UK to NZ - Travelling Ent

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by joshuwaa, May 9, 2017.

  1. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2016
    Oddometer:
    89
    Location:
    London, UK
    It has been a long while! Sorry folks. The longer it's been since an update the harder it gets to make an update. Until we get here where there's too much to talk about.

    After Christmas I headed around North Vietnam and into Laos, the blog for which is above. Then around Northern Laos, that blog should be right after this update.

    Right now I'm sat on the beach in Goa! It's incredible to finally be here. It's been on of the places in my head since i planned the trip just as "marker" that I knew of. A far off place that seemed like a different world, now I'm here.

    I had an amazing time in Laos, I cannot recommend it enough, it's a beautiful place filled with great people. I didn't have a boring day there even on the long rides. It's so different from Vietnam, I'm so glad I went and didn't just fly back from Hanoi.

    I arrived back into Kolkata to find Donkey in almost full working order. The guys had looked after him and hadn't vanished with him while I was away. The battery needed replacing, I'd not disconnected to terminals correctly, too busy chatting while I was doing it, so it had drained it all the way to it's death, it wouldn't hold any charge at all. Thankfully big batteries are easy to come by in India, they have a lot of 350s riding around. It's only 9amph instead of 10.5 but that'll be fine, I don't run too much off it, and the engine draws none while it's running.

    20180209_231744.jpg

    I decided to head to the west coast of India first, Chennai will probably be my exit point so looping around the bottom from the west makes the most sense, and there seems to be more to do on the west rather than east anyway. 4 days of long riding across India actually surprised me a lot, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The traffic is still awful, but not as ignorant as Vietnam, just more aggressive, so it was manageable. A puncture on the first day got me back in to the adventure nicely but the tyre plug is still holding strong a week a later so no harm done I don't think.

    20180210_160340.jpg

    From Kolkata to Cuttack, Raipur, Amravati then Aurangabad, there was couple of days on big wide motorway, a couple on smaller 2 lane roads with constant overtaking and near misses. 8 hours of riding on those is all kinds of tiring and I was just flopping into hotels, eating and sleeping most days. Not much to see in most of these towns anyway.

    A stop at Ajanta caves was awesome, a very fast tour by a cool guide let me see the major parts in about 90 minutes instead of the usual 3 hours. From Aurangabad I went to Ellora caves for the morning, intended to spend an hour then leave for the next town, loved it so much that I walked around for 4 hours and went back to Aurangabad for the night. They were incredible, Whole buildings and temples carved straight out of the cliff face, a 3 story building with interior stairs and bridges, sculpted rather than built.

    20180214_110817.jpg

    Then a days riding back in mountains was a treat I didn't expect. A good road surface and not too many trucks made a really fun ride. Not something I expected to find in central India. I pushed on to Goa, I thought it would take me 2 days but the road was so fast that come lunch time I realised I could make it in one. I made it just in time to sit on the beach with a beer watching the sunset after a 10 hour ride. Bliss

    20180216_182223.jpg

    I'd been preparing myself for the worst of India the whole trip, now I'm here it's actually enjoyable, there's a lot more to like than hate. Except being crowded by 30 people staring at you when you stop for a drink, that's never enjoyable for me...

    If people are still reading these updates I'll try and stay on top of them a bit more here.
    #81
    MrKiwi and oldbeer like this.
  2. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2017
    Oddometer:
    883
    Location:
    Tamaki Makarau, Aotearoa
    Of course we are still reading.... just post pictures and don't worry too much about the words if its all taking too long. Keep it short and simple...If you let it get too far out of whack it loses a fair bit of its attraction (for me, at least) But, you are doing this for your benefit not ours, so do whatever works for you.

    Good luck with next bits of your trip.
    #82
    Robthekiwi and MrKiwi like this.
  3. azdesertdad

    azdesertdad VN1600A "It's a Harley... compatible" -Mr. Furious

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2016
    Oddometer:
    60
    Yup - still here - keep it coming! At this point, I don't know that I'm ever going to be able to take a trans-Europe/Asia trip (who knows? I may be able to win the lottery and shake the earth from my roots) - but I'm getting some pretty good flavor from reading this -
    #83
  4. neppi

    neppi Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2017
    Oddometer:
    398
    Location:
    Tauranga, New Zealand
    Reading!
    #84
  5. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2016
    Oddometer:
    89
    Location:
    London, UK
    Well that's really good to here guys, cheers. I do the blogs mostly for family and friends, an myself I suppose, to remember it. These updates are because I survived on other's reports for 2 years dreaming and planning for my own trip. Trying to see what day to day life is like while on a bike. I can't remember ever replying to threads, even the ones I really enjoyed, so for the silent types I'll try and keep updating.

