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Newsletter Vol.10 (14 May. 2006)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.10 (14 May. 2006)

Hello, everybody!
This is Sekiji, I'm still in Mexico.

Finally I got the edge of Mexico. Now I'm staying a house of my
friend who got acquainted by the Internet.

Almost 16 months have passed since I crossed the border to Mexico. I
had never imagined that I stay such a long time in one country.


[ A thing I think wonder recently ]
After I visited to Cuba, I had started to think like "I should know
the culture, history and economy of the country which I visit" and to
investigate it by the Internet.

Also I checked it for Mexico. The economy of Mexico which I had
thought poor has the 12th scale by GDP base. It is the fourth after
Brazil in the American Continent. Moreover the Canadian, Brazilian
and Mexican are quite similar.

They have oil, agriculture, fisheries and stockbreeding. The
population has the same scale of Japan.

A thing I think wonder is "Why hadn't grown the Technology and the
Auto sector in Mexico though the dependancy to the car is quite high".
Electronics and the car products are European or Asian.

Actually, all of these are not imported. They manufacture it
domestically too. However, though it's made in Mexico it's Japanese,
South Korean or European.

They always praise the quality of electronics, motorcycle and car
made in Japan. I always feel ashamed because I don't make it.

Also South Korean products; e.g. LG, SUNG and HYUNDAI have large share in Mexico.

Industrialization is being advanced but it's with foreign capital.

There are a lot of foreign industry in China too but they have
several domestic computer company.

Because I live long time in Mexico, I come to want to cheer Mexico.



[ too much rubbish ]
After I returned from Cuba, I am disgusted to many of garbage in
Mexico. Even if it's the wilderness of outside of the town, the empty
PET bottle is seen at intervals of several meters.

The consumption of the carbonated drink water of Mexico is so huge.
I've seen a data that says "The consumption of Coca-Cola during a
year per person is more than the United States".

I think that Mexican's morality to garbage is quite low, though the
all haven't been thrown by them because there are a lot of tourists.

The companies are always doing the sales promotion campaign but are
not campaigning to collect the empty bottle. They have connived that
the bottles are thrown to the roadside. It should be criticized that
they just make efforts to sell products.



[ notice ]
I got acquainted with a friend who invited me to his house here in
Chetumal by the Internet. I'll invite you individually. If you have
the interest, check it.

I'll remove "My Gadgets" from my Web site, because I don't have solar
panel any more.



Now I'm going to Central America!
Nos vemos pronto!


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Newsletter Vol.9 (5 May. 2006)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.9 (5 May. 2006)

How are you doing there?

I couldn't start again my trip soon after I got back from Cuba. When
I left there 27days had passed.
Because they recommended me like: "You should start after the Holy
Week, because there are too much traffic and dangerous". To tell the
truth, I didn't want to part from them.

I thought I had got used to pedaling when I finished to travel around
Cuba. But the first some days were so hard. It's so easy to be out of
condition when I don't ride long time. I'm not so young any more.
I worried that I'll be able to climb up to the Andes.

[ the Audio System went away ]
It was after four days I left Salina Cruz. 12v rechargeable batteries
started a chemical reaction and melted the camera bag and a part of
the single-lens reflex camera. It was my fault. I didn't check the
voltage enough and it was over-charged.
I can't listen to music with the speaker any longer. To make matters
worse, the camera flash got out of order.
It's not necessary practically, but I'm disappointed. The boys like
equipping the audio system to their car. Also it had received a
fevoreble reception from local peoples.

[ CACAO taste sour ]
I visited a friend in Comalcalco, TABASCO who I had known through a
family in Salina Cruz. He introduced his girlfriend to me instead of
taking care of me by himself, because he was busy.
Fortunately it was the season of some festival. She brought me to a
rodeo, a boat parade of Miss Tabasco.
Her family cultivate the CACAO at background of their house. They can
crop it four times in a year. The nut have a lot of seeds which are
covered with slippery fiber. This fiber tastes sour and nice.
They wash out this fiber and they dry seeds in the sun, then roast
it. Chocolate and Cocoa are made by this roasted seeds. I tasted raw
seeds but it's not taste of chocolate.
I've heard that the Cacao originally came from this region. Mexican
chocolate tastes different. Because it's low fat and it have
cinnamon, coarse-texture cacao and sugar.

[ state of Tabasco is a kingdom of oil ]
There is only one gas station company in Mexico. It's called PEMEX.
They do all; mining, refining, transporting and marketing. In Tabasco
they have some plant at Gulf of Mexico.
They give me a impression that they own much cars and much gas
station than other state.
This company is well-equipped with welfare facilities and they have
good-pension system. I heard that some young would like to get job at
this company.

[ the English Beach House ]
I hit a coast of gulf of Mexico after I crossed the border to
Campeche state. I had rode with seeing long long beach. But it hasn't
developed enough yet like Cancun. But I saw some gorgeous beach house
and a restaurant on a beach-side. There aren't any town and private
house except for these houses.
A chef of this restaurant told me that the owner is an English and he
will rent these to foreigner for $3,000 a month.
One of my friend taught me that the beach resort of Cuba is developed
by foreign capital. I thought that West side of Yucatan will be
developed by foreign capital some day like East side.

