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Newsletter Vol.29 (Dec. 3rd 2009)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.29 (Dec. 3rd 2009)

This is Sekiji. I'm currently in the big city Belem which is located at
the estuary of Amazon River.

I tried to ride through Brazil in 180 days which Brazilian Visa gave me.
But I couldn't.
It was too big for the half year touring. Also people are so kind and
they make my trip slow.

Officially I'm already an illegal visitant.
I gave up the original plan which is to ride through French Guyana,
Suriname and Guyana. Because I need to reenter Brazil after Guyana
before Venezuela. There are no frontier between Guyana and Venezuela.

So I'll take a boat to the upper reaches of the Amazon. Then I'll ride
again into the jungle toward Venezuela.
Of course it makes illegal stay long, but it can be solved by paying
penalty. The problem is there are no way to reenter to Brazil.

I regret a bit. But I'll enjoy the Amazon River trip instead of these 3
countries.
I guess at the beginning of the new year I'll be in Venezuela and
Colombia for finishing South American touring.

Have a merry Christmas and happy new year!

Newsletter Vol.28 (Aug. 22nd 2009)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.28 (Aug. 22nd 2009)

Hi there!
I'm sorry for very few reporting like always.

The schedule haven't progressed, because I got sick twice with flu and
Herpes zoster in these one month and a half.
And... it's quite often to meet, to know with kind Brazilian and
cyclists here. Then... also my travel plan in Brazil gets delayed,
because I can't say bye after staying only a night at their house, needs
more time to know each other.

I've spent almost half of 6 month limit, so I might need to take shorter
way. I hate they put this rule on us.

Well, I've updated some pictures. Have a look!

Newsletter Vol.27 (Jun. 27th 2009)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.27 (Jun. 27th 2009)

Bom Dia!
I'm writing you from the island in the Atlantic Ocean named Santa Catarina!
It's already almost a month since I entered in Brazil.

I started to ride according to a plan which (named Ideal Ride in Brazil
in Six Month) made by a Brazilian cyclist who I met in Bolivia last year.
Why six month? Because Japanese can't stay more then 180 days a year in
Brazil for visa things.

Cities in southern Brazil are shipshape, very safe and most of them are
white people. It has big difference against my prejudice which... a bit
dangerous, more blacks, very cheerful, etc...
Scenic mountain views as well. Huge open acres and zigzag path are
nothing looks like Amazon jungle and white sand beach which are my
prejudice of Brazil.

Now I'm very excited because I received lots of invitation from all over
Brazil through internet chain reaction.
I'm taking advantage of a hospitality from Brazilian cyclist here in
Florianopolis as well.

So, I'm really enjoying staying in Brazil!

P.S. I'm getting accustomed to Portuguese a bit.

Newsletter Vol.26 (May. 20th 2009)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.26 (May. 20th 2009)

Hi there!
I'm sorry I didn't write you a long time.

From end of last year to this year I rode through Paraguay diagonally
and came back to Argentina.
I left my bike to my friend in Puerto Iguazu' and did backpacking with a
Mexican friend for four month around south region of South America.

Now I'm preparing the bike and linguistics things for the next trip to
Brazil.
So I'll be in Brazil very soon, leaving Spanish area where I spent long
behind.

I put some pictures I took during backpacking travel.
Have a look and enjoy it!

Newsletter Vol.25 (Nov. 21st 2008)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.25 (Nov. 21st 2008)

Dear friends!

I came back to Bolivian capital La Paz almost after a year on northward
journey. It's already 6,500km from southern tip.
La Paz is the world highest capital city on 3,600m above sea level and
El Alto where the international airport is has 4,100m high. Boeing and
Airbus test their new aircraft at this airport, one of this newsletter
reader told me a year ago.

Though I was planning to travel along the Atlantic side from Argentina,
Uruguay to Brazil directly at first, I came back to the Andes in order
to ride on the top of South American highlight "Salar de Uyuni". Though
the itinerary got behind, it was great opportunity to visit the people
who helped me on the way to Ushuaia and report on my trip to them.

But all the way wasn't perfect. The intense wind hurt one of my eyes in
the Andes of northern Argentina. I went back to Argentine last big city;
Salta to see the doctor and recover from it. Moreover I got bronchitis
just after I re-started from there. After 4 days hospitalization in
small mountain village, I went back to Salta again. I lost 2 month
altogether at same place finally.