    In that spirit, today was not such a good day, but still better than a day in the office.... I moved from Palolem beach up to Anjuna beach. I got a recommendation for a hostel, but it turned out pretty shitty, top bunk 5cm below the ceiling with no common area for even sitting down. The area is all drugs and parties and crappy restaurants. Makes me a little sad that areas like this still power on, just on drug money essentially and the tourists that come for only that. Palolem felt a bit like Indian Benidorm, lots of older families and restorts, but that's miles better than this.

    Oh well, I found a nice bar with power and WiFi, all I need. Their prawn biryani is bloody lovely to my indian accustomed taste buds. Doens't stop me sweating a puddle onto the floor though, eating spicy food at 30 Degrees C.

    I moved up here to see some of the portugese forts, not for cheap crappy weed, here's a couple of shots of what I did find though:
    20180222_153524.jpg 20180222_162649.jpg

    And my office for the evening, the first bar I found with available power and wifi, and a sunset view for a bonus.
    20180222_180149_HDR.jpg

    Tomorrow I'm heading for Panjim, the main town here, maybe for 2 nights, see what it's like. I want to see some "old stuff" that's my only requirement.
    #85
    oldbeer and MrKiwi like this.
  6. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2016
    Oddometer:
    89
    Location:
    London, UK
    here's the route I've cut across India from Kolkata. The caves at Ajanta and Ellora being my only hightlight, but fucking good ones they were:
    India - Kolkata to Goa.PNG
    #86
    oldbeer and MrKiwi like this.
  7. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2017
    Oddometer:
    883
    Location:
    Tamaki Makarau, Aotearoa
    Looks really hazy....or does your camera lens need a clean? :)
    #87
  8. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2016
    Oddometer:
    89
    Location:
    London, UK
    Yeh it's really hazy pretty much everywhere. I've watched the sunset on the beach almost every evening and the sun disappears before it even reaches the horizon because of the haze.
    #88
  9. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2016
    Oddometer:
    89
    Location:
    London, UK
    Only a short ride today to move from Hippy hostel to the town, but Indian roads are never dull.

    Some tiny roads on the way to a pretty unimpressive fort:
    small road.png

    Some nice views over the rivers
    Bridge.png

    and Funeral (? I think?) in the middle of the road, they all shifted around and helped me filter past:
    Funeral in the road.png

    Panjim is a very pretty town, especially the old town, all colonial buildings a lot of them falling to ruin:
    20180223_170245.jpg


    Treated myself to a lovely american diner style place this evening, it is my Birthday after all, even indulged in a bit of Bourbon and a slice of cheesecake. Serious luxuries for a traveller on a budget in India. I'm a year older and 28 now, does that mean I have to slow it down a bit and start being more sensible? Or can I put that off another few years again?
    #89
  10. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2016
    Oddometer:
    89
    Location:
    London, UK
    Well, it's been a little while again! Dammit! I got very busy, a little ill, and very broken down.

    I rode to Hampi in a very long, very hot day, and gave myself some mild sunstroke which put me down for most of the next day. I did see a lot of the ruins though on the bike, some incredibly old temples there. A great place if you want 3 days wandering around calmly, not easy to find in India. Not for me though, one afternoon blasting around on the bike and I was set. Feeling woozy on the ride back and almost 11 hours sleep and 4 litres of water got me feeling better.

    Hampi.jpg

    Then I was riding everyday for 6 days I think. Down through the Western Ghats toward Mysore, Bandipur National park, Ooty, then really through the mountains with two Indian guys I met on their bikes. No Tiger or Elephant sightings in all these unfortunately.

    Ghats.jpg

    Then out the mountains into Kochi. A pretty uninspiring place, but it was comfortable at least, quite touristy so I could get my pizza recharge and chat to some travellers. Not many overlanders make it this far south, prefering to stick to the North and escape India into Pakistan or Myanmar quickly, so my story was pretty new to everyone here.



    The the broken downness. This is a long one...

