Jammin thru the Global South

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Jammin, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. pdedse

    pdedse paraelamigosincero

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    My goodness, I was lucky enough to catch the beginning of your trip over three years ago...and now it has largely played itself out...except that it hasn't of course because I suspect that this trip will have a significant influence on you that you will appreciate over time. Well very Jammin done!
  2. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    Having worked as a waiter for awhile in an Indian restaurant in Delaware i must say :dg The head chef was a Punjabi named Mr Singh, so of course he used meat too (Northern Indian vrs Southern vegetarian). Those were a summer of amazing meals. :clap


  3. Jammin

    Jammin Living on a DR

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    Glad you enjoyed the story. Working on putting it into a book.
    :thumbup
    Thanks, Dan. I'm working on the Mozambique photostories, but way too much happening right now. Slowly, but surely :D
    Mmm, sounds like a plan :dg
    :thumbup
    Hi Holger and Anja, yes, I've reached India but the ride isn't over yet. It ends when I reach Delhi, probably in June... :ricky
    Thank you, Sir :beer yup, this trip has definitely changed me... I dont think I can work for anyone else now :lol3 I'll get to Delhi and then see what happens... :norton
    Sounds like a tasty gig :dg Thalis here are such an economical meal. In a regular restaurant, a thali can be had for around $1.50 and you're stuffed :wink:
  4. Jammin

    Jammin Living on a DR

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    March 13, 2013

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    I told my Dad (on the right) that I need some wheels until sanDRina arrives. My Dad's very resourceful and knows people who know people who know someone that can help :D He put the word out and his cousin here had this purple ride available. It's a Honda Shine 125cc with 4 gears (neutral at the bottom, 0-1-2-3-4 :huh ). We took a bus to the town of Sriperumbudur, near my Dad's village, picked up the Shine from Ramachandra Uncle and rode back 30 kms into the city, at night, in rush hour traffic. First ride with my Dad as pillion and no problems. Traffic is crazy but you just have to go with the flow of chaos; something like this: http://youtu.be/RjrEQaG5jPM

    Oh and I got my Indian Learner's Permit today :evil
  5. Longbow

    Longbow Vroooom

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    Thank you for such an epic adventure. I have been following you for about two years it seems, and have enjoyed every minute. Very happy for you that you have made it home safely, all the best to you in your future adventures.:ricky:super
  6. DestinationUnknown

    DestinationUnknown Been here awhile

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    I always get a kick out of those traffic videos.. I lol'd as it almost seems like it has an invisible traffic light at the intersection.

    It reminds me of the chinese moped craziness I have watched.
  7. Jammin

    Jammin Living on a DR

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    Mozambique, Part 1: The Remote North and Lake Malawi
    December 4 - 7, 2012

    After my extended stay in East Africa, it was finally time to enter Southern Africa. Mozambique has been a country that I was really looking forward to experiencing after the many positive things other travelers have said and also because it's a Portuguese-speaking country. My travels through Brazil developed my love for the Portuguese language and I've been earning to speak it ever since I left South America.

    Mozambique was first introduced to Portuguese culture when Vasco da Gama made landfall on his way to India in the 15th century. As other European powers were gobbling up Africa, Portugal kept a hold of Mozambique, Angola and Guinea-Bissau. After a long struggle, Mozambique finally became independent in 1975 but quickly plunged into a deadly civil war that ravaged the country till 1992. Since then, the country's been growing fast but there's a huge gap between the north and the south. Mozambique is a big country, stretching 3,000 kms from Tanzania to South Africa and most of the development is taking place in the south. This is the reason I traveled only in the north of the country. I like rural and rustic places and I found plenty of that in the friendly north.

    Come with me into a country of beautiful landscapes, friendly people and tasty seafood...

    (Click on the panoramas for the full size image.)


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    Entering Mozambique at the remote border of Matchedje across Rio Ruvuma.

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    I love small border crossings. There's no hassle and the officers are more friendly. Here, this customs agent wasn't too sure how to process the carnet for sanDRina and I'm showing him that he has to tear off the bottom portion and keep that and then the middle portion will be taken when I exit the country. Thanks to GoPro for the hidden camera shot.

