Saturday, January 24, 2009

Seeing is believing...

First off forgive grammar mistakes and the order of pics is a bit off as this keyboard is half arabic.
So my last couple of days in Spain were as amazing as everyother day of my ickle bike ride. Aiming at a town called Verger one day telling myself I will rest once I get there. But when I get near I see its at the top of a VERY steep road. Ah sure we will just sit here then and look up at it. No we must go up otherwise this trip will become weak. So I climb up a steep short road to a quaint town and its up there that I remember what its all about. Its about the hard work and the super payoff of a view. Anyway thats not the greatest start to a post but after the easy flat coast of Portugal I needed to recheck my motivation for the pain of cycling hills haaa...

Not something ye see in the Irish countryside

I had planned to get close to Tarifa near the end of the day so I could get an early ferry to Moroc so I can get all settled in and ready for a new country. But as I got close and Africa loomed hazily across the water I got the goose bumps and I knew I would be too excited to sleep so I picked up the pace and flew into town hoping there would be a ferry. There was and before I knew what I was doing we were skimming across the straight of Gibraltar. Haaaa I was easily the happiest camper on the boat; just buzzing around like a kid on a school tour. What a feeling. Such innocent childish fun on a ferry with no adults haaa! I roll off the ferry and get waved to go through the gates and into Tanger when a policia stops me. Have you anything special for me he says. I say special like what and inch towards the gate. Special like GUNS. Yes sir I have two do you prefer a hand gun or a rifle and he just laughed and asked where I was going and I say into the hills towards destiny haaaaaa and cycle off.

A great start to my time in the Rif mountain area

Biggest valley of the trip

So I was in a pretty busy big city and its 5.30 and the sun is setting so I fly along the coast to where I had seen some green area from the ferry. I spy a bit of a hiding place and snoop around and its seems like a good spot so I make my way back into town because its all lit up with street lights so I can easily make my way back to the camp site in the dark later. I just chilled out down at the water front and ate some museli and watched some kids doing sumersaults. What a fricken laugh man. I spent a while cruising around Tanger and its outskirts really hit me like a sledge hammer. The level of poverty was crazy. Real muddy slums where they collect everything possible to reuse it. I recon they have every single car part imaginable. That was the Holy Shit Man I am in Africa moment number one. Number two was seeing a fecking CAMEL!

Australia has the iconic Kangaroo but can you actually trump a Camel

Thank God or Allah that they have the signs in English too

The next day I take it easy and just do a short day to get out of Tanger and into the hills. Just relaxing and getting a feel for all the different sounds smells traffic and people. I approached a guy in his garden and he greeted me as his long lost brother and he said I could set my tent up on his land then soon after upgrades me to inside his garage. I went to sleep at noon till about 6pm ate some food then went back to sleep. I presume it was all the excitment that had me wrecked haa.

Indoor camping is all the rage these days

Hamid standing proudly with my sexy lady

I head towards the hilliest area on the map in the north as I wanna do a circle of Moroc down over all its four sets of mountains. The Rif, Middle, High and Anti Atlas mountains and back out to the coast for the other major cities. Absolutely amazing wall of mountains on my left as I cycle east so I decide to keep following them for the next day after sleeping next to a forrest rangers hut as a local had driven up to me and warned me about local thieving gangs. A hiking trip along the Riff by the coast would be one for a future trip. The Moroccans made the first two days the funniest and most welcoming as I could ever dreamt of. Since the start I promised myself to be as nice as possible to everyone I met no matter what happens. So far I have waved and smiled and answered the same questions a million times with a smile and enthusiasm. Because I believe if you are going to go through different countries then you have to have do so with a smile energy and patience. So I have not got angry or annoyed about being run off the road or jeered or any other negative things that have happened in Europe many times. I have not even talked about them in the blog as they have not been representative of each country I have been in. There are always a few bad apples eh so why sweat the small stuff.

I am coming for ye!

