Publicado por Miquel Silvestre en 12:09 |
I like to run every morning. These trips across the World have given me the chance of doing it in very special places. I crossed the Golden Gate, I ran in the Namib Desert, in the Grand Canyon, along the Indic Ocean, in the wild forest of Slovenia, in the Jungle of Tanzania, beside the Danub, the Mississipi, the Jordan or the Bosphours… but today I did it on the same way Jesus carried the Cross to the Golgota, on the Via Dolorosa. Yesterday I reached the very heart of the Old City of Jerusalem, Muslim Quarter. As you know, the Holy City is split into four quarters: the Christian, the Armenian, the Jewish and the Muslim. Via Dolorosa from the Getsemany to the Holy Sepulchre is in the Muslim one. I rode the most narrow streets, full of people and stores and had night in a youth hostel. This morning I woke up early as usual, about 6: 30 and at 7 I was running to the Mount of the Olives, from there I ran the Via Dolorosa hearing my steps on the ground and triying to feel his sorrow and pain. I stopped at the Holy Sepulchre door because I was wearing shorts and that suit was not nice to visit the Christ tomb. As I read in a Ortodox Monastery in Syria: decency is wisdom. So I came back to the hostel, had a shower, wore long trousers and took the Little Fat to go there. I almost put her into the Church but the police stopped us at the door. I lighted two candles: one for the whole World and the other one for the people I love.
Then I went to Belen, in the Palestinian Territories. Some people had told me it was impossible to go in with a motorcycle, but in fact no one stopped us till we arrived to Bethelem. There, guys wearing green uniforms and carrying AK 47, Palestinian soldiers of Al Fatah, said the city is closed. They checked my passport and asked why I wanted to go in. “Because there is the Natividad Church and I want to pray” They said it was dangerous, bla, bla, bla. But finally one showed to me his phone. There was he on a bike. Another biker. We are everywhere. They let me go into the city and reached the Jesus Christ birthplace. I went into the Catholic part and asked for confession. One Northamerican priest asked me how long since my last confession. “About 20 years” I said. He surprised and I continued: “But now I feel Jesus loves me and I do not why. I am just a normal guy with a lot of defects, but someone is really taking care of me and I just want to say thanks for all the happiness and the luck I had in life and in my trips. It could not be just by chance. There are angels helping me. I saw them from Johanesburg to Samarkand, from Beirut to San Diego”. He said it was impossible for him to give me absolution but he will give me his blessing. I think it is Ok because 20 years are nothing only in the tango songs.
Keep being good.
Publicado por Miquel Silvestre en 22:28 |
I am in Jerusalem. We are in Holy Land. The pilgriminate is about to conclude. But let me tell you what was going on the last few days. I went back to Amman through the mountains and beside the Dead Sea. It was like feeling in a desert dream with no ending. The Dead Sea is warm and salty, and is below the Sea Level. Nothing grows around it, even urban developments. That area is militarised since the Peace Agreement with Israel in 1994. Too many check points and soldiers. One could see the Promise Land in the horizon. There is also the Jesus Baptism Site. Beyond the barbed wire. I went there and they said what I hate most to hear: “You can not go on the motorcycle. Visitors must take a shuttle”. But Little Fat is not a motorcycle. So as you can guess I started to argue and trying to convince them that since she got blessed in Uzbekistan, she deserves to see the Baptism Site. Finally, they agreed because one Muslim guy understood perfectly my goal and helped me to explain properly to the Security Boss. Then I took a guide on the back seat and we crossed the gate.
The Baptism Site was rediscovered in 1991 and there were three churches built one over the former one. The real place was not in the Jordan River but in a little spot full of green water. Something really modest and poor. The guide said to me: “when the visitors leave, you can go there and take some real baptism water, because what they usually take is Jordan water”. So I did it and then I poured it over Little Fat. Then we go happily to the border 100 km north. No problems at the Jordan Check Points all over the way. Just been stopped once. The main part of the times they waved at us. Strange manner of protecting one of the hottest borders in the World.
I stopped on the bridge between the two countries to take a picture of the river and then I saw myself surrounded by three young guys wearing caps, sunglasses and M16. The whole fucking Mossad. I showed them the innocent picture and my pintoresc Spanish Passport and they didn’t bother me any more. When I was waiting to be checked till the teeth one of them confessed he also was a biker. He rode a Kawasaki Ninja. I told him he was too young to die on a sport bike. Crossing the border was not difficult, just took long time. Passport control. They asked how many Arab Countries one has been to. “Almost all” I said. “Have you been to Morocco?” “Yes, It’s near my home”, I replied. “Do you carry guns?” “A Swiss knife and a mad brain”, I answered. “It is Ok; you can go and welcome Israel”. So here we are.
Publicado por Miquel Silvestre en 21:36 |
I love wordos. But sometimes I think the real stuff are the images. These one tell by themselves. If you can come to Jordan, do it.
