It's finally come time to leave South Korea and move on.. I like being on the move.
Walter (whom I will be joining for the first portion of Russia: Magadan to Irktusk) and his bike have arrived from the UK via Seoul.. he gets his bike unpacked from the crate.. of which my tires are included! We are eventually putting the knobbies back on for the Road of Bones.. my poor little bike is feeling the weight now!!
But it was fantastic that Walter offered to bring along the tires, to know we will have the best we can get for the long rocky bumpy dirt roads ahead...
So here the bikes wait until we can load them up on the ferry.
To see more detail of what the plan is, have a look at Walter's site and blog - he has a great site and will save me from doubling up on the info! ;-)
Once you have a look, you might be thinking what the heck I've gotten myself into.. I wonder myself, believe me!! I know I don't have the skills to do what he has planned.. but as with every part of this trip, everything I think I can't do so far, I just end up doing anyway.. I'm going to have to now whether I want to or not! I honestly do want to give it a red hot go, but I do feel very very sorry for Walter to have to put up with me for the toughest part of the journey so far... ;-)
Anyway, back to the ferry, it is quite a process as usual.. but a little bit harder this time.. I knew I had it good with Japan and getting into Korea!
Walter has about as much luck understanding the office girls as I do..
With the lobby chocker block full of Russian kids on summer holiday, we decide it will be far too long of a ride in the economy class of which we are all in one big room together..
So we live like royalty and upgrade to first class - ha!
After many hours waiting, we finally get the approval to load our bikes - this is progress!
Back into the terminal to go through immigration as normal.. I'm getting used to this!
Ferry is pretty empty for cars, but not for people...
So, this is first class...??
No furniture... but at least a door that closes! After nearly 24 hours on the boat with heaps of wild and extremely bored children, I think it was a smart choice.. for sure!
I had been warned ahead of time of what their food was going to be like, so I opt for making my newly standard peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for us, nuts, mandarins, and plenty of water.. Surely this will see us through..
It may have been a long haul, but I still enjoyed it as much as I could.. something new is always interesting. For instance, I couldn't take photos, but out in the ocean through the night we passed what looked like little towns lit up, but it was actually just an ocean full of fishing boats with all their very bright lights on deck..
I can't help to wonder, with as many boats as we passed all night, and still in the morning, how does the ocean survive? Each of those fairly large boats was pulling out their load of fish - every day? If so, how are there enough fish to breed, to replenish the resources so they can continuously be fished out? I don't know.. the people need to eat, and they love their raw fish and seaweed... just boggles my mind.
Also interesting, is this is my first experience around a lot of Russian people! I am feeling out of place, but very intrigued as well. What is their culture like? How do they dress? I notice the girls are really into high heels and sparkly things.. and the guys are chain smoking and drinking supersize beers at 9 in the morning.. Yet they have bodies like Olympic gymnasts! (Walter explains that men going to the gym is pretty much a standard here)
While enjoying being in my first class space, on the floor...not.. I do my best to learn the Russian alphabet and a few basic words.. Sorry for the blurry picture, I don't know why I couldn't focus this morning (ok... I admit, I've already had 2 or 3 or 4 supersize beers, but I started at 6AM before the guys!!) just kidding.. my camera did it, I didn't.. ;-)
Luckily I was smart enough to upload a couple of movies while I had free wi-fi in the hostels.
Then, I get excited - LAND!! We are on our way into the port at Vladivostok Russia! I run up on deck with my camera - and bam! What a change in weather and temperature!
That's alright, I'm just happy to be here.
I think everyone is!
Then we get down to our bikes after our passport passed, and wait again! All geared up and ready to go, luckily Walter speaks Russian and he asked a lady official which finally worked out that we can not have our bikes tonight... cargo customs closed, maybe try again tomorrow morning at 9 AM. Oh well, just go with the flow I say!
At least they let us out! That's a plus for me!!
While on board waiting, Walter spots these overland bikes on the dock below from our cabin window..
He explains to me that its more common for the bikes to board the ferry from here and head south - as most adventurers are from Europe and head East across Russia. It's only the Aussies and Americans tend to go East to West - that's me!! Backwards every time!!
The next morning, we find out we actually can't get our bikes until Monday..
While in the agents office, guess who walks in! The owners of those bikes!
They are from Monte Negro on a journey called www.theridearound2010.me
The boys compared notes..
I feel like I am in very good company..!!
They have conquered so much already, it was great to meet them.. and very inspired.
Safe riding guys!