Thursday, January 29, 2009

Where´s Jerry Lewis when you need him?

I hope this is my final plea, that everyone who reads this post heeds my words. We are nearing the three month countdown to the big Bike Event here on São Nicolau. Various organizations around the island have pledged their help and we have started the work to organizing the event. Details are still coming in, but the bike race might be the 26 kilometer road from Vila to Tarrafal that has been for the last two years receiving a face lift.

So what do we need, well, BIKE HELMETS. How do we get bike helmets, by people like you supporting this project through your donations and shirt purchases. We have about half the money we need to purchase and ship the helmets here. So, here’s my plea, my down on my knees begging:

Donate $25 right now. Do it, now. If everyone one of you reads this post and donates $25 right now, well, that’d be bring us a whole lot to closer to the amount we need for these helmets. Go to the project page and click the donate now button Did you do it? Did you forget where that link is, Click here (Donation Link). Did you do it now? PLEASE. What’s $25 dollars in this soaring bustling economy? Do it, Click here (Donation Link), help provide for people you might not know, living in a country you might never have heard of, but yet, they are our brothers and sisters too, and like all of us, love to bike ride and need to do it safely. So, Click here (Donation Link).

Does your girlfriend or children need shirts? Sonadei announced they now have shirts available in women’s and children sizes, sweet. So:

Shirt Link: http://www.sonadei.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=86
Messenger Bag: http://www.sonadei.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=33&products_id=90

Are you reading this line right now and still haven’t donated? What’s wrong with you man!!!??
Donate $25 right now, do it do it do it do it do it do it!!!!!

Echo?

Project Info: http://www.sonadei.com/catalog/CVBO.php
Shirt Link: http://www.sonadei.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=86
Messenger Bag: http://www.sonadei.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=33&products_id=90
Donate: Click here (Donation Link) to go right to Pay Pal to donate money

Thanks for your attention.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Australian Adventures

Early on a Saturday morning, with the fog slowly burning off, the roosters roostering away, and the children on their way to school, we headed off towards ports unknown, armed only with a German map of questionable accuracy, 10 liters of water and the hope that in two days time we would reach Carriçal, the Shangri-La of São Nicolau.

It didn’t take long to realize that hiking with a 5 liter container of water on your back was not going to be an enjoyable way to spend the next 7 hours. But as there weren’t going to be any natural springs to quench our thirst, we hefted the water with us. Our first stop of interest was Port de Lapa, the original settlement on the island. Located right on the beach, it was a great place to live, and it also turned out to be an easy place for that most hated and feared of all pirates, the Dread Pirate Sir Francis Drake to bombard. So the people left, but the houses, maybe about 5, remain. After some water and some bread, we were off again.

Ahh, the Germans. On the map, it looked like a nice red line to which we could follow. But a two hour detour alongside the scraggly cliffs taught us otherwise. So we nearly made our way back to Porto de Lapa before heading off in the right direction. Not being used to hiking with a heavy pack, our pace slowed and slowed, till it seemed the only thing keeping us going was the hurricane force winds pushing us. And then, an oasis appeared.

Morre Alto has seen better days. From far off, it looked like a nice little town, painted houses, cows a grazing, goats a goating. But when we get there, all the houses had been abandoned. Seems like the well had dried up, literally. So, being good little PCV’s, we broke into one of the abandoned houses and made it our home for the night. Excluding the mice and the house shaking winds, I slept like a baby. A baby who wakes up every fifteen minutes and wakes up cranky.

Day 2 and out sights were set on Carriçal. Once again, the map made it look straight forward, and again they had a nice red line showing the way. Hour after hour, we lost, found, lost, thought we found, and lost again the trail. And the trail wasn’t even a trail, but an animal path. At one point, a descent of 100 meters over loose volcanic rocks seemed the point of giving up, and yielding our bodies to the soil of Cape Verde.

But lo, off in the distance, our eyes set sight on that glorious prize, that inaccessible spot on the horizon, Carriçal. So again, after 7 hours of hiking, we reached our goal. And then we made a new goal, to get some food. We hit up a loja, got a beer, and enquired about water and dinner. Water, and later dinner, came from a store further along the road closer to the beach. The beach in Carriçal is at the end of a long ribeira, but a ribeira unlike any other. It is full, chock full, of trees. Palm trees and Accacia trees, it was an amazing and beautiful site to see. Along the coast white sea birds blabbered away in the tree tops.

Dinner was spaghetti in a small bedroom/kitchen/living room. Our hostesses served us well, with the hot filling food and some freezing cold juice. They were even making some cuzcus (a dry cake made from corn or yucca flour, steam cooked), which turned out to be awful. We spent an hour or two there, chatting with our new friends, until it got dark and thoughts of tomorrow’s hike filled our heads. After listening to some locals play guitar and hitting a few ponches, we headed off to the forest where we were sleeping underneath the canopy of palm trees. And then the biggest grasshopper to ever live on Earth landed on my leg.

This place was full of grasshoppers. Uggg. I think one even bite me, I’m not sure. So once again, I slept like a baby. The next morning I even nearly cried when I stepped on a thorn from the Accacia tree that went through my flip flop and went into my foot. Damn nature. Our days hike was to take us from Carriçal to Juncalinho. We had been told 2 hours, had heard from others about 5 hours, and so assumed it wouldn’t be either of these.

Our packs much lighter, we stormed the trail, 18 km, in 4 hours. Going from coast to coast, south to north, we had crossed the island. And when we got into town, lo and behold, a car was going to Vila in 30 minutes. Well, I’ll be a horse’s kazoo.

Back in Vila, after some fried catchupa, I made my way back to Cachaço, and officially ended the great walkabout of 2009. So there you have it boys and girls. Be on the look out for an announcement of a surprise project that according to some people has all the known modern world a buzzing.

Till then, be well, and walk with peace.