[ doesn't grow maize in Yucatan ]
I passed state of Campeche and got to Merida; the capital of Yucatan
state. I'm staying a house of Sr.Filiberto who is cousin of Sr.Sergio
who took care of me in Mexico City.
We spent at a beach on May Day. I saw a big plant that produce corn
flour on the way to the beach. But Sr told me the Maize doesn't grow
in Yucatan because the soil is very hard and the water can't remain.
The maize comes from other state through Gulf of Mexico by ship.
The Yucatan culture was different from other state of Mexico. Some of
them didn't like to call them Mexican. They called themselves
Yucateco (Yucatan people).

[ Schedule ]
It would be one week remain in Mexico. I'll go to the border of
Belize via State of QUINTANA ROO. It will be start of Central America.
I'll continue my trip with paying close attention. I hope that
nothing dangerous would happen.

Hasta luego amigos!

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Newsletter Vol.8 (6 Apr. 2006)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.8 (6 Apr. 2006)

como estan todos?
I had come back to Mexico on 23th March.


I'll report on Cuban affair and what I felt this time.


[ TWO-hour time difference ]
It would be one-hour time difference between Mexico and Cuba
according to guide books and web sites. But it was 2-hour time
difference when I got there. I heard that it had stayed without
ending after it changed into the summer time two years ago. I hear
that Daylight Saving Time is able to hope for the effect that the
energy resource can be saved. I felt admiration because as might be
expected of a socialist nation; they changed standard time for it.
*It might be back to the regular when it finish Daylight Saving Time
in this year.


[ There are two type currency ]
There are two type currency in Cuba. It's called Convertible Peso
(CUC) and Cuban Peso (CUP). It is necessary to be accustomed to use
both because there are bills and coins in each currency.
The CUC was introduced in Nov. 2004 and at that time, 1 CUC was
worthy of US$1. Afterwards, it is adapted, and is worthy now of 90
cents for 1 CUC. Normally we tourist use this CUC.
The CUP is used for the Cubans. 1 CUC was worthy of 24 CUP. 27 CUP
was worthy of 1 CUC when it was introduced. So I think it's being adapted too.


[ Buying something ]
In general, it is thought that the CUC is for tourists and the CUP is
for Cubans. However, Cubans use CUC daily in a practical manner.
Because it's not possible to buy several items like shampoos,
deodorants, fashionable clothes, imported foods and electrical appliances by CUP.
So it's easy to find an exchange counter where it can change the
currency between CUC and CUP in each town. Also tourists can change
their CUC to CUP at this exchange counter. Then we can feel their
life of their pay level.


[ Eat ]
Of course I tried to live with CUP as possible as I can for
recovering the cost of transportation. I drunk the well water that
the Cuban drink and ate the meal which they eat at the stands and
snack bar where they go. I could fill up with 20 CUP. When I paid 30
CUP it was comparatively gorgeous.
But it's not possible to buy any beef as long as we use CUP because
it's forbidden to kill the cattle. The cow is bred for the tourist
because it's used at a restaurant for them.
Their staple foods are rice and common bean, also eat a lot of root
vegetables. If there are some pieces of meat or fish it could be gorgeous meal.


[ Ration? ]
They have small booklet that mention the quantity of foods (e.g.
rice, bean, coffee, etc...) and necessities of life (e.g. soap,
toothpaste, etc...) which are rationed monthly. Actually it's not
rationed, they have to pay for it but it's quite cheap like ration
even if their pay levels are very low.
e.g. 2 lbs rice = 24 cents, monthly salary = $12.5
There are some market though meat and poultry cannot be bought. Also
there are some farmers who sell the vegetables regally now. They can
buy these if it's not enough with the ration. It's permitted to breed
chickens, hogs, goats, etc. for eating at each home.


[ Drive manners ]
Their drive are so gentle. When they pass each other if there is some
cyclists or carriages, they always wait until they can do it safely.
If there are some puddles they drive slowly for not spattering the
water. This is a great difference compared with Mexico.
There are a lot of 50's American car, also old European which came
when the Soviet Union still was in existence. A comparatively new
model is a rent-a-car for the tourist.


[ Quite few trash beside the road ]
There are too much in U.S.A. and also it's horrible in Mexico, but
there are quite few trash beside the road in Cuba.
It is a sign that there are extremely few things materially in Cuba.
I hoped that the tourist do responsible because these are thrown by them.


[ Spongers ]
It's very notorious that they sponge on us for money, foods and
anything they want between tourist. As I reported last time,
Mr.Orland; a radio journalist invited me to his house in countryside.
When we came back to the city after 3 days, he asked me that there
were some possibility to aid him for buying a birthday present for her daughter.
I really regretted for this because his wife and her parents had
taken care of me very well. And I swore that I'll keep away from the
place where it's touristic.


[ The road in Cuba ]
All major roads are paved but the surface are horrible in places. I
had not seen any construction vehicles. They left it without mending
the destroyed. e.g. the fallen bridge, the roads cut in pieces caused
for the hurricanes. Some tunnels which were under construction when
the Soviet Union helped them are abandoned too.


