Page 4 of pn76 Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Japan » Hiroshima » Onomichi March 10th 2017

Toyocho station, our neighbourhood train line, was the start of the southern leg of the trip. Dragging my backpack/ roller bag over manicured and paved streets was a noisy exercise, and P2 carting strongly by back, we had generous transition times for the Otemachi connection to hectic Tokyo station. The facially masked brigade swarmed past us by Mama-san bike, curious glances, or generally, fixated on their phones. In the throes of the underground rail road works, the rabbit warren gave way to organised chaos. We found our place on the shinkansen bound for Shin-Kobe and then eventually, the old town centre of Kurashiki. A weekday, the train filled up to the brim by Shinagawa, and as efficient timing has it here, we connected to leg number 2. Kurashiki put on breezy cool but fine weather, and ... read more
Kurashiki canals

Asia » Japan » Nagano March 5th 2017

It takes arriving in a country so familiar to bring out familiar language and flying into Narita for another Nippon break the high school learnings of 1980s New Zealand came out. Nibanme no ryokoo. A 7th trip. I wanted to say viaje de numero siete, as my newly acquired Spanish skill merged with the old, forming a unique combination of Spananese. 11 hours of sustained sitting never really passes fast, but deciding to pay a little more for 2 cattle class seats aside at the absolute butt of the plane was a brilliant idea, one of many, from P2. Swift immigration, no declarations (save the 5cm plus blade picnic knife for another place, so our research found..…) and validating our JR passes before leaving made our eventual arrival at our Narita hotel near to midnight NZ ... read more
Myoko kogen
16s ... our reoccurring number

North America » Mexico April 25th 2016

April 20-24 Completing the presentation and voluntary work marked a milestone in my itinerary and to be welcomed with open arms for a potential future visit as a volunteer a heartening gesture of my efforts. Our last night in Puebla was had in the historic centre. We were seated facing the lit cathedral, gloriously radiant at night and a befitting structure it is, in place of its previously intended location, Mexico City The camarero at a high end establishment approached. Resplendent in suit and a bow tie. "Quieres tomar?" Unbeknown to me, chinese whispers from camarero to camarero resulted in one of them later breaking into a birthday song, fit for NZs time zone (a day early locally) Chaac, the God of rain, then threw a major tantrum. The heavens opened for a good electrical storm, ... read more
La Iglesia de Santiago and ruins, Mexico city
Police presence everywhere
Guadelupe virgin church

North America » Mexico April 19th 2016

Merida would be seen by bike over the next two days, so was my intent Kicking off on Saturday at a tardy 8:15am, as early as the bike hire shop on Paseo Montejo opened, was nonetheless a sweaty business. Amongst the old shack of city bikes, in varying states of function, was a comfy blue seater. Without the basket, I could well look like I was exercising, a sight seldom seen here so far. Navigating by basic "left here right there then straight ahead" instruction, I got out of town via avenida Yucatán, blending with highway traffic for a few kilometres before peeling off left towards Conkal. Long straights of tail wind cycling ensued. There was no way I'd conk out on way to Conkal at that rate. Yet returning, visiting a second basic village named ... read more
View to Uxmal
House of Montejo family, Merida - in state of refurbishment

North America » Mexico April 13th 2016

Trinidad, of Cuba, and nothing to do with Tobago, was almost an Antigua blueprint Using a free 'contingency day' to wander the cobbled streets, I chanced on some unique espresso cups and woven goods, yet passed on the embroidered doilies and cane products, made locally. Señor banana accosted me - did I have one CUC? Now that's mind power - the bananas coming to me. No, I had not one CUC, but 50 centavos, si! He rid himself of half the bunch of ladies fingers, and once the booze market sold me some more agua, it was a fine time using slow internet over happy hour at the Iberostar with Lisa. How things did improve that day. An evening swim topped it off, whilst locals promenaded La Boca at sundown, with skimpy attire, walking canes, and ... read more
Trinidad number plate
Water blasting?