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    My route through Mozambique. I entered from Tanzania, near Lake Malawi, and then cut across Niassa province to Pemba on the coast. After a visit to historic Ilha da Mozambique, I had a nice ride along the coast down to Beira. Then, I turned inland and passed through Tete on my way to Zambia. Click on it to go to the interactive version in Google Maps.

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    With the border village of Matchedje behind me, I had 60 kms (37 mi) of sandy, forest riding till the next human settlement. The road had no traffic on it besides me and one minibus, called a chapa, here.

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    Taking a break in the shade and letting my bones and sanDRina's suspension relax from the corrugations.

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    When there were no corrugations, the road became sandy. At first, the sand wasn't a problem and I could stand through it, but...

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    ...it soon became quite deep and once I lost my momentum, it was tough to get back up to speed.

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    Frequent breaks to cool down and...

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    ...enjoy the solitude of the forest.

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    Enjoying my first day in Mozambique.

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    Those 60 kms were slow-going and I started to look for a place to stay for the night.

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    The first village from the border was Novo Madeira and I pulled up to this official-looking building.

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    I introduced myself, in Portuguese, to the officer on duty, Mr. Roman, and asked if I could pitch up my tent in the back. He said, no need, there's a spare bedroom at the back that I was free to use. How nice. This was the only government building in the area and behind the offices at the front was a guest house for passing officers and I guess, adventure travelers.

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    The sleepy village of Nova Madeira where the residents all had a patch of forest land that they farmed for their sustenance.

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    Roman was a customs officer with military training and excused himself to carry out his evening workout.

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    He then invited me for 'jantar,' the Portuguese word for dinner. He first fried up some eggs...

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    ...and then fried up some dried fish...

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    ...that we had with nshima (maize meal porridge). He was a very pleasant man and was impressed with my Portuguese that was coming back to me very quickly. I had listened to my Michel Thomas language lessons recently and being immersed was releasing my knowledge of this language. We sat out under the stars and he asked why the stars near the horizon twinkle more than ones that are straight above. In my basic Portuguese, I managed to convey that the light from stars near the horizon have to travel through more air (atmosphere) than the ones straight above and that's what makes them twinkle more.

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    There was no mosquito net, so I put up my tent on the bed and had a restful night.

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    Leaving the next morning and I enjoyed the overcast sky as it kept the temps in check.

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    Thanks for the stay, Roman. What a great first impression of Mozambique.
  8. Jammin

    Jammin Living on a DR

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    Heading south on a hard-packed mud road and enjoying the curves and dips and climbs.

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    The forest ended and the land was taken over by farmland but the horizon was exciting with mountains all around.

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    Panorama of the ride with some jagged peaks in view.

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    The mountains of Northern Mozambique.

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    A shot of my GPS and a basket from a friend in Kenya.

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    Twin peaks and sanDRina.

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    I hit the pavement near the town of Lichinga and aired up the tires with my CyclePump.

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    A single lane tar road took me through villages and then...

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    ...I rounded a corner and wow, grand old Lake Malawi was spread out across the horizon.

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    I passed through the lakeshore town of Metangula and headed for the Chuwanga Beach Hotel...

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    ...where they had this little hut for 250 Meticais ($8.43) per night.

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    The view from my beach hut of beautiful Lake Malawi.

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    The mountainous shoreline of Lake Malawi that I had to descend down to get here.

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    The waves of Lake Malawi. This lake holds a special place in my life as my family used to vacation on the opposite shore in Malawi when we lived in Zambia during my childhood. I wasn't going to pass through Malawi, due to visa complications, but coming back to these waters was enough to stir up the nostalgia.

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    On the Mozambican side, the lakeshore isn't developed and the lake is used as the primary source of water for the local population. They bathe, wash their clothes and take water back home for cooking and drinking.

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    Mango season was in full bloom and I asked the hotel workers to get me a few from the mango tree in the parking lot. I enjoyed these luscious fruits over the day and had my fill of fresh mangoes.

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    Special access for mosquitoes.

