Chasing Che: A Motorcycle Journey in Search of the Guevara Legend
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Intrepid journalist Patrick Symmes sets off on his BMW R80 G/S in search of the people and places in Ernesto "Che" Guevara's classic Motorcycle Diaries, seeking out his own adventure as well as the legacy of the icon Che would become, Symmes retraces the future revolutionary's path. And on the way he runs out of gas in an Argentine desert, talks a Peruvian guerrilla out of taking him hostage, wipes out in the Andes, and, in Cuba, drinks himself blind with Che's travel partner, Alberto Granado.
Here is the unforgettable story of a wanderer's quest for food, shelter, and wisdom. Here, too, is the portrait of a continent whose dreams of utopia give birth not only to freedom fighters, but also to tyrants whose methods include torture and mass killing. Masterfully detailed, insightful, unforgettable, Chasing Che transfixes us with the glory of the open road, where man and machine traverse the unknown in search of the spirit's keenest desires.
crossed a pass into this valley at the last moment of daylight. One minute I was riding by a village wedding procession, the next I was wobbling all over the road, headed for the verge of a steep ravine. I skidded to a stop and shivered with an adrenal rush that told me I was still alive. In the last moments of dusk I had pushed Kooky off the road and dug out my tool kit. I then put the bike on its center stand and removed the rear wheel. In darkness, I had popped the worn tire off the rim,
seemed to give a damn about the poor. At last he snapped off the tape recorder. An hour and a half later, I sat down to lunch in the town’s only restaurant. There was an article in an old newspaper about the Zapatista guerrillas in Mexico. They’d held a meeting with the French author Régis Debray, one of Che’s old advisers. Debray had once written books about the inevitable triumph of Marxist guerrillas around the world; now he advised the Mexicans that their strategy of propaganda stunts and
near-mathematical flatness. I had departed Buenos Aires early and left behind its minor suburbs and depressing outreaches within the hour. I rode south on a two-lane tarmac that shrank away from my wheels even as the motorcycle pressed forward. Distant houses floated on lakes of light that evaporated with my rattling, wind-whipped approach. By mid-morning the houses were gone and the land approached two dimensions, a table of grass stretching out beneath a ceiling of depthless blue. This was an
watched the sun rise over the desert, one of those moments when the earth seems revealed for the first time and all life is compressed into a transient instant. The spectacle moved Ernesto to quietly recite several Pablo Neruda poems that he had memorized. Alberto countered by reciting the only Neruda poem he knew, one that the poet, a dedicated communist, had written during the dark days of World War II when his usual subjects, love and nature, seemed too frivolous: I wrote of the weather and
began carving a new road out of the rock face above the cut. This was dangerous work, since debris tended to tumble down onto the tractor, but it was effective in the soft rock, and after half an hour he had almost finished the repair. The waiting drivers now reached preorgasmic heights of excitement. The whole time, as the Cat tottered on the precipice, flung itself back and forth, and churned up great billows of white powder, its every movement was shadowed by a cloud of thirty men who walked