Builders must be on strike as there are

unfinished houses are everywhere

But I am afraid Africa tested my patience beyond what I thought was possible. I was headed up a long gentle climb towards a town called Bab Taza. The views are another once in a life time moment. Clear blue skys and just perfect temperature. Yes Africa is going to be great. Little did I know or research the area I was going into. Research is for nerds man. Fuck travel guides man I on a mini adventure haaaaaa. As is the custom on my trip when a town or a place is amazing I end up repeating the name over and over as in its my new word for something special. So Bab Taza. BAB Taza. BAB TAZA haa. If I thought Tanger was an eye opener it was merely the first kiss on the night you lose your virginity as Bab Taza just blew my head off. The roads are really good, till ye get into town. Then the road ends and you cycle along the rim of potholes under two feet of mud. Holy god we are now in Africa haaa. Just an absolute SHITHOLE. They have signs up that the road is under construction haaa. But I use the term shithole affectionately. If this was an Irish town it would of course be labelled a shithole but its a small town up in the hills of Africa. But that was all I could think of as I negotiated through the mud and craters as people shouted at me to come to their cafe or shop. Men walking by in Jedi style cloaks called Jellabas, towing a donkey with a massive load of straw and bags of grain. Pure and simple it was too much to take in. So I rolled on through. I couldnt take pictures and I couldnt stop haaaa. I was in my element now. In Africa.

A small 3 bedroom house with a sweet view

Land slide took out a few houses

It all went tits up from here on. As the weather was fine the road was just covered in drug dealers. They are everywhere. EVERY SINGLE person says hello sir how are you. Do you want Hashish. They make the clucking sound then hashish. They go Whist Whist hashish. They just shout hashish at you. The drive by beeping and flashing their lights making smokey smokey signs with their fingers. They pull in ahead of you and offer it. They block you in and offer it. When you cycle on around them the drive after you and do the same thing three or four times. The guy who offered you it in town will get a lift off his mate and catch back up with you down the road and offer it again. Now thats not the bad part. The bad part is half them take offence when you say no thank you. No sir thank you very much but no thank you. Yet they still call you all sorts of insults most of which are fuck you fucking fuck haaa. They try guess you nationality. Hey English man. Hey Spaniard. One guy shouted hey Czechoslovakian shave your beard! That one actually had me in tears laughing and gets a nomination for call of the trip, fair play to him! I dont even mind them taking offence. I take the bullshit on the chin and continue to smile wave and answer there fucking questions of how am I today. I am great thank you. Do you want hashish. No thank you. Blah blah fuck you then and I cycle on. Obviously its the quiet tourist time so they need to sell even more but come on.

Peace and quiet away from the dealers

In the hills the cars are pretty old school, lots of Mercs and Renaults

Now as an experiment I want you to get the person next to you to ask you how you are today. then offer you hashish. Then you smile say no thank you and they call you a fucker. Do that 20 times and see how smiley you are. I cycled about 60 kms through this road and I swear on my life I was asked every 50 meters and sometimes every 20 if it was near a junction. But I answer away and do my best. Because they are only saying hello at first and I dont want to not answer the nice people who do just wanna wave and smile at you and there are plenty of them too so I do my best haaa. At one stage I was exhausted after a hill and was just fed up answering the questions and I stopped to enjoy the view on a quiet stretch of road and a car pulls in. I say no thank you. Please no thank you. The guy is sitting in the passenger seat yapping at me non stop. Hashish hashish you want hashish why you not want hashish hashish hashish. I just kept saying no thank you and turned away to look at the view finally just ignoring him. What you looking at you wanna buy a house I sell you a house very cheap. No thank you. Why you not buy house what you looking at why why why why why why. Eventually he just does this ignorant fucking laugh like he knows all he wanted to do was piss me off and they drive away. I almost turned back to go to Tanger. But I knew I was being a pussy and that it was probably just a bad spot in the mountains. I was mentally fucking wrecked and dissapointed because it was only one day of harrasment. Big deal heffo your being soft. I focused on the fact that I did well and never rose to the unreal bullshit they say. The views of the valleys were worth the hassle they really were beautiful but that night I camped out and when I went to bed I was twitching! Can you actually believe only one day reduced me to a pussy twitching alone in my tent. Haaa so I did alot of talking to myself telling me to just harden up and be nice about the situation.

