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Old 06-08-2012, 10:31 PM   #91
DesertSweeper OP
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Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
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Rewards

At around 1am with fresh rubber adorning the bikes I feel a few swifties at the bar are in order and so we join the rag-tag group of travellers always present there to imbibe the golden liquid.

At around 3am the barman has locked up the booze so Brian casually mentions he has a stash of bootleg-booze that came in with the tyres. Eyes light up and so off he goes returning with the booty…

At around 5am things are in full swing…

We all stagger off to bed as the sun comes up


A Mabuya Bar patron sleeping off his excess and your writer in excess
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Old 06-08-2012, 10:35 PM   #92
team ftb
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Originally Posted by DesertSweeper View Post
Hey team ftb! Yup we are planning a trip in late November from Siem Reap through Bangkok to Burma – one to watch!

Ms Babylon certainly beats your average SEA’s fried eggs (as one once put it to me)

English is well represented in these parts and has never been a problem. And so yes it’s away from the boobs and back on the bikes!! Malawi here we come!

Thanks for the encouragement good sir!
Not sure of what you have planned, but if you've got some time and enjoy offroading, the riding would be better if you went from Siem Reap north into Lao, then through Lao over to Burma than into Bangkok. Having said that, Bangkok has its attractions.



Fried eggs and all.


If you need some tracks through the Cardomom mountains in Cambodia or a fun stretch north of Siem Reap, let me know.



The Cardomoms are a lovely bit of unspoiled area in the southeast of Cambodia that is still fairly remote but the Chinese are pushing roads through pretty quick.

Again lovng your report.
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Team "Fingering The Bean"

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Old 06-08-2012, 10:38 PM   #93
team ftb
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Originally Posted by tremor38 View Post
Hey Justin, how ya going? What are you riding these days. No more KLX I take it?

Hey there Tremor,

Rode the KLX for a few years until the thoughts of my old motocrss bikes invaded the brain and I tracked down a KTM. Been on that for a few years now. Hope you are well and keep in touch via PM.
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:52 AM   #94
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Mabuya magic


Post tyre-changing mayhem

We wake up a few hours later with humming heads. Brian is itching to move on but a combination of a hammered head and the prospect of a long haul down to Lake Malawi with that hammered head is not appealing to me. I go all academic on him and explain that it makes more sense to stay another day and sort out pending issues like dead batteries and my bike that is beginning to exhibit symptoms of the old “difficult to start again” plague. He tells me to piss off and get ready to ride. I am reduced to begging and pleading which eventually works so I go back to bed for an hour or two to correct the hammering inside my delicate head. He sulks a bit and then goes off to repair his brand new Berik boots yet again. They started disintegrating from several days into the journey and require a daily dose of duct-tape.



Brian's handiwork

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Old 06-10-2012, 09:22 AM   #95
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Lake Malawi and the Malaria Malarky

I wake up a little later and start lazily servicing the bikes. Oil change, filters and the usual. I send the security guard off with the batteries to get them charged up for emergencies and the odd road-block indicators/horn test. We are still running on the dodgy Ricky Stators that popped the Ricky Regulators back on day one so the batteries are dead by now. The best way to service a bike is with beer Brian assures me and so we drink and sort and drink and the afternoon blends into the evening that blends into the bar and another crazy African beer session. We manage somehow to pull ourselves away by around 3am and crash into bed. Dawn sees us packing furiously as we must catch up another day now. But our batteries are nowhere to be seen. Tom says the security guard in question is off today. Good old African time… He manages to get him on the phone and he eventually arrives late in the morning. Brian’s posh expensive lithium battery is now round – overcharged and destroyed. Mine is good so I put it in his bike to help with his kick-starting issues. Batteries in and we are off. Instead of heading east to the lake we push north to Sangilo Sanctuary where my Gore-Tex rain-liner is hopefully still waiting after I left it there last year on the way down. I notice I am not feeling so good and as the miles roll by I get worse and worse. All the classic symptoms of malaria are popping up. We finally arrive at the sanctuary as dusk falls and greet Mark and Mia down at the stone pub on the beach where I collapse in a heap of un-wellness.


