Thursday, July 31, 2008

I have reached Brazil!

hi guys! we have touched the south america land, Brazil. we are -3GMT in time, which is 11 hours younger than singapore. our freighter cruize needs to unload some goods in Salavador, north east of Brazil before going south for Argentina in 8 days where Hope Too gets alive again.

Great food in Brazil where we take all we want and go to the counter to weigh the food. it´s about S$15,00 per kilogram. so appitizing as there is rice like singapore ´chap chai pherng´ AKA mixed vegetable rice.

keep u guys update.

also, we would like to take this opportunity to catch this year´s Dakar Race
in Argentina and Chile, first time ever to be held here. we are planning our route of advancement. we are going to brazil first, then back to argentina to catch the Dakar race, then maybe to the southern most place in the planet, then go up by route 40 by chile to Bolivia, go peru for machu pichu before going into Columbia and fly to panama.....

now we are at

S 12deg 58,042´
W 038deg 30,653´

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone, Free Town

We just arrived today, 25 July 2008. From the ship, the town overlooked the city which has a mountain casted along the coast and filled with busy streets below.

checking in a internet cafe to upload these dispite we only have 3 hours on the town. amazingly how i see the captain gave the immigration officers boxes of ciggettes and boxes of whiskey and the officers took one each into their bag.

It's and Ex english admistration country and the keyboard is same like Singapore! slow access to internet... wait and wait.

Senegal, Dakar. 23 July 2008.

At last, we board the freighter cruise from Grimaldi Lines. This ship carries lots of machinery and used cars from Europe to Africa and South America. There were only 7 passengers on board. among us we a couple driving a truck caravan from Germany going to south America for travel for 3 years, a French ex biker that travel the world for 8 years but this time on his caravan to settle in South America, an old couple from America and Holland that like to travel on freighter cruise to Argentina and back to France. It was their 8th trip on a freighter cruise.

Well, this ship is not that type of cruise that u can think of in Singapore where there are lots of entertainment. 30 crews and 7 passengers. This ship carries cargo container and is the number one machinery sea transport company in the world. It has a car parking larger than SUNTEC city in Singapore. We couldn’t believe it and yet Hope Too is just a dirt in a desert but they took good care of Hope Too.

On our travel list, Africa was out but we are here?! We got out of the ship that was loading and unloading cargos here and we had free time to get to the town.

30 days on the ship was made easy with the 5 new friends. We were pretty close to each other. Every one of us was from different countries and we share everything about ourselves. The stories that they told us made us more excited to stay in South America for a year more!

The Dakar 4 hours experience was not so good but it is a place much much better than our India days. like as any touristic places there were lots of people following you trying to sell you what they have hanging all over their body. Then, there are ‘escorts’ that want to bring you to places you want to go. These ‘escorts’ are very persistence but in the end, they did not ask for anything but just a can of coke. Some of our fellow crew member of the ship experienced kids trying to touch their pocket as we heard losing your valuables from the bag or pocket is common.

we went to a better restaurant to have lunch with Fabris and Sylvia. first time that we tasted our home ‘sambal’ chilli on the fish. the young waiteress were beautiful in my eyes though they are very very charcoal. I was amused by their look and I think it’s the best, nice looking and eye smoothing person I would see in Dakar.

I saw, Khaya senegalensis, the common road side tree in Singapore. also Delonix regia, Rain Tree and Ceiba! I checked my GPS and Dakar has the same longitude as Bangkok so it’s normal for us to sweat all day round!
I started to take a picture of the street and I heard shouting from someone, a group of man seating by the roadside under a tree, at me in French. He sounded very angry and among his French word, I heard something about ‘camera’ and ‘picture’. I feels like he doesn’t allow me to take a picture of the street. it strange for us. I respected. it’s their land.

buying coconut off the street... not cheap as compared to local standard of living.

This year the annual Paris-Dakar race was cancelled in Africa due to some reasons but it will be held in South America on 1st January 2009. our plan was to reach Argentina, go up to Brazil where it’s more tropical and not so cold on this time, then go to the most southern part of the world during December where it is summer there. Then go to the Dakar race route to catch the race, even I may go back to Argentina where the start point is. after all the race, we will cross the Chile desert and reach Bolivia and Peru where we visit Machu ‘ before getting an air freight (cheaper than sea transport) for Hope Too to cross the famous Darien Gap where Panama is separated with Columbia.

