Wednesday, June 25, 2008
from austria, we heading north to czech rep. then to germany to service my bike and to meet some friends to go to the bmw carnival for 3 days then head south to france and spain to catch our vessel. estimated date of boarding in spain will be 14 july.
pray for our safety....
Monday, June 23, 2008
E 014deg 04.829'
Sunday, June 22, 2008
KOH CHIN YEE
Kennie and I were great buddy when we were in secondary one and during the military band days. we had always been seating together in the classroom for four years. thank you ‘Qing Song’ for ur support in our trip!
also Chin Yee for donating to us for the THIRD TIME!! huat ahhhh…..!
thanks Chin Yee… we really appreciate!
we were in Rome to make a 2 days visit, at the same time to do up my Brazilian visa as a requirement for Singaporean. at the Brazilian consulate, we met a kind officer to help us in everything in order and fast. as usual, the visa officer would interview me and throw many questions on why I need to visit Brazil, making sure its purely for tourism only. the interview got into a conversation where she was interested in our motorbike trip as she was also riding, a Honda Translap 650. Cool! she helped me to ask around for the seat maker out of her lunch time and it was really helpful of her to do this. she was Simone.
we exchanged our contacts and went our way.
it’s a long story on how we ended up staying at her house. Simone and her Italian husband, Enrico, were very hospitable person. we thought we would never meet any one so hospitable after leaving the Islamic countries, especially in Rome, such a westernized and busy city. both of them were travelers when they were young. they shared with us many experience they had and helped us in many ways.
then, we were introduced to Antonio and his wife, both Brazilian staying in Rome. Antonio rode a Varadero and he has been very fond about African Twin. when he sees the shaggy Hope Too, his eyes were….O O. Hope Too had the honor to get a Brazilian flag on.
ladies, if you want to marry a Italian man, go ahead with my consent as we see Enrico as a very homely husband, great cook and the most patient husband that we ever met. He was so fatherly to their pet, Chika, where Chika could almost understand every word he said. At their house, we had a lot of Brazilian influence and it make us a ‘compulsory’ to visit.
Thank you Enrico and Simone!
there were many sites to visit in Italy, especially in Rome. ‘All roads like to Rome’. it is true. if u study the map of Rome, there is a ring road. we suspect that Rome is one of the first few cities in the world that have a ring road around the busy city. it is really amazing that the Italians we great architects for the past 2 millenniums. more than words can say. if u like ruins and old buildings, u should be here.
when we were at the colosseum, we queued up and infront of us, there were a Singaporean family. the parents were in the early 40s and they had a girl about aged 10. we were really glad that we met Singaporeans but we didn’t want to talk to them as they were really turned off. the parents as usual, were the educated type. the husband wore a pair of glasses, like me. their eyes were always searching for something, something like trying to get to the best way of something. can’t really describe, sorry. they didn’t enjoy the queue. I saw the little girl holding a note pad and on the top of the blank page of the note pad, it wrote ‘ Colosseum’. how could the little girl be so hardworking that she wanted to learn things about this historic place?? then I heard from the mother talking to the child in SINGLISH:
‘have u taken notes about Colosseum? wait we go in and take the…..’
what a shame. broken English….. we kept quiet.
Sam heard the husband spoke mandarin to the wife.
I conclude for this family:
1) typical modern family in Singapore. spoke broken English to the children and speaks other language to the spouse.
2) making their investment for the children worth while. they spent their $ by bring their children overseas and MAKING SURE THAT THEIR CHILDREN LEARN SOMETHING.
for us, we do not speak good English so we always speak Mandarin with each other. even in a restaurant in Singapore, if the waiter is a Chinese, I would DEFINITLY speak mandarin with him. but usual case is that the waiter understands what I said and reply by English. is this an issue in Singapore where the children learns Singlish from the parents?
quick quick come.
eat fast fast, wait later mummy scold.
we would not want to educate our children like that. I think it’s a wonder to the world and tourist should come to Singapore and listen how we is our conversation in English. that’s something special about Singapore.
what do u think?
back to my visits:
there was Vatican, inside Rome, where Pope and some 1000 folks lived in. they had their own swiss security forces, postal service, radio service and own currency. it is one of the smallest nation in the world. it will be the 10th country that we visited. when we enter the church of the Vatican, it was a big palace! THE POPE LIVED IN ROYALTY!! there were big statues in the church and a lot of followers praying. somee of the art pieces were made of gold! well, I think it is a rich religion. we saw a lady kneeing down infront of a alter but she was having a conversation on the mobile. is she communication with the saint? we were very curious about everything here. the catholic churches in Singapore were very simple.