[ Medical service ]
The medical service is free as shown in well-known. I checked it
personally. Well...I needed to go to hospital.
I was knocked down with horrible diarrhea, fever and chill which may
be caused by the well water or insanitary food just 4 days before I
left there. They called an ambulance when I asked to help me in a
private house and I was being hospitalized. It was to have ended
without trouble...
They injected an antipyretic into my butt and gave an intravenous
drip injection of saline a whole night.
The medical treatment expense was certainly free though they claimed
the charge for medicine. But the medicine was still quite cheap like
almost free. e.g. 10 pills of Antibiotic = 1.4 cents
Though it became the source of the talk like this, also I became
miserable because it was second hospitalization.


[ Electrical appliances ]
I've seen Television, Refrigerator, Rice Cooker, and Electrical
Pressure Cooker at each house. These items are distributed* too. All
of these are made in China and I hadn't seen any manufacturers of these.
*Actually, they buy these with Installment payment but it's very cheap too.
*They hadn't changed the refrigerator yet. I saw many refrigerator
which are made in U.S., Russia and also are very old.
When I was there the electrical cooker was almost spread and the
television was changing from small and monochrome one to big and
color one. Sometimes I saw some trucks which had a lot of TV box.
They happily told me that the refrigerators would be exchanged in the
near future in any place.


[ Television ]
There are four government-controlled channels in Cuba. It's possible
to receive four channels in the city, most part of nation can receive
only two channels.
They broadcast international economy, social trend, sports and the
weather forecast on news. I also saw some documentaries on Discovery
Channel and History Channel. And there are some domestic and foreign
TV drama, baseball game and weekend movies. It is chiefly Hollywood film.
Of course, there are no commercial. Sometimes they put their
propaganda with short film of the revolution and education broadcast
like "Play the kite at the place where there are no electric wire!",
"The drug makes you the disabled".
They are more interested in TV drama than a history of a cyclist who
travel all around the world. After the dinner all of family sit down
in front of TV.


[ The main partner for import ]
I checked a web site of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and they said
the main partner for import are Spain, France, Canada, Italy,
Venezuela, etc... But it was a bit different what I felt there. Their
staple foods: rice and common bean are imported from China for long
time before. The electrical items are also made in China. The railway
for the traveler just arrived from China, too. The majority
rent-a-car which are for tourists are made by Hyundai.
I thought that the foreign currency that Cuba acquires flow back to
Asia in exchange for their product with the price competitiveness.


[ A Russian cyclist ]
I met a Russian cyclist on the way back to La Habana. I saw Russian
traveler to say nothing of the cyclist for the first time.
He told me that he works as a kind of system administrator and seems
to earn so so.
When I asked him the impression of Cuba, he told me "It is almost
same as the Soviet Union before it is dismantled". Also I asked him
how it is now. He said "Viva Capitalismo!"
I felt an impulse to go there for comparing Cuba with Russia immediately.


[ Dogs doesn't bark and doesn't bite ]
The dog is very obedient unlike Mexico. There are no stray dog. The
kept dog rarely barks even if I pass a house. If it's Mexico, they
bark fiercely and run after me until I go out of their territories.
When I told my friends about this, they told me "the Cuban and their
dogs are much more educated than the Mexican" in the joke. But I
think it's true seriously.


[ Heart full Cuban ]
I always asked them to lend me a place for setting up my tent in his
property because a lot of people advised me to do so. They always
served me the dinner also the water for washing my body. And
sometimes they gave me their beds.
I noticed on the way that Cuba is much safer than other Central and
South American countries. The government guides the people so that
the tourist may safely enjoy traveling.
When I deteriorate the condition of the belly, and I entered the
private house to ask for help, they said to me "If something bad for
you happens we will be arrested". I had heard same things several times.
It can be guessed that sleeping in the open is not too dangerous from
this actually.
However, when I knew how comfortable it is to have a bath once apart
from meal, it is very hard to sleeping in the open. I am shameful of myself.
I thought "Well, I must serve the dinner to myself at least" and I
prepared some bread in the plastic bag. But they served me hot meal
and said "You can keep it for tomorrow".
I was indebted to them daily on the way back to La Habana so far
except for a night that I was hospitalized.
When I leave their house in the morning they always said to me "You
can come visit us any time you want". Though I didn't think to visit
them again I always answered Yes.
I'm thinking that I could safely finish my trip in Cuba thanks to
them. However, I couldn't return anything to them.
There is only one thing I can do now. It's to write a letter to them
for telling that I could come back safely to Mexico and to send it to
them with the pictures that I took.


[ Postscript ]
When we want to go to so-called sightseeing spot in Cuba, it
naturally runs up expense. It can be said that the system of the
tourism in Cuba is working well from this fact. This time, I didn't
approach these places. So I can't say that I've done sightseeing. But
I think that it was good opportunity to visit there because I could
feel their life.
Cuba was not same as a general image of the socialist countries.
To the first, there are no person who suffers from starvation.
Secondarily, Medical treatment, Education, and Welfare service which
are provided for free seemed to function neatly. Thirdly, they are
not economically relying on the drug market and the armament
industry, also they are taking the posture opposed to terrorist activity.
There are some people who complains, and has an antigovernment idea
because they are yearning to the life of capitalism and liberalism
which seemingly look rich. However, the majority of the people are
proud of their social system, respect the leader, and love of their countries.
It can be said it's certainly poor in respect of quality of life
materially. However, they are very satisfied with the life.
It's not acceptable to live there to me because I've been deeply
immersed in the materialism in Japan. I envied their lifestyle which
is not bound by materialism.
The U.S. and the Soviet Union also has greatly influenced them like
they did for other countries which is socialist or was socialist.
In our generation, I think we shouldn't assume their social systems
to be "Badness" also we shouldn't interfere in the domestic affairs.


