110- La corrupción de la policía en Nicaragua 1

La Vuelta al Mundo en 10 Años - @viajeros4x4x4

– Me parece que le voy a tener que hacer una multa.

(Usted me disculpará, pero es mi obligación, Dios me ha visto verle y los árboles y mis ojos y las moscas que zumban alrededor de mi cabeza también me han visto verle pisar la línea blanca en la curva. Y eso es ilegal, sabe, la vida es dura).

Durante nuestros primeros quince días en Nicaragua, la policía nos detuvo 10 veces para revisar nuestros documentos personales, permisos, seguros, triángulos y extintor. Y eso que no usamos la furgoneta todos los días.

Aclaro: esta es una historia sobre policía malos. Ya sabemos que los policías no son todos buenos, pero hay países en donde solo te encuentras con los malos. Hay que joderse…

Habíamos quedado para pasar el fin de año con Réjean, Nathalie y sus hijas, Charlotte y Eve, de nueve y seis años. Amigos de Québec, todavía Canadá, que llevaban unos cuantos meses de viaje por México. Nos habíamos encontrado por primera vez en Costa Rica, en la Playa de Sámara, donde compartimos 3 semanas de camping frente al mar. Espectacular.

Volvíamos de acampar en la playa de Las Peñitas y habíamos cumplido con todos los ritos que presagian un buen 2010. Hicimos un buen asado y quemamos un muñeco tamaño humano. No era una vena incendiaria escondida, sólo nos adaptábamos a las costumbres locales: a las 12 de la noche del 31 de diciembre, muchas familias de Nicaragua sacan muñecos de paja y ramas vestidos con ropa vieja a la calle, y los quema. El año ya pasó, murió. Adiós.

Ocurrió en la ruta, cerca de León Viejo, la capital colonial que sucumbió tras una erupción del Momotombo. (Ahora solo quedan las piedras grises de los cimientos de los edificios y los huecos vacíos de las tumbas descubiertas. ¿Adónde habrán ido a parar los huesos?). Vivíamos en la felicidad de la ruta cuando en un cruce de rutas desolado nos encontramos con una patrulla de policía. De policías aburridos mirando los papeles de un taxista. Por supuesto, ven un vehículo con un cartel grande que dice La Cucaracha, y sí, te paran.

La mitad de las veces, los encuentros son pequeñas partidas de póker. Si tienes todo en regla no tienen por qué entretenerte mucho, a no ser que quieran buscarte las cosquillas. Nosotros pasamos rápido, pero parecía que querían marear a los amigos canadienses.

– Me parece que le voy a tener que hacer una multa.

– ¿Y por qué? –pregunta Réjean.

– Su vehículo no lleva matrícula delante.

– En Canadá ningún vehículo lleva matrícula delante.

– Pero en Nicaragua todos los vehículos llevan matrículas delante y detrás. Voy a tener que hacerle una multa –dice el policía, media sonrisa, enseñando las fundas de plata de los dientes superiores.

– Disculpe –digo al policía metiéndome en la conversación. Es que no puedo evitarlo, soy así. –Si él está en Nicaragua con ese vehículo y una sola matricula es porque la policía que está en la frontera le autorizó a entrar con el vehículo en esas condiciones. Por si no sabía, en la frontera la policía revisa todos los vehículos.

– Usted manténgase aparte, estoy hablando con el señor.

– Perdone, pero si este es un país libre, yo puedo estar donde quiera. Ellos son mis amigos y voy a estar aquí, a su lado.

El policía me mira confundido. Un taxista que espera con su vehículo a un lado de la ruta sonríe descarado. Este no es el espectáculo habitual. El policía vuelve a mirar el frente del vehículo. Sí, lleva una placa con el dibujo de un caracol feliz y dice Camping Safari. Camina despacio hacia la parte trasera. Sus compañeros observan de lejos. Las niñas deben pensar que su papá es muy peligroso porque la policía lo controla todo el tiempo.

– Mire, voy a llamar a mi jefe, en la comisaría, para preguntarle si su amigo puede circular con una sola matrícula. Usted espere ahí.

Anna bufa. Nathalie le explica la situación a sus niñas. Réjean es un tipo tranquilo, no es peligroso. Varios kilómetros adelante nos detenemos y me cuenta que vio al policía por el espejo retrovisor haciendo gestos a su compañero. ¿Qué hacemos? Y que después se puso el teléfono en la oreja y habló solo. Y nos dejaron ir. Lo habían intentado, y no había funcionado.

