion, what I‘ve seen that had been done by the Muslims was by far more delicate and inspired.
Grenada is the cradle of Flamenco. Gypsies have been used to living here for ages (In Sacramonte). The spot is breathtaking and the view on the Alhambra is certainly a must-seen.
In Sevilla, we definitively decide to break through, to chill out and to soak the Spanish hours and so we spent most of our time going out at night eating wonderful tapas, drinking sangrias and their tasty wine (rias) and getting completely entranced by the bewitching Flamenco music’s and dances. Gosh, there are strong feelings bursting out those performances. Needless to say that their girls are rather fit.
On the other hand, Sevilla is very beautiful. Lovely little places everywhere. The weather was unbelievable. 36° C at 6.30 PM. What else?
Finally, we spent 5 lovely days soaking the sun in Cadiz. Nice town, with an amazing history focused on Christophe Colomb. There you could feel that you are in La Habana, or in South America. You really feel that the town was in touched with other famous harbour. It’s very strange to look at the sea and meanwhile to feel all those influences coming from abroad. Yeah, that’s magical. Here our fingers are definitely pointed at the rest of the world and have the ocean as hyphen. If you could, you would venture everywhere as far as you could.
Montréal, le 26 septembre 2010,
Chers famille, ches amis,
Nous sommes bien arrivés à Montréal le 24 septembre à 17h (heure locale Montréalaise) et avons été directement accueillis par mes amis Montréalais : Josiane et Jean-Lou. Ils nous accueillent chez eux pendant environ 15 jours le temps de programmer la suite de notre périple. Ca fait du bien de les revoir et d'arriver dans un bon foyer avec 3 beaux enfants ;-) Merci à eux de nous accueillir, ça fait plaisir de les revoir ! Nous allons aussi revoir d'autres amis de Nathalie. Ici, il fait assez froid, dur, dur quand on revient des 35 C de l'Espgane. Mais la chaleur des Montréalais est très agréable ! On a hâte aussi d'aller aussi visiter un peu le pays. Pour info, il y a 6 heures en moins ici à Montréal qu'en Belgique, donc tenez-y compte si vous souhaitez nous téléphoner. Gros bisous et à bientôt.
Séville, le 17 Septembre 2010,
Salut Tout le monde, ça fait longtemps que nous n'avons pas donné de news.
Sorry, mais il faut dire que nous en avons profité un max jusqu'à présent ;-)
Après être partis de Barcelone, nous avons passé 4 jours à Grenade, superbe petite ville de l'Andalousie. Nous avons appris que c'est à Grenade que les musulmans se sont réfugiés lors de l'Inquisition Catholique en 1492 (année de la découverte de Colomb pour les rois catholiques) Les Rois Catholiques, ont alors rasé toutes les mosquées et y ont construits à la place des églises. Seul l'Alahmbra, splendeur architecturale, a été conservée ! lls ont massacrés des musulans, des juifs et des gitans afin de construire un grand empire catholique ...Tout ceci fait assez froid dans le dos ! Ici, à Séville, c'est pareil ! Les symboles religieux montrant la puissance catholique sur le monde musulman ne manque pas... Ce radicalisme est difficile à voir. Nous rêvons plutôt d'un monde où tous le monde serait accepté dans ses différences tant culturelles que religieuses, un monde où tout le monde pourrait vivre en paix. comme dirait John Lenon.. On était bien loin de ce monde là au temps de l'inquisition !!! Heureusement, à l'heure actuelle, les espagnols sont ouverts et les sevillans très accueillants ! Nous profitons bien du soleil, des tapas et du flamenco avant de decendre sur Cadix le dimanche 19 septembre.
On vous fait de gros bisous et à très bientôt !
Barcelona, 8 septembre 2010
Chers famille, chers amis,
Voilà, notre petit séjour à Barcelone se termine déjà demain...snif, snif,...il faut dire que Barcelone est une superbe ville très riche en batiments architecturaux. Nous avons eu la grande joie de découvrir les oeuvres de "Gaudi", "Picasso", "Miro", "Louis Domenech",.... tous des grands artistes espagnols qui ont marqué l'histoire et ont vécu à Barcelone. Avec ceci, nous avons été admirablement bien accuilli par Fred, Un grand merci encore à toi ,Fred, pour ton charmant accueil. C'était super de faire ta connaissance, Fred ! Et puis avec tout celà, on a pu profiter de la mer et du soleil ainsi que des délicieux tapas espagnols, que rêver de mieux ;-) Demain, nous partons sur Grenade puis Séville et peut-être Cadix avant de retourner sur Madrid afin de prendre notre avion pour Montréal le 24 septembre...Ceci nous fait un beau programme en perspective. Nous espérons que tout va bien pour vous et pensons bien à vous.
