10.12.11 Writing this last blog entry for
2011, onboard MS Grande Africa in DAKAR; Senegal. The last link between the
continents: from this small island Isle de Goree 1km off Dakar in the course of
+-400 years some 15 million!! African slaves have been shipped off to American
plantations and mines allover. The old continent of civilised Europe gaining
silver and gold (see further).
1.12.11 Sitting with 2 more globedrivers at this
50.000tons RoRO’s (small) swimmingpool looking out over deepblue waters under
the almost vertical sun in between New and Old in the midst of the
transatlantic (to Dakar, then Hamburg). We crossed the equator exactly 4 years
after our first one in Kenya (11.6), later repeated in Ecuador(5.10) and Brazil (10.10).
3 years and 141.000km after the Katamarano
arrived by ship in Baltimore, via magnificent sites, nature, people, colours
and smells, from afrocaribbean blacks full of alegria to ancient golden (pre-)Inca jewels. From marvels as the
Grand Canyon and the Iguazu Falls, from 10’s of superb sunsets and 2 robberies,
via 2 short flights to long awaited scenery (Angel Falls and Nasca lines)
and37hours boating on the Amazone
estuary, to free goods and dance & music,and to lost civilizations and lost car parts enroute.Within the Americas
the differences in culture, nature, economy and reality are enormous zigzagging
from North to South via the Centralamericas.
+100.000 of pics and an equal amount of
fantastic experiences and opportunities to witness this New Continent. Armed
with an open mind, some more than basic equipment, some decent knowledge of
languages & what to expect, and a good Lumix camera.
Yet the 141.000km in 22 ½months in the Americas are completely
different from the 134.000km in 28 ½ months of Africa and Asia . AndI must admit : happy tohave been here, … I’d still prefer southern
and eastern Africa… but we still have ANOTHER 29 months ahead of us!
The last Aremains to be explored: indeed, the other A –down under- is still
relatively unknown to us, as is 80% of good old Europe.
So don’t cry, for in 2012 … we’ll continue
to another continent once more.
WHAT a marvel, the Americas!
We’re glad we’ve seen most
of the great things here, but agree not having seen it all. The Galapagos (too
expensive) or Ushuaia (too far south with winter coming up), some of the places
we could not get to for lack of an adequate 4x4, because of bad continued
weather, or cause we simply didn’t know or care of its existence.
On the other hand we’ve been
to places few globedrivers/trotters go to, for the same reasons if with
opposite effect. Very few drive all the way to Columbia ‘s National parque of
Tayrona or the San Augustin site; Venezuela’s Angel Falls, or the NorthEast
corner of Brazil’s splendid beaches. Let alone risk doing the jungle trip in ex-British
Some mobilhomes or 4x4’s
driven here around by Europeans experienced very big technical problems with
electronics or else. We do not know of a single vehicle which did not suffer
any at all or got completely broke.
Some of our colleagues got
themselves into serious travel-related problems with real robbery at gunpoint,
stabwounds from knives, destruction of their vehicle by accident or on purpose.
Others have been blocked by serious floods or nasty roadblocks due to strikes, or
have seen the inside of a ‘hospital’ during someweeks due toinsect bites ortropical diseases.Some
have lost all their valuables, some were forced to return home earlier than
planned for, we learnt sad stories of corruption, scams or aggression.
Some were very
disappointed with (too) many bad experience(s) on the road ...but without them you cannot travel, not even
in so-called civilized Europe or the USA.
Some came totally
unprepared, speaking not a single word of Spanish, without a minimum ofmechanical training. Or arrived withold or false
information, or just plain stupidity and ignorance causing them problems which
could easily have been avoided.
For some it was the first
trip abroad, with a very old or very new mobilhome or 4x4, and who came less
prepared mainly suffered more than the seasoned traveller.
For some it means the very
last trip (never again such an experience), for others it opened up the desire
for more and better. Some travel to meet up with other Europeans living here or
also travelling like they do. Some drive to impress the friends/colleagues with
‘see what we dare/can afford/do’ syndrome boasting about with a very elaborate
blog or more. Some think they know it all as now really seasoned
In +13 months in the south
Americas, 6 months in the north, and 3 in the central Americas the Ford
Katamarano’sodometer just hits 145.000km.
We came not as the x
millionth tourist to just enjoy the sites, with some of our footsteps in
historical places, to find beaches in splendid isolation, to feel nature
abound, for the wide vistas, the colours and aromas, the jungle and deserts,
the sunsets; for some unique magical even mysterious hotspots on or off the
We mainly drive around
traveling to witness the alegria in
dance music streetlife, to put in our memory
(and that of our HD’s) the small things of local life; to see for ourselves for
instance why beautifulCarthagena
never got in the hands of pirates as opposed to many other Spanish silver/trade
towns including Panama; to discover
the few remaining gold treasures or ancient mummies tucked away for posterity;
and to see some traditions that will soon disappear as in other countries.