Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 2: February 21 2011: Chancay to Huarara (?)

Im so fuckin tired. Too tired to write anything. So Im gonna make this quick. The day was full of ups and downs. Im talking hills and emotions. I skated the first 5 km. Nice roads. Cool weather. I don´t even remember why I stopped skating and started walking. I wasn´t tired. The road wasn´t great but it was skateable. But regardless I did. And out of nowhere came a dog. He wasn´t like other dogs. He didn´t try to attack, didn´t bark. HE just got close to me and started following. Sometimes rubbing against my legs, sometimes walking in between them. This was no dirty stret dog. The 10 o clock heat was killer but he still trotted proudly with his tongue hanging out. I tried to lose him by skating but he didn´t like my faster pace. He would jump infront of me. Not barking or trying to bite my wheels, but to just block me. As if to tell me don´t go too fast, walk with me.

So I did. I wanted to see where this dog would follow me until. At first I didnt mind the walk but then I started to break down. Here I was running away from everything and everyone again. I started to make friends in Lima. I was getting to surf for free and was offered a place to stay for free by one of the locals who let me use his board. But I threw it even though I wanted it. Everything I tried to build in Rhode Island went to waste. I had to start all over again. The realtionship I had with the person I loved the most I almost threw it all away before my trip because I was too stubborn to listen, to stubborn to stay, too focused on my trip to care about her sadness. My parents. My dad told me that I was losing my relationship with them. I proved nothing to myself at the Adrenalina, the only thing I thought I knew how to do. Here I was in the middle of the fucking desert with nothing except a tent, a sleeping bag and my board, with nothing to live for, three years after I lost it all in Ghana. What have I done? Nothing. I didnt even have enough money to fly home when all was done. I wondered why God was protecting me. Even my mind which I once had, I was slowly losing. I am crazy. That I have come to accept and I am on the brink of losing it.

I saw my little dog friend. He was still trotting with a fat smile next to me. He didn´t care where he was going. He just did. I looked at him and I promised myself, that I was going to finish this. And then I was going to go back and finish what I started. I was going to get work done and build a home. I would find my woman and make it with her. No more running away from relationships, from jobs, from life. I was thankful my little perro was there. ¨Thank you little buddy¨ , I said.

When the tears were all shed, I was really starting to feel the heat and at about 1130 me and the dog stopped for some food. Under the shade of a billboard we sat and we split some tuna I had. I told him that I was sorry. I couldn´t walk anymore. I had to skate after we were done eating. He was just happy he tuna cheese and bread.

I found a sugarcane stem I planned on using as a paddle when we were done. Again he tried to stop me from skating but this time I swung my stick at him to scare him and it worked. He still followed until he was too tired. Eventually I lost him. I was sad I did.

The road to Huarara was full of big hills. With every up I accomplished I went down with an infinite amount of hills ahead of me. It was so fucking frustrating because I had no way of telling when it was going to be over, unlike a mountain. Once you get to the top you are at the top. But the constant uphills were a bitch. Finally after one last up I could see a city. It was so much bigger than I thought. I arrived at 330 and got some real Chinese food. I kept moving at 5 trying to find a place to camp but this place was big and sketchy. I would have to make it out of this urban zone to camp but I was too tired to keep skating. Two towns north a policeman stopped me and asked me ¨Donde vas?¨ or where are you going. I said ¨aqui, pero soy mirar por a place to dormir¨ (yes that was my quote)รง

He told me there was a hostel right up ahead. I was uncovered and I wouldnt camp tonight. For 10 soles I would just be happy sleeping on a bed and recharging the iphone.

Day 1: Febraury 20th 2011, Barranco, Lima to Chancay (74 km, 47 mi)

As soon as I put my foot down this morning with my pack on I felt all the stress in my head and the fear in my soul shrink and move down to my feet. With every kick I lost some of each. I was ridiculuosly calm this morning. I wanted to leave at 6 but I ended up sleeping in until 7:00. By the time I left it was 7:30. Had a mango for breakfast, best breakfast ever.

