Wednesday, October 24, 2007

22 October 2007

This morning after eating breakfast and getting a start, I felt like I finally hit my stride. The curves felt smooth, the wind didn’t phase me, the aches in the shoulders were a distant memory. It is a good thing to take a day off every now and then to rest and regenerate. These feelings were short lived after 100 kilometers. All the aches came back, the muscles became fatigued and cutting through the wind seemed a bit rougher than it had earlier in the day. The word that came to me when the wind just about ripped my helmet off my head was, pitaraq. Pitaraq (sp?) is an Inuit word that is the equivalent of Katabatic Winds. Katabatic Winds are winds that flow downhill off a glacier (Antarctica/Greenland) and can reach over 100 mph and have been see to hit 200mph. I think in Norway they are call Fohns. Enough about my wind knowledge...silly thing to know. If I had never worked in Greenland and Antarctica I would have just said, "Holy crap! What the hell just tried to rip my f*cking head off?"

It does appear that even after 2300 kilometers (1475 miles) on the bike, I still need more time in the saddle before the South American ride.

I am finally allowing someone else to transport me around for a while after dropping my rental motorcycle off in Paiporta (outside of Valencia). The person at the motorcycle shop that I dealt with was a woman by the name of Lurdes. She was the only person that spoke English reasonably well and could have starred in about any porn movie that is out there. It isn't that she is attractive, just the enhancements that she has had, ie implants, color contacts and the blonde hair with black roots. As I was packing up she just stuck around and talked, so I had her pose by the bike. She kinda hammed it up and made me take a few until I got the metering right.

I talked to Jacquie a few minutes ago and she mentioned that Yancy wants to buy a BMW to join me on my trip. I will start keeping him in the loop so he stays keen on it too.

The train station in Valencia is like all train stations in Europe…full of beautiful sights. The way a European woman carries herself is so alluring and mysterious. I found myself smitten by two young girls, about 26 years old, that appeared to have arrived from Ibiza a short while before. One was wearing a very sheer white tank and the other was the proud owner of the most intriguing eyes. They were almost cat-like and a green as deep as emeralds.,I am not certain how else to describe them. Between both the girls I found myself mesmerized, it is a good thing that they were the ones that came up to me to ask when the train was leaving and then stuck around waiting with me…I would have had to make an excuse to make a fool of myself. Nothing better than a couple of young free spirits making an old free spirit feel young again.

I decided on Barcelona because it was the earlier train than the one to Madrid, boy, was I wrong. The Barcelona train ended up being almost 2 hours late allowing me time to sit and talk to these cute little girls…what a drag (note the oozing sarcasm). The one thing that did not work out for me was my cell battery died while waiting for the train so finding a hotel in Barcelona might be a bit of a trick. I am not all that concerned though, it all seems to work out in the end and I can always find a place to rest my head.

I will have two full days in Barcelona and plan to just wander around Gruell Parc for at least one of those. The Cathedral might also be on the agenda, but I haven’t really thought any of this out. All I know is that I will be traveling to Madrid on the 25th at the earliest possible time so I can sort my stuff out and fly the next morning. It is kinda funny that this is about the only plan since I rejoined everyone in Seville, but I have never been comfortable with plans when I travel. Okay, perhaps that isn’t all that true. When Chris and I traveled the world together in 1995/96, I had an itinerary of what I wanted to see and when we needed to be there. I didn’t have any idea where I would sleep, but I knew what city I would be in and I drove the bus on that situation. I still think that Chris would have preferred to have a pace that wasn't so frenetic and would have liked to have slept in on New Years Day instead of waking at 7:00am to catch a train to Marceille.

12 years later and many thousands of miles later, I couldn’t be a more different traveler than I was then. Now it is about the journey more than it is about the destination, although the destination does have its intrigue. I am just not so obsessed with the destination like I used to be.

After backpacking through seven continents for 8 months, living abroad for almost 11 out of the past 14 years and traveling more than anyone else that I know during those 14 years, I would hope that I have learned a thing or two about cultures, people and traveling. I don't think that I have learned it all, but I am on the right path. Ten months from now when I take off on my motorcycle through South America I am certain to learn even more. After that...the plan (as it has been since 1994) is to ride up through the Western US to Alaska and take a boat to Japan, Russia or China and navigate toward the setting sun until I get back (Africa is on that list too, but I will have to figure out some logistical issues first) home. Still a long way from that...

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