Sunday, April 17, 2011

Roadside architecture of American South West II

Friday, February 04, 2011

Baptizing the Gun

I rarely read short stories published in The New Yorker. I try, but most of the time I don't like subject, style, or story fails to engage. It takes a couple of sentences written by good writer to suck me in. Very few authors text works on me this way. Baptizing the Gun by Nigerian writers Uwem Akpan did exactly that. I never been to Africa, but after reading first two lines I was felt engulfed with sounds and smells of African roadside. Lagos, 8 million desperate souls megalopolis. I was invisible on the back seat of battered red Volkswagen Beetle driven by main character in addition to his unwanted passenger on a road trip in Nigeria... I kept reading, missed my Subway stop, sign of good writing.

PIETER HUGO Escort Kama. Enugu, Nigeria, 2008

Monday, January 03, 2011

Around the world in... 8 years?

In 2006 I and my brother spent 2 weeks traveling in Burma. It was interesting, but not easy trip. We found that we have to hire car with guide and driver to move around the country. Many places, towns were closed to foreigners and our guide most likely reported about our movement to secret police. He has was kind of stressed  if we getting out of his sight.

While on the road from Bagan to Yangon, we noticed foreigner riding his bicycle loaded with side bags. Not to many foreigners in Burma, seeing one on the bicycle evoke amusement and curiosity. He moved almost as fast as we were going by the old Japanese car on not very good road. By the end of the day, at the hotel we saw bike parked inside. Later we met mysterious traveler. It turns out he was from France. " Tour de France?" - I asked glancing at the bicycle. "No, Tour du Monde."- said man. My jaw dropped.
He was from Normandy, used to work at ship yard and one day just decided just go around the world by bicycle. Just like that. No sponsorship, TV crew or book deal. Hervé LEDUC was traveling since 2004.

We had dinner together. Despite hardships of the road Frenchman was full of energy and very funny dinner companion. He shared with with some his adventure stories. Not long ago he was chased from some Burmese town by local police, because it was off limits for foreigners.
Hervé LEDUC still on the road by this day. He was in France for some time in 2009 because death of his father, and then again, back on the road. I just got a short email from him from China.
Amazing!  What a wonderful way to live life.

Hervé LEDUC. Tour du Monde à Vélo.