The ride out of Barranco was pretty easy. I knew where to go having done the ride to Lima a couple of days before. The closer I got to Lima the more cars that flooded the road. It was nothing compared to a weekday though. I got out of Lima at about 9:30. On Panamericana norte is where people really started to get angry at me. I didnt take the wild honking serisouly, that was their means of communication. A lot of putas and locos flew by me. And the best part was that I got sprayed by a water gun by two different cars and hit by a water balloon by a third. For some reason none of it got to me. Not even when a bus started honking at me and didnt let go of it until he was so close to me I had to bail on the gravel. Feeling like a man on a mission is a good thing. I stopped at Puente Piedre for a quick snack and got lunch at Ancon, a pretty little beach town. It was about noon. By the time I left Ancon it was 1 and by the time I was back on the highway after getting lost it was 2. I was looking for the Panamerican variante a highway right on the ocean. When I got there is was beautiful. Relatively empty roads with a nice little shoulder. The ocean was on my left and giant sand cliffs on my right. Sunny blue skies and smooth roads. And even though the sun was doing work and I was going up, I started going down real quick with a view of some perfect breaks. I got to Chancay at about 4.

As I sit on this cliff with a beautiful sunset infront of me and waves crashing underneath me, I look back and appreciate syuch a diverse day. I skated shit roads with no shoulders, through a city and barren desert, cliffs and ocean, head and tailwind. Today I had it all and I skated 47 miles. What a great way to start 820 miles.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

DAY -2: February 18th 2011

I was supposed to leave on Thursday, at least that was the date I had randomly chosen. I didn´t. Now I have moved that date to Sunday the 20th. I figured Sunday was not so random. The streets will be quietest on Sunday morning. They´ll be empty, epmtier than any other time.

I have downloaded a map of my route on my phone. The GPS app Motion X GPS is fantastic. I have a terrain and road map of my route. 1320 km or about 820 miles is the official distance. I figure it will take about a month. I would really like to get back to Rhode Island by the beginning of April and really excited to start landscaping again. I do not have a ticket. I have no idea where Im going to leave from or how but that´ll figure itself out. I have no idea what Im going to do in Tumbes, I heard it was a shithole, but usually the best adventures happen in the crappiest places. I cant worry about Tumbes yet, my first stop is a town called Chancay about 78 km north of Barranco in Lima. Thats about 48 miles which is a very ambitious goal for the first day. The minimum of 40 miles a day will still stand (64km). (Distance converter: another reason why the iphone is a handy tool)

I think Im ready to face the headwind. I can´t escape the fact that there will be shit roads. BArren desert is all thats ahead of me with the ocean by my side. I am so excited to sleep by the ocean almost every night.

Terrified is the word I want to use. Its probably the most accurate, but there is just something inside me that is holding my sould prisoner. I tried to let it go, to forget about the trip, cancel the skate but it won´t let me go. The first time turned my life around and here Iam : time to do it all over again

Friday, December 3, 2010

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

Tomorrow another journey begins. I now know that maybe I am not lost. Although I can't see what all this may lead to, I know that I'll understand when its all done. I know that the questions that I don't even have will be answered before I realize what they are. I am following my heart; I know this is what I need to do. I wanted to keep going after San Diego but I knew that I had to work on somethings first. Now that I have done that, I know I am ready and now Peru awaits me!

I am so excited. I have a one way ticket and a $1000 to keep me alive. I have no idea what awaits me but I am ready for it. I can't really speak any Spanish so I am going to have to stick around Lima for a couple to learn the culture and language. After adapting my journey will take me north up the Peruvian coastline on the Pan American highway to Tumbes, a border town with Ecuador. If I manage to stick to my 40 mile minimum per day I should make it in about 30 days. I'll be stopping to surf at Chicamas and Mancora, I hope. Whatever else happens after, happens.

