. . . LAND ROVER OVERLAND EXPEDITION

. . . AROUND THE WORLD 2001/02
     
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Africa 1999
Around-the-World 2001/02
 

The Team

Jeff Willner
1. Start: Recipe for Adventure
2. Zimbabwe: Hyperinflation
3. Namibia: Southern Circuit
4. South Africa: Circuit 2
5. Zambia/Malawi: Sketches
7. Kenya: Bandit Country
8. Ethiopia: Diary
9. Ethiopia: Border Run
10. Sudan: Across the Sahara
11. Egypt: Cape to Cairo
12. Jordan/Syria: Sept. 11th
13. Turkey: Hospitality
14. Bulgaria/Romania/ Hungary
15. Slovakia/Austria/Poland
16. The Baltics & Russia
17. Scandinavia
18. Western Europe
19. Brazil: Clearning Customs
20. Argentina: Revolution
21. Argentina: To Ushuaia
22. Patagonia Disaster
23. Buenos Aires Beautiful
24. Uruguay: Beaches
25. Chile: Expedition Life
26. Bolivia: Atacama
27. Peru: Transit
28. Galapagos: Gorgeous
29. Ecuador: Jungle Run
30. Knifepoint
31. Dubai: Lay over
32. Singapore/Malaysia
33. Thailand: Hospitality
34. Cambodia: Ankor Wat
35. Vietnam: Hanoi & Halong
36. Laos: Back to Basics
37. China: Beijing Tour
38. China: Shanxi
39. China: Western Province
40. China: Tibet
41: Nepal: Mountains
42. India: Driving Struggle
43. Pakistan: Dodging War
44. Iran: Overcharging
45. End: One Last Laugh

Sally DeFina
1. Cape Town: Robben Island
2. Zanzibar: Mike & I
3. Kenya: African Driving School
4. Sudan: Mud Crossing
5. Patagonia: Goodbye Max
6. Malaysia: Mike Update
7. Thailand: Ko Phangan
8. Cambodia: Phnom Penh
9. Vietnam: By Train
10. Laos: Vang Vieng
11. China: Meet Mr. Chen

Jody Finver
1. Start: Surreal Solipse
2. Great Zimbabwe
3. Brokedown in Kenyan Desert
4. Egypt: So Should I Hyphenate
5. Poland: Home is Where the Truck Is

Gulin Akoz
1. Start: Bits and Pieces
2. Zambia: Diaries
3. Egypt: Africa Memories
4. Turkey: For Your Information
5. The Team and The Bean
6. Somebody Else's Child
7. On My Own
8. Long Lost Memories of Childhood
9. The Tree and the Boy
10. Jealous
11. The Aftermath

 

Panamerican 2003
Various Trips
Planning an Expedition

 

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#10 - Jealous
Gulin Akoz, Dec. '01

(Paranagua-Buenos Aires)

In a conversation Jeff had said “This trip is not about finding the right woman.”

Well… I had thought this trip was about finding the right woman or the right man.

They say marriage is not about finding the right person but being the right person. I believe there is something like a right person, but yes, you have to be the right person as well. I define the function of relationships as

f(x+y) < 1 if x, y < 1
f(x+y) > 2 if x, y = 1

To translate this… if you are not a whole person in the first place, then you won’t become one when you are with someone. It will only enlarge the void within you. On the other hand, if you have a strong character and your feet step(?) firm on the ground then you’ll be complete and together you can make more than 2. I dare anyone to say that 1 plus 1 does not make 6! :) It’s my function, I can define it however I like :)

I thought that this trip was more than just a round-the-world challenge. Thought it was about rediscovering yourself, who you are and what you really want to do with your life. Thought it was about getting lost to find anew. Thought it was about learning from other people and cultures, getting rid of all your prejudices so that you can build a new self with 32 or whatever years of experience.

Growing within, deeper into the ground...
Growing without, higher into the sky.
I can hear Jeff saying “Big words from the Turkish girl”
Yes, I confess :) I like big words.
----------

I force myself to get up from bed. After all, I didn’t come here to sleep. I’m going to Uruguay.

I head to the port. There is a ferry at 9 to Colonia. It is 22 greens (USD :) round-trip. Both of the guide books we had said it was 33 one way, that there was 8 $ tax and all countries needed a visa. Well, I did not! I buy my ticket and go through immigration in 10 minutes. And no tax. Never trust everything you read, always check for yourself before giving up.

