July 10, 2011

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G2K – succesfully arrived in Kathmandu on 3 November 2008 at 9.00pm

November 5, 2008

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Ian and I are very exhausted after the excesses of India, but are ellated to finally getting to Kathmandu. Lewis Hamilton had it easy – they are driving
in the same direction.

For the last four days we were riding up to 14 hours a day to get to the Nepalese border where a reception committee was
waiting for us from Child Welfare Scheme – very humbling…

We met Karandip and his father who are descendants of the Maharaja of Patiala. They and their families very kindly wined and dined us for two days in their wonderful house
in Chandigarh – thank you.

So time was running out to meet our deadline of reaching the border at 11.00am on Monday 3 November 2008.

We got to the border in good time and a Nepalese police inspector got us through customs and passport control in no time at all!

After a welcoming reception and a lunch in Bhairhawa we rode up through the mountains reaching Kathmandu at 9pm. After sorting out a room we
retired to Sam’s Bar for a few beers.

Yesterday’s headache was one of my more memorable hangovers.

However, I was asked to give a presentation to the British Ambassador Dr Andrew Hall followed by a press conference – that sure concentrates the
mind!

Ian and I are having a couple of days off before riding through to Pokhara in west Nepal on Saturday. On Monday we are visiting CWSN projects which
include the Asha Clinic, the JYOTI Vocational Training Centre, and a street project which helps homeless children.

I aim by the weekend to have the blog updated and photographs added. The one of us taken at the border covered in tika and Tibetan
scarfs is definetely worth seeing!

Please don’t forget I am raising funds for Child Welfare Scheme Nepal and feel free to donate to the justgiving site!

Yours,

Fergus & Ian

Beards, bangles & beers

October 26, 2008

Ian and I crossed from Lahore to Amritsar in India yesterday afternoon.

Amritsar is the home of the Sikhs. When we arrived in the city we asked
a auto-rickshaw driver to take us to guest house with parking and beer.

So we had our first beer for two weeks, celebrated our achievement of traveling so far,
and toasted the wonderful people we met along the way.

The Pakistani people were outstanding and we were both treated with
the utmost humility and kindness. We hope we both gave them the
same respect and consideration.

However, from Quetta to Lahore we had armed escorts the whole way.

The policemen without exception were all good-humoured and professional.

Some were faster than others. I will go into more detail when I have more time.

A special mention must be given to the Sind Special Protection Group and the
Punjab Elite Police Force.

If your life was endanger (we were told it was), these
were the guys you would want to protect you.

Young, fit and very professional.

When we got to Lahore we decided to leave Pakistan – uncertain how dangerous
the threat to us was and the dangerous situation we were putting our escorts into
we left Pakistan with a heavy heart.

If you ever get the chance to go you won’t be disappointed.

We are staying here in Amritsar for a rest day; to visit the Golden Temple and to see
the Indian – Pakistan border crossing closing ceremony at Wagah.

Ian and I aim to be in Pokhara west Nepal in four days.

When we reach Nepal I will tell you all about:

Meeting up with Ian on his F800 BMW which looks like something out of a Batman movie.

The tragedy of the earthquake in Bam, Iran.
40,000 people out of a population of 120,000 perished in the earthquake on 23 December 2003.

Being locked up in the Iran border crossing for the night because the frontier had closed.

The encounter with the secret intelligence officer at Taftan the border town in
Pakistan. “Get your petrol, I will get you water, and get the h*ll out of here!”

All around you the endless nothing, of the Baluchi desert. Horizon for 360 degress.

The frontier feel of Quetta and the wonderful Mr Asif the chowkidar – nightwatchman
in our hotel

The anti-ambush drills with the Punjab Elite Police Force.

The comic antics with the secret policeman in Sacceur who wanted to take our photographs, but
the battery had gone on his cell-phone.

Filling in the gaps

October 13, 2008

I woke up late this morning and decided I am not going anywhere. I drove 1400 miles from Istanbul to Kabriz in northern Iran in four days. Time to rest.
“In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed—but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance.

