Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My 31st birthday

Thats how I look when Hope Too is not around for a week.

I had a special birthday present from them.

I'm so glad that i could share the recipe of Bangladesh curry chicken with Daniel. Now he could cook it without me.

Recommanded hostel? i'm not in it. Ladies, you might find handsome and well built men that are not intrested in you.

we met him in november 2007, Pasir Ris park, Singapore, before our trip, he was going to sail to Australia, 3 months on a boat.
Then we saw his bike in Santiago March 2009, didn't have a chance to meet them. check out http://www.pedalen.ch/index.php

That's Anke and Sam!

It was a real pleasure to be with Anke again. We had a good time cooking for each other. The taste of Kuchen, not pronuced as ‘koo chern’ but ‘khoo hern’, the german pie, came to us again! 2 out of 3 nights our dinner was provided by Hostel de Sammy for FREE!

Charles, owner of Hostel de Sammy serving his free dinner to Sam.

One of the nights, Miriam visited us in our hostel. She is now the first Italian woman to travel on motorcycle on such an epic journey. Miriam is traveling up to Alaska, like us so we will always meet along the road.

We left Santiago on 19 March 2009 by bus to Valparaiso. Coming back to Villa Kunterbunt was like coming back home. Other than Martina and Enzo, the host, was familiar, we met Thomas, Andrea, Olli, Silke, Daniel and Miriam!

Thomas and Andrea had ended their 20 months motorbike trip in the America continent. Olli and Silke were stopping over in Villa Kunterbunt, so as Daniel and Miriam. We always had been keeping in contact, trying to ask each other that when will we meet again, since we parted Thomas, Andrea, Olli and Silke 3-4 months ago when we were traveling together. Daniel since our Dakarmoto days, since the horizonsunlimited meeting and we didn’t know where in the world we will meet. All of them arrived earlier than me but they didn’t get to the most romantic tower room in Villa Kunterbunt. In this Villa, it’s build by wooden so each steps on the stairs will have some screeching sound. the old stairs leads up to the third level, the only room. Surrounding the room were windows, clear window that we could have the day view of the whole city, the night view of the lights in the whole city. Thank you all my friends for giving us this room.

It seems like a dream, in this wonderful dream you had different but familiar people appearing in the scene. 20 March 2009, the ladies, Martina, Silke, Andrea had started preparing food for the night since noon. When ever I enter the kitchen, the ladies tried to ask me out. I didn’t know that they are baking a special cake for me until the midnight night.
Silke and Andrea, preparing the surprise cake.

This was the only time that I had reached a place, that everyone is so familiar with each other, that I will not be asked about which countries had we traveled so far, what motorbike you have, where are we from… blah blah blah. These 2 days we talked about our plans when we go home, about other friends and about everything. Its like close friends.
Sam, Santiago (thats his name, from Portugual) and me.

Most of the time when we reached a new place, people around us wondered about our identity. Even in a bagpacker’s hostel, we met other travelers, they ask us the same thing. We are not annoyed but pleased to answer their doubts. My main aim of answering them is not because I am a friendly person but to let them understand how such a trip can be made, how Asians also can do it, how dreams could be achived.

Martina preparing tonnes of meat.

It’s about 2 hour to midnight, everyone was showered with the lovely steak prepared by Martina, grilled by Enzo, salad prepared by Sam, Andrea and Saskia. Enzo started to dance within the latino music. He had the greatest charm of a latino dancer. The tricks in his movement was like bull fighting, the eye contact that he gave was to give attraction to the dance partner, the hands moving around makes you know how to turn even if you are a first timer. He had passion in what he does. It’s from him I understand the word ‘Passion’, which had a different meaning than loving something.

I knew midnight fell when Enzo brought out and old turn table with the happy birthday song. Everyone was singing. I was even touched when Sam brought out a birthday cake. It had been years that I have not had a birthday cake. My eyes were drowned, I looked at everyone around as they sing the song, truly congratulating a special day of mine, making me so important. I recived hugs and kisses from everyone. It was not a birthday that I had expected. It was not a birthday that I had organized. It was a birthday of true moments.

