Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Motorcycle Diaries - Che Guevara

Traveling to different places, seeing the famous sites of the region and soaking in the varied culture is a desire present in all humans albeit in varying degrees. This compelling diary is a first person account of the journey undertaken by Che Guevara and his friend Alberto on the motorcycle named La Poderosa II. The journey lasts for more than 8 months and covers the length of South America.
The journey starts of just like that, with the one of them expressing his desire to go to North america on their bike. They seal the deal then and there without much thought on what it would take go on such an excursion . With an amount hardly sufficient to last them through a month and a bike which was as reliable as a sick horse they set out.
The travels take them through the five countries of Argentina, Peru, Chile, Columbia and Venezuela. The account of their incidents range from complete hilarious situations to deep contemplations. For most part of the journey they are dependent on the generosity of the people they meet, some help them out of compassion, some out of awe and some do it grudgingly. The two of them also tried to work their way out in most places, working as Doctors, Butlers, Fire fighters, Chefs and even going to the extent of cleaning the lavatory to secure a passage through a steamer.
The book also dwells into the life and culture of the people of the country through which they travel and also covers the history and geography of some of the famous sites like Machu picchu, Cuzco etc.
Undertaking such a journey without any bother of money or where you are going to put up requires a lot of courage and acceptance of things, something which currently I'm lacking in, but still I could sense the freedom and the accelerating sense of adventure both of them might have felt during this journey.
A paper had aptly commented on the book saying that " Che's trip might have been the trip of a lifetime - had his lifetime not turned into a much greater adventure". Will strongly recommend this book to all the trekkers and hikers out there.

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