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Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
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Old 12 Jun 2008
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Monaco
Posts: 324
(Un-) Pleasant surprises

What place have you travelled to that far exceeded your expectations?

Or - on the contrary - where were you unpleasingly surprised?

My experiences:

Lagos: I expected hell and met friendly people, including officials, and had no problem whatsoever. Maybe I was lucky?

South Korea: Food, Art, People - positively way beyond my expectations.

Vladivostok/Seychelles/Dakar/Timbocutou: Promising names, little was held.
Gentleman Adventurer
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Old 12 Jun 2008
quastdog's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Chiangmai, Thailand
Posts: 510
Colombia - great riding, great people, fine women, good food, and more.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
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Old 12 Jun 2008
charapashanperu's Avatar
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Location: Bristol, Maine, USA
Posts: 516
South America

ANYWHERE in South America if you get away from the big cities and the highways. Read all the stories. Robberies, briberies, high prices, paperwork problems.... Almost all are on major highways and in large cities!!

Moral of the story: The REAL South America is beyond the cities where the negative influences of OUR CULTURE (greed, jealousy, corruption, etc.) show. The country folk are the gems,... I think it might be so on most continents......
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Old 12 Jun 2008
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Posts: 30
pleasant surprise in gatehouse of fleet in scotland

28 years ago ruth & I were coming home from our honeymoon. We had been on a 4000 mile round trip from belfast to st tropez on a suzuki gt185 2 stoke. The gt finally gave up the ghost at 1am in gatehouse of fleet. One spark plug had melted its side electrode and we had no spare plug, no money and a non transferable ticket for the next ferry out of stranraer. a group of fairly scarey looking bikers appeared, asked us where we had been, where we were going and what was wrong. They gave us a each (it wasn't frowned on in 1980) and two of them rode off somewhere, returned with the correct sparkplug, fitted it, wouldn't take any money and wished us well.

I never forgot that and i've never gone past a biker in bother since. any chance any of those (now ageing) bikers are on the hubb?

A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. Lao Tzu
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Old 12 Jun 2008
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As far as I can remember I have enjoyed everyhwere I've been apart from the service station on the M42. I wouldn't recommend it.
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Old 13 Jun 2008
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Location: Saudi Arabia
Posts: 178
Saudi Arabia

In the Asir mountains of Saudi I was out on a solo ride when the rectifier shorted out on my Suzuki 750 about 70klms from home. I was stranded at a "T" junction near a village when after about ten minutes a car pulled up and the driver ask what was the problem (in Arabic) after some English Arabic ping pong he drove off only to return with some friends in a pick-up.
We lifted my bike into the back of the pick-up and they drove me 45klms to the nearest town where we unloaded my bike at a fuel station. I attempted to give them some money but it was refused, I thanked them and we shook hands before they drove off.

Some time later I was on an off road trip going down a steep dirt track winding down the mountain side when I came upon an old man at the side of an old land cruiser. The truck had stopped and he could not get it going so I had a look and found a fractured fuel pipe which had sprayed petrol all over the engine bay. I drove him to the village at the top of the track where I removed a fuel pipe from a scrap land cruiser drove back down and fitted it to his truck. I followed him up the steep track to make sure he was OK and at the top he invited me to his house for tea where I met his sons. His eldest son offered me some money which I politely declined, they thanked me and we shook hands before I drove off.
Ordinary people helping ordinary people.
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Old 14 Jun 2008
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The hospitality and the will to help strangers is just fantastic in the Arabian world.
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Old 14 Jun 2008
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Location: Gent, Belgium
Posts: 486
a short story

All those awkward situations turn out in great stories in the end, don’t they?

One of the worst was in a Congolese village, the local customs guy didn’t recognize the Carnet de Passage as a valid temporary import document, impounded the car and accused us of being mercenaries. After 5 hours discussing and searching the car for weapons, he would release the car for 100$, which he considered mild, seen the official fine for illegally importing cars was between 50$ and 250$ (something like that). Next thing was to get registered with the police on the other side of the square… . A 13 year old illiterate boy started copying the passports. When an hour later the passports where almost copied, a senior policemen arrived. The senior policemen required a document from the sous-prefect giving permission to continue further on to Brazzaville, and advised to bring enough small change to pay for the ‘passage’. The sous-prefect off course lived in the town we left that same morning. In the mean time, a truckload of truly drunk solders spread over the square … . For the first time I got that ‘hmmm, better turn around and get out of here’ feeling. The sous-prefect wasn’t in town, so the only option left was going to Pointe Noir and get an Angolan visa there, which was not possible because I wasn’t a Congolese resident… .

Another one… .
We had that idea of going to Samarkand and back. On the map, Samarkand was printed more to the left then Shimkent and Tashkent, so we decided to go south in Turkistan (Kazakhstan) and cross the border at one of the smaller crossings near the Shardara reservoir. After being turned back at a few frontier crossings because they didn’t allow cars or foreigners, we managed to get on the Kazakh part of the highway from Tashkent to Samarkand. The Kazakhs where eager to get a present, unloaded the car, stamped the passports and let us trough. On the Uzbek side, there was none of that. Very friendly people, but… no stamp…. no immigration police, no coming trough. The Kazakhs didn’t let us back in because our single entry visa was stamped. The Uzbek consulate in Brussels made a few calls and assured it wouldn’t take long, the French embassy in Tashkent tried for 3 days in Uzbekistan, after which we got a phone call from the Belgian embassy in Moscow, they involved Interpol, and the Belgian consul in Astana arranged for a meeting with the minister of foreign affairs. After 5 days, a police escort was arranged. The police escort first dropped us at a wrong border post where we had to spend the night again. The next day, after 2 more border posts and a phone call with the English speaking sister of one of the commandants we finally where in Uzbekistan, Samarkand, the first hot shower in 13 days… .
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