Dear friends, I have a question:

Shall we go to Columbia?

Bear in mind that we have to go back to Europe and cross from west Russia to east Russia before summer ends in 2009 then we go south to Mongolia and china and back home. Russia could only be travelled in summer else our teeth will be shattering everyday due to the cold weather.

Shall we go Columbia where they were used to kidnap tourist or we will miss the beautiful people there? there are some bikers that enjoyed Columbia also. how?

Please give us some comment.
picture of our cabin.

morocco night and beautiful mosque! we were not allowed to get to the town because of security reasons in the country.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Grimaldi ferry at Africq

hi guys; we are on our way to argentina. we loaded the ferry safely and it was not the kind of cruise u can think of. it has a carpark larger than SUNTEC city in Singapore which this ferry line is i think the number 1 vehicle sea transporter in the world. only 7 passangers and 30 crew.

we r now in Senegal, Dakar for a day trip because the ship needs to load and unload some cars.

the internet cafe here doesnt support my thumb drive as i had prepared some photos and stories for u to read, also the key board is in French style.

Maybe when we get to Gambia and i try upload some pictures again.

Friday, July 11, 2008

beautiful night paris

we have reached Le Harve, waiting for the ferry to arrive on 14 july, which is 2 days late. anyway, its good to be late than early.

the weather here is bad, highways are raining alot and the roadsigns are for the perfect eyesighted drivers. we are fine. xcited to go into south america.

also in south america, we dont use northing and easting anymore. we uses south and west. something which is very unfamiliar.

it marks the end of our phase 3 of our trip.

trans asia-euro

i broke a rule: to ride in the night.

N 49deg 23.885'

E000deg, 12.528'

how u want your beef to be done? well? medium well? medium? medium raw? i got a cold raw beef, a special dish for the french.

different sizes of the policemen in Paris. cute.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

16 countries so far, now in France!

the world champion stunt biker on show.

gold wing on a side car!

We would like to thank tan sze wei, my arboriculture classmate, for donating in our RTW fund. would like to do more job together, ok??

Hope Too had the first major servicing. valve clearance, change of engine oil+oil filter+coolent+spark plugs, general checks cost me S$800. Chan can do it for a better rate and a better skill. overall rating, Hope Too feels more lighter and responsive than before. Thanks to Thomas Beez for bring us to a recommended workshop. no play play. they are up to standard when it comes to work.

Thomas was a fellow biker from Germany and did extensive travels all round the world when he had winter or holidays. we knew each other earlier this year at Chiangmai, Thailand, a mini biker’s meeting. unbelievable, we stayed at his house for a few nights and he took out his time to accompany us. we really appreciate.

bikers out there, go watch the show: the fastest Indian. not a India man but a new Zealander that broke the biking world record in the 1960s. we were very touch after watching the show. the main cast, at age 70 plus, is old but the character and story is about the same as me.

we left Thomas house, which was situated in the CENTER of Germany for Gamish, south of Germany. 4th to 6th July was the annual BMW Motorrad Days carnival. they had the longest ride to this event competition. the person that rode the longest journey to this carnival would have a big prize! after observing for 2 days, Hope Too was the only bike that came from the most far away place. we went to the information tent and ‘report’ about Hope Too…..

‘sorry this year we had stop this competition’

what if I win a BMW GS1200???? what do I do with it? Sam can’t ride it and we have booked the ferry tickets to South America.

the carnival attracted more than 35000 bikers for the 3 days event. we were abit shy when the M.C. announced about the arrival of a couple from Singapore to this carnival. we were made known to everyone, this 35000 bikers from Europe knew us. Hope Too was shy at the parking lot. all the big brothers like the big BMWs came with the full accessories and shiny parts parked beside. Hope Too was quite all the time as he did not know how to speak German and the big BMWs does not speak Japanese. He was the shining bike of all. many people took photo of Hope Too rather than the expensive BMWs. He was shy. dressed in a dirty mudded chassis and broken windscreen, why would these biking experts and lovers take a picture of me… Hope Too blush.

