28th June 2015:
Who are people in your neighboured, ? the people you meet each day. (?) … Reflections on some of then people we have meet ( with apologies to all that I have missed )
This little saying sprang to mind the other day when I was thinking about all different folks we have meet along the way. So I thought I would do a little post to try to capture some of the feelings and fun conversations we have had as we make our way on this journey !!!
This is not going to be in any particular chronological order. Just a set of recollections.
I will start with today. …Barry and I had heard that there was a car wash place near by our hotel in Biysk, in the Altri Kari region of Russia.
After a bunch of one way streets and crossing tram track we find a new business with a great set up for car washing. Of course no English, after some sign langue and the use of the calculator on the phone we establish a deal to clean and vacuum the cars, which was done with heaps of enthusiasm ….
As you can imagine ..two strange Aussies and two old cars covered in mud and dust from days of Mongolian roads. Anyway we came away with heaps of similes and photos and a lot less dust and mud on the cars.
And then the other day while still in Mongolia we meet a French couple cycling with their 2 children ( 6 and 8) through Mongolia and China etc and heading for Nepal ( sometimes riding , some times transport ) to work on rebuilding a school. Amazing what some folks do !!!
And yesterday I think it was … A young Russian couple with great English …who gave us all sorts of tips and suggestions. In fact there was two different couples. Both very, very helpful .
And on our last day or so in Mongolia we meet two you guys from Russia riding big KTM motor bikes …. They where heading home after spending 2 weeks in Mongolia riding cross country across the Gobi desert … Great guys … They thought we where mad … !!! Not in a bad way …. Just crazy like lots of other over landers. But what had they done. !!!! Just dirt biked across the Gobi desert . !!!
And then way back in Luang Prabang, in Lao we meet a guy on his own cycling around Asia ….who had driven old CV Citroen across Africa ….!!! And great bunch of back packers who shared a story or two
And there was also a young French couple riding their layback tandem bike and had ridden from Europe to Cambodia. We spent a little time chatting and helped each other find an ATM … The basics of life… Getting local cash always helps . They had a long way further to go … And seeing places we would never find .
And even further back in this journey we where in a place I don’t remember the names in Thailand and we are looking for a place to eat ….and nice Thai lady sings our in good English, come over here …it turns out she was home in Thailand, visiting her family ….she now lives in Hawaii . We had a great meal and then went back for breakfast and her uncle an off duty police man gave us his phone number if we needed any help …. Fantastic to know there was help !!!
And then again ….a day or two ago we met a German journalist who specialise in writing about international trucking. He was travelling in his own Peugeot camper van and taking pictures and writing stories of the Mongolian guys driving trucks from Russia etc into and across those amazing roads across Mongolia. He gave us some great advice about the roads ahead. And said he might add a little bit about our Peugeots in his story.
The list could go on and on ….like we pull up fuel in China and a French guy has doubled back to find us and he used own a 304 or his father had …. But he works as a lecture part time in Beijing and part time in France and just wanted to say hello and wish us well .
And ….and we had have been fortunate enough to go to 5 year old birthday parties and meet all sorts of people. For example in China I visited an environment and planning studio And meet the main man and via Jerry discus his work and projects his team is working. On.
Then of course there have been monks …. We have stopped at temples and at high passes and met various monks along the way. The monks have been just as inquisitive as anyone else about our tour. Peter and Jerry in Tibetan part China we went through had Monks shower Leckie with paper prayer flags and wrote “Om Mani Padme Hum” ( the most well known Tibetan Buddhist mantra ) … And a special road trip blessing. And Mollie picked up little blessing and lots of other best wishes along the way.
A couple of other special people in neighbourhood have been the house bound herders. We have stopped for lunch on a couple of occasions in Mongolia and been joined by a sheep and goat hearer …. Just curios about these strange visitors. We shared some lunch with one and gave both of them a koala !!!! There amazement was great …. They shared there country …. We shared a little of our story.
And of course the children ….they have been great. When ever we can we share a “chuck a bra” wave and get a giggle and wave back and have often provided a koala for their memories.
The other group of people have been the locals and people who work at the various places we have stayed and they folks at the petrol stations. To help explained what we are doing we use an atlas that Barry brought along. We point at Australia and Perth and say this is where we are from ….and then turn to a map of Asia and explain the route we have traveled and plan to travel.
And before I forget …then there are the truck drivers …. For example those at our long border crossing between Mongolia and Russia. They needed ( like lots of people do) to look under the bonnet ….and that is always a laugh ….when they ask how big (little) the motor etc. Etc. And because we got stuck at the border between Mongolia and Russia over the office lunch break we shared our lunch supplies with a few of the guys too. Much appreciated.
At most of these occasions there has always come with mobs of photos and a car signing. And lots and lots of laughs. And in different countries there has been many, many people wave, slow up and take photo. In each country it has been different in terms of the amount of attention we have received.
And just a few minutes ago we had nice bunch of guys, one with workable English who where so keen on the cars that we went through whole tale and under the bonnet etc ….. Just great conversation ….and we learnt a little about their town.
And so this is just a few of the people in our neighbourhood ….the people we meet each day. Our community has become the road and all those who travel along it or are part of our journey because we stay at their hotel / guesthouse ( or where they work)… !!! It’s a pleasure to meet some of the peoples of the world ….and as our guide in China, Jerry said …. A smile is the universal language …. A smile and a hello and we are a little part of their neighbourhood too!