Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mumbai attack

India, had pointed their finger on their neighbour on an unsolved case.

quote: "Two British-born Pakistanis were among eight gunmen seized by Indian commandos who stormed buildings to free hostages, Vilasrao Deshmukh, the chief minister of Mumbai, reportedly said."

what are they trying to link? british born pakistani? its a bit complicated. singapore borned malaysian? american born chinese? argentina born indian? italy born german? what the fuck are they trying to point the finger at?

quote: "A group calling itself Deccan Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, Mr Singh blamed "external forces" for the violence - a phrase sometimes used to refer to Pakistani militants, whom Indian authorities often blame for attacks. "

why would such a group created? is it some creativity people give someone or a group of people a new name? just like the Al Qaeda. is there really such a group? did we really know? how do they know?

well, a good reason to start a war. just like some country invading another country and tell the world that some Mr OBL is hiding there.


who do you think its behind all these perfect plan.

no one to blame... after 2 days the force controlled the situation.

and what about the singapore government do when one of us were killed? CRYING OVER SPILT MILK!?

well, this cannot be avoided. i could feel the incident. how the indian government would deal with such attack. i felt sorry for those who were there.

we were in india. witness how the policemen, government official and people behaves. i could imagine about ourselves, if we were kidnapped as hostage, the government would only sit down and pray for our safety and do all the administrative stuff.

there were many israelis traveling in india. we met alot. even the indian at some tourist places can speak hebrew. there were isrelis flag flying everywhere when we were in india.

of all the foreigners killed, there isnt any Americans. if there is any american held up as hostage at this incident, we will watch the real hollywood movie as we always watched, the america helicopter fly into the area with the SWAT team disco their machine guns everywhere just to get their own people out of the country.

this is just the start. there is more to come. everybody is pointing finger at somebody and that somebody does not have a chance to speak up because the one pointing finger has control over MEDIA and planned a good story.

im just sad. i am not helping any side nor supporting any one.

cant they have their own life and stop disturbing everyone?

in the name of your god, please pray for world peace.

and guess what, i found out some article about singapore. are we really like that? :::

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Active Volcano in Chile.

the long long west way from B.A. to Chile.
The way to the closed border between Argentina and Chile. It was rewarding.
Some local bikers along the way. look at one of them, he had his ear plugs pasted on. the wind was so strong and it sounded like operating a chainsaw.
Part of Ruta 40 of Argentina.
Part of Ruta 40 of Argentina.
At last, a passable border from Argentina to Chile!
3 cheers for Proton in Chile!
This is how steep the moutain is... not upwards that we are walking directly but to the side and to the side...

Indicater of the volcano from the town.
view of the Volcan Villarrica from the town (Pucon) we staying.
At the top of the mountain, were we were supposed to see lava... but on the day there were too much smoke from the "hole".

break time along the "walk".

i was way back behind Sam when she took this picture. every step had to be slow, steady and careful.

it was our very first time, in our rtw trip and our life. climbing on snow and ice mountain. For Sam, it was her first time in her life trekking. For me, the national service trained me a little bit for walking.
It was an active volcano. the last eruption was 1986. there were warning indication of the volcano signs in the town.
We had to put on the wind breaker, gears and the macdonald boots provided.
started 5am, we start from the bottom of the mountain at 545am. 1st 1 hour was easy walking on the hardened lava. then next 2-3 hours on snow where we had to put on sunscreen (i did not) and sun glasses. then the last 2-3 hours we had to put spikes on our boots to climb on the ice and helmet. The shoe was NOT comfortable! it caused blister everywhere! there were gradient as steep as 60 degrees. 12 members and 4 guides. half way we were left with 2 guides and 7 members. in the end, 1 guide, sam and i were the last to reach the mouth of the volcano. One of the girl slipped down the ice and if the guide did not save her from sliding, she will end up 2 hours below us.
when we got back to the hostel, we were so tired. took an afternoon nap and dinner, then slept for 12 hrs till the next day waking up with ache everywhere. i had a bad sunburn on my face that looked like a orang utan.

we were lucky. some people waited for weeks for the weather to be clear before accending the volcano. the next day when we arrived in this town, the weather forecast was good for us to climb. Some climbed on when not so clear and had do return half way due to the weather, and the money wasnt refunded. lucky us.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


sorry folks! after B.A., we been riding straight and long highway towards the west. if you look at the road map of argentina, there are many straight roads in the center of the country. thats where we are! its so straight, stretching up to 500km straight but we have to keep an eye open for the on coming vehicle that got onto our lane and i would strongly suggest these road user to read and understand the book on "Lane discipline".

