Archive for September, 2012


Friday, September 7th, 2012
That night I made it to another petrol station north of Tucuman. The manager called Jorge was very nice giving me hot water for my  coffee, a packet of biscuits. He was not busy so sat down at my table with me.
Jorge asked me about George Best from Belfast, Northern Ireland. George is considered by many pundits to be one of the 3 most talented footballers that ever laced up a pair of football boots. George Best, Diego Maradona and Pele are the three that many people talk about.
Jorge got a bit of a kick when I called him ‘ Jorge Mejor ’ or Spanish for George Best!

Jorge Best. Or great man!

Jorge told me I could take a shower and sleep around the back under the nice starry night sky. That’s what I did, I just found some cardboard and a couple of wide planks from a wood pile and settled down to sleep. It was a nice mild night.
Next day I ran through San Miguel de Tucuman. A name I will take with me to my grave.
You see when I was in this area on my 1983 South American cycle I stopped here when it was a very small city. Today its a large city, totally unrecognizable to me.
Back then I left my bicycle with some workmen in the tool shed for a few days while I went off on a short excursion. When I returned the workmen told me the shed had been broken into and my bicycle was stolen. I still had my tent and hung out in the park for about a week. The local media were interested in my story and I gave several radio and newspaper interviews, even threatening a hunger strike! I still remember the Spanish for this ‘ huelga de hambre ’
Well one night I was returning to the campsite from a radio station with a friend I had met. His name was Miguel Moja. I soon realized my tent was lifted, I reckon because I was causing so much shit! Miguel brought me back to his house where I stayed with him and his mother and father and sister Patricia. I can’t remember Miguel mothers or his fathers names. His father passionately took up my case for another week or two.
While staying in their home I used to contribute a few dollars every day to the house hold. They were wonderful people, I remember chickens running around and suddenly Miguel’s mother picked one up, slit it’s throat, we had it for dinner that night.
After a while the Governor of Tucuman decided to buy me a new bicycle. So I went down to a shop and told them I didn’t like the colours as mine was a lovely blue bicycle and the shop only had silver bicycles! They got a bit of  a shock by this but in the end I just got the silver bike. There was a photo shoot with the Governor handing me the bicycle and a pendant of the crest of Tucuman. I still got that pendant and the photo. Because of all the wonderful people I met and those that helped me, I can’t really think of this place any other way other than affectionately.
Yes San Miguel de Tucuman has changed now. I can’t be sure where the park was where I camped. Perhaps its Parque 9 de Julio, that huge park beside the bus station.
Just as I was getting ready to run out of the city, at the far end of Avenida Jujuy some school children started sneering at me as I made my way down the avenue. I did what I often do for a joke. I gave them my Spanish business cards that I got printed for the run. Sometimes they shout Forest Gump!
No he got smart in LA I usually respond!
That was a good day, I ran well and finished late with 64 km. I want to finish the following day in J.B. Alberdi which is 103km from Tucuman so wanted the majority run that day as tomorrow evening I will be getting the bus to BA for my timeout.
I finished in the dark. Just before I finished a man slid off his motorbike right in front of me. He was not going too fast, just riding the bike in the gravel shoulder towards me.
His crash helmet fell onto the ground. He fell heavily. A dog ran out in front of him, which made him lose control. Lucky man that he fell on his shoulder and not his head. I picked him  up, pulling his bike off the road. He was badly bruised and groaning loudly for a minute. Then suddenly he started asking me where I was from and about the run! Amazing!
He phoned his girlfriend who came out to pick him up.
Next day, my last day on the road before the timeout were among my fastest and best kilometres of my running so far in South America. Just goes to show what a sniff of a time out can do!
I finished up at km 711, this is where I will return to in a little oover three weeks time. It will be my start of the very last segment of the Americas. Total to date: 21,366 kilometres for 513 road days.
Then it was an 18 hour bus ride to Buenos Aires bus station. John Boyle who has been minding Nirvana in his loft for me since last September met me at the station.
John was born in England of Mayo parents, he spent much of his childhood on holidays in the Irish Atlantic county. Mayo is also the county which was most affected by the Great Famine. John moved to Mayo where he worked in construction for about ten years. Despite his very strong English accent the lads in BA’s sizable Irish community consider him to be as Irish as themselves!
Here at the bus station John greeted me wearing a Mayo GAA football shirt, because Mayo play my county, Dublin in just over 2 weeks time in the All Ireland football semi-final. He is married to Clara, an Argentine. They have 5 year-old twin girls and are very happy living here.

With just a few of the Irish community in BA. John and Liam on right.

The following night about ten of John’s  Irish friends, including another man Liam Mycroff who has helped me enormously took me out to a lovely Chinese dinner.
The lads got a laugh when I stared at them sharing the food off just one plate!
 ” Is that all we are getting, I asked? Just one plate between all of us?! “
” Yes, You hungry Tony! “
Then the plates kept coming, each time we added a little to our plates passing around the serving plate.
A delicious meal indeed! And a lovely night, thanks lads for looking after me.
Next morning before my flight to Dublin I was invited out to a very nice breakfast by Jerry O Donovan of the Irish Embassy in Buenos Aires.
Then it was another marathon journey from Buenos Aires to Dublin via Paris. About 22 hours flying totake me back to where I started running 22 months ago.

Greeted at Dublin airport by my mother Sheila, my sister Ann and godson Mark.

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Friday, September 7th, 2012

Another one bites the dust!

Crossing from Peru into Bolivia was fast enough, about half an hour. This was also the first time an official asked me to produce my vaccination certificate. As I was reaching for it he then told me it didn’t matter, as long as I had one. A 90 day visa for Bolivia.  I am only running about 1,000km of it on my route. Bolivia may be one of the small countries in South America but it’s still about 3 times the size as Germany. I wish every border crossing was this easy. 
 After crossing to Desaguadero, the border town of the same name also in Peru I realized that for some reason I could not change money on the Bolivian side, I really should have changed in Peru. No worries I just found an hotel, dumped my bags in the reception and told the owner I would be back soon as I walked across the bridge and back into Peru to change my money! 
Many of the borders in Latin America are like this, lax and disorganized.

Costa Rica and Panama was also a stand out memory of inefficiency.
The further south I run the warmer, and more humid the daytime’s are getting. The evenings and nights are fairly mild now. The daytime the sun is pretty intense. 
That first day I stopped for lunch at a restaurant in a marketplace just behind a military checkpoint in a village called Guaqui.
Guaqui is also the closest that Bolivia has to a port since it lost its port of Antofagasta to Chile. This port of sorts and at an altitude of over 3,600 metres, on Lake Titicaca and is shared with Peru. 
At the height of the Incan empire Bolivia was perhaps the largest country in all of Latin Americas. Bolivia has lost much of its territory in disputes with Brazilian who took vast amounts of rubber rich land, Chilean took Bolivia’s vital port and in 1932 over 150 thousand square kilometres was lost in a war with Paraguay.
Today Bolivia has 9 departments or states.  
I once read in a travel book that she is the least nationalistic of all Latin American countries, a comment I tend to agree with, not as much flag waving here. I wonder if the people have enough ‘ fire in their bellies. ‘
The lunch I enjoyed here was delicious, perhaps the best in all of my three and a half weeks in the altiplano country. It was a tasty chicken salad with more meat and salad than I would get in a whole week in Peru! Then when I was finished eating the owner gave me second helpings of salad and bread, rare hospitality in Latin America! Hospitality is mostly given by the ordinary people, and not by commercial establishment where I have had only a handful of such niceties in over a year. 