In Switzerland they had brotherly love, 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”

(The Third Man)

Back in Mulhouse in southern France I left the Formule1 hotel I was staying at and filled up Asha at the first petrol station I came to.

It was across the road from the Schlumpf Car Museum which houses a priceless collection of prestigious cars. Maybe a special section could be opened for priceless Triumph motorcycles?

Katee the petrol station attendant insisted on taking my photograph. She kept saying “I was so real, you are so real”. I left with a smile on my face.

It took me no time at all to cross over to Switzerland. Straight through customs and into a labyrinthine maze of tunnels and underpasses below Basel. It was not what I expected very flat and not a mountain in sight.

Soon though the motorway climbed up and through a tunnel to another glorious valley and a wonderful picturesque lake. The mountains slopes were covered with grass like bowling green lawns.

I was in awe at the expense and expertise the Swiss had used to build the motorways and tunnels, and I had not paid a toll to use them.

After riding through the 17km Gottard Tunnel I stopped off at a service area where I met a guy called Wayne who had taken three months off from teaching. There seems to be a lot of that.

I noticed a sticker on the front of his BMW. What’s that for? I enquired. Oh’ that’s the Swiss road tax which you must pay at the border.

All the way to the frontier I thought a Swiss border guard was going to put an apple on my head and use me for target practice.

Scream if you want to go faster

Milan is very close to the Swiss border and it wasn’t long until I hit the Milan ring road – like the M25, but on steroids.

In the outside lane I had to ride at over 80mph and keep an eye on what was behind me as cars just came right up behind me.

If I rode in the inside lane I had to try and dodge the trucks. They have two signs on the back:

80 – very fast       90  – hold on.

I stopped and caught my breath oh and my nerve back.

As with this whole trip as soon as I have been out of the main cities the roads have been relatively clear.

I managed to get to Aidan and Bianca’s in Tuscany without any further scares. A wonderful couple of days was spent with Aidan – Thank you.

Brief Encounter

I left Aidan’s and rode down past Florence then took a turn east and started to climb up over the mountains to Ancona to catch the ferry to Greece.

The road was empty and I rode upwards round wonderful sweeping bends.

I stopped at a lay-by to drink some water and admire the view.

At the other end of the lay-by was two girls in short skirts and knee length boots. They weren’t waiting for a bus.

I showed them on Asha that I was from Scotland and was riding to Nepal. They told me they were from Bratislava.

As my Slovakian is practically nil and their English just as bad we laughed and used sign language.

I think I got it across to them that I preferred keen amateurs.

However, the younger of the two looked very fragile and looked to have been mentally, sexually, physically abused.

She looked very scared.

I rode on feeling very angry that these two women could be left in a lay-by miles away from anywhere doing what they did.

I don’t know if someone came and picked them up every evening or if they got a lift to the next lay-by.

It upset me then and it upsets me now.

Running on empty

One of the first rules of adventure motorcycling is always to fill up your petrol tank when you can as you don’t know when you will reach the next petrol station. Italy closes down between one and three in the afternoon and I was concerned about the Asha’s petrol supply.

After what had happened at the last lay-by I felt angry, sad, and lonely.

After reaching the summit I took it easy down the other side.

I came across a petrol station with no one about. I stopped and noticed a tin can on the top of the petrol pump. It had a note in it and about 180 Euros.

I filled up the tank and left 20 Euros.

Fear of flying

I caught the ferry with only 10 minutes to spare. Well everyone needs a bit of tension in their lives. I met up with Alan who was going back to live in Greece – I wish him luck.

In the bar I met up with Girt a German bus driver who was taking a group to southern Greece. He had been to the UK many times and we chatted about London, York, Edinburgh. Oh’ and football which I struggled a bit with.

I asked if him he flew to get away from the buses for awhile. He told me he had only ever been on two flights.

The first one smoke came into the cabin and the second couldn’t land because of fog, and had a terrible landing. Yea best give it up while your still ahead.

A staulky wee guy came into the bar who immediately interested me. I went over and asked if I could join him.

He was Peruvian and was going to Greece to sail his bosses yacht back to France. He had come over from South America 20 years ago.