we went to Church of the Holy Innocent. it was the first time in our life to see this:
we are now in Venize, the most expensive city in Italy. heading to Austria in 3 days time before Germany. I read some advice from the comment section, just to add on, the cheapest cabin avalible is on our current shipment. if we delay our shipment we had to stay in a higher class cabin on ship. the next available cheapest cabin is in January 2009. so $ is the main factor for us, anyway, we had already paid for the tickets to argentina. €3020 for me, Sam and Hope Too to sail 30 days in the container ship. hope we can get a part time job in the ship to recover some expenses.
we want to visit the KTM and GPMG factories in Austria.
sorry friends, internet usage cost S$10 per hour in Italy. I promised to update at least every week.
did u know???
1) pinoccio was from Italy? we bought a very small dancing wood pinoccio.
2) did u play Super Mario brothers when you were young? they are Italians.
3) ‘The Godfather’ is a movie about the mafia in south Italy.
4) Romeo and Juliet, Verdi, Rossini, Michelangelo and Columus were from Italy. not forgetting the famous motorbike racer Valentino Rossi.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
we were hungry as it was 1pm and our last meal was 12 hours ago.
setting off towards Greece, known as Hunanistan, we found a camping paradise. looking at the time, we would not want to reach a new country in the evening. if u are around this area, please visit this lovely place with the warm family at Marmaraereglisi, Turkey.
N 40° 59.035’
it was with Mediterranean setting and we were facing the beach! our sleeping were not strong enough to handle the cold temperature in the night and the site owner gave us blankets for comfort.
going thro the Greece check point was fun. it was a line of red and blue that indicates the boundary. the Carnet de Passage that we applied for and had S$10000 for deposit was useless in Europe. instead we had to buy a green card, which was a 3rd party insurance. we had to pay S$120 for a 15 days insurance because our bike is not under the E.U. (Europe union). now, do I have to take a risk by not renewing the green card and travel till 12 july where we go to spain and load Hope Too into the ferry to Argentina or still have to spend that kind of money? for Singapore, our 1 year insurance for 3rd party would only cost S$400 maximum. that’s too much… for EU.
the petrol in Greece was very much cheaper than Turkey. S$2.40 per liter. we were so glad about it. our main aim about Greece was to get to Athens to change a pair of shoe for Hope Too. the highway was real in high speed, anyway, Hope Too is too old for that as he could only cruise at 110km/hr. anything more than that the engine oil would burn up, excessive petrol would be used, spocket and chain would heat up more and so as the tyre, which we already used for 20000km under extreme weight and terrain.
Hope Too was very lucky enough to find the tyre shop in the complex Athens. Just a turn away from the many exits of the highway and we could stop by a tyre specialist. One set of tyres, ranged from Michilin, Pireli, or Mezeler would cost about S$460.00. I didn’t believe the price until when they showed me the catalog and I saw some tyre advertisement on the biker’s magazine about the price. I was convinced. back home, M-Technic changed the pair of 20000km pireli scopian tyres only cost me about S$220, if I remembered. also my ex Honda ST1100, the most was S$280.00. The service was professional. he was a track racer. he taught me two simple but important message:
1) wash the bike regularly because during washing, we can uncover the dirt and may see cracks or faults on the bike.
2) every good tyres will have an indicator of where the inlet of the air tube should be aligned with.
he also advised me to replace Hope Too’s front disc brake where it was already worn off badly and dented. the worn disc would wear off every new brake pads when ever I replace a new one.
at his workshop, Hope Too has:
1) Mezeler Tourance (front + rear) S$460.00 which we are going to use for the rugged terrain in south America.
2) new set of front disc S$340.00 (after market type 5mm Motormaster)
3) Bimbo front brake pads (left and right) S$100.00 –carbon ceramic
4) Bimbo rear brake pad for spare. S$50.00 – carbon ceramic
total on that 6th june 2008, Hope Too made us spend S$950.00 which is not able to save much as safety is concerned.
the camping in Athens is $$$$$$$$$$$. we had our own tent and it cost us S$48.00 per night! we have to make use of the time we have in Athens.
there are A LOT of ancient ruins in Greece which will cost a bucket of S$1.00 coins if we are going to visit all. the best move is to pay S$22.00 per person to visit 5 selected sites.
the Agropolis is the most famous one. any visitor that come to Athens would visit this place. rocks, stones with carving, heat, site without TREES, packed with tour groups, statues and re-constructed stones were on exhibit. we were quite tired of touching the stones and knowing about the history behind all these architectural buildings until we met Yunling, a French student from China. She was alone in Athens and we walked all day, chatted about everything and share all the ‘missed’ things about Chinese food and Chinese new year. though we are from two different countries but we have many thing in common. basically, language and we were long time away from our home.
we wanted to go Santori, where the lovely island is but the tickets for the next ferry would be 4 days away and the two way tickets would be out of our budget. I told Sam than I’m sorry as she has always wanted to go there. we would defiantly visit this place when we get back to Singapore, make more $ and fly here without Hope Too. Sshhhhh…. don’t let Hope Too know about it.