The best meal in all of Bolivia!

I ran a marathon that first day struggling for breath the last couple of kilometres. The whole country is like a mountain pass, wide open plains averaging something like 4,000 metres, so unlike a mountain pass where one gets some respite with a nice long descent, here you just stay up there, so I will need to be able to do battle with the thin air and get used to oxygen debt!
That day I finished in the historic town of Tiwanaku, spiritual home of the Ayamara Indians.
The last couple of kilometres were a bit of a slog.
I wondered what would happen to me if I collapsed and fell by the side of the road… I probably would have got eaten by a pack of stray dogs I thought!
The very next day I had a very hard 35km run to finish at a toll booth just outside of the town of Loja. 
I had a contact in south Bolivia to send my Heavy Bag.
The Heavy Bag system as I call my system of sending on a 20kg bag of spare equipment, replacement shoes is my system I devised in the absence of a support vehicle. To be able to send on this baggage from one end of the country to the other or shorter distances in larger countries. As regular readers know I send it as close to the next border as I can and then carry it over and so on. Having crossed to Bolivia a couple of days ago I left the Heavy bag at the hotel in the border town for a couple of days, so as I could run these two days before returning for it. 
My research and planning needs to be accurate and thorough to keep this run going as flawless as it has been. Here my research told me that the Bolivian mail system is slow and unreliable.

Surely this should read Loco Loco! 4,028 m above sea level

Having booked a hostel night in the southern Bolivian/Argentine border town of Villizon I soon become friends with the management.  I then  decided not to risk my precious cargo by mail or courier. This decision was later justified as an Argentine map had not arrived in Villizon two months later. 
To further complicate things I was told that my backup plan of sending my bag from bus terminal to bus terminal could only be done from la Paz.
I do this by using buses to send it on as cargo.. The absolute beauty of this system is that the bus stations hold my bag for up to a month in all of the other countries. Here in Bolivia I was later to find out it was only three days!
I made a quick overnight trip to La Paz with my Heavy Bag knowing this. In the bus terminal a lady for one of the bus companies told me that indeed I could not use the ‘ encomiendas ‘   as bus cargo is known here as because of this three day limit. 
She was typically very dismissive, not interested in customer service or wanting to make suggestions nor wanting to bother a manager. Many people are just like this here in the services industry, scared stiff to rock the proverbial boat! Eventually a very efficient manager came along. His name was Marco, very sharp for he quickly weighed up my situation. 
” Tony your bag will go to the Transit Police after three days, more trouble than its worth. Here is my cell number, just call me when you are near Villazaon and we will send it from here. In the meantime you just pay a daily storage! “
Fantastic, All sorted and all for about $15 including the Heavy Bags delivery to the border town of Villazon!
That night I stayed in a back packers hostel near the station and returned to my route the next morning.
You know there are some people that say I lack planning! Recently I had to endure a series of absurd almost abusive emails from an Irish Australian ’ man of wisdom ‘ who proclaimed himself to be a travel authority! I realised my mistake in confiding in him when this piece of trash posted some  confidential discussions which we had on a forum. He ran for cover when I asked him just what mistakes have I made and just where is my so called lack of planning!
I reminded him that even when I was let down with a support vehicle literally at  the start of South America, well I already had 2 plans ready to roll, one of these back up plans was only finalised a week before, just in case!
Much of this ongoing research takes dozens of emails.
My weakness is that I am a poor fundraiser and poor at seeking out sponsors, very different to poor planning.

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Friday, September 7th, 2012

Hi All!

This post was posted earlier before I updated the blog. I am now inserting it into it’s true location on my Bolivian odyssey.

Please read the next couple of postings for the rest of the Bolivian blog.





Today I only managed 17km due to my late start after returning from La Paz.

It was an interesting day.


last night I made a quick side trip to La Paz to forward on the Heavy Bag to the South of Bolivia.



But I did find a few admirers.

I could have run another couple of hours but it would have been silly as the next town is 39km away, ideal for tomorrow.


Then the road ran out and I had to ask for directions.


Follow me.



Ah! Viacha at last!



So the only hostal was full because of…….

The feast of some Virgin!

A man called Oscar helped me to find a small pension.


Thanks so much to Steve Howlett  of Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada for sponsoring my first couple of days in Bolivia on the Paypal account for the run! Also to JULIO CESAR GUTIERREZ QUEZADA of Jalisco, Mexico.


I had a lovely run with Steve and members of the Corner Brook Athletic Club over a year and a half ago when running through the province.

Read  > HERE

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Friday, September 7th, 2012
Photos To Follow

Thanks but no thanks!

I was running along and a young boy comes running after me and holds his hand out. I think he is begging but in fact he is offering me 10 bolivianos, a dollar or so, I am shocked and thank him but no thanks. A bit further on I see a young boy and his grandfather sitting by the side of the road, as I run by the old man asks for money. I stop and give him some, also oranges. I was expecting more beggars here and in Peru, but have to be honest I have seen more on a Saturday afternoon in Dublin.
On I run that glorious day. I stop to photograph some llamas and alpacas and am asked by some women for money. When I refuse they aim their catapults at me, I suspect they are not aiming seriously as they are well wide of the mark and are laughing.
That day I was commuting back in the cab of a truck to my hotel. The driver was telling me about how cool the Bolivians are in compared to the uptight Peruvians!
As I jump out at the junction at Ventillo Cruz I ask the driver for a photo for old time sake.. He lifts up his beer can and waves goodbye!

One for the road!