Route 40 was truly amazing! It runs parallel to the alps between Chile and Argentina. We tried a "not so popular" border crossing. it was about 50km of off road riding to the check point. we were quite confident that the border is open because we saw good and proper signboard that reads: Rep of Chile, with arrow.

when we reached the immigration and custom office, it was empty. usually the check point is far away from the boundary, like 20km away. i asked the local, understanding from sign language, the border is closed. i still wanna try.

going furthur for 30 minutes, the road was on construction. the man working told me to go back because there is no road!

well... our chile is delayed.. we return. luckily this road is stunning. great mountain and river view. its so nature. horse eating grass so close to the road, sheeps and cows trying to have a second look on us, if we were one of them. i must not miss their "landmine" on the road.

after 3 days of riding thro the straight road. we got onto Ruta 40. we spend 2 days riding on Ruta 40 and now we have reached our 24th country of our trip: CHILE!!!

S 38deg 26.274´
W071deg 53.676´

we are going to visit the volcano at Pucon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Back in Buenos Aires

whats hidden?

one of the campsite...
for the past 4 days since we left Brazil, we had been traveling along Rio Uraguay for 4 days and been camping. the last campsite before B.A. was about 200km away. we were waken up by the care taker at 6am, sunday. he told us to evacuate immideatly because the water along the river is flooding... near to the campsite.

look! i told you! it's clean shaved!

one of the widest street in the world.

dancing artist.


we have reached B.A. again for administrative works.

1) the clip of Hope Too's chain had worn off.
a)the chain had not been replace since day one. only the front spocket (16) had been replaced in Germany. I heard some unusual noise from the chain. suspect a screw of something had dropped and cause something to be lose and had cause the clip rubbing against it thus had it worned off.

b) brake going soft. dont know why and now its still not rectified.

2) preparing finance for trip regarding $$$....
we uses traveler's cheque for part of our fund. it is in US$. at dec2008 we bought US$1.00 with SGD$1.48. after that the market of US$ had gone down so we never use. today it rose up to S$1.51 and we made a US$1000.00 change! earning right???

in paper, yes.
our American Express travelers cheque has HSBC printed on it. all the bank in the world DO NOT accept it. when they see hsbc, all the bank ask you to go HSBC to encash the money. when we bought the Travelers cheque from HSBC singapore, they had already charged me 1% commission. they told me:

go to any bank in the world and you can encash.

today, we went a big HSBC in B.A. and they say they are going to charge 1% commission and 20% on something which we dont understand. they refer us to go to an American Express branch to change.

we went to amex. yes... they are more professional. they did not charge any commission on us and the rate is good.

in brazil, we went to hsbc and it was a mess. they required alot of linking to the network.... check this and that and gave us lousy rate.
in turkey, hsbc could not connect to network. so we cannot change.
in iran... no bank accept travelers cheque.
in pakistan... good. we changed twice at hsbc but they need to see our previous transection recipt.

in thailand, thats the only non-hsbc bank that accept our TC. it was 'bank of ayuttaya'.

now there's something called travelers card. i think its better. work like ATM.

in general, my advice is: forget about the old fashion way of buying travelers cheque. 2 debit cards would be sufficient! VISA and MASTERS. even American Express Credit card is not reconized in all the countries we visited.

if you really need one, do not buy one with any bank`s name on it, just american express. also get a recipt of the purchase showing your name on it, proofing MrXXX had bought cheque number XXX.

Our DBS master debit card dont work very well in our trip.

Thumbs up for Citibank Visa electrons. recommanded!

we will be going to Chile tomorrow. will need 3 days hard riding to the border. enjoy Chile (not chilli) for 12 days and ride back to Argentina for a biker's meeting on 6-8 december in Viedma.

please rotate your monitor.

tango tango...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Left Porto Alegre. On the way to Argentina

Our new HOPE?

what is Lisa doing up there??

Hope Too started at home at about 10000km. we had traveled about 35000km so far.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

going our of brazil

It is so sad. (is there a better word than this?) 2 more days we would be exiting Brazil, towards Argentina.

21st September 2008, we entered Brazil from Bolivia. We did ride through the exciting Patanal but did not stop for a visit because Hope Too’s Pakistani battery was not working well. It would be a risk everytime I switched off the ignition of Hope Too. Our goal at that time was to reach Sao Paulo (SP) to meet Simone as she was back from Italy for vacation. We were very lucky. Simone arrived at SP 5 hours before we did. We stayed at her mum’s house and visited a garden and landscape exhibition. I wanted to get more contact for my business and she helped me for all the translation including conversation and all the phone calls.

Since day one when we met Simone, she gave us the Brazilian visa within 3 hours instead of the 3 days. Then she knew that we had problem with Hope Too’s seat, that was hurting our arse. Simone made various phone calls around to look for a remedy. she also brought us to some places during her working hours to enquire about the modification of the seat.

