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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Sideoff, Jan 18, 2019.
Outstanding adventure and RR in so many regards. Thank you for sharing. Your perspective, patience, courage, attitudes and generous nature is an inspiration and makes me even more proud of my Mosko BC 35's and 25l Duffel. Will be sure and say hey the next time our paths cross. Travel safe.
Thanks so much for sharing this! What camera did you use to take the wonderful pictures? I'm looking for an alternative for my great but bulky and heavy Nikon DSLR.
A year has passed, and all year we've been planning to return to Ethiopia.
Last summer we tried to get US Visas for Babe & Fistum so they could come to the UNRally. In the end it didn't work out, but we sure tried. We wrote letters to the embassy etc. After that we had occasional back and forth communications on Facebook and WhatsApp, just to check in.
In October there was some social unrest and shooting of dozens of protesters by the police in Addis. Around that time we messaged with Babe and Fistum about the safety situation, and decided it was likely to settle down before we arrived. We booked flights for Feb 1.
As the date got closer, Babe and Fistum became harder to get hold of. Then Babe relocated to South Africa and dropped off the message threads entirely, leaving Fistum as our only contact in Awassa. Then Fistum also abruptly stopped responding. I can see that he's reading our messages (it shows when they've been read) but he hasn't responded in weeks. Now that we're three weeks out from departure and still haven't heard from him, were pulling the plug.
Our friend Chad, who introduced us to Babe and Fistum (they're related), is in Dubai. He's headed to Ethiopia in two weeks and he'll figure out what happened. I'm so curious. Is it as simple as Fistum deciding to keep the bikes and ignore our messages? Or is there more to the story? Inquiring minds want to know.
It seems out of character based on our interactions with them last year, however it's also 100% possible that we misjudged. It's also possible there was a falling out between those guys for family, personal, or business reasons and the bikes are caught up in that. Chad was able to confirm that the ownership and registration papers are still at Babe's parent's house in Awassa, but nobody knows where the bikes themselves are. Too bad we can't ride paperwork.
Up till a few weeks ago we considered those guys our friends. We were looking forward to hosting them here in the states one day. It stings a little, both personally and financially, to have it end this way. However we knew that leaving the bikes was a dicey business. We could've and should've sold them for $1k cash apiece last year, but when we heard the Eritrea/Ethiopia border was opening, we decided it was worth the risk to wait. As it turns out, that trip wouldn't have been possible anyway because of the evolving political situation.
Basically we're out the $2,000 that we could've sold the bikes for last year, plus $600 to get a full refund of the miles we used to book our flights. Chad thinks he can wrangle some money from Fistum when he gets there but I'm not holding my breath. Whatever happened happened and I'm guessing there won't be any 'refunds' offered. We had an epic trip last year, and while it would've been great to continue, oh well so it goes. We're chalking it up to lessons learned, and the exciting and unpredictable world of buying, selling, and riding in foreign countries.
I started this post this morning while on hold with TravelPerks inquiring about our mileage refund. It just came through, I can see that all the miles are back in our account. Now we have lots of miles and the entire month of February off work with no commitments. Where to go?
MEXICO! You've probably already been there but a month of riding can get you all the way from Oregon to the Yucatan and back on your own bike. I know it's not really third world travel like your last two reports but it can offer a lot of adventure if you know where to look. And you don't have to deal with flights, buying a bike and losing $2,000. Just my suggestion.
Let me know if you decide to go and I'll PM you a few rides/experiences that you'll love.
Thanks for keeping us in the loop!!
Was the trip a Mosko supported "business venture"? If so, the money would not be such a big deal right? Losing the friendship and your trust in some one - I do see as being just as painful. What is a days wage there?
On the the next Adventure!! cant wait...
Thanks man! Good idea and we just discussed it after seeing your post. We decided we want to go somewhere a little further from home. Also Ash's big bike is in pieces at the moment while the suspension gets redone. Plus we're already headed to Mexico (Baja not mainland, big difference but still Mexico) this spring anyway.
The leading contender right now is SE Asia. My only reluctance is that I have been there many times, and it's nice to pickup a new passport stamp. But Ash has never been, and there's a lot to see, it requires no advance planning, visas are easy, travel costs are low, we have factories to visit there for work. A lot of things pointing in that direction.
This wasn't a Mosko supported trip, we keep our personal travel separate. Like you said though, the trust thing is worse than the money. We've never had anything like this happen. But of course we always know it's a risk, and after 15 years of trips involving cash and bikes, having it only happen once is not so bad. Average wages in Ethiopia are probably around $300-500/month, but Babe and Fistum aren't the average. They come from a well established family in Awassa and they have (or at least had) a construction business together doing municipal projects with some decent government contracts in the past. I'm guessing that business has pretty much dried up in the last year. It was already slow when we were there and I doubt the government purse strings have opened up since then with the political situation there, plus Babe is apparently out of the country.
Although for tax purposes, yes it was most certainly a business venture
i was excited to see a new post from y'all! but then, darnit ☹️
you may never know the truth behind your friends' behavior, may be something beyond their control, something they couldn't explain or own up to. the not knowing is rough.
i, too, love se asia.
look forward to hearing about your next adventure.
Just read the whole report again....and enjoyed it as much as I did the first time!
Looking forward to reading about your next trip!
in for more....
Bummer sorry to hear about your bikes doing a disappearing act.
When you find out what happened, if it's actual theft, I think you can report that as a personal loss on your taxes and deduct it.
I'm on for the next instalment.
Seriously sorry about the turn of events @Sideoff, lousy and the loss of friendship like that leaves a mark. I hope you’re able to re-establish contact with your friends at some point.
Regarding the destination, have you done Columbia? I haven’t, bet read a couple reports and those have put it on my list. Imagine SE Asia would be great too.
Looking forward to following along wherever you guys end up
Another vote for Colombia, also Ecuador & Peru have some pretty nice riding.
Colombia is a good country to buy/rent bikes and plenty of ADV members there to help.
A few good Ride Reports that offer the details of acquiring bikes in Colombia.
Thanks for the suggestions! I have been to Colombia and will definitely go back. Mike at Motolombia uses our bags for his rental fleet. Actually I rented his personal bike from him like 10 years ago back before he started the rental business and before Mosko. Definitely want to go back there with Ash.
Late last night I booked tickets to/from Hanoi. We rented a couple XR150s from Tigit Motorcycles. $450 apiece for the month plus a $50 deposit for damages. We'll start in Hanoi, ride to northern Laos, then end in HCMC and visit with our factory.
Gotta love how easy and cheap SE Asia is.
> Book flight (airline miles)
> Get tourist visa online ($155 apiece for 30 day multi-entry through embassy of VN website)
> Reserve bike ($100 deposit/bike @ Tigit Motorbikes against a total cost of $500/bike)
> Purchase travel medical policy ($50 each for the platinum plan with add ons for extra medical @ Travelguard)
And that's it, our trip planning is 100% complete. Total elapsed time <1 hour.
We'll start a new thread for that trip. SE Asia has been done and done again on advrider in dozens of prior reports but we really enjoyed tag teaming on this Ethiopia ride report and we're stoked to do it again. We'll start a new thread for that in a few weeks, and will also keep this one updated if/when we get a final understanding of what happened to the bikes. We're hoping to meetup with Chad in person in Portland before we depart, so maybe we will know more then.
Sweet! Definitely looking forward to following along on that one @Sideoff, especially as we might be under snow at that time, but we'll definitely be wet...lol.
Safe travels on the way over there, sounds like a killer trip man
I'm in the early stages of planning a similar VN trip. So please let us know when the new thread is up!
I had completely forgotten a travel medical insurance