Central America Caribbean » Cuba April 10th 2016

The morning of the 5th dawned with our stomachs in a moderate state and tolerant of the local coffee we could brew in our room. Yet at moderate as the stomachs were, the parting was difficult after such an incredible holiday together, and with swift transfers at the departure gate, both of us went in our respective directions. COPA airlines, a major in these parts, were my carrier for this flight, about my 12th in this voyage. Flight food slightly better than Avianca, ham and cheese made its appearance again, to be followed by something local, a Mexican burrito! In several hours I was at Panama airport, striding the long corridors, hooking into free Wi-Fi and fortunate enough that I could use it to check in with imminent Cuba planning. Last minute changes to my itinerary ... read more
Racking up
Villa Carmen with Adrian and staff

Leaving Carrillo beach was difficult for the clean, clear, medusa-free water (so we were told), and far enough away from the resident crocodiles in the mangroves to not bother us and the few others there we encountered. Alex, our trusty driver from our Rincon de la Vieja transfer, was efficient in his arrival at 2pm, and in Spanish we conversed over the 6 hours or so it took to reach Manuel Antonio. But for the countless trucks (camiones) on the road carting local rock for shipping from the Caribbean coast, and with several slow patches of driving later until Tarcoles, eventually the scenery gave way to increasingly dense rainforest and a rich red Pacific coast sunset. Dark and feeling tired, we rolled into our wonderful abode, Hotel Villas Lirio, by 8pm and behold, it had two ... read more
Sloth, 3 toed
jesus christ lizard

Rising early on the 26th, Cartagena was just coming light at 6am visible from the 17th floor gymnasium, the Caribbean sea crashing angrily against the sea wall. At the airport by 7.30am, checked in, through customs and on to hat shopping as ordered for sombrero-less P2, my prospects of leaving on the right flight diminished when I got called aside for a random bag check My name, said in curly English by a Spanish announcer in a typical airport muffled manner, was confirmed to be the result of my bag being set aside. Reassured of there being ‘no problem’, I waited and waited with senor Mexicano who luckily could translate better English than I could understand. 1,2,3..then 4,5 people were called ahead of me, and come my turn, the inefficient bag handling authorities took their sweet ... read more
Fruit stalls from San Jose to Arenal
If P2 can, I can! A toucan
Arenal national park

South America » Colombia » Quindío March 24th 2016

It was about my turn to get crook. A grumbling belly mid-night resulted in purging all my lovely dinner from the top end. The Finca Hotel chicken could well have been at fault, yet with such widespread stomach unrest throughout our cycling journey, anything was possible So with gusto and little food I tackled the first bit, a 5km climb from our accommodation back up to the main highway towards Filandia. A steady struggle, my health state was average, and physically pushing on to Filandia through bumpy roads almost sealed the nausea deal. The town square was a quaint hive of activity, and after watching and waiting without food, we again pressed on in a spectacular downhill section, through rows and rows of coffee plantations and banana orchards By lunch, on a roadside rest stop, again ... read more
Loo with a view
The team for our trip (12 to 24 March 2016) on the last day of riding

South America » Colombia » Quindío March 17th 2016

After a solid few days in the highland city of Bogota, leaving behind the damp rooms of our accommodation, it was with anticipation we left for first a salt cathedral, and then on to our flight westwards to the centre of Colombia’s three alpine ranges Packed up, and out the door of Casa Platypus by 8am, the traffic of Bogota rendered our trip slow, giving me time to talk and view photos of Mexico with fellow travellers. Ninety minutes later there and bladders relieved, we entered the underground world of mining religion into salt which was of note in this area of Colombia. Carved deftly, through 2km of passages and 150 metres beneath ground level, elaborate alcoves dedicated to religious purpose promised symbolically the abolishment of sins and cleansing of the dedicated. A large cross of ... read more

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