2 days later we stayed at her house in Roma with her loving husband. Enrico. We would never imagine that we would have a chance to stay in an Italian’s house. Both of them brought us around Roma. They cooked us marvelous meals, gave us all the information we needed, tried to link us up with their friend along our route and try to help us to travel smooth.

We left their house just by saying ‘bye bye, keep in touch’.

In Brazil, Simone chatted with us about our travel plans. Frankly speaking, we do not have, just had some ideas but it isn’t realistic. We told her we MAY want to go to the Amazons. Later, she made lots of phone calls around, trying to link me to enjoy Amazon in a cheaper way. Her best friend, Cida, printed out many information that were useful for us. Simone also linked me up with her ex neighbour, Felipe.

Felipe was staying 200km away from SP. He wanted to come to SP to fetch us to his home with his truck with Hope Too on it but we went there by ourselves. Simone borrowed his brother’s (TuTu) car, guide us to Felipe’s house.

In fact, Simone was on her 45 days holidays in Brazil but she was so busy with us, making plans for us, making us comfortable in Brazil. Everytime we chatted on the dinning table with the family (her mother in law from Italy and her mother), she had to speak with us in English, explain the topic to her mother in Portuguese, translate to her mother in law using Italiano.

Simone’s mother was old but active. She was actively in charitable works. She knew about our travel and tried to like us up with all that is related. She called up a few reporter to fix interview with us. Despite of her busy schedule, she drove to a Honda motorbike dealer, asked the person at marketing department to come to her house, take a look at Hope Too and ask for sponsorship for us. Though it was unsuccessful for the sponsorship, we were really touched by her actions. A Singapore woman at this age would never do this!

Felipe was one year younger than me. He was a horse rider and been to England for numerous glory riding. He gave up the Olympic games because it was too expensive for him on the logistic side to participate. Felipe went back to Brazil, gave horse riding lessons and at the same time, his cousin (Fabrico) and him set up a coffee trading company.

Life at Felipe’s town was easy going unlike the busy city of SP. He was married to Iara, had a daughter of aged four and a loving farm dog (Fly, not a fly but her name is Fly) from England.

At times, Felipe would be busy with work and we would stay at his mother’s (Mage) house.

Mage was incredible. She was a pottery drawing teacher. Sam translated some Chinese characters for her student’s name and drew it on the porcelain plate for her. At time of visit, Mage’s husband, Chico, was away for work at Angola.

Mage tried to give us all the comfort we needed. Though we could not speak good Portuguese with her, we still could understand what she was trying to say.

We felt that Mage was like our second mother. Where in the world would you get this kind of unconditioned love?

You think that they are so nice to us because they wanted the same treatment when they come to Singapore?


Sam checked the air ticket from Singapore to Brazil. It was near SGD$5000.00 per person. Brazilians would rather travel to USA or Europe.

Felipe stopped professional horse riding. He fell in love with horses. He told me if he was paid to ride a horse, he would not dare to look into the eye of the horse. Just fix the saddle, do the usual stuff and leave.

Do you understand what is he trying to say?

Other than friends in Brazil, the strangers on the road were worth a second look.

In Singapore, if you had eye contact with another person, the most they would smile back at you. The worst would be the question ‘WHAT THE F#@K are you looking at?!’

In Brazil, it is more than a smile. The worst is to get a thumbs up, which meant good or OK, otherwise it would be a conversation about anything.

There are lots of strangers observing Hope Too when we stopped. Observing in a more ‘respecting privacy’ way and not the ‘India’ way, then will try to have a polite conversation with us.

Though we looked like a Brazilian (the Japanese community), they would still be interested in knowing us. Not because we are foreigners but as a human.

It’s a way of life here. Walking down the street, a punk smoking by the roadside would say ‘good day’ to us.

Even in businesses, they have the best etiquette. If we do not buy from their shop, we would not feel that they would be unhappy. If this hotel is out of room, they would recommend the one that is equivalent to their nearby. If we try their sample, like roasted peanuts and does not show a single sign of interest in buying, they would not be angry!

Other than Pakistan and Iran, the next country in our ‘best memories’ would be Brazil.

What about Carlo?

He inspired me.

Carlo was an Italian, married to Simone’s sister. He was a cook, a culinary teacher and a motorbiker.

When we first met him, he was limping on the walking stick. What could be the first impression???

As any person by the name of Carlo you would know, he had clean cut moustache above his lips, straight down to the chin. His jokes would always kept our hands holding on to our stomach and there would be endless topic on his ‘forum’.

His Harley Sportster 1200 was kept in Portugal for the past 5 years untouched. He could only start the engine to warm up.

