Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Le voyage de Béliveau, c'est du douze annees beau!

The ride from Kathmandu to Kakarbitta.
A long haul from the too early morning to the early evening. Frisky cold in the morning from the draft out every crevice of the bus door and windows, and steaming hot later on with the sun pressing and teasing my body. Such is the fun of 15 hours in a bus with not enough space for your legs and other discomforts. Though luxury of suffering and pleasure at the same time, because the changing views repaid the hassle of sitting with painfully sleepy limbs. Passing through mountain area's into the lower and more tropical valleys, next to rivers with gorges and overhung rock formations, even some stretches of jungles and over a big river.

Scene from my bus window while passing one of these gorgeous river stretches. A young family stands next to the river, mother, father and a pack of loose children. Father is in the middle of the river, pulling a fishing net and slowly wading through the water and hauling his likely catch. Mother is busy washing clothes and dishes all the same but unexpectedly gets splattered with water by one of her little giggling girls. She jumps up and runs after the girl with a smiling grin, scattering and singing some playful shrieks that makes all the kids join in the fun of running along the shore. Pure and immediate happiness. It looks so simple in this momentarily glimpse, by the sincerity of the movements, the laughter and the sheer harmony that surrounds it. And these are people who basically do not have much, perhaps no electricity. Depending on what they catch and make themselves for food and living on nature's resources in a most simple way. In strictly materialistic and financial terms, it is plain poverty at the same time. But then it hits you that free happiness in such a way can not be bought or earned through any of those means, as we might incline to think from our own accumulated western mindset, with our own values and expectancies sculptured from an early age on to what we think they should amount or lead to, out of misleading habit and sometimes false aptitude. The road high above on which I am nearly seems to symbolize my position in to theirs below. My road signifies the west; man made, fast-paced for moving, striving to modern standards and less personal. Their spot below is natural, down at the source and in touch with intimate environment and family members. One of these different levels costs more that the other and is created out of different motives. On such moments, one's thoughts can find itself in a locked grip between these parallels of different cultures and their attached social paradigms, trying to calculate equal comparisons. There's never a clear answer at hand, nor a solution provides itself either. Just some new puzzle pieces to fumble with, to replace older ones that are already outlaid. Better get playing and make the most balanced picture with the colors that you have. Bus rides with near heatstrokes do inspire me to a lot of philo-faux-sophical mumbo jumbo, for what and to whom it's worth.....

Somewhere in the afternoon we stopped at a little pastry shack, for chia and sweet bites. Suddenly the Nepali's around me pointed to a nearby hiker. 'kya dekho usko gora!!?' they uttered and all looked straight at me, awaiting my sure reaction. There came a-walking a white foreigner, pushing a 3-wheeled cart in front of him that looked like one of those modern baby buggy. What, why and how? I went up the hiker and he greeted me jovially. He introduced himself as Jean Béliveau, from Montreal, Canada, and told me in a cheerful tone that he had been walking around the world since 2000! wow.

Jean started off back home in Montreal and went straight down into the America's; north, middle and south. All. From Sao Paolo, Brazil, he took a boat to South Africa and from there he walked all along Eastern Africa up to Egypt and into Northern Africa from where he entered Southern Europe. From Europe on he continued eastwards and through Turkey briefly entered the Middle East into Iran, UAE and entering the Indian subcontinent at Gujarat by boat. And so up he went into Nepal, did the half length of the country and I found him now walking near the border.
These walks up to now took 8 years of constant walking and he's still going strong!
4 more years of walking to do, which will take the rest of Asia, Oceania and back into Canada on the west coast. Wow, such a trip done & ahead! Just imagine the experiences Jean has had in every country, overwhelming to say the least. It makes one longing for more travels than just those lasting 6 months or a year.....

The noble goal of this 12 year long walk is not out of Jean's mere self-enjoyment but in fact to walk allover the world in promotion of "Peace and non-violence to the profit of the children of the world", a proclamation of the United Nations that was set for the first decade of this millennium. Jean is living and walking the dream of this positive manifest.
His walk is not sponsored in any corporate way, but with his own and family's funds. In ways of food and accommodation he often gets local help, but he can always use any help offered along the way. Check out his website and keep track of him. Help him if he's around your neighbourhood or even give him some emotional or financial support through the web! www.wwwalk.org
Keep walking Jean, best of luck and enjoy!.

Here some pics of Jean etc.

the worldly wanderluster on the road

his cart companion

Seb et Jean

Bizarre poster of nerdness. show or product? who knows...

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