I whipped up some veggie soup

I couldnt even look the camera in the eye,

soaking wet; hungry; tired andI felt even worse than I look

The next day it continued. Thick fucking hillybilly yokels with the most mundane sales pitch of all time followed by the inevitable abuse. I grinned and cycled on now unable to look anyone in the eye. I almost cried when a fucking 10 yr old ran out in front of me to offer me a bag of hash. Later in the day the fog closes in as I climb up into the snow and wind. No bloody dealers up here eh ye soft fuckers. So I had a wonderful time freezing my fingers off and wincing into the wind as it whipped over the mountain. I end up cycling at 45 degree angels into the wind with some strange Paula Radcliffe shuffle of a cycling movement haaa. Its such a masochistic pleasure in being out in the elements making coffee and soup in the snow. I missed the harsher cycling after the few weeks on the coast. Cycling on the flat is easy and fun but it leaves you wanting more. Like a one night stand, yeah it pays the rent but its never as good as the sweaty good stuff. Its not that I want to be cold but the satisfaction of reaching the top of a hill and getting anopther breath taking valley is the greatest feeling in the world. Even getting back down below the snow line is such a sweet victory making me scream my head off in pure primal pleasure until an icicle falls from a tree and smacks me in the nose and I remember that nature is in charge of the show haaa!

The roads torn up near the towns

The local kids were soaking up the view as much as me

I eventually make it down into a town called Ketama. Mental busy trading town on a junction of two main roads. Has to be seen to believed. So I roll to the outskirts to buy some food and a guy approaches me with the usual spiel. I say no thank you and then he gueses I am from Ireland. I get talking to him and he has perfect English and claims to have travelled around Europe. We talk for a couple of minutes and I refuse his offer to stay at his HOTEL. He offers me more hash and when I refuse again and go to roll away he grabs the handlebars of Celona. Two other goons that had been hanging around move in a bit closer. Motherfuckers. He says I really should stay with him if I want to stay safe. I obviously say no thanks and go to roll away but he tries to sort of pull the bike down to the ground so I gave him one of those silly karate chop type punches to his arm holding my bike with as much anger and energy as I have ever mustered. Haaaa I caught him fucking lovely on his skinny stoner boney arm and he winces then I basically lost it. We verbally abuse each other, I fleeced him in a way that would of had you lot rolling around on the floor laughing haaa ripping him about his hicky clothes and stupid shoes haaaa. Its one thing the Irish are good for is giving a slagging. I took heart in the fact he did not hit me back and his goons stepped back a bit. Here is this well spoken articulate guy with more sense and brains than all the other hillbillys put together yet still wants to act the ignorant prick. He says he is going to come after me down the road which causes so I shit myself and get off the bike and ask him to get me now instead. Absolute wanker. I look an absoltue mess. I am filthy sweaty muddy and I knew I looked a real oddball with my beard. So I kinda knew he wouldnt do anything. Kinda knew haa. We just keep shouting and I just end up walking down the road pushing Celona away and he heads in the opposite direction shouting at me and I smile. I cycle off at horrific speed haaa laughing at how stupid I had been but I honestly think I was probably in a bit of trouble anyway once he grabbed the bike and tried to pull it to the ground.

That was only a small part of my first few days but I cant not talk about it. Remember its only trying in trying times... So then it was time to spin downhill into the lowlands when my back brake cable snaps and I obviously dont have a spare. Its raining and having only a front brake in the rain is useless so anytime the road is mega steep I have to walk haaa. So now its a fecking walking tour god it was hilarious fun walking in the pissing rain with a heavy bike. Honestly again it was actually a laugh thinkin how stupid it is not to have a spare cable but as I am knew to this cycling lark I thought ye would be able to limp into town on one brake. Ye in Ireland where its flat and bike shops are everywhere, ah come on heffo! I should of known better haaa. I end up sitting on a fence sipping coffee when I see a couple of girls working in their garden so I get chatting to them and asked could I camp in their field hoping I will score a bed rather than camp in their field haa. They ring their Dad on a mobile and he will be back in an hour and they ask me to sit in under an overhang in front of their house and then the bring out a little coffee table with tea, coffee biscuits and cake. Obviously they could not invite me in without a man around so we sit chatting as best we can and I had them in bits laughing doing sign language. Their brother Aziz then comes home and we headed into town for coffee and met a friend of his Jemel who speaks perfect English and I arrange to meet him in the morning for a chat over coffee. I knew I was sweet then for a place to sleep, a bed for the first time since Lisbon! Later on the mother and father come home and it was honestly the best night so far. The women cook and ate somewhere else in the house and the men eat together in the main reception room. We destroyed a delish chicken with our fingers, breaking bread and sharing it all around, slurping coffee and biscuits and oranges. We watch satelite tv, Aljezeera international channel for a couple of hours and I end up sleeping with Aziz and his brother on a couch type bed thing in their beautiful reception room. The details of the night could be better but I have to say I am being selfish as I am keeping them for me, I deserve these private memories after the shite in the hills.

