Title: The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey (Diarios de motocicleta: notas de viaje por América Latina)
Writer: Ernesto ”Che” Guevara (translated by Aleida Guevara March)
Publishing House: Ocean Press
Date of Publication: August 1st 2003 (first published October 1st 1992)
Rating: 5 stars
If you attempt ANY kind of political comments, the exit is THAT way. It’s that simple. Don’t provoke me, it won’t end well.
“This is not a story of heroic feats, or merely the narrative of a cynic; at least I do not mean it to be. It is a glimpse of two lives running parallel for a time, with similar hopes and convergent dreams.”
Two young men set off for the journey of a lifetime. Their chariot, a motorcycle. Their initial purpose, to know and understand the fascinating world of South America. As they travel deeper and deeper, they come across lands and communities struck by poverty, abandonment, isolation, exploitation, violence, torment, sickness, death. And the two youngsters of our story acquire a new purpose. To help the ones in need with whatever meagre means they have.
Their quest takes them from the north across the Andes, to Chile, the Atacama Desert, Peru and Venezuela. Facing the whims of a demanding nature, encountering people who have been abused and ostracised because of their beliefs, experiencing the sacred impact of Machu Pichu, one of the marvels of human ingenuity, the two young men leave the crazy, alluring, care-free attitude of youth behind towards a new vision. Che’s writings, thoughts and experiences in the San Pablo leper colony in Peru are heartbreaking, his determination to aid the ones who suffer by an absurd divide due to false ‘’ medical’’ convictions is touching and eye-opening.
The young men’s names? Alberto Granado. Ernesto ‘’Che’’ Guevara.
P.S. Do I really need to mention the marvellous 2004 adaptation starring Gael García Bernal and Rodrigo de la Serna, directed by Walter Salles? If you haven’t watched it, do so. You won’t regret it.
“Some give the impression they go on living only because it’s a habit they cannot shake”
“Perhaps one day tired of circling the world I’ll return to Argentina and settle in the Andean lakes if not indefinitely then at least for a pause while I shift from one understanding of the world to another.”