Gros gros bisous à vous tous et à très bientôt !
Barcelona, 5th september
After a very long trip in coach we've finally reached Barcolona saturday morning 3.30 AM. It was a real piece a luck that we had a coach leaving iLe cannet straight way to Barcolona in one go. So we spent there 9 hours in aim of reaching Barcelona. We were a little bit beaten but that's all right. We woke up Fred at dawn (7.00 AM) which is pretty unusual for him. He was a little bit beaten too but it was for any other reasons. We would like to thank you once again Charlotte for liaising us with Fred. Actually Fred s hosting us in his nice apartement in front of the sea and it's very kind of him. Actually, we had never met Fred before so it's was a great encounter. However, we've noticed that we have some friends in common so it's pretty amazing. By yhe way, we spent our first day discovering Barcelona in a city bike tour which was as great as Funny. We finished with a Sangria in the beach. Nice, isn't it ? Yesterday evening, we spent the night with Fred and a friend of him, Patrick, we ate any tapas, and after any tapas again with a couple of cerverzas and then anoter round of cervezas and tapas again. we finished the party in a cocktails bar and in a kind of disco. It was pretty great. We reached our bed at dawn. We are going now to set aside time for hanging out in the town trying to discover her wonderful architecture and some of her famous museum. Love
Cannes 2010 september, 2
Hope you're doing well. We are still in Mougins located in the 5 stars vila of my nephew. We gonna leave to Barcelona Friday evening and we're expecting to stay there a few days maybe hosted by a friend of us, Fred. The wedding of Gaetan and Carine was a success and we congratulate them once again for their commitment and wish them the very best for their upcoming married life. We have also a though for all our best friends who came back in Belgium yesterday. We hope it's not to harsh ( we know it is) .Hope the weather in Belgium is quite good. We'd like to thank JS once again for his cheerful welcome. We hope that your come back "home" is not too difficult and that everything'll take a better turn for the whole familly. You really deserve it, man. Special thank finally for Charlotte and Arnaud our special drivers along our stay in Mougins. You did it very well and you were particularly charming. Thanks a lot for all. So, we are going to lay a little bit on the beach right now. I known we're pretty lucky. Hope you can share it one day with us because you'll surely miss us quicky. So far so good. Cheers.
Mougins le 2 septembre,
Ce petit mot pour vous informer que nous partons demain sur Barcelone. Tout s'est très bien passé ici à Mougins, c'était magnifique ! Nous n'avons pas de connexion internet facilement. mais nous restons en contact via le blog, ce qui sera de toute façon le moyen le plus facile à l'avenir (décalage horaire, ...) pour nous contacter. Nous vous embrassons bien fort et "Hasta la vista" ! PS : Nous nous pencherons sur le problème des photos dès que nous aurons une bonne connexion. Gros kiss
Mougins, the 28 of august
So nice in Nice - It's always the Sun (The Stranglers)
We are right now located by my nephew Jean-Sebastien in Mougins, subburds of Cannes. We are here to celebrate with our best friends the wedding of Gaetan and Carine. Everything is going smoothly. The first events have begun. We had the "boules" tournament this afternoon on the main square in the old Mougins which is quite beautiful. The weather is fantastic and the atmosphere is radical. This evening we'll have a dinner on a beach situated in the golf of Juan. Very Nice. We cannot be better. We wish you the very best. Cherio.