Once, Carlo and I were at the balcony of his apartment, he told me,

‘your trip was really nice. I had a dream. I wanted to ride the pan-American highway from the south to the north. I saw the pictures, it was soooooo beautiful!’

If only Carlo could write a book about his life, it would be the second after Titanic.

He had multiple sclerosis.

Carlo, you can make it. I want to ride with you. Do I have the honor to ride with you? I want to be the first few to buy your book. The book that is about your life and your true self.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

How to apply for an Uraguay visa

Monday, 3 november, 2008, 8am. woke up on a rainy day thus we did not ride our bike out to the town. our plan was to go south to the Horizons biker meeting in argentina on 4 december. travelling southwards thro Uraguay. from Iguacu, we went to Florinopolis, where i searched the on the detail of the nearest Uraguay embassy.

we reached florinopolis on sat, 1st november 2008 evening. its a rainy weekend and we have to stay indoor at the beach. what a day!

how to apply:
1st, go to the website and find the address of the embassy.
2) got the address? yes? key into google map and print out on paper to navigate.
3) use the address to key into google earth to get the geographical position, use it in my GPS.
4) on the day of excuation, its a rainy day. so we took a bus, showing the address to the bus driver and see if he nod his head. after 20 minutes of waiting for the second bus, the driver finally nod his head.
5) after 10 minutes of bus ride, the bus arrived at the terminal. he said i have to take bus number 330. ok... i went to bus 330, show the bus conductor the address. he nod his head which means this bus will go to this location. we confidently seat on the bus.
6) with reference from my GPS, after 15 minutes of bus ride the bus passed by the embassy. the conductor did not hint me to disembark. so i trusted him to seat on longer on the bus.
7) after 20minutes of ride, i show him the address again. he shoke his sholder, hinting me that he dont know the address. he just said: wait a moment.

im not gonna wait anymore! the bus is moving furthur and further. the time is getting later and later. our stomach is getting more and more hungry! im not going to wait for him to do magic. i knew the embassy is far far away from here. i knew the location better than him.

8) we get off the bus. went to the opposit direction to take a similar bus back to the same route. we disembarked at my sense of navigation, with the help of my GPS. sam and i walk under the drizzling rain, with empty stomach, not very long, about 2km. we reached the address. its a residental place. the owner told me that the Uraguay embassy has moved to Rua rio banco. i have to take a yellow bus outside to go.

9) we walked to the main road. waited for a yellow bus and there we go again... not knowing our destination.
10) as we were on the bus, we looked out for the street name 'rua rio banco'. BINGO. we saw it and got off. but which direction. i just make a guess.
11) not knowing the exect location.... we just walk and asked a taxi driver where is the Uraguay embassy. he hinted us 387. with this number, we thought it is the house number.
12) yes! bingo! we got to the embassy! it's about 3 hours since we left the guest house.
13) the receptionist help me to fill in the visa application for a singaporean to enter uraguay for tourisum. its all in spanish. she did not speak a word of english. its difficult for me.
14) she hand me back the passport and say the application takes 7 days to 1 month for approval. then they will call my guest house when the visa is ready.

what does it means? i have to stay in florinopolis for 7-30 days to wait for the approval? its about S$80 per day for our living expenses. so... what will you do if you are in my shoe???

point the middle finger to her and say thank you.

i guess embassy always do recipocal. what singapore does to people of uraguay that is coming to singapore, uraguay will do the same to the people of singapore. sick! not really nice holding to a singapore passport.

we are not going to uraguay!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Iguacu Falls.

we have left Felipe's home. real sad.its nice to stay at a friend's home where they took so good care of us but when we leave, we gave them nothing but tears and hug. i felt so ashame. how could we repay them? Mage felt like our mother. she took so good care of us. we are human. we could feel how people react to another's action. when will we meet again after we left their house? when will fate come again?

we visited Iguacu falls within a 2 days hard core riding from Felipe's house. now we are heading towards Florinopolis, going to enjoy the brazilian beach and do up my Uraguay visa. hey...don't feel proud holding on to our Singapore passport. so troublesome. we need to do up brazil and uraguay visa while a malaysia passport holder do not need to!

its a long 2 days ride to florinopolis. i cannot upload my beautiful pictures from Iguacu in this internet cafe. stupid...

will update as soon as we got internet again.

hope too is sick. he need medication. he need about 100ml of engine oil topped up every 100km on the highway.
ahgogoh is sick too. he need.... just had some flu and cough. no more vinos (red wine). er... perhaps more beer!
Sam is sick also! missed the home char kway tiao!

we are at Irati, some town where no tourist or traveller would visit. only strange singapore couple came here on their motorbike.

hey, we got interviewed by a local newspaper. will put up on the blog once we have good internet cafe.

S 25 deg 28.007'
W050deg 38.674'