[ Schedule ]
I am busy with writing some letters, replying a lot of e-mails and
maintaining my bike now. I expect to re-start my trip for The
American Continent within 10 days before I lose my condition again.
I'm heading to Yucatan next.


See you with following news letter! Adios Amigos!

Newsletter Vol.7 (10 Mar. 2006)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.7 (March 10th, 2006)

Hi! Everyone.
I'm sorry I was poor correspondent.
At last I've resumed my journey. I'm in Cuba now.
The state of Internet is so awful here. They charge almost $7 for 1
hour in spite of narrow band like 28kbps modem.
Moreover, can not find it everywhere.


I went to Cancun where I can fly to a capital of Cuba, La Havana by
bus with half of my stuffs February 24.
I was expected to fly to there in same day in the night. I checked in
and tried to pass the gate too late like every time. It's my vice... Then...
"You can not bring these tools"
"You should leave these here because the check in counter is closed"
They pressed me for an answer, the bike or the tools because the bike
was on board.
Ultimately they solved well this case. They change my flight with no
charge and unloaded my bike.
But I was almost getting into a panic.


To make matters worse, I took a long time examination at the
Immigration Office of Cuba.
It seemed to me that two laptops, two cameras and GPS attracted there interest.
They took a lot of time for asking me the same question again and
again, making a report for keeping the GPS at the airport. It was almost 3 hours.


I was released almost 2:00 a.m. I was expected to wait dawn at the
airport but I gave up to do it for not arouse suspicion more. I took
a taxi, stayed at a rental room with too much cost because there were
not other options.


Following 2 days I searched a ticket for other Caribbean countries
like Jamaica, Dominican Republic, etc... but I couldn't find it so
far. It's too much cost for visiting these countries from Cuba for
me. So I gave it up this time.


I started to pedal my bike after an interval of 315 days on 27th.
I took 10 days from La Havana to here Santiago de Cuba. It was almost
1000km(620ml).
I slept all of these 9 nights at residence in country side.
I washed my body daily. They served me dinner for 8 nights, also
served me the bed for 3 nights (other 6 nights slept in tent).


Cuban have so much goodwill in country side. But it's in inverse
proportion in city side. They are so sly for tourist.
There are wage differentials now, also disparity in wealth even
though it's not too much like Japan.
Told me that it's like $10 - $40 monthly.


It's impossible to earn much more than these even if they are a
professional or have good skill. But it's possible to get if they do
business with tourists.
They try to sell something with same price level of Japan. They
swindle and squeeze. They always look for a sucker.


If it go to a state once these foreign currency, would be better. But
there are many people who wants to make a profit just for him. I feel
it many times in Cuba.
One day a Mr. said me that
"Cuba is a socialism nation but not all of us are socialist."


I was thinking to take two days rest here in Santiago de Cuba. But a
guy who works for the radio and interviewed me invited me to his
house in the mountain where it's a coffee-producing district.
For this reason I extend to stay here and got some time for writing to you.
I didn't expect to write from C-U-B-A.


I'm always surprised about what they eat, how they live, what they
think, what they have, like they have absolutely different system.
Never feel the boring.
I'd like to introduce these next time.


See you soon, SEKIJI.



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Newsletter Vol.6 (13 Apr. 2005)

Subject: Pedaling around the World? Newsletter No.6 (2005.4.13)

How's your life there?
me? I'm exhausted...

There is a grave announcement this time.

--- It is not a travel, and it lives.
It was only 4 days riding after one month off in Mexico City.
Then I took a week off again at Oaxaca, 2 days ride, one week off again, 3 days ride and 4days off.
It's getting longer to live than riding.

I rode 300km from Oaxaca to Salina Cruz in two days.
I thought that it must be almost down hill because Oaxaca is 1500m high and Salina Cruz is almost sea level.
But actually it was so hilly enough. I had to ride more than 2 hours after the sunset.
Though it was consequentially good, It must be stupid that I ride such a long time after the sunset with a bomb on my fork.



--- I was almost dead with a fever and stomach ache... reached 31st birthday... joined a Finn cyclist...
The family who invited me in Salina Cruz does on the introduction of Senor. Sergio.
They own 6 cake shops and bake 1000 cakes maximum in a day using some workers at their property.
It made me recall old days I worked at a bread factory in Japan.

When I got there, It was almost the time of closing the store.
An employee made a phone call to Senora. Rueda Morales with suspicious look to me.
And she picked me up soon.

Here and there, they introduced the nearby place with the car.
And we were also talking all day long.
They are so interested in Japan and I received a lot of question.

The third day, I had a poor appetite and languorously.
I was thought that it was because the climate changed.

They brought me to a stall of next town for eating a traditional dinner of this provinces.
But I couldn't eat...
Because It was too greasy and I'm not hungry.