I am bringing a couple of different things this time. An Iphone. Yes an Iphone. It could get me in trouble but here's why. Part of the deal with my dad which I have improved my relationship with infinitely since you last heard was that I had to take it. He told me that if I wanted his approval I should take this piece of technology so I could stay in touch. I didn't hesitate. Now I have my ipod, a camera and a video camera to record it all. I still plan on being out of touch with the world, it is the only way.

I have a righteous sleeping bag this time around too. The infamous Western Mountaineering Highlite sleeping bag. I feel great sleeping in it. No pepsi can stove this time too; I don't want to carry any fuel around. I'm trying to save as much weight and space for water and dry foods. I also have the Big Agnes UL2 tent. Its a two person tent and big but I got it for real cheap and I figure that if its too much of a burden I'll get rid of it or trade it. Other than that its just me, my board shorts and my hat keepin it real along the Peruvian roads and still kickin it longer.
Life is good!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day 182: December 3rd 2009. The Lost Soul

Toben was supposed to get a bike this morning. He was excited all week for it.

"Yup, I can't wait to get me a bike t'murrah!" in his light Louisiana accent.

He met another homeless man who worked up enough money to get to Seattle. He offered his bike up to Toben. So instead of taking a walk over to G street pier, where we usually go first thing in the morning to catch the first rays of the sun, we headed over to where they would meet. They were scheduled to meet at 9:30am by the first wooden benches north of the Maritime Museum. The weather was real miserable, cloudy skies, chilly air. Regardless of the weather though, there was a homeless man who walked the harbor up and down all day long. It was like he was a programed robot. At 630 he would be walking past the Coast Guard base. At 710 he was walking by the Star of India. He would walk the length of the harbor from about the airport to the Midway never speaking to anybody or even making eye contact with anybody, carrying an army napsack over his shoulder. He was one of the first people I started recognizing here when I arrived. So I asked Toben that morning

"Man, I wonder what that guy is thinking all the time. I keep seeing him doing the same thing everyday" and without a pause or any hesitation Toben responded like he had the one and only answer.
" He's a lost soul, destined to walk until he finds his purpose and does good on this earth before he can depart. He's stuck here, kind of like a ghost"

A lost soul. Man I hope Im not a lost soul.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Day 175-179 November 26th- 30th, 2009. Satan, and Satan's Demons and Spawns on Thanksgiving Weekend

"Do you know what its like to be injected with all kinds of drugs you don't know about? Do you have any idea?" Ted seriously asked me and Toben as he puffed from the apple. We were leaning on the black waist high metal fence of Ace parking, propped up against our bags. It was about 6, already dark and we were just sitting, smoking, getting ready to start spreading our tarps, mats and sleeping bags.

"Its worse than prison. You sit there like this" as he laid a lifeless head on his left shoulder while his tongue was hanging out like a dead dog. "You are druelling all over yourself and you cant help it and you're constantly thinking-'aaaaaaaaahh. am I dead? Am I a zombie?' haha, you know?"

The fact that he laughed sent shivers to my spine. He was aware of everything that happened and in a normal state of mind, enough to recognize that it was really shitty. To me that was fucked up. Ted started explaining earlier, as he took his first puff from the apple, how he was committed to mental institution in Phoenix due to his religous beliefs.

