Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Ride Tales, Trip Reports and Stories > Ride Tales
Ride Tales Post your ride reports for a weekend ride or around the world. Please make the first words of the title WHERE the ride is. Please do NOT just post a link to your site. For a link, see Get a Link.
Photo by Ellen Delis, Lagunas Ojos del Campo, Antofalla, Catamarca

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


Photo by Ellen Delis,
Lagunas Ojos del Campo,
Antofalla, Catamarca



Like Tree446Likes

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #856  
Old 14 Jan 2016
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847

We gave a presentation at one of the high schools in Pula!

One of Iva's friends, Nataša, is a teacher. She teaches English in a high school and when she heard that we were in town, she asked if we could come in and talk a bit about our travels to her kids. That way they could get more exposure to native English speakers (that's me) and still have some link to Croatia (that's Neda).

We've done a few presentations about our travels during the past few years. But talking in front of teenagers is very different than speaking to a group of adults. The biggest difference is their attention span. I found that you couldn't rely solely on the material to engage them. Especially not for 45+ minutes! I kept their interest up by asking questions like, "What's the weirdest food you've eaten? Here's a picture of some grasshoppers we ate. Oh yeah, I also ate brains in Mexico!" "EWWWW!!!" haha, kids are the same everywhere.

The girls loved hearing Neda talk about how we met and about our relationship on the road. And they all loved hearing about and seeing pictures of all the animals we saw on our travels: giant turtles, camels, cobras, llamas, penguins, marine iguanas... I really like giving presentations to teenagers, they're so much more expressive in their enthusiasm. Nataša had to shush them a few times when the topics got very interesting! They were such a fun audience!

I also like that we got to relive our trip all over again. We've been stationary for so long now, and still trying to decide if we should stop or continue. Talking about our experiences really got us excited about travel again, if only temporarily. I still kinda like not moving and not doing anything. Need more of that.


After the presentation, the kids followed us out into the parking to see our Round-The-World machines


They had so many more questions once they saw the motorcycles. All the boys wanted to sit on the bikes.
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
  #857  
Old 14 Jan 2016
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847
Our social life has gotten much busier as well. One evening, Neda's friend Vedrana and her husband Zoran invited all their friends over for a -tasting party. It was a pot-luck, so everybody brought a case of the most exotic they could find. We brought Croatian ...

Zoran took care of the food:


"Pod Pekom" literally means "Under the lid" in Croatian

There is a unique Croatian style of cooking called "pod pekom". It involves baking food, typically meat and potatoes, in a ceramic dish covered by a cast-iron dome. The domed lid ("peka") is then covered with hot ashes and the food inside is slow-cooked for well over an hour. What makes peka cooking so delicious is the lid is air-tight so all the steam and juices are locked inside.

I'm glad I wasn't the only one entranced by this traditional method of cooking. Neda's friends (Yes! The Croatian ones!) were also gathered around the peka taking pictures of Zoran as he walked back and forth between the fire pit carrying shovelfuls of hot ashes to pour on top of the peka. So it's not like every Croatian has one of these in their back yard and they eat peka cooking every night...


You don't want to peek too often "pod pekom" so you keep all the juices inside. Our food was ready in an hour and a half!


Meanwhile inside, Vedrana had the -tasting menu all set up Let the games begin!

Good times!
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
  #858  
Old 14 Jan 2016
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847
Iva lives just down the street from us in Medulin, so she's over all the time to hang out. One evening we got to talking about what she was going to do on her vacation time over the holidays. "I'm going to Thailand for a couple of weeks. I've been planning this trip for months!", she told us with excitement. And then she added jokingly: "You should come too!"

All conversation halted as Neda and I looked at each other with wide open eyes. We were both thinking the same thing. Why were we so fixated on staying with the bikes in Europe over the wintertime? Even in the most southern parts of Europe it's still friggin' cold! And we've heard that it's so much cheaper in Thailand than it is here, so at least our travel funds won't hemorrhage as rapidly over there. It just makes perfect sense.