When I arrived back at home I felt something bad that cannot be expressed on my neck and back.
I had 40 high temperatures.
I imaged hepatitis on my head at first.

But I couldn't find any jaundice and it was normal color my eyes, excrement and pee.
They took me to their acquaintance's doctor however I told them that's o.k. after a night.

A doctor told me that it's not hepatitis.
He also said that it's not malaria and dengue.
After all, only the alleviation of fever analgesic was prescribed and I came home.

At the next morning the fever was cooled down.
But I had horrible stomach ache.

They brought me to a hospital again.
I remember only that I entered the X-rays room and received a ultrasonography.
The other time I was unconscious.
I had been coming home before I knew.

I kept sleeping for 30 hours or more, and was able to recover somehow in addition next morning.
During I was sleeping, mom came for giving me a pill every 6 hours.
I hear it later that the doctor judged it as a gastritis.

I suffered by the death, made all worry, had everyone put oneself out to...
But it was a gastritis... What a sensational!

The birthday of 31 years old was received in the meantime so.
I am a character not interesting at all at happy occasions.
But they baked a special cake and celebrated my birthday.
Because it's Mexican way.
(pics:Photo Gallery->Mexico)

And one more... I joined a Finn cyclist Taneli who I kept in touch these few weeks.
http://www.bikehike.info/

They also had a farewell party at a last night we stay.
They said me "come back here after I finish all of my trip" again and again.
I tried to avoid it by the joke but I was made to promise finally.



---Separation of tears and new meeting
Next morning, when I saw their tears my head of the eye became hot too.
At that day, whenever beginning to think of that week, I threw tears much.

The pair ride with Taneli who had been looking forward was considerably painful actually.
Because he is too young, actually 21 old and there are big differences between our amount of stuffs.
For him, he doesn't experience the touring far from the experience of the pair ride.
Also it differs about how to travel. I prefer to sleep in my tent and cook myself and he prefers to sleep in the hotel and eat out.

But I could have a great meeting on same day.
We caught up another three cyclists.
(pics:Photo Gallery->Friends, Amigos)

Both of three cyclists are in thirties. One is Irish, and the other two are Australian.
I was so excited because of same generation and the nostalgic intonation.

We took a room and talked too much till late.
Because they take another route on next day.



---Decision
Next day, it was the way to mountain after we separated.
Actually it was not so steep but it was hard enough because I wasted my physical strength at the day before.

And, a certain decision was done while riding.

Go back to Salina Cruz and study Spanish with them.
Take a rest until the nest season.

Determinative details are various.

Six years ago, It was almost only riding in Australia.
So, I wanted to get into the culture for this time.

But I was always run after at time when I was in Canada and U.S.
I was riding almost every day again.
If I continue ahead, I also have to ride almost every day because the winter will come to the southern hemisphere.

And I can enforce my contract for "come back here after I finish all of my trip" now.

This story also influenced me.
Two of other cyclist who we met the day before, they told me they will travel around South America in FIVE years.

Being tired to ride with Taneli might be other reason.

There is no necessity hurried up on careful thought.
I noticed that the rare thing is a friend like them not the time.

I told them this idea by phone at that evening.
They were very pleased, too.



---Reunion
It was also dog-tired from the morning the next day.
Power doesn't enter at all.

Taneli and me runs separated unusual on this day.
When I was riding few km behind him a pickup with knowing by sight stopped just in front of me.
Immediately, they had run after the way of 300km.

I who feels clapped out have cried instinctively because it embraces each other to them.
We rode another 20km from there to Tuxtla which is capital of the state of Chiapas without our staffs.

Though they might have wanted me to return straight together...
But I told I want to travel to the border with him because I promised with him.
Then, they all kept our stuffs which we don't need temporarily.

I also needed to extend my tourist card there.
It is five night stay. Because slowness and the weekend of the public office work have been placed, and it finishes following a procedure.



---Indihena impressive ethnic costume
We came here San Cristobal de las Casas which is famous between tourist.
It was only 80km ride from Tuxtla, but it's more than 2000m high here.

We needed to ride up 2000m in 40km on the way to here.
It's 5% grade average.
It thrills if it is imagined that I have all luggage.

There were a lot of Indihena women of very ethnic costume impressive at all of the community which are on the way to here.
The face looks alike because they have the same root with us too, and there are considerably a lot of beautiful women.

But they refuse for the photograph to be taken even if asking.
They seem to believe the soul to be plundered when the photograph is taken.
In seem to being able to take a very good photograph, it is regrettable.

It was a little disappointed though I had heard that here was a place with air.
Because here was a city big enough.

When an excessive expectation is done based on others' subjectivities, it is mostly disappointed.





We will continue our trip until it will reach the border at last for two weeks.
Then I'll go back to Salina Cruz and I'll study Spanish hard for more than 6 months.

Write you soon...


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Newsletter Vol.5 (24 Mar. 2005)

Subject: Pedaling around the World? Newsletter No.5 (2005.3.24)

How's going there?
me? I'm roasted...

I'm staying in Oaxaca, OAXACA.
It was so tired these 4days riding after a month normal life in Mexico City.

