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Photo by James Duncan, Universe Camp, Uyuni Salt Flats

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!

Photo by James Duncan,
"Universe Camp"
Uyuni Salt Flats

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  • 1 Post By jopos

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Old 17 May 2012
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Arrow Around the World in 80 Movies

As a variation on the book "Around the World in 80 Days" by Jules Verne, we have created a new digital version named: "Around the World in 80 movies". Transportation in 1873 was basicly only train and steamer, while we had the luxury of thick BMW, Honda and KTM motorbikes, with sometimes even the luxury of a nice motorhome. The route described in the book is like our journey from east to west, with the important difference that we did not have the limit of 80 days. That´s also the reason why we have added some new countrys. Watching all 80 movies takes more than 8 hours, so lets start with this short written summary.

We leave the European continent by crossing the Bosphorus strait and travel through the beautiful Turkey. We admire the tuff structures in Cappadocia, and use the maximum suspension of our BMW motorcycles on some bad roads in eastern Turkey. A military checkpoint in the Kurdish part of Turkey becomes a complete tea-party, where we admire all the weapons of the soldiers. Shortly after the teaparty we arrive at the Iranian border and we visit Turkey's highest mountain: Mount Arat (5,137 m). This is also the mountain where according to legends the Ark of Noah is built, a nice place to leave the Western world behind us. Movie

The border crossing to Iran is a time consuming job because minimum 20 signatures are required and nobody speaks english. After the border, Iran people are giving us a warm welcome. Virtually every Iranian we face, makes us feel 200% welcome. For example, in Esfahan, (the second largest city of Iran) we are immediately approached by a professor from one of the eight universities. The man told us proudly about the rich history of Iran (formerly Persia) and shows more than four hours all the highlights of the city. In between we are drinking many times a hot cup of tea and at noon we enjoy a traditional lunch. Trying to pay for it is almost considered to be an insult. We are guests in their country, so we never have to pay. We get a complete different feeling when we are just one hour outside of the city. Without any reason we are placed in a prisson cell by the Secret Service. After one hour making phonecalls and examining our passports we are released, but we realize that Iran clearly has two faces. Movie

We are crossing the Gulf of Oman and arrive suddenly in a world of money and luxury: Dubai. Women are still dressed in black, but are also showing the most expensive Gucci, Prada or Dolce & Gabbana handbags and shoes. With 40 degrees celcius outside, you can enjoy some ski lessons in a air conditioning megahall or if you really want to do something special, then you always can pull a nugget of gold from one of the many gold machines. We admire the world's tallest tower, the Burj Dubai (828 m) and enjoy maximum off all the nice luxury. After driving through a long dry desert we reach the border of Oman, but need to turn around because we do not have all the correct papers. Unfortunately, the Arab Emirates are not as open as Europe or America. Movie Movie2 Movie3

After all the luxury of Dubai we cross again the Gulf of Oman and arrive in Pakistan. Here we learn how to drive offroad with our motorbikes, simply because most roads are broken or are still unpaved. We drive straight along the border of Afghanistan and in the middle of Pakistan we get a message that the Taliban is planning to kidnap us. With the help of a former Major in the army, we achieve to escape unnoticed and return after four hours in the civilized world arround the Indus River. Again we're constantly accompanied by police escorts, so unfortunately we can not realy make contact with local people. Finaly in Lahore, near the border with India, we get some freedom, and in the evening a TV crew is coming to the hotel for an interview with those crazy Dutch motorbikers. Movie

In India we are overwhelmed by the huge crowds. Wherever we stop within one minute there are at least 100 Indians to admire our motorbikes. Luckely in the Indian Himalayas we find some more peace and we are enjoying intens of the highest and most impressive mountain range in the world. Unfortunately the highest mountain pass in the world is closed by heavy snowfall, but the Himalaya foothills are already quite impressive. Child labor in this poor area of India is a normal thing, and we see regularly children carrying rocks in the holy Gangus river. It remains surprising that the differences between rich and poor in this world is so big. Movie Movie2

The real peace we find in western Nepal, where you are trown 100 years back in time. There are almost no cars or trucks and the only thing you see on the road are cows and sheeps. Certainly the Bardia National Park is very impressive. We drive 15 km through loose sand and are finaly crossing a 30 meters wide river. The reward is a beautiful night in the jungle with a big campfire, enjoying the sound of elephants and overlooking the snowy Himalayas in the background. Two days later, we fly from Kathmandu with a small prop plane over the world's highest mountain, the Mount Everest. Literally the top of the World. Movie Movie2

In Kathmandu we return our BMW motorbikes back to the Netherlands and continue our way with two rented Honda motorbikes in Thailand. The country with the everlasting smile, but also the country with big differences. One day we drive in the north thru calm beautiful mountains nearby the Golden Triangle (Burma, Laos, Thailand) and a couple of days later we stay at one of the many crowded beaches in southern Thailand. The Buddhist temples are often a pleasure for the eye and the relaxed lifestyle of the Thai population is giving a feeling of calm and serenity. We leave the Thai peace and are traveling to the hustle and bustle of southern Vietnam. Movie Movie2 Movie3

