Sunday, November 16, 2008

Klaus Kleiner Welt Atlas

The Klaus Kleiner Welt Atlas with holders past, present and most importantly future.

This simply beautiful piece of German publication means a lot to me, but it is now gone!

The book was bestowed on me 3 long years ago in Medillin, Colombia, by the uniquely eccentric German electrician Sebastian (see early blogs including Sebastian was coming to the end of his travels and passed on to me this compendium of facts, figures and maps with the promise that, at the end of my travels I should find someone I thought worthy and pass it on.

Keeping up with my promise, almost a year later, after escorting the atlas down the spine of South America, to the bright lights of New York, around India, Burma, Laos and Thailand, I downed my last drink on the Khao San road and almost missed a plane to get the atlas to Dingo ( I had passed it to a worthy recipient.

Just a month later Dingo returned with the atlas in hand. To his distress he had not found someone he thought fit to continue the trail and so the Klaus Kleiner found its way back into my hands.

Over the proceeding 2 years the book lead me to Cuba, Israel, Jordan, Japan, Hong Kong, along the Trans Siberian and to various places on the continent. As each small trip passed I felt the burden of my promise to Sebastian grow and grow.

And then to Africa, via the UAE to Zambia, Malawi and finally Mozambique. It was half way down the coast in Tofu that I had the privilege of meeting Paul (above, holding Klaus). At the start of a trip around the world with his wife, we spent a glorious day diving and then drinking. Such an intelligent opened minded guy with a streak of adventure. So much fun retelling tales of old adventures. Someone who on his lonesome cycled the Karakoram pass was more than worthy of the guide…..I had no doubt in my mind that Sebastian would have passed the book to him….

….and so it was, fuelled by rum, with man hugs and a hint of a tear in the eye, Dingo and I passed on the Klaus Kleiner Welt Atlas to it's new carrier with the promise that he too would pass it on at the end of his travels.

After leading me through 5 continents, over 20 countries and countless intrigues, the only mark we left on its ageing pages was to dedicate it to my good friend Thilo.

Long may the THILO MATTHIAS FRITZ GEORG BORGISLAV KANNENBURG KLAUS KLEINER WELT ATLAS* circumnavigate the globe and bring joy and knowledge as it goes. I am both sad and relieved to see it go!

* NB not to be reduced to an anocronym due to partial similarities with a particularly nasty organisation popular in certain old confederate states.

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