Here are some photos of my world tour I did from 2007-2009. In chronological order.
Here are a few shots from Bolivia and Peru. These were taken in the Altiplano, the Bolivian highlands, about 12,000 feet. You can see how the sun has burned their faces.
An old woman weaving. These people are descended from the Incas or Quechua natives and still speak the ancient languages.
I joined a group to ride “The World’s Most Dangerous Road” from La Paz to Coroico, Bolivia. Forty miles downhill. Thrilling and little scary at times.
I took a boat ride onto Lake Titicaca in Peru to visit the Uru tribe, people who live on islands of floating reeds. I met this girl there selling hand woven crafts.
I visited Machu Piccu in Peru. Machu Picchu means “Old Peak” in Quechua. It was built around 1450, probably by the Inca ruler Pachacutec as a summer home (hey, even Inca kings had to go somewhere to get away from it all). It was never found by the Spanish and was left undisturbed for 400 years before Hiram Bingham, an American historian, ”discovered” it in 1911.
A couple kids I made friends with in a small town in the Peruvian highlands.
Here I am in the Peruvian highlands at the highest point of my trip, about 4500 meters, or 14,500 feet altitude. It wasn’t my best day. Cold, windy and snowy.
Once out of the mountains I made it to the west coast where it was sunny and warm. In the town of Nazca I hired a guy to take me up the world’s highest sand dune (about 4000 feet) to try out sandboarding. It was a blast and I managed not to kill myself.
In Cali, Colombia I tried out a chivas bus. You pay $10 and you get a tour around the clubs and salsatecas of Cali in a bus. There´s a bar on the bus and music, so lots of dancing and carrying on. It is basically a party bus, a poor man´s limousine. There were about twenty people on the bus, including a bunch of kids who adopted me. They were amused at this old gringo trying to salsa dance, but I got a few lessons. Here are two of my salsa teachers.
Cycling is tough work, so a rest every now and then is required. Here I am taking a breather on the beach in Cartagena enjoying a nice cool coco loco.
There are no roads between Colombia and Panama so I had to hitch a ride on a sailboat for a couple days. I got dropped off at a fantasic place called the San Blas islands, home to the interesting Kuna Yala tribe. It was peaceful and quiet. I camped on the beach for a few days.
A local fishing boat used by Kuna fishermen.
Some of the Kuna family who lived on the island. They cooked meals for us and had a small shop. They charged me $1 per night to camp there, including meals.
Continuing north, I made it to the Nicaraguan coast and stayed in this nice hotel for a day or two. Not much to do but relax in a hammock and watch the housekeeper do the linens.
One of the many colorful churches in Central America.
Typical street scene in Central America. I Think this was Leon, Nicaragua.
I attended a soccer game while in northern Honduras. While there I snapped this shot of a young spectator.
After a quick trip home I flew to Japan to continue the trip. Here are some characters in the Shibuya district of Tokyo.
Everything is crammed together in Japan. Consequently they have a lot of mirrors so you don’t back your car into someone. I could not resist a goofy self-portrait.
I took a ferry to Qingdao in China. The eastern part of the country was jam packed full of people but the west was more sparse. Here I am after a tough day with my new friend, a persistent and slightly annoying Amway salesman.
I rode for a bit on the Tibet-Qinghai plateau, a high altitude plain inhabited by many Tibetan monks.
A young Tibetan boy, Qinghai province.
Western China is mostly desert so managing water was crtitical. Here I am at the end of the day with a typical supply of liquids I had to carry.
The sun beating down, with no shade in sight. Temperatures reached over 120 deg F frequently.
Camping on the edge of the Gobi desert.
I was eating lunch in a small cafe when this guy rode up on a motorcycle with a sheep strapped to the back. He proceeded to lay the beast on the ground and slit its throat. I lost my appetite.
Hanging out with the police in Xinjiang province. These guys were ethnic Uyghurs, who lived mainly in Xinjiang.
Some photos of Central Asia. Here I am in Kyrgyzstan, about to pass through a tunnel at the top of a high mountain pass.
Some kids selling koumys, fermented mare’s milk, by the side of the road in eastern Kyrgyzstan. I bought some but it tasted awful.
Nargiza–a girl I met in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.
Some people I met in western Kyrgyzstan. One spoke German so we could communicate on a basic level.
A couple old boys in western Kyrgyzstan. The one on the left is wearing a kolpak, the traditional Kyrgyz hat.
A young girl I became friends with. Western Kyrgyzstan.
Some of these guys spoke English so I ended up hanging out with them one night. As you can see the Kyrgyz like to drink.
Selling apples in the market–Uzbekistan.
School kids goofing off in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Woman selling nan bread, Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Mosque and Medressa (Muslim school) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
Old woman and girl, Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
Weird architecture in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
After Central Asia I took a ferry across the Caspian Sea to Baku, Azerbaijan and from there cycled to Georgia. Here is a shot of a woman lighting a candle in a church in Tbilisi.
