Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas . I hope this finds everyone in good health and enjoying your breaks from work and...
Since returning from Vietnam, back to Cambodia I have done little .. Time on the beach, going to the gym, hanging out with other travelers over cheep beer, and reading..
I have made a little progress in finding a tutor to try and teach me French, or at least a few more words than I now know. If possible I will extend my Cambodian visa and see if learning a new language at my age is even possible ?
Speaking on Skype with my friend Sebastien's wife in Cameroon last week, he said we did great. His wife cannot really speak English and my little French, yet we both communicated just fine. It gives me hope ! Online teaching seems to be the way its done, but my attention span is limited to about 3 minutes .. so maybe a tutor will help.
The BMW has a few new parts including a USED stator from a Honda :( .. With about 70,000 miles ) it seems to make more trips for repairs than I would like, but I remain happy its not in the back of a truck and moving under its own power.
Typical motorcycle shop in Cambodia .
Things are changing fast here, from development , Chinese investment, and imports.. The closer I look, the more I see the changes ..
It has crossed my mind , how near new cars, motorcycles, and ? get here . These Harleys all have California plates and sell for the same as they do in the USA. So when the time comes for a new ride I should have more than a few options to chose from .. I can say it will not be a Harley ..
One of my favorite finds was a store that has a good selection of coffee, including Panera Bread, Starbucks, and other quality brands all very good !!
The development is probably what blows me away the most . There is a small island called : Koh Pich or Diamond Island in English. Its in the capital city Phnom Penh .. 1.9 billion in investment in 2013 alone.. mostly Chinese. I cannot take photos to show what such investment looks like to the eyes, but it is massive. !!
Tower cranes are everywhere .. in the next few years things will look a lot different . One $700 million residential project 2 x 28 stories buildings and 3 taller 38 stories buildings with the 3 taller buildings connected at the TOP with a 200 meter long swimming pool !! all for a small price of $1,800 a square meter..
The Country is really interesting in its diversity . Buddhist , with a western culture , calm and still very much on the move..
Imagine thousands on small motorcycles all navigating streets originally built long before a middle class of Cambodians had money for motorcycles. Now kids as young as 8 are seen riding the crowded streets on motorbikes.. Crashes are common and just a part of daily life. Two bikes may crash into each other , they get up, check for injuries and damages, smile at each other and just ride on.
While waiting outside a shop one day my motorcycle was parked and a kid just smashed into the back of it. It sent him a wake up call, and my bike down on its side. He gets up, checks himself for injuries, and takes off. I met him later and asked for an apology. The BMW was fine.. It gives a whole new meaning to the tee shirts : My Friend You Must RELAX .
If getting a few French lessons is a problem, I will make plans to travel Laos in January . Chat soon , Garth

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Mekong Delta

Its been a great experience roaming the maze of rivers, waterways, islands, bridges ,  throughout the Mekong delta of Vietnam.. Boats get things done, as they move just about everything any transport truck will move.
I did leave the motorcycle in Cambodia, but can now say that travel on a motorcycle in Vietnam would have been easier than India !! Ho Chi Minh City ( Saigon ) is a busy city where I was happy to relax on the back of motorcycles rather than navigate on my own.
Deck from my hotel room .

Women seem to be in charge in Vietnam .

Buying cabbage at the floating market .

Soup for breakfast !

 Making Rice noodles .
 Water Taxi .
Can Tho , Vietnam

The waterways of the delta were very interesting. Seeing how everyone lives with so much water around them I often though about Sudan :) . Such a contrast the delta and the desert . Sudan how so many people can survive without water, and in the delta surviving with water everywhere.. I love the extremes of Sudan .. not sure why , maybe because we need water to survive and in Sudan its only the few who can.
The visit to Vietnam is not complete. I have a multipole entry visa so as I travel north in Cambodia, and Laos I plan to visit again .. Vietnamese coffee is great :) !

Many early mornings,  5 am , you will see locals in the parks exercising , followed by sleepy afternoons. Things come alive late every afternoon as the midday heat passes.
Night markets are filled with locals shopping , while drinking Ice Coffee, and even more exercising in the parks ..  