Brian snaps a pic of the lake from above
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Old 06-10-2012, 01:56 PM   #96
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Perfect blend of photos and text. Thanks for a nice report :-)
Ride safe and enjoy the African life! Have spent some months in Tanzania and really liked it. Reading this sends me back..

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Old 06-10-2012, 02:13 PM   #97
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Lake Sunrise

Brian and i have different moments at sunrise, he says I am somber and moody


My sunrise pic - somber and moody



Brian's sunrise pic - chocolate box and full of hope

The next morning I feel better but knowing that Malaria symptoms come and go I ride on over to the clinic at Chilumba, where Mia happens to be the star Doctor of the show, to do a Malaria test. She pricks my finger and puts a drop of blood into the test kit and then leaves me to wait for the 15 minutes to truth. The results tell me I am clean – a false alarm…


One stripe - I am not pregnant it seems
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Old 06-10-2012, 02:18 PM   #98
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Memories

Quote:
Originally Posted by BushCaptain View Post
Perfect blend of photos and text. Thanks for a nice report :-)
Ride safe and enjoy the African life! Have spent some months in Tanzania and really liked it. Reading this sends me back..

Hey BushCaptain...thanks for the encouragement and stay tuned for Tanzania!
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Old 06-11-2012, 04:24 AM   #99
Osadabwa
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Talking Bootzy

Tell Mr. Blian to consider picking up some mpira at any duka inside the TZ border (or Malawi, they'd probably call in regeni or legeni depending on the L-R switchiness of the guy you ask)... we've had some similar boot issues solved with the stuff. If you use enough of it, it acts like an ankle brace which might come in handy when you get to the sandy bits of the TZ tracks ahead! (Note: also an effective tourniquet... use with caution or you may lose your toes.)


Above: Mpira usage suggestion #53: MX Boot Repair and Ankle Support

Enjoying the report. Keep on!
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:28 AM   #100
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Originally Posted by Osadabwa View Post
Tell Mr. Blian to consider picking up some mpira at any duka inside the TZ border (or Malawi, they'd probably call in regeni or legeni depending on the L-R switchiness of the guy you ask)... we've had some similar boot issues solved with the stuff. If you use enough of it, it acts like an ankle brace which might come in handy when you get to the sandy bits of the TZ tracks ahead! (Note: also an effective tourniquet... use with caution or you may lose your toes.)


Above: Mpira usage suggestion #53: MX Boot Repair and Ankle Support

Enjoying the report. Keep on!
Haha indeed but I am hoping he will abandon the boots entirely and adopt some bizarre local foot garb so I can get some decent pics…but thanks for the tip Osadabwa. Am sorry we will not be catching up on this one….
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:54 AM   #101
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Tanzania here we come

I head back to Sangilo to pack so we can cruise North for the border and Tanzania. On the way back I find this little fellow ambling over the track. As I approach he withdraws his extremities and steadfastly pretends not to be there at all. Eventually after remaining still for some time he pokes his bits out and waddles off into the bushes.



Back at Sangilo we pack and say our farewells to Mark and his team, and a special thanks for looking after my Gore-Tex liner for a whole year. I am now ready to face the rain that is apparently still blessing Tanzania and Uganda well after it should be.


The bar at Sangilo with proprietor Mark in attendance - pic by Brian

We almost make it to the border on our Zambian fuel but are forced to buy about a gallon each from the ubiquitous sellers on the side of the road that keep trucks and cars going in the backwaters of Africa. The crossing into Tanzania is quick and painless with the usual absurd black-market rates prevalent at the borders. The scenery changes again and we stop for a new-country celebratory refreshment at the aptly named “Mzungu Pub” (White’s Bar).