He learnt  to speak French, how to sail,and how to do carpentry.

He then bought a 21 foot wooden fishing smack; fitted a mast and then sailed it back across the Atlantic to the Caribbean.

Not bad ah?

Pandora’s Box

After leaving the ferry I rode up and over the mountains in northern Greece not far from the Albanian border.

At the side of the road were lots of blue square boxes. I was puzzled at what they could be. I stopped to investigate and walked across to a couple of them.

Bees! They were bee hives. I quickly put my helmet back on and sped away.

Don’t stop, just don’t stop.

Outside each house and out in the countryside were numerous small Greek Orthodox shrines on top of poles. They reminded me of the spirit houses that you get in Thailand. Religious bird tables.

I only stopped off in Greece for two days. The towns had either bars full of old men watching football or young trendies hanging out in big groups.

I knew I was going east though. I saw one bike with three people on it and a scooter piled to eye level with magazines.

Making a break for the border

I rode through ferocious side-winds on the way to the Greek-Turkish border and I felt sorry for the soldiers on the border standing out in the gale.

Borders are all about getting things done in the right order.

Passport checked, buy vehicle insurance, get that checked, get another signature, ride through to the other side and do the whole thing again.

A French woman wouldn’t have it. She told the Turkish customs guy that her insurance was good for Turkey. But he wasn’t having it.

I told her that it would cost her 9 Euros and would take two minutes to get, so she stormed off to give the insurance lady a hard time. Your not going to beat these guys.

In the Levant

I rode happily along until I reached the outskirts of Istanbul. I thought all I had to do was take a right turn then follow the road and I would get to Sultanahmet. Istanbul has 25 million inhabitants – five times the size of Scotland.

I got totally lost. I stopped to think things through. The first guy I asked told me to go back the way I came so I did and rejoined the motorway.

I came off the motorway nearer to the centre. Stopped and asked a taxi driver. He told me to follow him which I did until he swerved off to pick up a fare.

Eventually I found the centre and budget traveler area of Sultanahmet. Fran who I met at the Iranian Embassy was there to meet me and it wasn’t long until we were drinking beer and exchanging our experiences.

I met to many people there to mention, but they were all good and I wish them all the best.

The next day I crossed the Bosphorous by ferry to get an oil filter for Asha. Stuart and me got on the first ferry we came across. What puzzled me was why were we getting on a car ferry when there was a bridge no bigger than Westminster Bridge just up the river. But the other side was not Asia that was round the corner. Silly me!

We finally got to the Triumph dealer who said he would send a filter over to my hotel the next morning.

So he did and I got the oil changed. The young guys who worked on Asha were wonderful especially the mentally handicapped one who constantly held my hand and laughed a lot. So did I.

The next morning I went back to the bike shop and met up with Adil who had ridden from Istanbul to Burma 10 years ago. He gave me loads of advice, lunch and rode me around Istanbul showing me the sights.

We stopped off to see a few of his friends and have tea which included Mr Levent a former fighter pilot with the Turkish air force. He was still flying Spitfires in the 1960s.

Imagine flying up the Bosphorous in your own Spitfire? Amazing.

Adil also drove me round old Istanbul and we stopped off again at another friend who owned a yogurt factory. It tasted delicious.

After four days it was time to move on. The group I was with were either going back towards Europe or east towards Iran.

Thursday morning came and I packed Asha up and said my farewells. I got back on the motorway as I wanted to cross the suspension bridge across the Bosphorous. There was numerous traffic jams, but Asha makes small work of them and soon we were across into Asia.

However, when I got to the tolls on the otherside of the bridge there was no where for me to pay. I hung around for about five minutes waving Dinar notes, but nobody came so I rode on.

Another rule of adventure motorcycling is never to ride to far. I did.

By 6 o’clock I had ridden for about 300 miles. Rather than stopping at the town I had planned to I continued on. I had petrol but there was no hotels or towns.

I came off the main highway into a little hamlet, but everything was shut up and deserted. I got back on to the highway and was starting to feel anxious.

However, I came over a rise in the road and a big motel was stood by the road.