"You see when I first realized I was god, I used this machine to pound out emails, like a thousand emails per minuted to everybody in the 7th Day Adventist Church, which my dad was affiliated with, to let them know I was the second coming of god"
"Like spam email?"
"Yeah, the same machine they use to send out spam, I used to send emails to let the masses know. They actually convened a meeting about me and decided I was crazy. They told my dad that if I didn't stop proclaiming I was God he would lose his monthly stipend from the church. So my mom took me aside later and told me that I had to stop, or they would lose the money they were getting from the church. That really made me angry and I thought- 'What?! So this is all about money?!' So they disowned me and never talked to me again."
"Damn man, thats fucked up"
"Yeah, they called the police, I got arrested and got sent to mental institution. They diagnosed me with paranoid schizophrenia, and I was committed for a year. I think it was worse than prison. They use this thing called a burrito wrap, like a cloth and they wrap you in so that you can't move anything. They strap you too."
"I can only imagine man. That sounds horrible" I tried hard to imagine and what I was capable of was probably heaven compared to the reality. I tried to imagine a place where I was convinced I was sane, but everybody else was convinced I was crazy and not only that but they also treated me like I was crazy. That in itself I thought, them treating me like I was crazy, would probably make me crazy; it would just slowly manifest itself in me. Besides all the shit they injected me with to 'treat' me, that I had no clue about. It was like eating acid and not knowing it then tripping and not having a clue what the intense effects were. The hallucinations and the intensity would probably turn me crazy.

Then I remembered a tale, I forgot where I read, about a king that was just and loved by his people. Then the water source of the village became infected and made all the people insane except the king who drank from his own private well. Suddenly all the people hated the king, and were convinced he was unjust although he hadn't changed the way he treated them. The king couldn't understand what happened and in trying to please his people by living with them, drank from the infected water source. The king was again loved by his people.

"Oh, so there goes talkative Ted when he's high. Saying too much and threatning my security. I better shut up."

Two Mexican ladies came a little later, set up a table with freshly cooked turkey and ham. We slept well and full on Thanksgiving day.

* * *

Ted's hanging head with his tongue out kept fucking with me the next day. The image kept replaying in my head and "Am I zombie?" kept ringing in my ears. There were somethings Ted would say that would go in one ear, right out the other. Things about the angels that spoke to him, that he must destroy 'satan and satan's demons and spawns" and the only way to do that would be to nuke earth and start over again. According to Ted, the world would be a perfect place with humans living with a "700 year growing old curse" or a lifespan of 700 years where they would be in the physical form of a 17-23 year old. For Ted, his religion was all about "winning" and "conquering". I asked him later that day.

"Ted, why do you have to kill all these innocent people to destroy satan? And mess up earth?"
"That's the only way. I have to become human to destroy satan and satans demons and spawns and nuke em"
"But doesn't god have better, more sophisticated weapons to destroy satan, rather than using a man made weapon that destroys everything?"
"I do have weapons called spiritual scanners that I could attack satan and satan's demons and spawns with, but the technology is so advanced and sacred it must be protected because of satan or satans demons and spawns get a hold of it, it could mean the end of the world. I was the one who gave humans the knowledge of nuclear power. That technology existed long before huamsn came up with it, with my permission"
"I just think you are too focused on destroying everything and the exclusion of everybody. You don't like too many people"
"Oh, Omar, you're so naive. You think this world is full of love, love this, love that. You're so young. You dont know this world is full of hate. You don't know about the hate I've been through. I know you think I'm crazy"
"I don't think you are crazy, Ted, I think you are angry"

"Wouldn't you? I had everything and it was all taken away from me because people were jealous. They hated me. One day when you have an attractive wife some younger guy is gonna come and take her from you and she's gonna cheat on you and you won't know it until someone else comes up and tell you about it. You won't believe it, then you'll realize it was the truth. Then she'll want a divorce and she will want to take everything you have. And she will, because of the system that prefers women. Or maybe you'll have a successful company and the employees you trusted most are going to steal your source code and sell it to another company even though you are paying them well. You'll try to bring yourself back up then your family will say you are crazy because they are afraid of losing their money. You'll try and buy a new house and have an equity with a private lender, but he'll fuck you and take your house and you'll lose more than $200,000"

