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Newsletter Vol.20 (Oct. 17 2007)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.20 (Oct. 17 2007)

Hi! everybody. I'm writing you from Lima, the capital of Peru.
But...

Don't think that I hadn't left Lima yet.

--- I left Lima on the next day which wrote you last time.
During I was in Japan and preparing for trip I had pretty good
motivation, but I had lost it a little when I left here. I think it was
for my family thing. However, several days afterward, I had become the
same feeling as before. I was enjoying.
I am aware of having a light trauma for the big trucks. However, also I
have already learned to give top priority to safety on my trip. And
finally my track could connect as one line.

--- Visiting a guy who saved my life.
There was a guy who saved my life when I had a car accident. He was
observing that corrupt cops couldn't steal my personal effects. He was
taking 1 hour to visit me for one-way daily. He impeached the hospital
which was not treating me because of the prepaid system. For the same
reason, he paid out of his own pocket, and purchased intravenous drip
medicine. He also prevented the theft which was happening in the
hospital. He contacted the Japanese Embassy instead of me in whom senses
were muddled.
I visited him and his family to say Thank You and we spent a few days
together.

--- to Andes...
I had to take a way which enter to Andes soon instead of the other which
goes through near Nazca lines and doesn't allow me to pass safely for
the earthquake effected in August. It was pretty hard to ride into the
tough gravel road and to ride over the hills which has more than 4500m
after a gap of 10 months. Tent and sleeping bag could get a chance to be
in use after 18 months unused.
I'm enjoying cycling seeing Los Nevados.

--- Should see Nazca lines!
Fortunately I encountered a person in the Andes who can keep my bike
safely during my stay in Lima. She is a sister of a nurse who treated me
in Lima last year.
So I'd liked to take this opportunity to see Nazca lines. And I've seen it.

--- Go through the cold Andes...
I'll be in the Andes at the next day which I sent you this newsletter.
It has already been in rainy season. So must be pretty cold but I'll
ride heading for Machu-Pichu.
I'm sure I won't write you nor update website often enough. But I'm
trying to report frequently to you where I am; on GoogleMap. When you
have a chance to connect to the Internet, check my website too! I hope
you can see I'm in progress.

Newsletter Vol.19 (13 Sep. 2007)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.19 (13 Sep. 2007)

Sekiji send this to you from Lima in Peru.

I am sorry for not having contacted for a long time.
Also I apologize for not having written a reply to you who sent me an
e-mail.

I underwent close examinations, such as MRI and brain-waves inspection,
after going back to Japan and fortunately there were nothing abnormal.

Although the preparation was advanced steadily, doing short-term work,
there was relatives' misfortune and the restart has been long overdue.

Therefore, I have to give up Galapagos. And it is impossible moreover,
to see the Nazca lines under the influence of an earthquake which
happened in August.
However I know I must appreciate that still I can continue my trip.

I'll ride back to the place where the accident happened then get into
the mountain. From there I'll always travel in the Andes for getting to
Bolivia.

I think I do not write you often enough as always. But please do not
worried.

Sincerely


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Newsletter Vol.18 (13 Dec. 2006)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.18 (13 Dec. 2006)

How's going there? This is from Sekiji.
I'm staying in Lima, capital of Peru.

I must apologize to you for reporting late to you after last
newsletter which said I was going into dangerous zone.

I had been able to pass safely this dangerous zone at last.

But...

Something bad had happened to me after.


[ Go back to Japan temporarily ]
When I wrote you for last time I had decided to go back to Japan
temporarily about a half year.

Because...
"I can't give up going to see the most beautiful mountain in the world."
Also...
"I'd like to go to Galapagos Islands."

I decided to wait for the season to come to Andes for about a half year.
Because my trip should be only once in my life. I don't leave
something to be regretted later.

Then...


[ an Accident ]
When I waked up with horrible head-ache and the pain on all of my
body, there was a white ceiling and an intravenous drip.

"The patient have awaked"
I heard a voice of nurse.

"I see... I must have an accident."

Someone said ...
"You were run over by a trailer"

There were no scope for thinking How? nor Where? I only wanted to sleep.

