Costa Rica News – Four years ago, when this 37-year-old food technologist from San Jose, Costa Rica, left home to travel the world on his bicycle, the name ‘Kolkata’ was vaguely familiar to him. The city gradually firmed up in his mind as he cycled through the length of India and reached Bodh Gaya.
Once there, he got to know that the world’s largest book fair was on in Kolkata and that his own country, Costa Rica, was the theme country of this year’s fair. Without wasting any more time, Allan Cascante Bekarari pedaled his way to the fair.
Bekarari has already cycled 44,050km and looks weather-beaten, but he is indomitable. You will see him enthusiastically meeting visitors to the fair and talking about his country to them — about its food, culture, places of tourist interest. In fact, he is doing more than the officials and publishers posted by the diplomatic mission of Costa Rica at the fair.
“It is like a homecoming. I was surprised when someone told me that Costa Rica was the theme country. While cycling through India, I realised that most people hadn’t heard of Costa Rica and here is a city that has invited our publishers and writers to its biggest literary fair,” Bekarari said.
A member of Warn Showers, a worldwide cyclists’ network, Bekarari has taken a break from his government job to travel the world on his bicycle. He has already visited Nicaragua, Mexico, 20 states of the US, Scotland, UK, Central Europe and Mediterranean, Istanbul, Iran, Dubai, Sri Lanka and then flew in to Kerala. Whenever there is no continuous land connect, he has had to fly from one country to another.
From Kerala, Allan went to Kanyakumari and cycled upwards to Kargil, taking a break from India and moving into Nepal. Here he did voluntary service to help build an earthquake-ravaged school and taught English and maths for five months before cycling back to India. “Very often, I have stopped to help do social service because it gives me temporary relief from journey and also provides food and shelter for free. You can understand how expensive such a long journey can be,” Bekarari says.
He will soon cycle out of here. There’s much left to see, and many more miles to travel.
Jhimli Mukherjee Pandey | TNN