Mougins, le 28 Août 2010
Que de bonnes choses nous sont arrivées depuis quelques jours ! On peut dire que nous sommes nés sous une bonne étoile : nous avions laissé notre IPOD dans une voiture de location et nous l'avons retrouvé sans problème ; les provençais sont hyper sympas et nous ont dropés assez facilement à gauche à droite : un grand merci à eux ! Et puis en arrivant à Mougins avec nos sac à dos très transpirants, nous avons croisés des amis qui nous ont reconduits jusque chez Jean-Sébastien ! Waw, quel palace ! Quel bonheur ici ! C'est magnifique ! Nous sommes déjà pris dans l'ambiance du mariage : pastis, petite pétanque, visite de la parfumerie de Grasse, restaurant pied dans l'au au bord de mer...que faut-il rêver de plus ! Nous sommes superbement bien accueillis ici ! By the way, nous avons reçu une petite explication sur la famille CHIRIS à Grasse ce matin, c'était très intéressant ! Nous sommes partis pour 4 jours de folie ici pour le mariage de Gaëtan et Carine qui ont organisés cela comme des Dieux. Comptez sur nous pour en profiter ! Nous pensons bien à vous et vous faisons de gros bisous !
PS : Comme vous l'avez remarqué, nous avons un petit soucis avec nos photos, nous espérons que cela ne prendra pas trop de temps à se régler... Gros kiss à tous et à bientôt !
Freiresques, le 24 Août 2010
Hello tout le monde,
Comment allez-vous ? Comment fait-il en Belgique ? Nous nous sommes arrivés hier midi à Freiresques (Orgon à 30 minutes d'Avignon) chez la grand mère de Nath. Il fait superbe et nous profitons toujours bien de l'ambiance familiale. La cousine de Nath (Henriette) est arrivée avec son compagnon aujourd'hui et nous allons fêter l'anniversaire de bonne maman demain. Voilà, entre le chant des cigalles, les ploufs dans la piscine, les petit pastis et les petites boutiques de Saint-Rémy de Provence, on pense bien à vous !
Gros gros kiss et à très bientôt !
Freiresque, thuesday the 24 of august
« This earth is not a cold dead place » (Explosion in the Sky – American rock alternative band from Dallas)
You are probably convinced that Paris is a wonderful place. You’ve seen all the famous buildings such “Le Panthéon, les Invalides” or even “Notre Dame” and you were ecstatic. You’re supposed to be right but have you ever seen the Entremont Vale ?
There are some places near Chambéry where the nature is breathtaking. A world of silence, pure beauty and majesty. A world where the mankind could find his fair status.
There we might understand easily how much we owe the Earth. Following the winding lovely roads, you’ll probably be astonished by these charming villages and the strength of the mountains surrounding you. A real sensation of Heaven is gliding round you.
Holy smoke ! It seems as if we’ve slipped out of time.
Thanks Eric for showing us such a place: it’s was really fantastic to share this piece of joy together. Keep on living amidst such a nature.
Chambery, 20 august, 0:03
Hope you're doing well. I'm listening to let down by Radiohead. Sure I could spend the night listening to this awesome song. This song always gives me spine chilling shivers. It's always a pleasure to listen to music in the middle of a lovely night filled with such brightling stars. Goodnight. Love
Chambéry, le 19 Août 2010
Hello tout le monde,
Nous venons d'arriver à Chambéry ;-) Après un lever matinal (5h00) nous avons pris le tgv direct pour Chambéry. Nous avons eu le privilège d'aller en 1ère classe...et oui ça vaut la peine de se lever tôt : vous avez le droit à des prix qui battent toutes concurrences ;-)
Directement après notre arrivée, nous nous sommes installés sur la place de la vielle ville boire un petit café et vous écrire ce petit mot. Il fait magnifique ici et la ville est superbe ! Quel bonheur de se prendre du bon temps dans le bon air des Alpes ! Eric, l'oncle de Nath, vient nous chercher dans 30 minutes et nous ferons une belle balade dans la montagne ! Waw, nous avons hâte ! Pour info, nous restons à Chambéry jusque dimanche et lundi nous partons pour Avignon chez la grand mère de Nath. Gros gris kiss à tous et à toutes et à très bientôt
Paris, le 14 août 2010
Salut vous tous,
Voilà, nous sommes bien arrivés à Paris après un départ chargé d’émotions. Nous avions fait un bon repas familial la veille qui nous a permis d’échanger encore de bons moments ensemble. Nous avons fait un bon voyage en bus et nous avons déjà passé une bonne soirée avec Fanny, la cousine de Nath, avec qui nous avons été boire un verre le soir de notre arrivée Nous sommes invités chez Seb et Solenne à manger demain, ça va être chouette de les revoir. Nous restons à l’appart de la grand-mère de Nath jusque jeudi environ avant de rejoindre Chambéry. Si vous voulez nous joindre, n’hésitez pas à cliquer sur « nous contacter à tout moment », nous avons déjà inscrit nos numéros de gsm français. De même, pour ceux qui ne l’ont pas encore fait, n’hésitez pas à vous inscrire sur notre newsletter. Gros bisous à tous et à très bientôt.
