Jul 25, 2011

facts of life: interfering with people's schedule

Given the constant streak of cock-ups in every plan we make, we're trying to get the group on the road as soon as we can, every morning. This means I stay behind loading Boris and I'm the last man out.

Given also the difficulty in finding our scheduled accommodation at every stop, I drive ahead, figure out the way and give instructions to the group. This means I'm the first man in.

Whenever I find a language barrier, the priority is to understand the very basic information about our stay. But, sometimes, I get to meet a contact person who speaks English. Then, the conversation can go wrong...

Since our plans keep changing, either because our maps are not up to date or because the sun is shining too bright above, we're often delayed. Our delays are frowned upon by many of our contacts, who obviously are unaware of the obstacles we encounter on the road. Then I act as a diplomat, my arguments reinforced by the way I look and smell (nobody argues with a sweaty trucker) and eventually the brave cyclists show up and the hospitality kicks in. Eventually, in the morning, we may get a farewell present, although this is less likely.

Juggling people's expectations is hard work, and everyone has my number, so I end up listening to all the complaints. My only hope is that everyone will eventually understand that riding across the continent is not an easy task.

- Tiago

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