Sunday, February 23, 2014

A little bit of nature

Despite the virtually infinite urban continuum along Japanese routes, there are some places where there is relatively a higher proportion of nature. Needless to say it is never an unspoiled nature - one simply doesn't come to Japan in search of adventure because there isn't any - but it is nature in the end and, on the island of Shikoku in autumn, it is especially beautiful. After taking nearly a dozen boats and ferries during this last year, some passing through traditionally stormy waters, it was almost surprising that there had never been strong tides. More surprising still, would be that when crossing to Misaki, in the peninsula's turquoise waters of Sadamisaki, we arrived yellow in color and almost puking. What a tide out of Saganoseki! In just 10 minutes it forced me to lie on the floor and it made of the remaining 60 the closest thing to being inside an operating washing machine. It was not until the next day that the remaining headache was definitely gone. My surname is Marino (it means “sailor” in Spanish) but it seems that such surname didn’t endowed me with any extra maritime skills.

Illusion of perfection

Getting to Japan is like leaving the present and take a leap into the future, at least technologically (I hope!). Even coming from Korea, which is on the right track to become "the future" soon, the impact is remarkable. Just to think that only two months ago we were cycling across the steppe and the desert of Mongolia feeling that we were centuries back, disembarking in Fukuoka feels as divorced from the present as the Mongolian experience. From the Chinese frantic chaos to the extreme Japanese order, the gap is also radical. At first glance, everything in Japan seems perfect and is dazzling wherever you look at. However, with each passing day, this hyper-ultra developed giant reveals very crude imperfections for anyone who's willing to take a deeper look without getting carried away by all that glitters.

Monday, February 3, 2014

A few videos of the year

While we take a two weeks breaks in India with my mom, I invite you to watch the following compilation of videos from the past year, the first year of this trip.

The a summary of the whole year in only 7+minutes

One year cycling in 7 minutes from Nicolas Marino on Vimeo.

Indonesia, riding across the jungle. Part I  (revamped version from the extended one

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The longest bicycle path in the world

 Korea seems fully aware of the problems that come with such an excess of technology and a population of workaholics. To try to compensate for these new "bad habits", the result of a mega-project of engineering that involved reconfiguring the course of the four major rivers of the country, included with it the design of several bike paths that connect the whole country from north to south from east to west. In this way, they are not only making exhaustive use of hydroelectric power but also giving people an incentive to go cycling and stay outdoors, providing them with the necessary space to do it in a safe, comfortable and professional way. 
Aside from the main "four rivers bike path" that links Incheon with Busan along 700 km, the number of new bike-path is increasing year by year, connecting different regions and cities.
Many are currently under construction and the final goal is to connect the whole country through a network of bike paths, allowing cyclists to move freely, staying away from the dangers of motorized traffic. This not only solves the stress of the cyclists but also that one of the drivers, increasing overall safety significantly. As if it weren't enough, the government made sure to design the path in a way that would connect the major tourist attractions of the country. Quite an advanced way of thinking.