When I waked up the next time, my brain was a bit clear and I could
understand my state.
The man who explained to me what had happened was a journalist named Willian.

A trailer wanted to pass me and failed then hit me at a few km on
this side of my destination of the day on 27 November. I fell down
and hit my head then was unconscious. The trailer driver took me to
the nearest town where I had passed few hours ago.

The next day, they carried me to the other city where I started to
ride on the day the accident happened. Where I waked up for first time.

I only had a wallet which contained $100.
"Take it easy! There were some broken things, but all other things
are kept safely at the police station."
The journalist said so to me.


[ to Lima ]
An hematoma was confirmed by CT scan and there was a bit bleeding on
my left ear. But the doctor judged that there was no necessity for any operation.
There were some scratches and bruises all over my body but there were
no fractures.

I should think I was happy, because the worst situation was avoided.

"I'll try to talk with Japanese embassy, do you have your passport number?"
The journalist offered to let them know. He visited me daily though
the hospital was about 60km far from his house.

They called me on next day and visited me on the day after.
The medical specialist began to negotiate with my insurance and the
secretary went to police for collecting my stuff.

For their quick conduct, I could come to a clinic in Lima by a
charter flight on 2nd November.


[leave the hospital ]
The doctor in charge of me in the clinic judged the same. Even though
I couldn't go to bathroom alone.
I felt I was getting better inch by inch every day and I could
receive some visitors.

By permission of the doctor, I could leave the hospital even though I
still had vertigo and body-ache.
I am taken care of by a Peruvian family who I knew through other
family who invited me in Bogota, Colombia.

I salvaged my bike and stuff at Japanese embassy next day.
When I saw broken rear-wheel and carrier ,it seemed the trailer
collided with me from exactly behind.
Only one bag which was hooked on the left-side of the front wheel
was smashed perfectly.

If it was me...

After I left the hospital, everybody said to me...
"How possible that nobody robbed you!"


[ a Lucky Man ]
Of course it's unlucky that I had an accident. But...

<It was not serious injury>, <Nobody robbed me for journalist's
help>, <Japanese embassy helped me for his help too>, <I could get a
perfect shell for recuperation>, <There were many persons who helped
me instead of a family>, etc...
When I think these things, I cannot but think that I was lucky.
These must be for your favor which is always praying for the safety
of a trip. But...

Though I made lots of worries and troubles for you, I cannot throw
away the passion over my trip.

I'm a lucky man, but what an ungrateful person I am.

It was also possible to have changed into the state like my trip
cannot be continued any longer.

What a selfish man I am! But please watch me warmly. I appreciate
your sympathy from my heart.

I'll return to home on 17 December.
And I will return here in June, 2007.

from SEKIJI at Lima, Peru.


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Newsletter Vol.17 (20 Oct. 2006)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.17 (20 Oct. 2006)

How are you there? This is from Sekiji.
I'm in northern Peru now.
Although I left cheerfully Quito after my arm was recovered, there
were some trouble again.


[ terrible weather and too much hills ]
I don't know how it says in English but we call southern Ecuador "The
passageway in the Andes".
There had to be various mountains which are more than 5000m.

but...

I couldn't see any because of the weather.
If it's not possible to enjoy the scenery, it will be only torture.

Winter starts in the Andes from now on. There are many cloudy days
and it also rains occasionally.
Although it is, I took a way in Andes. Because I wanted to avoid the
coastline in northern Peru where many cyclists were attacked for the
past several years.

This route was so tough. There were too much up and down. This became
the hardest part on this trip as it was found on data (check My Track page!).



[ wheel trouble again ]
The road condition was too horrible even though it was paved.

Then...
It happened again.

I had plunged into a big hole which is like a trap which catches
small animals in the shade of tree at high speed.
Probably speed was not high from the beginning, if it was a non-paved
road, but because it was a pavement way, the damage was high.

The front wheel was not circular any longer, and whenever it turns
one round, made sound. The rear wheel was too even though the damage was small.
It was not good for mental health to ride with this condition as far
as next town about 100km.
But it was my mistake.

