When the shiny luxury bus transported me to Lima I passed through the Atacama desert and the only thing I knew was: GO BACK! GO BACK! GO BACK! GO BACK! GO BACK! GO BACK! GO BACK!
First thing I do is escaping Lima and celebrating my alone time. I am back where I belong, having returned from a little detour, a failed deviation.
First and foremost: cycling slow means having to carry more supplies as the distance from town to town is taking you longer. Being more heavy is even more slower. For a fast one with minimal load everything changes, but for one thing…
I meet with Seth, whom I met for the first time 14 years ago. He is coming to Peru and we can meet if we like. Back then, 14 years ago, while I was using the computer in a Nicaraguan internet-cafe he sat next to me and said: ‘Shall we chitchat later?’ I was surprised by the words ‘chitchat’. We were young backpackers, in our late twenties, traveled on and off together between Nicaragua and Costa Rica on a bus. I thought I could do that again. I was wrong.
I have battled the head wind of the Atacama desert in Chile.
December 2016: That’s what cycling without a plan does: unexpected surprises come your way. I was meeting with an old-time friend. Not in Argentina where I was, but in Lima. Peru. I took a bus, 4 days on end. Going back I wanted to avoid more busses.
‘Cherish life simple pleasures’ is written on the toilet I sit on
Cycling is having áll your senses open. Waking up by first light and retiring quickly after it gets really dark. I usually take full advantage of the last fading day colors so not to light the Petzl.
Entering the land of the Tohono O’Odham native Americans
Cycling in the USA is like being inside a kaleidoscope. It is so changeable, landscapes go from cacti-tales to magnificent Irish-alike highlands. It is, of course, spacious too. As soon as you get out of a town you are right into the nature, and it takes hours before I see another place to buy groceries.
I’m now cycling in the United States. I didn’t come here to be amongst indigenous people, to experience colorful cultures or to maintain my Indian budget. I didn’t come here because I had thrown an arrow at the map of the world. The reason I decided not to continue on from India over-land to Australia are circumstances.
Cycling into a normal side of the exorbitant Emirates
Coming back to Dubai in the middle of the night, it surprises me the immigration has great difficulty handling the streams of few tourists and the many workers. Jokingly I think the Emirati’s are not used to do a lot of work.
Boarding the ferry from Iran to Dubai!
The boat is enormous. It’s a square monster full of cream colored Dubai taxi’s, perhaps to give the boat some necessary weight.
In an anxious mood I start the trip towards Bandar Lengeh. Darryl had advised me it would perhaps better for me to take the bus. I would be without his guarding support, although he said that I was more supporting him than the other way around. He said it would perhaps be a struggle for me, dealing with all the police asking for my passport, checking my misshaped visa.
The people of Iran
‘We are not animals,’ says Ali Shah, the man who brought me from Tabriz to Tehran. That’s a fact I know too well, otherwise I would not have trust him while he and his wife act as my private taxi hosts.
Terjît is klein, één lange zandweg -waar Steve me weer een stukje moet duwen- met een paar hutten van stro en wat stenen tikits en blikmaterialen schuurtjes. Het dadelseizoen is lang voorbij en nu wonen er nog maar 30 mensen terwijl het in juni aanzwelt tot 3000 inwoners.
De grensovergang van de Westelijke Sahara naar Mauritanië is makkelijk en snel gegaan, met een fiets rijdt je gewoon alle wachtende voorbij. De drie kilometer ruige hammada niemandsland gaat ook goed, alleen heb ik wat verderop een lekke band. Ik plak hem terwijl Steve toekijkt. En wanneer een auto vol mannen langs rijdt kijken zij op hun beurt verwonderd naar Steve. Wat dagen later leg ik een nieuwe binnen- en buitenband op het achterwiel omdat de scheur die er in zit lekken blijft veroorzaken.
Dag 10: C. de Bir Gandouz naar Nouâdhibou, Mauritanië
Dag 9: tankstation naar tankstation C. de Bir Gandouz
Dag 8: tankstation naar tankstation
Dag 7 is een rustdag: tankstation naar tankstation
Dag 6: Boujdour naar tankstation in de buurt van Echtoucan
Dag 5: Laâyoune naar Boujdour
Dag 4: Tarfaya naar Laâyoune
Dag 3: Sidi Akhfennir naar Tarfaya
Dag 2: Tan Tan naar Sidi Akhfennir
20 september 2012: Tocht door de Sahara in 9 dagen
Het is zover: de tocht door de Sahara gaat beginnen!