Disclaimer: Due to the number of comments that have been received it has been felt necessary to clarify that this trip is in no way based on "The Long Way Round" which the authors of the trip were not aware and nor was it first broadcast of at the time at which this trip was drunkenly conceived. The authors of this trip would like to distinguish their intended trip from the journey undertaken in "The Long Way Round" in that unlike Charlie Borman and Ewan McGregor they are not experienced riders (they have both only been riding motorbikes for just over one year), they are not receiving sponsorship and they will not have a support crew with them at any point on the journey. Just to avoid any further confusion it has been thought that it would be helpful to point out that Tom Horovitch and Peter Caley are both fictional characters and are not famous film stars.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Patnam Beach, Goa, India - 14,795 miles from London

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It is 11th January, but it still seems to be Christmas here in Patnam.

A blog entry by Tom

I’ve moved beaches from Palolem to Patnam, a quieter and more idyllic beach, only a short ride away on the fishing boat that I hired for the move. As I unloaded the metal boxes (I had Peter’s
too) and huge top bags I was greeted by sun bathers wanting to know why I had so much luggage and whether I was doing something like making a documentary. Sorry to disappoint, I explained that I was merely on a motorbike trip and was too lazy to pack the bike and would be returning to Palolem to pick it up later.

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A holy cow lies on Patnam beach.

So I left Palolem after Christmas and new year with memories of meeting lots of random and many interesting people, late nights and staying awake to watch too many sun rises including the one on Christmas day, an unfestive but very pleasant and drunken Christmas and a new year with friends from England who had come to see me on their way to other places in India. It was extremely sad to see them go and reminded me one of the reasons why I have been so home sick at various points on this trip. I also spent much time with Anders, the biker from Denmark who we have met at various points and who made it down to Goa just in time to spend Christmas here.

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Bud and Ollie enjoying their meals at Ma-Rita's on Palolem beach

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New Years Eve on Palolem beach - Penny on the left, John, Sarah and me

It feels like we have reached the half way point in this trip and now a number of issues need to be addressed. I suppose this is the perfect place to address them; in a calm and collective way and this is also a good excuse to stay here for what seems like excessive period of time. The issues as I see them are:

Peter’s intensions for the rest of the trip. He left for England on 23rd December and proposed to his girlfriend, Miriam. Congratulations are in order because she accepted (!!) and Peter returned here two days ago. I have no idea what he is planning to do, and I am not sure whether he does either. Before he left he was talking about going home to be with Miriam and not continuing on to Australia. My suspicions that he will do this have been aroused further when I spotted on the floor of his hut the Lonely Planet guides for Iran and Pakistan and I realised from this that one option for him is to travel overland back home. I think he needs time to decide what is right for him, as do I, but I think there is a possibility that we will not be traveling on together. I do however sincerely hope we do.

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Peter returns...

The next issue is my bike which has serious oil leak that must be fixed before I carry on. Oil is leaking from what is called the rear axle final drive and if I continue with this problem I risk ruining the gear-box. It appears that the problem is due to a faulty seal and is probably a manufacturers problem with the bike. BMW in the UK have been extremely unhelpful and say we need to replace the entire unit (900 GBP) and that they need the old unit back before they would consider this as a warranty issue. They also don’t have the unit in stock in either the UK or Germany and can’t say how long it would take to get it. They also say that to do the work we need a special tool that they are unable to show us. However, Anders who is a self taught mechanic, has actually managed to take the whole unit off the bike, have the tool made locally and thinks the problem can be fixed by simply replacing the seal which has ordered from a friend who knows someone at BMW in Switzerland. So it looks like we are getting there with this problem and I must say a massive “thank you” for all Anders’s help with this.

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Anders talking off the rear axle final drive. The special tool he had made is in his hand. The axle is still on the bike at this point.

Lastly, the route that we are going to take it a big consideration. Where do we go from here? I have already mentioned that Peter is considering going home and I suppose that is a realistic possibility for me too. Although it is extremely cheap to live here in India, shipping costs and petrol are expensive and I am running out of the money that I put aside for the trip. So returning to England, either riding the bike or shipping it back, is a possibility.
If one or both of us were to carry on toward Australia the most ambitious route would be to go to Nepal and then cross back into China. In China we would go cross province to the border with Laos. This is meant to be very difficult, mainly due to the logistics, and I am not too sure if many people have ever done this on a motorbike. From Laos the journey would then take us down in Thailand and then Indonesia where we would island hop until we could find a boat to take us to Australia. Anders is keen to do this and he has a contact in China who can help to organize this trip – so one option would be to go with him. There is also a possibility that he can find other people who want to do the same trip and we could travel in a group to keep the cost down.
Probably the least ambitious plan would be to do something like ride to Madras (in the south of India), put the bike on a boat to Thailand, then ride to Singapore and put the bike on a boat from there to Australia. Perhaps ride across Australia and then come home.

There are many factors to consider, but something like a plan will come together in the next month, during which time I may take a train and explore Kerela and Mumbai while I wait for spare parts to arrive for the bike.

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Francis, Carole, me and Dad having lunch on Patnam beach.

My father, brother and his girlfriend all came out on New Year’s day and are here until the 15th January. It is wonderful to see them and they have brought something to me here that I find it difficult to put into words so I am not going to even try. My father has rented a house in Patnam and I am currently staying in a little room attached to the front of that house. We are using the front of the building to repair the bikes and we are using a spare room to lay out the luggage, the tools and spare parts. We all do our own thing, but we meet as and when. Francis is doing a yoga course, Carole seems to be getting into alternative medicine and writes her diary and Dad reads, swims and does a lot of walking. They all say that they don’t want to leave and are having a great time. Goa is a transient place, where people come for a short time have fun, make bonds and leave. It is hardest when those closest to you leave a place like this. I will leave too one day!


At Thu Jan 11, 11:37:00 pm GMT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to say I have been reading your blog since the start - Dan Toland put me on to it. I have enjoyed reading it immensly and feel that I have been on the trip without the hard work and enjoying it from a comfy sofa. Well done lads. Dave Owens

At Fri Jan 12, 07:44:00 pm GMT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tom

Wow! Just though that I'd mention that I'll be in Goa from the 30th Jan for two weeks, it's my girlfreind's (the one that knows when I'm tired) 30th so I bought her a holiday.

Be cool if you're still there, we could nmeet up! logistics?

All the very best on your journey, whichever way you go
Chris Batham
(W2W Tekkie)

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