Outdoor Philosophy

Harnessing the power of adventure to inspire environmental action

19 June 2006, El Paso

19th June, El Paso

Just about to set off!! i suspect it will feel a bit like cycling into an oven. very un-English, and i can’t wait.

El Paso is more Mexican than American, hot, signs in spanish and people speaking spanish everywhere. downtown el paso looks like a set from a western, only substitute clothes shops for bars. on sunday, the clothes shops are all open, but cafes are closed. as are the bars…..ideal when you’ve managed to choose a base-camp hotel that has no restaurant! (tho lots of ice)

talking to a man from san antonio in one of the airport queues. he told me about ‘retail kidnap’ in mexico and that the temperature in el paso would be 115 degrees, that i would find absolutely no shade, and that santa fe would be little better. seizing the opening i asked, “how much of an issue is climate change in these already hot places?” “oh, you won’t have a problem with that until further north”, he said,and paused. “tho the evenings can be a little cool…” by the time i unscrambled my brain we’d been called to our separate check-in desks. i think the moral might be to use the term ‘global warming’…

adventures so far include me somehow losing my wallet between leaving the plane and passing through customs, and rocky losing some teeth. satish kumar writes about the various challenging things that happened to him on his walk from india to russia (delivering peace tea to world leaders) as opportunities to learn… so now is my opportunity to learn how to do without credit cards for a bit! and how to keep my bum-bag shut. (fortunately i had a lot of cash and my passport somewhere else or life would really have been tricky). rocky came out of his box minus four teeth on the front triple gear sprocket. given how stuffed with foam and padding the box was i can only think that the ‘fragile, do not drop’ signs inspired the baggage-handlers to hurl with great force. amazingly, the top gear still seems to work even minus its teeth. (charlie did say it was a tough piece of kit, but still). even so, since there is a bike shop- crazy cat – on my route – think i’ll stop off on my way out. tho without a credit card and on a $50 us a day budget my replacement options are limited!

as for environmental matters… am already remembering what a contradictory place this is. el paso buses are plastered with ‘running on clean natural gas’ signs as they jostle for space between the trucks and hummers. breakfast (which the hotel does provide) comes on disposable plates and the air-con in every room (its too cold!!) can’t be turned off….

camping this evening so at least that won’t be an issue!