The nicest family in the world

Plan changed again as I was gonna stay in the hills outside Fez but when I seen it I got all excited to get stuck in so I went in late in the evening. Still with only one brake I could seen a very long curving steep run down to the lowlands, the road had dried up and the team decided to just go hell for leather and whore down at full tilt. HAAAA it was absolute carnage, ye know the buz ye get snowboarding when you are going so fast that you know the only way you are gonna be able to stop is when the hill flattens out, so fast that you dare not even turn onto the other edge of your board so you end up going even faster. Well thats what we did down a real smoothe road, lunatic stuff, it was such a buz. I had my side of the road to myself. Just flying, when a bloody taxi driver decides to overtake on a corner at a bridge. It would take me a fricken kilometer to stop even if I tried, he was right over on my side. I squeezed over as close to the edge of the road as I could and he squeezed as close to the truck he was overtaking, I am not joking when I say his front passenger put her hands over her face as if she didnt want to see him hit me. I put on my best wincing oh shit I am dead look and missed him by the closest gee hair of all time roaring with laughter as I was already a couple of hundred meters past him before I could even figure out if I made it haaa, just deadly craic. Just another silly moment in life...

The entrance to the Old Medina part of Fèz

I wish I had to money or room to buy bits and pieces for ye all but I cant haaa

Yeah Fez is amazing, again I have to say the people are just out of this world nice and helpful. I still feel bad ranting on about the scum in the mountains as already the nice people have eclipsed what went on. Fez is a massive city where I knew ye pretty much need a guide to get the most out of it and so when a young guy Tarif offered I said why not. We got sooo stuck into all the small side streets and places I just could not of got to see as its the biggest maze in the world. I recomend ye just front up the cash if ye wanna see all the good stuff. We were out on a roof top looking down into the area where they dye the wool, we were in tiny little metal works, leather workshops, you name it we seen it and right now looking back on it, it was the greatest day of my life. The narrow streets in the Old Medina part where the donkeys are king because cars cant fit, its all soo old and pretty much nothing has changed since the city began thousands of years ago.

Dying the wool

Cleaning wool in Fèz

The incredibly hard work some of the people do has shocked me too. I cycled past this woman who was bent over almost scraping her nose off the ground with an absolute monstrous load of sticks piled about two meters high on her back. It would of made a sweet picture summing up the struggles of people earning a living off the land in Africa but I also felt it would demean her to take it. She actually managed to look up and give me a feckin smile as I cycled past. There is a thin line between snapping pictures and been a pervert to suffering. Even when I know the shop keeper is charging me a little more than he should. Who am I to argue, we come here on holidays taking advantage of the exchange rate, with more money than they could ever dream of yet would feel pissed off by being OVER charged for an orange. What bugs the shit out of me is that so many people come here, see whats going on yet go ignorantly go back to their lavish lifestyle flittering away obscene amounts of money on luxuries and leave fellow humans in the mud. Is it the third world I am in, or is just the WORLD?

Traffic Jam in the Old Medina,

I cant get over how much I see everyday

Next stop is probably Marakech but I am not sure how long it will take as I am determined to take the longest route and spend hopefully a couple of weeks in the middle and high Atlas mountains before dropping back down to the big smoke. At this point I feel I have chipped away every excess part of my mind and body. All fat is definetly long gone. The parts of my mind that would crave a couch, running hot water or electricity have vanished and all thats left is a million times stronger than before I started. Its not just that it feels right to be out trying to live in the elements, it just feels like thats all there is to life. Another big section of the trip is close now and I am ready for another mini adventure!

