RIYADH: An Argentine cyclist on a world tour arrived in Riyadh a few days ago after pedaling some 70,735km.

Cyclist Pablo Garcia said at a press conference at the Riyadh Marriott Hotel yesterday that his mission was to “promote global peace and cultural exchange as a process for building peaceful relations all over the world, especially in the Middle East.

“Cultural integration is a dynamic process of fostering peace among diverse nations.”

The press conference was attended by Carlos Erausquin, charge d’affaires at the Argentine embassy; Khaldoun Hayajneh, Marriot general manager; and Monica Kassem Sanz, public relations manager of Shumou Investment.

Garcia, whose entry into the Kingdom was facilitated by the Saudi government agencies including the General Presidency of Youth Welfare (GPYW) as well as Argentine Embassy, said: “I’m so thankful to be here, it’s been a long and very arduous journey.” He plans to cycle another 50,000km after leaving Riyadh on Tuesday; he announced that Olivier’s & Co, an affiliate of Shumou Investment, had agreed to become a major sponsor of his around-the-world bicycle tour, covering the costs for next four months.”

Garcia also thanked the Marriott Hotel chain for giving him accommodation in places where the chain has its own properties.

Referring to his world tour, Garcia said that he had already pedaled through 59 countries since 1999, when he began the journey.

Asked about some interesting experiences, he said that in Kenya with the Masai people, he had drunk a cocktail of blood and milk. The blood is taken by puncturing the loose flesh on the cow’s neck and the wound is closed after several cups of blood are obtained.

He also mentioned that it had been fascinating to join a group of Muslims in Asmara, Eritrea, who were breaking their fast in Ramadan.

He plans to travel to Pakistan and India, where he will stay several months and he hopes to visit many parts of both countries.

His bicycle is decorated with the flags of countries that he has so far visited and these include Saudi Arabia, Brazil, South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Egypt, Tanzania, Uganda and Iran. He has visited 59 countries so far and pointed out that the trip is meant to cross five continents and visit more than 100 countries.

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