    I left Kochi and after an hour pulled up to a level crossing, I stopped the bike and sat for 15 minutes just baking in full black klim gear under 35 degrees of sunshine. The barriers rose and the bike wouldn't start again. Fuck. It tickled over a bit but the battery had given up. I pushed across the tracks, not wanting to be stuck on the smaller sea-side of them. A tuktuk gave me some directions to the nearest workshop-like place. So I got pushing, about 10 minutes and half a KM up the road.

    They didn't have any leads or a battery but phone calls were made and a crowd of people began to gather to find out why there was a very sweaty foreigner with a huge bike hanging around. A guy arrived on a moped with some cables and a battery and we jumped Donkey to life. Score! I ran him for 10 minutes which is usually enough for another start. But he wouldn't start again when I switched off, not even a flicker. The battery was toast. So we jumped him again and I followed the moped guy, first to his house then on to the battery shop (he got confused about my ability to remove a battery and wanted me to wait there).

    We changed the battery over for the same one as I have (from Kolkata) which didn't sit well with me if it was dead already but I didn't have much choice. Back on the road! Making good ground I flew passed a nice looking bakery and swung around for some lunch. I switched off and just to check for my own sanity tried to start again and got nothing. Shite! This is now officially bad. I felt the colour drain from my face. This was no battery or jump start issue. My alternator is fucked. I got some lunch and just sat staring at Donkey with a million things running through my head. Where could I get to with a jump, where SHOULD I aim, further on? Back? Can I fix it? What's the plan if I stop in the middle of nowhere?

    I settled most of those questions in my head and got another jump start from the battery store luckily right across the road. I rode for another 45 minutes and various things started to happen, the ABS light came on, probably because it didn't have enough power to run the motor, the dials would only come on above 4,000rpm and the Dash kept flashing "FI" warnings at me for the injectors. Not looking good, but I thought I was getting enough power over 4,000rpm to keep running so I might make it to the big city a few hours on. I just couldn't stop.

    Then Indian traffic happened and despite all my best planning and riding that had kept me going so far, someone pulled out on me and I had nowhere to go, I broke hard and tried to keep the throttle open enough but it dipped too much and stalled, right in the middle of the junction. I pushed to the side and asked for the nearest garage. Another 10 minutes of pushing and some very funny looks later was another mechanic. They didn't understand english, or anything at all really. I eventually managed to get a battery and some copper out of them to jump start. But he would only stay on over 4,000 revs now.

    It should have clicked at this point that it was deteriorating and I wouldn't make it to the city. But I knew stopping anywhere short of the city wouldn't let me fix the bike. So someone held the throttle open while I got all my bags back on the bike (the battery is under the seat, under the bags). I hopped on a shot off in a cloud of anxiety.

    10 minutes down the road the injectors gave out and there was nothing left. I tried a bump start cruising at 50mph and got nothing. Shit. Shit. Shit.

    I was in a "town" at least, not nowhere, but there were no hotels and only about an hour of sunlight left. Some guys said there was a mechanic down the road, so another 15 minutes of pushing then risking death crossing the road to find he couldn't help anyway. "There's a battery store down the road, just 200 meters" He lied. It was over 500 I'm sure. I rolled past some police in their truck and they did a triple take, then came out to chat. They told me there was no hotels for at least 10km either way.

    I found the battery store and with no hotels to sleep and wait for a full charge my only option was a new battery, the second of the day.

    That got me back on the road though with a guaranteed two hours of riding. I made it to the city in those 2 hours, then cruised around on fumes to the hotel I'd see that was near a mechanic. They told me to sod off, they didn't want foreigners (in more polite terms). I was spent at this point, all the stress and pushing had me at my last dregs of energy. I spotted a cheap guesthouse on the map, just out of town. I rode down there, hitting every red light available, with the dials dying and reanimating every 10 seconds, just begging for the mopeds, tuktuks, buses, cars and people to "JUST FUCK OFF!!" I rolled up to the gates of the guesthouse and the bike died right there, at the last meter. Bless him.

    20180306_123514.jpg

    So then I was stuck there, no power to move at all. That was 4 days ago. Now it's all fixed. The Stator had burned out, a common problem on these bikes, exacerbated by slightly low oil and the last 15 long days in high heat for long rides I think.

    I bought a multi meter and just started testing everything I could find and checking online. I eventually narrowed it down to the stator. The easiest part to fix here thankfully. Though it meant opening up the engine casing to get it out. Not a thing I was looking forward too, I've never done it, and I only have the hostel backyard to work in. It went OK though, with the help of a German engineer who was staying here too. Some local bike mechanics introduced me to a guy who could rewind stators, his little shed shop was full to the brim of motors and generators. So I was confident he could do it, just not whether it would be any good...