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    An old dhow carved out from a single tree trunk on the shores of Lake Malawi.

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    A fisherman heading out for his evening catch. Lake Malawi is the second-deepest lake in Africa, after Lake Tanganyika, and is the southernmost of the Rift Valley Lakes. Its isolation and great depth has allowed hundreds of species of endemic fish to evolve over its lifetime. The lake is also known for its snail population that harbor the deadly bilharzia parasite. Bilharzia wasn't an issue when I was a kid but recently, with certain snail-eating fish being over-fished, bilharzia has become more of an issue.

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    As dusk falls, a young lady with her baby tied on her back walks past a fisherman mending his net.

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    Enjoying the strong breeze coming off of Lake Malawi in my simple beach hut.

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    Heading out of Chuwanga Beach and soaking in the grand views of Lake Malawi.

  9. Jammin

    Jammin Living on a DR

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    March 17, 2013

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    I had a lovely visit to my parents' villages outside Chennai and I'm sitting on the scooter that started my life on two wheels. My chinna-pedda-naina (mom's first elder sister's husband), here, has meticulously maintained this handsome Bajaj Chetak since 1985. I remember going for rides to the nearby town of Perambakkam with me standing up front and pretending I was riding with hands on the handlebar. Wind in the face, sensation of speed, ahhh, I was hooked from an early age! :ricky Chinna-pedda-naina encouraged me, as a kid, to take apart everything, understand how it works and then put it back together. He's proud that I went and had a career in Mechanical Engineering in the US and I thanked him for the inspiration. He's looking forward to meeting sanDRina :D

    Heading to Bangalore for the week...
  10. pdedse

    pdedse paraelamigosincero

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    Great story! How many times do we get to go back to the early influences? Now if he were to sell it to you and you rode it back, retracing your steps of the trip you just did, now that would be quite another story...hahahaaa... :wink:
  11. Shibby!

    Shibby! Long timer

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    Don't want to clutter the pages too much, but didn't want you think we (the readers) didn't appreciate the report, stellar pictures, and great info.

    I really enjoyed following your ride. Can't wait for any future adventures you take on!
  12. Eagletalon

    Eagletalon Been here awhile

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    Glad to see you made it home safe! The reward of seeing your parents had to be a very rewarding feeling and probably one of the best experiences from this journey. I have to say that I enjoyed this journey a lot and can't wait to see you finish documenting the rest of it. Thanks for the time you have taken to keep us up to date.

    Later
    John
  13. Jammin

    Jammin Living on a DR

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    :thumbup
    It's self-regulated traffic. Only in India :norton

    Thanks, mate! :beer
    Thanks, John. Yeah, now the feeling is sinking in that yup, I did it. I left Chicago on my motorcycle three years ago with the final destination being India and now, I've arrived (bike still to come :D )
  14. Jammin

    Jammin Living on a DR

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    March 20, 2013

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    Having an Ice Gola with Raoul Parekh in Bangalore.

    Raoul's an old friend from Kodai School and we were in Phelps Dorm together for 6 years and now it's been 14 years since we saw each other. Fantastic to catch up on everything's that happened and reminisce about the good ol' days, such as getting caught for drinking and sneaking out to visit the girl's dorms :evil Raoul's an interior designer and along with his wife and another partner, their current project is a 5 star hotel in downtown Bangalore.

    After traveling through so many new cultures these past three years and meeting so many new people, it's heartening to rekindle an old friendship. :freaky

    That ice gola is a North Indian street snack of flavored, shaved ice. I had it with Kala Kattha, which is a juice of the Jamun fruit with black rock salt, lemon juice and pepper. Mmm, mmm, good!
  15. Jammin

    Jammin Living on a DR

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    Mozambique, Part 2: Heading across Niassa Province to Pemba
    December 7 - 11, 2012

    After my little break on the shores of Lake Malawi, I headed east, across the remote region of Niassa Province towards Pemba, on the coast. Mozambique is developing quickly with the Chinese laying new roads everywhere and the route that heads east from Lichinga to Pemba was in varied states of construction. The middle portion, the farthest from civilization on both sides, is still a little track through the forest that I highly enjoyed. The rainy season was fully underway now and I sought shelter from a fast-moving thunderstorm with some villagers in their hut. The track was either hard-packed mud, that turned slippery when wet, or sand, which was surprisingly easier to ride when wet. I emerged back into civilization on the other end and headed for Pemba, where I enjoyed fresh squid and octopus.