Iva looked at us incredulously. "Really? Just like that?"

A few days later, we had booked ourselves seats right beside her on her flight from Zagreb to Bangkok.

I forwarded her our itinerary via e-mail. She responded, "I hate you guys"

Note the smiley is outside of the quotes...


Prepping the bikes for winter storage

It's quite fortuitous that all of this is happening around Pula. Neda has family here who have generously allowed us to store our bikes in their garage over the wintertime.

We're normally so bad with bike maintenance. We've left our bikes behind a couple of times before to visit Toronto for a few weeks and we've always managed to come back to flat batteries. So this time we're going to do things right. I picked up a couple of battery tenders and bought some fuel stabilizer. We might be gone for quite a few months so we want to make sure the bikes are going to be okay when we get back.

*Hopefully* everything will be okay when we get back.


Goodbye, babies! We're going to miss you soooo much!

We still don't know what our future is going to look like, but at least we'll have a few months in a much warmer climate to figure it all out.

It's interesting to see how our meandering route over the years has taken a couple of drastic turns that we could not have foreseen. Lately, we've been so heads-down on a path that's seemed laid out for months ahead of us and now everything is wide open again. It's very exciting!


RideDOT.com winter vacation in Thailand! See you all on the other side of the world!!!
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
  #859  
Old 15 Jan 2016
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 18
amazing have a great winter. will you be renting scooters ?
Reply With Quote
  #860  
Old 15 Jan 2016
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: E Yorkshireman...in the Chum Phae area, Thailand
Posts: 1,271
So you must be here already?
I am in BKK myself, its a bit warmer here that Croatia Gene
Lots of things to do over here.
I you fancy a pint for an hour or two let me know

Wayne
Reply With Quote
  #861  
Old 22 Jan 2016
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/269.html



Bangkok hits us like a brick wall.

The sliding doors of the well air-conditioned Suvarnabhumi Airport open up into the early Bangkok morning. Hot and humid air smacks us in the face as if we've physically walked into a solid brick wall. In the harsh, bright Thai sunlight, I squint down at my phone to check the time: 8AM. Holy geez...

There's such a huge difference between overland trekking and travel by air. When you're hugging the ground on your slow journey, the geography and landscape, the daily cycles of the sun, and even the taste and feel of the air changes very subtly over a stretch of time. Hopping on and off an airplane is like teleportation. The effects are a bit jarring after crawling across the globe for so long.


Welcome to the Kingdom of Thailand

Iva, Neda and I flag down a taxi and once again, we're out of the furnace blast and back into another smaller air-conditioned bubble. All three of us stare out the taxi windows at our new environs, a mixture of weary jetlag and curious excitement. Our driver doesn't speak very much English and he glances at the map and directions that Iva had printed out with disinterest. He asks us the name of our hotel.

"We're going to Thara House", Iva replies.

"Okay. Talahow", he nods confidently.

All three of us look at each other with uncertainty. We want to make sure nothing is lost in the translation. "So... Thara House, right?" I ask. Our driver glanced at me in the rear view mirror, "Yes, Talahow". In turn, I look back at Iva and Neda and shrugged. Okay. I'm sure that's just the Thai way of pronouncing it.

We spent close to an hour on the congested multi-lane highway, trickling forward like warm molasses flowing all the way from the airport to downtown Bangkok. This was the middle of rush hour and it seemed like half of Thailand was heading into the city for work. I was most interested in the tiny motorcycles dodging and weaving effortlessly through the pylons of slow-moving cars and trucks. I miss our bikes already! Also, I was trying to get used to everyone driving on the left.


Ah! Something familiar! Tuk tuks from Latin America!

