Hi, my name is Phil and this blog describes a Solo Round The World Motorcycle Trip I am starting in May 2012. The blog also contains info on other motorbike trips I have made. It is named after the Lee Marvin hit from the 1969 film Paint Your Wagon. It just seems to sum up how I feel when I am on the road. I was born..etc..etc..

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Monday, 25 June 2012

6 - 10 June 2012

Wednesday 6 June, Day 34 - Baku, Azerbaijan

Went looking for the post office with Marcus and Esther to find out how much it would be to send my laptop and some other bits and pieces back to the UK.  I spotted a BMW 650 GS in town with South African plates and later on I bumped into the couple travelling with it outside the post office. 
They are heading for Vladivostock and are just starting the visa process for Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan.  I gave them the heads up on the 3 day customs rule for thebikes and we had a good chat about tires.  The guy swears by a make called Heidenrau from Germany for dual purpose use.  We exchanged email addresses etc and I am hoping to catch up with them in Russia.
I went to check on my bike and the original car park attendant I had struck the deal with was on duty so I gave him 4 Manat to keep him sweet.  He told me to go to the main desk which I did and the guy there told me there was no problem and that I could collect the bike anytime.   
I posted my damaged laptop back to the UK for 36 Manat (approx. 30 pounds) along with the cables and my digital radio which hasn't been used.  Just as I got back to the Hostel a Japanese arrived and took the bunk opposite.  His name was Shinya and he insisted we call him Woods as he thinks he looks like Tiger.  He runs an online store selling Japanese made craft items and kept us all entertained most of the evening with tales of strange and disgusting Asian food delicacies.
We all sat round the balcony in the evening and drank beers and introduced ourselves properly and talked about all sorts of travel stuff.  There was Angelica and Sami from California and France, Etienne and Marie from France (Nantes), and Jean Sebastien and Anna from France (Tours) and of course Shinya from Japan. 
Thursday 7 June, Day 35 - Baku, Azerbaijan
This morning I had a good chat with Shinya about Twitter.  He has 13,000 followers and seems to be something of an expert.  At about 10am I called the Kazakhstan Embassy and was told I could collect my visa at 16.00 that day.  I walked up to the embassy as I need the exercise. I might not be carrying any weight at the moment but I have been getting no cardio exercise at all.

When I arrived at the embassy the consulate official explained there was an official delegation over from Kazakhstan and hence there might be a slight delay.  I sat down and fell asleep in the waiting area. I hope I wasn't snoring.  An hour later I was presented with my passport with visa inserted.
I left the embassy and walked to the new port to ask about boats to Aktau.  This was quite an ordeal in the baking sun and I reckoned it was a good work out if nothing else.  When I got to the port gates I was told 'maybe tomorrow' by the security men.  This sounded more promising than the first time I had been there and I walked back to the hostel and packed up my gear ready for an early start.
Friday 8 June, Day 36 - Baku, Azerbaijan
Up at 5.30 and went to collect the bike from the Old Port while the sun was just rising.  The car park attendant said he had been getting grief from his boss about the bike, I think he was making it up but I was in a good mood so gave him a couple of Manat to shut him up.  Rode back to the hotel, loaded up my luggage and headed off to the New Port without disturbing the other guests too much. 
When I arrived at the port I got talking to the security men and there was no news about when the next boat was due to leave.  The wind was now getting up and I spoke to some of the Turkish and Austrian wagon drivers who were queued up outside the port gates waiting for ferries to both Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan and they seemed to think it would be a couple of days at least.
I was in 5 minds what to do but didn't want to miss a boat if things changed quickly so I decided to rough it next to the bike outside the security hut that night.  This helped me to get to know the guards and they were bringing me tea within a few hours and letting me use their sink to wash.  During the night a couple of idiots came to visit and woke me up to tell me there were snakes etc. They just wanted to be a pain in the ass. I was not in the best of moods and really wanted to let loose but I didn't know who they were so I bit my lip.

I met them again over the coming days and it turned out they worked in the offices at the port so I was glad I had kept quiet.  One of them was a complete arse.  I haven't met many people on this trip i haven't liked but he was definitely one.
Saturday 9 June, Day 37 - Baku, Azerbaijan
It got gradually more windy during the night and it was a real nightmare all day with the loads of dust being blown everywhere.  The ticket office window finally opened in the afternoon and I was told there might be a boat tomorrow.  I paid $200 for a ticket, 110 for the bike and 90 for me and was told I could now park the bike inside the port gates.

The Austrian truck drivers were great and they left me presents at the port gates. Vitamins, cans of beer, tins of food etc.  One of them was particularly great his name was Tomas and he was a Kawasaki rider.  They were dropping their trailers on the quayside and off back to Austria.
It was getting dark and there was no sign of a ship so I decided to put the tent up and sleep on the quayside.  When I opened the tent bag I found there was a problem with my tent poles.  The elastic holding them together had fallen too peices. This made it really difficult getting the tent up in the high wind and I could sense people watching me around the port in hysterics while I struggled.  I was determined not to look round and kept at it until I finally got it up.  The wind was a nightmare all night and the tent was all over the place even with my luggage inside to hold it down.
Sunday 10 June, Day 38 - Baku, Azerbaijan
The wind gradually died down during the day and I was glad to get my stuff sorted out.  The security men told me we would not be departing today and I gathered that there were several boats queued up outside the port waiting to dock.  I settled down to another long day of waiting in the baking sun.  At least i was inside the gates and I could use the port facilities.
The port gate security men caught a small snake on the car park during the early evening about 20 metres from my tent and took great delight in showing it to me. I pretended to be unimpressed and asked if they were ok to eat.  I settled down to a second night camping next to the Police Office and when the shift changed a Police Officer called Karin came over to chat and invited me in to the station for Chai and we sat and watched a movie and tried to communicate.

It was tough going and after a whle I made my excuses and returned to my tent to have some grub and turn in hoping that the boat would be leaving tomorrow. 

1 comment:

  1. Seriously? That is too much luggage, at least according to me. I think that riders should at least be comfortable while riding, as in the luggage should not be an interference. Check out some luggage carriers from
    Harley Motorcycle Parts