Paris, Saturday August the 14
Glad to see you again! We’ve finally set off our world trip this Friday the 13 after a few weeks of crazy days. It was really unbelievable how many things we did this last days. It was a little bit up to our necks and we were glad to leave but trust us completely worn out. So we are finally on the road and the first coach trip between Brussels and Paris was already an adventure. English was already the main language in the coach and it took us 4 hours to reach Paris. However a nice surprise because the atmosphere was friendly and the coach was surprisingly cosy. Nathalie’s grandmother has amicably hosted us in her small but nice apartment located near the Panthéon (nice, isn’t it !). We are delighted to spend a few days with Fanny, one of the Nathalie’s cousin. Our lively neighborhood is the charming little square ‘de la Contrescarpe” , really nice. Unfortunately the weather is quite bad but just when we’ve decided to have a café to write us, the sunshine did his expected come back: so we have a smooth day ! Cheers !
Bruxelles, Le Vendredi 30 Juillet 2010
Très chère famille, très chers amis,
Nous voilà à deux semaines de notre départ...Et oui, cela avance à grands pas! Nous avons fixé maintenant la date exacte de notre départ : ce sera le vendredi 13 Août ! "Il ne faut pas être supersticieux", me diriez-vous ! Mais pour Nathalie, le vendredi 13 a toujours été une date porte-bonheur...puisque nous nous sommes rencontrés...un vendredi 13 !
Avant notre départ, nous voudrions vous témoigner toute notre affection et remercier également toutes les personnes qui nous ont aidé avant notre départ...Nous pensons tout particulièrement à notre famille et à nos amis qui nous soutiennent très chaleureusement depuis un moment. Ce soutien est indispensable pour nous car il nous permet d'avancer en confiance... et comme vous le savez, avec la confiance et l'amour tout est possible ! Merci donc à vous pour l'affection que vous nous témoignez, nous vous aimons de tout coeur.
Nous voudrions également remercier tout particulièrement Christophe qui nous a si gentiement aidé et soutenu durant notre déménagement. Un grand merci aussi à Jawad pour sa précieuse aide dans la construction de ce beau site et Marie-Charlotte pour ses précieux conseils de Tour du Monde.
Nous avons également une pensée toute particulière pour Julien, l'adorable petit filleul de Nath, et ses chers parents. Nous comptons sur vous pour nous envoyer ses plus belles photos et ses plus beaux films afin de ne rien manquer de ses premiers pas !
Enfin, nous vous remercions pour tous les "derniers repas" organisés qui nous permettent de passer avec vous des moments inoubliables...moments que nous emporterons avec nous sur la route. Soyez sûrs que nous ferons notre possible pour tous vous revoir avant notre départ !
Avec tout notre amour,
Nath et Alain
Brussels, Friday, 07/30/2010
Hope you're doing well. Actually we're still home (oh sweet home...) and we are in the process of preparing our ongoing departure which has finally been settled on Friday the 13 Augustus. As you can guess we aren't definitively superstitious and so are you, aren't you ?
By the way, we'd like to thank some relatives and friends who particularly give us a useful hand in our preparation and especially Christophe who lent us his van in order to ease our furniture moving from Brussels to Mons : thanks mate, hope we can scratch your bag too ! Be sure We're seriously grateful ! We thank you too our relative for all the support, tender and love that you're going to demonstrate to us in these last days. Be convinced we're particularly aware of it and we appreciate so much. We've aslo a very special though for Julien, our very new family member (and already the most beautiful of all !) and his lovable parents .
We wouldn't end up this first news without talking about all our friends who are currently doing their very best to having us for a last meal together. Be very sure we appreciate this and are doing ourself our very best to see you once again before leaving. Promise !
Love, Nath and Al
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