    He did it though, and all for about £12, and I just finished fitting it today. I breathed a VERY large sigh of relief when the multi meter showed 60 volts coming through the connection. It showed less than that for the others which isn't ideal but it works. 14v at the battery when revving is more than good enough.

    Travandrum.jpg

    Now at least I can get back on the road. The only damage is I now ship out of India one week later since I've missed my window for my intended shipping next week. hardly the worst thing in the world.
    #90
    culturedape and MrKiwi like this.
  11. culturedape

    culturedape Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2013
    Oddometer:
    17
    lovely report. seems like India isn't an easy place to ride..
    #91
  12. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2016
    Oddometer:
    89
    Location:
    London, UK
    No, it's pretty punishing. For most of the roads there's very little to enjoy and plenty of ways to die. Especially now I've been heading South it's been over 32c everyday, up to 37 some days, with no cool breeze, it's just an oven blowing in my face. Lots of long straight flats full of buses who do not give a single fuck if you're in the road. Anywhere near a city there's TukTuks driven by people who never had to do a license and just have no idea or care about what anyone else is doing or road conventions, forget rules, they don't even follow the norm of other drivers like beeping before you undertake at a left turn, they just screw it and go.

    If you can get over the driving there's a lot to love about India, but after over 2 months it has really wore me down and I need a break before it's worth doing again.
    #92
    culturedape and MrKiwi like this.
  13. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2016
    Oddometer:
    89
    Location:
    London, UK
    So I could finally leave Trivandrum now the alternator isn't melted. I set off in the morning for the final little stint South in India, I got a little lost with all the road works and un-signed diversions, and I even passed some elephants on the road! Finally I saw some out in the open in India. Though it wasn't a great sight, with huge chains around the ankles. But still, elephants!

    [​IMG]

    Then I finally reached Kanyakumari! The southern tip of India. It felt like a real achievement, I've been to the most northerly town Kargil (I think? The borders are weird) and through a very winding route ended up at the southern tip of mainland India. If you'd asked me 3 years ago if I'd go to the southern tip of India by bike I'd have laughed at you, I'd never owned a bike, and never travelled anywhere. Even if you'd asked when I was setting off for the trip I'd have said probably not, India is hard and I won't like it. Turns out I was wrong, I'm so glad I've made it here and been able to see so much of this amazing place.

    Facing South, nothing between here and Antarctica!
    DSC01981.JPG

    Looking out to the Ghandi statue, Bacon wondering what is happening to my hair:
    20180311_124124.jpg

    After that it felt like the outward run from India. I headed to Madurai that day, a good run on solid highways. An awesome night at the hostel with 3 other Brits! There's not many travellers in South India compared to the North, and not many Brits travelling compared to the rest of Europe, so 4 of us one place threw us all for a loop. The next day was pretty dull, just highways for a 5 hour run to Pondicherry. A bit underwhelming to be honest, it has some very pretty parts, and a very clean "french quarter" but it feels manufactured to just be like that because there's a ton of french people and money, not very Indian.

    20180312_181144.jpg 20180312_191334.jpg

    Another pretty standard run on highways and fast two lane roads to Bangalore the next day. I only stopped for a couple of pictures of some incredible forts atop some rock formations. The hills looked fake, the boulders looked stacked by hand but they were huge. I didn't get off the bike all day, making it a 5 hour run! A record for me I think.

    I just very keen to get to Bangalore, I'd been chatting to Abijith who lives in Bangalore for months, he's given me a ton of advice for India, especially the Western Ghats which I might have otherwise missed out and it's great to be able to go see him. My shipping date is delayed so I've got another 5 days to kill. He's hooked me up with a biker couple who have a spare room and are happy to look after travellers. I'm blessed here, the biker community is amazing.

    I pulled up to their place and they helped get my bags up to their apartment, a shower and lunch was all ready for me. Bliss. We chatted all afternoon about travel, Bangalore, India and everything else. We get on great and their place is perfect, they're bikers, travellers, nerds and great guys. I think I'll be fine here for a few days.

