Sunday, 31 October 2010

Thailand, Malaysia and off to be the wild man from Borneo!

So flying into Thailand was something I didnt really want to do. But from India and Nepal, these days there is no way out unless you fly or you sail. The great dream for overlander's these days lays only as a dream . To all ye old hippies who did it in the past, I hope you enjoyed every bit of it while it lasted. On the positive note though, I flew from Kathmandu into Bangkok. It was actually a good feeling to get into the subtropical zone of the globe. Kao Sok Road is something to really be missed as well, but if you like drinking beer and getting some young Asian gals or if you prefer "ladyboys'', this is your place. I spent 2 days here, I stayed at a cool little guest house called the Apple, quite nice and some great travelers here too. I then headed south on the overnight train to Chaiya, (the Thai's only recognise this town if you call it Ahhh, Chaiyaaaaaa) with some Austrian friends I made, we drank beer and drew pictures and hung our body's out of the windows in the moonlight of the 3rd class carriage where there were only a couple of locals riding in our carriage. 3rd class tickets are cheapest and best, you can even take the seat off of the chair and lay it on the floor across the aisle way if you fancy a comfortable sleep.

So the story goes, I was headed to Chaiya to give a 10 day meditation retreat a go, they call it Vipassana. 10 days of learning and practicing meditation with no speaking, 2 meals a day, a natural hotspring and a bamboo mat and a wooden pillow to sleep on. Wow what an experience this was, on so many levels im so happy to have sustained to 10 days and experience what I did experience. At the end of the 10 days, as hard as it was at times, I even got up at the talking circle on the last night and spoke to everyone of my story and experiences. Ive never felt this kind of happiness within my self before, along with mindfulness, trueness and overall wholesomeness and well-being. It was a great experience and Ill be sure to support and talk to anyone who is remotely interested in doing such a thing. Its a great insight into Buddhism too.

After we were all allowed to speak on the 11th day, I had no idea what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go. On the main road waited people from the retreat to catch the bus further south to Krabi, the majority, 6 or 7 of them were keen for a cool place to chill, maybe party a wee bit and hav good times. I thought I wanted to go North and experience the trip of the Mekong River, but I learnt so much about life and its impermance on the meditation, that when the bus stopped on the highway I jumped on and headed south. This was quite a difficult thing for me, I felt so stranded, it was as if my compass kept spinning around in circles on the map, but I knew I was in great hands. So the next couple of days on Railegh beach and Tonsai were some of the best chilling days Ive had for .... well probably since Nepal or in Shrinigar on the Houseboat.

6 days of greatness, with Sanne (Sunearth) , Dev (Old man river) , Melody (Creative goose) , Ti Shan (Friend Chinese), Ersin (Crazy Turkey) and David the Dreaded monkey, all we pretty much did was go for swims, go for a trek, eat, chat, eat again and by 2 pm we'd meet on the beach have a great picnic, play guitar, the melodica, sing, draw, chat, do some bouldering and climbing, maybe go for a swim again and keep the chai tea brewing consistently. Ahh the good days!!!!!

Well they did continue, as everyone parted and went their separate ways, Sanne and I decided to join forces. Completely spontaneously we had some Ideas and well, the bus was expensive so we hired a scooter, saddled up with my Afghani donkey sack, got the tent and the cooker and hit the road. Wow it was an awesome adventure, and a camping vibe ive never hit before. Camping in and under dwellings, the best one was in a buddist temple which was inside a cave. The monk told us to sleep there, so we did, we also slept under the roofs of places like a reggae bar and the huts in the palm oil plantations. The good times.

We then headed to Malaysia, to Georgetown, Penang. Where coincidentally we timed it right to meet up agin with Dev and Melody, hiring scooters again and exploring the realms of the national parks and sites and ohh the most amazing sunsets. Then (Im cutting it really short now) to Kuala Lumpa and staying at La Village, its like an old squat, some amazing travelers and a working creative hub for people on the move. Sanne and I sadly then went our separate ways, Sanne to go to the North of India and myself to Borneo.

