An entirely different continent
Itís six oíclock in the morning and the passengers cautiously inspect Darwin airportís arrival lounge for evidence of red backs, funnel webs and 8-metre long salt-water crocodiles. I decide to worry about box jelly fish, blue bottles, blue ringed octopus, great whites, killer whales and any of the other ambitiously dangerous Australian fauna after a decent breakfast of wichittty grubs and lemon ant tea. Before even considering the high probability of a lonely, agonising death by snake bite, why an octopus the size of a 50 pence piece should be inclined to send a fully grown male to a premature grave defeats me completely. I resolve to proceed with caution and to avoid bothering the wildlife as far as possible. After all, on the road all Iíve only got to worry about are wombats, wallabies, kangaroos, road trains and tattooed cycling transvestites in Chinese print dresses.
Fishing for salties
Posted by Sean Kelly at 12:39 PM
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Out of Asia
Sitting contemplating my pleasantly sweaty navel in the Indonesian touristic vacuum otherwise known as Bali, South East Asia has left me with decidedly mixed emotions. There have been many high points, but these are tainted by the disappointment of missing both the Golden Triangle and Laos when the second cylinder head stud popped out on the way to Chiang Mai.
Can this guy clean a bike or what! If you're heading to Aus, it's well worth checking out Melaka for that all important pre-quarantine bike wash.
Posted by Sean Kelly at 01:04 PM
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The road from Phnom Penh to Siem Reep - home to the legendary temples of Angkor was horrid. OK, I only knew they were legendary after watching a trailer on Discovery Channel, but they might have added a parental advisory note about that road. For the first 100kms or so, no problems, but then the beastly thing deteriorates into a sandy, pot-holed, gravelly mess. I never knew that so many different types of awful road surface existed. And lord only knows what it's like in the rainy season, but the red dust penetrates everything (and everywhere) as you spend 8 hours in 1st gear bouncing from one crater to the next. But I did have a good laugh with the passengers of an overloaded pickup truck after it snapped clean in half crossing one of the many small wooden bridges. Wish I could post that photo! And here it is...
Some temple monks bear an uncanny family resemblance.
Posted by Sean Kelly at 04:45 AM
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And then there was one!
Happy 2003 to everyone and thanks so much for all the emails and comments gush, gush, gush....
And news? Well, for probably the first time since we set off, we were overtaken by something. And unfortunately for Adrian it was by circumstances outside of his control. Business problems forced the ageing tycoon to grab the first available Jetstream out of Bangkok and back to ol' blighty in time for Xmas. Rumours that his BMW has been stored illegally in Thailand are, as yet, unproven. A further disappointment for all concerned was his unanticpated, unwashed, uninvited and downright unwanted appearance at Liam's 40th birthday commiserations.
At the time of the lothario's departure, we weren't sure of if/when he would return and so took advantage to send back all the excess gear that we weren't using. I'm sorry to report that this included the laptop and so it's been a little difficult to put together any photos or a web log of late.
The latest info. is that the man of mystery will be back to plead his case with Thai customs on or around the 16th Jan, by which time I hope to be so far ahead that he'll never catch up!!!!
It's been a funny old time since we arrived in Kathmandu. Like running out of track, a loss of momentum or a misfiring 911. With Burma closed and China prohibitively expensive, flying the bikes the short distance from Kathmandu to Bangkok was the only realistic option. But, it felt like a cheat not to be riding the miles and to arrive in the hot, humid air of Thailand without having our buttocks hammered into oblivion en route by the increasingly uncomfortable BMW saddles.
Bangkok was fun nevertheless, and we certainly took in a few of the sights whilst in town. I know that many people would head straight to the bars of Pat Pong, but we spent our time lurking furtively around Mr Yut's Dynamic Motors where our bikes were serviced and our stripped cylinder head studs repaired. When new tyres were fitted to my bike and balanced, I couldn't help but notice how square the rear wheel has become. Karakoram Highway anyone?
The original plan to do a PADI diving course collapsed due to the effects of Xmas celebs on the Thai island of Koh Chang. So, on the 29th, I left and headed off to the beaches of southern Cambodia in company with another overland traveller - Kate Lockyer from the UK. We holed up for New Year in the 2nd best hotel in Kompong Som for a few days of abject luxury- at $25 a night with cable TV and all the Pringles we could eat. Which, as it turned out, was a lot.
Cambodia is fabulous by the way and I would seriously recommend it as a holiday destination before everyone else catches on. And nearly all the landmines have been removed - but no wandering off the highways to take a quick leak. I am planning on digging a few up and exporting them to the UK as an adjunct to the vintage motorcycle import business that Adrian is so keen on. And Soviet made T4 tanks are going for a song in Kabul at the moment.
Next? The magnificent temples of Angkor before an attempt breach the border of Vietnam with the aid of an overloaded BMW. The Vietnamese strangely aren't keen on foreigners driving such tanks in their country, so I don't really expect to get in. But, hey! The border's so close, what's to lose?
Posted by Sean Kelly at 04:52 PM
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Happy Xmas from paradise island
Just a quick post to say Happy Xmas and a Happy New Year from the tropical island paradise of Koh Chang in the Gulf of Thailand.
Things just don't get better than this and I feel I am the luckiest man alive to be a able to be here. There are 7 other overland motorcylists here (Cliff & Jenny Batley, Ralph & Caroline, Peter & Carol and Kate), so we'll be having a 'small' celebration before hitting the surf. It's just a shame that the accomodation on the island is so full that we're getting booted out of our beach huts on Xmas day. Hammock on the beach anybody? And maybe then we'll find time to investigate the rather loud rattle that's emanating from the right hand cylinder head....
Anyway, I'd like to say a massive thankyou to everybody who has taken the time read the WebLog and to follow our exploits. It is so heartening and encouraging to read everybody's comments and receive emails from around the world.
And trust me, in the next update you'll see just how unexpected events can turn things inside out. "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans".
All the best for 2003 and Happy Xmas!
Posted by Sean Kelly at 02:18 PM
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