Publicado por Miquel Silvestre en 12:59 |
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the most fabulous desert country I have ever ridden. I thought Namib was the perfect riding spot for a dirt fun, but Jordan is much better. There are very few people, great sceneries, good roads, the most wide range of ancient ruins and unsealed paths every where. The desert changes continuously, some times is flat and sandy, some times is hilly and stoned. It never tires. Even the weather is better than expected. I was ready for 50 degrees but the wind is cool and I have to wear my jacket. People are friendly but do not bother you. Perhaps too much used to deal with tourist, but there is still real hospitality. The only problem is the price. Jordan is not cheap. The local Dinar worth more than euro or dollar. The cleverest and most educated people in Arab Region do not have petrol but make the money flow into their pockets.
And Petra, of course. There are many Romans temples, Arab Castles and Crusades fortress, but the gold medal is for the Nabatean Capital. Is not near. I had to ride to the very south, close to the Red Sea, to go into Petra. There were also herds of tourists living their Middle East Adventure in Buses with Air Conditioner. Perhaps more beautiful is the coming back to Amman beside the Dead Sea, with the Holy Land in the other shore. Maybe tomorrow be there. Maybe tomorrow Jerusalem.
Publicado por Miquel Silvestre en 12:06 |
Lebanon is a small country but with the widest differences. Beirut is a turistic destiny for the Gulf Arabs. They are rebuilding the city from its ashes but doing the prices rise so high. The real currency is Mr. Dolar. Everything has two prices, one in thousands of Lebanese Liras and the other in $. Getting room in August is very hard issue, but again I was lucky. Yesterday happened to me the same that happened before in Johanesburg or Kazakhstan. When I was about desperate because not finding place to rest and getting dark, an angel approached to me. It was a Lebanese guy who rode Europe in a GS 1200. He recommended me to go another hotel. I didn´t expect finding room because I searched dozens of hotels with no success. But in that hotel, they had one. It was untidy because the guest left at evening. Better for me. I got a good discount in the very expensive city of Beirut.
Anyway, today I have ridden to Beeka Valley not far from the capital. What I can say is the Lebanese drivers are the worst in World. In all my trips I have not seen something similar. It is a real chaos and no one takes care. Thousands of soldiers on the road but no Highway Patrol. You can do what you want. They cross the motorway, do not use turn lights, overtaking wherever wanted and going as fast as engine can do. Of course, bikes will loose in that game and I am so over conscious. But the Bekaa Valley is really great and beautiful. Between two mountains range lies a soft flat land full of olive trees. But is so weird how human landscapes changes in few kms. I am in a hotel in Zhale, which is the biggest catholic city in an Muslim country, but just 35 km going north in the same valley is Baalbek, where are amazing Romans ruins. There is Hizbola territory. The souvenir sellers offer the western tourist Hizbola T Shirts. Too much death exaltation there to feel my self comfortable.
Tomorrow, back to Syria and trying to arrive Amman.
Publicado por Miquel Silvestre en 13:19 |
After the chaos in the Syrian border I reached Lebanon. The dirtiest roads I´ve even seen. The worst drives I ´ve ever suffered. But the most beautiful beaches. Beirut. So rare city. The smell of the war is still here. Everything looks normal, animated, but when I saw people in their fifties I know they were living under the shells. There are a lot of chek points on the road. And they are real chek points with armed soldiers and tanks and all the military staff.
But the city is like a big party: money, shops, luxury, beaches, Ferraris and mini skirts. So weird scenery after the hard Arab way in Syria with lots of women under the black veil. In Syria I visited an old Crusade Fortres, Crak of the Knights, on the top of a mountain and some Christians towns. I prayed in the Monastery of Saint George, an Ortodox church from the V century. There a mature couple saw the Little Fat and asked me about my trips. They were Christians. The woman could speak to me freely and had her own opinion. Islam is a good religion and a better way of feeling and acting. Most of the Muslim I met from Uzbekistan to Lebanon were really good people, much better than the ones who live in Western World, but women do not exist at all. It should change. They are the half of the Humanity and they have the right to say and decide the half.
Anyway, Marc and I split this morning. We ´ll met in Jerusalem in few days. We were talking at night about live (something very usual among travellers, especial people) and when he asked me if I miss home I said my home is now me and my plugs. I travel with very little luggage. 10 kg is what I need because the most heavy staff you can see on the bike are tools and camping equipment. But I have few important devices to charge everyday: laptop, mobil phone, Ipod and camera. And few important routines to keep: filling my termo at night with hot water, running in the morning for 30 minutes, drink some beers at night while writing these mails and find a socket for my plugs. If I find the socket and keep my routines, I will feel comfortable even in the hardest desert, I will feel at home. Everything else change but not me and my plugs. They are my circumstances. I know know the less you need, the richer you are. After these 15 months travelling I feel the most rich on Earth just with a socket, few beers, petrol and a place to sleep.
Keep better today than yesterday.