John Broomhall


John Broomhall

My Solitary Trip Down a Pinched Line of Geography

South America » Ecuador » North » Ibarra April 20th 2010

You can find my latest pictures at my Flickr Site I think my last blog left off in Santiago after the earthquake. Mariette and I had relocated to Concon on the coast. The remainder of Mariette´s stay was uncomfortable in the shadow of the earthquake, and in the frequent aftershocks that kept us on edge. By the second week after the quake, the aftershocks had diminished to one or two a day, but were still disconcerting when they happened. We were always wondering whether they would continue to grow in intensity as the original quake in Santiago had. It didn´t make for the best of vacations; we were unable to really relax with the thought of another strong quake hanging over us. Mariette flew home on March 17th, we caught a bus into Santiago, then a ... read more

South America » Chile March 5th 2010

This is an update from Chile in the aftermath of the earthquake at 3:30 AM local time, February 27: Yesterday was, well, stressful! We were awoken about 3:30 AM our time to some violent shaking in our hotel room in downtown Santiago. It is hard to describe the feelings of helplessness as we lay in bed with things being thrown around the room, and the fear that the building was about to collapse. It felt like the earthquake went on for an eternity, but in reality it was only about 90 seconds. The power was off, we were in the dark, wondering what was next. We opened the doorway to the hall and it was pitch black, no emergency lighting. Of course, the elevator was not working, so how would we find our way out? We ... read more

South America » Argentina February 13th 2010

Pictures that accompany this story can be found at my Argentina Flickr Site , and the Carrera Austral Flickr Site It´s been a month since I´ve blogged, I need to get busy. I´m sitting in Buenos Aires as I write this. I think my trip north has, perhaps, been a little less purposeful. In my mind, I may be thinking that I have already accomplished my goal in getting to Ushuaia, and so I am now feeling somewhat directionless. Even though I have a pretty full agenda: meeting Mariette in Santiago, Megan and Andrew in Peru, and visiting my friends again in Ecuador. The feeling I had going south: the anticipation, the adventure, perhaps, is not as acute. That said, I have seen some incredibly beautiful scenery on my way north! It took me a ... read more

Antarctica January 13th 2010

You can find the pictures that go along with this story at my Flickr site . A few weeks before I got to Ushuaia, I finally got around to looking at what there was to do here. The big thing I found that people to from Ushuaia was Antarctica tours. Why not? The first winter I spent in Ecuador, I went to the Galapagos Islands because they were relatively close. After a bit of an internet search, I came up with the name of a travel agent who came recommended by other bike travellers. Alicia Petiet found a last-minute deal for me on a boat leaving on December 28. Here are my notes from the trip: Dec 28, 54 Degrees South I boarded the boat “Antarctic Dream” from the dock in Ushuaia about 5 PM. My ... read more

South America » Argentina » Tierra del Fuego » Ushuaia January 12th 2010

(The end of the world, a new beginning) You can view the pictures that go along with this story at my Flickr site I arrived in Ushaia on December 19, about 3 weeks ago as I write this. Ushuaia bills itself as the “Ciudad mas Austral del Mundo” and “El Fin del Mundo” (most southerly city, and the end of the world). In reality, it is really not that far south. It is a minor bit of hyperbole that plays well to the tourists that now are the primary focus of the economy in this city that once supported the whaling industry and transoceanic shipping before the Panama Canal. Today most tourists come here on Cruise ships on their way somewhere else, as a starting point for Antarctic tours, and many like me, to see the ... read more

South America » Chile December 23rd 2009

Pictures for this blog entry can be found here for Chile in general and here for gliding in Chile . I crossed the border into Chile on November 20, I had spent the previous few days in Arequipa, Peru. The border with Chile was a distinct change from all the borders I have crossed, since entering the United States. Man, there has been a lot of borders: Mexico, Guatamala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, and Peru before I arrived in Chile. The Chilean border with Peru is out in the middle of the desert, really in the middle of nowhere. But, it was a modern facility, and devoid of the helpers, touts, and money changers that infested most other borders. It was a pleasant experience. The guy that did my... read more

South America » Peru November 24th 2009

You can find pictures of most of the things and places mentioned here at my Flickr site I crossed the border into Peru on November 2. The border crossing was both chaotic and smooth. Peru and Ecuador have wisely left the border formalities back from the actual border itself to allow the people who live on the border free access to both sides. The town of Huaquillas spans both sides of the border (known as Aguas Verdes on the Puruvian side). The border itself is a dry river, perhaps 100 metres wide, spanned by a 2-lane bridge. The approach road to the bridge is all but impossible to drive as it is covered by vendors of all manner of goods, with tents set up right on the road. What is not obliterated by the tents is ... read more

South America » Ecuador October 30th 2009

A reminder you can find the associated photos at my Flickr Site Ecuador is starting to feel like my second home. I have met so many wonderful people and made friends that returning here is such a joy. If you have kept up with my blogs, I spent January to March 2009 in Otavalo, Ecuador studying Spanish, and flying with the gliding club in Ibarra on weekends (Ibarra is about 20 kms north of Otavalo). I was fortunate to make many good friends with the club, and I renewed these friendships for my first two weeks in Ecuador on this trip. This trip I stayed in a hotel in Ibarra. As circumstances worked out, I was able to fly some mid-week days as well, so over the course of two weeks I flew 17 flights and ... read more

South America October 8th 2009

Just a reminder that the accompanying pictures can be found at my Flickr site. Well, getting my bike shipped with the group didn´t quite work out as planned; it actually worked out better without them. By the time I got to talk to the group leaders, they had finished their shipping paperwork and didn´t want to do me as well. Couldn´t blame them. The first thing the next morning, I went to the cargo terminals at the Tocuman airport, and talked to Girag directly about shipping my bike. Within an hour, I had left their office by cab with my bike to be shipped to Bogota the first thing the next morning. In fact, it went on the same flight as the other bikes. I took the cab back to the airport passenger terminal and bought ... read more

Central America Caribbean September 28th 2009

Just a reminder you can find my pictures at my Flickr site Monterrico was not that far from the border with El Salvador, and I was at the border by about 8:30. The usual hoard of Tramitadores was waiting for me. Again I did most of the work, talking to people and let various people point me in the right direction, the crossing was mostly painless. In El Salvidor I drove the CA-2 highway that follows the coast south. It is really a beautiful highway with large trees arching overhead in many places. It reminded me of some places along the Stanley Park Drive in Vancouver, except this went on for long distances. A series of tunnels allow the highway to follow the coast without lots of curves. I was startled by how dark the first ... read more

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