    My payment for staying is in the form of a presentation to local bikers about the trip, and possibly a video interview about the China crossing. They recently published one they did with Hubert Kriegel it's an amazing watch: http://mtmgrid.in/videos/hubert-kriegel/ so we'll see how that goes, I haven't spoken to groups in a loooong time.

    Sorry, I don't know how to shrink this when linking from Imgur and there's a 4 image limit on ADVRider for some reason. This is rough route I've taken in India to get from North to South, about 75 days total in India (I left twice! for Nepal and Vietnam)

    [​IMG]
    #93
    culturedape likes this.
  14. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2016
    Oddometer:
    89
    Location:
    London, UK
    So I've been sitting around for a week now! In Chennai, trying to get Donkey out of the country.

    I gave the talk in Bangalore which went pretty well, I didn't break down on stage at least. There was a ton of nice people coming up for photos and a chat afterwards with more questions so it was interesting enough at least.

    I left for Chennai with a bit of a fever and feeling shit. It was honestly one of the harder rides of the trip, which is stupid really, I shouldn't have been riding I was nearly falling asleep and feeling dizzy for most of the 6 hours. I didn't have much choice though, I had to reach Chennai to start the shipping paperwork first thing Monday morning. So I was very pissed off when I couldn't even get hold of the agent until Monday evening and got the paperwork started at 5pm!

    They've dragged their feet since then and have now missed the window for this weeks ship. So now I've got another week of sitting around for the next week. Not the worst thing in the world, the hostel is comfy enough and cheap enough, but it's frustrating burning away 2 weeks sitting around. That's not including the 7 days it will be on the ship plus however long the Malaysian side takes!

    I've got some work to do to that I've been putting off in India. New Tyres since these have done 10,000 miles now! much more than I thought the Shinko front would manage, I hated that thing for the first 3,000 miles, it wore down so fast but then it just held and it grips like a beast on the road. I've had more issues with the Heidenau K60 rear, it has worn better but it's had a puncture and it slips like a bitch, at least 4 times I've slid getting on the throttle, once when I was bolt up right!

    The chain and sprockets have done 13,000 miles and are showing a bit of wear but nothing drastic. If I can buy new ones I might carry them for a while before changing them. The teeth are still looking good and the chain hasn't stretched any for about 4,000 miles now. Seems to be holding strong.

    The rear suspension is the more worrying one. It's sitting quite low now, and the pre-load adjuster doesn't seem to do anything. It has done 35,000 miles total, 25,000 of them on this trip. It was one of the parts I decided not to change on the bike since I thought I'd reach Australia within 20,000 miles and some easy servicing. It's not a serviceable part on the V-Strom 650 so it's probably going to be a replacement. Hopefully I can find a cheap second hand one in Malaysia or Thailand. If not a new one might set my budget back a bit!
    #94
    MrKiwi likes this.
  15. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2016
    Oddometer:
    89
    Location:
    London, UK
    So yet another week has passed but this time Donkey is out of the country! this is a bit of a wall of text, but a lot of shit happened, and this isn't even all of it. It was so ridculously Indian I couldn't fathom it. Just when I thought it was bad enough, something else would top it.

    It included the most Indian 4 days anyone has ever had. I headed to the port on Tuesday, with all the paperwork ready to stamp him out, do the inspection of the papers and luggage, stick him in a container and onto the ship. Easy peasy. NOPE! India had other ideas. The first half of the day was just spent waiting in the agents office. We were at the whims of the customs officer bothering to turn up at the port, and we had no guarantee of when that would be. after 4 hours sitting around doing nothing we headed off for the port at 4pm, it takes about an hour to get there, we had to fight to get me in the port, I think they weren't keen on a foreigner being in the port office but couldn't find a good reason why not. Then we spent another 5 hours sitting around doing nothing waiting for the customs officer who never showed. Back in the taxi at 10pm and back to the hostel for 11:30 luckily with some late night food.

    Not going to lie, spirits were pretty low after an entire day of just sitting and waiting and achieving absolutely nothing. Other than moving Donkey from the hostel to the port car park, not inside the port, just abandoned outside it.