Off the bike, more tea, and bed.

Turkish hospitality is outstanding. Everywhere I went: the bike dealer, the bike garage, hotels, petrol stations I would be given a cup of tea.

A couple of days ago I stopped off in a brand new petrol station. I filled up and got under some shade for a rest.

The attendant was busy filling the soft drink machine. He waved for me to go into the unopened cafeteria and get a cup of tea.

I finally found the kitchen where a pot was simmering on the stove. I poured two tulip shaped glasses of tea and gave one to the attendant. We smiled and he put it down and carried on with his work.

From Adeer you climb up onto the eastern plateau of Turkey. Wide arid valleys with green and red tinged mountains. I would wave at the lorry drivers as I overtook them and they would wave back when I had stopped for a rest further on. The Iranian drivers would not only wave but beep their horns too.

Another rule of adventure motorcycling keep those guys on your side.

I got to Erzurum where I stayed with Bernie and Cathy. They have been waiting there for over two weeks to get their Iranian visas. I hope they get them soon.

They had not found the liquor store. Took me ten minutes. Well, needs must.

I haven’t met a bad guy yet

I stayed the night before last in Dogubayazit at the foot of the twin peaked Mount Ararat. It looked wonderful with its peaks covered in snow.

I should have stopped at the first hotel I saw on the main highway, but I was worried about exchanging money at the border – another 34km further on.

So I rode around town until I found a cashpoint, but everytime I stopped I got pestered by street children. The region has a strong Kurdish population, but there doesn’t seem to be many schools, lots of tanks though.

I finally went back to the first hotel I spotted. And of course they could change money; had a bar, and cable TV.

So I got up at 4.30 this morning and at first light rode in to get some money. After breakfast I changed the money and rode on to the border.

Borders can be very daunting. Am I going to get stripped searched? Will they refuse to let me in? Will I be able to change money?

I met a money changer on the Turkish side who took me around five different offices for as many stamps and signatures then it was into Iran.

I waited, and I waited, and I waited. Finally a guy from the office came out.

The Turkish gate was opened then the Iranian one and Asha and I squeezed through. The border guard then chatted away to the Turkish guy.

He was sure I was from Ireland. Well it does say so on the front of the passport.

I was then sent into the immigration hall where everyone was so helpful.
 
I was sent to the front of the queue and had my passport stamped in no time at all. I apologised profusely to the people waiting. But they just smiled and so did I.

I then had to go and see about six different people to get the Carnet for Asha signed stamped then signed again.

Finally I had to get a chit signed to be let out of the border area at the bottom of the hill. In all it took about 45 minutes and was good fun!

I am now in Tabriz. I found a hotel in the Lonely Planet Guide which allows bikes in the foyer. So Asha is safe and sound.

The hotel owner is an old kind looking gentleman.

A family stopped on the road into the city and told me how to get to the hotel. Oh’ and everyone waves to you as they drive by.

I left my bags in my room had a quick wash

 and went out to find something to eat. The first place I spotted was a hamburger bar.

I tried ordering a Tak Tak and Aras – a beefburger and a coke.

However, the owner was praying and I felt terrible. I waited outside and a guy came up and asked me what had happened. I explained the situation and he just laughed. He told me he would be finished in a minute.

I asked him if he was a Muslim, but he said only at home and he sold cosmetics.

The burger was wonderful! The children were so polite after they had finished giggling and mocking the burger bar owner.

We chatted for about five minutes. Bright enthusiastic youngstgers. The future of Iran.

The city is about 1.6 million – a sign told me when I rode in.

The centre is full of shops straight out of the 1970s with cars to match – Hillman Hunters.

Nobody takes a second look at me and I feel very safe.

The young women all wear head scarfs and make up. The scarfs are pushed back to about the middle of the head and the hair brushed up and sometimes dyed.

A confident prosperous town. It reminds me of Bangalore in southern India with its broad tree lined avenues and fashion shops.

I like it here.

Tak Tak and Arras

October 13, 2008

I have arrived in Tabriz in northern Iran after riding through Turkey in four days. It was a lot bigger than I thought!