Sorry for not writing and catching up on the blog for my reader, im a slack ass for sure on this thing, but when you travel and live so much in the present you tend to stay away from places with the tinternet.

Much Love and when I return home one day, ill do something a little bit better, maybe even write a song or two and or post up some drawings..... just wait how about re reading and then translating my bad writing into English.

Much happiness to you all.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Leh in the Himalayas

Caught in the crazy floods in Leh and surrounding villages, last few days we have been helping clear the local houses and infrastructure of mud, so many people died up here, we were camping in the tent the night the storm burst its buttons, we were forced to pack our stuff and head for higher ground. we camped the next 5 days in the back of a truck as the bridges had been washed out either side of us. the chaos hit Leh and only the hard core travelers stayed to help out with the clean up. Amazing time, but now while we help we wait till the road to Srinagar is open. Nicci C has headed south but Brould it stayed on!!! The moon riders have some new members to join the crew and a German on my Africa twin! I'm loving this traveling and crazy adventures, ill extend my visa soon to get an extra 15 days to cross the Himalayas to Nepal. Were all safe and happy and look forward to more wild adventures ahead. Much love!!!

Monday, 2 August 2010

A slice of death

Wow, absolutely incredible, North India definitely is a place one must go to in their lives. We have made it to Leh crossing some of the highest passes in the world, and what a crazy adventure it has been, Nick and Brould have been chucked right in the deep end learning how to ride in the Himalayas on some of the craziest roads Ive ever been on. The passes, landslides, river crossings, mud baths and old enfields traversing across this landscape has been more than mission, but in India anything is possible. The Himalayas are mind blowing and as of tomorrow we get our permits to get up into the Nubra Valley. I just had breakfast with the world record holder for reaching the highest point on land on his motorbike, he also has a record for riding his bike from the very south of India to Leh in 5 days. his a gun and creates such amazing doco's for National Geographic and so on. A true adventurer!!! Apart from the never ending running bowls we all survived the ride with little damage but the ignition coil on one of the bikes failed due to a fall in a river crossing. Im not going to go into the nitty gritty of the many stories along the way because certain people will kill me, but its all good fun and all part of the experience.

I'm starting to think where to from India as my visa runs out on the 22 of August, but an idea is to now head across the Himalayas by foot, hitching or riding on local buses (getting rid of all my motorbike gear) to the Garwhal areas and Kumaon region and then across to Varanasi, then noth into Nepal, get into Tibet and cross China, then to find the Mekong River and get a local canoe and ride the river vibes all the way down South East Asia to Cambodia. A little research to do but ill just let it happen organically.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Incredible India

Just a brief catch up to let those who care know that im out of Afghanistan in one piece and super happy to be in India.

Wow right now I have the Himalaya's just outside my window, they are monstrous and so beautiful. They have this presence that with such power and awe. Im in a place called Manali right now and today is the exciting day where we go out and get ourselves a good deal to rent some enfields. Its a bit of a hassle and the paperwork and prices up here are all a bit to dodgy. Renting is the best option to head down to Paravati Valley and then up to Leh and across the highest motorable pass in the world. This is going to be one hell of an amazing experience and I cant wait to get out there.

Joining the team... I met Nick, Brould (Lochi) in Delhi at the airport. Man it was so good to see nick again, was almost to years since ive seen him. I snuck into they're fantastic hotel room and lived up like royalty for two nights with an enormously delicious buffet breakfast. Wow Dehli's something else.... After a a couple of days of sussing out the Indian vibe on the surface and getting to know the people, money and how everything interacts and functions, we decided not to get motorbikes in Delhi as for first time learning for Nick and Brould, its probably no the wisest decision.

We bought a nigh bus ticket for Manali and it was time to get out of the extremely humid city which is quite chaotic and crazy. Catching public transport now is great, you get such a different feel and quite intimately getting to know local as you share and swim in each others sweat. Some great experiences in Dehli.