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Tenemos muchas historias parecidas, como en Perú, cuando nos detuvo un policía sentado, o cuando nos pidieron el permiso especial para llevar vidrios oscuros en las ventanas traseras. Incluso, en Argentina un policía se inventó un semáforo en rojo que el alcalde todavía no había puesto. La ruta es así.

Esta es solo una de las historias que tenemos con policías en Nicaragua. Habrá más.

Lo importante es no acobardarse con los malos policías. Mantenerse tranquilos, no acceder a ninguna rebaja de una multa inventada aunque pierdas algo de tiempo. Ellos suelen querer la coima rápido. Si te detienen por romper una regla que no conocías, apela a lo más lógico, repite conmigo: lo siento, soy extranjero, no lo sabía y no lo volveré a hacer. Y si igual quiere multarte, es un cabrón. Los buenos policías, previo acto de contrición, suelen ser comprensivos.

(Continúa en La Corrupción de la Policía en Nicaragua 2: Encuentro con el Chapulín Colorado)




69- Lugares para conocer antes de morir: Catarata Kaieteur, Guyana

Kaieteur enorme, brutal. Guyana

(viene de Caminando por la selva de Guyana)

Desde lejos Kaieteur no impresiona. Parece una catarata más, una catarata clásica, de esas de postal, de las que hay en todos los países. De esas. Más de lo mismo, agua que cae de arriba para abajo. Más locales que hablan de su catarata con orgullo, como si fuera la única del mundo.

Pero a medida que caminas sucede algo extraño: no llegas nunca. Te acercas pero no alcanzas la orilla, caminas pero el salto continúa agrandándose, haciéndote sentir cada vez más pequeño. Avanzas, esquivas los brazos verdes de una bromelia, una planta gigante con nombre de tía antigua, una superviviente de la megalomanía biológica. Tentáculos largos, bigotes. Allí delante encuentras un espacio vacío, te asomas al abismo e inmediatamente das un paso atrás: los árboles del fondo parecen repollos enanos.

Entonces algo te paraliza sobre una piedra que se estira desafiando la ley de gravedad. Estás en medio de la selva, sobre el mirador del Tarzán de Johnny Weismuller. Parpadeas, te has convertido en una hormiga. Una pequeña garrapata entre las grietas de la piedra más vieja del mundo.

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Dicho de otra manera: al lado de Kaieteur, eres insignificante.

El agua, mucha agua, demasiada agua, pierde el equilibrio junto a tus pies y cae 226 metros hasta reventar contra las rocas escondidas del abismo. Doscientos veintiséis metros. Allí hay una explosión permanente, un big bang de agua pulverizada despedida a la velocidad dolorosa de la confusión. Estás allí, existe, pero todavía necesitas que alguien te patee el culo para asegurarte que esto no es un sueño. Que estás despierto.

Arriba, ranas doradas que viven en un estanque natural dentro de la misma bromelia. Y gallitos de las rocas, rojos como chavistas venezolanos, como neocomunistas melancólicos entre las ramas de un mundo verde.

Abajo, al fondo de la grieta, un enorme arco iris se levanta en el aire para saltar las orillas con los colores más hippies de la naturaleza. Y en el medio estás tú, sentado en la orilla del mundo, con los pies colgando que se balancean con el viento.

El espectáculo es hipnótico, un circo natural que te llama, que te ata una cuerda invisible en las tripas y te pide que saltes, con la certeza que el vapor detendrá la inercia y podrás volar. Acompañar a los pájaros que se lanzan en un vuelo kamikaze, suicida, perpendicular, hacia una caída vertiginosa siguiendo la corriente del agua.

Y a mitad de camino las aves vuelven a sorprender, a quebrarse en un nuevo ángulo recto y a sumergirse en el hueco oscuro que aguarda detrás de la catarata. Sí, la misma catarata desbordante de taninos que continúa cayendo, para volver a acumularse, extenuada y llena de moretones, toda negra y encauzada, en el fondo del valle. Allí, a doscientos veintiséis metros.

De todas las grandes cataratas del mundo, Iguazú, Victoria, Niágara y Nilo Azul, Kaieteur es la gran desconocida. La única en donde puedes permanecer en la más absoluta soledad durante varios días. Sin ruidosos grupos turísticos. Sin puestos de Coca Cola. Sin souvenirs de plástico. Solos en la naturaleza, como debió ser en el principio de todo.