I am very late getting going the next day. As always I find it difficult to start without breakfast. I asked the woman if she had anything she could prepare quickly. Egg sandwiches she suggested. Great, I will have that. Then she asks me how many I want, I say two. She goes out and returns with two eggs and then goes out and buys the bread! All this before the water was even boiled for my coffee. Best not to be in a hurry in Latin America!
On I run in the gravel as there is little shoulder on the roadside. I have not noticed any Bolivians smoking, I was told this by a Dutch man in Peru that Bolivians that smoke are rare, still there are dozens of cigarettes tossed in the shoulder, that is a mystery to me. Also there are small empty bottles of mentholated spirits and cafe al Cognac everywhere. There is a serious dip in the gravel where I am running, not the best camber, that’s for sure. Today I pounded out another 48km. It was a tough but efficient days work.
I often get annoyed when people ask me why the Irish are such heavy drinkers. Yes we drink, a fair bit but not as much as the rest of the world, far from it. As far as I am concerned the Irish are responsible drinkers, very few Irish drink and drive like much of the rest of the world that I have witnessed. I would say there was less beer can/bottle litter in Ireland than anywhere else on my route.
Further on I come to a construction worker who is asleep in his van. On the dashboard there is an empty beer can, perhaps not his but nevertheless a moron for leaving it there! It seems to me that all of Latin America has a serious drink driving problem.
A strong days running, and almost non-stop, save for a short break 44km day took me to Potasi.
Potasi famed for its silver mines which were once had the largest silver deposits in the world. In fact Potosi was so rich in Silver that the word Potasi was adopted into Spanish slang word usage meaning ‘ so much of. ‘
I am getting tired of the Andes now, tired of the mountains. After almost 6 months and almost 6,000km in them.
For me there is only one road. One road and it has to keep going forward for me, no way back my road is forever forward.
I  dream of the day when I look in front of me and see just flat pastures, I wonder will it be like Nebraska, and then I will glance behind and see the monster Andes behind me. The Andes defeated, yes that will be a very special moment!
I often think of the oceans of the world. The worlds landmasses are nothing in comparison to the oceans of the world. The earths land surface is so much smaller, and South America is just one of 7 continents of which the Andes are just part of South America, albeit  a huge part. What must the Pacific be like to row across, it must be a great feeling for a trans-oceanic rower to row across an ocean, no bullshit commutes, the real hard way! No I think I will stick to the running!
Leaving Potasi I stopped to ask a man called Victor for directions. Victor pointed me the way out of town, up yet another steep hairpin climb out of town, but first I was invited into his mining office for a cup of tea.

Tea with Victor.

That day I finished in a small village called Cuchu Ingenio.
 It had been another tough uphill climb at the start of my day. It was hot and humid day, so I was tired when I arrived at an old hotel cum restaurant  here. There were three Bolivian women there. All they could do was sneer while putting their hands up in front of their faces and laugh behind their hands, like three little girls. I see it so much here, many women lack assertiveness, they are very short on confidence. Here they are faced with the terrifying prospect of communicating with a strangely dressed running gringo!
Have you got a place or not? I repeat yet again?
No senor we are full, I am told.
I have stayed in so many of these places that I can usually tell when a place is full, or empty, just like this one appears to be to me. This place most definitely has an empty feeling about it. Just down the road I stopped at a shop where some locals confirm this to me.
 Thinking that there is nowhere else to stay that cold night with darkness rapidly closing in on me, I tell the people that I am angry with the  women back at the hotel. Someone then tells me that there is another place to stay beside the gas station just up the road. That will do.  After I secure a bed for the night, I go across the road to another restaurant for dinner where there is another team of female gigglers!
It seems to me that just about everyone just wants to get married and have babies, pregnant women everywhere, Babies everywhere, so many heavily pregnant women. Working women with babies in blankets tied to their back. I have seen babies wrapped in blankets being wheeled around in wheel barrows.  So poor, yet so many mouths to feed, surely Catholism is much of the problem in these poor countries. They don’t seem to have much hope. The saving grace surely is the great family tradition of looking after their elderly parents and grand parents, often 3 or 4 generations living under the same roof.

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Friday, September 7th, 2012

Pictures to follow!.


I seem to meeting a lot of helpful people here in Bolivia, they help me find places to stay  as its not always so easy and many places are down side streets without signs. Yesterday a young lad called Oscar helped me, I gave him a couple dollars and a chocolate bar for his trouble.
Then today after running a tough 40km and making my finish a late one due to many short stops to talk to the friendly locals I arrived in a small village called Calamarca.
There was a hike of about another 15 minutes off my route towards the town center. It was getting dark, with a sharp cold bite in the air.
A shop keeper directed me towards the town plaza, always a safe bet in these places. It was up a hill. I was truly shattered.
Upon my arrival in the plaza I stopped at another store where this time a man called Antonio walked from his shop across the northern end of the plaza pointing out the hostal for me, wonderful kind people here. The owner was not there but as luck would have it Antonio knew the him, a man called Francisco.
I just had a ten minute wait for Francisco after Antonio kindly phoned him for me.
So Francisco arrived in a nice big pick up truck with two other men called Ronaldo and Pedro. They brought me through the gates of the house, into a large courtyard, opened a door. My bed for the night was on some US AID mattresses on the floor, Heaven!
I asked how much and more or less an embarrassed Francisco just asked me to pay whatever is my usual  payment. He seemed happy enough when I told him that so far in Bolivia $2 a night was standard!
However the lads wouldn’t let me jump on the mattress as I was bundled into the pick up and driven back down the steep hill I had just come up for a chicken and chips dinner, their treat, lovely lads!
Another couple of great days 45 and 50km took me to Konani. The first day I had the road to myself as there was a major road widening project going on. Some segments were almost finished but not yet open to the traffic, so I could run in peace, except for the odd bridge I had to run around. I always feel that a road widening project is just like building a speed way track for these guys! In fairness the Bolivians I the most courteous drivers in all of my Latin American route.

I had to run around the odd bridge under construction!

