Thailand . [part 2]

LONG WAY DOWN
(small hint to Ewan McGregor’s 2nd movie) 😉

We’ve been driving nearly 2500km the last 4 days. At high speed we drove from Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand down to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. Certainly compared to our laid-back travel speed since Laos (i.e. Oktober) we weren’t used to it anymore. Every day we drove on and on with one goal and one deadline in our minds: the shipment of our car.

Yes, the car has to get on a boat because it’s not possible to drive to India by land (thanks to Birma – aka Myanmar – that won’t let travellers drive through). And we’re bloody lucky! Because shipping a car isn’t a thing you just do spontaneously. It takes at least 2 – 3 weeks of preparations with lots of administration and little time left for fun things.
Fortunately in our case, we only had to arrive in time at the port to put the car on a boat to Chennai (India) two days later. That’s because of the lovely Swiss family we keep on meeting since Mongolia. They’re going to ship their little truck on a ‘flat rack’ and guess what – there’s some space left for our car! So we share the flat rack and the costs. But it is a strange idea that we’ll have to get in an airplane and wait for the car in India. Overlanders aren’t supposed to fly! 🙂

Before we left Chiang Mai, we had the feeling of endless amounts of time, and did a lot of things. The pictures below will tell most of the stories. However once we knew the car would be leaving for India on February 8th, a new feeling occurred to us. It was a strange and melancholic feeling of ‘the beginning of the end’ of the trip. (Luckily we still have 3 months left to get used to that feeling, hihi).

So that’s when you start looking back… There’s one thing we can tell for sure that makes this journey unforgettable. It’s the people we meet on the way. Almost every day there’s one of these highlights or ‘angels’ or something like that. Often they’re half-locals. That is, foreigners who live in Asia and have lots to tell about how that goes and on the other hand they speak ‘our language’. We often get along very well with these guys. And so it starts to get fun very soon and we decide to stay another day. And then another one and so on. As such, it already occurred several times that we stayed a whole week on a spot. We could tell so many stories about all these people. Too many for here. So here’s a selection:

Meopar – a former Thai boxer and now a trainer, where we had Muay Thai lessons during several days. Wouter liked it so much that he bought two pants and wants to go on training back in Holland. After our really last lesson, Meopar even cooked for us at his house. So kind!
By the way, we named our car after him. After 10 months on a world trip we finally gave our car a name. Meopar means ‘black panther’ in Thai. So that suits the new colour of our car. 😉

Uli (73 years) a doctor from Germany who took us on his motorbike to a clinic, where he works as an acupuncturist. It’s a semi-legal clinic for Burmese who can get treated in Thailand at a tiny price and return back to their country afterwards.
I’ve never met a person with such a life story before. And he told us it’s only a fraction of what he has to tell. When asked why he doesn’t write a book about it, Uli answered nobody would believe him anyway.

Roberto, a very nice and funny Italian. On day 2 we met him, it appeared that he’s been a cameraman for movies such as Avatar. He was in Mae Hong Son for a new movie and the next day we were allowed to visit the film set. That was a very cool experience. And of course we ended the day in a bar. 😉

Well, and now we’re in Malaysia, see barely anything of the country and are busy with shipping: getting the car washed to avoid paying a ridiculous price for disinfection at the Indian customs, getting the maximum cash amount out of the ATM to be able to pay the shipment, booking a hotel in India – not really easy thing to do, packing our stuff, etc. All very inspiring…. NOT.

Anyway, our car will get on the boat on Sunday, the boat will leave the port on Monday, we’ll fly to India on Tuesday and the car will arrive in Chennai on Saturday. We have no idea of what to expect on the other side of the ocean. But to be honest, we’re a little nervous about it.

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3 Comments

  • 1. sanda Sfintesco  |  February 10, 2010 at 19:28

    Les gens les commentaires ….tout ça c’est magnifique.
    Et puis Alex tu as répondu aux questions que je ne t’ai pas posées mais exactement celles que je voulais te poser sur votre retour (l’avion la voiture la vitesse etc..). jet’embrasse

  • 2. sanda Sfintesco  |  February 17, 2010 at 18:51

    We are on the 17th of february, and where are you located right now? Just to know.

  • 3. adrian  |  February 21, 2010 at 14:53

    see “map” – which is the most often updated item on the site…

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