By Rustom Seegopaul
A pair of German cyclists, Christian Riedku and Olga Avila, made a stopover in Guyana, as part of their journey around the world.
In their expedition, which has thus far lasted some three and a half years and has taken them across approximately 57,000 kilometres, the two have seen the juxtapositions of the world, from bustling city streets of Bangkok, Thailand, to the desolation of trails linking Lethem to Georgetown.
Starting their journey in Germany, the two have traversed the roads of Europe and Africa, the trails of South East Asia and the awesome sights of the Andes mountain range.
From Germany, Riedku and Avila made their way through France before moving into Africa. They cycled down the West Coast of Africa all the way to South Africa. From the southernmost tip of Africa, they flew to Bangkok.
In Thailand, the two separated for some time. Riedku continued to cycle around South East Asia, touching Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia; Avila remained in Bangkok and worked in a travel agency to earn some money to help her continue her trip around the world.
Riedku told the stories of the majestic temples of Angkor Wat in Seim Reap, Cambodia, the towering skyscrapers that dot the skyline of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the sumptuous seafood of Hanoi, Vietnam.
Uniting once again in Thailand, the pair flew to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where they began their tour of South America.
They cycled across the Andes and into Venezuela. Moving eastward, they entered Guyana and then arrived in Georgetown on Tuesday afternoon.
Speaking with Kaieteur News yesterday, the two said that they would remain in Georgetown for a few days, awaiting visas, which would allow them to travel into Suriname.
From Suriname they intend to travel to Brazil.
In Brazil, their three-and-a-half-year long trip will come to an end, as the pair intends to fly back to Germany. “Our money is running out,” said Avila, with a smile, “and we really should get home and see our families.”
Nonetheless, she said that even though they were going home, they would probably be back out on the road after some time. “Once a nomad, always a nomad,” said Riedku, affirming that the two would most likely be back cycling again before long.
The adventurers have enjoyed a variety of peoples and cultures.
“Each country has its own colour,” said Riedku, as he reminisced about the host of nations that he had seen in his trek around the globe. “Guyana is very lovely country, by culture,” he said. “There is a bit from everywhere.”
He said that he had seen similar pieces of cultures in Africa and in Asia, but he said that he had not seen another country where there was such diversity of cultures before.
“The trip across the world has taken us through desolate areas, and very often there are so many thoughts passing through our heads, “Avila said.
“Sometimes you have the best ideas on how to save the world, but a lot of the time you go through a more serious phase, and it’s a lot like surreal meditation,” Riedku added.
As they travelled across the continents, the two have become quite close, and they told Kaieteur News that they were “almost married.”
But the trip has by no means been all fun and games.
Together they have dealt with almost everything from punctures to accidents to relatively mild bouts of malaria.
Riedku is apparently, by his own right, a competent mechanic, and is able to fix just about any problem that may arise with their bicycles. Avila has become quite good at fixing punctured tyres, too.
In good spirits, the pair said that their trip had been made possible by economising. “We live cheap and save whatever money we can,” said Riedku. “You would be surprised how much money you can save when you don’t have a house, car or children.”
Avila echoed similar sentiments as she said, “Not having a car, you will save just as much money as we spend while we are travelling.”
The two have said that they have learnt the beauty of the world as they pedalled their way across the world. “You eventually forget your fears and you live your life for the beauty of living,” said Riedku.
His smiling partner said that she understood exactly what he meant.
“When we were travelling from Lethem to Georgetown,” said Avila, “we saw a jaguar on the trail. It was beautiful, and it did not scare me; in an instant it was gone, but the beauty of the moment was immense. It’s something that will stay with me forever.”
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