Thank you Enzo, I really learnt about many things that I had not discovered before. Enzo, me and Oliver.

Thank you Martina, being our host, saving the romantic room for us, organizing everything. Silke, Martina, Andrea and Sam preparing for the first night dinner.

Thank you Thomas, your words had always been sincere, trying to help us secretly.

Sam, Andrea, Thomas and me.

Thank you Daniel, I had always wanted to meet you, enjoyed your presence.
Thank you Miriam, you left me many deep memories, we will meet along the road. Me, Daniel, Miriam and Sam.

Thank you Oliver, teaching me about beer opening, carrying the cartons of beer back everytime, sharing about your point of life.
Thank you Silke, always checking on my mood level, organizing and making sure everything works well.

Silke, Oliver, Sam and me.

Thank you Andrea, always ensuring about our belongings like socks, sleeping bags, making sure that they are warm. I recived the most hugs from you.

Martina, Sam, Me and Andrea.

Thank you my wife, my life mate, a person that I will be with for the journey of life.

Did I missed out something about you?

Now we are back in Iquique, leaving our moment of time in Valparaiso, then I just woke up from the dream, I had left my Camelbak in Villa Kunterbunt!

Today I had Hope Too on the move. His front brake disc was totally covered with thick rust. I rode to the bike shop,
Bemotos. S20 12.848 W70 08.432

I was recommended by samsmoto because they are too busy for my bike. the first time with bemotos was the problem with my steering wheel problem. He took out everything of the steering wheel, checked and all the bearings were fine. he greased all the bearings and fixed it back. they only charged me for 5000cpl. cool! please be reminded that in Santiago, a friend of mine had his tire changed for 15000cpl PER TIRE, for the workman ship, at Metzeler. I was very satisfied with Bemotos. they are repairing a lot of Yamaha off road bikes from the touristic rental shops. the Yamaha goes up to 450cc. almost everybike there are blue.

the second time I went there was with my chain kit being sent from Singapore as Santiago is selling it 2-3 times more than at home. even I had a 5kg parcel sent in from Singapore, everything in the box cost less than buying a chain in Santiago. Today he helped me change the chain and sprockets, cleaned Hope Too where I had not clean since I bought it, do up the brakes. It was about 5-6 hours job and it cost 10000cpl. cool! I’m very satisfied. I went off to another shop to have my broken inner tire patched. well, there are almost 12 holes and they charged me 7000cpl, I was upset and they gave me a discount of 2000cpl.

In Bemotos, there is another mechanic, from Ecuador. He was a black man, suffered from polio. both his legs were gone and he is sitting on his wheel chair. I could see from his eyes that he is living with hope. he enjoyed his work, as a motorbike mechanic. he specialize in quad bikes. check him out, he left deep impression in my mind. Charley.


after Iquique, we will be traveling much faster than before to the north. sorry if I had not update our blog… catch us in Peru!

Check out the midnight video that touched me.

who is Enzo? Who is Miriam? how they dance?


Me, learning how to dance with passion from the passion master, Enzo.



Thursday, March 19, 2009

Good Bye Hope Too

I told you that there are no more food!

A pat on my hands doesn't give you more food. are you willing to share your dog food with everybody? there is no more food on my plate!

okok. no more food. now you want to peep at my computer about facebook?!

well, sticky dogs around.

We would like to thank Haojie for sponsoring us a new front tyre, Metzeler Sahara 3, Enduro. Thanks alot!

Good news. Sam got her Panama visa after 5 weeks of waiting. we also confirmed with the costa rica embassy that she will not need a visa of Costa rica if sam already had a USA visa on her passport. the passport is even more valuable now with so many visa. the panama visa only valid for 2 months. that means we have to use it before
17May 2009. we still need to go Peru, ecuador, columbia. also have to co-ordinate with the sailing boat from columbia to panama making sure we can catch departure date.

one big problem solved!

the fish market in Iquique reminded me of home, where i grew up in a hawker center. it smells like home, not something smells fishy but the childhood memories. guess we are the only foreigners in the market.