No hay ruta para llegar a Kaieteur. Sólo puedes acercarte caminando en un trekking a través de la selva (4 días), en bote con motor desde Pamela Landing (1 día), o en avión (1 hora). Los precios para este viaje espectacular los podrás encontrar en www.rftours.com

Gracias a Frank Haralsingh, de la Guyana Tourism Authority, que nos dió todas las facilidades para recorrer el país menos conocido de Sudamérica, y a Frank Singh, director de Rainforest Tours, que nos invitó a uno de los tours más espectaculares del continente: un trekking de varios días a través de la selva de Guyana hasta la desconocida catarata Kaieteur. Inolvidable.

Banner libro La Vuelta al Mundo en 10 Años: Africa




Couple on world tour says Guyana a “surprise” (Kaieteur News, Guyana)

Around the World in 10 Years at Kaieteur News, newspaper from Guyana

www.viajeros4x4x4.com

In 2000, Ama Callau and Pablo Rey took the decision of their lives when they decided to load up a Mitsubishi Delica and head out on a world tour. And what an adventure it has been!

From being chased by angry elephants to experiencing the warmth of the Sudanese people despite the turmoil in their country, and now trekking through the jungles of Guyana, Ama and Pablo have soaked up world culture in a way they could never have imagined.

Anna, from Barcelona, and Pablo, from Beunos Aires, are now on their way to see the magnificent Kaieteur Falls, thanks to the generous support of Rainforest Tours, the Guyana Tourism Authority, and the Guyana Oil Company.

Guyana was not really listed as one of their destinations, but since they were just next door, in Venezuela, they decided to head down to Guyana, a country they had heard little about, and a place that people around the world didn’t seem to know, even in Venezuela.

From Lethem, they travelled through the Savannahs, observing the giant anthills and the endangered giant anteater. Before heading to Georgetown, they visited the Iwokrama Rainforest.

From Georgetown, they headed to New Amsterdam and all the way to Moleson Creek at the border with Suriname.

They returned to Georgetown and, yesterday, set out on a journey through the jungle to see Kaieteur Falls.

When the couple started out on their world tour in 2000, they thought it would take them just four years.

“We soon realized that the world is not so small,” Pablo told Kaieteur News yesterday in Georgetown.

When they left Barcelona, their plan was to travel through Southern Europe, then to the Middle East, then to Africa (going from North to South), then to America (travelling South to North), and then making their way back home through Asia, starting from Siberia.

What triggered their decision to embark on a world tour in a sports utility vehicle?

“We were both working (Pablo is a writer, and Ama was in public relations) but then we asked ourselves is that is what we really wanted to do till we reached 65,” Ama related. They decided that they wanted to see the world, and their journey began.

“We betted our life on our dream,” said Ama.

At first, they started out depending on their savings, but worked as they travelled. Pablo has since written a book on Africa and has been selling it along the way.

The one thing that is common in people around the world, the couple says, is their goodness.

“People are good around the world; people are nice. It is politicians who don’t know how to solve problems,” Ama declared.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH TO RAINFOREST TOURS FOR THEIR SUPPORT DURING OUR OVERLAND TRAVELS THROUGH GUYANA!

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Barcelonan couple chases dream in 4×4 (Guyana Chronicle Newspaper, Guyana)

Around the World in 10 Years at the Chronicle newspaper, Guyana.

Article about Around the World in 10 Years, on the Chronicle newspaper from Guyana. January 11 2009. Written by Priya Nauth

BARCELONAN COUPLE FOLLOWS THEIR DREAM IN A ‘4X4’

¡NADA es Imposible: Persique tus suenos! (Nothing is impossible; just follow your dreams!) is the message from Anna Callau and Pablo Rey as they travel around the world, exploring the unique and diverse lifestyles of different peoples. And this is exactly what the pair is doing.

The adventurous couple left their homeland, Spain, in southwestern Europe, since June 2000 and has since been travelling around the world in their four-wheel-drive vehicle, which for them is ‘home-away-from-home’.

Anna and Pablo, who came to Guyana by way of neighbouring Brazil and through the Lethem trail, are camping out at the Sophia Exhibition Site here in Georgetown and during an exclusive interview with the Guyana Chronicle, told us about their bold quest and sometimes ‘challenging’ experiences.

“We were in Barcelona leading a normal life like everyone else. We had a comfortable flat, job, family and friends, but we were thinking that that was not what we really want to do,” Anna said.

“…we thought we’d try to do what we dream of, and there was one moment when we thought we were stuck on this road with our way of life. We started talking about if this is what we want for the rest of our lives,” Anna, who studied business administration and artistes promotion before giving it all up to follow her dreams and aspirations, said.

