Saturday, 7 March 2015

Daylight saving time...

Tuesday March 3rd I boarded a flight from Phnom Penh Cambodia to Seattle Washington ... There was a short stop in Bangkok Thailand and another 8 hours  in Tokyo .. 15 time zones in total.. Topping in at 39 hours !! Tuesday was finally over..

Now home I am getting back into my old ways fast .. a stop at Gold's Gym in Issaquah they said it was 383 days since my last visit !! Down 20 pounds at 168 pounds its time to EAT .
Next stop is Canada to visit family and brave the cold weather .

The past year was certainly a lot different from travel thru Africa, or European countries. looking back at some of the highlights I remember the thousands of people in India who were constantly taking photos of me every day. The 800 cc BMW is out of place in India, as well as over landers who do more than cut a path across the northern provinces. It is a massive country, everyone is busy, on the move. I will remember so many people .. wow .. people buying me drinks refusing my money, the horn honking, the schools ... it seems everyone is taking classes of some sort.. Indian food !! I LOVE IT .. just a little less HEAT ..
My first night in Iran was in Urmia at Hussein's place .. where he and his family made room  by sleeping on the floor and giving up their beds ... The opportunity to ride Iran and see the country first hand was priceless .. If I had traveled in a car I am sure it would have been very different , a motorcycle is the way to go. . My modular motorcycle  helmet lifts up easily, so chatting at red lights is common, as I answer  the standard questions over and over again. There are often photos, and email exchanges,  an endless welcoming ...
I do have to ask myself how can a place supposedly be so bad , be so Good ? It really changed how I had, in my head , seen this part of the world. Walking the main Bazaar of Tehran I see women showing there independence by pulling back their head scarfs  as they sit in crowded  restaurants.

Police in the last Iranian hotel escorted me to the border of Pakistan joined with 2 other riders and armed " Security " the next 10 days or so were sobering,  we had  travelled from  Quetta to Lahore
 with armed men keeping us safe . They spent nights in the  hotel lobbies , escorted us walking across the street, and riding down the road all day , every day.. As we moved away from the border region of Afghanistan towards bordering India it was finally in Lahore Pakistan that our armed forces let us travel on our own again. Resting along a road side near a compound of Osama bin Laden I will always remember a security force guy asking me if I was sacred ? Looking back I probably should have been, not that it would have helped.. but I guess it was my general feeling that most people everywhere are good that made me feel things will be OK .
Again on the Silk Road trail , I was north of Islamabad Pakistan on the famous KKH ( Karakoram ) highway.  Adventure seekers from around the world have spent time in the Himalayas  trekking near the 1200 kilometers of the Karakoram,  that is unquestionably an engineering marvel. This road cuts thru the Khunjerab Pass and enters Western China at 4730 meters .. It was a ride I will NEVER forget .. !!
Avoiding Bangladesh,  my departure from India  followed the northern route bordering Bhutan into Myanmar. I felt after Myanmar all adventure travel was over . It became more of a vacation then an adventure.. Don't get me wrong , I like the nice beaches of Thailand and Cambodia , Starbucks,  KFC .. cheap 4 star hotels, and great roads... But the type of travel in SE Asia cannot compare to the Adventure of places like Nigeria, the Republic Congo, Pakistan and the Sudan Desert.
The Motorcycle is collecting dust in Cambodia .. and I expect when the rains of the Pacific NW return, I will be back on the bike.

Watch for Canada, and a Seattle update, I know there have been requests from people on the road to see more of my homeland !! Cheers, Garth !!

Foot traffic in Turkey is often going under the street , instead of traditional crosswalks.
Me, in Tehran.
In Tehran, I think this is a protest painted on the building to free the Cuban 5 intelligence agents .. which just recently the last  have been set free as part of a prisoner swap for an American held  in Cuba.

This photo is from the roof top of the Grand Bazzar in Tehran

 From Kolkata headed towards Myanmar in Meghalaya state of north east India . I did little trekking this past year, but found India to have some incredibale regions worth exploring.

 Living root bridges in India .
 Where ever Sake ( Japanese rice wine )  is sold in Japan ...
 Vietnamese girls I met in Tokyo ..
 This is my system for making coffee the past year.. it is simple, yet it makes a great cup of drip coffee.
 Tokyo subway system can eat off the floor or sidewalks its so clean !!
One final pic of me in Pakistan .. While in the country Chase Bank stopped my ability to bank online. I needed an American to notarize where I was.. The only way to find an American notary was to travel to the US embassy in Islamabad.. Surprised by my showing up on a motorcycle , embassy workers were soon snapping photos and uploading to face Book... A frustrating and also fun experience.
Don't say it cannot be done, I have been very blessed to do, and go to,  many of the places I have and thank God every day for my safety and well being . Love Garth