The rim obtained at the next town didn't have quality, it should be temporary.
I felt like crying again because of the special size of wheel.
I changed only front wheel here.

I caught cold during preparation of a restart, and while the tension fell down.



[ The danger zone in northern Peru ]
I was still going to go in the Andes with a support of a Japanese guy
who had ridden same part last year. He was helping me on the net.
But I gave up this route because I was tired of this wheel trouble
and the weather.

The best season of the Andes sightseeing has passed.
I had to decide to avoid a side trip to the Branca NP where there is
the most beautiful mountain in the world.

I'd avoided Galapagos. I've avoided Branca NP now. What for am I traveling?

Actually, I am thinking a thing and am heading to Lima straightly.
When I get to Lima I'll tell you it.

Now I'll concentrate on the 200km desert way from here to next town
where many cyclists had been attacked in 90's.

Please pray for my safety.


from SEKIJI at Piura, Peru.


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Newsletter Vol.16 (3 Oct. 2006)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.16 (3 Oct. 2006)

Hi there! This is from Sekiji.

To tell the truth, I'm still in Quito.

I hadn't let you know this except for some of you for won't let you give anxiety.
A guard dog bit my arm on the street at a night which was going to be
last day in Quito.

I'm still waiting to be cured. But it won't be long, I'll leave here soon.
My mate who was going to ride with me to Lima, had gone. So I'll
travel alone again.

I tried to make up a new project in these days.
It's named "Pedaling around the WORLD on Google Earth".
Download GPS Track data and read it by Google Earth!


[ about Ecuador ]
The country named for equator. Capital of Ecuador: Quito lie on about
30km south of equator.
Old town of Quito where I'm staying now is one of the world heritage of UNESCO.

There are a lot of colonial churches and buildings, and it's quite tasteful.
But I'm a little bit tired of seeing these colonial things. It is an
extravagant problem.

Quito used to be the second largest city of Inca after Cusco. Spanish
invader destroyed old city and built their new one like it done in Mexico city.

I guess you must have an image which is quite hot here in Quito
because we are under the equator.
Actually it's quite moderate and comfortable because it's 2800m high
in the Andes.

East side of Andes, there is tropical rain forest of Amazon. And west
side of Andes, there is subtropical coastal region. Also there is a
world heritage Galapagos on the pacific ocean.

I often hear that "it was great in Galapagos" from some tourist who
has gone there and came back.
Also I had an invitation from an amazonian farm. But I couldn't visit
these places because of time. It is very regrettable.

It's non sense that I hope to go to everywhere, to do everything.
I'll continue to enjoy the thing I can do, the place I can go.


It must be late to report to you next time. But don't worry.


From the middle of the Earth. SEKIJI

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Newsletter Vol.15 (16 Sep. 2006)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.15 (16 Sep. 2006)

Hi there! This is from Sekiji in Quito which is capital of Ecuador.

I'd passed the equator. Now it starts the southern hemisphere!!!

[ Men; good-for-nothing ]
I tried to recover in a hostel at Cartagena without going outside. So
only thing I could do... was INTERNET.
Then... a Colombian girl who I knew through a traveler's network
reported to me she is home on holiday. Normally she studies in Italy.
It seems she interested in me, she had invited me to her flat in
Italy. But I was not going to be able to get to there before she graduate.

She email me
"Come on! Come and see me! Are you coming or not? I'm waiting for an answer!!"

I really couldn't decide, because she lives in a city where located
absolutely opposite direction of my route, also my plan was behind.
After a whole day distress, I decided to go on 120km way by bike without stuffs.

Men are totally good-for-nothing because he rides the bike 240km for
seeing a girl.

It's a joke. 240km way is much less than the distance from here to
Italy. There was no reason to lose a chance.

Well, didn't I have any secret intention? - ???

When I got to her house, her aunt welcomed me and said
"She is out with her husband. Will be back soon."

"Ah, her HUSBAND!?

She was a married person.
It disappointed me a little and I felt relieved too.

She and her husband took me to various places and I feasted a lot.