Amazing hand made silk stuff

The most beautiful cafe so far

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined."
Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Whats it all been about eh...

Well I am shortly (two days) about to get the ferry to Morocco. For soo long now I have been looking forward to getting to Africa by bike that I still try not to think about too much cause I am still not there yet. Never havin cycled any real distance before this trip it has been funny learning how to keep the bike moving and working, the first time I took off the back wheel has hilarious as all sorts of washers and springs fell off I was not sure if I got them all back on in the right order but that was ages back so obviously I did haaa. Even how to pace myself to get the most out of the day has been a long learning curve, when to eat, when to rest, slowly you build up a routine to save time and make the most out of the day.

If any of you are ever in Portugal I seriously think the coast south of Lison is the nicest part plus if your there during the summer I recon you would be crazy not to drop into Tipi Valley and do some Yoga and surfing with Lauri at It is a very peaceful and beautiful little valley down near some wet lands and beach. I spent the afternoon with Lauri driving around in his jeep through the wetlands and hills and its a real find in terms of quaint Portuguese life.
Fixing my stabbed mattress

Leg one has been simply amazing and my favourite little things that I have got up to have been:

The romantic lonely fisherman

My coffee: Mixing so much instant coffee into so little hot water that it has the viscosity of Guinness and possibly should be legally a class one drug.

My leaky tent: I have searched for so long and still cant find the bloody hole that I have accepted the leak and I lie to the one side of the tent. My thermorest matress is like a lilo in heavy rain but I stay dry so its all good.

Tipi Valley

My clicking Knee: just seems to be normal now, no pain, I take gloucosomine and vitmains, drink plenty of water but yet the right one clicks away. Hopefully no long term damage haaa.

Rather than turn back
I thought I could push Celona around the lake,
2 hours of pushing later
I had to turn back anyway haaa

The funny times that I get nervous: cant really explain it but its usually when everything is going well I feel like the trip will go tits up because surely life cant really be this good!

The multi flavoured food: I use my cereal bowl to chop veg so my morning museli always has a tint of onion. My coffee has an essence of popcorn and my sandwiches have a smidgen of last nights dinner. But I truly love the mixes haaa.

The looks people give you: Some people will just walk right up to me and stand two feet way staring silently as I am eating. I will say hello yet most of the time they will stay dumbstruck and keep staring finally walking away muttering something like "du dud u loco dud du du" haaa. It makes me feel special when this happens, I wonder do they go home and tell there partner about the strange thing they saw today.

Celona floats easily enough

My beard: Yes I do look inbred. But I will not allow hurtful comments like that stop me from not shaving for one year of my life haa. It gaurantees no sex, not that I get much looking my "best" but it has to be done for the sake of looking back on pics in years to come. Remember that while my beard grows ever wilder, you lot are working!

My mistakes: Taking a wrong turns leading to pushing my bike through 20kms of sand in a national park, breaking my tent twice, putting my knife through my inflatable mattress and so many many more.

Inspiring people: be it emails from friends or the random kindness of strangers I meet everyday. I get so much out of each encounter and it helps to keep my head level and keep perspective on life. I under estimated how important some people are in my life and I am glad so many of you make the effort to keep in touch.

When I talk to strangers and they ask am I "solo" I say yes but I am not really. I think about everyone so much during the day that I feel you lot are here with me at times. I would never have made it past Wales without such a great family and bunch of friends home and abroad. But enough of the lovey dovey talk.

Focus: Making sure I keep my eye on the ball, remembering why I am here. Thinking about what I want out of this trip. Not worrying about distances, keeping an eye on the scenery rather than how far I have come. So I have been taking stock over the last week, remotivating myself and making sure I try get into some silly situations haaaa. Remebering its just a bit of a cycle.

This week has been another mini adventure the likes of which I will be laughing about for a long time. I was going along the coast road when all of a sudden it ends at a military barracks. So I getting chattin to a dude and he draws, with a stick in the sand, a map of how to get around it through the national park. All I could think was this is frickin funny and I did not really pay attention to the map and boy oh boy if I didnt spend the rest of the evening and half the next day in just about the most beautiful lost in the woods scene from Sopranos ever...