Our taxi finally entered the crowded and bustling downtown, and the driver circled around the area trying to find our hotel. After a couple of laps around Khao San Road, he had to stop to ask for directions. He rolled down his window in front of a large hotel and had a brief conversation with the security guard. All I heard was "thai thai thai Talahow thai thai thai". I pursed my lips and thought to myself, "But... That's. Not. The name..."

The security guard nodded affirmatively, repeated "Talahow" a couple of times and pointed out some directions in rapid-fire Thai.

At that point, I was very fairly certain we were not going to Thara House, but instead another completely different place. I wondered if the rooms in Talahow were nice. Was it even a hotel?

Not two minutes later, the taxi stopped underneath a small sign that read... Thara House. Hah! It was at that moment I learned two things about getting around in Thailand:

1) Don't print off map directions in English. Our taxi driver didn't read English, and why should he? We were in Thailand. We should have printed off directions in Thai.

2) I have to get used to the local way of pronouncing things. Just like in Quebec, when you're watching a hockey game, everyone calls it Centre Hice - the initials of which are even on the logo for the Montreal Canadiens... Deux minutes pour Hice Ticking? Ça me dérange pas pantoute!
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
  #862  
Old 22 Jan 2016
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847

There are monks in orange robes everywhere! We have to find out more about them.


Buddhist religion on display everywhere: Incense sticks burning in front of a shrine

It's so hot and muggy here in Bangkok! What a complete difference from the cold European climate that we've spent a year and a half living in. In the hotel room, Neda proclaims, "I miss the heat so much! We're not going to use the air-conditioning at all the whole time we're here!"

Sweat is dripping off the end of my nose. I swear I can see the hot, soupy air shimmering as it flows into the room through our open window. I would like to say that Neda's skin was glistening with perspiration, but that wouldn't be entirely accurate. She's sitting in a ever-growing pool of her own sweat and her eyeballs look like they're melting.

20 long minutes later, she's scrambling to find the remote for the air conditioner.

Because of her limited vacation time, Iva is on a mission to see and do as much as she can while she's here. I realize how lucky we are not to have to rush through everything. Although our primary reason to come to Thailand is to relax and recuperate from our travels, we decide to join her whirlwind Bangkok sightseeing hurricane tour shortly after checking into the hotel.

There'll be lots of time to do nothing later.

From our hotel, the three of us walk down the main street taking in all the new sights. Unlike the time we went riding in India, there is very little culture shock for us here. Everything is clean, nobody stares at us and there are so many gringos around. Actually, they're not called gringos here. The Thai word for foreigners is "farang". I think that's such a funny word. Farang. Like the Ferengi in Star Trek. I'm positive that's where the Deep Space Nine writers got the name from.


A new pair of pants for me and a snazzy skirt for Neda!

One of the biggest tourist attractions in Bangkok is the Grand Palace and inside of it, the Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha). Like most sacred places in Thailand, there's a strict dress code here for decency and to show respect. This means taking off your shoes before entering the temple, and not exposing the skin on your legs and shoulders when you're walking about the grounds of the Palace. Gotta cover up those Thais! You can borrow pants and skirts at the entrance to ensure that you're modestly clothed.
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com

Last edited by lightcycle; 22 Jan 2016 at 11:58.
Reply With Quote
  #863  
Old 22 Jan 2016
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847

The grounds of Wat Phra Kaew are breathtaking beautiful!

There are lots of interesting temples and buildings all over Bangkok, but the ones in Wat Phra Kaew have cranked up the bling a few notches higher. I wonder what the Thai word for "bling" is? I just Googled it. It's "เพชร". Okay. That added nothing to this blog entry. Anyway, bling... Glistening gold paint is used liberally across all surfaces and everything seems to be that much more intricate and well-cared for.

Words can't describe how ornate and magnificent the temples and statues are, so here are a bunch of pictures:


Green-faced, bulging-eyed, terrifyingly fanged giant guardians of the gate are called Yaksha


This is my favorite building in the Grand Palace complex: Phra Si Ratana Chedi.
The colour is so vibrant!