I call your attention. Even if she was a boy I was going to see him,
though I might have another day of distress...



[ New Buddy ]
When I was in Cartagena I encountered a Japanese cyclist.

He is newcomer. He had rode only 400km in Guatemala.
He used to be a backpacker, had finished traveling around the world
almost. Other Japanese cyclist provoked him into starting to be a
cyclist. Then he went to Mexico for buying bike and some stuff he needs.

But it must have been impossible to buy good stuffs in Mexico. I know
it because I'd looked for some things too when I had an accident.

When I saw his bike and stuffs, I couldn't resist interfering in him.
And I asked him.

"Would you like to ride with me until we get to Medellin?"

At first, we were going to ride together only 1 week. After 10 days,
we separated once and took our own way. Then at southern big city;
Cali we encountered again.
Now we are a team until we get to Lima, Peru again because north of
Peru is a bit dangerous.



[ Cyclists Paradise ]
North of Colombia was quite flat and was not high. So it was hot and
humid. But once I reached to the Andes I felt cold sometimes because
it's more than 2000m high. I crossed lots of passes and valleys
between Medellin and the border to Ecuador via the capital, Bogota.
There is too much mountain.

Where there is the mountain, it's a good field to train for hill
climb riders. Though it's weekday or of course if it's weekend, there
are a bunch of cyclist. And they are so affectionate.

Moreover, there were other surprises. I encountered 2 groups of
Colombian adventure-cyclists. I'd never imagined seeing Colombian
adventure-cyclists.

I met a guy who has a dream to ride around the South America for a
long time. He is ready to go any time, he only needs a partner. I was
afraid I couldn't be his colleague. When he told his dream he looked
like a starry-eyed boy.

When I was Ibague which is quite near from capital Bogota, I stayed 2
nights at a ripened MTB rider's house. And I joined a local MTB
tournament which has more than 200 participants.

I visited various shops in each place for replacing some parts. They
always welcomed me too much.

I can't compare it with Europe because I have not visited yet, but I
imagine it's more popular to ride the bike in Colombia than Europe.



[ A country I like best ]
They gave me some hospitality in each place in Colombia too. It was
not only bed. Some Colombian served me some drinks and foods on the road much.

There is a bad image because of the drug and the guerrilla. There is
some traveler who doesn't visit this country for this reason.
Especially for Japanese, there is information which comes from the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs always inform us exaggeratedly
that Colombia is a dangerous country

I know they want to prevent the affairs and accident. But they are
also hiding other side of this country. It's sad that there are a lot
of Japanese who don't go to Colombia for this reason.

It's not a safe country, but there were nothing dangerous into 50
days stay in my case.
It's a tenderhearted, warmhearted country and it's one of my most
favorite country.

If I have the chance, I'd like to come back on this trip.



[ Plan ]
We are a bit rushed because my buddy has an appointment in Lima at
the end of this month.
I'll report to you from Lima for next time.

I apologize to you for delaying this newsletter. I think you had
worried about me. Sorry!

From the middle of the Earth. SEKIJI


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Newsletter Vol.14.5 (24 Aug. 2006)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.14.5 (24 Aug. 2006)

Please excuse me for my long silence.
I'm staying in Bogota which is capital of Colombia.

I am sorry for the delay of the report very much.
The responsibility rests with me but I couldn't have the time for
writing newsletter.
There were and are a lots of good encounter in Colombia. And I needed
to do various things for my rest trip.

For this time, I only tell you I had been enjoying much in Colombia
and I'm enjoying too.
I'm good. Please don't worry.

I'll send you next newsletter soon. Please wait it.

Newsletter Vol.14 (20 Jul. 2006)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.14 (20 Jul. 2006)

Hi everyone! This is from Sekiji in Panama City.

I had arrived at here on 10th July as I planned.
So, why am I still here...?

I was trying to leave here quickly; had finished to see the canal,
had gotten carton for packing bike.
On third day, suddenly I caught a cold and then I couldn't leave my bed.

When I got out of bed, they said there are no seat... I'v stuck on.


[ Panama and Panama Canal ]
Let me explain what it is.