We had to apply the Nicuaragua Visas before visiting. about 3 days process.
Sam had to do apply the Mexico Visa before visiting. about 3 days process
Sam had to apply for the Canada Visa before visiting. about 2-4weeks process.
We had to apply for the Australia Visa.
Hope Too had to apply for the Australia 'Visa' in advance also, need to pay a deposit of 24% of the bike value at the custom of australia in order to 'import' the bike.

the chain problem solved.

road from Santiago (chile) to Mendoza (arg)

so how did we get from Iquique to Santiago?

we were in Iquique, staying in a Chilean hostel. we asked the management if we could leave Hope Too there while we take a bus south, 1600km, 24 hours to Santiago. Yes! of Course! they said.

It was our very first time taking a long distance bus, 24 hours. Leaving Hope Too alone for such a long time. i have to ensure that it is a safe place to park. Bye Hope Too! See you after my birthday.

when we arrived in Santiago, Hostel del Sammy, Anke walked in. Remember that small german lady that we met in that 'doggy hostel'? remember that picture that i put on the blog about her and all her big bagpacks? yes, she also met Kerin and Sem, the swiss cyclist.

we met Kerin and Sem in Dec 2007, Pasir ris park, Singapore. they cycled from Switzerland to Singapore. then they are taking a 3 months ferry to Australia. recently i knew that they had reached south America, Chile. so Kerin and Sem met Anke and talked about me. what a small world.

Kerin and Sem left their bicycle in Hostel Del Sammy and went for a bus tour for some weeks. im here, only saw their bike hanging in the store.

tomorrow we are taking a bus to Valparaiso, villa kunterbunt, where my parcel from
M-technik is there. where Olli and Silke is there (german bikers on 1 Transalp 650), where Andrea and Thomas (German, on 2 bikes, going to be end of their 2 years travel in the whole America) is there, where Daniel (german, on his Land rover) and Miriam (Italian and with her GS to Alaska)is there, also where Martina and Enzo is there. I will be celebrating my 31st birthday with all these lovely people.

what are my plans next?

Peru: will only see some famous places.
ecuador: don't know any plans yet.
Columbia: escape from the bandits but would like to spent more time in this country.
Panama: enter before 17 May.
Costa rica: heard its expensive. want to look out for some special heliconias and plants.
Nicaragua: visit the wife of Brasil consulate. she was my classmate.
Hunduras: no plans.
Guatamala: My friend from Texes was robbed on the road. 3 man point guns at him.
Mexico: put Tequila in Hope Too and he will fly.
USA: visit a few friends and go to Singapore restaurant in Texas. do up Canada visa for Sam. Buy camping equipment like sleeping bags, sleeping mattress, repair tent zip.
Canada: go fast.
Canada: no plans...
USA: attent ISA's Annual Conference and Trade Show near new york.
http://www.isa-arbor.com/conference/default.aspx 24 July 2009, 3 days. go to L.A. and ship Hope Too and fly to Sydney where our air ticket is on 1st september 2009.

in general, 4 datelines.
1) 17 May 2009, enter Panama before that.
2) 21 June 2009, Reach the north of Alaska.
3) 24 July 2009, Attend the tree conference, 200km from New York.
4) 1 September 2009, flight to Sydney from L.A.

can we make it?

the beach at Iquique.

