The mortgage. Finally paid off this month. Took it out when I was 21.
Its been a long time..... maybe I'll go on a little trip to celebrate.
Bikes are sorted with Panniers
Managed to fit
On a trek to find his fellow penguins.
On the shores of Lake Champlain, Vermont.
Does my bum look wet in this ?
Results of wearing Dainese "all weather" pants for 2 hours in heavy rain.
Kill Devil Hills, Kiitihawk, North Carolina. The track marks the world's first successful powered flights, by the Wright brothers, on a freezing cold day in December 1903. A piece of the plane was sent to the moon and back on the Apollo 11 mission in 1969.
Another cultural interlude (to balance out the previous shooting session) - Bruce was dragged into the modern art museum in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Meaher State Park, by Spanish Fort, Alabama.
Is it a log? No its a 10 foot alligator skulking in the lagoon 200m from our tent. I slept with my feet facing the lagoon.
Why don't they sell these in the UK ?
Garden around trailer house in Sabine, Texas
They're not happy with BP here.
Terlingua - Ghost Town, looking towards Mexico
Pengy contemplates Mexico, having failed to find any relatives in the USA.
On hillside at Real De Catorce
The local grafitti "wall"
View from 'Garry hostel' roof.
He's not in Liverpool now!
Hummingbird Highway, Belize.
It's stopped raining!
Trip down to caves at Semuc Champey. The tour 'bus' from the hostel, get on and hang on. Single track dirt road winding around steep hills all the way!
The cave tour. All done by candlelight. In parts this involved swimming one-handed while holding your candle over your head, and jumping in pools while again attempting not to extinguish your candle. Followed up with swim in beautiful outdoor natural pools.
Performance in the Parque Centro, Quetzeltenango, Guatemala.
Marimba is the national music of Guatemala, and is played on large wooden xylophones with a group of players. Each player holds up to 2 beaters in each hand. What follows is an incredibly well sychronised multi-layered performance of complex pieces of music. When we arrived they were giving 'White Christmas' the marimba treatment!
El Tunco beach, El Salvador. Looking over the Pacific.
Pengy considers theories of evolution and why there are a lot of surfers but no penguins on Central American beaches.
And then the sun went down, as it does every day........
Cuidad de Panama, from the 'old town'.
A city of big contrasts, where tin roofed shacks of the poor prop up the modern tower blocks of the rich, and the old rubs up against the new.
Bogota, Columbia. 2 of numerous photos I took today. Well, you have to when you're in a new continent!
1. Graffitti wall near our hostal.
2. View from mountain to east of Bogota. Look! Its the foothills of the Andes (foothills being at 9000ft.............)
Probably the most common road sign in Columbia.
With all the mad overtaking going on, its not a matter of 'if' but 'when'. Although Peru is worse, apparently.........
Salento, a little village on top of a hill, in the heart of Columbia's coffee growing area.
The road from Uyuni to Potosi, Bolivia.
All hail the Bolivian road builders! For every metre of paved road they manage to build across this hugely scenic but very inhospitable terrain.
Somewhere in Bolivia. The most common road sign seen here. And there's loads of them, llamas, alpacas, vicunas.........by the road, on the road, about to cross the road. At least they don't suddenly dash across in the suicidal manner favoured by moose and deer. They eye you up and then casually saunter over the road like someone crossing a main road in Liverpool city centre.
This one's in Putre, just across the border in Chile. A llama greeting party surrounded us when we arrived at our hostel. They're so nosey! The others had got bored and wandered off by the time the camera came out.
View from the Puerto Natales ferry, rounding the base of the Peninsula Roca on the southern coast of Chile.
In contrast to their sudden rise to great height in Columbia, here the Andes slowly dwindle away to mountains of 2000m, then islands of 1000m. They finally dip, almost apologetically, below the sea south of Tierra Del Fuego to continue for a while as an underwater ridge. But not before a final blaze of glory in southern Patagonia with a series of spectacular granite towers and huge glaciers.
I've wanted to see the Andes since I was a child. I think I have now 'seen' them. And I'm not disappointed. Wonder what the Himalayas look like.........?
West of the Parque Nacional Bernardo O'Higgins on the coast of southern Chile. Pengy finally got to see lots of relatives (the Magellanic family branch) swimming past. Unfortunately they were a bit camera shy and kept diving for fish instead of posing properly for photographs.
So here's a picture of seals performing properly for the camera instead. They can do sychronised jumping without being trained by humans! Amazing. It could make all the animal trainers redundant....
Seno Otway penguinera, near Punta Arenas, Chile.
Pengy spotted his relatives returning home from the sea, after a long day fishing. When they had finished resting and 'socialising' they all waddled back to their burrows making a lot of noise and stopping from time to time for some beak rubbing and flipper waving.
Pengy then found a salubrious looking burrow and took up residence for a short holiday.
The penguins even have their own newspaper (the daily one in Punta Arenas) and a local radio station, Radio Penguino.
(for the Higgins family)
Bernardo O'Higgins, one of the main players in the independence of Chile, has tributes all over the country. There are main streets named after him, a national park, town squares, and numerous monuments.
This statue in Punta Arenas is one of our favourites. It's location is particularly inspiring, with Bernardo grandly pointing across the Straits of Magellan towards Tierra Del Fuego. He was one of the instigators in encouraging the Chilean government of the time to stake its claim to the current southern end of Chile, and the strategically important Straits.
At Fuerte Bulnes, a re-creation of the fort set up in 1843 when Chile staked its claim for the Straits, Bernardo has a lighthouse named after him.
Cerro de la Cruz, Punta Arenas.
There's the route home, via Buenos Aires and Madrid. I just need a way of getting there!
An enterprising resident has used big poles in their garden to set up signposts to cities around the world. For the equivalent of $40 we could have ordered one for St Helens. However, we'd sooner spend the money on food, beer and getting my bike fixed.
We left Buenos Aires in the autumn and 12,000k later arrived in Madrid in the spring. It took us 12 hours in the air to travel half of what took 7 months on the ground.
The steak in Argentina is as good as its renowned to be. We shared a slab with Cindy and Geert at a parilla (BBQ restaurant) in Buenos Aires.
My first impression of Bueno Aires was that it was quite similar to Madrid. But now I've had a good look at Madrid again I don't think this is true
Buenos Aires is like a much loved and well used designer shoe, all scuffed around the edges but worn with attitude.
Madrid is like a well cared for vintage shoe, stylish and immaculately kept.
Continuing on the shoe theme, here are our feet on the centre of Spain marker in the Plaza Del Sol, Madrid.
Bo-pengy (cousin of Pengy) awoke from suspended animation in the bike pannier in Argentina, and started the search for potential Bolivian relatives. As Bolivia ceded its coastline to Chile in 1904 after the War of the Pacific and became a land-locked country, this is likely to be an ultimately fruitless search.
Note to Gibbo: yes I have brought another b****y penguin! Hay uno problemo?
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