They elevate the ship to 26m which is the level of the lake by "Lock system".
After the ship passes through the isthmus they drop it down to sea level again.
The U.S. finished constructing it in 1914. They returned it to Panama
on 31st Dec 1999.

How much do they pay for passing the canal?
According to the leaflet, 11,725 ships passed the canal in 2003 and
they paid $666,000,000. In short... simple average: $56,802 per a ship.

I have no idea about the cost of one day navigation. I just wonder
how efficient it is to use the canal.

here...
About 40% of ships are "Far East Asia - U.S. East coast".
The lowest charge was 36 cents to Richard Huribarton. When he crossed
the canal by swim in 1928.
Canal User: U.S.=69%, China=18%, Japan=17%...
some interesting data. Visit
http://www.pancanal.com/
if you like.

I had heard 70% of GDP is by the tertiary industries. So, I imagined
the canal service holds big place in this... But it's only 6.4% of
GDP according to them. It's like 10% of the tertiary industries.

What is other 90%?
Few things I could know...

In Colon, there is the biggest free zone of Central America to which
a lot of traders come. Also there are many foreign capitals.

There is a Financial Center too. There is no "production" but there
is a lot of money here in Panama City.

This won't be on the data. Here is a relay point of drug and illegal
Chinese workers too.

For me as a visitor, everything are quite high price.



[ Plan ]
I've got a ticket to go to Cartagena, Colombia on 22nd July.
I'm coming to South America!!! Bravo!!!


Chao!

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Newsletter Vol.13 (5 Jul. 2006)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.13 (5 Jul. 2006)

How's going there?
It's so hot here and still too much rain.

When I was taking a rest in Granada, it hadn't rained 5 days. But
once I started to ride it started to rain too... why?

I notified that I was going to report from Panama City or Colombia
for next time, but I'll report you from here, David which is west end
of Panama. Because I'll take another a week to get to Panama City.

I intended to ride to Panama City without any break. But I was really
tired to ride in the mountain in Costa Rica and took a 5 days rest in
San Jose which is capital of Costa Rica.

Now I've just crossed the border to the last Central American country: Panama.
There is about 500km left.



[ Central American Swiss "Costa Rica" ]
How is your image of Costa Rica?
I didn't know where it is until I came Central America. I imaged that
it must be similar to other Central American countries.

But...

Once I crossed the border, I saw a lot of beautiful houses and
grounds on their farms at side of the Pan-American Hwy. It was quite
rare the huts.

Moreover..., the children stopped calling me "chino!" or "gringo".
In Latin American countries they call me "chino (Chinese)!" as making
fun. In El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, they called me "gringo!" too.
When I ride on the main Hwy, they call me so from nowhere.

Also I didn't see any children who only has underwear, just looks poor.

Other examples,
- There are few old cars, a lot of cars looks new.
- Almost I didn't see private business which they fix the puncture.
They don't get flat tire? Is there some service like AAA?
- The motorbike rider always wears the helmet.
If it's in Mexico, they don't wear it even though it's illegal.
- There is a few yellow public bus which was disposed of by the U.S.
They use new bus.

The prices rose too. It's still cheaper than Japan of course. But
sometimes it's 50% more than the other countries.

In the first town I saw "Udon" and "Somen" which is Japanese
traditional foods. Moreover in San Jose, I saw "Hondashi", "Dried
seaweed" and "Shitake" which are also indispensable for Japanese food.

I can't see the Indigenas, because 94% of the population is white people.

It was like a bolt from the blue because I saw such a big difference
on dozens kilometers across the border.

I don't know who started to call Costa Rica "Central American Swiss".
In Japan some guide book introduces Costa Rica like this.
I think it's from their military things. But I felt Swiss although I
haven't been there, because it's so neat.



[ all of my life was for riding ]
I couldn't have a chance to know each country well in Central
America, because I'm always thinking about the distance for Panama
City. Also because I always sleep in hotel for taking a shelter from the rain.

