Thailand

Goodbye Dot

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Hi guys,

No Dot today, just me I’m afraid, because the old girl is in a wooden box getting ready for take-off.

Yep, lonely in Bangkok, because my buddy, my bird has been handed over to the pigeons responsible for flying her in to Nepal. Her flight leaves on Wednesday, mine on Tuesday. Do you think she’ll be alright on her own?

It was an emotional goodbye. In the rain we rode through Bangkok stroking each others hands and getting ready for five days apart. We found the place easy, just a left, a right, a twist and a turn and we were there. At the shipping company armed with spanners ready to take Dot apart.

First she lost her footpegs, then her wingmirrors, handlebars, crash bars and finally her front wheel. She was naked, her body exposed. I touched her tenderly and made sure she was stable as Joseph the carpenter sharpened his nail and hammer. Sad, but she had to come apart because here they sneakily charge you on volume weight rather than actual weight, whatever that means cause even I’m confused. Basically they don’t weigh it and say okay, that’s 95kgs charged at 70B per kg…. here’s your total.

No, they base the cost on the weight AND the SIZE of the crate, something they don’t tell you until you get there. Fortunately I’d been informed by a chum and came prepared to pack Dot into a very small space. You could see the commission draining from the ladies face when she saw how little we’d got her. Tiny was old Dot, that’s why the bitch I’ve been dealing with revealed that the cost I was given today was an estimate and that it might go down when the box is finished, but also, of course, equally go up. Not by more than 10 percent she tells me. I find out on Monday when I go to pay. We’ll see.

But if you’re curious we’re looking at 500 quid for Dot’s seat in Business Class. It’s a blinkin bloody lot, but with no road through Burma it’s the only way other than round through China, a task I’d have to sell both kidneys for as they insist you travel with a state guide so you don’t cause mischief.

As for Dot, I can imagine her now, wheels up, reclining, watching a movie and drinking gin while I have to fly first to Delhi, sleep in the airport overnight and then catch the next bird to Nepal. 15 hours total for a 3 hour flight. I could have gone with Dot but I’m saving 60 quid this way. And you know what a tight bugger I am.

Now then I start to pack and prepare, working out which pile of crap on the hostel floor is to be taken and which is to be scrapped. Which trousers should I take for example and what top works best? Do I take all my tools or just some? What should I do with the spare tyre, should I pack my portable kettle and what the hell am I doing with three caps? All questions to answer as I sit waiting patiently for that email from Iran.

They don’t like the British very much at the moment, so while the Indians and Pakistanis were happy to invite us in for a cup of tea and a visa, the man from Iran might still say no. If that happens it’s a case of try try try again until you’ve had a million rejections and have no choice but to paddle around or climb up and over the top. But that’s a massive ordeal and heavy cost so I’m hoping to avoid that. If i have to camp at the boarder and pelt them with persuassive stones then I shall do.

It doesn’t help that my left arm’s gone all wonky. It just won’t work. It’s frozen, numb, spider sense tingling. It started after Dot developed a shiver in her handlebars so I reckon it must just be that. Like white finger that the road drillers get. D-D-ddd-d-d-d-d-dd-d-d-d-dd-!. Maybe I should see a doctor but here I’m likely to end up with that finger back up my bum after I make the wrong gesture. ‘No, wait, I said my arm, that’s my ars…….agghhhhh’. Thankyou doctor. But no. I shall ride until it drops off and I’m forced to operate the indicators with my ears.

The plan when we reunite in Nepal is for me to go off and totter around Everest with my numb arm swinging like a leper in the wind. A fit man can do it two weeks. A man in my shape should allow for three. But it’s basically walking Everest’s earthly halo, a task usually involving a guide with all the gear and a vague idea of where he’s going. I of course can’t afford that, I don’t have 50$ a day to pay his donkey to cook me porridge in a morning. Nope, I’m just going to wing it and hope the spirit of Dot guides my through. How hard can it be. It’s only a mountain.

Dot, in the meantime, will have her feet up in a hostel carpark trying desperately to sell her body for petrol. The problem you see is that Nepal doesn;t have any after the government forgot to pay its fuel bill. If we can’t hustle some on the black market we might be pushing the 150kilometres or so to the Indian border. Which should be a doddle for a man with the use of only one arm who’s barely alive from his skip round Everest.

From there south; India. I’m looking forward to that. Same with Pakistan and Iran, if they let me in.

Still not sure if I’m going to come the easy way home through Europe or drop down and come back through the north of Africa; apparently getting a visa for Libya is pretty tough, but it’s the route I’d prefer to take so we’ll just have to see. Maybe i could trade Dot for a camel, but she’s probably already thinking the same fate for me.

At this rate we’ll be back in the UK by August, or when the money runs out. Which could be sooner. Maybe next week.

See ya all then.

Just Nathan, no Dot.

x xx xx

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