I meet an American photographer, Daniel Reilly. He says “I have to go to Colonia every 3 months.” ??! Have to?? Oh, because his tourist visa expires. He’s been living in Buenos Aires for 8 months now. He looks at my business card. “So you’re a photographer, too?” he asks. Well… I commemorated myself as one :) My university degree says I’m a mechanical engineer, but that’s only a title and a diploma is just a piece of paper :)

We go on chatting. He explains that Argentina is in a state of alert now. People were fed up with the ineptitude of the government, they were complaining of substandard living conditions, they asked supermarket owners to give them food, the owners said no and they started looting!! Now the strange things that I did not understand yesterday start to make sense. So that was why we were stopped by the police at the highway and told to be careful. The hurried men throwing things from the truck were looters! So that was what all the commotion was about last night. A long crowd was marching on the main avenue with pots and pans in their hands, drumming and clapping.

2.5 hours go by quickly, the ferry reaches the shore. I ask the tourist information if I can go to Montevideo for the day. No, it’s too far away to go for the day. Okay then I’ll go and see Colonia.

Colonia del Sacramento was founded in 1680. The Portugese and the Spanish fought over this marvellous land. It occupies a strategic position right across Buenos Aires.

Barrio Historica, the historical center, is only four blocks from the port. I first grab a big pastry with something like spinach in it. Yummm, it’s tasty! I walk on the cobblestone streets, every single building here seems to have a different story to tell, the run-down car left on the side of the street brings back the 50’s, I go to the feria of town (the marketplace) and buy old coins, then visit Museo del Azulejo which has been overlooking the river for 300 years now.

Walking along the beach I stop every 10 meters to take photos of children playing in the sand, swimming, crying. The girls here like their photos being taken.

5 km to the west from Barrio Historica is Real de San Carlos. At the beginning of the century an Argentinian entrepreneur Nicolas Mihanovich invested 1.5 million USD for a 10,000 seat Plaza del Toros (bullring), 3000 seat jai alai fronton (jai alai is a Latin American game played with baskets attached to the arm to catch and throw the ball), a racecourse and a hotel-casino. All that is left to day is the hippodrome. The rest is… ruins. And there’s a small two-room paleontoligical museum in town which has big turtle shells.

I take a different road on the way back and walk through the forest. A woman says “Good afternoon,” smiling. And the thing to note is that you cannot tell I’m a tourist here. People are just friendly. In a guide book it says:

One of the first Portugese navigators to come to this place was Pero Lopes de Souza. In his diary he wrote “This is the most beautiful land that I never could have imagined to see.” A Venetian at the service of Castilla, Sebastian Caboto had the same impressions. But the native Indians were so hostile that he soon abandoned his plans of construction. Now, 500 years later, Uruguay has the same natural beauties but something has changed. The natives are proud to receive visitors, to make conversation and if possible to drink a cup of mate (tea made from an evergreen tree) with them. Here, people still have time to chat, to observe the fields, the sunset, the rivers, the sand and the sea…

Yes, that seems to be correct. Two old couples tete-a-tete on the street, through the flowers in the window I see a man taking a siesta. Life is so tranquil.

I go back to the historical center. Now it’s dessert time. I sit by the water under the big tree beneath the lighthouse and watch the sunset.

Walking to the port, I feel tired but content. I’ve had such a pleasant, quiet day in Uruguay. I’m so jealous of myself, jealous of all the friends I have, jealous of all the places I’ve been to, jealous of the photos I’ve taken, jealous of the people I’ve met. I could have been more jealous if I spoke better Spanish!

I say “Okay.. I really cannot go on with this trip!” I’m far too happy! There has to be a limit to everything good. Otherwise how am I going to be satisfied later on? It’s like having to increase the dosage of pills when you use them too often.

Back at the hotel. Jody asks if I went to Montevideo. “No,” I say, “I went to Colonia.”
“So how was Colonia?”
I answer “Better than Montevideo” :)

Jeff says matter of factly, “There was a revolution here.” I know, I watched it on TV on the ferry. “This was the best day on this entire trip,” he says with excitement. Jeff is like a 7 year old boy who has triumphed the evil dragon :) recounting how he had tear gas in his eyes, how he was right in the middle of riot, the revolution, the history…

Now I’m jealous of him! Not literally of course. It’s just that I wish I could have seen it, too. Unfortunately, you cannot be in two places at the same time. I can’t decide which I would have preferred if I knew there was going to be a revolution that day.
I wouldn’t want to give up my peaceful day, but I missed all the action.

It seems like… two contrasting days… both equally perfect!
----

Flashback: As I am walking back to our hotel, through the San Martin Plaza, a question keeps going over and over in my head “How could I be happier? All this is so perfect. How could it be better?”

The wind answers my question… I hear the melodious smell of flowers.

My mind has a different answer… It speaks up to say “All this could be so much better with someone special.”

But at this moment, we are so happy… me and my solitude

Copyright January 1999-2011
All rights reserved - Jeff Willner
Contact: jeffwillner@yahoo.com