Home > Famous Travelers > Nori Kunori’s World Worsts

Nori Kunori’s World Worsts

August 17th, 2009 by Doug Lansky

norikunoriName Nori Kunori
Who? Sort of a Japanese Indiana Jones, only Professor Kunori’s field is ecological management. He has biked and kayaked his way from the top of Alaska to Urshuia on the tip of South America (took him 7 years). He has biked across Australia, climbed several 8000+ meter peaks (some without oxygen) and written over 20 books. He recently took his 12-year-old son a little ride — the length of Japan (only 30 days of biking). You can find more at http://kunori.net (in Japanese).
Countries Visited 90
Age 44

Titanic Nominations
1. Worst Travel Illness La Paz, Bolivia. I had just finished finished biking across the Amazon from Brazil in 40 days. I noticed I had a high fever after dinner. I could barely walk back to the hotel. I spent 4 days with a temp over 40C (104F).  I took Japanese medicine for fever and my temp shot down to 34.8C — and it felt like I was flying.  That concerned me.  So I took the next flight back to Tokyo — it took me 72 hours on 4 flights to get home. I checked into the hospital when I landed and stayed there for 21 days. Turns out I had typhoid fever.
2. Worst Train Ride Between Argentina and Chile.  We (I had a Japanese friend with me) got the train at midnight. We had tickets, but when it left I realized it only had cargo cars.  We spent 8 or 9 hours freezing on the cargo car on a mountain pass over 4000 m high.  There was no food, no bathroom, and it didn’t stop. The cargo managers were in the empty cargo hold with us, drunk, singing and wanted to fight with me and my friend.  We didn’t sleep for a minute.
3. Worst Flight Flying from Bogota to Puerto Asis in the Amazon basin on a DC 3. It was very old and  had propellers. I don’t recall the airline. Half the passengers were humans, the other half were chickens.  The chickens were scared and trying to fly in their cages as we took off, and all of them literally shit themselves. It smelled really bad.   And the plane looked like it was falling apart. I’m not a religious person, but I was praying that day.
4. Worst Place to Ride a Bike Trans Amazon. There were many bridges on the verge of collapse that have been abandoned by the government. It was raining all the time and the runoff often flooded across the road. Sometimes you had to wait for the water to go down and sometimes you just had to swim — with your bike.  One of these instant rivers (not on the map) took 24 hrs to cross.
5. Worst Bus Kathmandu to the Indian Border. I got a seat in the back of the bus and the road was very bumpy. I hit my head so many times on ceiling I nearly broke my neck and got a concussion. Most amazing was that no one complained.

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