Saturday, September 26, 2015

Celebrating My Birthday With 1 Horse Power

Exactly six years ago I got on my Africa Twin and left The Netherlands.

Wow, time goes fast! I kept postponing my departure so I finally picked my birthday as my departure date and stuck to it. Now, five continents later I am still so happy with the choice I made back then. What a beautiful world! What a thrill to see it all from a bike and to be able to share this life with an amazing woman! It makes me sad that Azure is not with me today to celebrate. She would have loved it here.

Morning rituals at the farm; The parrots reclaiming their territory by chasing the 10 times bigger turkeys into a tree. Hilarious!

The parrots, doing their morning parade, put a smile back on my face. The roaming chickens walk into the open kitchen, only to be kicked out again. The kids feed the little calves with a bucket. Farm-life at its best. It somehow reminds me of home.

The mangos fell from the trees overnight. A welcome feast in the morning for everyone.

The plan for the day is to go horseback riding. I ask the farmer if he needs help with the cattle. He looks at me and says; "You really want to help to bring in the cattle"?


We decide to combine our search for anteaters with driving cattle and I am beside myself with excitement. This is a dream come true! I have been wanting to herd cattle on horseback since arriving in Australia but somehow never got the chance.

Back to 1 horse power on my Birthday. What a gift! We are after the little white dots in the distance. I was overflowing with excitement.

The Spanish horses are controlled with one hand so you have one hand free to do other things like throw lasso's or in my case, make pictures. My horse, a beautiful grey stallion is eager to work and as soon as he sees a cow he darts after it. After a while we learn to understand each other and we are having a ball. 1 horsepower can be so much fun! The cattle need to be collected for branding, a health check-up and to select cows for "the bulls entertainment". The last part was the most difficult. Imagine 200 cows in a small paddock and having to get 10 out of there. The skill of the farmer and the horse was unbelievable. My ass was sore after a few hours of riding but it did not stop me from going after a few cows that we had missed earlier. What a life!

The missing cows. Looking at the vast, empty landscape, it is hard to imagine that there is such an abundance of life in this region.

After a siesta and an anniversary oil change for the bike, we went fishing for piranha for dinner. Although the farmer took out one after an other it was hard for my new friend, Jesus and me to get any at all. But in the end, after enduring heavy rains and a caiman attack (he scared the s#*t out of me!) I got the hang of it and did not have to go to bed with an empty stomach. The piranha were delicious and it turned into a fun evening. Definitely a birthday never to be forgotten. Thanks for all the translating and a great time Jesus!

These guys were on the other side of the food chain hours ago. Piranha is delicious! Especially if you spend hours in the pooring rain and dodged a caiman attack to catch them.

Tomorrow it is back on the bike and ride over a thousand kilometers on backroads that get close to a very tricky border region to get to La Gran Savanah. The safety of Merida and my new friends is no more. The real Venezuela is waiting. During dinner the farmer does not comfort me at all with information about the road ahead. Many army checkpoints are waiting and corruption seems to be the norm...

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