The lonely Mzungu Bar between the Malawian border and Mbeya in Tanzania


A passing mother and child

Rainclouds are moving in as we ride through the tea-plantations towards Mbeya. In my mind is the joint experience Brian and I had on this very road last year coming in the opposite direction where we both hit a patch of diesel in the rain and did a slow freaky slide-dance. Fortunately then as now no harm comes our way and we get to Mbeya with only a thorough soaking.


Brian always had aspirations to be a glow worm
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Old 06-12-2012, 12:04 AM   #102
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Mbeya Stockholm

Coming in to Mbeya you start to see these human powered carts. They balance them almost perfectly so that they can sort of skip-run and it’s not uncommon for them to be completely barefoot. They carry an extraordinary array of items and people and I have watched them spend ages get the balance just right so they can speed along and do what they do.



Last year we stayed at the luxurious Utengule coffee plantation lodge in Mbeya but now we opt for the vastly cheaper and euphemistically named “Stockholm” hotel with a garish tiger and elephant statue over the entrance that is run by a wired looking character.


The boss-man

It really is an odd place and could easily provide the setting for a Fellini movie. When we ask what is available for dinner they proffer the lengthy detailed menu – as is common in any food spot in Africa. Being wise to the fact that they usually don’t have much if anything on the menu we ask which items they DO have. This causes panic as it turns out they don’t have any food at all. Brian says he is happy with beer (surprisingly). They can organise “chicken and chips” which is where 99 percent of food spots land up going in the end. A “chef” (along with a chicken) is brought in to prepare our dinner. We polish off a beer to the sounds of chicken-murder being committed in the kitchen next door.


The glow-worm enters Sweden’s finest
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:20 AM   #103
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West we go


Tanzania and our proposed route

After a few more beers and an oil change for the bikes we retire for the night. An hour later I hear a commotion from a room nearby. It sounds like a small revolution is under way. After half-an-hour or so it goes quiet again. Turns out a swarm of bees decided to fly through the open window and into Brian’s room to start a new colony. He laid into them with some vigour hence the noise. Fortunately he was not stung and consequently still lives to tell of his heroic near-last stand.

The next morning we ride through Mbeya and take the road South West to the border town of Tunduma. It’s not long before we encounter our first truck accident. It’s just happened and the driver is wandering around in a daze trying to figure out what happened. He has gone off the road with his wide-articulated-extra-heavy-duty flat-bed and through a huge ditch. The massive steam-roller (as we used to call them) somehow stayed on the back through this escapade but landed up almost killing him as its momentum carried it forward and into the front cabin.


Good luck with recovering that...


Brian liked the driver's pink shirt...
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:46 AM   #104
Osadabwa
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Laugh Good lord...

Never ceases to amaze me. If there's a way to crash, African truck drivers will find it. They're a special group... though this one looks like he narrowly escaped being a Darwinian loser.
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:22 PM   #105
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Tunduma is a strange town. The road coming in from Mbeya narrows down and seems to literally touch the Zambian northern border. In fact the GPS shows you as being inside Zambia at one point. Trucks and cars jostle to get through what must be the longest traffic jam I have ever seen. It starts at the start of the town and ends at the end. A complete impasse. Were we not on bikes and able to ride along the narrow treacherous sidewalk we would still be there. But we are thankfully on the far side of town just before the exit and have stopped to sooth our frayed nerves. This involves beer and a banana apparently. Brian’s light switch has disintegrated so I walk along the crazy rag-tag shops and manage to find a new one. Made in China of course.


Tusker...Brian says it gives him acid guts so he only drinks one at a time


And a banana relieves the acidity so he can drink two at a time

The Chinese are aggressively conquering Africa and the rest of the world stands by idly watching the show. Their strategy seems to be twofold: colonise and rape the minerals in exchange for badly built roads and bribes. Maybe I am over simplifying but it certainly looks that way. They are either building a new road or repairing one they built last year. This part of Tanzania is no exception. They are pushing north with a bone-shaking bike-destroying effort and we are on it.


Your writer trying to look cool
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