The Peruvians were easily the worst drivers I have met anywhere in the world! When the Peruvians got behind a wheel, many of them were also the most ignorant people I have ever met. I am glad to be out of there!
I have been told all the way through Latin America that there is no driving schools or driver testing as we know it..  Drivers are given a very easy oral test. Then asked.. Wait for this one! If they would rather do a driving test, cost $250 or to buy their drivers licence (without a test!) also for $250 This is the cost I have heard in almost every Latino country!
Here in Konani the first hostal, or alojamiento as they are called here was full. There was only one other which I managed to secure a bed in a three bed dormitory.
No lock on the door with a blue rag stuffed into the hole where the lock once kept intruders out.  Now a nail  is pulled down to keep the door closed.
No toilet or shower!! There was a chamber pot in my room but I was not sure what I was supposed to do with it when it was full!  This place was called El Palacio! Or…. The Palace!
I asked the palace owner where I was supposed to pee and hopefully nothing else. He told me I had to use the Banos Publico, or public toilet across the road which was at the back of a grocery store that closes at 10pm! I better hurry!
After walking through the usual crummy yard towards the Banos Publico I was shocked to find a lovely clean shower room, with mirrors and just about everything one would not expect to find, that is except soap and toilet paper, these miracles literally cost extra here.
After something to eat I returned to the Palace to find that the spacious reception area was filled up by women and children getting ready to bed down on mattresses, right there in the reception, I think they were getting a cheaper rate.
From there next day I ran the 37km to a place called Caracollo. The lady in the first alojamiento told me she had a room and then for some strange reason changed her mind and told me she had none! She had a dirty greasy face, like she was licking out the grease from a grill tray in a cooker! Actually many of the women I have met this last week have these dirty oily faces. I never did find out why, it’s like they just came up from an oil well. I had to use all my diplomatic skills when a proud Bolivian man asked me what I thought of their women!
Then I went to another 6 places in this small but spread out town and found that they were either closed down or full.
I had an invitation to stay the following night in Oruro the following night, so just commuted there and rang my friend Juan Carlos.
That was grand, Juan Carlos brought me out to a nice restaurant but I insisted on paying for the dinner.
Then the next day I returned to my previous finishing point and ran the 37 km right up to his doorstep. It was also his brother Jorge’s 50th birthday and they were having a birthday party for him in the house. Family members had traveled over from England, Italy and Germany.
Juan Carlos’s father is a retired attorney, so they are a privileged class here in Bolivia.
His family put on a nice party, no shortage of food or drink or services. It was so nice to be given a knife as well as a fork as so many restaurants just give out forks.
I crossed all of Peru and much of Bolivia and have yet to see an electric kettle or microwave, such is the poverty of these countries, not only the prohibitive purchase of these items but the cost of the electricity. My friend Joss said in Peru that electricity is just as expensive there as it is in the UK.
Next day at km 251 I ran my 20,000th kilometre of the run :)
My luck was in that day as I felt I deserved a steak, and not the usual ice cubed-sized steaks normally served here. So I stopped early in a place called Machacamarca and soon tracked down a lady by the unlikely name of Donna Tallon who seemed to own half of the village. Well a shop, alojamiento and the only restaurant in the town a place called Parador Restaurant. And what do you think was on the menu! Llama steaks! That’s what  I had a lovely steak, chips and salad for only $4
Next day I met an English man called Mateo who has a Spanish mother and they live in Barcelona. Mateo teaches English  for a living and loves his life. It’s great being a cyclist that loves to travel and to be a teacher with three months off in the summer is just Heaven he told me over lunch in a small town called Poopo.
He cycles all over the world for a short time every year. This year it’s Bolivia. He  also loves to climb and I think he has some ropes packed in his panniers. I suggested he should do a world cycle in about 4 or 5 stages, I got him thinking I think!
Then just up the road I got halted again by a friendly Italian called Pablo.
So Pablo cycled on, and low and behold he knocked on my hotel room door that night,  inviting me into his room for a delicious tuna and pasta dinner. He cooked the meal on his fuel stove. Yes that’s one nice thing about travelling by bike  one can carry more luxuries also have more  freedom that a tent offers, meaning  you don’t have to stay in places like El Palacio as I had to a few nights ago. It will be nice when I get Nirvana back and can take a proper tent with me.
Another night I slept in another dormitory with about six beds, I think there are about nine altogether in the dorm, including a father and his young son, a boy of about eight years of age in the same bed. Imagine doing that in the west. It was in a small town called Challapata.
I am heading for a place on the Argentine border called Villazon. There are two roads to Villazon, one a longer one and the other about a days run shorter but on a gravel road. On my map this shorter route looks like a dodgy route as there are fewer places to stay and commuting could be problematic but its also flatter than the longer mountainous route via Potasi. Its a very hard call. I am undecided and eventually decide on the longer mountainous route through the silver mining town of Potasi.
So I show my map to the manager a friendly man called Vladamir. He tells me there is a woman inside that lives in America, so I follow Vladimir into the family kitchen. They make me breakfast of pancakes and peanut butter! It turns out the owners daughter a woman called Jessica has been living in the USA for 20 years and is back for a holiday to see the family. Jessica has a cleaning business in Washington DC. She tells me that its not possible for anyone to live on $20 a day! I think this is an amazing statement for a Bolivian, even if she has moved to the USA, surely she should be aware that her own country people are struggling by on just a fraction of that?
Out running on the road the next day the scenery is ever changing from barren desert like to lush pastures with overhanging trees onto the road as I continue running over the Bolivian altiplano. Yes it’s been tough, I still have to stop from time to time to get my breath back. Today I ran around Lake Poopo. It was a nice warm day, It seems that even the winter days here are warmer than Irish summer days, it’s about 30 C here. At the end of my 36 km I commute back to Challapata and next morning have breakfast once again with Jessica and her family. This kind of hospitality has been very rare in Latin America, hospitality by a business establishment I mean. I think I could count the amount of times on one hand since leaving Mexico in which I have been helped by business owners. It seems that when they hear what I am doing its lights on to ‘ screw me ‘ rather than help me as in Canada, USA and Mexico. For me Bolivia is a cut above many of the other Latino countries but their food, just like in Ecuador and especially Peru is just puke tinder.

