Archive for January, 2013

30 Jan


In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / January 30, 2013 / 0 Comments

Finally in Peru.
Intestinal parasite seems temporarily dealt with, leg is behaving. (Mostly)
Post injury, it’s a bit tough to feel as elated as I had been. Life has a slightly surreal quality these days. A bit more… gray… a bit more uncertain Not so invincible, as such. It will take time to fully re- awaken the traveler in me.

I had heard from the Australian couple I met at the Costa Rican border. They had a bad crash in Argentina and the motorcycle a write-off, have ended their trip and flown home. I’m glad they were not too badly hurt.
Yet the caveat for me is a reminder of (my) limits.

I am seriously rethinking my chosen path to Buenos Aires. Tales of rough roads and river crossing that I was looking forward to are looking less likely with this… very weak nerve damaged left leg. It’s not even a question of guts and determination… I can just barely walk, with a limp no less. Sitting on the bike is fine but offroad riding is not possible. Even light offroad.
So with a touch of sadness I think I might have to skip Bolivia with is impoverished infrastructure and just do Chile/Argentina instead.

Thinking about it.

On the upside. My beach front, hillside, Goudy inspiered hostel in Zorittos is super funky with 2 live pet monkeys as mascots.






29 Jan

One cage for another.

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / January 29, 2013 / 0 Comments

I have managed to expend most of my potential blog rants on texts with loved ones. So I return to this forum with most of my piss and vinegar sent elsewhere. I will say that a severely nerve damaged leg followed with this nasty intestinal parasite has further blunted my enthusiasm for positive thinking.
I don’t know… I look at that flowery sentence and frown.
I’m ok. It’s these antibiotics that I’ve been on for the last two days. Wow, so powerful. Just bombing my system.
I know that it is effecting my thinking, my mood. Like a thick veil of sluggish boredom…

Funny, started writing this post at the start of a lunch. Now as I finish I am feeling a little better. I think my fever has lifted. There is hope yet.

Walked to the secure parking lot. They had moved my bike. I have a chain on the back wheel and they further damaged the plastic mud guard. Pissed.

28 Jan

Where is the limit?

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / January 28, 2013 / 0 Comments

My last minute fever on Saturday night, thankfully was not Malaria. Never have I been so grateful for simple travelers diarrhea. Strange was the timing of this malady, as I simply had to, after 10 days, leave Chunchi, no matter what.

This video explains…

26 Jan

Windless cloud drifting mind blur

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / January 26, 2013 / 0 Comments

(Warning: feel like cursing a lot)

Yesterday my attitude was at it’s worst I think. Boredom and frustration finally seeped into my positive frame of mind and just squatted there, leering at me, slowly lifting its sciatic rattled leg and taking a piss on my floor, looking at me as if to say,”Take that Mr positive.”. I was tired of finding the bright side of anything. This beautiful little mountain town was transformed into a backwater shit hole. Fucking clouds roll in so slowly… In fact I became obsessed with how this location could be so windless. I have been in many a mountain location that was constantly blustery, but here, nada. Seriously, the stillness of these huge cloud masses that become fog to anyone residing inside them, was the perfect metaphor for the slowly healing tissue of my spine and nerve damaged leg. Every morning I can feel an improvement. Small, slow changes in the health of my leg. So slow… So… slow.
The vertical landscapes/lifestyles of the Ecuadorians makes for extremely strong legs. The very thing that I am missing right now. No trekking for me.
Every morning at 7 am the sun does shine on Chunchi, revealing the mountains and local volcano summits, but by 9am the clouds surely start to form, crawl down the mountain side or up from the valley and the village is quickly enveloped by perfectly still fog.
Sometimes just hovering about the buildings, sometimes settling onto the town with a vengeance. This will last till well into the night. Beautiful yes, but a mind fuck after 10 days. The irony is that while I was on the motorcycle I knew that these cloud features were localized and if one rides another 10 kms or changes altitude, one is back in the glorious sunshine.

Ok, I got that out of my system. Today is my last day (hopefully) in Chunchi. I know that only after I leave will the deepest effects of having lived like an unemployed Ecuadorian, hanging around town, reveal themselves. I am very grateful for the kindness this 9000 foot perch has offered me in my time of dire need. I will love this place in my memories, I am certain of it. I just need some time away.