Monday, 16 November 2015


Roaming, not a word we often use in the USA , but it seems to be just what I am doing again ! I love Roaming... its only been a few short weeks since I left Issaquah and I have settled into things just great.. Yes the BMW sounds like a tractor :( and I had a flat tire after 200 miles on my new tires.. but I will roam closer to services so when the last mile does come on the motorcycle I can always decide on more money spent, or spend even more and buy a new motorcycle.

I can honestly say I have not been doing a whole lot .. unless chilling out on a beach reading a book counts for much.. then I have been very busy.. ! The idea of riding into Vietnam with my motorcycle has passed .. It seems to be just to much of a risk to have a foreign bike in the country.. Over 11,000 people die of motorcycle accidents each year in Vietnam and over 30,000 serious motorcycle injuries .. Bribing a border agent can be done, but I decided to just do as most others do and get in a boat, or hire a driver .. and go..
The Vietnam Consulate in Sihanoukville said come back tomorrow for the visa ! fast and easy .. love it..

Now I am in Cambodia , Otres Beach .. its far enough away from any big activity, and still close enough to meet other over landers ..Parked on the beach is Sten & his wife who traveled just as extensively as I have. They have a interest in the Silk Road also, and do a much better job of blogging than I do .. check it out at : They are also better at photography !

Every trip starts and ends different than the last. January 2011 when I first left Germany thru West Africa I was studying paper maps and looking for a cyber cafĂ© to read emails ... The motorcycle was loaded with everything I could imagine....
What 60,000 miles have taught me .. HA .. I now carry a spare regulator, spare fuel pump, spare rectifier, fork seals, . a cell phone with unlimited data, Pandora , texting , ( T Mobile ) . No need for Garmin when there are awesome apps like : .. Swiss Mountaineering cloths from  FJALL Raven are also a big improvement .. from the expensive, heavy,  BMW gear..

Last week I met MR Sary here in Cambodia.. he was shocked to see the Washington State plate on the bike.. he also has a home in Bellevue WA.. who knows he may help me see that what I need is a home in Cambodia.. I did like his cell phone with 4 sim cards.. and may add one to my bucket list of improvements for Over Land travel.. There is also a trip planned to the Phnom Penh Airport where Cambodia has its first Star Bucks !! I usually stock up on beans when I get the chance.

I made a visit to the Museum of Labor ! soon followed by beer and a burger.. that will end any thoughts of work for the rest of the year !

Home in Issaquah seems to be evolving every time I return from a trip.. Unfortunately I did not spend time with old friends on motorcycle trips around the Seattle area,, Sorry guys !! I love Seattle, just tired of the same repeat rides .. The beer stops and hanging out are still the best part ..
Lots of new and old visitors to Seattle this year, thank you for your friendship !! 

I did get to meet new friends thru Elvis Munis and his time with Earth Corps .. There are 10 internationals in Seattle thru December. One man is Tsering, he is the son of a Sherpa from Nepal , and one of the first graduates from the Sherpa Education Fund / via Outside Magazine !
His home town is called Thamo , which was unfortunately  hit hard in Aprils Earthquake.
Tsering's parents have been living under a blue tarp since the April Earthquake and are desperate for proper shelter.

To learn more about Tsering Tenzing Sherpa do a simple search with his name and Outside Magazine.

The US department of State has extended his visa to stay in the USA a year past his intended December departure. The extension is to aid Nepal victims , it is now his hope to find a job, place to live and send money to his parents to rebuild .
The reason I blog about Tsering is he is a friend , I can only aid so much and ask others if they can assist to help. He has a go fund me page, as well he is looking for a job in the Seattle area.. Posting to your Facebook pages HELPS !! a job, or direct aid will help. Email me for his cell number if needed, or if you just want to meet him and hear his story .. He is a very interesting man who will leave you thinking wow..
Go fund me :   or type in gofundme and his name Tsering Tenzing Sherpa
Help Rebuild my home in Nepal


Sorry Blogger Photo uploading is a mess at the moment .. Coming soon..
Garth Anton

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

el mundo safaris

Life is Good .. LG .. I have been back in the USA for 100 days.. and YES I am looking at maps again, dreaming and planning.... What's next ? well the BMW is still collecting dust in Cambodia so  until then..