    (Click on the panoramas for the full size image.)

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    Heading east out of Lichinga and enjoying the twists and curves in the mountainous north of Mozambique.

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    Panorama of the distractions that a rider through Niassa Province experiences.

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    I was in the thick of the rainy season. It comes in quick and then moves on. I just missed the rain here and got my tires wet to increase their mileage ever so slightly.

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    The grand inselbergs that dot northern Mozambique. These are remnants of old volcanoes where the outer rock has eroded to the form the surrounding plains and the inner, harder rock, usually granite is left behind to stand proud.

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    A woman ploughing her farm under the shadow of an inselberg.

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    Quite a dramatic setting to have in your backyard. Can you see the creature in the inselberg? There are two eyes on the small head and a slanted mouth.

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    That same inselberg from another view, showing that seeing faces in inanimate objects is just a trait of the human mind, as we're hard-wired to pick out faces.

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    Crossing a little bridge in Niassa Province.

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    A view into the distance with a jagged horizon of inselbergs in various poses.

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    Ooh, an elephant crossing sign, telling me that mama and baby elephant only cross in curves, ok, so on the straights I'm good.

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    Mango season is in full bloom and I passed numerous trees with brightly-ripened, juicy mangoes, just waiting to be picked or thrown at by kids.

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    The only hotel in Marrupa, a small town about a third of the way to Pemba. This basic residencial went for 400 Meticais ($13.50) and came with a hot water bucket bath.

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    I was walking around town and came across these guys playing a Mozambican version of the age-old game known as Bao or Mancala. The rules are quite complicated but the general idea is to sow and capture seeds. The earliest evidence for this game comes from northern Ethiopia and then it got picked up by the Arabs who introduced it into East Africa and other parts of the world.

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    The vegetable market in Marrupa with only the basics of onions, tomatoes and beans.

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    I was buying some bread and noticed these guys playing a game of checkers. Nice use of bottle caps.
  16. Jammin

    Jammin Living on a DR

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    On the road after a good breakfast of oatmeal. The section of the route from Marrupa to Montepuez is currently under construction, meaning, get out and ride the world before it all gets paved over!

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    Road construction through forests and rainy seasons don't go together. Riding the detour from the newly laid roadbed on the right.

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    African Mud. It's good for the boots.

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    A wide puddle but it looked shallow, so I just went for it.

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    The construction petered out and I was smiling end to end as the road became a small forest trail. It was getting close to mid-day and these cumulonimbus clouds were heading for my path.

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    sanDRina in the forests of Northern Mozambique. There was hardly any traffic on this route, evident by the grassy, center berm. I loved being amongst such tall trees but it saddened me that they would be chopped down soon to make way for progress.

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    Having a lunch of soft-boiled eggs and buns. I made these eggs in the morning and like to boil them for 5 to 6 minutes to get the yolk into a semi-solid state.

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    Just as I was finishing up lunch in the middle of the forest, rain drops started falling. I packed up and got moving and rode through a fair amount of rain. The route was sandy but when it got wet, it actually became easier to ride.

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    Riding through rain is not a problem but I'm a bit wary of lightning and this one thunderstorm was throwing down the electrical shards ahead of me and I thought best to wait it out instead of riding through it. I pulled up in this little village and asked in my basic Portuguese if I could just take a break here. A few minutes after getting inside this hut, the storm hit and the rain came down heavy.

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    The villagers who let me stay in their hut during the storm.

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    The kids were thrilled to see this strange man and his strange motorcycle make a stop in their village.

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    I presumed this man was the village head and this boy, who was the best-dressed there, was his eldest son.

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    The kids were all shy of my camera at first, but once I took one picture and showed it to them, they all loved it and wanted to get in every shot. Here, they're eating some left over nshima and beans after an adult was through with his lunch.