I was staying a hostel in San Jose 5 days.
I saw one traveler after another came here. The major part of them are Americans.
I thought that they (Costa Rica) give high priority for inviting them
to Costa Rica. Because they drop much money???

I met an American couple here. They invite me to their excursion by
rent-car. We visited a volcano and a river where there are a lot of crocodiles.
If they didn't invite me I couldn't visit any touristy place in Costa Rica.

BTW. The car they rent was TOYOTA RENTACAR's one.
TOYOTA RENTACAR is quite popular in Japan but I hadn't seen it in
U.S.. They also told me that there is no TOYOTA RENTACAR in U.S.. I
think there are not too in Mexico.
They couldn't enter North American market but it became much more
popular in Costa Rica than Budget and Hertz .



[ the last country in Central America; Panama ]
Geographically Panama is still in Central America. But it was a part
(territory) of Peru when Spain ruled over here (other Central
American countries were territory of Guatemala).

The time-zone changed to GMT -5 from here. It's same as in Colombia,
Ecuador and Peru.
It's hasty but I feel I got to the entry of South America.

The Panamanian isthmus was a important position before there was a canal.
Spanish carried Bolivian silver on a sea route which was from Peru to
Panama and from Colon to Europe.
Some American moved from East to West via this isthmus.

They have a history which was interfered by other country always.
Spanish reign, Colombian domination and American interference.
It's quite interesting. I think you know it much more than us. But if
you want, you can learn it on the net on this chance.

As I reported, they also use US$. But they call it Balboa. The bills
are same but a part of coins are their own design.

I surprised too when I crossed the border from Costa Rica.
Because the road changed dramatically. 2 lanes road changed to 4
lanes with the shoulder.
I hadn't felt big change which I felt in Mexico when I crossed the
borders in Central America.
But now I feel more excitement when crossing the border.

Where I stay now; David is the second biggest city in Panama.
I went to a super market and was surprised again. Because it looks
same as the U.S. one.
There are a lot of items which I used to see in U.S..
I saw the Van Camp's baked beans... .

The prices is also a little bit high.

I'm relishing the real pleasure of TRAVEL.



[ plan ]
It must be 5 days ride for getting to Panama City.
From there I'll go to Cartagena by plane or yacht.
I'll write you before I leave Panama or when I get to Cartagena.

See you soon.


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Newsletter Vol.12 (17 Jun. 2006)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.12 (17 Jun. 2006)

Sorry for my long silence. This is from Nicaragua in Central America.

There are too much mountains in Central America. Well, it's my selection mistake.
Moreover, I needed to ride two days in rain which was like hurricane
because of a huge front.

It's still possible to ride in rain but I can't enjoy it because I
need to care about road condition and the traffic much.

A year ago, I decided to wait a year in Mexico because it was
starting the rainy season in Central America. But I started to ride
on this season much later than last year. I'm ashamed of my late action.

Well, I report how it was after Guatemala.


[ Final stage of a Guatemala ]
I went down more than 1000m in a hour after I left Antigua, then I
started to feel a damp. The altitude cannot be made light of. The
altitude cannot be made light of as I had said many times.

I reported that Guatemalan are not so friendly like Mexican. But
peoples who live in south part of Guatemala talked with me
cheerfully. I had known later that the majority of population are in
south part of the country.

In Antigua, I had seen a lot of colorful ethnic costume, but outside
of Antigua I didn't see it many. The form looks similar but were less-color.

If it's in Mexico, I can see it anywhere, even if it's a small town.
Is it suspicion which I'm thinking that the Antiguan colorful ethnic
costumes are for tourist?


[ "Saviour" ]
After Guatemala I entered to El Salvador.
It's nothing but a literal translation.
El is like The. Salvador is Saviour.

Why did they name their country for the Saviour?

I'm sorry I don't know it.
If someone knows it, just let me know, please.


[ Unprincipled Country ]
It's my impression for El Salvador.

When I crossed the border to El Salvador, I saw that every things
were colorful painted. It's like the flag of France, green with
white, blue with yellow and other colors; on the guardrail, utility
pole, bridges and everywhere.

