What we thought of our trip
|We thought we would do a quick over view of our travels, just some thoughts on each country, we are now back home and missing life on the road.
Europe:- Mostly just like home, almost everywhere was clean and tidy, and genrally everything worked as it was supposed to. The best bits were cheap beer in Prague, a good social time in Lux, the stunning caves in Slovenia, Bratislava was better than expected and the time on the beach in Croatia. The bad bits, Serbia/kosovo and the money we spent getting through Europe. (Europe being Britians door mat, of course we will be going back to most of it in the future)
Turkey :- Great place, cheap, hot , friendly and genrally good. This is where the driving deteriorates, and the use of the horn starts to get on your nerves. (definatley worth another visit)
Syria :-The meditterean coast is a dirty grub hole as is Damascus really, but the old city was interesting, Hama was very good, but Palmyra was one of the highlights of the trip, definatley the best place in Syria and more interesting than Petra. The driving here is pretty bad (worse then Turkey) oh, and if you can smell it you're probably standing in it, if there is a corner to hide around then someone will have had a dump there. (not a place that we will rush back to,)
Jordan :- Similar to Syria but cleaner and with less shit !. Very expensive and though quite western in some places, they really have perfected the art of bodging everything that they do. The diving in the Red Sea was great, but the driving is now getting really bad, the people are really friendly but you soon get fed up with ''Welcome to Jordan, how can I help you'', we prefered Jordan to Syria and would probably go back. (We would recommend it as a place to go but Jordan is generally not good value for money)
Iran :-This was a country of extremes, after two days in Iran I would have pressed the nuke-em button myself and had a huge grin on my face, but then we got to Tehran and from here on Iran changed for us and we really enjoyed the country and it's culture, we would go back to Iran, and we would recommend it to anyone. BUT be warned the driving here is impossible to describe without being offensive, so if you are thinking of a visit make sure you fly everywhere.
Pakistan :-Generally very safe and very friendly so long as you use a little common sense, KKH was good mostly less beautiful than the Alps despite the size of the mountains, but was an interesting experience. After Iran the food was a delight. The driving here is also very bad, but probably a little better than Iran. Overall a good place to go so long as you use lots of common sense.
ISLAM :-Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Iran and Pakistan, the positive side of Islam is that crime is almost none exsitent when compared to western society and their religion makes them very hospitable, friendly and tolerant (unlike the Western media-driven perception of Muslims and their faith ). The negative side is that most of the men seem to be a little sexually frustrated, I find myself wondering if something is not just a little bit wrong when the women have to cover everthing when in public but the men are looking at porn sites in the internet cafes and openly masterbating in public places.
India :- We really enjoyed India, from the vibrant colours of Rajasthan, the very Tibetian Macload Ganj, the beauty of the Taj Mahal and the dirty but interesting Varanasi. We had only one month in India so we only had time to see a reasonable ammount of North India, One day we will have to return to see the rest of India.
But everything that you have ever heard about Indian drivers is true, I now belive that all Indians are born stupid and get thicker with age.* The following is a quote from the lonely planet guide to India.
"SOME INDIAN RULES OF THE ROAD"
Drive on the Left. Theoretically vehicles keep to the left India - as in Japan, Britian or Australia. In practice most vehicles keep to the middle of the road on the basis that there are fewer potholes in the middle than on the sides. When any other vehicle is encountered the lesser vehicle should cower to the side. Misunderstandings as to the status can have unfortunate consequences.
Overtaking. It India it is not necessary to ascertain that there is space to complete the overtaking manoeuvre before pulling out. Overtaking can be attempted on blind corners, on the way up steep hills or in the face of oncoming traffic. Smaller vehicles unexpectedly encountered in mid-manoeuvre can be expected to swerve apologetically out of the way. If a larger vehicle is encountered it is to be hoped that the overtakee will slow, pull off or otherwise make room for the overtaker.
Use of Horn. Although vehicles can be driven with bald tyres or nonexistent brakes, it is imperative that the horn be in superb working order. Surveys during the research for the last edition revealed that the average driver uses the horn 10 to 20 times per km, so a 100km trip can involve 2000 blasts of the horn. In any case the horn should be checked for its continued loud operation at least every 100m. Signs prohibiting use of the horns are not to be taken seriously.
Nepal :- One of the first things that you notice when you cross the border from India into Nepal is 'where have all the people gone' you have space, there is not so much rubbish and the driving gets much better, we even had buses pull over and wave us by, we thoughly enjoyed our time in Nepal and we found it much more relaxing than India and we would love to go back some day.
Thailand :-We loved Thailand, it is a country where you can still experience the extremes of life from the tribal to the westernized modern cities, you can do the beech thing or go riding elephant in the jungle. We liked the people, the freindly atmosphere, the good roads, cheap hotels, the diving, the wildlife, etc, etc, Thailand is a fantastic country and we will go back someday.
Cambodia :-We liked Cambodia, Angkor Wat and the sorrounding temples were very impressive, one of the high points of our trip. Roads were mostly terrible but there was a lot of work being done on the roads (funded by Japan, Europe and the US) so most of the main roads will be finished by the end of 2004. As with Thailand we liked the people and had a good time there but Cambodia is more expensive than Thailand (which suprised us) and everything was in Dollars. We would love to go back oneday.
Laos :- Another interesting country, time was limited to just one week here, but had a great time here. Laos is ecomically along way behind Thailand and even Cambodia so it was quite cheap for us, still very traditional and basic which made Laos more interesting for us, though it is not a place to get sick as the hospitals look in a very bad way with very limited facilities. we would also love to return to laos oneday
Malaysia :- Time was running out on us so we were a bit limited on what we could do in Malaysia, so we had a couple of days each in the Cameron Highlands, Kuala Lumpur and Meleka. Seemed like a good place and we will have to go back one day to do Malaysia properly.
Singapore :- Clean, tidy and functional, probably a good place to live and work but then escape to Malaysia or Thailand at the weeekends ! Singapore is a nice place to visit for a couple of days but it can be expensive, probably will not go back, though if we were in the area would visit to see an old freind.
New Zealand :- Very much like home but with loads of space, we were pretty lucky with the weather and so were able to enjoy the many miles of open road, we ignored the Kiwi paranoia for speed traps and the police and had a great time. We prefered the south island but liked it all. We would need a reason to back as we have seen most of what NZ has to offer. (to go to NZ requires a trip on its own, where as if you were in Thailand you would go to Loas 'cause its only up the road ! )
Australia :- A vast country and we were there for only ten days (Had to go home for family reasons) We enjoyed a few days in Sydney before heading north towards Brisbane, we had a great time at Ulmarra with the Horizons Unlimited gang before heading on to Brisbane and the home in a hurry, so many thanks to Ken and Carol for shipping the bikes home for us. We will defenitatly return to Aus one day to see the rest of this vast country.
*Disclaimer :-If you are reading this and find it offensive then don't worry as it is not as offensive as Indian driving.
Extra disclaimer :-If you can't have a laugh then cry, at least that way your eyes will get a good wash !!!!!!!!!!.