I am at the very edge of being ready to deal with a 400 lb motorcycle but… the inside edge… so tomorrow is the time.
I won’t deny that i am both concerned and curious as to how my body will handle sitting on the bike for hours. I wanted to get a cumber-bun style back support but there is no such thing in town. If day one reveals the need than I have to ride about 90 kms to a Cuenca to find one. Not too far.
So, even if I can only handle a couple of hours a day at first then that is 2 hours further down the road and I think it will feel good.

The best way I can describe all this is:
“None of this makes any sense without the motorcycle”.



25 Jan

Too bored to blog

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / January 25, 2013 / 0 Comments

Title says it all.

I hope to push off in baby steps on Sunday morning.
I have a long Friday and Saturday yet to live. Chunchi is lovely but all of this makes little sense until riding on the motorbike returns to the equation.


24 Jan


In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / January 24, 2013 / 0 Comments


23 Jan

Hanging out in Chunchi

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / January 23, 2013 / 0 Comments





22 Jan

A Little Back Story

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / January 22, 2013 / 0 Comments
22 Jan

Feels good to have a coffee

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / January 22, 2013 / 0 Comments

I’m released from my hospital bed and in a hotel in town. Feels good to make this milestone. Nice to have wifi too. It’s been expensive to use the cell network.
The next tricky thing is seeing if this little town will except my bank card.
I’ll find out either later today or tomorrow. If not then I’ll have to use a western union to have something wired to me.
Belleza en Blanco is all I can say about my nurses. I’m happy that the fellow taking the photos didn’t know how to use the camera. I nice bunch of photos tell a truer story then the final shot.








21 Jan

I am moved.

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / January 21, 2013 / 0 Comments

I am truly moved and frankly humbled by the kindness, generosity and professionalism of the hospital staff here in Chunchi. More amazing is the insistence that this medical attention will cost me nothing. When I stressed that I am not Ecuadorian the idea is dismissed outright with the rolling of eyes and the waving off of a hand.
Disaster has morphed into an opening of pure human contact.
Is it the vulnerability of a solo traveler that extends this kind of warmth towards me. Am I some kind of ambassador from the world that needs to be impressed.
I think this openness is part of that Latin American mystery. Or more accuately, for an english, luke warm North American who has forgotten what community really means, a reminder of what being human can still be.
So I’m on an IV for 3 days now. I was to be released this morning but I awoke knowing that I could not ride the motorbike up the hill to the hotel. I could really not walk yet. I voiced some concern and the doctor immediately offered a third night. He also said that the motorcycle can remain in the secure parking of the hospital and I would take a taxi to the hotel. Then taxi’s back for the physiotherapy sessions.
The chief physician arrived with a small team to discuss my case. I let them x-ray me, which I didn’t really want to do once I saw the ancient apparatus, but thought I just won’t get another x ray for 10 years and it should be fine.
The image confirmed what I was telling them about old scar tissue from 3 years ago plus it seemed to show where the pinch happened. I had spoken to the doctor about follow up physiotherapy once released so I was surprised when I was plunked into a wheelchair and sent over for my first session today.
Again more polite staff who all know that I don’t speak spanish set me up with 3 treatments. First with me lying on my stomach, hot pads are placed on my lower back and down my left leg. The heat was deep and delicious, especially since I’ve alway been a little cold here. Even the morning shower to finally wash my hair was barely warm. A cloud swept village at 10,000 ft is just always chilly. Then after 30 minutes, two plates are placed on my lower back and an electro massage begins followed finally by a rubber jackhammer of a deep tissue vibrator working the length of my left leg. Holy crap… it was awesome.
Then back to my room, which is empty of other patience, three other unused beds and my well lived in casa of a bed to find a hot meal waiting for me.
I must admit that prior to writing this blog entry I have been feeling terrible. Not just my body but my heart. Fighting off depression has been constant over the last two days, but I feel a little more hopeful that I may recover in a reasonable amount of time.
I will have to modify how I handle the bike for maintenance. If I take every piece of gear off the thing I can put it on the center stand by just stepping on the pedal… no need for lifting with my arms. That is just a new reality.

Another reality is I have to give up on my goal of reaching Tierra del Fuego.
I need to change my attitude from goal oriented to taking in what I can with the time and money I have to do it. I don’t have to break any records. Besides, it’s not like I have not been to that part of the world in an airplane.
So I will see what is what. As long as I’m in Buenos Aires by March 31 I’m happy.
Happy and grateful.