-the Tires and the Bikes in Mexico
I needed to change rear tire in Mexico City.
I'd tried to find 700c tire at there even I had 5 spare tires, because I
thought it must be much easier to get it in Capital City.
But there are no fat 700c tires in downtown. There are only few 700c tires
for roady.

Fortunately I could get some fat tire at the suburb and it costs only $3 each.
I bought 3 tires for both wheels and one more spares because so cheap. So I
have 6 spare tires at this moment.
By the way, Original 5 spare tires costs more than $25 each which I bought
in U.S.

I must choose wrong type of bike for this touring in an aspect of frame
material and wheel size.

A shop I could arrange to order the new fork is in suburb.
Actually it was no shop, it was a garage of a private house.
This private house is located in a high-class residential street.
There are the gates on all of the street to come into this area and when
the person who doesn't live this area wants to come in, they must leave
their ID card at the gate.
There's so much differences between there and under the middle-class residential.



-ride up to 10000feet
Senor Ruben brought me to out of the city for avoiding the risk of traffic
accident again.
I needed to ride up to more than 10000feet from 7000feet after that.
However, fortunately it was not so hard because it's the main road to
access to Capital. It was so good drawing.
I was half in doubt about the chance to see the snow at there but there was
some snow actually.
The altitude is a formidable enemy.

I took a route that continued to the mountain because I got an address here
in Oaxaca which is Ixhu's relation.
But the way to get here was so tough. The steep hill was continued from
3000feet to 7000feet without any flat part and down hill and the
temperature was so hot as well.



-can't camping beside the Gas Station any more
Because... There are no rest room at the gas station after I left City.
We need to use it at the restaurant which located at beside the Gas
Station. And It's almost charged or they sell the paper at 30cent for 1 feet.

But once I got here Oaxaca state, It has gotten better suddenly.
The cleaner cleans always, there are some paper.
I don't like to pay to a man who just sit down in front of the rest room,
because he doesn't work, looks like as a beggar.
But I paid so naturally at there.

I mustn't care about it because there are some country which they don't use
any paper in rest room, but I still want to ask too much here.



-not only saved, I can save
I am saved from local people always but in these three days I saved three person.
At the first I gave a water bottle to a man who got an engine trouble and
stuck on the shoulder.
At the second I brought a message to an auto service for a man who got an
engine trouble too.
At the last I gave a bottle to a man who walked on free way. Because he was
a handicapped person, seems don't have any support.

I was, if anything, a selfish person.
But peoples who gives me foods and beds in these few month influence me to
be a good person.
I was so glad because It seems I could return.



-in the net age
When I was seeking a substitute fork on the net I found a site that made by
a Japanese cyclist who left Mexico City at same day on his bike.
I contacted him. I should meet him at somewhere ahead.

And I got an offer to ride together from a Finn rider.
He told me he got my address from Dylan.
We are talking about riding together.
And the others, a Japanese who staying in Bolivia, the other Japanese who
rides somewhere around Belize now, Dylan and Cheri who was the company in
Baja California and Swedish cyclist Andreas as well.

It's happy enough to share the time and the place with other cyclists which
same as me. However in this time, we could communicate on the net. What a
beautiful age now.



I've finished to go to some ruins to see the sight around here.
There's no time to stay in Mexico. I need to hurry.

Write you soon... sincerely sekiji


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Newsletter Vol.4 (15 Mar. 2005)

Subject: Pedaling around the World? Newsletter No.4 (2005.3.15)

?Como esta ustedes?
Yo...? estoy......

The front fork was bent! and...
I ran into a micro bus from behind on the shoulder of a free way after I
left the City about 40km. Yes it was my mistake.
I was riding with downcast eyes because it was strong head wind and up
hill. The bus left without any words.
But my front tire was almost touched with down tube, even it was below
10km/h. So I decided to come back here in Mexico city because it seems much
easier to change it.
Then I had got another problem on the way to come back to here. That was
almost here about 3km before.
The road is curved left with other small street which is straight. I tried
to follow a bus actually beside her.
When I appear from behind her (because I'm slow), a motor bike touched my
rear wheel. He must try to pass through just behind the bus.
The rear wheel... was bent. I couldn't say anything.
However I must think I was lucky because I haven't got any injury.

Then...
I send three mail to Japan, a friend in Canada and Cannondale USA at a
time. They also knew me the front fork is quite regular designed.
When I knew it I was so excited because seems easy to get it.
But there were no forks fit my bike here in Mexico, even we looked around
over 30 shops in downtown.
So I tried to find it on the net and I done. The manufacturer told me their
distributor for Mexico and I got a route to get it at here.
During I was doing these works on my computer, an amigo brought me to a
factory. Actually it hasn't been the factory anymore.
There was a man looks 60 old used to build the bike frames for BENOTTO
(Mexican public bike bland).
He tried to be straight my fork and he done!
The most important thing is the strength for me, so I prefer to change it to new.
But we must model their style that they always try to fix anything. Here in
Mexico there are a lot of and all kind of repair shops because they're
poor. They can't change to new one so easily. I think that's the why the VW
BEETLE is still much popular car in here even it doesn't produce anymore.
I also could change rear wheel(rim) even it's not the best item for my
bike. There were no other choice.
I arranged to get a new fork before I leave Mexico. I intend to ride with
this recovered fork until I'll get it.

