Notes from Radio Interview in Tbilisi, Georgia 2009

These are notes from a radio interview I did in 2009, when I was living in Georgia.

Route so far:

  • iran - 1.5 month
  • pakistan - 3 weeks
  • india - 4.5 months
  • nepal - 2 weeks.
  • Problem with iran visa in new delhi so will come back overland to Georgia.
  • Fly back to Turkey and bus to Georgia.
  • Georgia April to July.
  • England 3.5 weeks.
  • France 2.5 weeks arrived back in Georgia last week.

Why back to Georgia?

  • Need to raise funds
  • Return to my girlfriend
  • Have a rest.

Iran:

  • most friendly People always try to help me to find somewhere to stay.
  • wonderful food - rice, meat, 'chello kebab', chickpea and vegetable stew
  • Beautiful architecture - mosques and bridges of Isfahan.
  • Interesting insight into a country which is portrayed differently in the media.

Pakistan:

  • poor
  • wild in the south desert part
  • friendly people but more weary and excited about seeing me
  • children would run after me and pose for a photo
  • Police escort for 1 week-men with guns with me everywhere I went
  • Music and food more like India
  • So different from Iran- very modern and urbanised cities in comparison.

India:

  • wonderful food friendly people
  • people very curious- 50 people coming to look at me when I stop
  • Interesting historical sites - dilwari temple- mt abu- most intricate marble temple carvings
  • I slept in many temples
  • Each state is very different like different countries
  • My favourite for food was gujarat and the gujarati thali.

Nepal- Different to India

  • Poorer, mountain people
  • Mixture of cultures and religions-Hindu and buddhist mix
  • Feel the Tibetan and Chinese influences
  • Mountains are immense.

Tom- getting married in Armenia on the 19th. I'm the best man.

Future:

  • living in Georgia
  • making talks about climate change and promoting cycling
  • working to develop mountain biking in georgia with a website mountainbiking.ge
  • Living with my girlfriend
  • writing up my first book of the travel from England to Georgia- a 7.5 month travel+ 7000 km.

How did I feel?

  • Sometimes lonely in desert roads in Iran - big open spaces.
  • I was paranoid about S.Iran and Pakistan but decided that nothing bad had happened for a long time and heard others had done it so I decided to go for and see what happened at the time.

What are you doing?

I am working making websites. I'm making one for a project called Open Maps Caucasus which is an open source mapping project at present. I am going mountain biking with Georgian friends. I am doing some mini-expeditions. We did one in the mountains in Khevsureti, in Georgia and one in Armenia.

I competed in a mountain bike race last week. There was 50 other participants. I participated in a recent critical mass bicycle demonstration on the streets of Tbilisi. Cycling has become much more popular in the last few years.

Future plans:

Next year I hope to do some more travelling, but I'm not set on exactly what. I am helping to provide a mountain bike guiding service. There is a lot of interest from tourists through our website mountainbiking.ge . I might come back to Georgia and stay for the summer to help out with this. I also hope to do another long distance off-road mountain bike trip next year. I am heading back to the UK for Christmas to see my family.

Calendars:

I am slowly processing all the photos I took from previous travels into my best photos. The calendars available to view at redbubble.com/people/andrewwelch, contain my best landscape and portrait photography. The proceeds of sales will go to the wilderness foundation (wildernessfoundation.org.uk). The charity Tom and I have been raising money for with our adventures.

Why is Georgia so great?

It's a peaceful country, with friendly welcoming people. With a similar sense of humour to the British, I think. The food is fantastic and there are beautiful mountains and landscapes to visit

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