I wondered at it and asked a guy near the border why they paint it.
But he didn't know why.
After a while, I noticed without asking it. These were Trademark of
each political party.

When I was near the capital, other guy told me that they paint it
before each election in everywhere in El Salvador.

I guess that the voting slip has each trademark and guess the voters
puts a mark on it.
As my expected, french flag party is the major one because I can see
it much more than the others.

Can you believe this type of election campaign.
The fund must be spent on the paint and the payment for the painters.
mmm, it might be contributed for a chance of employment.

but...

Why that guy who I asked first time near the border didn't know it???


[ US$ circulates ]
They use US$ in El Salvador.
It's quite convenient because I don't need to change it and it's easy
to compare the price. But it's also sad.

After I visited Cuba, I started to collect bills of each country.
Because I want to keep some memories but I don't want to carry extra weight.

US$ had been introduced about three years ago. Peoples told me "only
huge enterprises can receive benefit", "our life had changed much
poorer", "do you think we can buy 50 cent coke with $3.5 salary?".

I heard that Panama and Ecuador use US$ as well.

In Europe they are propelling introduction of Euro. In American
Continent too. Some of them introduce US$ like El Salvador.
To sum up, there are some currency which I will never be able to see.

Being changed more convenient is same as losing something important.


[ English ]
They came to often start talking in English.
In place of "Sen~or!", they call me "Mr!".
In place of "Dame un drales!", they ask me "Give me one dollar!".

Also I saw some signs in English.
In place of "Auto Lavado", they put "Car Wash".
In place of "Tiendita", they put "mini Super".

These things; election system, US$ circulation and halfway English
gave me an impression such as unprincipled country.


[ Football War ]
Let me take up the hottest subject.

When I reached east of El Salvador I was unable to decide the route.
Why?
If I go straight down to Honduras, it was being only 150km ride in that country.

I thought that if I chose this route, I couldn't know enough about this country.
I took the route of the roundabout in the mountain.
I spent 4 days for this one day part.

As things turned out, it was a selection mistake.
I needed to ride on more than 40km unpaved road in the rain. Moreover
there were some up-hill which is more than 8% in this unpaved area.

Besides, there is same mistake on my map which is Canadian and on GPS
about the border.

When I got the border, there were not any money changer. It was such
a minor border.
I asked a lady in a dining that I could pay by US$. Of course, she said me "Yes".

Then she told me continually "We live in Honduras but we are Salvadorian".

Now, let's talk about "Football War"!

El Salvador and Honduras they had a problem on the border.
Honduras had lost to El Salvador in the second qualifying round for
the 1970 Football World Cup in Mexico.
A true war broke out between the two countries in this chance.

This war called "Football War". But the reason of the war is the border problem.

When she said to me "I'm Salvadorian" I thought that I saw the
glimpse of this war.

If you want to know about this minutely, you can search it on the net.


[ Nicaragua: the poorest country in Central America ]
Well, talk about where I am.
When I entered this country from Honduras, I was really surprised.

the road condition were extremely horrible.

There were a lot of unpaved road. Even if it's paved there are too many holes.

All of bridges near the border are builded with Japanese support.

When I got to Managua: the capital of Nicaragua, I saw a wide and smooth road.
Moreover, they were widening the road more.
These road are much more important for them than the other road which
is used by few people, though it goes to the border.

I saw some poster which said "this is our dream". And it has a
computer graphics of "Cluster of high-rise buildings" which is like Chicago.

When I saw a new TOYOTA Land Cruiser Prado which was driven by a guy
who has DREADLOCK, sunglasses and clean white sleeveless undershirt,
it reminded me of other boy who wore dirty worn-out sleeveless
undershirt near the border.

"Give me one dollar!"
"Give me water!"

Central American countries has same problem which is "huge of
disparity in wealth", "the poorest segment of the population occupies
the majority of the population".
I felt Nicaraguan one is much horrible than the others.

I don't know about the politics.
But I think it's not overlookable to develop the country without
thinking about the poorest segment of the population like Nicaragua.

Casually, I recalled about Cuba. If they change their system, they
may change like Nicaragua?

