Sunday, 25 June 2017

5 days in....

I say 5 days but thats only from the point of starting out from the source....  anything before that, doesn't really count! 
5 days... these have flown by with mixed feelings, but I have met some amazing folks - more about them later. 

Real cheese, 

the most fabulous dinner in a mud house, chatting with gesture with the donkey man


, staying in a hotel with a twist, dogs ... oh my the dogs. Postcard Peruvian woman goat/ cow/ donkey herding, 


children running by the banks of the river to see these 'things' floating down stream, children coming up and touching and knocking on the kayak, smells,colours, sun burn and catcus. There is more of course ... oh yes,      there is the kayaking and portages too ... but sadlythat  pails into insignificance when the views and experiences are presented... Nonetheless, I suspect that in a few days time, as the river gets bigger ... the excitement and river giggles will (I hope) start up too.... so far a very safe game has been played with portages. 

I have to say, this start reminds me of hiking across the USA .... the walking was the mode ... but it was what I saw and experiened that made it... its the same here too. 


Friday, 16 June 2017

And so it starts...

So with the dramas of Heathrow behind me it really did start to feel that I literally had fight my way out of the country. 
You are probably asking so what happened? In short my bags were delivered to heathrow ahead of my arrival. The company that did, scanned my bags and found that I had a machettee in it. This then started the snowball. The armed police division wanted to meet me when I picked up my bags. Of course there wasnt a problem having a machete in mychecked  bags, but because it had been reported they had a duty to follow it up. My explaination of course confirmed that I wasnt a nutter. Photos were taken and on I went. 

Now the problems really started when I tried to
check in with Air France who I had spoken with a couple of times a month before when I declared and checked that I could take my kayak with me on the plane. At check in I found that this was still pending and the very unhelpful woman was 'on one'. I
suspect that if I didn't have the pleasure to meet her, my troubles would have not been. This particular lady also tried to esculate the situation as I declared that i had a machete in my checked bags even with the explaination that I had already spoken with the police earlier! 


So after check in was closing ( yes it clearly takes time)   I was in the situation where I had to get rid of my kayak, had to wrap my bags in plastic and well, if i were to make then KLM 8am flight super sonic skates needed to be put on - this was the last flight that would get me into Lima on the 15th (this was important as I was meeting the Ambassador at the British Embassy in the morning and press thereafter). 7am there was only one man who was local enough, with a van - Mick. I tentatively texted... and blow me down within moments he was on the hooter and on his way. All he needed was a cape...


Mick came, took my kayak and helped me to wrap my bags. All done, the bags got checked in and the man who organised the next flight, told me the gate number and that was it.... I ran. Through security I of
course got stopped - they wanted to drug check my insect repellant of all things! Last calls and gate closing   messages were happening ... and i ran... and made it. 

From that point ... all of my troubles disappeared (oh and btw the food on KLM flights is amazing!!).

I landed in Lima, went through customs with ease,
met up with the team, ate a great meal, got to the hotel, met the Ambassador and his deputy, met the  press for an interview, bought new sim cards - easy, everyone was super helpful and well the complete opposite to my experience at Heathrow (apart from the police who were great!). I have to say, I was so pleased to meet the Ambassador who along with his deptuty were so welcoming and wonderful. 

But I am here and as I prepare to leave (15min) I ambursting  with excitement. I am trying to contain myself and play it cool, but its hard!!! 

Oh and my Kayak? Yes thats still in London but luckily I have been given a new kayak that is currently sat on top of the car as we start to work our way to the source 😀😀

Ready or not ... its happening 😀😀👏

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

10 days in Slovinia

So as the last bit of kayaking training undertaken comes to the end, with only just over a week left ... there is still a lot to do. 
Slovinia is an amazing place, clear waters and the scenery is just stunning - I cant wait to return to kayak and hike their hills. 



The continued interesting emails and messages (verbal and written) have come through daily! that only serve to hinder training and focus. Of course I am sure that it is coming from a good place ... but.... 

....In the learning phase, my mind has to be wide open, I have to be extremely reflective, listen intently and actively with a great big dollop of drive and determination - otherwise rapid progress cant happen. Over the last months this combination has resulted in rapid progress but also frustrations and nagging injuries such as forearm sprains, shoulder pops, paddling to the point of 'broken' arms that last only 1/2 hour on the river that no amount of shouting from the coach (or inwardly me) could make them work. There are of course the finger pulls and endless bruises and dents to the bones across the body; I just hope that they return back to their regular size and colour at the end of all of this. 

But here it is ... the last week is upon me, time to tapper (I wish), have my last glass of wine, have my last sleeps in my own cosy bed, say my farewells and take the first steps of an adventure of a lifetime (again). 

The journey timeline is unclear - intentionally. 2 weeks, 6months or maybe something in between.. Kayak, hike (although I hope not too much), run or whatever it takes to start at the source and finish at the sea. There is no time pressure, no world record, no competition, indeed there is no pressure of even completing it (ish) .... who knows, who cares ... cause thats the adventure this time and I cant wait to experience the folks, culture, environment and life along the River Amazon. 

Ok, so the plane has landed at Stanstead airport so its
time to let my hair down and have a bit of fun and who knows - hopefully some live music too.