Welcome to Week Nine of The IndoChina Expedition
The TV monitor in front of me tells me that there are just over 8 hours left of the flight to Seattle. Sterling is sleeping next to me hoping to wake up no sooner than when the plane touch down in Seattle. He is lucky if he does; I wish I could sleep all the way, but I am too restless to kick back and sleep. To me flying is the hardest part about traveling the world. One day I hope that we can take a little red pill at departure and wake up as we arrive at our destination.
It is incredible to think that we have been gone from home 71 days. At times it feels like we had been gone much longer or shorter, all depending on the mood of the day. The last two weeks in Malaysia and Singapore gave new spark to our travels after having felt rather burned out the week before in Thailand.
As you will see below, this weeks slideshow is from our visit to a Charcoal Factory in Malaysia. This was a truly energizing experience, see Sterling’s great portrait of our encounter with the Charcoal Man in his story below.
To me this leg of the trip was in many ways a travel down memory lane. Last time I visited Malaysia with my motorcycle (Olga) was in 1992. Lots of changes since those days, but still lots of the same as I remember it from then. In particular the road up to Cameroon’s Highland had left a good impression that first time. This road has improved a lot and is now at time a double lane divided freeway. As we arrived on a weekend herds of city people from Penang and Kuala Lumpur had taken to the hills to enjoy cooler temperatures and fresh produce. Besides being famous for its tea plantations the landscape in Cameroon Highlands is filled with plastic green houses where vegetables, strawberries and other exotic fruits are grown year round.
The temperature is for a change on the cool side and I see Sterling get out his fleece jacket, I don’t have one so I dress in my rain jacket. It felt rather good to having to dress to keep warm for a change.
As we ride south we pull of from the main road and drive a few miles to a small town so that we can have lunch. The place is not on my map and of the beaten track from all kinds of tourism. We find an Indian restaurant where we have a great meal followed by a ice-cream cone for desert. Nothing special with anything of this, we have been doing it almost every day. But as I walk together with the others back to our bikes I see a man a block or so behind us. He stands out because he looks in some ways like a tourist, but could also pas as a local. But there is more to the man, I get the feeling that I know this fellow, is it the French fellow that I met many years ago? I feel as if a ghost is following me and I turn away in disbelieve as I walk up to our bikes. The next thing I know there he is looking at me with disbelieve asking if I am Pedersen, he does not remember my first name.
I met this fellow for the first time in Brazil in 1986, deep in the Amazons jungle. We spent the night together as he was traveling north and I was riding south. At that time he stood out from other travelers that I had met in the way that all he carried was a small bag, no sleeping bag or tent. He was also unusual in the way that he had been on the road for 10 years. With his impressive resume of worldly experience he became my hero vagabond.
Fast-forward to 1992 and I were riding on the Eastern coast of Malaysia when we met for the second time, purely by accident since we never had been in contact over the last 6 years. Since then he has constantly been on the road traveling the world. For this reason what is the chance that we would meet up in an out of the way little village in Malaysia for the third time. He was on his way north and I was heading south. I am going to leave you with this little story as it is, but trust me there are much more to it. With the help from Sterling and his videotape of the meeting we will try to give you a better insight to what this encounter really has meant for me in the upcoming IndoChina DVD.
As this is our last installment from the IndoChina Expedition 2007 I would like to thank Chris and Sterling for being such wonderful friends and for your own time following us trough this journey.
In the weeks and months ahead Sterling and I will be working on the waste material of over 100 hours of HD video and thousands of digital images. The goal is to produce a TV a DVD and a Multimedia show about the journey.
So once again thanks for your company Ride safe and see you soon.