I think the one thing I underestimated about this trip is how funny it would be, I spend half my day laughing with strangers, animals or just by myself about how I ended up on a bike in a weird ass town. The south of Spain (under Sevilla) is a crazy flat swamp land. I had been aiming at a town that has a ferry to cross a river, way down in the middle of nowhere haaa I get there and of course the ferry is not working now. Haaa so I cycled back north 40km to the next crossing which was working but taking it was probably the riskiest thing so far haaa. It was as lobsided as I have ever seen a boat in my life, loving it.

My private paradise cove for the night

So Morocco on Monday, only real plan is to go see Fez, meet some Berbers in the Atlas mountains and hopefully see the west side of the Saharan dessert. I remeber years ago all the cars on our street got covered in sand and they said it was from the Saharan Dessert, I thought that was the coolest thing of all time. So to see it in the flesh will probably have me teary eyed.


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Inside the mind of a fruit cake....

I only spent one night in Porto. Had a walk around and liked it in as much as you can in a day. Met a Slovenian guy who I will call Marudo as I cant remember his name. He was a funny hippy of the earth type of guy and I indulged his aura talk and buzzed off him a fair bit. Anyway in the middle of the night the guy in the bunk across from ours was snoring his fat head off, deep throaty snores. As its a hostel ye cant overly complain about noise from other room mates but I dont tollerate snoring to any degree, never have, never will haa. Marudo was awake and telling the guy to stop snoring???

I think she is on the ball with rain gear

Cutest trams ever, the drivers have to madly shake
their left hand to control the speed

So I did what I have been doing for a long time, I got my pillow and stretched across the floor trying to keep my naked (highly toned) ass under the sheet, I walloped him right in the face with the pillow. Haaa I love it, it always works and they never remember what happened, they just roll over and fall into a snoreless sleep. Marudo seen what I did and I have honestly never heard someone laugh for so long I thought I was gonna have to wallop him too. I recon one day hitting strangers with a pillow might get me in trouble but till then I take my chances and I will enjoy my sleep!

I met a guy on a mountain bike and he asked was I lost,
I said I wasnt sure

I was going so fast I set the tarmac on fire

New Years Eve was a tame affair compared to last year which I spent counting down to midnight scuba diving upsidedown, inside a little shipwreck with Mike, plus we had some champers! My first glimpse of the Atlantic was just about perfect. It was just dark and I cycled along a narrow wooden boardwalk singing "on the board walk dum dum dum dum on the boardwalk". As soon as I got on on it I was like "ye I wanna cycle this all the way to Moroc", two mins later I had enough of the shaking as the sleepers got further apart. The path was lit by some amber lights and was as Holywood as it gets in terms of a grand occasion arriving to the sea once again. So this new years was spent finishing a book camped out on the beach. To Kill a Mocking Bird, pretty good, very articulate kid eh.

The Atlantic, another milestone reached

Sing it with me, "on the boardwalk"

Was asleep well before midnight after spending a fair chunk of time watching a beautiful crescent shaped moon, which turned into cats eyes when a thin strip of cloud cut it in two, pretty cool stuff. God I am sooo old, New Years Eve is supposed to be party time, its happened hasnt it, I am now old ha! As if more proof is needed I also wear socks with my sandles when its cold. The first person I met in the morning was an old Indian jogger that at first thought I was cleaning the beach haa, I cleared matters up and informed him that I am the guy that will make Lance Armstrong go back into retirement should I take up cycling competitively when I get home. Anyway the Indian said "may you meet only honorable men on your journey", what a nice way to start another year.

There was more sea water in the air than in the sea

Dont ye just love when ye have sand in every crack of your body, it can mean only one thing. Yes folks its been a beach bums life for me over the last week down the coast of Portugal. Miles and Miles or should I said kilometers and kilometers of golden sandy beaches. One night I camped at the edge of a cliff with a smashing sea view. Its exactly what the waves did all night, just smash loudly into the cliff and kept me awake. My energy levels are better than I ever would of imagined so to miss a nights sleep does nothing so I gave up trying to ignore the thunderous waves and just sat watching them. Wave after wave rolling in from the west, no wind, just hammering waves.