The face of the Chedi is covered in gold-mirrored tiles, which makes it more brilliant than the other buildings in the complex
Or it could be Iva (one half of the Pula Girls) and her amazing sunshine-making abilities...



Closeup of the tiles
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
  #864  
Old 22 Jan 2016
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847

Happy Neda Time!


Golden Yakshas protecting Phra Mondop (The Library)


More Yakshas holding up the building


Buddha in front of the glistening Library. You have to wear sunglasses
to stare at these shiny buildings!
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
  #865  
Old 22 Jan 2016
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847

These birdlike gold statues are called Kinnara, mystical creatures in Thai mythology</br>

There is a plaque beside the Kinnara explaining the character. The text is taken from the Mahabharata, an epic Sanskrit poem from ancient India:

We are everlasting lover and beloved. We never separate. We are eternally husband and wife; never do we become mother and father. No offspring is seen in our lap. We are lover and beloved ever-embracing. In between us we do not permit any third creature demanding affection. Our life is a life of perpetual pleasure.

Neda read the quote out aloud to me and we both smiled at each other...


Although the top half of the Kinnara is human, the lower part is bird, enabling them to fly between the human world and the mystical realm


If we were Kinnara, our bottom half would be two wheels and a motor
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
  #866  
Old 22 Jan 2016
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847

Like the guards at Buckingham Palace, these Thai guards are not allowed to move, smile or acknowledge the tourists that stand beside them for pictures


Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall


After spending a couple of hours at the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, we grabbed some food at the market near the docks


Some authentic Pad Thai from Bangkok. Unfortunately, just because
it was authentic does not mean it was very good...



Neda's Tom Yung Soup was tasty though

The food here is so cheap. Meals are typically less than $2USD. We both love Asian food, so we're going to go bananas in Thailand! Literally. The fruit is quite tasty here!
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
  #867  
Old 22 Jan 2016
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847

We found out that the cheapest way to travel around Bangkok is by river boat.


But we didn't know that at the time, so we hopped on a much more expensive tuk tuk after lunch

One thing we've got to get used to is bargaining for everything. We're so bad at it. Everytime we meet someone else and ask them what they paid for tuk tuks, or whatever you can haggle for, we always find that we overpay by double!


Our next destination was Wat Pho, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha
Wat Pho? Just Cause! (Sorry, so lame...)



Cloud peeking past the ornately carved sloped roof of the temple. Thankfully it's dry season in Thailand
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
  #868  
Old 22 Jan 2016
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847

The main attraction in Wat Pho is the 46-metre long, gold-plated Buddha lying on his side

The Reclining Buddha is an example of Parinirvana, the final passing of Buddha as he passes from death into the afterlife of Nirvana. Which has absolutely nothing to do with the Foo Fighters at all.


Buddha says, "Come as you are"


108 pretty bronze donation bowls line the inside of the temple in Wat Pho

108 is a special number in Buddhism. The 108 bronze bowls represent the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha as he takes the form of birds, tigers and flowers.


Is it my imagination or are the clouds getting thicker and darker?

The buildings in Wat Pho, although not as bright and shiny as the temples in the Grand Palace grounds, are so intricately detailed. It's getting a bit late in the day and the low sun is casting a beautiful glow over everything here.
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
  #869  
Old 22 Jan 2016
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847

As we walk around Wat Pho, parts of the sky turn black above us


Cat seems unfazed by the large drops of rain starting to fall from the heavens

Okay seriously? WDP?!?! (Wat Da Phu...)

It shouldn't be surprising. If we can bring rain to the Sahara Desert, surely rain in the dry season in Thailand isn't that much of a stretch.