I am dog tired, but thought I should write to you all. I got up at 4.30 this morning.

I stayed last night in Dogubayazit high up in the plateau in eastern Turkey. Dogubayazit is at the foot of the twin peaked Mount Ararat. It looked wonderful with its peaks covered in snow.

I should have stopped at the first hotel I saw on the main highway, but I was worried about exchanging money at the border – another 34km further on.

So I rode around town until I found a cashpoint, but everytime I stopped I got pestered by street children. The region has a strong Kurdish population, but there doesn’t seem to be many schools, lots of tanks though.

I finally went back to the first hotel I spotted. And of course they could change money; had a bar, and cable TV.

So I got up at 4.30 this morning and at first light rode in to get some money. After breakfast I changed the money and rode on to the border.

Borders can seem very daunting. Am I going to get stripped searched? Will they refuse to let me in? Will I be able to change money?

I met a money changer on the Turkish side who took me around five different offices for as many stamps and signatures then it was into Iran.

I waited, and I waited, and I waited. Finally a guy from the office came out.

The Turkish gate was opened then the Iranian one and Asha and I squeezed through. The border guard then chatted away to the Turkish guy.

He was sure I was from Ireland. Well it does say so on the front of the passport.

I was then sent into the immigration hall where everyone was so helpful.
 
I was sent to the front of the queue and had my passport stamped in no time at all. I apologised profusely to the people waiting. But they just smiled and so did I.

I then had to go and see about six different people to get the Carnet for Asha signed stamped then signed again.

Finally I had to get a chit signed to be let out of the border area at the bottom of the hill. In all it took about 45 minutes and was good fun!

I am now in Tabriz. I found a hotel in the Lonely Planet Guide which allows bikes in the foyer. So Asha is safe and sound.

The hotel owner is an old kind looking gentleman.

A family stopped on the road into the city and told me how to get to the hotel. Oh’ and everyone waves to you as they drive by.

I left my bags in my room had a quick wash

 and went out to find something to eat. The first place I spotted was a hamburger bar.

I tried ordering a Tak Tak and Aras – a beefburger and a coke.

However, the owner was praying and I felt terrible. I waited outside and a guy came up and asked me what had happened. I explained the situation and he just laughed. He told me he would be finished in a minute.

I asked him if he was a Muslim, but he said only at home and he sold cosmetics.

The burger was wonderful! The children were so polite after they had finished giggling and mocking the burger bar owner.

We chatted for about five minutes. Bright enthusiastic youngstgers. The future of Iran.

The city is about 1.6 million – a sign told me when I rode in.

The centre is full of shops straight out of the 1970s with cars to match – Hillman Hunters.

Nobody takes a second look at me and I feel very safe.

The young women all wear head scarfs and make up. The scarfs are pushed back to about the middle of the head and the hair brushed up and sometimes dyed.

A confident prosperous town. It reminds me of Bangalore in southern India with its broad tree lined avenues and fashion shops.

Tehran tomorrow. 

When I get time I will tell you all about my lay-by encounter in Italy, and on the ferry to Greece the German bus driver who is scared of flying.

I will also tell you about the Milan ring road – which is like the M25 on steroids.
 
The guys who changed Asha’s oil in Istanbul who introduced me to Adil who has ridden from Istanbul to Burma.

He told me to ride slowly and to phone him everyday, and I did.

Charity biker goes long way round(BBC)

October 8, 2008

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/glasgow_and_west/7638154.stm

A Scot is riding his Triumph motorcycle from Glasgow to Kathmandu to raise funds for child welfare in Nepal.

Fergus Anderson, who is originally from the city, set off from George Square at 0900 BST on Saturday.

His route will pass through England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and India.

He aims to reach Durbar Square, in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, by early November. All funds raised will go to Child Welfare Scheme Nepal.

Mr Anderson said he had been inspired to do the trip after going to a lecture in Nepal in the 1990s given by a German civil engineer who had ridden back home to Bavaria from India, Nepal and Afghanistan on 10 separate occasions.

