When returning I often feel left out and lost. Familiar places and people seem different. They have changed? No they have not, but I put then into new light as I come through the crazy time warp from Africa to The United States. So many people tell the African’s what they have is not adequate. Yes they can do with a lot of the goods and services we take for granted. That is not always a good thing. The first shocker is the constant Blair of news streaming from televisions all over the place. It is news, sports, weather, and advertising. Dogs barking and the call to prayer was irritating at best, but I got used to that. I feel more threatened by some comment or twitter than I ever felt by anything in Africa. Including an elephant.
We are also distracted by ongodly choices. I go into a super market to buy salt and am lost in a tangle of scented candles, decorations, funny greeting cards (i liked that) and anything but an organized way to pursue the needs of the kitchen. I’ve heard it from others who come to this country and really experienced this time. It is this constant manipulation through media that seems to be ignored by people.
The car situation has not improved. I noticed on days when the air is fresh and comfortable people actually air condition their surroundings. We’ve evolved from not being able to go anywhere without a car, to not being able to go in a car with out being hermetically sealed.
Then there is the food. Yes, after being away so long, the food here does not agree with me. It takes time to rebuild a resistance to plastic and synthetic preservatives. The bugs and bacteria I developed in my gut don’t like chemicals that have names one can not pronounce. Oh but I long for some Chepata and oats. (not really)
Then there is the issue of housing. I sold my house before coming on this trip. everything I own is in storage and I don’t own a car. Try to tell someone you live out of your bicycle, but I do. It is not that difficult until you try to figure out the address thing. Thank God for internet. I am at least connected.
I am happy to be home and catch up with my family. In all honesty the nation is too pre occupied with tweets, FB, FOX , and CNN. I got sucked into the frenzy myself. I couldn’t even finish brushing my teeth when I would pick up my Cell Phone and start pawing through the latest excitement. I took a vacation from all that starting yesterday Notice that I am up dating my blog.
I am learning how to put together presentations on the MAC. It is a struggle to learn how to do things and still try to say something from the soul. Many people have helped me and shown me what works and what does not. Enough of this. Here is where I am going:
Africa – It means so much to us as a world. There are rare lessons that we have to rediscover in order to remain human. Since I am still processing my experience I can’t give you succinct one line title to this endeavor. Perhaps I can leave it by saying that that love replaces fear.
Next Trip; This summer I’ll head north to Canada, that is if we are still welcome. Off to Edmonton. Then I will fly to Tromso Norway to ride in the midnight sun. Once finished I’ll continue to ride through mosquito infested Lapland towards Oulu Finland. Then home.
Please let me know if you want me to give a presentation to your group. I have lots to learn about what I’ve seen and experienced. I can only share it with you.
Well I am off again. This time a more laid back ride. First to Switzerland for a week. Have to try the Alps. Then off to Australia for a bit of down under. Once I get to Sydney I am going to go to Christchurch New Zealand to ride a couple of weeks.
Some thoughts and interesting things. As I was finalizing my plan reservations I realized that I leave from Minneapolis and fly east. And keep flying east then south and more east till I come home again. I wonder if the world is flat?
Many of you know that I cam back from Africa mot in 100% shape. I am in much better condition now that I have rested. I gained a lot of weight which is kind of normal, even though I continue to ride some 70 Miles a day. (116 Kilometers. But food is so available here. Coffee and something to munch on is my favorite.
I will hopefully be able to do some of my blogging as I go since I will have access to more internet services. I will use the tracking device again. It has been reactivated and tested today. I can report that it is working.
Do I feel safe? A question I hear from some of you.
I feel loved and very much alive. I don’t feel the fear of drive by shootings or hate crimes. I don’t feel hate from drivers who believe bikes don’t belong on the road. I don’t feel anxious by some political despot with bad hair.
I feel I can survive a long bike ride through 9 African countries
When I ride by a person with a machete they say hi and. When I ride by a military person with a gun I say hi and they normal smile. But when I ride by a child armed with a smile and bouncing up and down screaming Mzungo I feel loved. Or a women carrying wAter on her head who smiles in response to My smile I feel connected.
No there are not head hunters and mad crazies chasing me with spears and no the police are not stopping me for bribes and yes there are kids saying give me money. The kids are just parroting something they heard.
I know I am being watched as many times I’ll hear Mzungo way high in a tree or up a mountain side. I waive and say Jambo Sana. Then the laughter starts.
I did get afraid riding downhill in the mud. It was steep and slippery. I also take precautions against malaria and other deseases But so do the local people. I also get afraid of busting the zipper on my tent or Losing things. I am not too afraid of getting lost. Even I have no idea where I am half the time.
My friend Eric, a surgeon riding with me and I were discussing fears. I told him I was afraid of having an aortic anurism. He assured be would patch me in the field. My fear has no basis. It just seems like an ugly thing to happen to someone.