We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Am fortunate to once again be on holiday, this time a five-month adventure from South to North America which you can read more about at my other website antipodeanadventure.com. Today I left the capital, Santiago, picked up my uncle from the airport and took the bus out to Valapariso on the western coast. What became clear though during the travels was that my Uncle didn’t have the same gleam in his eye that he used to have when travelling in North Korea, The Stans and China, where we often romped with triumph and disaster. And extensive bus travels which broke bottoms.
I admire many things about my uncle, though his ability to adopt common sense when standing outside a busy-airport in 25 degrees still wearing his winter jacket from a snowy London isn’t one. I can’t believe he wasn’t melting. His greatest asset of all I believe is his sheer will: his attitude of achieving what his heart desires goes beyond his sight which is failing him, his age which he continues to defy, and now his body. Vala is a city of many steep hills, cobbled streets and alleys glittered with graffiti, all intertwined between a spider-webs of staircases i.e. bloody hostile territory for knees.
I take great pride in introducing him as my uncle to almost every bewildered traveller that cannot believe someone of his age still stays in hostels, still travels with his nephew and still whimpers if beer isn’t served at least once during the day before 4pm.
Although he may not be a great navigator, can’t take up his share of the driving (or can, but we’ll both die quite quickly) is useless at Spanish and snores like a throaty walrus, his heart and head is all what’s needed. And that’s probably true for all.
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