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Friday, September 7th, 2012
Pictures To Follow
Sometimes shops are far apart, it’s almost desert conditions again. I arrived at some of the shops and was told there was no water. Later a Bolivian told me that sometimes shops don’t sell water as Bolivians are not too fond of drinking water, just sugary drinks. Once or twice people in houses told me they had no water when I stopped and asked for a water bottle fill. I admit to being a bit surprised when being told they had no water.
I finished in a small town called Vitichi to see that there were posters up for a cycle race that was due to leave here in the morning. A cycle race in Latin America, I often wondered if they have them and how they manage the dogs. Do they have an outrider motorbike cop with a rifle! Thankfully they seem to manage okay.
Luckily for me the riders were staying in a community hall, so I secured a bed in the towns only hotel, with a hot shower, a rarity!
Next day was hot and humid and I got a sore toe! My fault as I saw a stone in the shoulder and kicked it. The stone was concreted to the ground, the pain unbearable, wimp that I am, I don’t think I would be able to give birth to a baby :(
Overgrown thorn bushes were pushing me out of my gravel shoulder and onto the road, some of the thorns were huge, about 10 cm long.
 I got sharp reminders, literally, as I had my left hand scraped on numerous occasions after forgetting about them as they grew so far out of the hard shoulder, often stretching out onto the road.
I stopped for a break and asked a man in a shop why many people didn’t give me water at the houses, he didn’t know but offered to buy me water. I refused and just bought a 2 ltr bottle of soda. I drank it all also some water, biscuits and the free bananas they gave me. This man works in Argentina as a construction worker. He works a few weeks there before returning to his wife a children back here in this village for a few more days. The money is substantially higher in Argentina.
Later another man told me that indeed there possibly was no fresh water in the houses as many of the rural villages get their water tanks filled from a water truck which visits very infrequently. Upon hearing this I am relieved, I now believe that I did not receive a water refusal, most people are decent and would not see me in distress. Their needs are more important than mine.
Actually I was not in dire need for the water as I still had a litre, I just wanted to increase my ‘ comfort zone. ‘
Two kilometres out of that village the two litres of soda had a chemical reaction with the bananas and me running and violently exploded!
I will spare you the details but suffice to say that I had to jump off the road and under a bridge couldn’t  get my pants down in time, massive explosion onto both inside and outside of my pants! A clean up using bits of paper and loose gravel! Probably more swears in this 15 minute period than in my previous six months over the Andes and that was more than the rest of my life put together!
My commitment to the environment was severely tested that time, another volley of swears as I kicked out holes in the loose sand and buried the paper!
 And I need to commute tonight.. How can I?!
Indeed after first taking a photograph of my finishing location that night, my commute came in the form of a truck in which I was asked to climb into the back. I just hope they have a shower in the place I stay in tonight!
Yes they did but it was cold, very cold, dark and dirty… Yes the dream is great, all kinds of fun..running is easy :)
Next morning I am trying to get back to where I left off yesterday at km 104 (km 104 sounds like an Irish radio station.. But for this runner it should be.. More music less talk!)
Big trouble as local transport is not departing back to last nights finish direction till noon, this kind of stuff can’t be figured into any research, it’s too local and besides one never knows when a commute is necessary till one hits the ground running..
Anyway I try to hitch a ride, it’s about 26km and after a while a nice Argentine couple Roberto and his wife Monika and their young daughter stop and rescue me in their nice sporty car fully equipped with a gps. They even had maps, a wifi tablet to check my website and most important of all Oreo biscuits for me!
Yes I am expecting great things from Argentina, It will be almost like being back in the west!
So I run the 26km to Colgaita where I slept last night, had lunch and ran a very nice and steady 14km after lunch before returning to Colgaita for another night.
The next day was a massive 66km long day finishing very late in Tupiza. It was a very tough mountainous day.
I stopped in a small village and once again asked for water as there was no sign of a shop. A friendly man and his ten year old son invited me into their back garden where he had a water well and told me to drink as much as I wanted. I noticed they were baking bread, a delicious aroma of hot freshly baked bread! Mooching I asked if I could buy some! Not at all he said and sat me down to a feed of the tasty bread. I was asked if I was an Olympic torch runner! Well I better hurry as the Olympics starts next week in London and by my route are almost 21,000km away.. It makes a change to be asked ” Wheres the torch? Your Olympic torch! “
This man refused a photo, only the second man to refuse a photo, the first being a Panamanian police officer, re: the latter there is a story there, reserved for the book!
On and on the road went, like a never-ending treadmill. The wind came and went, sometimes I had a tailwind but so strong was it that it was more uncomfortable than a help.
With every day’s I run I am getting closer and closer towards the end of the Andes, towards the road that runs right down to the bottom of  South America,  to the bottom of the world.  It’s so, so, unbearably long. I am still more than 5,000 kilometres away from my stop sign, a stop sign at the end of this amazing American landmass.
The world is like a massive boulder, every day I take a small chip out of it, one day I will be able to lift that massive boulder high over my head, yes I will defeat it.
Finally I made it into Tupiza where I had a hostel night reserved in the International backpackers Hostel for tonight the 24th July. The managers name is Freddy, a very helpful and friendly man, as was the Bolivian International Hostel Association who told me I could have the Heavy Bag sent here. In the end I decided against using this address as the mail here is unreliable, it seems bus cargo is the most reliable.
However, It was nice to get a night here as one can always depend on a hot shower in a backpackers hostel!
I am very close to Argentina now.. I can almost smell the asado :)
My final day on the road in Bolivia was a 53km day. I had some more energy crises on the way but am motivated by the sight of Argentina in the distance.
I passed through a village where the locals were celebrating some fiesta or saint of sorts. They offered me chica, which here is a corn based soft drink, but in other parts is a strong alcohol corn fermented drink. Further on up the road one of the locals demands to see my passport! I just laugh and keep on running.
The dogs in the border town of Villazon give me a send off as does a local man who buys me a cola, yes I enjoyed Bolivia, wonderful people, but please no more cold food!

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Tita in Tinta

Monday, September 3rd, 2012
I have finally caught up with the blog :) Here is the rest of my run through Peru. Next up will be Bolivia and then northern Argentina.
Thanks for your patience, I will get the rest up over the next few days.
To listen to my recent radio interview press HERE
To View recent new footage on my run through Mexico press HERE
It was a lovely seven day break I had in Cusco and Machu, Picchu, a much needed break.
That very first day out of Cusco I was a bit sluggish, which is normal for someone after taking a break from such a run.
I have been wondering why I don’t see any female drivers here in Peru, I just don´t understand it. I have seen just one, she stopped to give me a bottle of water about a month ago. I have been watching closely ever since this occurred to me. Remember I am running towards traffic making good eye contact. For the sake of my own unscientific research I decided to count how many female drivers on a particular stretch of road towards Oropeso.. After counting as far as 103, all male I got fed up counting..
What´s going on here in Peru, a democracy is a mystery to me. My friend Richard in Guayaquil, Ecuador who has been living there several years told me he ” spotted ” a few female bus drivers, but here it´s just unreal. This is unlike any other Latino country I have visited. I remember seeing many Colombian women driving men around and even doing the riding on motorbikes.
I asked the lady in the hotel I stayed in that first night and her reply was a very sad.. ” It´s a woman’s job to stay at home and a mans job to do the driving. “