When I grow up and stop using a camping stove to make my coffee,
I will hopefully get a present of one of these

My daily empties

My head is pretty clear these days, stress free that is. Thoughts jump around alot but to be honest I have hardly had a negative thought since I left. Its one of the things I wanted to do while away, bring a real peace to my mind, slowly I am getting there. So what happened the other night has me puzzled and I am also still laughing about it. I camped out down by the beach on a patch of grass behind some sand dunes. A nice flat quiet spot, just how I like it. Finished off a crappy fantasy book, King of Kings or some rubbish like that, book two of three. I had not read book one and I dont intend on reading book three. I finished my popcorn, yes popcorn, this touring lark is hard eh. Had a good old sleep and the next morning I woke up had some brekie and started to dismantle the tent. It looked odd, the tent pegs I had firmly fixed into the ground were all pulled out but yet there was no hurricane overnight. When I took apart the tent poles I noticed the one that connects to a joint was split. Easily replaced with a spare I got off Dinier in France, but as it is one that joins the joint it should be reinforced on the inside so I have no doubt it will split at the worst time in the near future. Anyway enough boring talk of bloody tent poles, what is strange is how did it break. It had me thinking about it all day and finally I remembered haaa. I had a nightmare that my tent was being blown off a cliff! I remember freaking out and jumping from side to side trying to stop the tent falling off an imaginary cliff and kinda waking up and realising I was only dreaming. Haaa I jumped so hard trying to keep the tent from falling down the side of the "mountain" that I snapped a feckin pole. It would be even funnier if someone was walking by during my fit.

My Wallet is the one that says Bad Ass Motherfucker

Seriously, whats the markup on antique tools

I am in Lisboa for a couple of days. Turns out I picked the number one hostel in Europe, it is seriously slick, friendly, cheap and clean until I arrived with all my nature smells. There is a real backpacker vibe to it, not just holiday makers but chatty backpackers. I was catching up on Jacks adventures in Oz on his blog and it had me yearning for the backpacker feeling again. So its been perfect timing to get into a real hostel full of excited travellers. I got chatting with a Brisbane guy and man it brought back the good times of working in the Empire Bar in the valley, assembling furniture and drinking like a lunatic all hours of the day. Went on the free tour of the city that the hostel offers. Ye cant expect too much when its for free but where it lacked in the usual over the top dates and names of every single person and place of note it made up for it in banter. Spent a chunk of time wandering around the flea market with an American Victoria, how the people make money selling broken useless shit is a small wonder, well its a big wonder because I seen hardly anyone buy anything, just one big collection of crap ha.

I have been having some interesting guests lately

The first, second and third person I met in the city while walking around offered to sell me hash or coke, same sort of scene as Barcelona. Later on I went out for coffee and one of the guys from earlier on approached me again and would not stop trying to sell me some hash as I said "no", "no thank you", "cheers no I am good as it is", "fuck off you shit head" eventually made him realise I was not a stoner. It kinda of annoyed me that I snapped but he was really pushy and in my personal space.

Me fondling Victoria

Life a beach, a loud beach

Met a surfer, Lauri, from Aus and got chattin about travel and he is just back from Morocco so he gave me some advice on where to go. He runs a yoga/surf retreat down the Algarve coast a bit and invited me to visit him. So I checked out his website and it looks like a pretty cool spot so I am heading that way once I leave Lisboa. I am getting majorly pumped up for the next leg in Africa but I still have a bit to go so I need to focus on the last itsy bit of Europe. The hostel has a huge pile of old Nat Geo mags so I have been fleecing the articles mainly on Africa and one cool one about Borge Ouslands trek to the north pole nearly twenty years ago, he was the dude I went to see talk before I left.

Its 2.80 euro to get the lift to the lookout of Lisboa,
our free tour guide took us the long way for free

Slumming it in Lisboa

Excitement to leave the hostel tomorrow after the free breakfast, of which I will overly gorge out on, is almost at a stage where I am twitching. I will sleep feck all tonight thinking about what awaits ahead in the next couple of weeks. I am on the verge of getting my ass onto Africa, FRICKEN AFRICA, possibly the most wonderous place I can think of travelling. To go to where it all began, I mean can you imagine the moment I see my first camel. No, its too much to think about right now, Algarve here I come!

A wise man once wrote and sang:

The more I see the less I know
The more I like to let it go