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Himalaya Adventure 2018 Chapter Three

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Dispatch from Gary Schmidt

We entered India for the second time and it was much better than the first time. We entered the very north eastern part of the country. It was much better than our time in Siliguri. The area is called Nagaland and the people in this part of India have a Mongolian influence rather than Indian. Also, they are Christians rather than Hindus.


Our guide took us to his village up in the mountains and it was certainly the highlight for our 4 days in India. The people still live a very simple rural life. It was a Sunday when we visited and the villagers were walking back to the village from the church higher up the mountain. They were very friendly and happy. It was an amazing difference from our short time in Siliguri, India.


From India we entered Myanmar, previously known as Burma. Myanmar has been in the news a lot lately due to their treatment of the Rohingya people. They are a minority group of Muslin people who have lived in Myanmar for centuries but have never been accepted by the Buddhist majority. I was expecting some kind of spill over from the recent problems, but we saw nothing and the Myanmar people were as friendly and kind as one could ever hope.


I would say the highlight of our time in Myanmar was the time spent on Inle Lake. It is a large shallow lake with villages built on stilts on the water. Everyone and everything seem to be transported by long narrow canoes that are either rowed or powered by small 1 cylinder diesel engines with long shafts. We spent a lot of time going around the lake from village to village and even to the market.


The roads in Myanmar where vastly improved from the roads in Nepal, Tibet, India and Bhutan. For me it was a welcomed change.


Next was our last country, Thailand. We only rode a few days in Thailand and that was fine. Thailand is a very modern country and its standard of living has to be one the highest in that region of the world. The traffic in Bangkok is as bad as anyplace I have ever experienced. We spent a few days at a very nice hotel in Bangkok where we finally loaded our bikes in a container for shipment back to the states.


Thus, ends the Himalaya adventure. I’ve been asked by many people how I would compare this trip with the 3 other GlobeRiders trips I have done. I can’t compare any of the trips I have made with the GlobeRiders. They are all different and spectacular. I feel extremely lucky to have made these trips and will remember them all equally for the rest of my life.



Gary's Gallery





Dispatch from Steve Becker

Having passed through India for the second time now on way to Myanmar, we said our goodbye to Hinduism, with its mystical religiosity and wonderful celebrations (see photo gallery with Indian celebrants, faces painted red) and hello to Myanmar Buddhism with its myriad, magnificent monasteries and stupas (temples). And thanks to fine weather in Bagan, we were able to enjoy a hot air balloon ride passing over what I understand to be more than 3000 stupas – you can see sister balloons alongside ours in my photo gallery.

From there on to Mandalay, the second largest city in Myanmar where we enjoyed a couple of days of rest and sightseeing. A highlight was in seeing a parade of townspeople, heavily costumed and marching along with adorned water buffalo, elephants and horses. The purpose of the parade was to celebrate elevation of young monks to stewardship and coordinated in time with the new moon. See gallery. Next, we pointed our bikes to Inle Lake, an amazing place reminding me of an Asian Venice, staying at a beautiful, exotic hotel on the lake which extended pervasively throughout the region. You can see fishermen standing one-footed on gondolas, using hands for netting fish and the other foot wrapped around an oar for propelling the craft. Hard to believe. Using gondola, we visited an outdoor market, seeing merchants hawking their goods, and enabling us to enjoy an opportunity to meet with a number of “longnecks,” whose ladies, upon puberty, employ rings to elongate their necks, a practice considered to be attractive; see gallery.

I’m fast forwarding now, in interest of brevity.

Our final destination, Bangkok, Thailand, was a sea change in atmosphere, transitioning our travel experience between exotic and perhaps struggling economically, to modern and bustling. It for me was a welcome change, as by that time, nearly two months on two wheels and 5400 miles, some quite challenging, I was ready for a rest.

I could write many pages describing my experiences on this tour. It for me has been a trip of a lifetime – and I am 74 years! At the start, I very much felt like the weakest link in relation to riding skill, as all my colleagues are very accomplished adventure riders – and I am not. But after nearly 60 days of riding roads of all types, from decent to in-construction to non-existent, under the watchful eyes and support of Helge and my colleagues, I feel transformed, now able to ride nearly anything (reasonable). And my head is spinning with memories of so many experiences I have had; I could talk for hours, literally. But I won’t in deference to Helge who prefers brevity.

Bottom line: I can’t wait to take the next GlobeRiders tour, perhaps Southern Africa, schedule permitting.



Steve's Gallery







Dispatch from Tom Botz


We entered India (for the second time on this trip).

We met people picking tea leaves.

Nagaland, India, had steep, dusty dirt roads, which were a lot of fun to ride.

In Impal, India, we went to the women’s market - only female vendors for some reason in this large market. Helge presenting people with prints of photos he took of them in the same location last time he was here (a year ago) - amazing how he almost always manages to find these people again.

Here some useful pointers on how to behave in public. Why don’t we have these signs in Los Angeles? Proof again that we can learn from these countries.

Here’s the border bridge from India into Myanmar. We spent 10 days in Myanmar, a surprisingly pleasant country with lovely, helpful, smiling people. Myanmar and China were the only countries on this trip where people drive on the right side of the road.

In Bagan, we took a sunrise balloon ride over the many temples and pagodas, which are often 1,000 years old.
These goats are on their last ride anywhere, going to the market to slaughter.

Crossing from Myanmar into Thailand is like crossing from Mexico into California. We only spent a few days in Thailand, riding to Bangkok and preparing the bikes for shipping back to the U.S. Here we are loading them into the container that will be re-opened in Seattle in about 5 weeks.

Overall a GREAT trip with great company, riding our bikes and seeing the world.





Tom's Gallery





Helge's Photo Gallery



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