Friday, March 13, 2009



we enjoy camping at Calama with our retired police inspector. he is 75 years old now. it's one of our best campsite. with that amount of $, we had facilities of a cabanas. the owner is very helpful and friendly. if you want to meet nice people, go to S22 27.598 W68 54.999
Casas del valle. Francisco bilbao 1207. near stadium.
the world largest coppet mine. 3km wide, 5km length, 1km deep.

look how big is the machines...

the tyre of this big truck is 3meters height. cost is about us$15000 per tire. its to deliver the raw copper from the bottom of the mine to the factory. there are about 100 of these truck working 22 hrs a day. visit to the mine is free. we book thro our campsite management. just have to pay a donation to a children's home. can park vehicle at S22 19.480 W68 55.726
El Tatio is about 80km from San Pedro De Atacama. it took us about 4-5 hours to travel that 80km. We go there to watch the world 3rd largest Geyser field. Advisable to reach there on the day before and stay in the refugee. very nice place to stay. homely. we paid 2500cpl to sleep in the hall. you will not want to camp outside. it could go down to -9degree celcius in the night. if u join a tour from san pedro de atacama, you have to wake up at 3am to catch the morning splash. we reach the refugee at 5pm. good thing is that there are no tourist.we could go around freely, enjoy the privacy, use the natural hot pool alone. quickie is good.
refugee at S22 21.056 W68 00.941
camping at s.P. de atacama S22 54.796 W68 12.016
4000cpl per person. best campsite. camping Los Perales, Tocopilla 481. there are campsite at 2000cpl but bikers would not want to camp there.
route to valle de luna, flamingo park, salt pool are not easy. you will end up like us bathing in the sand with the bikes. drop me a message if you want the route from my GPS.

we had the swim yesterday, when it's not so cold.

height of el tatio is about 4320m avove sea level. as we go higher, air inside any tube will expand. so decrease your tire bressure before accending.

burnt BBQ chicken. sorry...no more chicken for bbq next time.

some updates...

We are in Iquique now. Parted with the swiss team. Both Andreas and Saskia are secondary school teacher back in their country. they are about 2-3 years younger than me. their XRV750 is the same age as Hope Too but it is only 15000km when they bought it. ENVY! it was the first time that we traveled with another couple for such a long time, more than 20 days. we really had fun together. Traveling with Andreas is so fun. i called him 'boss'. i would go where he go, do what he do, eat what he eat. no need to think so much. we skiped swizeland when we were in europe but now i know much things about their country.

he taught me how to sing the swiss song. i taught him about singlish, singapore-bangadesh-english, like:



that was fun.

i always woke up later than them so they always prepare breakfast for us. sometimes they would want us to eat our own food, like curry chicken for dinner, rice porridge for breakfast. they know that we miss home food.

we are close enough to fart infront of each other and laugh about the fart... i mean Andreas and me.

hard to say goodbye. they gave us something that i had always wanted:

a travel BBQ set.

will not forget the moments together.


1) Hope Too had a twisted neck. the steering wheel bearing is damaged. it would be a big project to change it. i need proper tools with good mechnic around. i have the spares with me, thanks to M-technik, advised me to bring the small but important spares.

2) Sam submited the Panama visa application in Feb 8. we tried calling back since last week. we get answers from them like:

a) today is 7 march, tomorrow will be 8 march, that will be exectly one month for the application. call tomorrow.

then i call the day after, they reply:

b) this week is Carnival in panama. they are not working. call on monday.

weekend passed. i dont call on monday but tuesday. they said:

c) i don't know. maybe this week, maybe next week. call again.

then today i call at 9am:

d) call me back at noon.

then at noon i call:
e) u call back half hr later, person in charge is not in.

then i called half hr later:

f) call 20mins later.

then i called 1 and half hr later

g) call half hr later

then half hr, my internet (skype) dont work. i dont have a mobile phone. i guess they had went home by now. so tomorrow i had to call again.

but tomorrow i had an appointment with the BMW mechnic to do up Hope Too... pray hard it will not be the BMW price for repairing.

3) the parcel sent from singapore is 1850km south of where we are now, valporiso. the parcel consist of a new chain kit and some important parts. i dont want to ride back. will check out the bus fare tomorrow. we have to consider. staying in Iquique is half the price of staying in Valporiso. so we will wait for the reply from panama embassy in santiago then we can go back.

4) Canada visa for Sam. Canada visa application before 1st April2009 takes about 15 days to process. after that it takes 30days to process. so before 1st april 2009 we might be in Peru, Lima, the big and polluted city that no biker would want to visit. are we going to stay there for 15 days? in such a city its hard to find a cheap place to stay for us and Hope Too.