8th june 2008, we leave for Patrai, where we will stay a night till 9th June, 6pm for our ferry to Italy. when we reached the harbour to check out the location on 8th, we experienced an EARTHQUAKE! I was using the internet and the building was shaking! we didn’t know what to do till we saw the others run out of the building. I shouted to sam to get out and I grap our stuff to the open air. it was about a 10second event and we were not comfortable about the situation. knowing that we were one day early at the ticketing office, the un-calmed counter lady (she phone someone and cry over the phone about the danger of the earthquake) gave us an advance ticket to ferry over a day ahead of our booking date. we agreed as it doesn’t smells good camping here as the image of tsumani came to my mine.
it was a small cruise with 10 jackpot machines and expensive food for the ‘A-Mohs’, u know who they are….
we had the cheapest sleeping place, which is the plastic benches on the most upper level of the ship where the swimming pool is and the cold wind blows. I felt safe as Hope Too slept soundly with the other trucks on the lower level of the ship.
HOLLAND 3 - ITALIA 0
we were not far away from the first town in italy when we escape from the ship at 8am. it was only 80km. till today, I still do not understand about the Italian road signs. we were at Matera, where it was one of the longest continued living city since the pre-historic age where human once lived in caves. rocks everywhere and we had a good but tiring time exploring the ‘FOC’ site.
we were quite shock that the cheap bed and breakfast type of lodging, which was suppose to be the cheapest type of lodging in italy was about S$150.00. Hope Too has to switch on his ‘hair dryer’ to bring us around the slow moving traffic town for a cheaper place to station for a night. luckily we met Chiara and her boy friend. they were doing research on the ancient sites of Matera while they were curious about our visit with Hope Too all the way on land from Singapore. they helped us a lot on searching of a cheaper lodging. they made phone calls to their friends and negotiate much with the hotel manager. we checked into a 2 star hotel that (S$120) but Hope Too had the most secured place to park as the other lodging were on streets where Hope Too has to stay below the street lamp in the night. we were very glad to meet such helpful people on the road but we didn’t got a chance to meet them again in the night.
it was Holland against Italy. we had to support Italy as we will party if Italy wins. it was the first time that Sam and I watch football match together as we weren’t really such a Beckam type of fan. who is who we are not sure but what we enjoyed is the crowd behind us. unfortunately, Italy lost the match so we had to pay for the food in the restaurant.
Napoli would be our administrative city as we need to meet up with the shipper that help us to get to Argentina. Gramadi freighter cruise is a cruise without luxury and it mainly ship containers, cargos and have a few cabin for extra passengers like us. we camped at Volcano Salfatara, which still has steam and heat from the crust of the earth. amazingly, we are camping in the mouth of the vocano! it is a very nice place to visit, camp and friendly management!
Napoli: famous for Mafia. in the city there were near to 200 murders a year. we saw many blacks, which we think they are from Africa, selling LV bags and Gucci wallets on the streets. at the moment Napoli is the main focus of news in EU because of their rubbish issue.
let me tell u, the most enjoyable thing in Italy is the cheap wine, that cost only S$5.00 per bottle. we couldn’t tell the difference between good and lousy wine. we would only know that the most enjoyable wine is the most affordable wine! good camp site, nice wine! Hope Too is our house for the next one year and yet it could provide us comfort and basic necessity.
there, we met our neighbour camper, from Belgium. Peter and Liz were on their holiday to Italy. we had a great outdoor, night, self cooked dinner filled with laughter with them. the next morning, Peter handed some cash to me as a gift. we were shocked and glad at the same time. with that, they had becomed our one of our sponsors. we really hope to go to Belgium to meet them again.
the highway from Napoli to Rome is ‘so-so’. I would consider the Malaysia North-south highway would be a better tarmac to slick on. at the end of the highway, we broke a record in our life!
we paid S$22.00 for a toll fee of 180km highway usage! the distance is lesser than Singapore to Malacca! RECORD BREAKER!
in Rome, we had business to do. as a Singaporean, I have to do up my Brazilian visa in order to follow the ‘cruise’ from germany to argentina.
now we have some issues to settle.
