News from Jupiter

From My Notebook 48 Years Ago This Week: The Road To Medellin

March 19, 2023

Well, I’ve got my work cut out. Hundreds of you came out of the woodwork to tell me to keep at it, so in deference to my readers here is a bumper edition from my South American notebook of 1975.   Good trips, bad trips – the road to Medellin After Bruno’s unfortunate meeting with the front of a lorry, which reduced his Renault to […]

From My Notebook 48 Years Ago This Week: In Colombia

March 12, 2023

Feb 4 Into the Cauca valley. Tropical. Bananas. Music. Good asphalt road. I flew. Up a mountain. Down again. Up again, and then sat there watching Bruno’s van appear over the previous summit. (The van had a damaged cardan, or half-axle) Went on to Popayan. Pretty town. Colonial Facades. Churches with beautiful carved wood, gilt and maroon on white. Remember the pulpit of San Francisco. […]

From My Notebook 48 Years Ago This Week: From Quito to Otavalo and Pasto

March 3, 2023

Feb 21 Leave Quito. Too late. Fantastic downpour & hail. Inches of water on roads. Bike fails on way out, but only for a short time. Reach Otavalo at nightfall. Frozen. Indian café. Find Peace Corps house. Ray (Raimundo) receives us. Sleep in kitchen. Ray illustrates textbooks to help Quetchua-speaking Indians to learn Spanish. Very pleased with progress of program. Feb 22 Saturday. Market at […]

From My Notebook 48 Years Ago in Ecuador

February 26, 2023

Four days on the road to Quito Feb 14, 1975 We Left Guayaquil in the rain, over the bridge again and back along the same road to El Triumfo, a busy, muddy cross-roads with roadside stalls selling bananas, pineapples, small mangoes, and muddy-looking juice. Bought two pineapples for 4 sucres (7p). These stalls always look crammed with a variety of foods until you look closely […]

The Road To Gauyaquil

February 19, 2023

I’ve been reading my old notebooks again and enjoying the memories. There is so much that never made it into the book. Sometimes the story is written out in enough detail so that I could lift whole episodes straight onto the computer as I did a couple of weeks ago, with the story from Sri Lanka. At other times the notes are very brief but […]

Not Your Favourite Subject

February 12, 2023

  Last Sunday I joined a small group of bike riders on Zoom to talk about depression, not everyone’s favourite subject but a difficult one to ignore. I met with Eva Strehler, who is translating my latest book into German, and Claudio Gnypek, who was recording the meeting for a podcast, but the main man was Dieter Schneider. Dieter is in his youthful sixties but […]

Last Days In Ceylon: 47 Years Ago

January 29, 2023

I’ve been asked for more raw notes from my notebooks. Here are my last days in Ceylon, as Sri Lanka was still called, 47 years ago.   Puttalam: On shore of a lagoon. Junction town. Single row of huts. Some thatched, some tiled. Small veg market has chilis, kohl rabi, cabbage, carrot, tomato, limes, eggplant, potatoes, yams, etc. In short, an excellent variety. Fish market, […]

Leaving Bolivia: Forty-Eight Years Ago This Week

January 22, 2023

Forty-eight years ago this week, I was about to leave La Paz, the capital of Bolivia. Travelling with me but separately were Bruno and Antoine, two Frenchmen in a small white four-horse Renault van whom I’d met coming into Bolivia a week earlier. These are my notes. January 14 Bruno, Antoine and I agree to meet at 7am to leave. I wake at five. It’s […]

An Interview with the General (December 11th, 1975)

December 11, 2022

In December of 1975 I was in Chile. At that time the entire country was under a fierce military dictatorship. In this same week, 48 years ago, I was in the capital Santiago where a nightly curfew was strictly imposed by lethal means. I was deeply in love at the time with a Chilean journalist who belonged to Chile’s upper social stratum and lived in […]

December 4th, 1973

December 4, 2022

On this day, 49 years ago, I drifted along the Nile from Aswan to Wadi Halfa on a ferry consisting of two rickety boats tied together. One of them, the second class, was occupied by Nubian camel drivers. The other first-class boat carried Europeans. My ticket was second-class, but I found the snoring intolerable and smuggled myself into first class and slept out under the […]