Finally we met Thomas, Erica and the gang again in Gamish. we were missing Thomas about his laughter and ice creams. we chilled out under the clear sky with the gang from America. Jerry made me laugh and learn a lot from. at 74, he rode to many countries, survived numerious hilly falls, escaped from the bandits in Mexico and cheerful and lively at his age. if u have not seen him u must thought that he is 25 years old. we were proud that he sign on Hope Too.

I had my first injury of the trip since 1st January 2008. Jie, u remember when I was 12 I had a fractured on my right shin? I rode the BMW X-challenge 650 in a professional track. it was a right

corner and the course was about 40 degrees perpendicular as the track was built to counter the centrifugal force from the fierce turn. the first round I was thrown out of the bike and landed on the big stones of about 1 foot diameter. the track instructor told me:

its over! we have no spare bikes!

I was tired and sat aside.

he came with the 650 again and I could ride again. the second round I rode more carefully and with the same spot, I fell again. this time, the bike fell from the 40degree side and landed on my shin. I couldn’t move. I was the center of attraction. everyone (35000) knew that the Singapore guy fell on the track. I water for the track instructor to pull out the bike and he shouted:


I was limping out of the track and went to the first aid area. they were professional.

luckily it didn’t broke my shin but it was very much swollen. it hurts.

I also test ride the new GS1200 on the enduro park. amazing! thou it was heavy but it could grip the lose gravel well. the rear brakes had a strange braking system that works effectively on off road! I could round the bike in those tough terrains! it is sure to be a good bike!

I was touched when a biker gave me a badge. he was from Slovania. He was browsing on Hope Too and I turned up with Jerry at the bike. He pinned the Slovania badge on my chest. It’s the biker’s spirit that we had and he appreciated but I was much more appreciated than he was to give me a badge, from a person that was not known to us. Thank you.

it was an eye opener to be at the carnival, so many people cheering for us and giving us blessing for the journeys tomorrow. we felt welcome by the bikers and they really talked to us with the bottom of the heart. I think all bikers thought the same. I didn’t tell them the story about the lost Hope that was stolen on the Malaysian Highway 5 weeks before our trip. it was really sad.

roads and more beautiful roads. we left the place, saying bye bye to all the bikers still partying on the day time, we would want to come back to this place again,


it’s summer here. lots of big dark clouds and it drizzle a lot, making the road wet and it would be cold to ride. not very nice in the rain days. the drizzle last long for the whole day. bad!

we went on the swiss road for an hour and reach the france border, the black forest. the freighter company informed us about changes of boarding location and time, from Bilbao Spain on 14 july, amended to Le Havre, France 12 July. We have to be at the port 2 days earlier. Hope that Hope Too doesn’t get sick else our $$$ will sail away without us to Argentina.

do you believed in a parallel world. a friend of mine told me about this. she said that the is another Goh or Sam living in this world, doing the same thing as us at the same time. you can visit this world only if you travel faster than the speed of light and you can reach this world. we seen lots of pictures about south America. the people and landscape is very much similar to Asia. if you poke a pin on the globe from Singapore, I think the another end of the pin will be at Colombia. it’s the opposite world from my home. will I see another guy that has a same look as I do? will I find another Sam? we are excited but scared to be at South America
we met this 3 guys in the party! they were fun loving and were the youngest friend that we made. at 13 or 14 years old, they are as tall as me, close to 2 meters.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

we are in Germany and it was 1 for Spain!

EUROCUP FINALS 29 june 2008
Spain 1 : Germany 0

we just stayed in Slovania for a night, went through a tunnel of 7km and reached Austria, land of Edelweiss, remembered ´The Sound of Music´ in the 60s / 70s? it was filmed here. the national park of Grossglockner was beautiful. nice houses in the village and beautiful countryside scenery. all is so beautiful but when ever we travel in the mountain, which has a lot of slopes and curvy roads, there comes rain! it’s so cold and wet on the road! 2368 meters above sea level. We paid S$36 for the entry to travel this 40km of road here to enjoy the cold rain and wet roads. It was tough going up with Hope Too because this buffalo is much too heavy! It’s challenging for us to attack this alp on such a condition but it was worth the effort. This road was for bikers! Should you come to Austria, rent a motorbike or a bicycle to Grossglockner.

on the north, there was the classical Salzburg, where we saw a lot of people practicing music here. Mozart was born here.