Troops of monkeys

He added: “It really got my imagination going and I have wanted to do this trip ever since. Some people want to climb Everest, some people want the ideal job, some just want the girl at the bus stop that they see everyday to turn round and smile.

“I will be riding my sky blue Triumph Bonneville called Asha. Asha means luck and hope in Hindi. You need a lot of luck and hope to ride bikes around south Asia.

“The traffic is, let’s say, not so disciplined as here in the UK. On my ride to work I don’t have to dodge troops of monkeys, herds of water buffalo, and three trucks in line abreast all coming towards me, as happened to me on my trip down to Kerala [in India] a few years ago.”

Don’t Stop me now

October 8, 2008

Mon 29 Sep

After breakfast, filling Asha with petrol, and getting some Euros it was time to hit the road.

I planned to ride until I got bored or until my bottom said no more.

Strangely riding kilometres rather than miles seems to go quicker! By half past three I was already at Nancy where I was going to stay the night and thought what the heck I am not tired why not keep going.

I got as far as Mulhouse which borders Germany and Switzerland. I stopped and asked a French couple where was the nearest Formule 1. Without hesitation they said follow me and we will take you. No problem.

I soon had a room and had Asha covered up for the night. Blog write up, food and a beer would be nice. Formule 1 is a cheap hotel chain 30 Euros a night. So they are not built in most luxurious parts of the town.

This one was located with railway marshalling yards on the right and the Arab Quarter on the left. I asked the receptionist where I could get email and some refreshments.

I had to walk down dimly lit streets with gangs of youths on the street corners. Walk tall and look confident, and don’t look anyone in the eye. I did and I soon relaxed.

I had the most wonderful shish kebab and frites. However, it was slightly disconcerting as the owner was flying a model helicopter around the restaurant.  Well it was his place.

As I walked back to the hotel I found an Internet shop full of young north African Arabs who all wanted to know where I was going and what I was doing. I am sure some of them had been on the street corner when I had passed earlier. They thought it was amazing as I showed them on a map on the wall.

I slept well.

It is too late to stop now

October 8, 2008

Sun 28 Sep

After seeing friends in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire I stopped off at a service area near Stanstead Airport. I was feeling sorry for myself, guilty for leaving and not a little bit scared of what was to come.

However, one of the great joys in travelling is the people you meet a long the way and the good fortune that these encounters can bring.

Clair and her son had seen AshaBlue and started to talk to me. It turned out that her father had been the Bursar at Budlilikanta School in Kathmandu, and had known Crown Prince Dipendra who went on to kill his mother and father, and bring down the Shah royal dynasty in Nepal.

We got on like a house on fire and talked about mutual friends and about Kathmandu and Nepal.

I stayed far too long. I wanted to get to Dover; book a ferry ticket and find a hotel for the night.

I was going to try the Channel Tunnel first and if I could not get on to the train there go on to Dover.

On arrival I asked the lady at the entrance who told me that it would be £80 and the last train of the day is due to leave in 30 minutes. I thought it would be too much and thanked and I would go on to Dover.

I stopped outside the gates to think through my options. Cheryl a security guard came up to me and asked if I was in any trouble and if she could give me any help. I told her my dilemma. She suggested that it would be cheaper for me to get on the train and find a cheap hotel in Calais.

So that is what I did. And before I knew I was in France.

I met Hans and Heidi on the train who told me they would take me to the Formule 1 hotel in Calais. They did and they made sure I had a room for the night before they left.

It is those happy coincidences of meeting Clair and Cheryl which can make life so wonderful.

The greatest journey starts with a single kickstart

October 8, 2008

Sat 27 Sep 08

I arrived at George Square Glasgow at around 8.30 in the morning. George Square was named after King George III who was ever so slightly mad. To start off on this journey of mine maybe I am also a bit crazy.

Suddenly, however, a lady came striding towards me. ‘Are you Fergus Anderson?’ She asked. ‘I certainly am’, I replied.  G2K had been on Radio Clyde, Real Radio and Telext. She asked if I owned care homes and if I was in my sixties. Sadly not on both cases I told her.

She had got the wrong Fergus Anderson and strode of in the direction of Queen Street Station.