1) transport from Europe to South America (Argentina) for 2 person and 1 Motorbike cost S$6500.00. it’s a big drain for us. at the same time, we are the first Singaporean bike couple to explore the region.
2) the ship leave from Hamburg (germany) on 6th july. we had to attend a BMW biker’s meeting at south Germany, Garmisch-Partenkirchen. more than 20000 bikers will turn up in this carnival from 4-6th july. we are making use of this chance to meet up friends, bikers and stocking up cheap accessories like our seat, that is breaking up my balls and slapping Sam’s butt.
3) the ship leaves from Hamburg (6th july) and sail to uk, then to spain, Africa and south America. we would not have enough time with the bikers and friends in the BMW carnival. it takes more than 2 days from the carnival place to hamburg. so we would load up the ship at spain, which estimated time of arrival of ship would be 11 or 12 of june. we have to be at the port a day earlier. but from the carnival place to spain port, it would take us about 3-4 days, IF HOPE TOO DOES NOT BREAK DOWN. if we miss the ship, there goes our S$6500.00.
please advise how… how how.. we want to stay thro out the carnival to meet more people, but taking a risk to reach the port in spain.
right now, Hope Too has leaking fuel due to the petrol linkage pipe. I have to remedy it at once. I dreamt one night that Hope Too was on fire. will that be true?
please leave us a message to encourage or advise us.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
at this point of travel after 6 months, we made a decision to change the seat of Hope Too. everyday we are cursing and swearing about our arses. we could feel the pinch in about 1hr of riding. even we rest for 10-15 minutes, the pain is still there. also for me, it decreases my rate of celebrating father's day in the future. everytime we ride Hope Too, we would fancy of the lost Hope. Hope got the best customised seat from Eugene Saddlery. it took me 1-2 months to complete the making of the perfect seat at Eugene Saddlery. as you can see Hope's seat is wide and two level, the rider's part had a back support and good thigh allowance. it also doesn't squeeze my balls when i do emergency braking. for the pillion, it adds extra cusioning and widening for extra comfort. anyway, my effort is lost, or rather donated to someone in Malaysia without my consent.
Hope Too: for paris dakar race use as such race do not have a chance to sit. its pointed upwards and when i brake, it hurts and the pillion will slide towards me giving me additional pressure, not pleasure! the cusion is hard and it still hurts when i rest in the hostel bed.
dispite of the heavy load, we had issue with making turns at certain speed. this is extremely dangerous! my handlebar wobble greatly when making left corner, not because of inbalance weight distrubution but the front left brake disc was dented!! it was not made known to me when i bought Hope Too from the previous owner. he quoted S$7500 and i did not less or discount one cent! i just enquried him about any fault and he said it this was just changed and that was new. it would be smart not to answer, not to point out any fault or keep quiet and say donno. he still owe me S$10.00 because he bank in my cheque early and there is a service charge from my side. he said he would pay me back the S$10 but it has been half a year. i was the one that paid for the transfer fee blar blar blar.... he said..u can slowly look, im not in a hurry to sell this bike but he know im in a hurry to buy this old buffolo! he told me that the battary was replaced recently but thanks to the battary fault in Pakistan, i would not have met such good people around. also from this incident, this reckless diesel mechnic rode Hope Too without my permission and crushed into another vehicle. hey hey hey, even i ride Hope Too i got problem controling and i didnt get a chance to crush onto other vehicle. the crush causes the front handlebar to bend (but remedied in Pakistan by Sohail of Tipu Road) and cause the windscreen to shatted into pieces. he did not say sorry or try to fix back the windscreen for me. now, Sam and i has to clean our helmet after every half a day's ride because the dead insects were stucked on our visor instead of being blocked by the windscreen. it also affects my control and riding posture.
it was very HONEST of the previous owner to point out this 1 inch crack as every grandfather and grandmother could see with their eyes.
but the this part was covered by the screw. it was darm brittle and it just drop off when we were in Pakistan. someone would claimed that... oh, when i have the bike it was still ok.
im not trying to find fault with anyone. it's just my luck.
we really miss Hope...that was lost in 24 october 2007, Machap, Malaysia.
Hope, STOC, my biking buddies and 4 black cars escoted me during my wedding day to Malaysia to fetch Sam. it was the most handsome and proud day of Hope, the pony, in his life.
day after our wedding, we rode Hope for our Honeymoon at Kuantan.
.first day to meet Hope and we get to know each other. it was in 2005. i bought this last brand new machine in Singapore(perhaps in the world) from Belwin motor. honda stop producing Afrcia Twin. it was the last virgin