So the bus ride was a killer and especially for Nick, he caught the "Dehli Belly" as they call it and got so sick. I luckily had a beautiful Amsterdam woman called Q sit next to me on the bus, we had great conversations all night. She really loved the idea of what our plan was and she wants to learn how to ride a motorbike too, so she will join me on the back for a week before she has to head back home. Im hoping ill be able to enjoy the back seat ride for the first time as im sure she will learn how to ride pretty quickly... well i hope so.

Nick has picked up from his sickness and his appetite has grown greatly, we'll just have to take it easy and sooth the belly's with slippery elm. I got sick from some Afghan water but slowly slowly everyday my bowels are getting better and better!

So the mission is on today to get the bikes, to tech 3 people how to ride, pack the bikes and head off... Thats the idea anyway, I dont know how far we will get....

So Im out of beautiful Afghanistan in one piece and in Incredible India. I could stay here for months I think.

Much Love to ye all

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Its a sad day for me and my dragonfly

So with the little choice I have and the expense of other options like shipping and flying my motorbike with money I don't have to India. I have found an Afghani to buy my Dragonfly and then I shall now fly from Herat to Kabul and then Kabul to India. Hopefully with the cash I get I can afford to buy an old Enfield and join the great Mr Cassey and continue the wild adventures of this overland travel experience in India.

Afghanistan is amazing, I am having such a good time, apart from not being able to head into the Mountains due to the Taliban or even traveling out of Herat. But the people and their smiles and curiosity and hospitality is great. We are camped in a dust bowl on the river south of Herat, its a great spot apart from the winds which constantly cover everything in dust and sand. We have the Spanish Military looking after us too and they are trying to find out all options possible to get the Spanish crew out of Afghanistan.

Every now and then you hear a bomb blast or some firring but we are pretty safe here. However its time to leave as you never know who is and where the Taliban are. Its been a fantastic experience here but in a day or two I fly to Delhi. I'm really looking forward to it.

I hope I haven't worried to many people about entering Afghanistan, I'm kind of happy they didn't let us into Pakistan, because where I wanted to go I could have easily have disappeared. Afghanistan is actually safer that Pakistan right now and all the boarders.... who knows what could have happened.

So I'm safe and well but its sad to part with my dragonfly.... very sad, I may have a wee cry now but to be honest its not the materialistic connection, its all the travels we have shared together and great experiences we have shared.

Farewell my dragonfly..... I'm going to miss you.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Blowing in the dust of the 16th century

Ok Afghanistan is very interesting and very amazing at the same time. Were back in the 16th century but the heart of Herat is a pearl. Pakistan visa in Afghanistan is still impossible to obtain. Tomorrow we risk crossing Taliban country from Herat to Kabul. There are three choices but really only one. And still that one road to the south passes through the homelands of the Taliban's capital Qandahar. The other two routs take two to three weeks to cross as the roads are gravel and cross the monstrous arid mountain ranges where alot of the Taliban rule in certain areas. We spoke to Spanish Military yesterday for up to date info. Its all very interesting and quite crazy, and very hot and dusty. I hope we live to tell the tail. Much love.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Afganistan ......

So its been impossible to get my Pakistan visa from Iran, Iran has been great but the desert and the hot winds blow alot of energy out of you. Changing a tyre in the heat of the sun costs your body about 3 liters of that very precious stuff were full of... water! Its crazy, but traveling with these new Spanish friends and their 4WD truck is great, we now enter Afghanistan and try to get into Pakistan from that way. Its proving to be a mission but we all want to get there, well especially in the north and away from the troubled regions. So now Amparlo, Davod, Husain, Manu and I travel further east from Mushad in Iran and enter the lands of Afghanistan. We are all trying our best to get across as safe as possible and have done and are doing research into the no go areas. It'll be ok, im a little nervous but I feel quite excited at the same time. We enter on Monday.

Ill try and keep in contact as much as possible.

Much love to ye all!!!
Marty and the Dragonfly