I was here more than A MONTH.
I'll leave here tomorrow at this time!

!Veremos Pronto!

Newsletter Vol.3 (25 Feb. 2005)

Subject: Pedaling around the World? Newsletter No.3 (2005.2.25)

?Como esta ustedes?

I'm still here in Mexico City. It's already two weeks... ;-)

Sergio, Ixhu's father takes care me so much. One day he brought me to a
local market. People at there when they heard about my travel things, they
serve me some foods by free. I promised to visit there on next market day,
because I thought I should reward their kind with eating and buying at that
time. Actually I went, but they didn't charge it again. What a so kind
peoples there were. I couldn't go there any more.

I've tried to ride to down town three times for visiting to Embassy of
Japan, U.S. and Belize, also for sightseeing.
As I heard that Mexico City is the most densely populated city in the world
and also one of the most polluted, It's absolutely true. It's perfectly not
fit for cycling environment.
After few hours riding, when I sweep my face, the towel gets so black. What
a horrible it is. Much worth than Japan... ;-)
On the street there are so much illegal copy DVD and PC software, even
there are a lot of police officer at each corners as well.
I could get free Wi-Fi signal on the street in front of the Internet Cafe.
But I don't have the nerve to do net surf on the street at here. The cost
is stile cheap enough like $2 per hour.
But in suburb it cost much cheaper than City like half price, and foods as well.
Tacos in City is N$7 each, at the half way to here is N$5, aqui(here) is
N$3.5 ;-). This is fact.

When I ride to City Center just for sightseeing, I was caught by two senior
cyclist. I intended to trace the tourist bus route, because It must bring
me to major spots. But they brought me to other route.
I couldn't refuse their offer because they are so kind and I can't speak
Spanish. Is it a problem for us (Japanese)? We can't say everything
straightly. We can't say NO!
On the way to go somewhere they intend, we met other local cyclists team
peoples. I talked and had a good time with them because some of them could
speak English.
I was so satisfied, however I couldn't look around the Centro.
Too meet these peoples is one of the biggest pleasure for me.

About Drive Manner.
It's so ill mannered here for our standard. But it's absolutely standard here.
Cars takes priority all other things. We have to wait all cars finishes to
turn left and right also does U-turn on cross walk. They make a right turn
just in front of me, even I ride straight. The mirror is so useful here.
BTW, people here are so interested in my mirror on glasses. One of them has
asked to buy it from me ;-)

I visited Teotihuacan that's one of the most famous ancient city in Mexico.
Piramides are so so. There were a lot of tourist especially from Europe.
People here in Mexico can't recognize the nation when they see any Asians,
so they also call me Chino(Chinese). But in there Teotihuacan, vendors
speaks some Japanese. They must know the tourist form Asia are also Japanese :-)
On the way to get there I was interrupted to ride on freeway twice at tool
booths.
I saw there are a lot of micro buses take in and drop off passengers at the
shoulder on freeway often. They must don't get regal license. The place
they stopped, there is a path to out of the freeway, no fence, no barbed wire.
I used it on the way back to home just in front and back of the tool booths.
They prohibited formally but they approved substantially, same as to sell
illegal copy DVD on the street ;-)

The time to leave is almost coming.
My next trip must be in Jungle.

!Nos Veremos Pronto!

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Newsletter Vol.2 (18 Feb. 2005)

Subject: Pedaling around the World? News Letter No.2 (2005.2.18)

?Como esta ustedes?

I got Mexico city on 12th feb.
Here are too much traffic and so smoggy. But I'm enjoying this environment.

My companies who rode with together last few days in Baja can speak Spanish
well. So I left everything to them. And I rode their pace, kind of.
After we separated in Mazatlan I thought how important to act independently
and to ride at my own pace.
However it was absolutely good experience to ride with other people
together. I could steal their good way.

It's too dangerous to ride on general hwy in Mexico. It's almost one lane
each and no shoulder but the traffic is too much especially huge trucks.
Trucks does not scruple to pass each other just beside of me. I was nearly
dead often actually.

We can ride on toll freeway by free. So I tried to ride this as possible as
I can. That's so comfortable. WIDE shoulder, CALM surface, NO steep hill. I
could study on my dictionary while I'm riding.
And I could do so comfortable camping at tool booth or gas station. There
are good grass, benches, tables, toilets and lights, sometime power plug.
When I ask someone to stay there, they always accept my offers. It can't be
happened in U.S.
I could sweep my body, wash my pot, use my laptop. So I always tried to get
these place everyday.

I stuck in a small town two days, because for rain. That was so emotional
old town. I caught sight of a kind of mass parade on Saturday night. I
enjoyed Sunday morning market. But I was so tired to play with a bunch of
kids. First I thought it must be a good chance of linguistic practical but
they asked and talked on their own separate opinion. I couldn't focus in
one thing in one word. However I enjoyed to stay this small town named YALA.