I tell her that Peruvian male drivers are the worst on my run so far, and that women could probably do a better job.
Two 45 and 44km days later I asked a female flagger on a road construction project. She would surely see the lack of female driver and have an opinion. She just told me they are afraid to drive. I can well believe that here and perhaps they are just smarter than the men – my sister shares the ‘ taxi duties ‘ with her husband, driving the children around their various activities!
I asked a pharmacist the same question. She was not having any problem understanding me and then all of a sudden she had problems. Instead she gave me a packet of throat lossengers for my cold. I think many of the women just don’t comprehend why I am asking these questions as it’s not on their radar it seems… Perhaps it’s just like asking me why I am not flying a space shuttle! I have joked with the women that if their husbands don’t teach them how to drive that they should’t give them any sex!
In Quiquijana I found an hospedaje.. It adjoins a restaurant. Here in Peru every time I order  meal or even beverage drinks I first have to ask the price of things as I am getting short changed so much. I can see them looking at me in amazement as I ask the price of such things as a bar of chocolate.
In restaurants, and I visit about two or three each day, I am finding that when I answer questions about my run I am seeing $ signs lighting up in their eyes. Often one of the first questions is about my profession which leads onto how can I afford it. I find this very irritating. Especially when the man is this hospedaje tried charging me for charging up my ipod in the restaurant as there was no socket in my room. I will never owe anyone I meet on this run a red cent but neither will I be taken for a mug or pay over the rate. This man I just laughed at and pretended it was a joke.
I am finding that it´s the ordinary person, the campesinos, with their friendly greetings, their big smiles out in the street that wants to help me with their offers of oranges and water, very rarely anyone working in the services industry, screw the gringo with the gringo tax as I call it!
I sometimes go through phases where I am angry at what is happening in these countries. I am sometimes angry at the people for their lack of ´get up and go ´ Why do they take crappy and mostly no services. Having just come from Machu Picchu and marveled at all the Incan hard work I wonder what the Incas would think of present day Peru. Would the Incas be puking in their graves if they could see the state of the country today and all the shoddy workmanship, I often wonder.
If I was to live here with all the cold food, served with  mostly a service less unsmiling indifference, together with my hatred for injustice – which is very much as a result of my strong trade unionist background –  I think I would just go crazy.
Then I went into another restaurant and asked the lady why the people are not marching every single day down to the mayors office or to local government buildings. Why are they not demanding more road and city street repairs, proper water service, road clean ups? Why is there much dysfunction? It seems the only marching is for religious feasts and festivals.
And all the corruption, that’s a root of much of the poverty here. How come Canada and the USA have decent, and  honest (though far from perfect) democracies, while all of Latin America can hardly offer even a single decent model?
With this lady I could see a tear in her eye. And those five words heard or sensed so much all over Latin America… BUT WHAT CAN WE DO?
Peru with all it´s natural resources is a very rich country. I wonder if it is even richer than IMF bailed out Ireland.
I usually tell people it is, even if it is not as at least we got our infrastructure in place, thanks to the European Union.
Sometimes when people ask me questions about the run or whatever I just want to answer back  (and without sounding like JFK!)
 ” Senor… You asked me the wrong question, you should ask me what is wrong with my country and what can I do to help! “
Yes I know people are just being friendly and showing an interest in the run but I just get frustrated and exasperated by their lack of concern for their living conditions and lack of many essential services.
                                                         Tita in Tinta!
That night I finished in a place called Tinta. I wandered into to villages plaza and was looking for a hotel to stay in. People had told me there was just one place near the plaza but I had a bit of difficulty finding it. A lady pointed me towards it in a waterlogged muddy street just off the south end of the plaza. She was following me towards the door holding her baby in a multicoloured stripped blanket. Then I realized she was the owner as she followed me into the courtyard. I noticed she was breastfeeding the infant and wondered if she was as she walked through the village, I think so. I don’t know what came over me but I asked her if I could take her photo!

Can I take a photo please Dervina?

 Normally women here shy away at the sight of a camera, instinct told me she wouldn’t. So I took one and then realized it was not a good photo and then set my camera on zoom for another. Her name was Dervina and her husband was looking out of an open door in the courtyard just behind me!

Sorry Derv. I need to use my zoom!

There can be a certain mental torture for the traveller with a social conscience travelling through the developing world. On foot I am closer than other travelers. Though cyclists see much, they still miss a lot of whats going on. If there is a distance of 25-30km and a place to stop, I will stop and talk to the locals, many cyclists just cycle on as they can carry more food and water.
I see so many gringos travelling in buses and wonder what they see. Very little as they just seem to go from town or city to town or city and are lucky if they make a short restaurant break which is so common place for me.
Do they ever go into a toilet here where there is no running water, soap or toilet paper? Often I go from the toilet straight into the restaurant kitchen and much to their surprise I ask for soap and water. They usually tell me I cant go in there as it’s the kitchen and I usually reply that they wouldn’t have a job if they had no water or other facilities in Europe or the United States.
 Often they have no soap and I ask why they are preparing food and if they had been to the bathroom that day. Once or twice some of these places got a bit embarrassed and sent someone down to a shop for a bar of soap!
So many places consider soap to be an unnecessary hygiene luxury, perhaps just like some people may consider an air freshener spray!
If something costs money and can break,it will break and not be replaced, like a mirror, door lock or toilet seat.
Notice I said nothing about any hand drying. Well one would not use any towel here for fear of infection and besides one could not expect them to provide paper towels or even a luxury like an electric hand dryer.
In Peru (and Bolivia) I traveled for many months without seeing anyone boil water in an electric kettle or use a microwave and have been told this is perhaps due to it’s purchase and operational cost, that is if the place even has electricity and if so an electric bulb!
 Instead the customer has to wait often for fifteen minutes for a coffee at breakfast. I miss breakfast in America and to be greeted with a coffee at the door.
What about customer service? They don’t care about that, they just want the sale now and no thought about keeping the customer happy or even pride in their work. This is obviously different in the more reputable city restaurants.
Here so much food is cooked at night and just given a minor reheat in the morning.. This is the reason why almost all food is so cold, and the customers don’t complain! I have had attempts made to give me stale bread, bread that breaks up and crumbles all over the table. The locals just eat it, I hand it back and ask for fresh bread which sometimes they are able to provide. So you see they just try selling off the old bread first which the people just keep taking, never complaining.
They will swear their food is hot! Almost everything I have to hand back to be reheated and they will tell you its hot! French fries I am told are hot, even when the cooking oil is cold! Once I went into a pizzeria and told them in advance I wanted a hot pizza!
” Si, Si Senor, it’s a pizza and will be coming straight out of the oven ” I was reassured. Well do you know that same pizza was far from hot, later I wondered if they heated the oven up enough beforehand.
 Sometimes I ask myself if it is really is as enjoyable travelling here as it is travelling in the west. I think not. All the travel books will tell you about the fascinating cultures in places like South America. I don´t agree, that may have been true in the times of the Incas and Mayans and Aztecs, not now, I am afraid to report. All I see outside the big cities are people living in slums. I rarely see a house that one would be proud of in the west. The living conditions that some of the people live in here are terrible. I have resisted from putting those photos or from taking such photos and putting them on this blog as these people deserve to keep their dignity. The ones you have seen are, believe me, some of the better living quarters.
It can be mental torture being so close to such people! My great friend and fellow world journey runner from Denmark uses a support vehicle and that way he can escape the countless dorks I meet – not having to put up with their crap, poor hygiene, slow service and cold food. Well Jesper always ate cold food. He says its quicker and you don’t risk food poisoning, a wise man!
On my world cycle trip when I was 22 years old I cycled across Asia. In my young excited naivety I remember thinking how ´exotic ´it was seeing the poor people of Iran,Afghanistan,Pakistan and India went about their daily life. Then I got to Calcutta and was appalled by the poverty I witnessed there. The train and bus station were like refuge camps with hundreds of people living there. I got to know a couple of people, for I slept there a couple of nights.
On the road today I was thinking about this so much that when a man asked me where I was going, I am sorry to say that in my frustration I just shouted back.
” Donde la hente tienne mas ambition! ” Where the people have more ambition.
As soon as I said it I knew it was the wrong thing to have said.
The man responded with a shocked look as if to say…. What side of the bed did you get out of this morning senor?
” Oh! La La! “
Why don´t people fight back and ask, rather demand proper services? I wonder if I lived here too would I be just dragged into the bottomless pit of despair, it´s very easy for me to say otherwise.
Back running on the road I was greeted by a farmer called Roman. He spoke a little English. It seems people learn to speak some English in school but rarely have an opportunity to use it.
 Roman told me woman don’t drive because of  ´social issues. ´


I stopped for coffee but it´s now hard to get. Most people driink mate de cocoa. A tea made from the cocoa leaves- As I mentioned before the cocoa leaves are the basis of cocaine and have other harmful effects when consumed in a habitual manner but as a tea its harmless as mate de cocoa also comes in tea bags commercially manufactured for export around the world.
I had the coca leaf mate infused in hot water.
 I am assured it is good for my cold. I will soon see as 10 days on antibiotics did nothing for it.
I have absolutely no interest in chewing cocoa leaves like many people do here!
While I waited for my tea and a bowl of soup I saw a sewing machine. My pack needs some repairs and remembering what Roman said I asked the waiter if his wife would repair my pack.
No I will repair it he said!. So the waiter spent a good hour between fixing the sewing machine and stitching my pack, there was my morning slipping away, an hour and a half here. $4 for the repair, soup and two cups of mate de cocoa. South Peru is really cheap, even if the food is terrible it’s filling.