5)we want to reach north tip of alaska in 21st June 2009 where it is the longest day of the year. it will not be so cold around this date. next is 19 july there is a arboriculture confrence near new york, 3 days. 1st september is our flight to australia from LA. i had to arrange shipping for Hope Too at LA 2-3 weeks before we depart. how to meet this timing???

6) the darien gap:

between Panama and Columbia there are no road link. either take a boat or plane. now Sam still waiting for Panama visa. do u think its worth to wait for the panama visa? it may not be approved after all the waiting. the options we have:

a) if she does not have the panama visa, she had to fly to costa rica and wait for me for 2-3 weeks. while i will ride to the port, take a small sailing boat with hope too to panama and ride to costa rica to meet Sam.

b) Sam, Hope Too and me will take a big ship from Columbia to costa rica together, skipping panama.

the problem is i have to CRATE THE BIKE (which is very troublesome), pay the shipping US$350. (andreas enquired from the same company about shipping from columbia to europe, which the route is longer than mine but it only cost US$300!) pay $440euros, thats S$880 per person for the 5 days boat. there are many many hidden cost for port clearance and port fees not indicated.

7) hope too front tire needs to be changed before getting to the next tire store in equedor.

please friend: looking at my awesome photos, you may think its so nice to travel but there are so many logistic problems to be solved.

what should we do?

please advise.

Monday, March 9, 2009

our sticker.

we would like to thank Tan Chong Wei and Lim Chwee Lek for their generous contribution in our trip. we could use it just for petrol to cross chile. Thanks alot for their 2nd contribution.

the distance from the south to north of Chile is the same as from Moscow (russia) to Madrid (spain).

dear friends: Mic Wong had designed a sticker for us. i wanted to use orange and blue for the sticker.

please give comments for it!

we will add:
1)route for the trip on the world map
2)a phase : traveling our globe from the Asian view
3) less in height, more in length of the sticker.
4) maybe some color change
5)maybe font change.

what do you think? need your comment.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

more photos with the swiss team

the moon valley

salt pool. we can float on it!

tough ride thro the sands! our engine is over heated.

road in the salt plain.

another wild camp we did.


we are at San Pedro de Atacama. everything is expensive. due to the raise of numbers in tourist coming. ridiculas!

there are only 1935 habitans in this village as 2002 but we believe there are about 2000 tourist here!
type no more, its expensive here!
will update when internet is cheaper.
we will be going to Peru soon.

also to the comment on a dog, monkey and a Gay:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS! Where the heck do you get off by spanking someone else's dog.. Choke your own dude! Off course the management will get angry. What do you expect.. a pat on the back? You have been given a great opportunity to travel the world and show people of various countries what singaporeans are made of... and you go abuse someone's pet? You just showed the aussies an ugly singaporean and justified their racist mentality about asians especially singapore. AND DO NOT COMPARE A CHILD TO A DOG!!! Or should i compare you to a monkey trying to ride a tricycle for the Aussies to applude! Please.. you represent the Singapore dream.. to experience cultures, to observe people and to teach people how great asians are. STOP SPANKING AND START ENJOYING!

to anonymous:

1)do you have the balls to put down your REAL NAME THAT WAS GIVEN BY YOUR PARENTS?

2)i dont expect the management to be happy.

3) yes: i showed them something, im trying to fight for my right. you are not there so you wont understand.... u are home reading my words only.
4) Singaporedream is MY BLOG. it is for real people and for other people that want to achive dreams. i do not put fake stuff on the blog. experience culture?! wake up! we are not ang mohs... writing how beautiful things are... and hide the fact of feelings.


6) what u want me to show as a singaporean. i have my task. i am myself. i dont put in a fake mask infront of foreigners. why not u ask fellow travelers on how much that i have helped each other. i dont put that on my blog.

7) i got a chance i would also spank the owner...

8) thank you for your comment. it is a good comment.

i put my real name: GOH MIA CHUN.