A good friend Elvis Munis from Tanzania is back in Seattle staying busy with Earth Corps. Hs web site is and why do I mention this .. hmmmm Well there seems to be a magnetic field pulling me back to Africa .. This time I will tour the DRC Congo by River Barge .. It will be a guided expedition with approximately 4other guests,  a cook, porters, guides, a river barge, captain, and crew to travel the mighty Congo River. The web site gives a better breakdown of the trip , so please check it out and pass it along to others to help spread the word. I usually travel solo more independent , but costs just make doing this as a group more sensible .. Getting people to stop working and start living is a challenge , but as soon as that happens look for a blog post from the DRC Congo.

SIFF Seattle International Film Festival just ended 25 days in the dark with some great films , my favorite was : The Boda Boda Thieves .. filmed in Kampala ( Uganda ) a low budget film that did a great job of showing the challenges of the youth in urban African Cities .. Check it out if looking for a break from your computers .. and a visit to Uganda .
 The Spirit of Africa .. Owuor Obi Otieno Arunga is a great Jazz trumpeter living in Seattle , preformed at One Vibe Africa helping bring support to the needs of children in his native Kenya.
 When I visited Canada I took a drive past my old high school in Regina , Martin Collegiate Institute
 5 years into retirement has been hard on me physically .. I am going to blame it on the motorcycle :( and buy a hat !! Love you Garth

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

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Asian Drivers

Asian Drivers : I have become one :) ! Don't laugh, its not a skill, it is a survival instinct. To survive they stay in the group, that extends to heavy traffic. Pull out into the traffic and don't look back , your part of the group. Most motorcycles do not have mirrors, and very often cars turn there mirrors in and never use them. Why would you use a mirror , your in the group. ? The culture is way to polite to honk there horns, so bad driving is never recognized , unlike western road rage, letting drivers know they did something stupid.
 Left hand turns across several lanes of oncoming traffic are accomplished by slowly driving into oncoming traffic, one lane at a time. The oncoming traffic will swerve around you as long as they can, until eventually it has to stop. If you did look back into a mirror you would see that others have joined your group to make a left across several lanes of traffic you brought to a stop. I could very easily be the first one thru any intersection when a light turns green , but I wait , staying with the group , and never sure how big the group of traffic running the red light is , I avoid being part of any accident.
I find pockets of tourists are scattered around most countries, as they follow there guide books. Forty years later, tourism is still flocking to the genocide sites of Cambodia. Cambodians would love forget this past, and have the rest of the world see the country as it stands today. The architecture , universities, a young, fast growing middle class. I see I-Phones in the hands of those working long days, and everyone seems to have a motorcycle, or scooter.
Unable to fill the demand for construction workers , Thailand uses eager workers from Myanmar who work long days , every day, and put up buildings at incredible speed compared to western standards.
English teaching schools are everywhere , as well as shopping malls that have everything from cosmetic surgeons ,  teeth whitening, skin whitening, shops with the newest electronics, latest fashions, and movies. Students fill coffee shops bringing their I pads to staying connected, while sipping expensive tea... 
I have broken my New Years resolution to stop exercising :) ..Staying at a 4* hotel with a good gym,  I stood on a scale... 170 pounds / 77 kilo's :( down from the 188 pounds when I left Seattle last year. The Asian diet is healthy compared to western , so maybe I will just let weight be what ever it is and just stay focused on putting on some more muscle and getting in the gym more often.

There is still a lot for me to see and visit, but it will have to wait. Vietnam, Bhutan, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, East Timor are still on my radar.. but its at least another year and will have to wait until I return from the USA. I miss my bed, rain, cloudy days, friends, and family. I did meet an Australian travelling SE Asia on his motorcycle. he modified a carrier to take his surf board with him . He loved SE Asia, spent a year with his surf board, now headed towards India.  I can see that its going to take some time to properly see these countries...
Chinese New Year ..

Many parks have these open gyms the public uses. In the early evening they are busy, as well as large groups in the parks doing aerobic exercise to loud music. " always groups "  

Country life , farmers homes are kept above seasonal floods waters. It reminded me of parts of Africa where the kids stopped what they were doing at the sound of the motorcycle and came running to see what was going on.

Travel along the Mekong River is common between Vietnam, and Cambodia.

There are small and large temples everywhere. Homes , businesses , all have a temple where daily offerings are placed. I see everything placed in front from a cup of coffee, to cigarettes .

Cambodia hosted an international bicycle race , held at night businesses closed early.