Project Infinite Liberation revealed: Wee-Cheng the pseudo-nomad becomes a real nomad in Latin America
- Dear All,
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
What a month! Busy with admin work relating to leaving London, saying
farewell to friends, and even managed a few hedonistic nights out with
dubious characters. And of course, preparation for Project Infinite
Liberation! Here's the moment of truth. I have decided to embark on an
odyssey through Latin America, perhaps followed by ex-Yugoslavia and London
to Singapore overland via Trans-Siberia, China, Laos, Thailand and
Malaysia. My route in Latin America is as follows:
- Fly to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 29th December 2001. Spend the legendary
New Year celebrations there and then make my way to Foz do Iguacu. Also
visit the Argentinian & Paraguayan side of the waterfalls.
- Paraguay: Asuncion then across northern Argentina, perhaps passing
through Cordoba and Mendoza
- Chile: Santiago (must sort out my Bolivian visa) & Central Valley,
perhaps a trip to Easter Island, and then moving on to Atacama Desert
- Bolivia (if I manage to get my Bolivian visa - they have onerous visa
requirements for Singaporeans when their citizens can enter Singapore
without visas! The most troublesome visa I have ever applied - yeah, I am
a potential economic refugee in Bolivia??? Singapore's GDP per capita of
US$25,000 is too low for the Bolivians.); Chinese New Year in La Paz ?
- Peru (4 weeks or more, maybe do the Peruvian Amazon on top of the usual
Cusco/Highlands/Inca Trail/Nazca/Ica/Arequipa/Titicaca route)
- Ecuador (may do Galapagos Islands) - May do Spanish classes there - Given
my poor record in learning languages - had spent cumulatively 7, 8 and 7
weeks in Spanish, Russian and Arabic speaking countries respectively but
hardly know any local phrases apart from simple greetings and certain local
profanities, it might be a complete waste of time OK, I should make some
effort this time since I will be in these lands for 5 months or more. A
friend has this interesting advice: "La mejor manera de aprender español
está en la cama" (translated as "The best way to learn Spanish is in the
bed."). Let's see
- Colombia - another interesting land in interesting times - I have brought
along a copy of
Gabriel García Márquez's A Hundred Years of Solitude to contemplate about
- May go to Venezuela. There will be a temptation to get to Trinidad &
Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, French Antilles, Dutch Antilles,
Aruba and other assorted Caribbean states - but that will be stretching the
limit of my schedule and necessitate a change in my return flight from Miami.
- Panama (mere transit, as I have already been there early 2001), Costa
Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala (mere transit, as I have
already been there early 2001), Belize, Mexican Yucatan
- Miami - I may either fly there direct from Cancun, or through the rest of
Mexico (Valley of Mexico) and then hop onto the Sunset Limited train
somewhere in Texas to Jacksonville and then Miami. Depending on time and
budget, I may do island hopping in the Caribbean.
- Back to London - scheduled date: 28th May 2001 - but may extend trip.
Books I am bringing along:
Lonely Planet South America
Footprints South America Handbook
Footprints Central America & Mexico Handbook
Footprints Caribbean Islands Handbook
Gabriel García Márquez's A Hundred Years of Solitude
Colloquial Spanish of Latin America by
Berlitz Latin American Spanish Phrase Book & Dictionary
- <http://www.Amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0330371622/tanweechengonlin> An
Unexpected Light, Travels in Afghanistan by Jason Elliot (in case in need
to change my destination next year!)
Strange Places, Questionable People by John Simpsons, the famous BBC
Special Correspondent's book about his adventures. This will either
subvert me into a career change (war correspondent?) or merely helps to
increase the weight of my backpack (OK, call it weights training).
Do click those links, order a few books and help me to earn some spare
change to buy drinks for some Latin American babe!
What comes after Latin America ? Depends. There will definitely be a
temptation to rejoin the job market if it has recovered by then.
Otherwise, the game plan is back to London and set off for two further trips:
- A short three to four week trip in Albania and the former Yugoslav lands
of Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia.
Will skip Slovenia as I have been there before. Journey will probably be a
full circle starting from Athens, Greece, and up north to Thessaloniki and
all the way to Belgrade and Zagreb and then down south along the Adriatic
and surrounding hinterlands. Upon the completion of this trip, I would have
been to every European political entity except for the Faroes Islands,
Liechtenstein and Russia, and unrecognized breakaway states such as
Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which in any case might be too dangerous to go.
- The grand finale will be London to Singapore overland (I mean REAL
overland) - take a train from London to Paris via Eurostar, followed by a
train to Warsaw or Berlin, to change to another train all the way to
Moscow. From Moscow, I will do detours to do the Golden Ring of Russian
cities, St Petersburg/Lake Ladoga/Novgorod and Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan
within the Russian Federation. Then I will hop onto the Trans-Siberian
Railway (in reality a series of different trains) to Beijing, and with
little stops and detours in/to Ekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Ulan
Ude, Tuva Republic and Vladivostok. From Beijing, I will rush through
China as quickly as possible since I have already done parts of China
before and would have ample opportunity in the future. Into Laos from
Yunnan and then followed by Thailand, Malaysia and then Singapore.
Homecoming of the Native Son.
After all the hard-core travel, I will seek my fortunes in either
Singapore, Hong Kong or Boom Town Asia aka Shanghai. Anyone with
recommendations in either Private Equity and LBO, drop me a note!
OK, that's all, get ready for WeeCheng's News from Rio!