The bad luck wasn't only the injury and the sickness. I had some of my
equipments stolen at the contingent of Argentine army. They were keeping
my bike while I was in the hospital. I drooped with grief because it was
first robbery in 4 years moreover by the army who must be very ordered,
and also for bad physical condition.

But the doldrums also brought me good luck. I encountered American and
German cyclists who I met in Patagonia a half year ago by accident. We
shared trials and tribulations toward Salar de Uyuni in South part of
Bolivia with one more cyclist who is from Russia.

Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest salt flat at 10,500 square km.
It's honor to ride on this flat where white ground stretches as far as
the eye can see. Because the major way to access to the flat is on 4WD.

Moreover the area which includes Eduardo Avaroa Reserve from Chilean
border to salt flat has lots of highlights such as colorful lakes,
flamingos, hot spring, geyser and rocks in strange shape. It was a great
experience to share this area with 3 companies in two weeks.

My destination goes Paraguay and Northern Argentina through Bolivian
jungle after we separated each other.

Sincerely

Newsletter Vol.24 (Jul. 19th 2008)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.24 (Jul. 19th 2008)

Sorry for long silence, as always.
After the big U-turn in Patagonia, I came back to north Argentina where
I was almost 6 month ago.

Patagonia which is known as an outdoor brand is a geographic region of
South America. Its south of latitude 40 degrees approximately.
If you see the world map you can realize all Patagonia region is put on
much south than the southern tips of African and Australian continent.
It's not so near to the polar region as like as Russia, Canada and
Alaska in the Northern Hemisphere. But it’s cold enough in the winter
there. I was running away from this cold and the Patagonia on Atlantic side.

I could know the beautiful side of Argentina on this trip to north.
I usually receive much hospitality in the country region. Argentina is
like many others too.

But I feel it only in Atlantic side of Argentina. People who lives in
People who lives in Pacific side of Patagonia is not interested so much
in us because they had seen a bunch of cyclists.
There is an area where 150 cyclists come every year. I also met more
than 10 cyclists in less than 10 days in this area.

What with this and that, there was poor opportunity to know people when
I was heading to south; but the way to Buenos Aires was YES.
Gas plant workers, Public Gym, Cowboys, etc...

I'm still only riding without doing sightseeing because I'm pushed for
time. But now I have good memory of Argentina and it has became one of
my favorite countries.

I will be in the Andes for a while in Chile and Bolivia, and then come
back to Atlantic side for visiting Brazil.

Newsletter Vol.23 (May. 5th 2008)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.23 (May. 5th 2008)

How are you going?

Finally... Eventually... At long last... I've got to the southern tip
after three and half years.

After I left Chilean capital Santiago, I was always cycling with very
few rest in about two months. I lost many interesting places because of
the time and season.
I told me many times that this is not my way. It was my fault, I had to
plan well.

Now I continue to ride heading to Colombia where my friends wait me.
The hasty trip will goes on other some months.

I've updated My Track and Photo Gallery page. Check it out!

Best regards from the end of the world! SEKIJI

Newsletter Vol.22 (Feb. 27th 2008)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.22 (Feb. 27th 2008)

Hi there!
I'm staying in Santiago, capital of Chile.

Let's report how the trip was after Cusco and Machu Picchu.

< The way of Casa de Ciclistas >
Casa de Ciclista can be translated like cyclist's houses. They invite
us, host us and help us. We can find it on almost every country in South
America.

It's the place where we can take a rest, we can meet each other and the
information makes rendezvous.
After I left Cusco, I visited 4 Casa de Ciclistas.

I'll call it Casa from now on.


< I was stuck in La Paz >
In La Paz; the capital of Bolivia I was staying long in a Casa.
Because their house was so comfortable and I got to know some
interesting people who lives off a fund which is managed by mistress.
These young men who live in dorms are very curious. We enjoyed cultural
exchange.


< I missed the most IMPORTANT place >
There is a small city which is called POTOSI in south part of Bolivia.
It prospered in gold and silver mining. I stayed in a casa here as well.

Approximately 200km west of this city, there is a huge pan which is
called Salar de Uyuni, has 12,000 square kilometer. This huge pan is
often compared to a snowfield for its look. But there is a big
difference between these. It's solid ground which means I can ride bike
in this place.

It was going to be the biggest event in South America. Means I couldn't
visit.
It just had started the off-season, but had enough time to save the
water which can influence the bike over the pan.

However I never can leave this interesting place. After I was against
the map for hours and days together, I decided to come back to Bolivia
to know this place later.


< Stuck again >
I stayed twice at the casa for a few days after I entered to Argentina.