Pack Repairs

I was only a couple of kilometres up the road when I met a German couple Andreas and Johanna who were cycling around the world. I greeted them with
” I hope you are not motor bikers! ” As two more bikers flew by without stopping.
We had a good chat. They told me it was easy for them to get a 3 month China visa and then extend it.. But to the south, I think it was Tajikstan they only got a 5 day visa for the 550kms, nice and business-like on a bike but running I would have to return to my competitive days for that! Thankfully Tajikstan is not on my route.

Andreas and Johanna

It was really a day for stops, couldn’t ´t get into my rhythm because in the afternoon I met Javier from Rosario Argentina who spent five months cycling from Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego.  Javier is only cycling to the Mexico/USA border, visa problems.
I met and stopped to talk to many more people on the road, put on some music on my ipod connected to my external speaker which was in my pocket. I was in a happier mood, even if the hard shoulder has turned to gravel with a steep camber. When I got a good surface I notice my difference in pace.
I ran on to a small town called Marangani thinking if I was Italian that could be me! I had only 38 kilometres under my feet and really wanted another.
 Today the villages were every 5km apart and the cyclists assured me it was the same all the way. I was just about ready to run through town when a man came running from a football pitch and told me not to go any further as there was nothing.. Nada he emphasised and insisted that I stay in the hotel here, so persistent was he that I first thought he owned the hotel!
I know there is a 4,300 mt mountain pass looming within the next 20km and he says nothing for the next 50km.
Ok I will stay here I told him after first giving him an interrogation to see if he really knew for sure, as I told him my experience is that local people know nothing of the road ahead! I will see tomorrow, if he was correct, right now I still fell I am having an amazing dollop of the ´luck of the Irish ¨
I made my way towards Marangani plaza and found the hospedaje. Many of the children from the town followed me into the adjoining grocery store, which also has an internet cafe, how neat and convenient for me.
They did what so many children do… They stared and stared. I started joking with them, telling the kids..
” Yes I am different but only in colour, all people are the same.. “
Then I did my party piece.. I can do a good dog bark, so much that when I can´t get my Dazer dog Zapper  out fast enough on the road, I just bark my head off.
So here I told the kids that we gringos are the same, except that I bark! They really enjoyed that!
Well it was not 50km to the next place to stay, only about 15km but all uphill to a place called Agua Callientes where there was a thermal hot water resort with an hotel and restaurant attached, all for only $2, yes that would have been a nice place to stay last night.
A few more kilometres I was at the top of the mountain pass, all 4,338 metres of it. At the top some French tourists came over for a chat and some photos. Then a busload of gringos, that sounded American gave me a funny look. I noted their astonished looks as I started running down the other side of the pass.
I didn’t get very far as I met an English cyclist called Nicky puffing his way up to the summit. Is it far he asked me as he puffed on a cigarette while we talked! He was a decent sort because he gave me his map.

Here's my map, I need a smoke!

 That was a decent day, 54km followed by a 48 the next day. Around lunchtime I saw a family of 5 on a motorbike! 5 is the record number I have seen, I guess 6 is illegal.
Need-less-to-say none were wearing helmets. A husband with a child in front of him. Then the wife holding a baby with another child between her and the husband! It’s very hard to get these photos as they are usually gone in a flash!
Try taking a child on a motorbike in Europe or North America, helmet or no helmet and you would soon get locked up and have your children taken off you for child neglect!
These are the things the police turn a blind eye to, not to mention the overcrowded buses and collectivos, battered and unroadworthy as they are. Poor people need to be able to get to work, or to be able to sell their merchandise in a far off marketplace just to survive, to be able to put a meal on the table for their families, yes that’s a difficult one.
That Saturday afternoon I stopped a bit earlier than I wanted, that was after 37km in a small community called Huarzh. Once again it seemed there was no other place to stay as I am now just running with my 3 kg backpack and depending on how much water I need for the road up to another 3 kilos in my pockets!
It seemed that the people of Huarzh were out celebrating the hamlets 25th anniversary as I was running by. I had my eyes on the community hall where I might lay my summer sleeping bag for the night but was told I was welcome to join in the celebrations, which I did! I was also given a souvenir white scarf with Huarzh’s community logo.
Soon I was up dancing with the people many dressed in traditional Peruvian costumes. I was given a lovely steak dinner and drank cola and water as everyone got drunk pretty fast. It soon got cold outside so, we all  moved indoors to the community hall. I noticed that the warped and creaky wooden floor that I planned to sleep on was now a huge sticky damp beer patch!

Hey this is the floor I hoped to sleep on!

The Peruvians have a custom that when they get to to the last swig of a beer bottle or beer glass that they just toss the last drain onto the floor! Not too many beer drinkers would do that in other countries! Luckily a man called Hector and his wife had told me I was welcome to stay in their place that night. They lived in another village 2 km down the road.

Oh Hokey, Hokey Pokey!