We seek shelter inside the cloister with a buncha Buddhas

Wat Pho houses the most Buddhas in one place. There are over 1,000 representations of Buddha here. In another section of the large complex, there is an actual working monastery where monks live and go to school. So far, I find Buddhist monks the most fascinating aspect of Thailand. We had to go investigate that!
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
  #870  
Old 22 Jan 2016
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 1,847

Buddhist monks congregating at the monastery in Wat Pho


We were allowed to sit with them as they chanted. Everyone was mesmerized by the monotonic sounds, almost hypnotic in their rhythm and lilt


Iva was sitting outside waiting for us as we came out of the temple. She said it only rained for 5 minutes

Hm... I'm starting to doubt the rain-warding power of the Pula Girls. Maybe you need two of them for their sunshine-magnetism abilities. Well, hopefully that will be it for the rest of our time in Bangkok and Thailand. Bring it on, dry season!


Beautiful sunset through the haze of the big city

Wow, I took a lot of pictures today. After spending so long in Europe, things kinda started looking the same. But now that we're on a new continent and in a new culture where everything looks so different, I went a bit crazy with the camera...

We're tired and jetlagged and need to get our Ferengi asses to bed. But we're totally looking forward to seeing more of Thailand!!!
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
cuba, rtw, visit


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


 
 

Announcements

Thinking about traveling? Not sure about the whole thing? Watch the HU Achievable Dream Video Trailers and then get ALL the information you need to get inspired and learn how to travel anywhere in the world!

Have YOU ever wondered who has ridden around the world? We did too - and now here's the list of Circumnavigators!
Check it out now
, and add your information if we didn't find you.

Next HU Eventscalendar

HU Event and other updates on the HUBB Forum "Traveller's Advisories" thread.
ALL Dates subject to change.

2024:

Add yourself to the Updates List for each event!

Questions about an event? Ask here

HUBBUK: info

See all event details

 
World's most listened to Adventure Motorbike Show!
Check the RAW segments; Grant, your HU host is on every month!
Episodes below to listen to while you, err, pretend to do something or other...

2020 Edition of Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook.

2020 Edition of Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook.

"Ultimate global guide for red-blooded bikers planning overseas exploration. Covers choice & preparation of best bike, shipping overseas, baggage design, riding techniques, travel health, visas, documentation, safety and useful addresses." Recommended. (Grant)



Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance.

Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance™ combines into a single integrated program the best evacuation and rescue with the premier travel insurance coverages designed for adventurers.

Led by special operations veterans, Stanford Medicine affiliated physicians, paramedics and other travel experts, Ripcord is perfect for adventure seekers, climbers, skiers, sports enthusiasts, hunters, international travelers, humanitarian efforts, expeditions and more.

Ripcord travel protection is now available for ALL nationalities, and travel is covered on motorcycles of all sizes!


 

What others say about HU...

"This site is the BIBLE for international bike travelers." Greg, Australia

"Thank you! The web site, The travels, The insight, The inspiration, Everything, just thanks." Colin, UK

"My friend and I are planning a trip from Singapore to England... We found (the HU) site invaluable as an aid to planning and have based a lot of our purchases (bikes, riding gear, etc.) on what we have learned from this site." Phil, Australia

"I for one always had an adventurous spirit, but you and Susan lit the fire for my trip and I'll be forever grateful for what you two do to inspire others to just do it." Brent, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the (video) series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring!" Jennifer, Canada

"Your worldwide organisation and events are the Go To places to for all serious touring and aspiring touring bikers." Trevor, South Africa

"This is the answer to all my questions." Haydn, Australia

"Keep going the excellent work you are doing for Horizons Unlimited - I love it!" Thomas, Germany

Lots more comments here!



Five books by Graham Field!

Diaries of a compulsive traveller
by Graham Field
Book, eBook, Audiobook

"A compelling, honest, inspiring and entertaining writing style with a built-in feel-good factor" Get them NOW from the authors' website and Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk.



Back Road Map Books and Backroad GPS Maps for all of Canada - a must have!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80G/S.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events all over the world with the help of volunteers; we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, or ask questions on the HUBB. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.




All times are GMT +1. The time now is 19:11.