I didn't agree with Ted about destroying all of earth, but I guess I understood why he was so pissed at the world. Crazy? I've seen crazy out on these streets, not Ted. If there was some craziness, I thought, it was as a result of the mental institution. No matter what aspect I asked him about, relating to his story, he had it covered. And when Ted didn't speak to me about his religion, he was a real cool guy. He constantly told stories of his life when he wasn't homeless; his 700 bottle wine cellar that "was full all the time" with an automatic temprature guage and alarm system, his 67 Mustang he restored himself, his wine-red-interior Corvette, and his travels all around Europe and Mexico with girlfriends, escorts and such. We were talking of cocaine once, I don't know why but I asked him if he had ever tried it.
"What do you think Omar? I had money. I like to party and I got only the best"
No doubt, he was a very well spoken guy and told him that once when he asked me if I thought he was crazy.

"I think you are a very well spoken guy, actually. I don't even think you deserve to be on the streets"
"Ha! Well spoken." He looked at me with disbelief that I said that. "You know the judge told me that when I was defending myself, after they filed terrorism charges against me. He said I was a well spoken man"

* * *

"Omar, Omar. Wake up. I got it!"
"What Ted? Its 5 in the morning man. Its dark and cold. We still have another hour of sleep before we have to get up. What is it?"
"I got it. I'm gonna declare war on humanity. On everybody. The angels and I agree"
"Oh man, you woke me up to tell me that Ted. Just relax man, you can declare war at any time, there's no rush. We can talk about this later"

But he couldn't wait, he was talking to himself, contemplating and I couldn't go back to sleep. He smoked a cigarette, then quickly rolled up his sleeping bags and left. I didn't see him again that day. It was Monday the 30th of November.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Current Standings

Skated Memphis, TN to Tyler, TX: 468 miles (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=16+Autumn+Grove+Cove,+Cordova,+TN+38018&daddr=Imagination+Dr+to:Fairley+Rd+to:Tunica,+MS+to:Lula+Rich+Rd+to:helena,+ar+to:clarendon,+ar+to:AR-33+N+to:34.783356,-91.914368+to:Little+Rock,+AR+to:Texarkana,+AR+to:Tyler,+TX&hl=en&geocode=Feb6FwId0Vem-inrV2avTJl_iDFHLDp61v2vQA%3BFXAsFgIdJiKk-g%3BFVAuFgIdhO6h-g%3BFYI-EQId492c-imXepT7BjrVhzFlXF_cbJupLQ%3BFWx1DQIdqqab-g%3BFQvhDgId5K2Z-imlth3BW9XUhzEMG4NKrwY81g%3BFSBgEQIdt6mO-imNqqBcE1rThzEguZT4Mn6HFQ%3BFRCaEgId8G-M-g%3B%3BFXEwEgIdxcV_-imbVh-hNKHShzEXW_MNEPUFNA%3BFQBI_gEdSBll-imLqVntcGw0hjEOnUgIWiDaVQ%3BFRyk7QEdOtJR-inj-aseBcxJhjEccHdxfVwoPg&mra=dpe&mrcr=3&mrsp=8&sz=10&via=1,2,4,7,8&dirflg=w&sll=34.627558,-91.71936&sspn=0.5345,0.88028&ie=UTF8&ll=33.508194,-93.714752&spn=0.541608,0.88028&z=10)

Rode Tyler, TX to Austin, TX: 230 miles (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=tyler,+tx&daddr=corsicana,+tx+to:Austin,+TX&hl=en&geocode=&mra=ls&sll=34.90741,-90.072615&sspn=0.532691,0.88028&ie=UTF8&z=8)

Skated Austin, TX to Llano, TX: 74.6 miles (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Austin,+TX&daddr=Spicewood,+Texas+to:Llano,+TX&hl=en&geocode=FRHXzQEdK48s-ikvA8ygmbVEhjF61WnUS0abXQ%3BFdAE0QEdiUAm-imnauanzD1bhjEO7MQSo80xew%3BFbFZ1QEdolYe-imTOn1mH0xahjGFs-KNbhTRKQ&mra=mr&dirflg=w&sll=30.465543,-98.158722&sspn=0.139971,0.22007&ie=UTF8&ll=31.784217,-99.596558&spn=2.208485,3.521118&t=p&z=8)