The second casa in Salta had received more than 100 cyclists in three
years. Because I felt so comfortable also they gave me a hearty welcome,
I was stuck in the casa again. I won also 100th visitor.
There is other incredible fact. They receive 6 pairs, 10 cyclists while
I was staying here.

When I'll go back to Bolivia, I'll be back here too.


< Homesick for the Andes healed up >
As you know the border between Argentina and Chile is in the Andes.
This means it's necessary to ride up to more than 4,000m high for
crossing the border.

Because I was tired of the South American summer, I welcomed this trip.
The border which I chose is opened only for three months in one year and
also has some snow on the top even if it's in the summer.

It was a bit hard to ride because of the cold and the gravel road, but I
could see such a beautiful Andes which doesn't have any electric wire.


< Easter Island >
It seems that Chile's economy is one of the highest in South America.
It's quite expensive for me especially after traveling around Peru and
Bolivia.
However I was under this situation, I went to Easter Island paying a
large amount.

The island which is located in 5 hours flight from Santiago and in 400km
far from the Chilean coast has only 120 square kilometers. It's same as
1 in 10 of Salar de Uyuni which I mentioned above.
They speak Spanish because it's Chilean territory but their origin is
Polynesian, same as Hawaii and Tahiti.

I felt it had not been so much commercialized yet. We can still see the
Moais at point-blank range. It was fabulous.


< And then >
I have to arrive at bottom of South America before the winter comes,
otherwise I'll need to stay other year in South America.

After I leave Santiago, I'll cross the border to Argentina then start to
ride to south.

I expect to disconnect from you long time again but I try to keep
updating current place on Google map. So please don't worry about me.

Newsletter Vol.21.5 (Jan. 14th 2008)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.21.5 (Jan. 14th 2008)

I'm so sorry I left to write you such a long time.
I can't take a time to write draft of newsletter now.
I just want to let you know I'm O.K. and traveling in Argentina now.

There is some update on Photo Gallery and My Track page. Please have a look!

sincerely

Newsletter Vol.21 (Nov. 19 2007)

Subject: Pedaling around the World Newsletter Vol.21 (Nov. 19 2007)

Hi, everybody! I'm writing you from Cusco.
After I went to Machu Picchu I lost tension and I caught a cold. But now
I'm getting better.

<So Tough>
I went back to a town in Andes where I left my bike, by bus on October
17th. When I wake up in the morning I couldn't breathe well because the
bus traveled from sea level to 4300m overnight.

But I started to ride soon because I could adapt to few oxygen also I
didn't have altitude sickness. Thought it is high, it was not difficult
to ride at the beginning because the road is paved.
However, the comfortable ride didn't continue so long.

I needed to climb up more than 20,000m in total on the last 1,000km to
get to here. 20,000m means still far above the jumbo jet flying
altitude. Moreover, the half part was horrible unpaved.
You can see how it was by the altitude profile. Check My Track -> Perú
-> Huancayo-Cusco!

The hard things wasn't only the road condition. The hail of bullets shot
me so hard..., slept stormy nights in the tent..., the muddy road didn't
allow me to ride, neither to walk...
I got to here at long last with so much fatigue.

Though the ride was quite hard, the landscape of the Andes was so much
beautiful. I really enjoyed the Andes ride.


<I saw Machu Picchu at last>
I got to Cusco where it was the capital of the Inca Empire and also it's
the base to visit to Machu Picchu which is one of the New Seven Wonders
of the World, after almost 2 weeks ride.

Machu Picchu is located in the mountain about 70km from Cusco and there
is two ways to get to there which are by train or by foot.
I went to Machu Picchu by train with two Japanese who I met here in Cusco.

The ruins are quite small, but there are some place where we can see
whole ruins though it is hard to get to there.
We stayed 2 nights and enjoyed 3 days at Machu Picchu.

There is a site where you can enjoy virtual Machu Picchu.
http://www.panoramas.dk/fullscreen6/f2-machu-picchu.html

New Seven Wonders of the World which were selected by NewOpenWorld
Foundation on July 7th 2007.
http://www.new7wonders.com/


<To Bolivia>
After I got back to Cusco, I met 9 cyclists (5 pairs) all at once at a
hostel where I stay now after I wait so long to meet them.
An astonishing thing is two of them are cycling with their child!
Actually I had heard about them long time ago and fortunately I could
catch up with them here.

I could have an excellent time here, talking with them, resting my body.
I'd like to be here more but I have to leave because it's still long way
to get to the end of South America. So I'll leave here soon heading to
Bolivia...