New Video – Villazon to La Paz, Bolivia

 http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=5209450&server=vimeo.com&show_title=0&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=00ADEF&fullscreen=1

Simon

We´ve been having a spot of trouble with our camcorder for quite a while now. It´s been acting more like a stray dog than part of our expedition kit, often choosing not to obey our instructions. Sometimes, when it´s needed most, it decides not to turn on, or else when we are in a position to charge it, i.e. not camping, it feels that it would rather not have electricity shoved up it´s backside. But now, for a short time at least it seems to be behaving itself and I´ve managed to rip the Bolivia footage off it to make into a long overdue video for you all to enjoy.

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Walking the Amazon

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=5147418&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=00ADEF&fullscreen=1

Leafcutter Ants in Ed’s Pants from Walking the Amazon Videos on Vimeo.

Fearghal

In the quest for 5 minutes respite from emails and google maps I came across this video showing some of the things that Ed Stafford is up against on his Walking the Amazon expedition-trouser cutting ants. 

Fair play, I’d be out of there in a flash, I feckin hate ants.  

check out his site for the full story.    

One man in a boat

Fearghal

I’ve been trawling the net for the last few weeks for a bit of vicarious adventure while we are waiting for the next leg. Unfortunatley, though, one of the by products of this economic blues is that funding dries up for expeditions. As a result, there’s little out there to pass the time between emailing embassies, and staring at google maps for hours on end.

So it was great to come across Sean’s retro styled site. Next December he’ll be taking to the water to paddle himself across the mighty atlantic ocean. 70 days alone in a boat might not be everyone’s cup of earl grey but I’m very jealous and I’m looking forward to following his updates on training and preparations and to reading those funky insights on self and the world that will no doubt be posted as he blogs from the waves.

There’s some interesting stuff on nutrition here and some history of rowing the atlantic here.

Continue reading

Tomatina Fame

Tomatina Festival

Simon

Bogota – Colombia

I got a bit of a surprise on my way back from dinner this evening. I was just nearing the door to our hostel when a backpacker we met (seen above mashing tomato into my hair) at the Tomatina Festival this weekend came running up to me with a newspaper in hand, and I was on the front cover! During the fight, a TV camera crew tried to interview me, but with the cameras rolling, I realised I had nowhere near enough Spanish to answer his questions, but they quoted me anyway.

The Thin Red Line

Tomatina Festival

Fearghal

Colombia-Villa De Leyva

We could hear the crowd cheering as we drove to the stadium in the back of a van. Security was tight, guards dressed in military fatigues stood scanning the crowds with M16’s casually strung over slouched shoulders. If I didn’t know better I’d swear we were on our way to a political rally of some corrupt regime. But luckily I did, and I knew that the pile of tomatoes would be the only missiles fired, and the only screams would be the silly, happy ones that adults cry when allowed to do something normally verbotten

We’d come to Boyoca’s annual harvest festival, and we were there, along with several hundred other, to take part in a tomato frenzy- a giant food fight.

Two truck loads of tomatoes were piled in the centre of the stadium separated from the restless crowd by a flimsy cordon. Ten minutes left until the first piece of fruit was scheduled to fly and stray tomatoes were already airborne, as splinter factions decided to take this battle into their own hands. The announcer did his best to maintain control, but you could just sense that the peace was delicate. There were old scores to settle, and no doubt new ones to make, and as the seconds ticked down to the starting gun we eyed up our opponents’ nice bright white t-shirts. Looking deep into their eyes for any sign of weakness.

Then, with the sound of a horn, it was on. Like bold soldiers we surged over the top, moving forward into the mellie, with little regard for the red projectiles and shrapnel that filled the air. Myself and Si moved together into the fray  firing indiscriminately as we went, body fell left and right, as our comrades from the hostel went down one by one. Gringos of all nations fought and fell together. 

Once in the trenches though, it was every man for himself, so I tried to faceplant Si into the tomatoey mire. Unfortunately I came unstuck on a some stray pulp and landed belly first in the deep mud, by now crimson with the juice and pulp of brave souls. But intoxicated by the adrenaline of the fight, I picked myself up and soldiered on, catching a short Colombian on the side of the cheek with a well aimed volley of pulp. I was back in the fray. 

The fire was relentless, but we fought hard to maintain our ground despite coming under some heavy fire.

The battle raged for almost an hour after which time we retreated to the sidelines, and stood shell shocked, ears still ringing from the flack, and cuts stinging from the acidy bite of the pulp.

On the battle field of the Tomatina there were no winners. We lost alot of great men that day.

For those of strong stomach, more photos of the brave and mighty in our flickr set here.                      

Wedding Bells

Series following Simons attempt to climb western Europes highest mountain, Mont Blanc

Simon

Villa de Leyva- Colombia

There´s wedding bells in the air, and no, not for me!! My brother is getting married next week in Ireland which is something I definately can´t miss, so next week I fly from home to join in the celebration, leaving Fearghal to relax in the Caribbean. The flights over to China are where it gets tricky. Since one of the stipulations for a circumnavigation is to cover all 24 time zones, I must fly the long way to Shanghai, flying west over Canada and the Pacific, not east as you would normally do.

We´ve had a bit of trouble obtaining our 3 month Chinese visa here in Colombia. After heading straight to Bogota with the sole purpose of sorting out our visas in the embassy there, we were told that you can only apply if you´re a Colombian resident, even though their website said otherwise. So I´ll be taking Fearghals passport home with me, getting a rushed Chinese visa, then sending it over to Colombia before he leaves for China.

With that out of the way, I´ll be able to indulge in my fantasies for at least a little while, having a choice of clean crisp clothes, eating lovely home cooked meals, and chilling out with my friends and family.

The Science of Adventure

Brain On Adventure

Fearghal

Bogota-Colombia

Here‘s an interesting article on the pyschology of risk taking and evolution from the excellent Outside magazine.

Doing reckless, stupid things is as much a part of our gene pool as red hair and a taste for peanut M&M’s.

As our species evolved, communities with risk takers might have done better at things like warding off attackers,” says Thomas Crowley, a psychologist at the University of Colorado Denver. “Risk taking was important for the species and the individual.

HHHHMMMMM… What do you reckon?

I’d like to hear what the wisdom of the crowd is on this one.