    The second day started better, after the agents were 90 minutes late picking me up we got to the port and the customs officer was ready and waiting for the inspection. He went through all the bags, pausing for a long time on the Mint Cake i'm carrying, it looks a hell of a lot like solid cocaine... The rest of the day was the worst, the customs officer was happy with the bike but not my paper trail. He wanted to know where all the Carnet stamps were from between the UK and Pakistan and didn't want to accept my answer of, "none of those countries stamp the Carnet". This is made all the worse because they refuse to talk to me, only agents, and they don't discuss they just say "I need the export papers from the UK and any other countries on route" then they leave and start some other work until you've got them. That's difficult because that paperwork doesn't, and cannot exist, the bike was never exported from the UK, or France, or Spain etc.... Russia and ex-USSR countries have their own customs and China is a different beast altogether. Why they thought they could just guess at international customs rules is beyond me, but you're at their mercy and when they feel like flexing their power you're fucked.

    20180328_131031.jpg First customs guy, pretty diligent actually.

    The top customs guy in the port was refusing to speak to us for a long time all afternoon and evening. I didn't know most of what was going on because of limited english spoken and I think they were a bit ashamed and not wanting to tell me what was actually happening. So when I finally figured out all of the above I employed me best move against officials that has helped me at every border. Get in the way and be annoying in the nicest and politest possible way. I stood outside the bosses office, in the restricted area and made awkward eye contact and smiled every time he came out the office and I was in the way again. He asked my agent to remove me from the area without talking to me. So I left, then went back 10 minutes later. After the second time of that he stopped in a huff and spoke to the agent in rapid tamil. That gave the agent an opening to explain and they switched to English, he explained what paperwork he wanted again and when they said it's impossible he said "well you need approval from high commission then" Cool. that's a thing we can probably achieve.

    The third day the agent went off to the customs commissioner and got a signature saying "this guy isn't stealing anything, let him leave" after explaining everything and quoting their own customs laws at them. That still took about 4 hours and we had a fight with the witless wonders at the gate again who didn't want to let me in. I had to sit for an hour at the gates while the agent tried to get permission for me to enter and start the paperwork trail again to get the inspection done. Once I finally got in there was the bad news. The inspection probably wouldn't be done tonight since the officer hadn't turned up yet. It's supposed to be a holiday today for Good Friday but being end of financial year they'd put some staff on, but not all of them turned up, and nobody knew who was coming when. India. Also, I wouldn't be allowed in the port, that was very bad. The inspection would require opening all the bags up again, which isn't easy with all the steel cable securing them and they're packed to the brim, I was not confident the agent would secure everything correctly again and with all the stories I'd heard about things being stolen from bikes in shipping that was not an option Strapping it into the container aswell was something I wanted to be there for, I knew they wouldn't really have a clue what they were doing, they obviously hadn't done anything like this before. I was pretty pissed now, the angriest I'd been in the whole process, just trying not to vent at the nearest customs guy, that would not help.

    20180329_163221.jpg Stuck here for an hour just waiting to be let in. Lining the helmet up with the guards head to entertain myself

    The officer did finally turn up late in the evening, the agent was running back and forth to him, looking more and more distressed. I finally got out of him that he just didn't care about our fancy paperwork. Just as the dickish customs guy was leaving the agent managed to get a word in. He basically told him he was being a dick and asking the impossible, he agreed to meet the agent at the high commission in the morning to hash it out with his boss.

    Thankfully the boss man took sympathy it seems. Not only did he set dickish customs straight, he approved donkey into the port, and gave me special permission to enter not only the port office, but the port itself too, which usually requires immigration permission (since it's technically leaving India I guess). We headed back to the port again, this time without a helmet on the back of the agents tiny bike. Not something I ever would have imagined doing a year ago, bouncing along terrible roads in India in shorts and t-shirt with no helmet with a mental guy driving, but here I was and wasn't really bothered. Fairly sure I wasn't going to fall, I could see potholes coming and i was more worried about my backside on the tiny seat.

    20180330_130735.jpg

    At the port was the quickest entry so far, just 20 minutes waiting around for them to radio 3 times and make sure I really really had permission to enter. Customs guy got on with it pretty quick now he'd been told off and checked the engine number and luggage, very lightly. Then.....wait. Another 5 hours of it.Getting more and more worried now. It's Friday at 6pm. Everything closes soon, the ship leaves tomorrow. the next ship leaves after my Visa and Donkey's import expires. Not a good situation. We finally got the call to move him into the port area. A whole 20m, but a very signifcant move, it meant he was exported. Left India. Gone. Bye. A container was eventually bought around and we could get on to the business of loading him up. they asked if I wanted a ramp and I said yes, thinking of a brick or something to bounce up the ledge, especially with my collapsing rear suspension, but a forklift bought a big posh metal ramp around, like I was in a wheelchair or something.

