Reports on my cycle trip around the World (by Ernest Markwood)
Friday, 21 August 2009
LEAP INTO LAOS
I found Laos to be literally a breath of fresh air, the quiet road through the rolling tropical hills was in stark contrast to the “hustle & bustle” which is much of Vietnam. Thus far the people seem extremely friendly, and there is a continuous chorus of “sapa-dii” (hello) emanating from the stilted bamboo houses (complete with satellite dish for TV reception). In these hill villages the younger children often run around naked (why not? – the climate is good and after a swim in the river they can simply “drip-dry”). As we’ve approached the Mekong valley life appears to have become a bit more modern – but the locals remain friendly. My biggest problem is that my bike (Old Saartjie) is so worn-out that I can’t even use the middle chain ring anymore (a major problem on a hilly road!). I’ve looked around for spares, but around here there is nothing suitable (anyway, I don’t have any money). I spent almost an entire day paying some attention to Old Saartjie and fitting used spares which I've previously replaced on Leana's bike. I initially wrote and published this report in the town of Savannakett on the Mekong river, where we spent 2 days (Thailand is on the far banks - see recently-built Friendship II bridge in background of photo). Since then we have moved further up the Mekong to the town of Tha Khaek. Daily distances cycled in Laos have been:- Xepon 54 km; Donghen 133 km; Savannakett 80 km; and Tha Khaek 131 km. Total distance cycled since Cape Town is 45650 km.
CURRENT LOCATION:- (31 August 2018) Pattaya, Thailand
TRAVELLING TIME:- Eleven years and 5 months
DISTANCE CYCLED SO FAR:- 163 749 km
My original bike (Old Saartjie) lasted 11 years and more than 150 000 km. Unfortunately I have now had to put The Old Girl out to pasture. This picture was taken on the first day of this trip, 27 March 2007.
PLEASE HELP TO KEEP THE WHEELS ROLLING: In order to fund this cycle trip I'd sold everything I had, but that has long gone. Please help if you can! If you want to contribute, then please contact me on my e-mail, and I will give you details. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My Cycle Route
Starting in Cape Town, South Africa, on 27 March 2007 - about 163 749 km so far
My name is Ernest Markwood, and I am a South African formerly from Cape Town. I am a Research Psychologist by profession, and operated a Market Research business before embarking on this journey. I sold my posessions and took off by bicycle all the way through Africa from Cape Town. Since then I've proceeded via the Middle-East through Turkey, the Caucusus, Iran, Sub-Continent (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal), China, South-East Asia, Indonesia, Australia, South- and Central America, and the USA, crossing Canada from the West to East and then all the way down the East coast of USA, and Jamaica. Currently my mission is to close gaps in order to form a continuous route around the world. I left Cape Town on 27 March 2007. This was not intended to be a race, but rather an experience (and so it is!).
Me (Ernest), on one of my better days
. . . . on this trip I have looked like this . . . .
- - - also like this . . .
. . . . and I've even looked like this!
I have not been cycling on my own for this entire trip. Leana and I left together on 27 March 2007 from Cape Town, South Africa (our former hometown). Since then we have cycled separately at intervals, although in total we have been together much of the time. We split in 2013. For more about her see leananiemand.org.za