In Vietnam, we swap our two Honda motorcycles for two KTM dirt bikes and are testing those bikes to the maximum. In Saigon, with 3 million scooters, it is mostly a matter of dodging scooters. In the inland, the KTM is tested with many potholes and many offroad trips. Impressive throughout all Vietnam is the history of the Vietnam war, in which undoubtedly the tunnel complex of Cu Chi was our highlight. Crawling 100 meters through the tunnel gives a feeling which goes thru marrow and bone. Also unique is the Vietnamese traditional culture in the inland. Here it is still normal driving a scooter with 1000 eggs or a pig on the backseat or doing harvesting in the country with an ox cart for all the transport. Movie Movie2 Movie3

After Vietnam, we fly to Hong Kongwhere we get our first impression of the Chinese culture. This former British colony is of course a mix between Western and Chinese culture, so one moment we eat chicken at Macdonalds and an other moment we visit the Bird Garden, where the birds are pampered like children. Since 1997 Hong Kong belongs to China again, but the Western influences remain clearly visible in this great metropolis. The light show at night in the open air (Symphony of Lights) is a wonderful end of our visit of a impressive city. Movie Movie2

We cross the South China Sea and arrive in the Philippines. The capital Manila seems to be very modern and Western, but if we leave Manila we are also leaving the modern world. Remarkable is the difference between rich and poor, which are actually physically living next to each other. So there are modern fast food restaurants with directly attached corrugated iron houses, where people live with just enough money for a cup of rice. Also special is the preservation of the skeletons of deceased relatives at home. On special occasions, such as the visit of two European motorcyclists, the skeletons are taken out the closet and one minute later we are looking at a skeleton of someones great-grandfather. Bizarre and yet so respectful that it almost feels normal. Movie Movie2 Movie3

After crossing the Sulu sea we arrived in Malaysia Borneo. Our planned local motorbike travel is unfortunately canceled due to problems with the motorbike dealer. Three days we try to find a substitute for the motorbike drive around Borneo, but ultimately we decide to fly to the mainland. Just before our flight we have a beautiful river cruise through the Klias Wetlands, where we admire wild monkeys and millions fireflies. On the mainland we visit the capital Kuala Lumpur with the magnificent Petronas Twin Towers. Movie Movie2 Movie3

After Malaysia we visit Australia where we drove more than 4500 km to see only a fraction of this large country / continent. The vastness and space that we encounter is truly unique in the world. Here in the outback it is really possible to drive around for days without meeting anyone. Even on the mainroad we drove from Alice Springs to the coast, we did see maybe one or two cars per hour. This combined with the beautiful parks with perfect campsites gives an enormous sense of freedom. We admire the beautiful inland Uluru (Ayers Rock), we look for UFOs at Wycliffe Well and we did some snorkeling with a jellyfish swimming suit in the Great Barrier Reef. In Sydney we take a look at the Opera House and wave farewell to this great continent and fly to California, USA. Movie Movie2

In the USA we rent in San Francisco a BMW R1200GS and R1200R and regularly get the feeling that we are living in a movie. We travel through places like Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and enjoy some beautiful national parks such as Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. Certainly our trip of more then 8 hours in a warm motorcycle suit through Death Valley with 48° Celsius will be remainded forever. After California we did make a Coast to Coast west to east trip, where we did cross Route 66 and the states Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and ending in Florida. Most remarkably of North America is for us the unity in which all states are connected. Each state has its own identity, but above all each state is proud to be a part of the United States. Movie Movie2 Movie3

Through Ireland we arrive back on the west side of Europe and enjoy some Irish whiskey and Irish traditional dance. In Scotland we visit the Scottish Highlands and of course we search for the Loch Ness monster. Unique in Great Britain are the narrow lanes with high hedges and regulary a sheep blocking the road. Also typical for the UK is the love for motorbikes. The origin undoubtedly lies in the rich motorbike history and the very popular road races held everywhere, with of course the famous Isle of Man TT. After visiting the steep Hardknott Pass (30%) in the Lake District we drive south to England where we have a high tea in London. Through the Channel Tunnel we arrive back to the mainland of Europe and drive through France and Belgium back to our own homecountry, The Netherlands. Movie Movie2 Movie3 Movie4 Movie5 Movie6 Movie7 Movie8

We divided this total trip into 7 stages. In between we flew back home, where we then were able to prepare for the next stage. An additional advantage was that we could document every stage in detail and we that we were able to make some nice small movies from almost every country. Detailed stories ans movies can be found on out website:

Overall we traveled through 67 countries, making our journey around the world from east to west pretty complete. However the world consists of 192 countries and continents like Africa and South America are still almost unknown to us. So perhaps in a couple of years we make a new storie/move "Around the world", covering countrys around the world from north to south.

Movies of each country: Click here.
Message in our guestbook: Click here.
More information send an email: Click here.
Around the world in 80 movies: Click here

Movies from our motortravels around the world: www.LifeIsJoy.nl
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