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    Dag 913 – Min europæiske begrebsverden (UK)

    Totora -> Cochabamba (hostal)
    Distance (km) : 143
    Time on bike : 7h 41m
    Brutto time: 09.15 – 18.30
    Avg : 18.6 km/h
    Max.speed: 72.8 (!)
    Total (km) : 35.831
    Altitude (end of day): 2.550 m

    Do you have something for breakfast?, I asked the lady in the little eatery this morning.
    Yes, we have steaks, chicken and pork, the answer was.
    OK, but do you have something without meat? [It was 8AM and my stomac and mind was set on something more normal like bread and coffee]
    Yes, we have egg and rice.
    I’ll have one of those then…

    A man at the table next to mine (who just got their massive steaks) addresses the gringo:
    Don’t you like meat?
    Yes, I do, but I prefer something without meat for breakfast.

    He laughs at me. The kind of laugther that leaves no doubt that this was not behaviour according to the cultural do´s and don’ts in this Bolivian village. A laugh that made it clear who was the cultural oddity in this case.
    Later I ask for something to drink to my rice and fried eggs but this question just confirms the fact that I’m a stranger not aware of how things work here in Totora. They have nothing to drink at all. Obviously!

    Farming the Bolivian way anno 2008. West of Epizana.

    My Western thinking, my Eurocentric conceptualization of the world, its people and the connection between the two, of the cultural and social stuff that constitutes being human is constantly challenged and transformed in the meeting with other worlds with others sounds, rhythms, norms. For me this is one of the most important ingredients in the dish called travel. I simply love it (though I probably would’ve prefered my coffee and bread instead of those boiled potatoes for breakfast…)

    10½ non-stop sleep. That’s how much my body demanded after yesterdays’ tough 75 km of cycling on roads paved with cobblestones. Today is to be another marathon day in the saddle.
    The first 25 km from Totora is fairly flat and goes through gum trees lined farmland with that beautiful smell of eucalyptus that will forever remind me of Australia. There’s even colourful parrots in the tree tops.
    Little boy in Epizana, Bolivia.

    Next up is 4 hours of almost constant uphill, from 2.500 m to 3.600 m, all on smooth asphalt and with a nice tailwind for a change. Cloudy, 8C.

    From the col at 3.600 m a god-blessed downhill meets me. The landscape is beautiful, green hills, the sun finds it way through the clouds and the speed (up to 72.8 km/h) is thrilling. As usual the dare-devil fun is over way to early and I reach the flat Cochabamba Valley and push on the last 40 km to Cochabamba.

    For three days I’ve been cycling through some of the poorest Bolivia, I’ve been cycling through tiny settlements of primitive adobe houses, donkeys and goats everywhere, through green valleys, across semi-dry river beds…and then suddenly I’m in Cochabamba (Bolivia’s 3rd city, 610.000 inh.), sitting in an Italian restaurant (aptly named Don Corleone), watching a Sting DVD concert on the flatscreen, waiting for my huge pizza (I do deserve it!), drinking cold beer. The beauty of cycling.

    On this day..

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