    20180330_163726.jpg The two agents at the port who were helping me out there. They were so nice but had no idea what was going on half the time and barely spoke english

    Part 2 below:
    #95
    MrKiwi likes this.
  16. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2016
    Oddometer:
    89
    Location:
    London, UK
    The loading was a bit scary. The port guys started working with me watching. I was just expecting to guide them a bit and help out so I was happy it was secure. They wanted to put him on the centre stand but I refused so they started by putting simple wood blocks under the wheels.... errrrr not sure what they're going to do, if the bike can move forward or backwards it's just going to fall over, then the blocks won't help but OK. the next step and seemingly final to them was to put a strap over the seat to hold it down. "Stop. Just stop please." that's going to do sweet fuck all. The first bounce and the strap is lose, the bike drops to one side a bit, the strap tightens and pushes it to the ground and he's sliding around for the rest of the journey. Just no.

    20180330_171431.jpg 20180330_171649.jpg

    I took over, directing the port guys around and they were happy to follow. We strapped from the passenger foot peg mounts to the floor behind the bike, and from the engine bars to the floor in front. 4 points all pulling away from each other. It took some cirque du soleil level co-ordination to get them to tighten everything up in sync so the bike was level. Afterwards he was at about 80% compression on the suspension and I couldn't move him anywhere except straight down. We took away the wood blocks since they were just in the way when the suspension compressed. I was very happy he wasn't going anywhere. My only concern was we used the engine guard bars for the forward straps. If they take too much stress they could just sheer the mountings, which happens to be the engine mounting bolt so the engine would just drop... Fuck. Well it's too late now and I literally can't find anywhere better to attach them too, there's nowhere suitable directly on the forks or steering column.

    20180330_165345.jpg With my fluorescent jacket to protect me from certain death

    well that's that. He's off. The container got stuck on the back of a truck and carted off to the ship. Goodbye :(

    20180330_194935.jpg

    Now I just wait for him at the other end. I fly out of Chennai on Tuesday night and he should arrive Friday all being well, which is unlikely...
    #96
    MrKiwi likes this.
  17. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi backwards & upsidedown Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    13,459
    Location:
    New Zealand
    that was a drama indeed. One day you will look back on this and chuckle.
    #97
  18. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2017
    Oddometer:
    883
    Location:
    Tamaki Makarau, Aotearoa
    Hope you have better luck than Martin and Xenia.....
    #98
  19. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2016
    Oddometer:
    89
    Location:
    London, UK
    I already am to be honest. It's stressful when you're in it, because if you fuck up or miss something you don't ship. Once it's shipped you've done everything you can and you can just watch it happen. As long as I know I've done everything I can as best I can I'll be able to laugh at the shit storm it was. If it hadn't shipped I'd be in a bigger shit storm right now and not laughing yet!

    I hope so too! Thankfully my ship is on a direct route I believe, no planned stops so less chance of problems and delays. Never say never though, it's still South Asia. I won't have as much of a problem as they did if it is delayed though, Malaysia is a cheap enough place to hang around and wait and I've got no Visa timetables to stick too. It really sucked for those guys missing so much travel time in an expensive country.
    #99
    MrKiwi likes this.
  20. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2016
    Oddometer:
    89
    Location:
    London, UK
    DSC02006.JPG

    A quick update but not a lot has happened. I'm in Kuala Lumpur now, and so is the bike! But we're separated by the wall of customs. The paperwork so far is going OK, no surprises but we'll see. It's Monday tomorrow and we can start the process proper with them.

    20180407_125023.jpg

    I've been lining up some work for Donkey too, there's a bunch of stuff overdue and on my mind to fix, Tyres, oil, air filter clean, wheel bearings let alone my shock. There's two NZ guys in this hostel riding Aus to UK (https://www.facebook.com/tootillman/) and they gave me a recommendation for S4M Motorcycle garage here, I spoke to the owner yesterday and he's a like a dream come true. He's an American running the place out here who speak fluent Malay, so he can get a lot done. I ran through the list of fixes I need including the rear suspension and he was confident we could solve it all. I'm going to get the Valves checked and adjusted while I'm here too, I was planning to wait a few months till Aus but they're already overdue and he can do it easily, and way cheaper.

    20180407_155735.jpg Looks like heaven when I wasn't expecting to find a good mechanic here
    MrKiwi likes this.