25 June 2008, we reached the only factory for the world wide distribution. It was a Wednesday and the factory tour was only made on Fridays. I overheard from the from a westerner man speaking to the counter:

‘hi, I am a tourist and I hope I can visit your factory’

the counter lady replied:

‘I’m very sorry, the factory tour is only on Fridays. Maybe you can come again in 2 day’s time’

the man was disappointed and continued browsing the KTM boutique shop.

I waited for this tourist to make his exit and asked the counter lady for a factory tour today, which I gotten the same reply as she did to the previous man. I chanted some spells and make try to make her to see the ‘swinging watch’, I began my talk and I persuade her for all reasons that she must help me for this factory tour.

It works! She gave me some hints and I followed closely to her hint and we were in! There comes Micheal, where we would like to thank him for taking out time from his job to give us a special tour in the factory. We could not take any pictures in the factory due to the commercial secrets and there were new models for 2009 yet to be release to the press. We were really impressed by the technology and the skills that the factory managed. KTM is truly built for racing. we witness the real RC8 model.

This visit adds another tick to our ‘must do’ list in this trip.

Along the way to Czech Republic, we stopped at a Harley Davidson showroom. The owner of this showroom/workshop/pub/museum greeted us and they were very friendly. It was defiantly one of the bigger Harley dealers that we have met and he was
very humble. He treated us like a guest, not a customer like what we have back at home. Willi, the owner also invented the world very first CNG (compressed nitrogen gas) motorbike, from a Harley. If you need to rent a Harley or a Buell, this will be the best company to approach in Austria. They also allow me to test ride the Buell. At that moment, my left brain told me:

try it! it is one of the superbikes in the world. make wheelie and knee sliding corners which Hope Too can’t manage.
then my right brain spoke to me in Mandarin:

wait fall down you got €€€ to pay or not. It’s too powerful for you to handle.

for one second of conversation with my left and right brain, I thank Willi about the test ride. He gave us some souvenir and allowed us to camp behind his building for a night. It was a stormy night! We felt like we were in the dark castle when the vampire is awake, like as in the movies. visit the Buffalo American Motorcycles:

also check this motorcycle: 5700cc. it cost 59000euros. about s$120000,00.

0-100miles\hr takes 2 second plus! it´s brand is Boss Hoss

North up to Czech Republic, the big 40 footer truck drivers were not friendly. We managed to have a quick tour on the attraction in Plzen and rest in the campsite to re-organize ourselves like doing the laundry and have a good shower. The best of Czech Republic was not only the food but the beer.

Lager beer was invented in 1842. Plzen (Pilsen in German) is the home town of Pilsner Urquell, the world’s first Lager beer and now imitated all around the world.

Drink Pilsner and you will get the real taste of lager beer, not Lion Beer or Cheetah Beer or Elephant Beer but Singapore’s own brew TIGER BEER is one of our favorites.

Along our trip, eating, drinking, talking to the locals, observing the nature and study about local habits is what makes the trip important for us. Not forgetting meeting new friends or linking up with friends.

finally my peaceful pit-stop after 6 months, 23000km of travel. we are now in Thomas Beez house. we met each other earlier this year in Chiang Mai, Thailand, a horizons unlimited (world biking website) meeting. Thomas was the owner of a construction company and the family was very warm and helpful. He has ridden to many countries in his BMW GS and seen more things. Hope Too is getting his help to stock up the spare parts here and having a overall servicing before we met the tough South America roads. We had true good German sausages and lots of laughter with him.

N49deg 26.701
E 09deg 49.283
this is a very tasty wine that i must recommand! it cost only S$8.00. vine in wurzburg.
btw, invest your € in beer as it cost only about S$2.00 for a bottle!