Let you know what I eat in Mexico.
Breakfast: granola with powder milk. Powder milk is very popular in Mexico
and granola is cheep enough. I put both in a tupperware at night and I just
need to add some water in the morning. It's so easy to cook and heavy
enough for before noon riding.
Lunch: Mexican foods at stands or restraint
tacos: I tried a lot of ingredients like beef skin, brain, tongue, bowel,
chorizo also chicken, fish, shrimp, cheese, pork and lamb, etc...
tortas: It's like a sandwich. They use a Mexican French Bread called
Bolillo. We can add some tomato ,onion and avocado also chili.
quesadillas: flied tacos.
tamales: put some chicken or pork and cheese also some vegetables, chili in
maize powder, then wrapped with skin of maize and steamed. This is a kind
of home made cooking, so I usually buy it from street.
elotes: roasted maize with chili powder and lime.
chicharron: flied pork skin, too oily for me.
gordita: cooked maize powder and meats, cheese, chorizo together. then
fillet 2 pieces and put some vegetables and cheese.
horchatas: put some rice, milk, condensed milk, sugar and cinnamon in the
water and iced.
atole: put some rice, milk, sugar and wheat in the water and boiled.
mmm... yam, yam.
Mexican adds too much chili to everything even it's fruits. I love Mexican
foods, but sometime I can't eat it, because it's too hot.
I learned how to ask for tasting in Spanish here, so it won't be happen
from now on.
Dinner: Instant rice or past with some real vegetables cooked by my stove.

I got two troubles in once on my bike one day. One is just a flat tire.
It's not a big deal, but after I fixed it the other trouble was occurred.
One of the shifter was broken and didn't work anymore. Fortunately it was
not too far to next big city LEON. However I need to spend some money for
fixing this problem. And I also changed chain-wheel for much smaller one.

I had to ride from sea level to nearly 8000 feet high. First 3000 feet was
so dangerous, because it's general hwy. Too much traffic, narrow and
winding road. Here Mexico city is almost 7000 feet high. It's a little bit
cold in the night and early morning.

About the rate. It must be more than 50% stores using $1=10pesos rate. The
major big super market using $1=11pesos rate, so I always tried to exchange
at these kind of store like WAL-MALT. Yes, there are some WAL-MART in
Mexico. But I heard some WAL-MART items are more expensive than other
domestic super markets.

I was on TV in Mexico.
Now I'm staying in a Mexican family's house. I met a guy in St.George, Utah
and he gave me his card. His father and uncle likes me so much and they
called to a channel for letting them know about my travel things.
They brought me to a high school campus next day. I got a huge welcome from
students. They shot a bunch of pictures with a kind of miss campus(?).
Students and teachers wants to be taken a picture with me and also cleaners
and guards.
A broadcast crews shot me and my bike with interview. I got a good memory.
However these exaggerated events shamed me so much.

I love here Mexico. Peoples they are so kind and friendly. I haven't seen
any wired and bad people currently, hopefully. And I also love Mexican
foods. I'm so exciting now. I'm so enjoying to stay this country.

hasta luego amigos, sekiji

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Newsletter Vol.1 (30 Jan. 2005)

Subject: Pedaling around the World? News Letter No.1 (2005.1.30)

How are you doing there?
I'm still alive. No injury No accident No suffered from food and water.
Now I'm in La Paz where it's in southern of Baja California.

I was stuck at San Diego almost two weeks because it was so miserable
wether and I had to do some work on my computer.
So I could leave on 13th January so far. I was lucky because I got free
three nights for translating their home page to Japanese.

It was easy to cross the border even I can't speak Spanish perfectly. But I
got another problem on first day.
Toll hyway didn't allow me to ride even there was no other road to get to
next town. So I had to climb up the precipice. Essentially we can ride on
but I couldn't negotiate because I can't speak Spanish. There were no other
same problem when I crossed these gates at other place.
Anyway It was so beautiful on west coast especially sunset. Unfortunately
after I left the west coast it was getting steep, a lot of up and down, no
shoulder. They don't put any bridges on any creeks and streams because it's
dry. But it's absolutely bad for me ;-).
After I ride in to the mountain. There was no power line any more. The
scenery was so good because there were no artificial things except for
paved road. I enjoyed it.
There are a lot of cactus like trees. First few days It was so fresh for me
but after a week it was enough and getting to boring to see these.

Just 4days before I get here I met some cyclists like me. It was absolutely
first time to meet to these guys on my way from Vancouver. Unfortunately
they were going to north. But there were other guys to heading to south. I
met them same day.
I met 8 cyclists in one day and they are also first cyclist I met after I
started to ride. What was happened to me.
Actually we (Dylan, Cheri and I) rode together until we get to here for
four days. Sleep in the wild together also. It was so good experience for
me. We happily to got a shade at a Japanese guy's house in La Paz first
night. But he was a weird person. So we moved to a hostel in downtown. And
we met another two more cyclists. What's happened to us again.
Dylan and Cheri must be happy for staying with private, I might invade them
these 4days ;-). And I could shared a room these another two guys cost was
so cheap. We talked to much. I'm so happy to get these chance. I must thank
my father in heaven.

Now there is a big PROBLEM that I can't speak Spanish. I could continue to
ride without Spanish. But It's absolutely not be fun and doesn't make any
sense. I can't make any friends.
Fortunately I could get a dictionary from that weird man. So I intend to
study it hard.
I might write next news letter in Spanish... 8-P


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hasta luego amigos, sekiji