One year ago today Didier and I checked in two bags and two bikes at the airport in Washington DC and stepped onto a plane bound for Lisbon, Portugal.
I awoke to a cold misty morning. Cold enough to make you think twice before getting out of the sleeping bag. After four days of hiking in El Chaltén it was time to begin the Carretera Austral. I stayed at La Casa de Flor a hub for all passing cyclists to have a warm shower and swap stories of the road ahead with one another.
The time has come for me to write my first blog post. For nine months I got to watch Kyla dance around the keyboard and just whip up a beautiful interesting post in no time. I’m sure it will take me some time to get my voice as those who know me know I am not a writer.
We scanned the side of the road for anywhere suitable to pitch the tent, seeing if the little dips in terrain might provide protection from the gusting wind, or if any rises might keep us mostly out of sight of passing cars. Our options were limited by the fences that stretched on either side of the gravel path we were riding, keeping in sheep and cattle and marking the boundaries of the giant estancias which make up a majority of the dry steppe of Patagonia. We finally settled on a little knoll with a flat patch of land and a breathtaking view of dark ocean waves crashing against the rocks below.
Dear loyal readers, I write to you today to inform you that my journey is coming to an end, but to assure you that the adventure is not yet over. After much consultation with doctors and worried parents, I have decided to end my cycle tour in three weeks time in deference to my health. But never fear, Didier will be cycling on and is taking over the blog, beginning an 8 month solo journey through Latin America. I am feeling 100%, but because of the medication I am on there are some risks of being in rural areas without quick access to medical care (aka, Patagonia).
On December 12 I woke up with a debilitating headache that left me in bed for the next four days. I woke up in the soft pillows of my comfortable hotel room which we had been forced to move to the evening before and I gave thanks that I was not in my tent, because movement would have been almost impossible.
We did it. We crossed by land from Northeast India to Myanmar. The internet tells you that it is extremely difficult to do, but our permit went through with barely a problem (the Myanmar tour company Exotic Myanmar lost our payment for about a week but we sorted it out in the end). For any seeking to do the crossing, the only extra documents you need besides an Indian and Myanmar visa is a permit issued by a Myanmar tour company which will cost you an extra $80-100 each.
Northeast India is a patchwork quilt of unique regions lumped into a small geographic area. Looking like a protrusion from mainland India, it is connected by a small length of land that at its narrowest is only 14 miles long squished between Nepal and Bangladesh. Since the 1960s the seven states that make up the region have all been fighting for varying levels of independence, autonomy or separation. For a long time tourists were forced to apply for special permits to visit the region, but recently a corridor has opened up allowing travelers to pass through to the border with Myanmar without those permits.
Sorry for being slow on the update! Some quick moving and then unexpected illness kept us away but we are back! And so...
With a small sigh of relief we enter India once again. After spending over a month in Nepal, we are ready to move on.
We woke up reluctantly to the sound of our 5:40am alarm, peaking our heads out of the covers to meet the bitterly cold air. We had another short hop to high camp today, but still wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to hike and then acclimate once we were there.