Rode Llano, TX to Sweetwater, TX: 185 miles (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Llano,+TX&daddr=ballinger,+tx+to:sweetwater,+tx&hl=en&geocode=&mra=ls&sll=31.611288,-99.61853&sspn=2.212604,3.521118&ie=UTF8&ll=31.615966,-99.541626&spn=2.212493,3.521118&t=p&z=8)

Skated Sweetwater, TX to Gail, TX: 69.5 miles (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Sweetwater,+TX&daddr=snyder,+tx+to:gail,+tx&hl=en&geocode=&mra=ls&dirflg=w&sll=32.711044,-101.217041&sspn=1.093075,1.760559&ie=UTF8&ll=32.609303,-100.925903&spn=1.09432,1.760559&t=p&z=9)

Rode Gail, TX to Lamesa, TX: 31.7 miles

Skated Lamesa, TX to Seminole, TX: 40.9 miles

Rode Lamesa, TX to Hobbs, NM: 30 miles

Skated Hobbs, NM to Lordsburg, NM: 394 miles (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=hobbs,+nm&daddr=lovington,+nm+to:alamogordo,+NM+to:las+cruces,+nm+to:deming,+nm+to:Co+Rd+B001%2FMuir+Rd%2FNM-113+N+to:lordsburg,+nm&hl=en&geocode=FZQA8wEd2ETa-Sndq3y_A5X8hjGAaI_yoFEitA%3BFYiv9gEdtgbX-SkVKdOxfdr8hjGLMbFfuzyP-w%3BFcwB9gEdtyyv-SlR1HMiY1DghjG9YAuYjwUHeQ%3BFfwL7QEdH7Gi-SlpmAZFxxrehjG9Mj_xHdBtYw%3BFZph7AEd0LuT-Sl3Pj8b4cPehjEuC7EHIrHNhA%3BFSSA6wEdCNuH-Q%3BFZig7QEdxzyF-Sl55WnFIQLZhjHpCduwNTw58A&mra=ls&via=5&sll=32.352123,-107.817078&sspn=1.097452,1.760559&ie=UTF8&t=p&z=7)

Walked Lordsburg, NM to Duncan, AZ: 35.7 miles

Skated Duncan, AZ to Gila Bend, AZ: 267 miles (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Duncan,+AZ&daddr=1000+w+baseline+rd,+mesa,+AZ+to:Gila+Bend,+AZ&hl=en&geocode=FTRK8wEdQy9_-SljnspX22vYhjHjmeWWlpbrXw%3B%3BFXC-9gEd4hNI-SnjfTCNQCjVgDErggvuexfqbQ&mra=ls&dirflg=w&sll=33.307577,-111.939697&sspn=1.085707,1.760559&ie=UTF8&t=p&z=7)

Rode Gila Bend, AZ to Calexico, CA: 178 miles (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Gila+Bend,+AZ&daddr=calexico,+ca&hl=en&geocode=&mra=ls&sll=33.070665,-110.47903&sspn=2.177263,3.521118&ie=UTF8&ll=32.907262,-115.241089&spn=2.181244,3.521118&t=p&z=8)

Walked Calexico, CA to Ocotillo, CA: 31.6 miles

Rode Ocotillo, CA to San Diego, CA: 88.7 miles (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=ocotillo,+ca&daddr=San+Diego,+CA&hl=en&geocode=FW-N8wEdvBEW-Sm5uxAo88LZgDGB3Xz8L9hRJg%3B&mra=ls&sll=32.702945,-115.74733&sspn=0.546594,0.88028&ie=UTF8&t=p&z=9)

Total skated: 1,314 miles
Total rode in car: 743.4 miles
Total walked: 67.3 miles
Total of journey so far: 2,124.7 miles