My cousins Sheila and Alaisdair, the two Colins, and Ewen came a long to see me off.

We chatted for awhile waiting for 9 o’clock to come.

I thought back about all the hardwork that has gone into getting this point. The visas, preparing the bike, working out routes, getting the press on side, it goes on and on.

I thought back to when I organised Terai Challenge in Nepal. The Terai is the flat lands area bordering India in southern Nepal. Terai Challenge ‘a journey along the floor of the roof of the world’ was a sponsored relay mountain bike ride to raise funds for an orphanage.

It took so long to organise and so many elements had to be in place.  I needed two Land Rovers (one with a winch), a medic, mechanic for the vehicles, three riders and so on.

However, in January 1997 everything was in place and we set off for Mahendranager in the far west of Nepal. We arrived around eleven in the morning and set up camp.

After lunch one of my team asked if we could start the ride now and return to camp when it got dark. I said of course.

I am not ashamed to say that I had a tear in my eye. It didn’t matter if we failed in our endeavor we had got to the point of starting.

We subsequently completed the ride in three days. It is all about having a go.

Nine o’clock came and I left George Square and Colin and Ewen escorted me out of Glasgow on to the main road south to England.

I had started.

G2K Fergus has less than 24 hours left until he departs…

September 26, 2008

Glasgow, I am still only in Glasgow.

Well, it is down to 24 hours before I leave Glasgow and I feel as if I am at the top of giant roller coaster just about to go over the edge.

I arrived here in Glasgow on Wednesday. I thought I would have a pleasant ride up, amble through the Lake District, and up and over the Southern Uplands to Glasgow.

But no.

I stopped off to fill up with petrol just inside Scotland and had I had three missed calls from Radio Clyde. I phoned my contact Lesley who was frantic and wanted to interview me about G2K as soon as possible. So I got up to Glasgow as fast as I could.

So on the way up I practiced my lines:

In Nepal 3 out of 4 people don’t have access to primary health care.

1 in 11 children won’t reach their fifth birthday.

3.2 million children are forced to work as child labouers.

Child Welfare Scheme Nepal’s mission is to improve health, education, and social opportunity for disadvantaged children.

We can build schools, health posts, and bridges. But remember it is the people. It is always about the people.

However, as soon as I arrived at Radio Clyde I was rushed into a studio, a pair of headphones placed on my head, and straight into the interview. It seemed to be overt in seconds and didn’t get to say anything about the charity.

I was then taken into the newsroom where there was no sitting around chatting, but I managed to tell Lucy, Lesley had gone home, to not forget to mention the charity in the pre-amble to the interview.

Before I could say do you want a follow up when I am back out in the car park. Ah’ being an adventure motorcyclist isn’t all glamour.

It will be broadcast on Radio Clyde on Saturday morning at nine.

People have been concerned about the countries I am travelling through: Iran and Pakistan. Hey I live in South London for crying out loud! I was on Manhatten on September the 11th and last year in Rajistan a bomb went off killing scores of people. So what can I say?

There is a piece in Peter Mathisson’s book the Snow Leopard about a traveller who climbs up a high pass between two villages.

On the summit he asks an old monk what the town is like down in the valley. The monk asks him how the last village was. The traveller tells him that the last village was full of drunks and debauchery. The monk replies that the next village will be the same.

Just be you and be open to what ever comes along.

If anyone has seen Apocalypse Now (a modern day take on Conrad’s Heart of Darkness set in the Vietnam war). then they will know where I got the line: “Glasgow, I am still only in Glasgow” from.

This is not a journey into the darkness, but to make new friends, marvel at their culture, and have some wonderful experiences.

It is said that tourists don’t know where they are and travellers don’t know where they are going.

Hey but we know! We are off to Kathmandu!

Thank you all for your generous support and encouragement.

Roll on tomorrow morning.

Fergus & AshaBlue

PS I have to get back to the house as I am awaiting the arrival of a package from Tapas a collegue of mine.
He studied medicine at the same college as the President of Nepal. The college is celebrating 185 years and a special tie has been produced.
Tapas would like me to present the President with the tie. That should be fun!