The flight to Sydney dumped me into temperatures which felt subarctic in comparison with the balmy Indonesian climate. After a week of sitting on my ass in Sydney, and a couple of visits to the cargo agent in Port Botany, I had parted with many dollars in port charges, quarantine fees and other mysterious fees, acquired a stack of papers which could be used to wallpaper a moderately sized room, and was still not in possession of the bike. Fortunately I was staying with a biker friend (whom I'd met slumming it on a rented Enfield in Rajasthan, India), so I was not running up a huge hotel bill in the process. Cheers, Mike.
I finally was permitted to prise the bike out of it's crate after parting with even more cash - the total cost of handling, quarantine, warehouse rental, and other nebulous charges was around 600 Australian dollars (about 300 US dollars), and actually exceeded the cost of shipping the bike to Sydney in the first place. Unbelievable!
To add insult to injury, after three weeks in a dark container, the bike had a flat battery that resisted all attempts at jump-starting, and was in a MAJOR sulk. I beat an undignified retreat on the back of a breakdown truck, and dumped the machine in Mike's garage.
I had arrived in Australia at last, complete with a badly bruised wallet, a bike that wouldn't start, made funny noises in 5th gear, leaked intermittently from various orifices, wallowed like a sick pig due to shagged out rear suspension, and probably had things going on inside the engine that I didn't even want to think about.
Then I thought about all the miles and miles of empty dirt roads the wide open desert spaces and big blue skies, all just waiting for me.
I cheered up, and got the tools out....
Posted by Connor Carson at September 30, 2001 12:00 AM GMT
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