“To explore the possibility of going abroad to learn about other countries, other cultures, other ways of living….when you know what will happen, there is no surprise; life should be full of surprises,” 42-year-old Pablo said.

His forte is really advertising, but he has been writing for the last 20 years, and now writes full-time about ‘life on the road’ in the various countries they have visited since leaving home. Some of his articles have been published in magazines in countries like Argentina, Peru and Ecuador here in South America.

Originally from Argentina, Pablo’s also authored a book on Africa, and is currently working on another, which will feature a selection of short stories about the pair’s journey around the world.

“In this life, we are used to doing what is more convenient, not what we want to do. In that moment of our lives, we decided to do what we dream to do — not what we were expected to do,” Anna said.

“You just do things because you have to do these things. And you do not stop and think: ‘Is this what I want to do?’ At one point, we did stop and think: ‘Is this what we want to do?'” Pablo chipped in.

Around the World in 10 Years at the Chronicle newspaper, Guyana.

Living our dream

“We are living our dream; the whole journey tells you about life,” the pair, who have been together for over 10 years, said.

Pablo said when they left Barcelona eight and a half years ago, the idea was to accomplish the trip around the world in four years. The couple makes money to keep them going by selling books, post-cards and by writing articles about their journey around the world.

“The most shocking part of our journey, I think,” Anna noted, “was Africa because we started without knowing anything about what was there.”

“We’ve discovered a lot of different cultures; we have seen that people are good everywhere you go, because you put on the television and think that outside the country everybody is bad people,” she said.

“It’s all about the people; there are always a few who are unfriendly, but mainly, it is good. The feelings of the people are good, and that does not change, whether they are Muslim, Christian, Buddhist or Hindu…,” Pablo again chimed in.

“Basically, we are altogether the same; this is the thing that you discover when you are far from your point of origin. And that is a very important thing,” he said.

“I think the best thing we did was to take this step, and to take this chance of doing this; to have a different life,” his 37-year old partner said.

“The most shocking moment was probably about six months after we started this journey, when we realised that we were leaving the city, and we stopped thinking about time and started thinking about places and people but not looking at the world all the time,” Anna said.

Noting that the way people have opened their hearts to them sometimes gives them ‘goose-bumps’, Pablo said: “That is how it is like… because you are raised in a society that thinks more about money; more individually than collectively, and not us altogether.”

Thus far, the couple has been to over 30 countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Peru here in South America; as well as Italy, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Namibia, Syria, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Botswana.

Among those that have definitely touched them in many ways, they said, are Turkey, Sudan, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Argentina and Peru.

“These are the countries where you made friends and stayed more time. And you leave with the people in your heart… you have the same life like the people in the place and you learn from them a lot,” Pablo said in his roundabout way of conveying his thoughts in English.

“South America is quite close to what we know, because they are speaking Spanish… and the food and people…,” he added, meaning that their sojourn in South American was made bearable because of the similarities in custom and culture the countries they’ve visited share with Spain, which was at one time seen as the Motherland, in much the same way as the British colonies felt about England.

However, the place of their dreams, the couple revealed, was somewhere in Africa. “We would dream of a place we’d like to stay and live, and that is no doubt to go back and live in the southern part of Africa, where it is full of wildlife and have a simple life with a lot of small things that makes it rich,” both Anna and Pablo said.

Friendly people

Turning their attention to Guyana, Pablo said: “We did not know much about Guyana; Guyana is not really known in South America and we are still learning about Guyana, but we like the people. The hospitality is great… they are not looking just for your money because you are tourists. In some other places, they see you as tourists. We saw people smiling on the road, and that is not very common.

“We had no information at all, and it is much better than we expected. Here is completely different. The people have been hospitable; the people have been open, and that is an important thing; when you are crossing a country and you can talk with the people.”

They both said however, that because they are not as fluent as they would like to be in English, it can sometimes be difficult to understand what people are saying since most people communicate with each other in ‘Creolese’.

“For us, it is more difficult to get in contact in English because you cannot express the feelings,” Pablo said.

Noting that they had not planned on coming to Guyana, but seized the opportunity to do so after being in Brazil, Pablo said:

“We entered through the Savannahs and we saw and enjoyed a lot of the wildlife. That was very important, and it was beautiful to be on the road and be able to see a lot of birds. We even saw an ant-eater on the road, so it was really breathtaking to see the wildlife here in Guyana.”