I'm not a socialist but I'm perverseness person. So I cheer Cuba.

There were blackmailers, but I hadn't seen beggars.

The reason I had put the poorest country for Nicaragua is GDP(PPP).

reference
066th Guatemala
082nd Costa Rica
086th El Salvador
106th Panama
109th Honduras
123rd Nicaragua
165th Belize

... 165th Belize? Belize is much lower...
Well, why the prices are so high in that country?

more reference
085th Cuba


[ Plan ]
It's still half way in Nicaragua, but there are only two countries
left in Central America; Costa Rica and Panama.
I think I'll see you from Panama or Colombia for next time.


See you then!


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Newsletter Vol.11 (1 Jun. 2006)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.11 (1 Jun. 2006)

Hi there!

I'm taking a rest in an old capital of Guatemala called Antigua now.

I got a backache because there are a lot of hills in Guatemala.

[ Belize ]
The 4th country of my visit was Belize, they talk English.

Belize originally belonged to Spain like other Central American
countries. But some English started to settle in Belize and they made
an accomplished fact which like they are an original colonist. Then
England owned Belize legally.
When Guatemala became independent, they argued that Belize is their
territory and started to quarrel with England for winning possession of Belize.
After Belize won independence from England in 1981, Guatemala didn't
approve their independence about 10 years.

There are about 40% of black African who speak only English, other
40% of Mestizos who speak English and Spanish, about 10% of Mayan
people; Any source said like this.

Before I left Mexico they told me that there are a lot of Chinese in
Belize. I think it's quite few. But they own grocery store,
restaurant and plantation, etc... I saw a lot of signboard which has
Chinese name. They seem to be many because their business attract our attention.
The overseas Chinese merchant is so staggering.

I had not used English more than a year, I almost forgot it. However
I understood what they say, I couldn't speak one easy phrase.
Fortunately there were many people who speak Spanish. I afraid that
I'll forget Spanish too before visiting Spain.

Only Belize in central America request us the visa. I had bought it
once about a year ago which is expired then I bought it again for
this time. It cost me $100 altogether.
On the other face, the price level of Belize is quite high like U.S..
Some backpacker's doesn't like it for this reason.

I was too. I stayed in Belize only 3 days. However, I could visit a
Caribbean island and enjoy snorkeling.



[ to Guatemala ]
I stayed a river side which was quite near from the border of
Guatemala on 3rd night in Belize, and next early morning I crossed it.

When I entered to Belize, the people who I saw at the border were
almost tourist. The immigration office seemed to be orderly. But here
the border of Guatemala, there are a bunch of Guatemalan who looks
barbarous. However I hadn't felt any danger. On the contrary, I was
very cheerful because I felt that I returned to the world of Latin.

After that I rode from there to here Antigua via Guatemala City, also
visiting a Mayan ruins. The capital and here are above sea level
1500m or more. Between these there is a 2000m ridge. Here is also
tropical region but for this reason, I feel nice and cool in early
morning and late evening.
There is also a problem, it has started rainy season. It rains almost
every day more than once.

I felt an image which I had for Mexico before I entered to there. The
gap between rich people and poor people is extremely big and there
are a bunch of poor people, I can see it. It was incorrect which I
had for Mexico.
There are no WAL MART here in Guatemala because there are no market like Mexico.

I felt something sad because people doesn't have a cheerful mood like Mexico.

Antigua was a capital of Guatemala about 200 years ago. A guy who
works for a tourist information desk of this town told me so.
His name is Tony, he was born here, and grew up here, he is pure
Antiguan. He told me that he used to see about 20 cyclists a year
when he was a child. Now he only see 2 or 3 cyclists a year.
It has decreased cyclists or they don't visit here now? I have no idea.

Now, I'm staying a hostel which is managed by a Japanese owner with
some Japanese.



[ Plan ]
It should be 2 days ride for the rest of Guatemala. Then I'll cross
to El Salvador. It seems there are nothing interesting on my way to
Nicaragua. So I'll ride straightly to there.
I have no idea when, from where I can write you next. Even if it will
late, do not worry...

Adios amigos!


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