Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Road Ahead

Its been a week now that we have sat in Djibouti, everyday making the unenthusiastic trip to the Yemeni Embassy to ask if the Visa stickers have arrived from Yemen, knowing that the answer will always be “No”………now we are starting to think that they are just making excuses up, but that’s been the pessimist I suppose!

Its given me a chance to research about the journey ahead or should I say the logistical nightmare that awaits and given the current frustration of waiting in Hell on Earth the spirits are taking a battering, oh and plus Hotel British Consulate came to an end, we are homeless in the most expensive African City I have encountered, great!

I have been trying to find a way into China for some time now, of course I can go, anybody can go as a tourist but when one wishes to ride his own motorbike through China it becomes impossible, I was in contact with an agent who was arranging what was needed to enter China but I forgot a very minor but major detail that only came to light after about 2-3 emails back and forth, the fact that it’s a motorbike, then the last email from the agent was saying if it was a car, truck, van, anything but a motorbike it would be possible but it is impossible with a motorbike, should of told him it was the mother ship, then he may have understood. So that’s one hurdle of considerable height I have to get over, my options are to try and team up with other travelers in 4WD’s and go in with them, now this the agent says is OK its just a solo motorbike is the problem, but to find other people in Mongolia wanting to go my direction I think is trying to find a needle in a needle stack!!! The other option is to try and cross the Stead into China illegally by means of what is called the ‘Truck Method’ this is were I find a Mongol and his truck, load the Stead onto the truck, we all cross the border together, I stamp in of course and we drive into China a ways, unload the Stead and Bon Voyage, cross China shitting myself every time I see a cop or customs official! And to exit well I am open to ideas….anyone??? Sitting here in Djibouti I am all for the later idea but time will tell and first there are other quite large hurdles to jump before I get that far.

And they come in the form of the Stans, what an expensive paper trail it may turn out to be, these are Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and finally Kazakhstan, yes the home of Borat! There is a detour to go around them but it would involve about 5000 k’s, also this area of central Asia is said to be beautiful and I do want to visit here. The problems are all the visas require Letters of Invitation to the countries and therefor waiting time for these "letters", which could mean waiting time in some very non desirable cities. But first there’s Iran as well and I am yet to get a visa for there and at the moment the man himself George W is touring the Arab countries trying to pick a fight with Iran, that’s how I see it anyway, that’s the last thing I need Mr. W. bloody hell!!

Its a funny thing, people ask “how does one plan for such a thing to ride a motorbike around the world?”, well I didn’t it just happens, just like you plan a weekend trip away that’s what I do, bit by bit its just one plan after another and although I have all these obstacles in my way they will all be over come in time one way or another, the further I go the more I will learn and solve each dilemma as it comes, I hope anyway, after all it is an adventure. But one thing is for sure and that is in the next 6-8 months it takes me to reach Australia its going to be quite the challenge and there are many factors that have to go my way so I can make it.

First lets get the hell out of Djibouti, after a call to the Djibouti Port today the word is Saturday, there is a cargo ship leaving this Saturday so that allows three days for the visas to arrive, but Friday is the Islamic day off so really two days, so stay tuned everyone and enjoy the ride I think its only going to get more interesting.