This girl helped me when I got lost on the Tbilisi subway.
After Georgia I biked south through Turkey. I love baklava so Turkey was heaven for me. I pigged out daily.
After being attacked by some of their dogs at a military compound, these Turkish soldiers invited me in for tea.
In the city of Diyarbakir, home to many Kurds in eastern Turkey.
Mother and child in the old part of Diyarbakir
Cementary at night, Diyarbakir.
Muslim woman with children, southern Turkey.
After Turkey I passed through Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Here I am in Damascus after a wonderful hammam. What is a hammam? Well, first you sit in a sauna for bit then go to a steam room and wash yourself. Then some guy scrubs you with an abrasive mitten that feels like he will scrape your skin off. After another bath you get a massage. Then you bathe again before being draped in towels where you relax on some cushions with a cup of tea. When you are done you feel squeaky clean and totally relaxed.
I spent a couple days in Beirut, Lebanon. Here is the skyline at sunset before a storm.
In Jordan I went swimming in the Dead Sea at sunset. Here is a shot. You can see the salt build-up on the rocks. I got in trouble with the military for this. See my blog for details.
Felafel vendor in southern Jordan. I lived off of felafels for about a week there.
Southern Jordan. I arrived in one town just as school was letting out. A crowd of 10-20 girls surrounded me, staring and giggling. Surely I was the first western bicycle tourist they had seen. But when I pulled out my camera they shrieked and scattered like the wind. I managed to get a couple to stay still for a second so I could snap this photo.
I camped a lot in Jordan. Here is one campsite next to some camel bones.
Shadows in the desert, southern Jordan.
I stayed in Wadi Rum for a few days. This is where Lawrence of Arabia had his headquarters while fighting the Turks in WWI. In this photo I love the way the camels are silhouetted against the sunlit rocks behind.
From Aqaba in Jordan I caught a ferry to the Sinai peninsula in Egypt and then made my way to Cairo. In this photo I am visiting the Dead City, where squatters have moved in and taken residence in the old mausoleums. This huge guy showed us around, for some baksheesh of course.
It is unusual to see women unveiled in Cairo. It is not as extreme as other Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia or Iran though, The women just need to cover their hair and necks.
The pyramids of Giza. They are 4500 years old. An amazing sight.
Unable to obtain a visa for Sudan, I was forced to fly to Ethiopia. I spent a few days in Addis Ababa before cycling south for a few weeks to the Kenyan border. Here is a shot on the road of some guys swilling tej, an Ethiopian brew made from mead and honey.
Boy playing in an old tire in southern Ethiopia.
Typical family and their dwelling, southern Ethopia.
Mother and child, southern Ethiopia.
Some kids who stopped by while took a short break, southern Ethiopia.
I saw this woman (on left) by the side of the road and paid her a couple dollars to give me a tour of her hut. It was pretty basic: dirt floor, mud walls, dark and smokey from a fire inside. She lived there with her mother and children, shown here.
Next, I rode through Kenya. In the north I visited several tribal villages, where natives still live and dress in their traditional ways. In this village, called Gigi, people of the Rendille and Samburu tribes lived together. Here are a couple Samburu women and their babies.
In the Rendille village of Kargi, girls sit for hours at a well getting water. There was a drought in the area at the time so the wells were nearly dry.
With some Rendille people in Kargi. I am wearing a traditional kukoi which is a lot more comfortable than trousers. Kargi is in the desert where temperatures easily topped 100 deg F.
A young Rendille goat herder, northern Kenya.
Southern Kenya is home to many Maasai tribespeople. Near the border with Tanzania I met these Maasai women who were selling crafts and jewelry.
Maasai woman, southern Kenya. The Maasai don’t usually like to have their photo taken, but if you pay them a dollar or two they will normally allow it.
Kids fetching water in western Kenya.
After Kenya I rode through Uganda. Here is a nice shot of a guy harvesting tea leaves near Kampala.
Fishing boats in Lake Bunyonyi, southwest Uganda.
My last stop was Tanzania. The north is again home to many Maasai. I stopped in one remote village to buy some food. All they could offer me was a freshly slaughtered goat leg. Here I am waiting for it to roast by the fire.
Maasai warrior, northern Tanzania.
Small child and house in a Maasai village.
Two Maasai warriors I met on the road.
Baby nursing, northern Tanzania.
Family doing chores in front of their house, eastern Tanzania.
Typical sight in Tanzania: women walking with bundles on their heads.
On the island of Zanzibar, eastern Tanzania. Fishing is big business there. Here is a typical shot of a guy selling seafood at the local market.
Zanzibar is mainly Muslim, so you see more girls and women with veils or scarves covering their hair.