Wednesday, 9 November 2011

CROSSING THE LINE











Regardless of all the lines which I've crossed which I shouldn't have crossed, I've now crossed the EQUATOR for the third time. The first crossing was on my way North in Kenya, and the second crossing going South in Sumatra (I actually missed the line and didn't even get a photo). Anyway, in this case my North-bound route crossed the line a number of times as the road snaked through the hilly Ecuadorian landscape, and I was so keen not to miss it again that I found myself taking pic's of the bike in the middle of nowhere (the GPS indicated 0 degrees). However, eventually there was a monument and a large sun-dial laid out in stone, and all the paraphanalia that goes with it. Other lines which I've crossed on this trip have been the Tropic of Capricorn (3 times), and the Tropic of Cancer (8 times). Anyway, my last report was from Quito where I was staying at the Casa De Cyclistas in the city (Carlos, Daniel, and Santiago, with dogs in pic). From there Hannes, Annelies, and myself did a short hop down to Tumbaco where we stayed at another "Casa" owned by another Santiago (in picture still in his pajamas) - I was his first South African guest in the 20 years he's been hosting touring cyclists. The garden was spacious, so Hannes stoked up a braai (Argentinian style ASADO). From there we followed a cycle track which runs along a disused railroad for about 40 km (very nice, no traffic, beautiful scenery and even a number of nice dark tunnels). At Otavalo I said goodbye to my cycle companions, and subsequently crossed another line - the border from Ecuador into Columbia. In the hilly South of Columbia I met a number of other cyclists including Marta from Poland and her Argentinian companion in picture. I also met a group of 3 Columbian cyclists on the day when I reached Cali (2 days ago). I've been staying in Miller's Casa De Cyclistas in Cali, and although I was planning to move on this morning it was raining so persistently that I decided to stay and visit the Internet Cafe. Talk about rain, there is no shortage of it here with the daily (or nightly) thunderstorms. I've been camping all along, and in order to ecape the rain I've stayed in some interesting places such as schools, military check-posts, and road-work camps. On the first night after crossing into Columbia I asked to camp in a field next to a "village" farm house, and the family showed me to camp in the back yard which they considered to be safer. There I spent the night in close quarters with a barking dog, a grunting cow in labour, a goat, two cats, geese and chickens, and cages full of guinae pigs. The matriarch of the Baez family was in charge of the place, and in addition to doing farm-work, the grown daughters also did quite well in having children from foreign men (mostly South Americans). I was given a good breakfast the following morning, and although they may have been hinting at a South African addition to the family, I was feeling a bit too worn-out from a restless night amongst all those animals! From Cali I'll probably head off tomorrow in a North-easterly direction towards Bogota (over the Andes again!). Daily distances cycled since Quito have been:- Tumbaco 17 km; Quinche 44 km; Otavalo 76 km; Bolivar 95 km; Ipiales 84 km; Cebadal 57 km; Bridge Camp 73 km; Patia 102 km; Paraga 55 km; Popayan 68 km; and Cali 125 km. The total distance which I've cycled so far in South America is 17 760 km, and the total distance which I've cycled on this journey is 84 247 km.

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