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    Look into his eyes as he reaches for his next hand-full of nshima. This kid looked to be the smartest one and I thought about how geography (where you are born on this planet) plays such a critical role in determining who gets what kind of chance in this world.

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    Twenty minutes later and the thunderstorm had passed with sunshine in its wake.

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    Saying goodbye to the mamas of the village.

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    And one last shot of all the kids.
  17. Jammin

    Jammin Living on a DR

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    Back on the trail with the sun beating down and you can't even tell that it just rained so hard.

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    Oops. I was riding through this sandy riverbed and didn't see that wooden spike sticking out of the ground. It caught my tool tube and down we went. A few guys came running out of the woods and helped me lift sanDRina back up with the rubber side down.

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    Evidence of the recent rains. Where the puddles were huge, a side track was cut into the brush.

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    Riding lots of corrugations and I noticed a bolt for my pannier frame had rattled out.

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    I found a replacement M6 bolt from my bag-o-bolts, put a dab of Loctite thread-locker and off we go.

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    A long and messy mud puddle with an even messier detour. I went a bit back and made my own entry into the detour.

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    Camping in a cheap residencial in Montepuez, a large town on the other end of the forest track. The beds were creaky and the mattress didn't look inviting and there was no mosquito net, so best to setup my tent, which is a home I know.

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    At least sanDRina had a nice place to spend the night in Montepuez. The next day's ride was short and easy, heading down to the coast.

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    A big baobab tree just across Russel's Place in Pemba with the clear waters of the Indian Ocean.

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    Russel's is a backpackers and is the cheapest place to stay near the ocean. I took a bed in this elevated hut for 500 Meticais ($16.85). I was slowly adjusting to the higher prices in Mozambique compared to neighboring East Africa.

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    I met another biker who was also staying at the same place and we both headed out for some fresh seafood. We bought this squid, which was caught just a few hours ago, for 250 Meticais ($8.43) and...

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    ...this lady here cut and grilled it up for us for another 30 Meticais ($1). She also had a supply of beers and chapatis to go with it. The breeze was blowing strong and the atmosphere was fantastic.

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    The receding tide at Pemba's beautiful coast.

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    Enjoying a walk through the water and making my connection with the Indian Ocean. This was the first time sanDRina's been at sea-level since entering Africa at Alexandria.

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    Shopping for seafood for dinner the next night.

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    We picked up this pile of octupii for only 25 Meticais ($0.84).

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    He had this yellow-fin tuna going for around $30 and I thought about how much 'value' and price is added to food as it moves from where it is caught or harvested to where it is consumed. Here, we were consuming it where it was caught. Nothing fresher than that.

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    This is Rob, the biker I met at the backpackers. He's from South Africa but was living in Spain and was riding his Honda Africa Twin from Barcelona to Durban. Rob's a professional chef and was working at some of the top-rated restaurants in the world, such as El Buli, where plates go for around 250 Euros. So, we put our cooking gear together and made an...

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    ...Octopus Curry!
  18. Jammin

    Jammin Living on a DR

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    March 26, 2013

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    Visiting my sister, Lavanya, in Hyderabad this week. She's a pediatric surgeon and works primarily at the government children's hospital and then freelances at a few other hospitals, like here at St. Theresa's Hospital, which is special to our family because I was born here :D This hospital caters to lower income families and my sister consults here for charity. When I was born here, my mom said it only cost 250 rupees for the delivery and a week's stay in the hospital. Today, it's still very cheap to deliver at St. Theresa's, costing 10,000 rupees ($184), which is how much those 250 rupees would be worth now.
  19. MrBob

    MrBob Out there

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    The West, etc.
    I've been having adventures of my own and have not had time to keep up with yours, but I do have a bike question.
    One of the bikes I'm shopping for is a DR 650. Almost all of my riding is above 5,000 feet where engine-cooling air flow can be thin. Given that the DR doesn't have liquid cooling, have you had any issues related to overheating?
  20. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    that is not an issue what so ever with a DR. even guys in Australian outback don't report overheating issues.