A couple more people squeezed into Hectors station wagon which was full of beer crates as his shop had provided the refreshments.
Hector was really drunk as when he pulled out onto the highway he started driving on the left! It seemed to take an eternity for him to get back as the traffic was heavy. Someone told me their house was the next left turn and Hector looked like he wanted to turn left upon hearing that, just as a truck came towards us!
At the back of his shop there was a small courtyard, I was shown my room which was obviously a family bedroom. Just as I was settling down for the night they gave me a bowl of soup. Next morning I was asked for my ‘ hotel money! ‘ I was under the impression that this was hospitality, no worries I was more than happy to pay a couple of dollars. Though I have had some genuine hospitality in Latin America, this sort of thing just a little too often and leaves a very slight sour taste in ones mouth.
I made up for yesterdays short day running the 51km to Juliaca and all without breakfast. I really should have bought something in Hectors store before leaving.. Long may my mistakes on the run be only minor ones was how I consoled myself that long tough day!
My cold is getting worse. I have a bad cough and a runny  nose. Running at around 4,000 metres here is not helping. This area in Peru is perhaps the start of the Altiplano which neighboring Bolivia is noted for.
I am sometimes out of breath as the air is so thin. The heart has to work harder and harder at such altitude. Sometimes I got to stop running just to get my breath back. I felt I was pushing myself too much and wondered if I would get a heart attack! It only seemed to require a very brief 15 second stoppage before I okay to run on again.
Then a 47km day to Puno. I am very close to Bolivia and the famed Lake Titicaca on the border that both Peru and Bolivia share.
Sitting in a restaurant Peruvians are among the nicest of people one could hope to meet but once they get behind a steering wheel a sort of Incredible Hulk metamorphosis takes place..
” You wouldn’t like me when I am driving! “
I have to be honest that Peruvian drivers are the rudest and most arrogant people I have ever met, also the worst drivers. It is amazing to be running on the opposite side of the road to them, not even on the road, in the hard shoulder. They come around a bend and upon sight of me or anyone else for that matter they honk and honk and honk their horns and all because they have spotted someone  else on ‘ their road ‘
They are so ignorant that I have thrown many a water bottle at their vehicles. Yes I know that ain’t smart, just one phone call to the cops and I could be pulled off the road.
Today I saw an old lady with obvious mobility issues. She got out of a collectivo and proceed to cross the road. Just then another collectivo came speeding through this urban area. Well I was disgusted when this driver honked the old lady out of his way.. How would the driver have reacted had someone else honked his mother off the road? Then as he continued on  in my direction, still honking this time at me. As he was not going very fast, building up his speed again and just going slow enough that this angry runner, so enraged by his treatment of the old lady I wont say what I did…Yes Tony, time to leave Peru!
Close to Puno’s plaza I met Clay, a motor biker from Victoria, B.C. in Canada. He was on his way to Bolivia. He had passed me earlier and was now stopped outside an expensive hotel trying to find the address of a backpackers hostel on his iphone. I had the address of the sister hostel I stayed with in Cuzco and managed to get there before him by just asking people. Clay gave up on his iphone map and gave a local a couple dollars to direct him to the address around a series of one way streets.
We shared the same dorm room and went out for a nice dinner that night.
On the way out Clay remarked on what I have noticed in Latin America this past year.
” The cops are grand.. I think they have been told not to hassle the tourists too much. “
” ” Don’t bite the hand that feeds? ” I added.
” Yes they have realized how important tourist dollars are to their economies. “
I was planning to run as far as the border another two days on the road and double back to Arequipa to see a man called Joss and his Peruvian wife Ana. They have two children both fluent in English as well as Spanish, sometimes dipping in and out of each language.

Ana,Harry,Joss and Emma. Thanks for a nice time in Arequipa.

A few months ago Joss  kindly sent me an invitation. Though Joss was born in England he considers himself to be a Scot!
Joss also took delivery of the Heavy Bag so I will need to pick it up.
During the night I felt terrible, what with my cold and the altitude I hardly slept and was a bit worried about my condition. So I decided to make this side trip first and then return to the route for the run towards the Bolivian border.
Clay was going on a tour of Lake Titicaca the next morning departing at 7am, so at 6.30 I jumped out of bed and decided that was a good idea and was in such a rush that I left my camera behind :(
No worries I was lucky that Clay is a pretty decent photographer and promised he would transfer his 300 plus photos of the tour we went on to my memory stick that night, along with 3.5gb of music.. Isn’t technology great :)

Thanks for the pictures Clay!

Clay took so many incredible pictures that I intend to put up a seperate posting for Lake Titicaca.
It was incredible at the lake, the highest navigable lake in the world. The Uru indians have built the floating islands they live on by weaving a serious amount of reeds.
 It was funny to see some of their basic homes fitted out with solar panels and satellite dishes!
The boats they use are aided by the flotation of up to about 2,000 plastic soda bottles underneath.
In Arequipa Ana’s uncle Jorge a retired doctor gave me a health check in which my important iron levels passed with flying colours! Thank you Jorge.

Many thanks to Ana's uncle Jorge!

After my return from a three day break in Arequipa of which two nights of compulsive chatting with Joss, an academic, philosopher, former UK youngest ever mortgage company CEO and an army veteran who has fought in five wars. Joss now makes his living as a professional poker player. He tells me that taking all into consideration and with his lovely house, cost of living that he would be four times better off living in Peru than he would be back living in the UK.
So after a night bus there and back I was so shattered that I couldn’t get out of bed back in Puno till almost noon! It took me two and a half days to run the two days to the border town of Desaguadero  I had planned. On the way a dog gave me a farewell lick on the back of my left calf.. Pretty worrying the way he just sneaked up on me!
I also ran through a hectic town called Illave, a video of that was posted on the site recently.
Watch that video HERE
Many thanks to Kieran Gallagher, Fergus Owens and Aidan Hogan for their kind help with the run!

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About Tony

I have always considered myself to be an average runner. In school, I was even bullied for I was a sports wimp. Through hard work, dedication, perseverance, self-belief and a strong mind I succeeded in not only running around the world but breaking four ultra running world records during my competitive career. Having previously cycled around the world I didn't start running until I was almost 30. Then I had a dream of running around the world. For many reasons, I waited for over 20 years. One reason was to establish my pedigree as an endurance athlete. I started and finished my world run as the current World Record-Holder for 48 Hours Indoor Track 426 kilometres (265 miles), a record I have held since 2007. I also broke and still hold the World Record for 48 hours on a Treadmill 405 kilometres (251 miles) in 2008. When I retired from competition, more pleasing than any of my world, European or Irish records I had the respect of my fellow athletes from all over the world - in my opinion, sports greatest reward - an achievement I am most proud of. Then I finally put myself out to pasture, to live my ultimate dream to run around the world! This blog was written on the road while I struggled to find places to sleep and to recover from running an average of 43.3 kilometres or 27 miles per day for 1,165 road days. There were many nights I typed this blog on a smart phone, so fatigued my eyes closed. Many journalists and endurance athletes have referred to my world run as the most difficult endurance challenge ever attempted. During my expedition I rarely had any support vehicles, running mostly with a backpack. In the more desolate areas I pushed my gear, food and water in a cart which I called Nirvana, then I sent her on ahead to run with my backpack once again over altitudes of almost 5,000 metres in the Andes. I stayed in remote villages where many people had never seen a white person before. I literally met the most wonderful people of this world in their own backyard and share many of those amazing experiences in this blog. My run around the world took 4 years. There were no short cuts, I ran every single metre on the road while seeking out the most comprehensive route across 41 countries, 5 continents, I used 50 pair of running shoes and my final footstep of the run was exactly 50,000 kilometres, (almost 31,000 miles) I eventually finished this tongue in cheek named world jog where I started, at the finish line of my city marathon. I started my global run with the Dublin Marathon on October 25th 2010 and finished with the Dublin Marathon on October 27th 2014 at 3 05pm! Thank you for your support, I hope you can share my unique way of seeing the world, the ultimate endurance challenge! Read more...


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Aware is The World Jog Charity.