December 20, 2008 GMT
cambodia 10.12.08 - 13.12.08

This time we're not riding for fun to Phnom Penh (well, also enjoying this one) but for a cause: a new visa for Thailand, which we're applying for at the Thai Embassy.
Besides the visa reason, we also checking the bike after its been through a grand service with Darius, who took the bike apart several times and replaced kilograms of parts.
The border crossing at Hat Lek is pretty easy in both directions, although the Thai customs asking us for an insurance for the first time ever... well, after some talking we can leave without anyway.

riding for a cause - new thai visa, hehehehe

riding for a cause -  new thai visa.JPG

the only elephants on cambodias roads

elephants on cambodias roads.JPG

Phnom Penh is a mess as usual, crazy trafic, heat, dust and filfh. We really don't want to stay longer than necessary. So, Thursday visa application, Friday afternoon pick up and Saturday 6AM we're leaving Cambodia's Capitol City.

We're hoping for less trafic at this time of the day but it seems its even worse.
There is people everywhere, on trucks, on motorbikes, bicycles but most of them walking. The scenery reminds me of Pol Pots evacuation of Phnom Penh 1975...

phnom pehn's kids grilling frogs

phnom pehns kids grilling frogs.JPG

plenty riels at the moneychanger in phnom penh

plenty riels at the moneychanger in phnom penh.JPG

jane on a banana bike

jane on a banana bike.JPG

german banner in phnom penh

german banner in phnom penh.JPG

at the russian market in phnom penh

at the russian market in phnom penh.JPG

at the russian market in phnom penh 2.JPG

rubbish is cambodias big problem

rubbish is cambodias big problem.JPG

barber shop in cambodia

barber shop in cambodia.JPG

rubbish and cows in cambodia

rubbish and cows in cambodia.JPG

Posted by Darius Skrzypiec at 09:49 AM GMT
thailand 13.12.08 - 25.02.09

jane at work, hehehe...

koh chang003.JPG

Fortunately we could score some work over Christmas and New Year but, all in all, there was only work for about 2 weeks. Now, several weeks later and still jobless, we decided to leave Thailand by the end of February. That means we have to do one more visa run. This time we won’t need 2 months tourist visa again, so we just do the border run… Thailand implemented a new rule regarding visas on arrival at the land borders, so we will have 15 days to get to Bangkok and ship the bike, sufficient anyway.
In the meanwhile we had some visitors passing by. Trent visited us twice on his Yamaha XJR1300 (I’m sure everybody on Koh Chang will remember the sound of its Yoshimura exhaust pipe…). Peter and Sue (on the way from Europe to NZ) came and stayed with us for almost 3 weeks. So, even no work, we’re hardly getting bored on Koh Chang.
First I taught diving to Peter and Sue, then Peter shown me that the clutch on my Africa Twin isn’t really too hard to operate… the cable was just stuck… what a relief!!!
Now, it is time for packing and deciding which things to bring to Nepal and which to leave behind. We can’t wait to be on the road again!!!

darius teaching diving on koh yuak

koh chang001.JPG

pool at AMARI hotel, koh chang

koh chang002.JPG

darius with magaly and sacha, our bosses

koh chang004.JPG

trent is visiting us on koh chang: "are we there yet??"

trent- are we there yet, hehehe.JPG

darius working...

darius working.JPG

jane in koh rang

jane with the diveboat.JPG

peter and sue are visiting us on koh chang

with peter and sue on koh chang.JPG

Finally we left Koh Chang on the 12th of February. Entering Bangkok was a nightmare as expected. The cops stopping us 3 times in 2 days... You could possibly imagine the cops grinning face as he sees my Philippine driving license. With a permanent smile he’d ask me for an international license and, of course, hoping that I haven’t one. Bad luck this time for the authorities, 2 times I have to produce the expired international permit and 2 times they let us go. The third time the cops found another “violation”, apparently I was riding in a car-lane instead of the motorbike/bus-lane. It’s hard to understand the cop with his English so bad and his facemask not being helpful either. He wants me to pay 200 Baht but lets us go after some talks… lucky again.

We booked the first 2 nights at Bangkok’s 5 stars Amari Watergate Hotel. Well, we’re not exactly on a splashing trip now but we got this treat as a tip from Darius’ customer on Koh Chang. We turn up in our dusty motorbike gear, carrying plastic bags to our room in the 15th floor. To be honest, we feel a bit strange.
The room is fantastic, 40 square meters of luxury, view over Bangkok and all for free!
Just right for our “1 YEAR ON THE ROAD” celebration!!!

Impressions from the AMARI WATERGATE HOTEL











We enjoyed the luxury the last 2 days, especially the buffet breakfast! Now, fully bellied, we are ready for our last ride in Thailand – from Amari Hotel to Trans Air Cargo. This time surprisingly not too much traffic.
Not expecting any problems at the cargo office, we’re happy to hand over our carnet and Darius’ passport but life isn’t always easy…
Miss Kittima (TAC officer) wants to have a “simplified customs declaration form”!!!!
Yes, we got this form from the customs in Betong when we first arrived to Thailand. Later we had to leave it with the customs at the Thai/Lao border. Since then we never received that form again, the customs only wanted to stamp our carnet! But now, it seems, we’re in trouble. Miss Kittima’s solution is simple: she wants us to ride back to the border at Hat Lek (Thai/Cambodia), leave Thailand and, on renewed entry to get the paper she needs for the freight process. It doesn’t come to her mind that we just came from there and its about 500km away from Bangkok. Now, that’s not going to happen.
I insist for another option, possibly phone, fax or even internet – you’d think we’re living in the 21st century…
Still not convinced, Miss Kittima sends us to Bangkok Custom Office on the other side of the city. We should try our “luck” over there. I prefer to take a taxi and Miss Kittima sends one of the office guys with us, for whom she charges us later 10 Euros. The first customs officer we talk to has the same brilliant idea like Kittima: just ride to the border and get the right papers!! I don’t know if I should laugh or cry.
Slowly we’re climbing up the competence ladder until someone has the idea to actually call to Hat Lek and organize that “very important” paper by phone. After all, it’s the fault of the customs not to give us the proper paperwork.
Ok, now that the treadmill of bureaucracy started to roll, we only need to wait for progress.
The Twin has to be made smaller to save costs and the visas for Nepal and India have to be arranged. Very soon the bike is crated and ready to go. Every day we’re receiving a call from Miss Kittima and have to hand over some more papers or photocopy some of our papers. We’re not getting bored in Bangkok!
Eventually, the mysterious customs declaration form arrives. Juhuhhu!!
We’re handing over 1000 Euros in Thai Currency and receiving a copy of a freight form with someone’s else name on it. I can only imagine the problems we could face in Kathmandu and let Miss Kittima change the name on my cargo papers, even she ensures me that we’ll have no problems.
With that photocopy we’re leaving Thailand 1 day before the departure of the bike, not really sure if it arrives to Nepal. Fingers crossed…

preparing the twin for the air cargo to Kathmandu


Posted by Darius Skrzypiec at 10:21 AM GMT

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