They both agreed that Guyana undoubtedly has great potential as an eco-tourism destination but needs to be marketed more and better. “It is a different culture inside South America, and that is very important; very good,” Pablo said, adding: “The strong point is the eco-tourism and wildlife, because you do not see as much wildlife in the other places as in Guyana. You see a lot in Guyana.”

“Being able to see wildlife from the road and in the jungle… that is amazing. It is usually difficult, so it is nice to see all this in the savannah,” Anna said.

The duo promised to promote Guyana, and to tell people about this “little unknown place,” and have already begun posting information on their website www.viajeros4x4x4.com through which they have been chronicling their journey.

They said it is the e-mails they receive from people all across the globe which inspire them to go on with the expedition.

“We have a blog, a webpage,” Pablo said, “and we write in there. We write a lot of stories in there and every week, we receive mails from people who say that we are making and going on with their dream; that, in a way, we are making what they would like to do come true, but maybe, they do not have the courage and they ask us please go and do it for me.”

“They are our ‘gasoline’ to go on, because sometimes, you want to be with your friends; you want to be with your family; you want a normal house; a normal shower. Sometimes we miss that, but when you receive these mails from people, it just encourages you to go on and continue doing what you dream of,” he said.

The couple will be spending another two weeks here after returning from neighbouring Suriname in a few days, and said they are looking forward to the overland trip to the majestic Kaieteur Falls.

Inspiring people

Asked what is the message they hope to send people, Anna, who elected to respond, said: “That they can do whatever they want; that they just have to make the sacrifice, and plan what it is they want to do.”

Asked what was the most difficult part of the journey, Anna said: “The most difficult thing when doing something is to start; it is the most difficult point, because you have to break with your routine and normal life, and start again. But we have no regrets at all.”

They both conceded that one of the most important life’s lessons they’ve learnt is that every problem has a solution, and that dreams can come true if one persists and puts all their energy into making it a reality.

“Sometimes it does not work the first time you try, but it doesn’t mean it is not going to work. You can do it; you just have to try again,” she said, adding:

“If everybody fights for what they want to do, I am sure that the world will be much better. The world is a good place; it is not perfect; but I am sure we would have a much better place.”

The pair plans spending their last few days exploring the savannahs before heading back to Brazil and continuing their journey all the way to Alaska.

They took the opportunity to express their heartfelt thanks to the Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), Mr. Indranauth Haralsingh and his staff; the people of Rainforest Tours and the people of Guyana for all the support and help they’ve given them during their sojourn here.

MANY THANKS TO RAINFOREST TOURS, FOR THEIR SUPPORT DURING OUR TRAVELS THROUGH GUYANA.

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Gracias Kenia

www.viajeros4x4x4.com
  • A los padres Fernando, Avelino y Manolo de la misión católica de Lodwar, por guiarnos en la búsqueda de un camino hasta el otro lado del Lago Turkana. Lo que hacen es muy importante.
  • Al padre Víctor, ugandés en Kalokol, por darnos cama, comida y bote hasta Allia Bay, Sibiloi.
  • A Jim Ness, misionero protestante a quien no conozco, por darnos la dirección de David Kerr, dueño del taller mecánico FITS, que envió su mecánico todoterreno Evans, a arreglar la furgoneta en Sibiloi.
  • A Mar y Paco, los turistas, por el queso manchego, vino de Rioja, fabada asturiana, paté de jabugo y el oli d’oliva. A Mar, por llevar botellas para Barcelona y por las dosis de adrenalina inyectable.
  • A José Manuel Tuñón, canciller de la embajada de España en Nairobi, a Xavi Barros, corresponsal de la agencia EFE y a Albert Amigó y Pepo Miret de WorldExplorers, por el vino español, la charla, las carnes, la fiesta y las camas. Nos han hecho sentir como en casa.
  • A Martin Mulama, de McCann Erickson Kenya, por ponernos en orden el nuevo portátil de teclado holandés.
  • A Mr. Fisah, primer secretario de la embajada de Ethiopia en Nairobi, por ayudarnos a recuperar nuestra cámara robada cuando le dije que mi jefe quería que escribiera un artículo ‘sobre la corrupción de la policía en Ethiopia’.
  • A Susan Linnee, jefa de Associated Press para el este de África, por traer la cámara digital de Ethiopia a Nairobi.
  • A Mike Minihane y Arnd, los alemanes del Unimog, por ayudarnos a arreglar la furgoneta y tirar de ella durante 80 kilómetros de barro por Sibiloi.
  • A Sue y Neil Lawson de Londres, por estar allí y tener todas las coordenadas necesarias para salir ilegalmente de Ethiopia a través del lago Turkana.

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